Friday, January 14, 2011

Ah, Growing Pains

"A home for those who love almost everything about The Ticket (1310 AM, 104.1 FM, Dallas-Fort Worth), and who would like to discuss -- respectfully and fondly -- their thoughts on how (and whether) to eliminate the 'almost.'"

Those are the words at the top of this site.

When I started this little venture, I was mostly talking to myself.   Maybe I'd get a couple of people hitting the site per day.   The very first comment I ever got was from That Nice Young Michael Gruber, to a post I had done about "The Internal Clock of the P1" remarking on how if the dedicated P1 punches out on ads, he has a feeling as to when he needs to punch back in to catch the last few syllables of the Ticker and then back to fun.  Michael provided information on how long those breaks typically last.

The site first came to more general attention when Barb Smith departed.  Someone called my articles to her attention and she was kind enough to comment to let us know what was up with her.  Some of you put out the word on other sites, and a lot of folks discovered us.  (I still get traffic to those posts -- and, of course, people looking for information on Alexis Smith.)

Since then, the hits have gradually increased.  I don't know what happened, but sometime several months ago I must have hit some critical mass of daily hits, because the site really took off.  I'm sure I don't get a tenth the hits of The (Incomparable) UnTicket, but an increasingly respectable number.

But the best part, for me, is not the traffic -- it's the terrific group of readers who have taken the time to leave thoughtful, funny, informative, observant -- and, frequently, critical -- comments.  Christie, P1 Steven, Doug, cancer monkey, Anonymous B, James, T4, shaggy, and many more, including a number of readers who prefer not to give themselves a name and post simply as "Anonymous." 

But it's not just the number of commenters.  It's that almost without exception, they've gotten into the spirit of the site, keeping things light, respectful, and literate.  It's made this site a fun place to come and stretch out a little.  It's fun for me and it brings people back to the site.  And, as we have seen, at least some Ticket personnel drop by for a look now and then.  I wonder if they would do so if this were just another Corby-sux flame chamber.  I really do try to make sure that the site is fair to The Ticket, acknowledging what is superior as well as stuff that irritates.  I sense that commenters have internalized that gestalt and the comments exhibit both praise and criticism.   I can't tell you how much I appreciate the tone that almost all commenters have taken.

Almost.  Lately we've had an exception or two.  Name-calling, mostly. 

I let it go for awhile, hoping it would subside.  There seems to one Anon in particular -- and I could be wrong as to there being only one -- who is not playing well with others.  A shame, too, because he portrays himself as a semi-insider and frequently favors us with what appears to be fairly sound information.  But he seems unable to correspond without some kind of rancorous epithet.

Won't have it. 

So, much as I dislike doing it, I'm going to have to start policing this kind of stuff.  I've deleted a few Anon comments from the past few posts and will be doing more bud-nipping in the future.  I'm not going to make any rules.  Just read the site and jump in with -- as the heading says -- your fond, respectful impressions.  And, as always, feel free to veer off onto your own tangent -- off-topic comments are not off limits here.  If you feel strongly about something, it's OK to sound off with some heat.  Just stifle the ad hominem stuff, please. 

So when you sit down to unburden yourself of your latest cogitations on The Ticket we all mostly love (but you don't have to love it to visit, or to comment), just pretend that while you're composing, that "Masterpiece Theater" theme is playing in the background.

Again, my heartfelt thanks to everyone who visits the joint, and especially to those who take the time to share their thoughts.

[I'll leave comments open for a short time on this post if anyone has any reactions, but I'd prefer to move ahead with the bidness of this site, so I'll have a new blast up soon.]


middletree said...

Expletive. Blankety blank.

The Plainsman said...

That's the spirit.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Plainsman. Thank you for both your thoughts and this forum. And this is my "My Ticket Confession" ticket confession.

ap said...

I see that the 'birthday paradox' of allowing comments has caught up with you, Plainsman. Try to look at it as a sign of success. It's too bad; I was really interested to see what else "Grumponymous" had to offer.

Have you thought about requiring Anonymous users to somehow differentiate themselves? The UnTicket uses a plugin that hashes IP addresses into a unique snowflake icon that helps differentiate commenters while still allowing them to retain some degree of anonymity. All comments from unknown IP's are also withheld until reviewed to prevent jackwagonry. However, I'm guessing that if you put a mechanism in place to uniquely identify commenters, you'd lose out on some of the interesting semi-insider information you're able to obtain.

