Due to the change in the publishing industry in China, modern writters generally
have to establish themselve by publishing their novel online and gain sufficient
reputation before a publishing company approach and offers a contract.
Simliar to celebrities, the writters are encourage to publish their work on a
daily basis to engage with their readers. Often 2 to 3 chapters are posted a
day, and sometimes even more if a fan donates a generous amount.
I have been following this particular novel for several years, however, recently
I found the update to be much slower than before. There has been discussions on
the possibility that the series may be discontinued due to the high level of
So I decided to investigate the case, and hope not to find evidence that my
favourite series is going to be discontinued.
To do this, I scrapped the web page and extracted the time stamp of each post.
Then investigate the duration between sequetial posts to see if there is any
changes in the pattern.
Let’s load the required libraries and define some helper functions.
After defining all the necessary helper function, we can start scrapping the
data for the analysis. There are three novels in this series, the first two do
puo and wu dong has been completed, and the third one da zhu zai is in
I have removed time difference that is less than 1 and greater than 168 hours
which corresponds to a week. The reason to delete time stamps less than an hour
is due to the infrequent update on the forum of the first novel where the author
had yet to establish a firm reputation. While the cap at 168 is for special
chapters that were written many months after the completion of the first two
Let’s take a look at the time series plot, it appears that the average interval
for novel one and two were fairly consistent to be around 12 hours or 2 post a
day, while the third novel has a steady increasing trend approaching 40 hours (A
really bad sign!).
This simple analysis shows that there are some possibliies that my favourite
novel will be discontinued. However, the third novel is also expected to be much
longer than the first two. So I hope the author may be simply gathering and
structuring his ideas, then regain his momentum and finish the novel.