Sunday, March 16, 2014

Jim's World


Last week, we offered "Who would you send to a desert island?" and there was a reason for that but there were a number of e-mails with questions about it (

How did we choose the nominees?

We went with people in the news who would likely be in the news the next week as well.

Among leaders, that was Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel.

Among celebrities, Rebecca expressed the concern that she didn't want to see a pile-on on women.  Mike offered that if a woman had done half of what Justin Bieber had in the last two months, she'd be ridiculed, have to go into rehab and be ridiculed for going into rehab.

Ava and C.I. did not participate in this section of the poll.  They were editing "TV: A week of putrid and puerile."  Ty pointed out that in their piece they took 'feminist' Lena Dunham to task for sending up the first successful hour long show starring an African-American woman when a better target would have been the all White and male-dominated NCIS.  We agreed and put Mark Harmon on the list for that reason (he is the saggy boobed star of NCIS).

I then streamed several videos on putting a poll in Blogger and managed to do so . . . but only on the side.

The videos instructions did not work.  They were supposed to (a) allow me to create a poll on the side, (b) put the poll into a post and (c) make it disappear on the side.

Only (a) worked.

Ty and Jess tried to fix it with no luck.

I tried repeatedly with no luck.

Ava and C.I. took a crack at it and were able to get the poll into an entry but they said they had no idea how to make it disappear on the side.

Dona pointed out that the 'quick feature' poll had now consumed over 4 hours.  She suggested that we leave it on the side for the life of the poll (7 days) and then delete it.

Would that also delete it in the post?

In case it did, Dona suggested we do a screen snap of the final results and put that in the post.

We may do a poll again.  We may make it a regular feature.

Why did we do it this time?

I'd been exchanging e-mails with a blogger who felt we should have comments here.

I explained why we don't (it's been explained here many times -- shortest version, when we started, Democrats were comfortable attacking African-Americans in comments) and explained what we do instead.

We do roundtables, for instance, that are completely based on e-mails from readers.

We do a regular e-mail feature called "Mailbag."  Ty often builds a "Ty's Corner" around e-mails.  Ava and C.I. will rundown what they plan to write -- topics -- with Ty and me before they start writing so we can note if anything in their topic list has had an e-mail.  If so, they'll work in that a reader or readers have e-mailed about _____.

We do many features that result from e-mails -- and we note that when we do it.

We've done articles that were nothing but a single reader's e-mail (quoted and credited).

I've asked Ava and C.I. to do a TV piece on an e-mail from an angry reader named Tammi.  They may or may not add other themes to it.  If they do, they will open with Tammi.  If they don't, it will just be Tami.

Are we not as responsive as we could be to readers?

That's possible and that's why I wanted to do the poll, to see how it went over.

We had about sixty people vote.  By contrast, we had over 25,000 e-mails last week about articles other than the poll.  Our readers appear more comfortable with e-mails.

We had 1,299 e-mails on the poll.

Over 52% was negative.

A third of that was negative because the poll appeared on the side of our site and also in a post.

I've already explained why that was.

Another third felt it wasn't needed.  Mirelle probably summed up this theme best, "The last thing the internet needs is another online poll."

The other third felt the poll was trivial and didn't care for it as a result.

To that third, yes, the poll was trivial.  That was actually the point.  I wanted a trivial poll.  To send up the polls we see online.

8% of the e-mails offered suggestions for future polls.  40% either got the point of the trivial nature or enjoyed a trivial poll just for being trivial.

I was, honestly, thinking it might be a new year for Third.

I was honestly thinking all the people voting would be my argument for allowing Third to change their policy and allow comments.

I've tried that before.

The poll results don't make an argument for comments.

Despite that, Ava and C.I. offered that, if I wanted, I could open their big article (about The War On Women, not about TV) this edition to comments.  They were fine with it and figured it would include a lot of sexist comments slamming women.  They said we could turn that into an article in the next edition.

But in old Blogger or our old template, we could have done that -- allowed comments in one entry.

I spent an hour trying to figure out how to do it now with no success.

But I do appreciate Ava and C.I.'s offer.

And I did appreciate the e-mail exchange with the blogger.

As I explained at one point in that exchange, we've established who we are online and done so some time ago.  Our readers are clearly comfortable with the approach.

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