Over the past few years, a few different artists have mentioned that they seem to get fewer comments on their art on FA than they used to.
This page looks at FurAffinity's artwork comment IDs over time, and how those compare to the submission IDs over time, to see if the numbers match the perception.
In general, there are more comments than submissions. At the end of April 2023, there were about 172 million comments, and almost 52 million submissions, for an all-time average of about 3.3 comments per submission.
Important: These graphs don't automatically update every day. They were generated one time, on 2023-05-16, with the data collected up to that time.
First, a graph of the artwork comment IDs from 2005-12-04 (the earliest data Furbitron has for FA) to 2023-04-30.
If you hold something with a straight edge (like a piece of paper) up to the screen, you can see that from about mid-2009 to mid-2015, the comment rate was fairly constant. It then slows down very slightly each year from then on.
Next, the same data in a year-on-year format, similar to Furbitron's year-on-year graphs for the submission IDs.
The group of lines at the top right of this graph shows that the years of highest commenting on FA were 2010 (dotted blue) to 2015 (solid brown). These years had about 13,000,000 comment IDs per year, plus or minus.
Next, the same data in a year-on-year format, but as a bar graph instead of a line graph.
Again, you can see that the years of highest commenting were 2010 to 2015, with about 13,000,000 comment IDs per year, plus or minus.
Furbitron's regular data collection on submission IDs shows that FA's submission rate has changed over time. In 2006, FA's first full year of operation, there were about 0.32 million submissions. In 2020, FA's best year so far, there were about 5.5 million submissions.
By dividing the comment IDs by the submission IDs, the average number of comments per submission can be calculated. The next graph shows this average by year.
From this, the peak full year was 2008, with 7.9 comments per post, on average. The average dropped every year from then until 2020, when it stood at 1.6 comments per post. 2021 was a slight improvement, but it has remained close to 1.6 through April 2023.
(The average is so high for 2005 because Furbitron is aware of about 12,000 submissions and 95,000 comments in that year. There are probably actually about 32,000 submissions in 2005, which would bring the average comments per submission down to about 3.0. Quite a number of the early posts to FA have been deleted, so it is not always easy for Furbitron to find submissions from early 2005 that are still online.)
Overall, the numbers seem to bear out what some artists have mentioned - submissions on FA have been getting fewer comments, on average, for the last several years. Even as recently as 2016, each submission got twice as many comments, on average, than submissions in spring 2023.