Are Blog Comments Dead?

14 Dec

You may have noticed in recent weeks that the number of comments on the site have decreased.  However, our traffic numbers are higher than ever before in a non-election season.  So, what’s happening in the comment section?

When we started this website back in 2004, WNYMedia.net was pretty much the only online outlet for people to comment on and discuss the local news of the day.  The TV stations pretty much ignored the web and The Buffalo News updated once each morning and ignored the potential for an online community.  So, we stepped in and took advantage of the market opportunity.

We offered a cozy spot on the Internet for people to discuss issues in their community, share insights, build consensus, and bring different perspectives to stories that were often ignored by the larger outlets.  We even had a little slogan internally, the site was built for all of us to Advocate, Educate, Inform, Opinionate and Update and sometimes Yell.  We built a pretty diverse community and we were proud of what we created.

Over the ensuing years, the “news and opinion” audience fragmented into various niche websites because, well, that’s what happens on the Internet. Buffalo Rising, Buffalo Spree, SpeakUpWNY, Artvoice, BlockClub and dozens of individual blogs started to build their own communities. Through it all, our traffic numbers grew.  As the old saying goes; “A rising tide raises all boats”.  We were still bringing new readers and contributors onboard each day and, generally speaking, discussions were proactive, friendly, intelligent and productive.  Sure, we had occasional sniping and verbal slapfights, but it’s the Internet.  It’s what happens.

In early 2007, the major outlets finally got onboard with this whole “internets thing” and started asking for comments on stories and providing an outlet for people to communicate.  In their meandering and unfocused effort to add an interactive component to their news organizations, they forgot about the most important part of building an online community, moderation.   Online communities are like gardens.  They need to be watered, fed and maintained on a regular basis or bugs and weeds will overtake the flowers, ya dig?  When new readers visit, your online community cannot look like a hostile, insular and angry place or the new readers will not stay to participate.  People don’t want to be yelled at or insulted nor do they wish to hang around with a bunch of anonymous assholes.

We, however, did not forget about moderation.   About five months ago, we announced that comments would be more strictly moderated on the site to ensure they stayed on topic and stayed positive.  I think we’ve been mildly successful in that regard.

However, moderation isn’t the only factor that has resulted in less conversation on the WNYMedia.  Twitter, Facebook, mobile apps, Networked Blogs and content skimmers have also influenced the conversation, in a very big way.

Yesterday, I did a Facebook search on my Maria Whyte story to see how many people linked it on Facebook.   Interestingly, I found that 32 people in my network had posted the article on their Facebook wall and discussion about the article was happening on all of those pages, over 50 comments.  It was also shared dozens of times on Twitter (with ensuing discussion) and read a couple of hundred times on our Droid App with comments left there as well.  Content skimmers like Buffalo123 also steal our articles and comments occasionally happen on their site as well.   When we stream video, our viewers are on UStream or on their phones and they share/discuss our audio and video content on YouTube.

So, what’s a content provider to do?  Honestly, we don’t really care if the comments are here or elsewhere, our traffic numbers are the currency we care about as a business, but we want to make the readers happy with the experience.  Is it important to you for us to keep comments here or should we simply deal with the new reality that the website serves as a launching pad for content discussions across various social networks?  Should we do more to integrate social feeds into the site using Facebook Connect and Google Accounts?

You tell us, what’s important to you. I’ll be looking for your comments…everywhere.

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69 Responses to “Are Blog Comments Dead?”

  1. Brian December 14, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    I like to read my news on paper. 😉

  2. Michael December 14, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    I don’t think the comments are dying. I think the sharing of opinions is growing. Your traffic numbers might suggest people are liking what they read and sharing it first (because that is the easy part) and occasionally chiming in.

  3. Jon Splett December 14, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    Facebook Connect isn’t a bad idea but I think you’re overlooking another factor.

    While the venom from other commenters will keep people away, so will a dismissive ‘I’m right, everyone else is wrong’ tone from the bloggers themselves. I think a lot of the posts have moved away from writing that encourages discussion to stuff that takes a hard stance on something and results in defensive responses when people question it. I get why that happens, years of blogging puts a person on guard when you’re constantly questioned and attacked on everything you write, but I think it’s reached a point where any dissenting opinions are greeted with a dismissive or combative attitude from a lot of people who write here. Alan is probably the biggest offender when it comes to this but he’s not alone in it and I think most of the core group of people who post here can handle it but to new or casual users, seeing people’s opinions straight up dismissed isn’t going to motivate them to take the plunge and join the community.

    There’s a lot of egos at WNYMedia and while that’s part of the charm, it’s also becoming a bit of a problem.

