Suggestion Box

I wanted this post to be a collaborative effort involving the other main authors, a pooling of ideas if you will in an attempt to resuscitate a dying blog, but was unsuccessful in reaching out, so everything that follows is of my own doing (thus offering plausible deniability for the others).

Although the writing was clearly on the wall, Section8 ‘s comment a few days ago put a face on it (figuratively), and identified the obvious, namely that what was once a great thriving vibrant blog, as turned dull and barren. Although I understand the sentiment of the comment, he is wrong when he says ,” Conservative interest left this place a long time ago”. We, OK, I continue the fight when I feel so inspired to post here, which I admit has become less and less urgent. I also don’t think it is time to bail, although I get that sentiment as well, it is hard watching the patient wither away with only a feeding tube and heart monitor to keep him company.

Part of the problem, as I see it, is the way the blog is being administered. It has very basic structural deficiencies which makes it cumbersome for the users. All the author tools we had before for comments (hyperlinks, quotes, bolding, italics, and the all important EDIT button) disappeared. The PM (private messaging) service is bollocks, a useful tool for contacting members individually and something that I used regularly, now broken and unusable. The CONTACT button is also useless, said comment getting lost in cyberspace.

Part of the problem, is the paucity of contributing authors and comment worthy posts. A post a day, sometimes less, hardly promotes the type of traffic successful blogs get. I admit that in this area I am part of the problem, often finding post worthy topics but end with ,”Why bother?”, and go on to something else.

Part of the problem is the practices exhibited at times that drives regulars to leave. Although some could say that the ease at which they capitulate and flee says more about them and their convictions of argument, I would prefer that all would feel welcome, that pejoratives like “idiot” and “moron” be used less often, and more effort be made understanding the comment and not the motives behind it. Several of our old regulars, guys like Thrill, Mook, Blameme, Salinger, Kimpost (although given the state of Sweden nowadays I figured he just converted and spends all his free time praying to Allah) they have moved on, pity.

The other day I went to my local library, and attempted to register on the site as a new user. The last step involved the site emailing a password so I could log in and post comments, guess what? No email. This tells me that if somebody new stumbles on our site, likes what we offer and wants to become a regular, he can’t do it, no new members allowed, more evidence of a broken blog.

OK, here’s the deal, assuming it is even possible to fix these things, to make a more user friendly site and allow new members to join (maybe Hal has admin tools or someone knows a guy who knows a guy, etc.,etc.) what do you guys think we can do to up the traffic? Are there any suggestions coming to mind as to either content or individual postings? Do we need more authors? What could we be doing that we are not doing now?

I am coming at this from a frame of mind that I care about this blog (having been around since pretty much day one) and am tired of it getting sand kicked in its face. Maybe the handful of regulars are happy with the status quo and don’t welcome change. If that is the case, we can that it, we can do nothing and limp along. Some blogs exist out there with no readership, just some mope writing stuff to write. We are not far from that.

Any ideas?

Comments are closed.

  1. Ed Kline

    More than anything you listed, the blog needs new members. If people try to register and cannot, everything else doesn’t matter. That needs to be fixed. Also, if there is a list of all previous-current members with e-mail addresses, inviting them back to take a look, through a form email might work a bit. Maybe with a daily best of Lee segment as bait.
    The life blood of this blog was debate, and I don’t see much of that anymore. If you post something, and someone takes exception to it, you have to participate in the debate not just call them collectivist scum and move on. I know it seems like I have it out for Alex, but as an example, he posted something about 3 democratic congressmen trying to cover their asses. I went into great detail as to why I thought that was not an accurate interpretation, and got nothing back. That’s fine, because maybe I need to be around making constructive arguments for more than one day before I get responses, but often times the only response from him as the author is ‘you’re a liberal douche’. That isn’t debate. Having Alex or Hal or you post something, and then the first comment is someone saying ‘cue CM to crawl out of his troll-hole’ or words to that effect, make the blog worse. We need CM, I mean we really need him, and 10 others like him. Just my two cents.
    Let me no if there is anything you specifically want me to do to help. This was the first blog I ever really participated in, and I’d love to see a renaissance.

    Thumb up 7

  2. Hal_10000

    These are the sort of posts that go up right before a blog dies. :(

    Part of this is on me. I have been posting a lot less since I’ve had other things occupying me (new kid, spacecraft proposal, etc.). I also am finding politics kind of dull at the moment. I mean, how many times can I write about Obama’s crappy foreign policy and economic policy? There’s not a lot going on in Washington, the election is a while away and Clinton is staying out so that she can ride her current popularity as long as possible before exposing herself to attack.

    I do agree we’re having some problems with the site. If new people can’t register, that’s a big problem.

    Thumb up 3

  3. Iconoclast

    If the software can be repaired, might I suggest disabling the hiding of comments after +7 down votes? Or dispense with the voting feature entirely? Having one’s comments hidden due to unpopularity (of either the expressed opinion or the author) could discourage participation.

