Well, after a bit of thinking, I guess I’ve resolved my popular posts problem. The popular posts plugin I was using had a significant flaw — largely because I’m also using the wp-cache plugin. Namely, any cached article was not being registered as having been visited. However, any article which had it’s comments feed accessed was registered as being visited. Therefore, the so-called “most popular” articles were actually the articles which had somebody subscribed to the comments feed. I could control this by closing comments — but this seemed like a highly undesirable way of dealing with the issue. It would only truly be accurate if I closed all comments and reset all counts to zero. Even then, the caching issue would mean that the visit counts would be highly unreliable.
Then there’s the issue of popularity. As I commented previously, I’m not really all that happy with the self-defining nature of popular posts. Once popular, always highlighted. It’s an ineffective way of giving people some access to my past articles. Using the least popular posts really just meant highlighting the most recent posts. Somewhere in the middle? Just kind of a strange way of going about it. Tried it; didn’t really like it.
So I’m now incorporating two plugins: Recent Posts and Random Posts, both by Rob Marsh, SJ. They’re both heavily configurable plugins, allowing me to eliminate selected posts and define the structural code surrounding them amongst other options. I think this will give a more worthwhile glimpse into the “back stacks” of this blog as it continues to grow.