I spoke on this a bit the other night, but I wanted to return to it since I find it interesting. And I'm talking about Deadspin's from nowhere announcement that it was invoking a double-secret probation policy and banning numerous commentors who hadn't known they were violating a policy that still hasn't been released.
As the days have passed, it has become known that the current editor -- who can't hold a candle to founder Will Leitch -- has decided he wants to clean things up so he can please advertisers, and he wants to keep readers that he's afraid are being driven off by the commenters. That's fine. He's in charge of the damn thing now, so he can do what he wants. My one problem is that there are still no guidelines on what is, or is not acceptable, and I just don't feel people should be punished for violating a policy that at the time they violated it didn't exist.
(Personal note. While the CVC has never been linked to Deadspin, I was often able to get stuff from the mothership linked to it while Leitch was running things -- he said he enjoyed my stuff once, and for a sports blogger, that's about the biggest compliment you can get. But I've also had some items linked to by the current regime, just not as much, and they just don't seem as interested in my stuff.)
I think I've made it known before that I don't enjoy Deadspin as much now as I used to. And it's not because of the commenters. With founding editor Leitch gone, I just think the blog has lost its voice. It's just not unique. But one of the reasons I haven't stopped reading it is the comments. The people who comment there are funny. And their problem was that Leitch enabled the comments, and set up the feeling of anarchy that runs that blog's comments. But now the new guy wants to cut down on the anarchy, only he employed anarchy to achieve his means, and I just don't like that. (I also feel that they have to be careful because Deadspin still runs stuff from the Kissing Suzy Kolber people, and if they're allowed to post profane/sexist/racist takes on sports, then it should be allowed for the people who comment as well.)
But I do in someways understand the Deadspin concerns. There is, after all, a blog I've virtually stopped reading because of the commenters, and because of what the commenters have done to the blogs comments. I'm talking about the TV Newser blog, a blog I began reading when it was run by a college student who had an interest in cable TV news and before it was purchased by Mediabristo. The kid who founded the blog moved on to the New York Times when he graduated. And Mediabristo enabled the comments function, and it's become almost nothing but a site about the greatness of Fox News and the comments are nothing but rightwing nutjobs talking about the evil that is the great liberal media. I still go over there from time, but I generally learn nothing about the cable news biz. I just get bile.
I wish I had these problems to worry about over here. But I hardly get any comments. I would really like more comments. It's party my problem as I can never decide on what the focus of the blog is. I know I went heavy hockey before the creation of The Third Intermission. And I'd like to do more baseball. But I just like being able to talk about what I want to talk about. I don't want to have to do the same thing every day.
I do have a decent audience, for a blog. I average between 200-1500 hits a day -- that's nowhere near Deadspin. But it's enough, I think, for trying to make some money off of ads. So that's that. Nothing against Deadspin, I just wish they had a done better job with explanations. And I wish I had its problems.