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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Question of the Week: Is #3 the charm?

Great, it's my third opportunity to ask a question of the week! My third opportunity to dazzle you with my amazing intellect (hee hee). My third opportunity to find out what is going on in your minds! And I was stumped! Do you think it is easy trying to come up with questions that will provoke answers???? Well, let me tell you it isn't!!!!

So I thought and thought and thought, and dang if I didn't end up with three questions! Since it was my third go at Question of the Week, I just decided I would ask all three. And hopefully, I will get more than three responses!

1. Today is your last day in Lynchburg. Your stuff is all packed up and you have to eat out. Money is no object. What restaurant (restaurants) are you going to hit before leaving town? Maybe there is just one, or maybe you want to have a multiple stop dinner...appetizers here, meal there, dessert somewhere else. So come on tell me! DH's birthday is coming up and I am trying to find someplace take him for a yummy meal!

2. What does it take to get you to comment? I mean do you ever comment? We do have a few people who regularly comment here, but we have hundreds of people stop by every week and say nothing!* What's up with that? Are you afraid what you have to say won't be worth reading? Do you not have an opinion? Is time the issue? Tell me, cause I really want to know! And if time is the problem, that leads me to the third question.

3. Okay, you really like (or dislike) the article you just read on our blog. But you don't feel like writing a comment or all you want to say is good article and you feel like that is being redundant. But think about us poor writer's here! Struggling every day to come up with new morsels to fill your brains with. If you don't tell us what you think, we won't know. So you don't want to fool with writing a comment, then use batBack and vote! You can even vote anonymously if you don't want to join (but there are extra benefits to joining). Click the rate me button, move your mouse over a few star bars, click the button again and you are done. And I will get an idea if you like my stuff or not. So if you don't do that or don't want to give me your feedback, can you tell me why? Please tell me! I want to know!

* We do occasionally get comments that we do not post. Spam comments for example. Or nasty comments. We don't mind you disagreeing with us, but when you get ugly about it, call our mothers names or talk about what low IQs we have, we aren't going to publish that. So do share your opinion, but share it with dignity. Stick to the issues, and leave our mothers footwear out of it:)


At 11:25 PM, Anonymous Mappo said...

1. I would go to Meriwether's. Yum.

2. I comment mostly when I disagree with something (just because it's more fun to debate then to just agree), but will occasionally comment when you guys post up a cool link or site, to show my appreciation (and there have been a bunch of cool ones). However, I take issue with you not posting some of my comments. B O B, in particular, will frequently refuse to publish comments directed at the inaccuracy of his posts (see the ninja thread, and many of his posts citing made-up numbers to attack members of the Lynchburg government). It seems he wants accountability for everyone but himself.

3. Is that a question? Just kidding. I try to vote for the ones I like AND the ones I dislike. One problem I've been having is that sometimes it won't load for me. I use Firefox and occasionally Explorer, and often nothing will load (not the rate me, not the bar with the rating).

On the upside, I do like the new batback colors on the site. It really does make it look more professional.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

Mappo, thanks for answering:) Maybe this time will be the charm for me:)

Disagreement is good. It is good to think through what we believe in and stand for and not to just do something blindly. Just remember, we are people here with feelings too and our shackles get up when we feel like we are being attacked. Disagreements broached in an objective manner are more likely to get responded to.

batBack is supposed to work in Firefox and IE and some others. I know sometimes it gets hung up and sometimes I have noted if I go directly to the article (like through an RSS feed), it doesn't come in. I will pass this info onto Daniel. Thanks too for the comment on the new batBack colors. I can't believe he is trying to blame that yellow he was using on me!!!! I mean, there is a place for yellow and that definitely wasn't it!

Thanks again!

At 11:39 PM, Anonymous Mappo said...

I don't know if this will help or not, but when I go to the main page ( that is when I most frequently run into trouble. If I go over to the side and click on the article in the right hand column, that seems to help it load, as does clicking the "articles for the month" (although it takes forever to load the batback info).

Also, I seem to have more problems when I am on Firefox compared to Explorer.

Thanks for the comments!

At 11:44 PM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

Thanks, Mappo. That does help. Any information we can get helps us to make a better product! Have a good evening!

