For no other reason than it’s Friday, I present:
We’ve had quite the jump in Facebook followers from 4,900 on Jan. 8 to hitting 5,600 on Feb. 3. Currently sitting at 5,619.
(Before going further, BIG congrats to the Chronicle for hitting 40,000 Facebook followers. That’s a huge number folks. When I hit my first 100 I just about fainted, so I know how they feel. Well, not really.)
I mention this drab statistic to talk a little about how we like to do things around here.
First off, welcome to the fun! Now onto Part 2.
It's painful to write these blogs truthfully. I don’t want to be the playground teacher who’s always yelling at kids to stop piling on the teeter-totter. The whole point is daily conversation; we want to encourage that, not throw up a bunch of rules.
That disclaimer aside now’s as good a time as any to go over the do’s and don’ts. Some of these are based on actual chats with readers the last few days. Thursday’s blog, in particular, attracted a rather large number of Facebook comments. Most stayed. A few didn’t, and I’m going to explain why.
Let’s first highlight the positives. I’m not going to belabor this, but we continue to see decent conversation taking place here on issues of significance. Thursday’s topic was touchy, and most readers handled it head-on without going overboard.
The blog is in its third year, and I am convinced much of its success lies in the fact we’re polite here. I guess that’s rule No. 1. We have polite — and, yes at times, rather heated — community debate on stuff that we need to discuss. These conversations are not intended for just idle online chat. It’s to jingle our minds a little on challenges facing our community.
That’s why I pretty much insist on manners. I’ll usually err on the side of delete if my first instinct is that the comment is offensive to someone. This usually happens when a reader tries to slap a label or insult another reader. That just won’t fly here.
(I hear some voices: “Hey! YOU do that!” Well, here’s how I view the picture. It’s my blog. I raised it from a pup. I’m allowed some personal snarky license. I take the risk of 5,000 people hating me in ways I cannot imagine. Fingers crossed.)
So, with that bluster, some guidelines:
— No four letter words, or anything that’s meant to suggest a four-letter word. Look. Let’s be adults. If you can’t say it in the presence of your 8-year-old niece, please don’t say it here.
— Please avoid attacking the integrity of another person. We’re all equals in the bleachers. Nothing gets my attention faster (other than a 4-letter word) than someone leaving a comment that calls out another reader for anything other than the point that person made.
— Know that I’m wary of links, so I keep an eye on the ones you post. Please don’t send people to conspiracy sites, or petitions (you can always privately message me with the link and ask if it’s OK). I know this disappoints some, but I’m a mainstream media guy. If you’re trying to lead people off the grid, I’m likely deleting it.
— It is always my intention to notify a reader when I delete his/her comment. I can’t guarantee it, though. I often have some spirited conversations backstage with readers about the appropriateness of their comments. Many times, we reach some sort of resolution. So, please, if you think I’m off-kilter, tell me.
— Trying to insult me for deleting your comment that insulted someone has a 0% success rate.
— Mostly, let’s not lose sight of what we’re doing here. It’s a community forum with neighbors, not some national debate where our voices are meaningless. That’s why we stay on topic. Nearly all the blogs are entirely local, so the conversation should stay local. Between now and November, I’ll provide some opportunities for us to expand our horizons. Mostly, though, we’re here for Citrus County.
Thanks for indulging me. I hope this wasn’t preachy or in poor taste. I truly appreciate the comments this blog attracts, and the variety shows Citrus County’s diversity of opinion.
—P.S. I’ll meet anyone at Cattle Dog with a free Just Wright Citrus T-shirt who can tell me the exact spot I’m standing in today’s photo. Have a great weekend, friends.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.