Somebody Read It

Imagine my surprise.

I’m less than a month into having a website and blog. A few friends and acquaintances have been kind enough to visit and on occasion add a comment, but it’s not like I need a traffic light.

One of my logbooks is dedicated to personal opinion, and I didn’t name it Rants and Raves for no reason. Maybe it’s because there’s so much material out there to blog about that triggers a reaction from the ends of the spectrum. Who wants to talk about the ho-hum middle anyway?

In this case, the topic of F1 racing got my attention and I wrote a blog expressing my skepticism. My purpose here isn’t to address the pro and con of that subject, but to note that the last thing I expected was for someone to read it and take the time to comment.

That raises the question of why would I expect anything different? Put something out there in webspace and anyone can read it. In retrospect, I suppose it’s because the idea of a single post in the midst of limitless content catching the attention of anyone seems so remote as to be virtually impossible.

Not so, obviously, and that’s a good thing even if the reactions are critical of what I say. I could moderate all the comments to eliminate any opposing views, but that’s nothing less than censorship. The last time I checked, I didn’t believe in that.

There’s another issue that does require censorship, however: the spam and junk. I entered into this thinking no one would bother with a tiny little website of no import, but I was wrong again. They’ve already found me. It’s not a someone, I suppose, but a huge army of spam/junk monsters scouring the e-world looking for vulnerability.

These odious intrusions are held for moderation. When I’m notified and see the sender’s address, I always wonder, “Who? From Where?” Initially, the text clearly made no sense. But recently, they appear to be referring to something specific I’ve said, and the comments are always positive. They just love the site, enjoyed the posts, and will return again soon. Does that hover my pointer over the Approve command? You betcha, for a few seconds, at least.

Then I come to my senses and frequently think of one of my favorite movies, The Sting. A con only works if the victim participates, and the underlying motivation is always greed in one form or another.

I want visitors to be entertained and come back again. That’s my vulnerability, and I have to be careful not to let it blind me to the obvious. Interestingly, the more recent comments are frequently “signed” with the first names of people whose comments I have already approved.

Sneaky monsters inhabit the online universe.

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2 Responses to Somebody Read It

  1. Vance says:

    Hey Tosh,
    I found your website because I have my Google Alerts setup to detect any articles related to Formula 1 Austin. I’m promoting “Friends of Formula 1 Austin Texas” on pages that allow comments and your website seems to be well indexed and comes up when you mention F1 Austin.
    If it wasn’t for the alerts function I wouldn’t have found your website that easily. I did share a link to your website on mine because I want the F1 supporters to know that not everyone supports the project or has differing opinions. I hope this hasn’t caused a problem, if so I can remove the link.

    Best regards,
    Vance

  2. Tosh McIntosh says:

    Vance:

    The primary purpose of this website has nothing to do with F1 racing, and as I mentioned in this post, the fact that you did really surprised me. Until now I didn’t know of the Google Alert function, and it makes perfect sense that a key word search could put my site on the list. Shortly after your first comment, I did that and found it toward the bottom of page 2.

    I have no objection to you sharing the link and no right to expect that you wouldn’t. One of your visitors did find his way here and left a sarcastic comment that I suppose has to be expected from those who can’t engage in a reasoned discussion about something they feel strongly about. It’s easy enough to ignore that kind of thing, and any attempt to do otherwise is a waste of time.

    I appreciate your offer, Vance, and leave it up to you.

    Tosh

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