The answer: When it’s virtually a chatroom.
Out of curiosity we looked in at The North County News blogs, particularly the one that would like to be a competitor of Crotonblog. It has a lazy, East European quality about it that we found off-putting. It turns out that The North County News blogs are not true blogs, but really are virtual “chat rooms”—a derisive term that some North County News posters from time to time have applied to Crotonblog, a true blog. What they call “forums” have been set up for a few of the communities in the newspaper’s coverage area, but many have simply ignored the opportunity to participate in the forums.
In fact, of the dozen regional forums created by the newspaper, only one seems to show any real activity—the one devoted to Croton-on-Hudson. It’s preoccupied mainly with what can best be described as “talk between ships,” and a few individuals monopolize this boring back-and-forth chatter. Some of the monopolizing individuals are former Crotonblog users—or rather Crotonblog abusers who later took Crotonblog to task for allowing anonymous postings.
Crotonblog is always interested in statistics, so we compiled a few about the usage of the North County News forums. Here’s the doleful picture:
We were interested in the names used by posters on The North County News forum set aside for Crotonites and their frequency of use. Here are the most frequent posters:
|1.||Maria||183||November 8, 2007|
|2.||Bob Wintermeier||73||November 12, 2007|
|3.||Carolyn G.||59||January 19, 2008|
|4.||Notorc||57||November 12, 2007|
|5.||William b r||42||November 16, 2007|
|6.||Elise Sasso||10||November 22, 2007|
Readers who may be interested in back-fence gossip between this small clique may find tidbits of chitchat there. Frankly, we found it all very tiresome. Since only some 140 days have passed since November 8, it is evident that at least one poster has been working overtime.
Some of the posters are using less than their “true legal names,” the former requirement of The North County News predecessor blog. These are the same people who raised a stink over Crotonblog’s acceptance of both signed and anonymous postings, a common practice on the Internet. For some reason, they are more interested in the identity of the person who made a comment rather than the content of the comment.