    • Christopher Smith December 14, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

      Jon, good point. I think you’re right that our asshole quotient has gone up in the past few months. It’s a reflection of the political world around us, but we need to do a better job being open to new readers.

  4. BobbyCat December 14, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    I started ‘blogging’ on Prodigy, a chat site that competed with AOL, before AOL dominated the market (before AOL sunk). I thought my 286 computer with its 20mg hard drive and a few bytes of RAM was hot stuff.

    I have noticed along the way , a few poison pills that can kill a comment section.

    The following one killed the Buf News blogs, BTW:

    1) Beware of angry turks who flame everyone, who name-call and resort to insults intead of reason. Many of these guys suffer from small man syndrome and strike out in anger at the bullies who have pushed them around and the woman who rejected them. These are the quiet little guys who sound like tough linebackers on line, but when they commit some atrocity, the neighbors will say “He was always quiet and shy little man and never bothered anyone”.

    2) The “libs vs cons” arguments is not only boring to tears, it leads nowhere. Idealogs believe they are on a mission from god spreading HIS (mostly hard right) commandments.
    When I read that old baloney, I usually move on.

    3) Snarky comments from the get-go are a sign that the writer has run out of things to say or perhaps is just an angry person. I move on.

    4) Women run from all of the above. They don’t want to battle with some asshole calling everybody an “asshole”. They don’t want to be insulted. And many men don’t either. Let me put it another way. Nobody wants to discuss current events with an asshole. It’s a dead end. It’s degrading. Ok, once in a while, comments can get a little heated. But when snark turns into normal, the audience runs away. It’s like walking away from a boorish drunk at a party. Who needs it?

    5) On the WNY Media site, you could do a lot more to encourage readership. Avoid cryptic headlines . Le comté, c’est lui (???) Avoid code words and jargon. I know that many writers want to sound hip, but plain English wins in the end. It reaches a vast audience. Anything else sounds like insiders talking to insiders, and if you aint one of the club, you’re alienated- and bye-bye charlie.

    there’s more, but I need to make a living………………..bye

  5. STEEL December 14, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    I remember when you thought moderation was akin to devil worship.

  6. peteherr December 14, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    As one of those “dozens of individual blogs” that have sprung up since the inception of WNYMedia, I am finding that most of my comments and discussions are happening on my Facebook or Twitter pages. I can’t seem to get many comments on the actual buffalostuff.net blog, but I get tons of comments on FB or Twitter when I link to my posts. I just wrote it off that I am a better micro blogger than macro blogger.

  7. Tom Dolina December 14, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

    What people here fail to realize is exactly what Chris neglected to mention: through an elaborate setup with ad partners and hidden “tracking cookies” Chris personally makes a dollar for every blog post comment, regardless of the article’s author. At the time of my writing this comment, Chris has made enough money from this article alone to purchases a delicious Turkey Hoagie from Jim’s Steakout *with* sweet potato fries.
    If someone else comments after me, he can bank on getting a fountain soda from there as well….

  8. BobbyCat December 14, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    This site seems to be down half the time. Little wonder more people don’t post. I get a ‘server error” or some such, much of the time. Are you under cyber attack?

  9. Jeremy December 14, 2010 at 6:29 pm #

    The comments here have passed the tipping point at which what appears under the article most often undermines or devalues that which is in the article. (Except for the Answer Lady, for which virtually anything would be additive.) There are perhaps six people whose comments add to WNYmedia articles; give them their own blogs here and shut the rest of the comments down. Until that happens, you’re giving Mike in WNY and similarly hapless people a platform nearly as prominent as your own, for free.

  10. RaChaCha December 14, 2010 at 6:42 pm #

    This is very interesting. BR has recently begun posting, on individual articles, counts of how often they’re tweeted, facebooked, etc. I’ve had some articles where I was initially discouraged by having few or no comments, but then I noticed some of the other activity which indicated I had engaged some readers.

    But the comment section still has a place, without question. While many blog comments aren’t worth the time it takes to read them, it’s not unusual to get good additional information or important perspectives in the comments section. And good comment section discussions can sometimes start important community dialogs, or form the basis for further articles.

    So please keep the comments! Especially for those of us who don’t tweet or Facebook 🙂

  11. Chris Sasiadek December 14, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    I find that I comment on wnymedia articles on facebook more often than I do on the site, lately.

