Monday, June 19, 2006

Pleasant Problems

As we begin our third month together, a couple of philosophical blog matters:

It has always been my plan not only to read, but to respond to every piece of e-mail that I get and most comments (even if it's just with a "Thank you" and "I agree") because I really appreciate all you guys who take the trouble to read this, let alone write in response. I find myself in the unexpected position of reporting that the volume of e-mail we're getting is making that resolution more difficult to keep. I intend to keep it anyway, I'm just letting you know that if I'm a little slow some weeks, it's not because I'm ignoring you, don't care, or haven't read your submission. It's probably because I'm pursuing (sigh) real world responsibilities. (Who'da thunk it?) I will get back to you, I promise. And please don't stop writing. Absolutely no revenue and only a modest amount of world-wide fame (*cough*) come from doing this, so getting to talk Blazers with you is my only tangible reward. And it's one I treasure. Just be a little patient with me if it takes me a while to return the favor from time to time.

This is also true of suggestions for posts. Some things I feel comfortable talking about off the top of my head, but others I have to think about or research for a while first, and we're getting a backlog of those. I'll work on clearing that up, and thank you for the great ideas!

Lastly, one can't help but notice that the comment section is seeing more frequent use, and that is great. Some of you who have been in contact since the very beginning already know something I think it's time to make more explicit now. I know this site will never be the most popular, the most authoritative, or the most "inside" on the web. I never envisioned it would be such. But I did have a vision when I started this site beyond a narcissistic compulsion to see my own words in print. Maybe it's impossible and maybe it's just dumb, but I thought the web could use a place where people could just come and talk without all the egos, spitting contests, and rancor that typify most discussion sites. In a way I wanted a coffee shop atmosphere, where a bunch of folks just dropped in, read a little, and talked Blazers and it didn't matter if they were long-time regulars or just stopping by. I don't think the world needs another biggest, most authoritative, or most "inside" site, but I do think it could use a friendliest, most welcoming, most "honest-but-fairly-relaxed" one...the "Cheers" of websites, if you will. And given the acrimony flying around Blazerland lately--not just between differing fans but between the team and fans, the team and media, the fans and media--I think such a site could help people feel connected in a time it's all too easy to just slip away.

The thing is, I can't do this alone. How you respond to this site and each other makes a difference in what this little place becomes. Two things are necessary:

1. I need to be willing to keep my hands off the comments section and let you have basically whatever conversation you want, agree or disagree, even if you say things differently than I would. If I can't manage this it's neither honest nor friendly. And I am committed to doing so. To this point I have not required registration for comments and I have not deleted anyone's comment save one. It is not my intention to do either in the future.

2. You have to use that freedom wisely, in a way that not only gets your point across, but also takes care of the people you're making it to. There are a hundred other sites where people do that "anonymous internet who-cares" style of conversation. Why try to duplicate that here? I would very much appreciate it, to keep the site alive and to its purpose, if you would just pretend you're sitting in that coffee shop among friends and strangers and try to discuss accordingly. Make your point and be honest, but try to put things in such a way that if your grandma were listening (or someone else's) you wouldn't be totally ashamed. One of the strong, strong things that's come through in the e-mails and comments is that we don't have a homogenous community here. Nor do we have the stereotypical group of sports fans. There are old people, young people, women, men, and people of all professional backgrounds and histories here. Given what's going on with Portland and the Blazers, I hope that excites you. Just make sure you plan accordingly when you speak, even if someone disagrees with you.

I have no doubt that if the site keeps growing "trolls" will creep in from time to time. It always happens and the anonymous comment feature will probably allow it. But I'd rather take that risk in the name of allowing someone who (understandably) wants to remain anonymous at first to join in the conversation. I intend to have a thick skin about trolling and I hope you do too. If you don't like a comment, just skip over it and keep reading. Eventually with a lack of attention it will pass. If a comment is blatantly offensive be assured that I will delete it as soon as I check the site. Otherwise I'll grin and bear it as I hope you do. No need to let a few bad apples spoil the bunch, so to speak. If there are occasional bumps and bruises along the way, just consider them growing pains.

Thank you all for the continuing to read. Even with the grinding off-season, I hope the next couple months are as vibrant as the first two.

--Dave

15 Comments:

Anonymous fatty said...

dave you've done a tremedous
job in 3 calendar months
henry abbott can't handle
the truth so he basically
never print the same comments
i say on your blog, do i sound
offensive and vulgar i don't
think so, also we sometimes
agree to disagree on some
points, but bottom line is
i respect you and other
blazer fans and you took
time out to read and e*mailed
back for that i say thank-you
dave !!!!!!

10:54 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Fatty, you are definitely an acquired taste. But I think your heart is in the right place. As long as you keep it reasonably clean you're welcome here.

--Dave

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for providing those of us who like to read other's oppinions -but don't want to have others treat us like crud- a place to go! So far, I have found your articles to be very well thought out and well- spoken. Glad you are willing to stick your neck out to post some guidelines and your own ideals for this blog. THANKS!

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Each of you has your personal story; it is your history. Keeping a diary or writing your feelings in a special notebook is a wonderful way to learn how to think and write about who you are -- to develop your own identity and voice.

People of all ages are able to do this. Your own history is special because of your circumstances: your cultural, racial, religious or ethnic background. Your story is also part of human history, a part of the story of the dignity and worth of all human beings. By putting opinions and thoughts into words, you, too, can give voice to your inner self and strivings.

A long entry by Anne Frank on April 5, 1944, written after more than a year and a half of hiding from the Nazis, describes the range of emotions 14-year-old Anne is experiencing:

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For those of you interested in reading some of Anne Frank's first stories and essays, including a version of Cady's Life, see Tales From the Secret Annex (Doubleday, 1996). Next: Reviewing and revising your writing

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