    Thumb up 6

  4. Xetrov

    Need to fix the technical issues, definitely. Without new blood, it eventually dies from blood loss regardless of anything else. And since there are so many technical issues at the moment, anyone who does find this place isn’t likely to stick around long enough to try to fight through all of the headaches to actually leave a comment.

    I think something that would help would be additional writers. Rich, Hal, Alex, and Thrill (when he posts) are all great in their respects. But scroll back through the last 10 pages of articles. The articles and the subjects have become repetitive, almost predictable. And as Hal alluded to, real life gets in the way (and it should). When you have a limited number of contributors, that limits the quantity and quality of articles to discuss. And since this is primarily a political blog, when not much is going on in politics, it suffers – we should discuss other stuff other than how big of an idiot Obama is.

    Another thing I would personally like to see is a discussion forum – I enjoyed the forums of Moorewatch much more than I ever did the front page articles. I like posting about topics that interest me, not just comment on things that interest the main page contributors.

    Personally, I think the largest issue is site ownership/administration. No disrespect to Jim as he has been doing this a long time and has earned a respite. But if a site owner has moved on, which he pretty much has, the blog suffers in every aspect. It’s what happened to MooreWatch before he finally killed that off. If someone isn’t passionately driving the content of the blog, recruiting new writers, participating in discussions, and actively administrating it, there’s no direction. It wanders aimlessly until it just…stops. I don’t know of a way to fix that short of everyone moving somewhere else, or Jim suddenly getting a passion for blogging again, or turning over the reigns to someone else.

    Thumb up 4

  5. Thrill

    Hey, Rich can you check your moderation queue for this post? I wrote a comment and it isn’t showing up here in the thread. Thanks!

    I’d send you a PM, but that shit isn’t working either…

    Thumb up 1

  6. Seattle Outcast

    New topic posts are rare – stuff happens on the world stage that would have expected to see talked about here, and several days might go by before it gets mentioned. People have already vented elsewhere, so the discussion dies almost immediately.

    That and I’d boot CM on general principle – he’s not arguing in good faith, he’s just a lecture troll that refuses to admit error and lies as needed in order to never “be wrong”

    Hot! Thumb up 3

  7. richtaylor365 *

    Thrill, I went to the “edit post” section, then to “comments” and “approved your comment” (never had to do that before), not sure what else I need to do.

    I did find out something, in the “comments” section it lists the email address for all those that post a comment, this will be helpful. I will shoot you an email.

    Thumb up 0

  8. richtaylor365 *

    might I suggest disabling the hiding of comments after +7 down votes? Or dispense with the voting feature entirely? Having one’s comments hidden due to unpopularity (of either the expressed opinion or the author) could discourage participation.

    Absolutely, we need to get rid of that. But I would keep the thumb voting in general.

    I like posting about topics that interest me, not just comment on things that interest the main page contributors.

    And that is why if anything is fixed around here, you should be a contributing author. But until then (and I have made this suggestion to Ed), if there is something going on that ANYONE wants to kick around, shoot me an email and I will throw something up immediately so it can be discussed in a timely manner. I agree with the “forums” problem, I didn’t mention in in my post because I was not a participant, but I can see where it would be beneficial.

    This blog has to change, it has to be maintained and whoever is at the switch (I don’t think anyone is really paying attention) needs to get back and tune this sucker up.

    I hinted around at it before but no bites, so I will come right out with it. Hal, do you have admin tools at your disposal? Alex, how about you? And Alex, I thought you and JimK were close geographically and in touch. Obviously we don;t need to know the particulars, but can’t you find out what we can do to fix this site, especially getting new authors on board and the ability to register new members? I know you guys give a damn about what goes on here, we need to do something.

    Thumb up 2

  9. Fangbeer

    I suggest blogging in general is a dying art form that has been surpassed by newer social media technologies. Heck, I haven’t heard the name Matt Drudge in months, and I just heard a report recently that Andrew Sullivan is closing his electronic doors.

    I read very few blogs these days. Those I do read are integrated with Facebook and twitter. (Powerlineblog) as an example. A successful blog has to sit at the nexus of a bunch of other information distribution systems. It has to be intelligent. And it has to deliver content that is unique. I’m sure these realities have the effect of creating mega blogs, and crowding out bloggers that aren’t able to be as reactive to exactly what’s going on in social media right this second.

    I still frequent a message board
    I still get the majority of my news updates from the internet
    I still seek debate in a sea of different opinions.

    I can go 1 place and do that now, instead of many places.

    Thumb up 2

  10. Thrill

    Attempting to post my comment one more time…

    The old VO blog that Rich, MW, dwex, and I used to run died off in a similar way to how this one is now. At the time, we all got busy in real life but there were other problems. We weren’t adding new members, weren’t getting the traffic we wanted, and (MW and I, at least) were becoming aware of the fact that Golden Age of Blogging had already passed. The only big blogs left who could be considered successful are also making money at it or are politically connected with one side or another. They thrive because they sell the same old shit to the same old programmed ____-wing audience day after fucking day.

    For better or for worse, we at RTFLC have always just been primarily a bunch of mildly antisocial libertarian-leaning vulgarians who like to explore the issues with an independent mindset and some black humor. Sadly, there are fewer of us each year.