  12. Brian Castner December 14, 2010 at 8:09 pm #

    @ Chris Smith: The thing that drew me to WNYMedia in 2006, as a reader before I was a writer, was that the authors would respond back if I hade a question or comment. I didn’t get that interaction anywhere else. Perhaps I am odd and fewer people than I suspect are drawn to that. Or, maybe they’d rather just chat with their pre-selected 300 Facebook friends, whether or not the author is among them. Or, as Jeremy says, perhaps most find no value in the comments from strangers at all. Do you read the comments on Salon or NPR articles? I don’t.

    @ Jon: I think you make a good point. I try to foster a discussion, so I hope I am not shutting down too much conversation. You are hardly a shrinking violet yourself, and we disagree about almost everything, but I’d like to think my articles are a place to disagree agreeably. If that’s not the case anymore, I need to work on it. I will say, however, in our collective defense, when I ask for people’s input, I get crickets. When I throw a bomb, I get 30 comments. Its unfortunate, but true.

    @ RaChaCha – I have not noticed the # of comments on BRO articles going down. I wonder if that is because they post a “note” version of the article on Facebook, and not the link, making it less “Sharing” friendly. Or perhaps its because BRO is now really an architects and planners message board, and they like the community they have created.

  13. BobbyCat December 14, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    Ok gentlemen, WTF is “BR” and “BRO”?

    As I have pointed out elsewhere and often, perhaps your readers can’t figure out WTF you are talking about. Cryptic code words and acronyms and abbreviations might be cool, but are often baffling. Last time I looked at the acronym dictionary there are 900,000 of them. Then there is the Urban Dictionary…..Wheeew.

    Please, use plain English.

    • Alan Bedenko December 14, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

      What’s “cryptic?” je ne comprends pas.

  14. Brian Castner December 14, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

    @ Bobbycat: WTF is WTF?

  15. Marc Odien December 14, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

    Ok that’s it.  First chance i get this week, Im starting a new page called “Bobbycat’s guide to WNYmedia”

  16. peteherr December 14, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    And that is one of the reasons I come back to WNYMedia.

  17. Tuco December 14, 2010 at 10:31 pm #

    Can’t speak for all the blogs on here…I usually stick to the ones that discuss news and politics. The comments sections have become too predictable. It’s the same voices over and over…a libertarian will usually be comment #1, with increasingly bombastic back-and-forth between the same group of 5 or 10 people. If someone outside the usual crew posts something, it is generally ignored. Not exactly a way to foster discussion. Like Jon said, the section does not feel welcoming to new or casual readers.
    With regards to BRO, in between articles about $20 toaster tongs and a Baba Booey book review, there are some decent articles. I don’t think comments are shrinking, I believe there are just a lot more posts being submitted. Most of them don’t warrant comments.

  18. Eisenbart December 14, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    “Bobbycat’s guide to WNYmedia”

    Well… I laughed. :

  19. Greg December 15, 2010 at 8:15 am #

    I’ve linked to articles here on my FB (ahem, Facebook) page and had discussions on there with friends who commented. I guess I never considered that it would be better to direct the commenting people back here.

    As Tim Berners-Lee would say, Facebook is a fragmenting force. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/nov/22/tim-berners-lee-facebook

  20. BobbyCat December 15, 2010 at 8:46 am #

    Gentlemen, you can titter all you want but the question remains – why are blog comments disappearing? I offered some reasons and your response is mockery. Ok. The fact is, a small group of club members, perhaps a dozen men, are exchanging snark and adhominems amongst themselves. This kind of combative, mocking, clubby atmosphere drove off the females – half of your prospective readers – and most men. What you have left is a small fight club with old scores to settle. This same high school snark & insult festival killed the Buffalo News blog section. You can mock my suggestions if it makes you feel better. (It’s totally in keeping with the site) That’s fine. I’m a big guy. But what you need is a wider spectrum of subjects, better writing and far less insults.

  21. BobbyCat December 15, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    Ok, I broke down and googled “BRO” – an “obnoxious male, partying, frat member”. But it doesn’t fit into the context of the comments.

    If readers don’t understand your conversations, that’s the reason they aren’t commenting.

    • Alan Bedenko December 15, 2010 at 10:48 am #

      BobbyCat:

      This may come across as bitchy, but please know I do not intend it to be so.

      When you post comments lamenting the cryptic-to-you language being used by either the blog post author or the commenter, it’s silly. I’ve been writing this blog for over 7 years, and you are literally the first person ever to complain to me about acronyms or internet memes or the way in which headlines are formulated.

