To do this, I wrote a little C# app to fetch all the "back 20 entries" pages LJ makes available and then run a few regular expressions over this data to grab the name of the poster, the date, time of the post and the number of comments received. Unfortunately, LJ only allows you to page back 380 entries in this manner, so that only takes us back to 29/07/2008. At some point in the future, I may work out an alternate mechanism for paging through this data, but for the moment, this is all we can get.
Top Posters and Top Commenters
The graph above shows the "top posters" to Photographers, those people who have posted the most over the last two weeks. Shown against that figure are the average number of comments the poster received per photograph. Pretty easy to see that flooding the community with posts is not the way to be an effective comment whore. However producing interesting work repeatedly (igorlaptev), does seem to sustain a high level of commenting.
Switching it around, those people who received the most comments posted the least. Taking the user-ids of the top commented ten I queried to see when they posted and what kind of distribution occurred. Six out of ten of the top posts happened on 31/07/2008. As far as I can tell, the community wasn't running any kind of event on that day. What were you doing on that day that made you all so comment happy?
Time and Day - The "Sweet Spot"
But if you're reading this, then you're probably interested in finding out when the best time to post is for the optimum comment-whoring effect. Is there a magic spot of time in the day and the week when most people are sat in-front of their machines and feeling the most generous with their comment love? Unfortunately, with only two weeks of data, I can't give you any real conclusions on this, but we can at least have a stab in the dark. I've also just realised that the "date" field shows the time in the time-zone of the poster, not a standard time-zone. Bugger. Well let's press on.
Well, hopefully a day is long enough to not be too badly effected by time-zones. There seems to be a quite obvious spike on Wednesday/Thursdays for posting, possibly photos processed from earlier in the week, or maybe all the household chores are done by this point ready for the weekend? Who knows, but Thursday's crowded. There's not a hell of a lot in it for the comments really, just an odd one here of there. I think it's pretty inconclusive, there's no real deviation for when comments get posted in the week.
But, what ho! There *does* seem to be some interesting results when we break it down hour by hour. Unfortunately, please bear in mind that this lumps 8AM US/Pacific with 8AM GMT, so we're still looking at rough figures here. But if you want maximum comments, make your post at 6AM in the morning. Please bear in mind that this may be offset by the low number of posters at that time. One person supplying an absolutely stunning, praiseworthy image will totally skew the number-crunching (to be honest, that's probably what's happened here). Commenting seems to be pretty uniform throughout the day, with a slump in the wee small hours of the morning. Which I personally find ironic, since it's usually the wee small hours of the morning my work is finally ready to post. Maybe I should hold off until after a good night's sleep and then post? The numbers seem to indicate that would return better numbers of comments.
The fall off for posting is also interesting. It's good to see that whatever time-zone you're in, you appear to be getting reasonable shut-eye between 2 and 9am. 7 hours? That's healthy enough. Keep up the good work there.
Realistically, based on such little data (380 posts is not a lot for around here), we can't make anything firm. It does appear to be a case of quality does indeed win over quantity, and there is no real sweet-spot to the day, so long as you post to most people's idea of waking hours (probably USA time?). But whatever you read into this, I hope you've found it reasonably interesting and worth your time.