    In 2010-ish, I had hoped to integrate the VO more with social media outlets like Twitter and FB but the co-bloggers shot me down on it. It seemed to me that this was the direction the Internet readership was going. When I started authoring here at RTFLC, I linked it up with my Twitter so that every post was Tweeted to my followers (now I know why none of them ever became members–they couldn’t). We STILL don’t really have that sort of integration here in 2015. Readers can’t share posts on FB, Twitter, etc conveniently because we don’t have any sharing buttons like Hot Air and other successful sites do.

    I agree with Ed on everything regarding the need for more members and especially ideologically diverse ones. I finally stopped regular posting because participation fell off. Whenever I post something, it’s a come on line that says, “Hey, let’s fuck, but with an exchange of ideas instead of bodily fluids!” If nobody’s interested, I go elsewhere.

    And I’ll also mention that I’ve had a few–yes, more than two–of the more liberal members we used to have tell me directly that they quit participating here because one of the authors is simply too dogmatic, too vicious, and too repetitive for their liking. You might say, “Good, fuck those liberal twats.” But the effect has been to do nothing except to kill the debate that used to make this such an exciting site. I’m not calling anyone out or recommending a change in authorship, but those commenters left because they got sick of reading the same Glenn Beck-inspired posts day after day, being shouted down, and having their comments hidden even when they did go to the trouble of speaking up. Frankly, I think that the upvote/downvote system needs to go away. Either man up and comment, lurk, or get the fuck out of here.

    Also, I absolutely hate not being able to put pictures in comments, add hyperlinks, or use blockquotes without having to screw with manually inputting the tags. Ain’t nobody got time for that. On the rare occasion a debate does get going, it’s so clunky to work with the comments that I’m likely to give up. Somehow, this blog is even less technologically advanced in 2015 than it was in 2005 and far less so than any other blog I read now.

    The best way to boost traffic is to take our writing to where the smart readers are (alert: it isn’t rusty old blogs that lack basic formatting and sharing functions) and bring in new blood to participate from all sides of the spectrum. I love this site and will until the day it ends. If it can be saved, I want to help but I’m not willing to do much unless there are some changes*.

    *For instance, I wanted to italicize “much” in the last sentence but didn’t feel like dicking around with the tags.

    Thumb up 5

  11. Thrill

    Ah ha, I think I figured out why it wasn’t posting. Interesting.

    And I miss the music too, Santino. But there are fewer of us now than there were last year and writing for an ever-shrinking audience is incredibly depressing.

    Either we change or we all go find somewhere new to call each other douchebag assholes.

    Thumb up 5

  12. Seattle Outcast

    When I first stumbled upon this site I stuck around because Lee wrote great posts – they grabbed my imagination and often forced a look at something familiar from viewpoint I hadn’t considered, or captured it in a way that I could understand but nobody else had put together.

    And did he have a way with words – you felt like he was right there in the room with you telling you stuff (but with a grasp on detail that was astounding) so vividly you could see it. When something was so stupid that made him outraged he still managed to convey it so that you were not only outraged as well, but thinking about it in rational terms.

    That sort of loving care to a blog takes time & devotion.

    Thumb up 2

  13. Thrill

    What fangbeer said is exactly what I want in online content too. The guy must work in marketing or he really should because he summed up the current situation so well.

    Thumb up 1

  14. Xetrov

    I’m actually not fond of all of the Facebook integration that is the rage these days. Commenting on something I agree or disagree with gets lost in the thousands of lowest common denominator posts from people that use Facebook for an excuse to never bathe or leave their parents house.

    Thumb up 4

  15. Poosh

    I don’t think debate was ever the reason to come to this blog, but rather the strength of the authors, mainly Lee, and his perceptions. The blog turned to shit the moment Andrew Sullivan linked to this website and, well, that’s all history, and a sad state of affairs …you can pinpoint the moment this blog was f*cked though.

    I’ve noted a number of trolls hanging around, traffic is traffic I guess, but note there’s a difference between intellectual discussion and what people like CM do. CM was entirely different to, for example, Kimpost. CM is a troll and a lunatic, Kimpost was just a guy trying to get along in the universe: another of the MAIN lures of this blog was the quality of the conservative commentators, it used to be a nexus of information and good links, articles etc, now it’s just say CM coming along and trolling, and someone getting angry at his stupidity.

    Thirdly, where is Jim !?

    Forthly, Facebook seems to be a clear mechanism for propaganda, my new feed is usually leftist propaganda and I cannot avoid it: it’s something people should worry about – but yes, FACEBOOK seems to be a good place to defo get your posts notes – many other blogs do this, they set up a page and then post a link to the blog each time.

    Fifth, find some new (right wing) authors… specifically Drumwaster. Find that guy… wherever he is.

    Six … the War on Terror, the war against Islamic Imperialism was always the main drive to this blog. Lee taught me, personally, everything I know until the Sullivan shark jump. Maybe the sheer horror of the war, ISIL et all, is just too … horrific? It’s one thing people getting blown up on train, or the twin towers, it’s something quite different knowing hundreds are being beheaded on an industrial scale > perhaps the main draw to this blog is now *so* horrific there’s a disconnect now?