      Let’s take my “Le comte, c’est lui” headline for example. You claimed in a comment to have been perplexed by it. Fair enough. But anyone with even a passing knowledge of European history knows that the Sun King, Louis XIV, is reputed to have uttered the phrase “l’etat, c’est moi” to describe his ultimate authority over France at the time. Since part of my post involved casting Chris Collins as a dictatorial sort of guy – a person who is very accustomed to being the sole voice of authority in his business life, and is trying to parlay that into government – I decided to play on Louis’ “I am the state” by translating “He is the county” into French. The words are similar enough that most people probably got the reference to 18th century French royalty, and since English has enough of a French base thanks to the Norman hordes, “comte” sounds a lot like “county” because that’s the Latin-based etymology of that particular English word.

      Most people probably got the reference. If they didn’t, they didn’t. If they did, they got the joke. Either way, I’m not a professional headline writer, so I do the best that I can. Oftentimes my posts touch on several different topics, and it’s genuinely difficult to come up with a headline that’s descriptive or funny or whatever. It’s not made any easier when the first comment out of the box is, “I don’t get it.”

      Buffalo Rising Online is what we here typically reduce to “BRO” because “BRO” is easier and quicker to type than “Buffalo Rising Online”. You could have simply asked what “BRO” stands for, but instead you launched into one of your complaints about acronyms being difficult to decipher and how we’re just all trying to be “cool” by using abbreviations for things. If you can’t figure it out, ask. If you have to ask, just ask and forego the lecture about how cryptic we all are.

      When you hounded me about hashtags in titles because you didn’t understand them, I stopped using them. When you hounded me about using abbreviations in posts without first explaining what they stand for, I became conscious and aware of that and tried to do what you asked. But seriously, I can’t keep altering my style of writing every time you don’t get something. I write, after all, not for you but for me. I developed an audience because of the way in which I write about things that people want to read. It’s been pretty well-received, and people tend to like it. I know I can be difficult and argumentative at times, but that’s the nature of the internet.

      So, BobbyCat – my email is alan[at]wnymedia.net. (Please note that you should replace [at] with the @ symbol – I did that to minimize spam from internet robots (bots) that harvest email addresses). Any time you want to ask me what a certain acronym, abbreviation, word, or phrase means in one of my posts, please feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to explain it.

      Because the pattern of (1) write post; (2) BobbyCat is confused; (3) BobbyCat reveals his confused frustration through generally the very first comment to a story; (4) BobbyCat is mocked; (5) BobbyCat gets defensive and raises the issue of the Buffalo News blog comments for the umpteenth time – that pattern is becoming a mini internet meme all its own.

      And frankly, comments that merely complain about the way in which a post is titled, for instance, are barely on-topic.

      Deal ?

      Thanks,

      BP

      As to the topic at hand about the use of Facebook Connect or similar, I think some sort of plugin that permits threaded comments with replies and requires people to register with the site is good enough. Anonymity would chill some of the best and most informative comments we get. We just need to keep on the spam and the trolls, and we’ll be cool.

  22. Marc Odien December 15, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    BRO or BR is the hipster doofus way of describing Buffalo RIsing.  If by good chance you don’t know what a hipster doofus is, http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hipster%20doofus

    Maybe you should bookmark that site… it may come in handy again

  23. BobbyCat December 15, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    @Marc Odien. Thanks for the explanation, even if its a little heavy on attitude. I know what ‘doofus’ means, of course, but I haven’t heard the word “hipster” used since the 60ies. Very retro. And I never heard them used together. I just learned that the phrase comes from a Seinfeld script – a series which I loved, but not so much as to be a Seinfeld groupie. I have seen Buffalo Rising only once or twice . I would bet the farm that 98% of Buffalonians could not tell you what “BR” or “BRO” means. I know you laugh when someone doesn’t understand the latest jargon, but I suggest that maybe your writing is too hip for the room. If you want more readers you need to be inclusive, more welcoming, not exclusive. Otherwise WNYMedia will remain a small club with members commenting on the other’s work.

  24. Marc Odien December 15, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    I actually think its hilarious bobbycat…  no attitude here. In fact,  I actually agree with you in some respects…

  25. BobbyCat December 15, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    @Alan

    I didn’t invent the rules of usage, I learned them along the way with millions of others students of writing. Pick up a style manual, Alan, the kind that sits on the desk of any writer and follow it. I make my share of writing errors, but unlike you, I don’t get defensive about it. I make an attempt to correct them and become a better writer. (BTW, I have done my share of ghost writing for a number of lawyers, who are astonished to discover that they can write law, but not English)

    The initial question was: Why aren’t more people commenting. My answer was: perhaps others (like me) can’t follow the conversation because the writing is often confusing, foggy, etc.. You can solve that problem with clearer writing.

    The other problem has to do with a handful of right wingers trying to sabotage left wing blogs using the tried and true “Rules For Radicals” penned by Saul Alinsky. But I have no time to go into that.