Good luck.

Douglas Sutherland said...

To be honest, I do understand Grumpy Anon's point about how 'idiot' and other kindergarten cuss words are mild and people should have a thicker skin but at the same time it is a slippery slope, and it is tough not to sling mud back when it's dripping from your face. Plus it's discouraging. I enjoy that people on this site could disagree with me and yet they don't call me an f-tard for having a different opinion or interpretation of facts.

Anonymous said...

Douglas Sutherland,

I "witnessed" the Anonymous vs. Anonymous "battle."

The point that I think that the Plainsman is making (rightly) is that calling someone an idiot or dumb is as equally insulting as calling someone an f-tard. From what I read, it was only the "Grumpy Anonymous" who slang mud. The other anonymous did not. Having said that, I must say that I agreed with "Grumpy Anonymous's" argument - on an intuitive level...
From what I can discern, I think the Beatles and the Stones were/are friends. But I should also say that I haven't yet read Richards's new book.

I completely agree with you regarding disagreement and civility with respect to this fine site.

Scott said...

Thanks Plainsman. Your desire for this site is exactly why I visit this sight. There once was a time, before I reached that 40th birthday, "I'm a man", when I would get into those heated mud and rock slinging discussions. Now, I get tired head really quickly, and actually "punch out" of the discussion online, preferring to spend my time listening to Ticket Ads that reading the back and forth.

The thing I have enjoyed here is the thoughtful, sometimes insightful, and overall fun of hearing opinions other than mine.

The Plainsman said...

Couple things:

(1) AP, I don't think Blogger supports some of those technical initiatives, and at present I don't have the time to educate myself. But they're good ideas. Also, I'd prefer not to make rules about what one can call oneself. If you want to be Anonymous it's OK with me, and in any event, anyone who was required to give themselves a name could just change it from post to post and -- unless his style were identifiable -- achieve the same result.

(2) I agree that is one primary malefactor here, the one who AP has christened Grumponymous.

(3) Grump is not banned from the site. In fact, I left up his comment (in which he told me to "shove" one of my own comments) of a few posts ago about syndication and signal strength. If he can keep a civil tongue on the keyboard, to mangle a metaphor, he's welcome.

(4) Grump does have good points. However, I am getting hints that perhaps he is not quite as inside or as knowledgeable as he makes out. Nothing I can put my finger on -- but he affects a certitiude with his severe tone that isn't always supported by his content. In other words, on some stuff he's guessing as much as we all are. But on some stuff he's solid.

(5) Hey, this site isn't hashing out the problems of the world. It's just chatter about the station that's our main radio home and that keeps our days tolerable. But civilization starts at home, and so does civility, and we're going to practice it here or fold the Big Tent.

Thanks to all Confessors for playing along.

Douglas Sutherland said...

Super off topic. Sorry

Rumor is Rhads is going to be the next Rangers TV play by play guy. I'm intrigued. Rhads has the same needs in broadcasting as Danny does in his daily life: he needs structure. I think he could do really well, but it will be interesting to hear how he handles the deliberate pace of baseball and the frequent layouts by Tom.

If this is indeed true, congrats Rhads.

The Plainsman said...

Douglas, your off-topic report is 100% welcome and entirely in keeping with the spirit of this post.

Got nothing against Rhads, especially when he speaks like a mensch instead of an announcer. I think he'll be fine or better-than-fine, and he might even be more sympatico with TAG than Josh was(although I liked Josh quite a lot in that role).

It'll be good to have another Ticket-friendly guy as the voice of a major team.

Douglas Sutherland said...

Plainsman, I do believe The Ticket has had a monopoly in that field for quite a while. Granted Josh now works on The Fan, but he was a huge P1. Ralph and Mark are obviously Ticket friendly and I believe Brad holds the Ticket in high regard, just contractually obligated to give them the cold shoulder publically.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I posted a comment that included some gentle criticism of our Blog Host. It's now gone. I really hope that's just some internet weirdness and not intentional censorship.

-Anon B

The Plainsman said...

SPECIAL TO ANON B: I got notice that you had posted a comment, and it looks fine, but it is not showing up on the site. I don't know why. I didn't want you to think I had taken it down.