    Seven: did I mention Drumwaster?

    Thumb up 3

  16. Thrill

    Drumwaster? He shows up now and again in the comments on Ace of Spades blog. I don’t think I’ve communicated with him in 4 years, since a short time after he shut his blog down.

    Thumb up 0

  17. InsipiD

    I agree that the loss of the composition buttons was a problem, and I expected that it would be fixed within a couple of days at the time. There are an awful lot of things that go unaddressed, most recently the further terrorist killings in Copenhagen and the beheadings. My lack of time to answer, and inability to answer while at work have meant that I really liked the thumbs up/thumbs down being there.

    Thumb up 3

  18. richtaylor365 *

    Also Paratrooper

    That name sounds so familiar, yet I can’t remember anything about him. I have a vague notion that he had medical issues, but that’s it.

    One of the reasons I don’t think blogging is dead is because of the ease at which one’s written word can get disseminated world wide. That, and people like to be a part of a community. Sure, it helps to have intelligent regulars, we got that here, and more will join if they feel a connection with the community.

    I look at the blogs I visit regularly. They are making money through their ads posted, used to do that here.

    The one that I semi regularly post on is made up of right leaning folks (birds of a feather and all that) so I can identify with the sentiment behind most of the posts. What I don’t like about that blog (which we don’t have here, thankfully) is that most posts are stuff grabbed from other sites with little or no commentary. Here, time is put into each post with opinion presented. Although the blog in question has many regulars, 90% of the comments consist of ,”Effing liberals” ,”He is dumber than a box of Bidens”, or “Dirty hippies/socialist parasites”, nothing really thought provoking.

    Naturally all this assumes that this site can be fixed, but I think we can do better.

    Thumb up 3

  19. Hal_10000

    Six … the War on Terror, the war against Islamic Imperialism was always the main drive to this blog. Lee taught me, personally, everything I know until the Sullivan shark jump. Maybe the sheer horror of the war, ISIL et all, is just too … horrific? It’s one thing people getting blown up on train, or the twin towers, it’s something quite different knowing hundreds are being beheaded on an industrial scale > perhaps the main draw to this blog is now *so* horrific there’s a disconnect now?

    I’ve been working on a post on ISIL but keep struggling for something to say. Yeah, they’re horrible and I think a significant amount of the blame for their rise goes to Obama. But I’m not sure what we do about them short of another land war in asia. I do think we need some pushback against high mafti Obama trying to tell us what Islam is all about.

    Hmm. May have just found that hook.

    Rich, I was going to write a couple of post on things. Do you know if there’s way to make this post “sticky” so that it stays at the top of the page?

    Thumb up 2

  20. richtaylor365 *

    No, I am probably the least tech savvy guy here, but go ahead and post. This has been up for 24 hours, those so inclined to comment probably have already.

    I still have obtained no info, no help on fixing the site, very frustrating.

    Thumb up 3

  21. Xetrov

    Para, there’s a flash from the past. He was a brilliant contributor on MW prior to the crash of ’05. Miss that guy. DM was another one.

    Thumb up 3

  22. Seattle Outcast

    I remember Kimpost from e-Budo before that site died. He could be so contrary you just wanted to scream at him, but he backed his crap up with good arguments and data. It wasn’t that he was “wrong” it was that he approached the world from a different angle.

    Excellent example of how you can present the same data to different people and have them arrive at radically different conclusions.

    Thumb up 2

  23. ilovecress

    This is my perspective, so I guess listen if you want more clicks from people like me, and don’t if you don’t…basically I disagree with Poosh 

    What I love(d) about RTFTLC and Moorewatch before it was that it was like a long form discussion forum. When the lefty sites were saying “Republicans are all idiots because they believe XYZ” then this was the place where I found out the real point of view from the right. I might not agree with it, but at least I was arguing against a real point of view. Detailed explanations of positions on issues, and line by line rebuttals of that point of view.

    For me it absolutely was about the discussion. A place where people had to man up, back up their opinions and argue robustly about the big issues. Thunderdome and all that. The posts were long and well researched and posited a point of view or asked a question. Then we all fought it out in the comments and generally acted like well behaved degenerates. The insults were the flourish of a well researched post – not an offhand dismissal of an opinion based on an assumed motivation.

    Now it seems like the right wing version of every leftist blog out there – screaming into the ether that the other side is evil and that anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot. Those posts get two comments agreeing with it, and then we’re on to the next flavour of the same ice cream. Rinse repeat. Even Hal gets shouted down for not towing the party line.

    The biggest tag you’ve got on the site is ‘failure’.

    I always get asked why a non American left leaning Brit living in New Zealand hangs around a conservative blog – it’s because it wasn’t a conservative blog. It was a political discussion site populated by conservatives of varying degrees. If it’s an echo chamber you want – then your audience is always going to be limited to those people who think everything the exact same way as you.

