No-one will have noticed, I suspect, but I have removed the Popular Posts gadget from my blog's sidebar.
I had it set to show the most popular posts, in terms of hits, from the past 30 Days. It's quite a good way of keeping relatively recent posts on view. But over the past month or so, older posts have started to creep in there. I have been monitoring their stats, and they were picking up regular hits; the same number of hits at roughly the same time each day. Basically it was obviously some kind of remote process at work.
Now if you've been really observant you will have noticed that in the past week the sidebar gadget has changed what it was tracking a few times. This was me fiddling with it so that I could see what effect it had on the stats. What seems to be happening is that posts that show in the gadget were picking up regular hits from some kind of automated process. This meant, to some extent, that if a post was being featured it would keep being featured because it would keep getting automated hits.
This kind of makes the gadget a bit pointless. So I have removed it.
I'll keep monitoring my stats and see what effect the gadget's removal has, and maybe reinstate it when I think things have settled down.
Anyway, what I'm now hoping is that most of the hits I get are actually real people looking at the posts because they actually want to.
Update; I've put it back, maybe on a temporary basis, as the stats now seem to have settled down a bit.