Your comment is of interest and I'd like the gang to see it. Can you attempt to re-comment? Sorry for this inconvenience, I don't know why it hasn't shown up.

The Plainsman said...

ANON B: Yes, it is some Internet (or Blogger) weirdness. This has never happened before, where I get email notice of a comment (which contains the text of the comment) but it never makes it onto the site.

You might know it would happen when the topic relates to comment deletion. Sorry, please re-comment.

Hey -- let me know if you no longer have the text and I'll repost the comment myself.

Anonymous said...

Dang it. I spent a long time writing that. Oh well.

The gist was, I think the recent dust-up was no big deal, and I think The Plainsman is making a mountain out of a molehill. This blog exists for Ticket listeners to discuss The Ticket. And Ticket listeners can be a salty bunch. I don't think someone calling someone else an "idiot" is a big deal (I'm not sure if I saw every comment, but that was the worst of what I saw). I mean, you're gonna get a certain amount of "rowdiness" from P1s. As long as it doesn't degenerate into foul language, racism or such, I don't see what the big deal is.

Bottom line is, this is your blog, Plainsman. But as you attract readers, you'll have to make some decisions. If you want to hold your commenters to a level of discourse that doesn't allow the words "dumb" and "idiot," I think you're going to have a hard time keeping readers.

-Anon B

Anonymous said...

Just read your last post. No, I didn't have my comment cached. No biggie. I think I covered the basics, though my new comment didn't include the super-clever pun.

Anonymous said...

As far as Rhads goes, I just can't see him being the straight man that the Rangers are looking for (which I think that's what they're looking for). As it is, Rhads finds it hard to play it close to the vest during Stars pre/post/intermissions... much to Luddy's, at times, obvious chagrin.

AnonB: Good points all around. The P1 is salty. But I don't think it's the words used, per se, but rather the way in which they're used. I think Plainsman wants the ad hominem attacks to stop. If you read his posts and comments, he's about as civil and gentlemanly as they come. And I for one think it's refreshing. I also believe that grumpyanonymous & co. might be trolling. Unfortunately, as we all know, there are individuals out there in cyberland who find sites, get to know the subject (or even know the subject beforehand), and then fire away. Is grumpy, et al. a part of that unseemly scene? Who knows.

Whatever the case may be, I'm glad our congenial host has put an end to it. And I hope this site always stays "Masterpiece Theater-ish."

The Plainsman said...

Thanks, Anon B, that's a pretty amazing feat of recall, and you should have included the pun (Anon B was making something "plain, man").

We disagree.

I wouldn't call a Confessor dumb, or an idiot, any more than I would call a colleague at work those names.

I try not to use my own anonymity to take fourth-grade shots at people and I don't think the anonymity of the Internet poster should be used that way, either.

Maybe I'll lose a few rowdies, or a lot. There are lots of other sites for them to hold forth.

I looked for a Ticket site that wasn't rowdy in that way. Couldn't find one, so I made one up.

And it's not like I'm going to turn into a kind of Spanish Inquisition (thanks, Monty). I haven't taken down a comment in a year-and-a-half. I may never have to do it again.

Douglas Sutherland said...

(my usual reply to anon b)

Anon B: Good points, and in this case I'm fairly neutral. I will say though in the argument that prompted this post, there were inaccuracies on both sides, and instead of having a rational argument, it turned somewhat emotional.

And like I said, it's a slippery slope. Personally (and maybe it's because I wasn't smart enough to have a clever moniker when I first started commenting) if someone disagrees with a comment I made, and then throws an insult at me, no matter how tame, I feel inclined to fight back, often upping the ante in insults, smart-ass remarks, etc. Then it turns into a last laugh situation, and before you know it, this place is your average message board or comment section on an ESPN article. So perhaps the Plainsman is right in stopping the bleeding immediately.

That being said hopefully this blog won't become over-moderated, but it appears Plainsman is aware of that slope as well.

The Plainsman said...

Anonymous (post starting with the Rhads comment), you said that better than I did.

I thank all of you for your support and continued patronage, and I've internalized the concerns of the skeptics.

I hope some of you have dates tonight.

With that, I'm closing comments on this thread and will immediately post one of the most absurd articles I've ever posted, which is saying something. So we can all get back to our customary blasts.

And thank you for shopping at My Ticket Confession.