    Yes, all those technical things need to be sorted asap, else you’ll not get any eyeballs in the first place. But a couple of writing suggestions…

    ##### Write posts to ask, not tell. Even if it’s “what do you think about this?”

    ##### Why not have open submissions. Anyone is able to write a post – just send it to Hal or Rich or someone and they get to decide whether or not to put it up. Get a diversity of opinion, but don’t get spammed.

    ##### Bring back the music/film/books posts. If you like I can pre write you, say, ten that you can keep in draft and post every Wednesday. Just something like ‘top five fight scenes involving robots’ – ‘Top five cover versions of country classics’ – that sort of thing.

    Thumb up 7

  24. HARLEY

    I really hope something can be worked out here. I do miss the wild and entertaining debates we use to have…. and JIM? any one heard from him, i tried to contact him a few months back and no reply…
    anymore i just dont know what to say,and if i do usually its a day or so later after the story gets posted.

    Thumb up 3

  25. Hal_10000

    I’m willing to resurrect the Friday Five threads. Those were always fun. One thing I’ve been toying with is the idea of having a little bit of a schedule — Friday Five, Wednesday music thread, Sunday deep thoughts — post that people would be to look forward to. Such posts can be scheduled well in advance so that they don’t get interrupted by life.

    Harley, I haven’t heard from Jim in a long time: on e-mail, Twitter or the blog.

    Thumb up 2

  26. Section8

    First off, I hope Jim is OK.

    Second, if this blog is going to grow, I hope it will be diverse in the form of more conservative commentary in addition to the writers already here (Rich, I hope you get time to post more). Those of us who are conservative leaning, we know we have various viewpoints even though the overall ideology is similar. I think Iconoclast would be a good addition if he wants the job, and maybe some of the old timers if they come back. I REALLY hope the focus will be to promote more conservative viewership, and more of a rallying point for conservative views, especially more small l libertarian and fiscal conservative views.

    As far as diversification and echo chambers, an echo chamber should not be a dirty phrase. If you tune into ESPN what do you expect to see? If you tune in to the Weather Channel what do you expect to see? You don’t expect to see Amish cabinet building. So for this to be an outlet for conservative viewpoints should not be something to be ashamed about, or considered a liability. I think Hal posts some great in depth posts with a lot of research behind it. That’s valuable in of itself whether some debate ensues or not. I just wish you wouldn’t fricken flip flop at crunch time, but that is just my opinion (which of course I’m sure most don’t agree with me anyhow) and still doesn’t take away from the info being posted for a particular thread.

    For comments, should other viewpoints be allowed in the comments? Sure. If it’s going to be a run in circles argument of “I know you are but what am I” that puts the thread into the drain that’s a different story. Also, if any of the left leaning people here want diversity in the main posts, I’m not so sure asking admins of a blog with the opposing viewpoint to do your bidding is really rooted in honesty. You might be better off asking the administrators of blogs that primarily share your ideology to open up to the other side. If that is what you are interested in.

    Third, as Poosh has pointed out, CM is not an asset to this blog. I think he was allowed to run amok for quite a while with his same tactics flooding every post. It’s not happening as much now since either people have left, or just don’t bother. I think that drove a lot of people away. I could be wrong, but that’s my take. We don’t need 10 more CMs. For those requesting that, I have yet to see some of you challenge the one CM that is already here, let alone 10 more.

    More non-political entertainment posts would be great. Hope to see a lot more of those, whether it’s the weekly off topic posts, or just some random crap because it’s funny.

    So to me, the blog is called right-thinking for a reason and should be the predominant viewpoint. There just needs to be more of it by more good authors, not less.

    Thumb up 1

  27. ilovecress

    s8 – You misunderstand me. When I say echo chamber, my analogy would be tuning into ESPN and seeing only Seahawks games.

    No I’m in no way saying the blog should move away from right leaning, or that I really want diversity in the main posts. (I’m only offering to help out with the non political ones, and only because I kinda want to repay the blog for eleven years of content). If I were to write something it would be from or about a conservative viewpoint – because that’s what thus blog is for.

    So how about this. Make this the blog where conservatives go to read, discuss and learn about the conservative viewpoint – not how awful the liberal one is. There isn’t one flavour of conservative viewpoint – certainly not with the regulars here. Let’s take it as a given that Obama sucks, and talk about what you think should be happening.

    Thumb up 2

  28. Poosh

    it’s absolute garbage that this is an echo chamber, unless you think rational individuals citing reason is an echo chamber. If you’re on the cray cray side then you’re not gonna be agreed with.

    But there have been many debates between the right wingers of this blog, arguments etc. The idea that this is an echo chamber is stoopid. For those who think stealing from the rich is morally ok, yes, you may think it’s an echo chamber… In the same manner going to an ANIMAL RIGHTS BLOG may seem like an echo chamber to those who like beating up animals.

    Thumb up 3

  29. salinger

    interesting thread.

    I agree a lot with ‘cress. The reason I started coming to this blog was to try and understand the conservative perspective. I also had some fun sparring with some of the more histrionic posters. What turned me off were the petty insults lacking any finesse or sense of a wink. Basically – this place just got too mean and I have better ways to spend my time – which is kind of sad – since the reason I came here was to try and understand and debate the mindset of folks who have different convictions than mine and received instead scathing insult. It’s not fun to be abused.