    • Alan Bedenko December 15, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

      BobbyCat – this is a blog. Not the newspaper. I don’t use the style manuals because it’s my blog that I do not write for an editor, not for a paying audience. By the same token, the audience here is not a judge or an appellate panel. It would ridiculous to write a post the way I write for court, just as it would be ridiculous to write a post according to the very strict rules of usage employed by newspapers.

      Furthermore, your condescension about “writing errors” – what errors? I’m hyper-careful about spelling and grammar. A few mistakes slip through, but I triple-check that stuff. Just because you don’t speak French doesn’t make it an error.

      I don’t get all concerned about how many people comment, anyhow. If people comment, great. If not, great.

  26. Jon Splett December 15, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    @BobbyCat- What you consider ‘unclear and confusing’, the rest of us consider accepted modern style. I’ve got a degree in journalism. I’m quite familiar with AP Style. It may be bible as far as newspapers are concerned but this isn’t a newspaper, it’s a blog. It’s an evolving media with a different tone and different standard. While you may love a formulaic nutgraph, I can’t stand it. It’s boring, outdated and predictable. One of the main reasons I love blogs as a format is the lack of standards. People write like they talk and creativity flourishes.

    If you’re really that confused about a few acronyms and nerd jargon, maybe you need to ask yourself, ‘Am I the target demographic?’

    A newspaper is written on an extremely low level because it’s meant to appeal to a very broad audience. WNYMedia isn’t. It’s written to appeal to an internet audience and based on how it’s grown over the last few years, I’d say it’s found that audience. If I pick up a copy of Guns and Ammo, chances are it’s going to be full of references to things I have no idea what are because I’m not a gun nut. I’m not about to go write a letter to the editor insisting they dumb down references that are common to their readership just because I don’t understand them, I’m going to make the effort to look them up for myself.

    Remember when you were in school and you came across a word you didn’t know? The teacher told you to look it up, not complain about how the book you were reading needed to be more clear.

  27. BobbyCat December 15, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    @Jon. I’m not a stickler for usage. The test is, do the readers understand you? If they do, fine. I’m saying that many readers don’t understand what is being written here. They won’t stick around to ask questions or complain, they just disappear. You claim that most people understand the lingo just fine; I say they don’t. I say that most people don’t know what “BRO” means, Most don’t know obscure Seinfeld references. And most people don’t know:

    “Since part of my post involved casting Chris Collins… I decided to play on Louis’ “I am the state” by translating “He is the county” into French. The words are similar enough that most people probably got the reference to 18th century French royalty, and since English has enough of a French base thanks to the Norman hordes, “comte” sounds a lot like “county” because that’s the Latin-based etymology of that particular English word.”

    Say what? Are you f’ing kidding me? Maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m not your target demographic. But if and when you find them, tell them I said, “Hey!”.
    Meanwhile, I’ll stick to stuff I can understand. I hope you find your audience.

    To repeat, most people in this area have no idea that “Bro” means Buffalo Rising, and probably don’t know what it is.

    • Alan Bedenko December 15, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

      Seinfeld is one of the most well-known, best-loved sitcoms the genre has ever known. It’s not our fault you never heard of Festivus.

      Also, if you’ve never heard of “l’etat c’est moi”, then no, you probably wouldn’t be my target audience.

  28. Pauldub December 15, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    Guess I’m out of your target audience then. Not much for Bourbon. More of a Scotch man meself.

    • Christopher Smith December 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

      Maybe this roundhouse beatdown of BobbyCat is what Jon was referring to earlier when he said our asshole quotient has gone up a bit.

  29. Leo Wilson December 15, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    @Chris – you got to the heart of it. I usually don’t agree with BobbyCat, but I don’t see that anyone needs to be treated with such contempt. Maybe especially a regular contributor who, usually, leans towards the same goals as those who have taken him to task.

    Good for you. I’ll buy you a drink tonight.

  30. BobbyCat December 15, 2010 at 3:14 pm #

    @Chris Smith.
    I didn’t feel any ‘beat down’. It was more a circling of wagons to defend the status quo and fully expected. The majority always defends itself against anyone who has the audacity to suggest change/s. I run into it all the time. Buffalo and its denizens hates changes. Look anywhere. Everywhere. When I was newly published writer, I thought that I knew all the rules, all the tricks. But like lots of youngsters, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. But fortunately I wasn’t blinded by pride. I learned some new things and still do, everyday. Every time I write something I look back on it, after a bit, and count my mistakes, then try to do better the next time. Some of us grow, some don’t.

