Dissent Of The Day

Feb 7 2013 @ 3:59pm

A reader quotes another:

“So this is dorky, but I got a weird rush of pride and community upon signing into the Dish on my devices and seeing that light blue ”Subscriber” block appear atop the screen.” This is one reason I will never join. It is sad that this person or any person thinks that reading the Dish makes her a part of a community. I could never be a member of anything where people were so sad. It might be different if you took comments, but how can someone passively and anonymously eating the meal you serve (made up mostly of other people’s work, by the way) make one a member of a community? But you do promote that idea, don’t you?

I have liked this site less and less since you went to memberships. I feel about as negative towards you as I did back in the early Bush years where you were promoting the idea of a new pro-war party of young patriots called the “Eagles.” Putting up all those positive reviews and the dollar totals like this is some kind of cheesy telethon. I can’t tell how cynical you are about your marketing tactics. I would respect you more if you were cynical, but I’m afraid you actually believe that you are providing some kind of community and are something more valuable than just a daily best of the web on a two-week delay with an overlay of Oprah-level spirituality.

We’ve been airing reader reactions, positive and negative, because we are a community. Why else would so many people send us links or write emails like yours or send in their window views or vote for awards and so on if they were not part of a community? Why would they care? And when a million or so people have visited a site every month for years, it is not unreasonable to assume that many are the same people. I call that a community. And you are welcome to be a part of it, harsh criticism and all. Yes, letting our readers know how this experiment is going may be seen as marketing. But it’s also called transparency, and we promised it.

Another reader spells out why we don’t have a comments section and why readers have repeatedly voted one down:

I subscribed last week in prep for this week’s launch. Very happy with all aspects of the site so far. I almost sent a support email for the embedded links (they were not opening in new tab in the first day), but guessed correctly thatothers would make that suggestion – love it.

photo (16)I love this community, which is why I subscribed. I have NEVER subscribed to anything on the Internet (except anti-virus software). One of the biggest reasons that this is the first site I visit and why I subscribed is for the lack of a comments section. As Jay Rosen so eloquently put it (and I would not have seen this quote if not for the Dish): “Untended, online comment sections have become sewers, protectorates for the deranged, depraved and deluded.”

I am thrilled to make a small contribution to your staff, which does the hard work of finding the best comments (possibly the best part of Dish) and the best thinking across the net! I have done IT contracting and I am more than happy to pay for your team’s efforts each day. I wish more people understood that actual, hard work is how sites get built, software gets built and the net would collapse without it. We should all be willing to pay for that hard work!

Another sent the above image earlier this week and wrote:

This was taken on January 7 in my hospital room after a successful 5-hour surgery that day. I’m doing great and this pictures show’s how lucky I am to have people who love me and access to the best medical care and generous health insurance to cover most of the 70K in bills from surgery/one night stay, pathology etc. So I’m really happy to be able to support the Dish! It’s my favorite “coffee break.”

Update from a reader:

I’m tempted to subscribe, but the lack of a comment section holds me back. The ability to comment in real time in a public forum was one of the things that drew me to online news and commentary and away from the printed newspaper years ago.

I’m perplexed by your readership’s hostility to a comment section. I haven’t run across a website yet that requires anyone to read comments, but every now and again I feel the need to add my two cents. If some of your readers don’t like comments, let them skip over them. Are comment sections a cesspool? Sure, sometimes. And sometimes they’re perceptive, and sometimes they’re more entertaining than the article they’re attached to. And sometimes the allow me, the reader, to point out a glaring error or omission in a public forum in real time.

Want my 20 bucks? Allow me to add my two cents from time to time.

Two cents for 20 bucks is a great exchange rate.