    I’d go as far as to lay the blame on one poster in particular – Alex. There are others who have approached his pinnacle of condescending misinformed venom – but for me, this blog jumped the shark when he started posting. I did my best – trying not to participate in ad hominem attacks – it made no difference. It was as if the attempt for civility was seen as a negative. The abuse never abated. For me, the “thunderdome” excuse is juvenile.

    This is of course, just one left-leaner’s opinion and only serves as a bit of an explanation as to why I stopped commenting here.

    I still check here to see the zeitgeist when something in the news makes me wonder what the right side’s take would be – but honestly, I find it hard to read more than a sentence or two of what gets posted here more times than not.

    So, I find this navel gazing interesting – not interesting enough to begin commenting here again – but interesting.

    Good luck.

    Thumb up 3

  30. Xetrov

    CM may not change his mind…ever (thick headed comes to mind), but he does generally back up his points of view, even if people here don’t like his sources. He’s not the moonbat some of you are making him out to be, nor is he a troll. It’s like you’re saying you don’t want an echo chamber, but any dissenter needs to shut up.

    Make this the blog where conservatives go to read, discuss and learn about the conservative viewpoint – not how awful the liberal one is.

    ^^^
    THIS!

    Of course as you pointed out, cress, there are generally multiple “conservative” viewpoints on most topics.

    Thumb up 3

  31. Section8

    Cress, my apologies for the misunderstanding. In context I think your ideas to help are pretty damn good. I also agree the leftist labels such as first wookie or libtard or LSM or whatever get old and don’t serve much purpose to anything. Although I still think we should call each other assholes from time to time just for the hell of it.

    Salinger, I hope you come back. I think we went at it the last time you posted here and said you weren’t coming back. I figured you were just BSing. While I don’t agree with you most of the time, I at least thought your comment were straight forward, honest, and worth reading.

    Well if nothing else works out for this blog, maybe more suggestion threads? That seems to get everyone to show up.

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  32. richtaylor365 *

    First off, I want to thank those commenter’s that offered suggestions, not only were they good ones, but it shows that this blog is important to you as well. Those that have left the community but lurk occasionally, we can do better. Complaints should be viewed from the point of view of improving what we do here, give us another chance.

    The purpose of my post was really twofold, to take the pulse of our regulars, get some feedback on what they want to see here, but mostly to get the attention of the administrator, pointing out the fatal flaws that permeate the blog and get those fixed. Successful on the first part but a dismal failure on the second, and I am totally flummoxed.

    I don’t understand why no one can get a hold of JimK or why he has walked away and abandoned the blog and the required maintenance.

    And where has Alex been? Not only has a few comments here mentioned his name directly, but he is closer to JimK than anyone, he more than anyone could have made the effort for some answers, but nothing from him. As an integral part of the blog and a main author, I would expect him to weigh in with something.

    As for me, right now, this blog is untenable. Sure, the cosmetic stuff of fixing the author tools for commenter’s, those would be nice, handy, but the two areas that absolutely positively need to be addressed and fixed;

    1) Getting more contributing authors on board
    2)Fixing whatever glitch that exists on the blog that disallows new members to join up and comment
    The blog will never grow and get better until these things happen.

    The sad thing is we have some smart people here, a great name, and a ton of potential. Who knows how many folks stumbled on to the blog, liked what they saw and tried to register, but got frustrated and went somewhere else. I like the RTFLC community, all you assholes are like family (sure, some are like the crazy uncle we keep locked up in the attic, but still).

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  33. TxAg94

    I don’t contribute a lot but I do check in every single day, at least once a day if not more. Honestly, I didn’t read all the comments above but for me the thing that causes me to go for the little red X up top is the name calling. I LOVE when a few people disagree and really mix it up in the comments. What I can’t stand is when it immediately goes to name calling. That is a substitute for exciting thought. We all know who the worst offenders are so I won’t bother naming them. The saddest part is that I think we benefit from their passion, we NEED that passion, they just can’t NOT post a response and so when the well of valuable thought is dry they talk shit instead. I never read any further once i encounter that. Unfortunately that has been happening further and further towards the top of the discussions. I truly believe this is the main reason for the decline. People can find better stuff on the same topic on other sites and do so. If we still had solid discourse then people would find a way to report and overcome the technical problems that have been mentioned.

    That’s just my $0.02.

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  34. AlexInCT

    Hey Rich,

    Work has been killing me and I just saw this post.

    I will try to spend sometime this weekend seeing if I can update some of the site functionality or if we really need Jim to do that for us.

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  35. pekka

    I visit the blog at least once a day since I don’t know when. I disagree with a lot, but the place’s been a major influence on me.

    Chipping in another 2 cents….