    Don’t worry about me. Almost nothing bothers me, except perhaps if you point a gun at me… then you have my full attention. lol

    • Alan Bedenko December 15, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

      Oh, for fuck’s sake.

      I couldn’t have been more solicitous of BobbyCat’s concerns – not just here in this thread, but in others as well. Ethan once chided me for being an asshole to BobbyCat, so I’ve tried to tone it down.

      But when I go to great lengths to calmly counter the complaints, and all I get back is essentially, “who the hell is Louis XIV”, I’ve really run entirely out of patience, you know? It has noting to do with “circling wagons” or “defending a status quo” or “hating change” or “blinded by pride” or as-yet-unshown “mistakes”. Seriously, BobbyCat gives as good as he gets – he’s just more subtle. So, all done pity party and being concerned about things that no one needs to be concerned about.

  31. BobbyCat December 15, 2010 at 4:21 pm #

    @Alan.

    If you need to explain your writing then perhaps your writing could be clearer. I’m not trying to “give as good as I get”.This is not an attack. But I understand the legal mindset. Everything is an attack that must be parried and countered. It might be hard for you to believe but I mean it: maybe your writing could be clearer, simpler, better, less antagonistic, more generous, even. That applies to all who write here, not just you. It’s your blog and you can write as you please, but Louis XIV references? In Buffalo? Maybe I’m just a blue collar guy, but in a blue collar town, I’d stick wit English. Simple Engish, at that.

    There is a reason that you don’t have more comments. Why is it the same dozen or so guys commenting, day in and day out. And where are the ladies? Intimidated, I’d say. There are a category of creeps online who prey on females with insidious, sometimes perverted remarks or innuendo. Women are very attuned to these creeps. Men, not so much. I don’t see that problem here, but then there are almost no women commenting.

    Chris Smith asked if comments are dead and I ventured an answer, in short: better writing and less snark would help, in my veeeery humble opinion. The BufNews has hundreds of regular commentors on its blog before it died. I’d be concerned, too.

  32. Marc Odien December 15, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    Anyone else find it ironic that a post titled “Comments are Dead” has generated 40 comments #justsayin

  33. Sean C. December 16, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

    In my opinion some acronyms kill the flow for a reader. Dailies and print articles take this into consideration more so than most bloggers. I haven’t found that to be true on WNYmedia.  

  34. Tony Fracasso December 19, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    “When we started this website back in 2004, WNYMedia.net was pretty much the only online outlet for people to comment on and discuss the local news of the day. ”

    Really Chris?

    It’s funny you say that. We started speakupwny in May 2003. Mark should know because he was posting on it as watchdog. He posted because speakupwny was pretty much the only online outlet for people to comment on and discuss the local news of the day.

    Here is one of his first post on September 14th, 2003

    http://www.speakupwny.com/forums/showthread.php?t=541

    “Over the ensuing years, the “news and opinion” audience fragmented into various niche websites because, well, that’s what happens on the Internet. Buffalo Rising, Buffalo Spree, SpeakUpWNY, Artvoice, BlockClub and dozens of individual blogs started to build their own communities. Through it all, our traffic numbers grew. As the old saying goes; “A rising tide raises all boats”.

    I wouldn’t have said anything but saw you listed speakup in your list. What tide are you referring to chris?

  35. Christopher Smith December 19, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    Yours is an Internet forum filled with (mostly) morons and trolls.  You do no original reporting and only provide a similar version of our comments section.  So, I added you as a place where people hang out to shoot the shit. SpeakUp is not a media outlet that actually goes out to cover news and events.  You’re the online bowling alley bar of Buffalo. Have a great day.

  36. Tony Fracasso December 19, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    Seeing we are morons…I’ll type so you can understand it..

    “Wheeeeeeen weeeeeeee staaaaaaaaaarted thiiiiiiis weeeeeeeebsite baaaaaaaaaack in 2004, WNYMedia.net waaaaaaaaas preeeeeeeetty muuuuuuuuuch theeeeeeeeeee oooooooonly onliiiiiiiiine oooooooooutlet for peeeeeeople to coooooomment on and diiiiscuss the loooooocal neeeeeeeews of the daaaaaay. ”

    “Only online outlet for people to comment on and discuss the local news of the day”…

    That is exactly what the message board was focused on and created for.

  37. Tony Fracasso December 19, 2010 at 4:28 pm #

    So how many unique visitors does you site really have? You brag about all your readers and how the site has grown. Well show us.. We were just over 32,000 unique IP visitors last month. I’ll make our stats public if you make your’s public. Let’s do it and show the other media outlets what we have cooking here.

