Yes, it has to do with crime. Check it out — I even included some of Sierra’s singing with another Idol felon from season 5. (If you like the post, you can click “recommend it” at the bottom of the piece. Please only click once, and be sure check out other posts by other authors in “Fresh Intelligence” and recommend them — if you like them — as well.)I don’t have a lot of blog entries up on “Fresh Intelligence” — there are several other contributors — but so far, some of the most fun I’ve had as a blogger has come from writing for Radar. The subject matter here at The True Crime Weblog is usually quite serious, and while my Radar blog posts (as opposed to articles I’ve written for them, which are more straightforward reporting) still frequently touch on crime, there’s more room for snark there, and it feels good to loosen up a little. Having editors who are savvy, funny, and good communicators helps a helluva lot, too. (NOTE: For some added wrinkles in Ms. Sierra’s story, you just have to go here. Wow.)
I’m a “crime blogger,” and my wife Dana is an “edu-blogger” (incidentally, the image you’ll see in the header of Dana’s education weblog is a non-photoshopped pic taken by yours truly at an actual intersection near downtown Atlanta).In fact, Dana is becoming a popular and well-regarded edu-blogger. Dana is a quiet, modest (though occasionally persnickety, occasionally spunky) woman, so seeing her begin to get recognition for her own blogging and develop a strong readership really means a lot to me. Unlike her husband, Dana Huff doesn’t really have a self-promoting bone in her body. She earns every good thing that comes to her from her blogging honestly. I’m very proud of her. Dana was the person who inspired me to try my hand at blogging in the first place. I’ll say more about what’s going on with her as we hear more. In the meantime, you can also check out Dana’s Harry Potter blog here.
My personal weblog receives about 10% of the traffic that this blog gets, and I’m fine with that. Kind of prefer it, actually. However I happened onto a captivating website this weekend, and I recommend it here, at Random Lunatic News.
If blogging is light here today and tomorrow, it’s because I’m working on another writing project that is rather complicated and time-consuming. Anything big breaks, though, I’ll do my best to write about it.
These notes strike me as being a little like Norm McDonald’s Larry King impression from SNL a few years back. Random. Terse. Tangentially related at best. Whaddya want? It’s Monday.
Some final notes on blog comments vs. message boards, trolls, etc…Some of my longtime readers — and you’ll know who you are — have fallen into trolltraps on various discussions taking place on this weblog. Screen names (and e-mail addresses matching them) of folks who have been leaving intelligent, thoughtful comments on my crime blogs since 2005 are engaging with new commentators who are — to me — obvious and dedicated trolls. As a result of this troll fighting, a few of you have, God love ya, started to become a bit troll-like yourselves. Stop it. Don’t engage them. Don’t respond to insults, to nasty plays on your screen names, any of it. Quit leaving comments on those posts if you can’t ignore the assholes. Remove your hands from the keyboard. If you have respect for me — and from your track records of visiting my blogs, I suspect you do — give me a break and do as I ask. Several posts on this blog have more than a thousand comments; one has more than 2000. Any blogger will tell you (as long as most of the comments are on-topic and reasonably smart) that this is awesome, and a source of pride — people are responding to your work. But this also means that as the sole active administrator of this weblog, there’s no way in hell I can respond to every single complaint, no way I can police every troll all the time. Especially now that my freelancing has kicked up several notches (a very good thing), the last thing I want to do is police comments. I’m sorry, but that’s how it is. Some bloggers would just change to full moderation 24/7 or even (as I believe Michelle Malkin did for a time) have no comments at all. So I need the long-time readers whom I tend to trust to help me out by not feeding the trolls. The one thing a troll can’t abide is being ignored. So — ignore them. Additionally, the moment others cease responding to troll-like commentators, some of the white noise is reduced for me, and I find it easier to pinpoint the troll and ban them and delete their offending comments. And lastly — I don’t know how many times I’ve said this, but I’ll repeat it: BLOG COMMENTS DO NOT A MESSAGE BOARD MAKE. I see comments on posts here constantly calling this a “forum,” or a “board.” No. This weblog is neither. I once ran a forum, or board. It was sheer hell. It was like trying to deal with a few thousand tattle-happy toddlers on crack, half the time. With a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old here at home, I have all I can handle, thank you very much. OK — the discussions taking place on blog entries here are identical to discussions folks might have on message boards. People do the same things — update the stories blogged with new links, with (often fascinating and well-written) speculation. But you need to understand what you’re doing when you leave comments on a blog post. It isn’t the same as a message board. You can’t create your own profile with private messaging, you can’t upload avatars. Message boards have mods and admins, but generally, they can be pretty egalitarian (not always, I know). Blogs are not. This is my weblog. I have some guidelines I expect to be followed when people post comments here or any other blog I run. If I wanted to run an “open forum” where anyone could say anything about whatever, I would. But I don’t. What you write is even more temporary on a blog post than it would be posted on a message board. It could be gone in 5 minutes — all I’d need to do is change this blog’s template. And this is important — your words are your responsibility, not mine. If you libeled someone in my blog’s comments and a lawyer [EDIT: subpoenaed] your IP and e-mail info, I’d be hard-pressed to stop that action. This brings up a catch-22 you should think about: while your words are your responsibility, under American laws, that is, I still have administrative control over your post once it is up. Many message boards allow users to go back and delete or edit their posts whenever they want. Once you’ve made a comment on a blog — you’re done, son. So temper your posting activities with these things in mind. Leaving comments on a blog and posting on a forum just ain’t the same. Finally — if I began a MySpace group for this weblog, would you all consider using that for extended discussions of various cases? Caveat lector — you’d have to make a MySpace profile to join and leave posts in such a group. Add to that — if I made such a group, could I get someone to volunteer to moderate or lead the thing? I have another, final idea related to the above. Some popular forums have paid memberships. I’d consider running a message board again, but this would be the catch — you’d only have access if you paid a nominal fee. There are aspects of this with which I’m not too comfortable though, so I only float it as an idea, one I may end up rejecting. These notes went on longer than I intended, but I guess I had something to say….