    As to why I’m here, I couldn’t put it better than how ilovecress did above:

    „What I love(d) about RTFTLC and Moorewatch before it was that it was like a long form discussion forum. When the lefty sites were saying “Republicans are all idiots because they believe XYZ” then this was the place where I found out the real point of view from the right. I might not agree with it, but at least I was arguing against a real point of view. Detailed explanations of positions on issues, and line by line rebuttals of that point of view.“

    This. This is what totally works for me. (If the comments sections weren’t the way they are, it’s why I would even bring liberal friends over for a fresh perspective.)

    What doesn’t work for me at all is ranty posts that basically circle around how leftists/progressives/Obama are the root of everything that is wrong with the world. They’re a real turn-off – they may be right, but there’s nothing to reflect on, and nothing new to learn. I’ve started skipping these types of posts, and comments as well.

    I don’t think the blog format is dead. Facebook is much overhyped IMO, acting as a sharing platform for stuff people agree with but nobody reads. That said, a blog should have its Facebook basics in order: sharing a blog post should look good in a Facebook timeline (needs to be done inside the WordPress template). A basic Facebook page on which new blog posts are announced (like e.g. Popehat does it) might be useful as well.

    Technical / design gripes:

    I would get rid of the voting mechanism, especially the downvoting. It serves no real purpose. It just reinforces the impression of a dominating horde of regulars that vote down everything that disagrees with them. It’s painful to watch, if I were new to the site I would probably leave and never come back.

    I’m sure a lot of effort went into the new blog design (Was it 2011-ish?) but I felt it was in many ways a step backwards. Lee’s original design looked fresher, made better use of screen real estate, and was more readable. I still long for it, or an improvement to the existing one. Also, the new template’s mobile version (on iPads and phones) doesn’t show the articles’s author’s name (although it’s usually easy to guess by reading a couple of sentences).

    —-

    With so many complaints about shortcomings of the current platform, it might be worth looking at others. At my work, I use and love Discourse: http://www.discourse.org

    It’s a cutting-edge discussion forum with an impeccable interface. It has top-notch editing (WYSIWYG, links, copy&pasting of images, dead easy quoting, etc.) and a community-driven moderation system to weed out spam.

    The product’s creators have a lot of experience building online communities and it shows – for example, you can activate a feature where just reading advances you within the community and gives you certain moderation rights (http://blog.codinghorror.com/because-reading-is-fundamental-2/).

    They have a demo forum at http://try.discourse.org

    There are two ways to integrate it – one as a pure forum, where each post would be a new discussion thread. But then the blog feeling would go away and you would essentially have a forum. The second way is to connect Discourse to an existing WordPress blog, Discourse simply replacing the blog posts’ comments sections.

    It’s open source but it’s not trivial to set up. It works with a different software stack than WordPress, so it may not be possible to run on the server RTFLC currently runs on (but then again, it might). There are hosting providers that offer Discourse hosting as a rented service, but those obviously cost money.

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  36. hist_ed

    Howdy all. I haven’t commented on anything is a long time. Reasons:
    One: new job, new school really really busy teaching things i haven’t taught before (3 different classes to prep-all of it new). Great job, great bosses, but wow lots of work.
    Two: much of the crap mentioned above. Too many threads devolved into CM posting page length lists of links followed by Alex posting page length rants. Even if I had the time, it wasn’t worth it to wade through 40 posts that reminded me of the worst playground arguing.

    I think we need more Kimpost, Salinger types. Almost everyone here can rally ’round the “collectivist bad” crap. It was the disagreements that made this site interesting, particularly when someone was outside what one would expect their opinion to be. Hal vs. everyone in the topic that shan’t be named (rhymes with Wobal Glorming). I am not going to dig it up, but if memory Salinger and I had some common opinions about education that went against the general grain here.

    I think the insults should be a bit more moderate, but an insult without a substantive criticism is stupid. Calling CM a socialist douche bag gets pretty boring after the 30 iteration. Calling him a socialist douche bag while relating it to a history of government control of the douche bag industry and its effects on the price of Massingil products is a little more interesting.

    In the past I have emailed a few things to Alex or Hal that turned into a post. If people are interested in the opinions of the most right wing teacher in the Seattle area on education stuff, I’d be happy (pending, perhaps, the technical fixes above) to start doing so semi-regularly. I am on a couple of teacher groups on line and oh boy the stuff there is about as stereotypical as you might expect-good fodder for someplace like this (a while ago I was accused of something horrible because in a debate about child care I mentioned that fathers don’t lactate-almost got banned for that). Of course, I could put out more in the summer.

    Oh, and more gun shit. I always read that.

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  37. Thrill

    It’s not looking good for CM, once someone around here establishes administrative control of the blog. Might be time to step up and defend yourself, buddy.

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  38. JimK

    Just got word of all of this. I am 100% willing to turn over admin of the site to someone that A. still cares about politics, B. Is well versed in WordPress and C. Is someone y’all approve of. I simply don’t have the time to devote to it, and I genuinely hate political discussion these days. I stay out of it on every level. Running political blogs had a huge negative impact on my life, and I am not ever going back to it.

    I still owe it to Lee to try to keep this alive though, because he’d still be hammering away whenever the mood struck him if he were here :)

    So. If one of you wants to become a WordPress wizard, let me know. Hal, I already made you an admin.