  38. Tony Fracasso December 19, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    Which one of you guys was Superfly?

    It was about the time “When we started this website back in 2004, WNYMedia.net was pretty much the only online outlet for people to comment on and discuss the local news of the day.”

    November 29th, 2004, 09:30 PM

    http://www.speakupwny.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1885

    “pretty much the only online outlet for people to comment on and discuss the local news of the day.”

    I’m just calling you out on your bullshit.

  39. Phil December 19, 2010 at 5:59 pm #

    I trolled here from a different link. I never come here I go to WGRZ, WIVB.com. Those are NEWS sites. You guys are spinning your wheels here.
    You not the King of WNY Media..

    So you so happened to get a copy of Paladino’s email.. I guess that is your claim to fame.

    • Marc Odien December 20, 2010 at 11:00 am #

      Ok phil, pete, chuck, soldierboy whatever your troll name of the day is today. Fuck off.

  40. nogods December 19, 2010 at 7:01 pm #

    Christopher Smith doesn’t leave much of a positive impression calling people “morons and trolls.” who participate in another (apparently competing) means of internet communication.

    Chris, grow up.  “Morons” and “troll” are words for adolescents who aren’t mature enough to ignore something they read but don’t like, or aren’t intelligent enough to formulate a rationale response.

    • Christopher Smith December 20, 2010 at 12:42 am #

      @nogods, I said “mostly”, so there’s that. Have you read that forum? It’s horrible and I’m allowed to have an opinion. Don’t like it? Feel free to go somewhere else.

  41. Tony Fracasso December 19, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    So Chris, who were the other politicians that were involved in the Carl email issue? Seeing You three guys had a boner for Carl and even had one of you dress up as a horse, who are the other politicians? You guys made the statement and now I want to call you out on it.

  42. Tony Fracasso December 19, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

    So Alan? Would make your stats public? I will. You all boast about your readership… Well lets see.

    • Alan Bedenko December 20, 2010 at 5:59 am #

      I don’t have access to our stats, or mine, so why are you bothering me about it? As far as the “politicians involved in the Carl email issue”, why would I expose people who merely received Carl’s emails? I did expose David DiPietro, but only because he’s a unique case in his hypocrisy over asking Carl to take him off his email list. As far as the city employees who sent this shit from city computers, I chose not to expose their names because they’re secondary issues to the underlying point of the article – that a gubernatorial candidate has questionable opinions on race and gender. You’re welcome to pull together a FOIL request and send it to the city of Buffalo and lodge a complaint. For what it’s worth, none of them were elected officials. It was sent March 5, 2009 at 1:58 PM. You can’t get more specific than that in terms of making the request.

      I know you want to make the point that our decision to expose these emails was a dirty Democratic plot to destroy the man, but I think it’s pretty clear from the way in which he and his campaign comported themselves from about a week after the primary until election day that the emails were the tip of a really creepy, belligerent, neanderthal, misogynist, bigoted iceberg.

      As soon as another politicial figure running for election does something similar, and it falls in our laps, we’ll be sure to expose that, too.

    • Marc Odien December 20, 2010 at 11:02 am #

      And you too you big dummy. get over it already you fucking loser! Take your 32k uniques and shove em up your ass. I wouldn’t share a pen with you let alone tell you what our numbers are But I will tell you we beat you by over 100% Now, crawl back in your hole and GO. THE. FUCK. AWAY.

  43. lulu December 20, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    see comments 41-53 for some idea why you have lost people who want to join the conversation.

    • Christopher Smith December 20, 2010 at 10:50 am #

      Well, we don’t want people from SpeakUp joining the conversation. Generally, they serve only as a distraction and bring their bullshit fights from their website to this one. No thanks.

  44. lulu December 20, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

    You may not want some of the readers you have here, but this example is too good. This is no longer a constructive conversation about commenting for me to add a comment and as a sporadic commenter I do not feel it is my job to bring the thread back on topic nor do I wish to engage in the insults being traded. Checking back on constructive threads is also a way to keep the conversation going, and to check back once a thread has taken this turn will only make me have to weed through the back and forth insults to find a comment about commenting and the lack there of – something that, frankly is often not worth the time on other posts.

    I also posted (or tried to) at comment #39 a few days back and it never made it through moderation. I was responding the the claims that the women are all gone, and while I don’t speak for all women, I find the tone to be less welcoming than it used to be, especially for someone, like myself, with middle of the road political and social leanings. While I would often like to add my two cents, I don’t want to waste my time and energy defending my views, so I simply don’t comment.

    Thanks, though, for recognizing this trend and soliciting feedback. Cheers.