    I will take a quick look and see why the text editor is broken. That;s pretty fucking weird that it just stopped working.

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  39. CM

    Thanks Xetrov. I had my positions on both guns and immigration in America changed considerably by posters at Moorewatch forums. Not so much here, no.

    What exactly do I need to be defending myself against Thrill? I don’t see any accusations that have any merit. I’m not posting two or three main posts a week delivering exactly the same ideological lecture about how conservatives are evil and/or retarded. In fact I’ve not even come close.

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  40. CM

    But there we go Rich – your request on how this blog could be better comes down to me apparently needing to defend myself. Even if that was intended as a light-hearted comment (which would be weird), it’s highly illustrative and indicative.

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  41. Thrill

    Easy there, Tiger.  I’ve never had beef with you, CM, and I definitely don’t want to start now.

    We’re in an interesting position with this site right now.   It’s as low as it can get in terms of participation, the back end needs a complete overhaul, and only one of our Authors actually lives on the Left Coast (which may be some sort of copyright problem or something, I don’t know).

    The biggest advantage we have going for us is that those who remain are still here because they care about the site and want to keep it going.   The active Authors, the commenters, the lurkers, you and me.

    Now, this is where I could easily springboard into some sort of cheesy “this is our finest hour” speech, but I’m not going to take the bait.  Instead, I want to point out that your name has repeatedly come up in a negative way in this thread, not simply as someone who’s anti-conservative, but that someone who is more interested in hurting the blog than being a part of it.  I believe you said last year that this blog “is on life support”.   Well, you were right.

    All I wanted to do with my above comment was to ask you to consider what your own role here is and clarify it for those who are saying that you should be immediately banned.  I personally (hey, I can italicize again!) don’t believe that to be the case.  But if you are this evil little troll who just wants to run the blog down, it would be better if you moved on.

    You’re not in the Star Chamber and don’t have to make your case or anything like that.  I just want you to understand that the site is about to go through some very intensive and painful treatment and tempers are likely to be shorter than usual.

    Do what you like!

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  42. Hal_10000

    “Running political blogs had a huge negative impact on my life, and I am not ever going back to it.”

    I’m sorry to hear that, Jim but I completely understand. I was just reading an article the other day about internet lynch mobs and how they can destroy people’s lives (Justine Sacco, etc.). And I thought, “well, I know someone who was one of the first victims of that.” And that shit has *never* been corrected.  I sometimes think about giving this up for precisely that reason.

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  43. Xetrov

    I for one hope CM sticks around.  Differing viewpoints, and thickheadedness aside, some of those complaining about him could take a lesson in civility from him.  He’s never been the first to throw a personal insult.

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  44. CM

    Easy there, Tiger.  I’ve never had beef with you, CM, and I definitely don’t want to start now.

    Weird post then, especially for a new administrator. What was your intent? Sure sounds like a warning shot across the bow.

    Easy tiger right back to you.

    Instead, I want to point out that your name has repeatedly come up in a negative way in this thread, not simply as someone who’s anti-conservative, but that someone who is more interested in hurting the blog than being a part of it.

    Look at who are making the accusations and think about who they are and what they want here. And note there is also disagreement over the accusations made.

    I personally (hey, I can italicize again!) don’t believe that to be the case.  But if you are this evil little troll who just wants to run the blog down, it would be better if you moved on.

    You want me to decide whether I’m an evil little troll, and if I decide that I am, I should leave?

    Weird.

     I hope he didn’t think I was trying to run him out of town.

    It’s pretty weird post. The same old people making the same old lame accusations (the people who most certainly never want to engage in discussion with anyone they disagree with), and yet you’re asking me to take a look at myself?

    I can only assume you haven’t seen much of the actual interaction and don’t really know what’s been going on.

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  45. CM

    That and I’d boot CM on general principle – he’s not arguing in good faith, he’s just a lecture troll that refuses to admit error and lies as needed in order to never “be wrong”

    I’ve long given up asking you to provide any support for the accusation that I’m a liar. You never managed to do it once. Making accusations like that without any basis (and then running away when asked to back it up) is surely one of the definitions of trolling. In addition to the obvious regular trolling that you do (as Ed noted) in an attempt to stop the potential for any discussion.

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  46. repmom

    I remember the days when, whatever the most recent story in the news was — whether it was the “American Sniper” trial as I mentioned in another post, or Heath Ledger’s overdose (old story, just using as an example) — I could come here to find out what was being said about it. That is not the case now. That is what I think this blog needs to get back to. I understand that Hal and others don’t have the time to write such posts, so new writers are needed.

    And yes, SO, a lot of that is now done on Facebook.

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  47. repmom

    How about a “like” button of some sort, like on Facebook? Not what there was before, where we could dislike a comment simply because we didn’t like the person and the comment eventually got hidden, but still have the option to say we agree with a comment without commenting so ourselves?

    I like Iconoclast’s comment in the “Hottest Ticket in Town” post, and would like to have that “like” button showing that I approve/agree with his comment.

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