  45. Tony Fracasso December 20, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    Christopher Smith wrote:

    Every few weeks, Tony gets a bug up his ass and comes over to bother us, he even brings along a few dummies. It’s fun, looking forward to your next visit in 2011.

    No Chris, you made a fib and I called you out on it.

  46. Tony Fracasso December 20, 2010 at 8:24 pm #

    Marc Odien wrote:

    And you too you big dummy. get over it already you fucking loser! Take your 32k uniques and shove em up your ass. I wouldn’t share a pen with you let alone tell you what our numbers are But I will tell you we beat you by over 100% Now, crawl back in your hole and GO. THE. FUCK. AWAY.

    illuzi used to fluff his stats to yet never showed anyone. 🙂

    Why the hostility?

    • Marc Odien December 21, 2010 at 1:40 am #

      You know why Tony?

      Because you come here every couple of weeks like some petulant child with some illogical reasons why we should share some useless information, like we owe you something. Either you are a dummy, or just trying to dumb up some controversy that you think might draw people back to your silly little message board, all the while adding absolutely nothing to any conversation here.
      Because you own a local website you think you’re automatically on the same playing field with us. You aren’t even in the same league, sir.

      We don’t owe you anything nor are we under any obligation to share anything with you of all people. Now go back and talk to your 105 active users and leave the important stuff for the big boys to discuss.

      Merry freakin Christmas!

      PS but I’m totally down for a bowl-off!! We got Pauldub!! 🙂

  47. Tony Fracasso December 20, 2010 at 8:29 pm #

    Christopher Smith wrote:

    Well, we don’t want people from SpeakUp joining the conversation. Generally, they serve only as a distraction and bring their bullshit fights from their website to this one. No thanks.
    ———————–

    I corrected your lie and then you have a little hissy fit. Referring to posters on speakup and morons and trolls. Even referred to speakup as being a bowling alley. Lot of people bowl.

    We should challenge you to something..

    Hmmmmmmmmm… So Chris.. got balls? We should challenge you to bowling. Or is that beneath you three?

  48. Chris Charvella December 20, 2010 at 11:42 pm #

    I’m relatively new here, but I’ve been following this site for a few years. Until Mr. Fracasso showed up here, I had honestly never heard of speakupwny.com and I’m a damned aggressive consumer of news at all levels.

    Out of sheer curiosity I had a gander at the speakupwny website and immediately noticed that the last time a story was posted was a week ago. I’d challenge these guys to a bowl-off as suggested, but I’m afraid they might not show up until April.

  49. Chris Charvella December 21, 2010 at 12:28 am #

    @Tony Fracasso

    Just got back from perusing your forums…I took a shower and an emetic, then I posted this comment.

  50. lulu December 21, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    OK – by way of proving my point in post 58, I have come back to this thread to see if the conversation somehow got back on track since my last comment. It hasn’t. This makes me feel like the time I spent commenting was not time well spent and will likely give me pause when contemplating commenting on another story in the future. When the intelligent/non-aggressive people in the conversation only respond to the negative, the thread quickly turns. Whatever happened to “don’t feed the troll?” Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

  51. Anthony Fracasso December 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

    Marc,

    “I reported on a fib that was told”. 😉 Better now.

    Or do I need to rent a horse costume to be in your league?

    Speakup was one of the very first outlets for people to comment and discuss the local news of the day. You were commenting almost a year before you decided to start buffaloblog, then afterwards wnymedia.net.

    Have a nice Christmas.

    I’ll get back to you on the bowling in a minute.

  52. Anthony Fracasso December 21, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

    lulu?

    What is your opinion on Marc’s comment below? Would you comment if you knew Marc would respond like this?

    “Marc Odien wrote:

    And you too you big dummy. get over it already you fucking loser! Take your 32k uniques and shove em up your ass. I wouldn’t share a pen with you let alone tell you what our numbers are But I will tell you we beat you by over 100% Now, crawl back in your hole and GO. THE. FUCK. AWAY.”

    • Marc Odien December 21, 2010 at 10:38 pm #

      For the record, buffalo blog started in late 2002 and I joined your site in june of 2003. And I wouldn’t leave a comment like that about anyone but you and Im sorry if I offended lulu

  53. Anthony Fracasso December 23, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    “When we started this website back in 2004, WNYMedia.net was pretty much the only online outlet for people to comment on and discuss the local news of the day. The TV stations pretty much ignored the web and The Buffalo News updated once each morning and ignored the potential for an online community. So, we stepped in and took advantage of the market opportunity.”

    Marc, If you and crew want to consider yourselves a reporting media outlet get your facts straight.

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