At 8:02 AM, Blogger Larry Bassett said...

1. La Plaza Alegre at 12th and Main St downtown for the Salvadoran menu items: but I'm not going anywhere just yet.
2. I am pretty singlemindedly involved in the election process at the moment. So, if you say something about the election, I am likely to respond. But when no one else responds, it will probably get kind of old. There have to be more people posting for this to work for me. And more diversity of ideas. And more facts with sources rather than just repeating misinformation. I am interested in the Citizen Journalism concept where bloggers are actually interested into digging into the facts rather than just pushing an opinion.
3. I am just getting to understand batBack. It doesn't give me any immediate feedback as far as I have experienced. And there have to be enough responses to make it interesting and useful.

I have just begun to try to liven up and have only had limited success. Just too few people commenting. I understand how the newspaper must feel with so little real feedback. I have devoted considerable time to an effort that has (so far) shown little results. I will stick with it for a while, but my goal is involvement so I will have to see some of that eventually or change my tune.

And, thanks for using a real name! What a concept!

At 8:20 AM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...


I appreciate your answers. I don't live in Lynchburg and haven't been following the elections at all or the political posts really. But I think you have offered good feedback on that and I appreciate it.

I have a homeschool blog that I write for and I get tons of comments over there, so I was curious to see why people didn't comment much here. That is a community of homeschoolers and I think that is part of it.

When you say you haven't gotten immediate feedback on batBack, can you expand on that comment? For you to get feedback on your own posts, you have to have batBack installed on your blog. Here when you vote, it takes a few moments for the votes to show up. And you are right, the more people that vote, the more useful a tool it is, that is why we are trying to figure out why people don't use it to vote:)

Again, your feedback is helpful and appreciated! Feel free to email me at melissamarkham at takethemat dot com if you have any specific questions about batBack that Dan (DH) or I can answer.

BTW, all the names here are real names, just not complete names:)

At 9:29 AM, Blogger B O B said...

Hi all concerning posts today. There has been a technical problem with the blogger the host we use. I have been informed that there data base has experienced some corruption, and they are working on the problem.

However, this has affected our ability to publish posts. And until they get the problem corrected, we cannot make new entries.

Bear with us, as we bear with them through their difficulties.


Hi, Mappo as far as the Ninja post goes we should both accept the fact that we disagree. If you read my original post carefully you would see I was asking the question if this photo was photo shopped or is it just a bad picture? And I stand by that question as it is up to you to decide. And, yes, I do have my own opinion.

As far as making up numbers I do not do that, or slandering people for that matter. It is true that I disagree with some of the policies of that the city is promoting, and have promoted in the past. My vision is different than their vision for the city.

The only time that I am aware that I made a statement that was in error (concerning numbers) was when I relied on information from two other sources in a response to a comment. Then, I said that the Roanoke budget was larger than Lynchburg's. I have also reported what may have been an error in how large the city budget has grown, using the source of the Lynchburg Area blog for a reference.

It was wrong of me to make that assumption without exploring the facts further. I apologize for assuming things that were not the case.

I generally write three to five stories a day. Sometimes, I have reported on what others have researched. Sometimes their research has been wrong, in most cases if not all, I provide the sources of that research. I am not using this as an excuse. I am human and can make errors. And I am certain I will make more errors in the future, as any of us will do at times.

I have been taking the time to read the city budget in detail, and I have read all the motions in the Mayor's case. In fact, I do a lot of reading. As far as the Mayor goes my reports have been balanced and some have even given even been positive about the Mayor. And, I have been witholding giving an opinion until the trial is complete.

Like many people I have met the Mayor personally. And he is a likable person. Unfortunately, if he is guilty of the charges, he has lost my respect. If he does win his case, I will respect him for that.

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

Boy, I will be glad when all of our comments show up;) Bob, it is hard to always get to the bottom of the truth on the internet. I still am laughing about Daniel believing Don Knotts was a Marine drill instructor! And mainly because for years, I listened to his 'gentle' chiding over my believing so many stories that flowed through my inbox.

The internet has opened up a whole new world where people can write what they please and it isn't always truthful. We are also trained to believe what we read, and because of that, we don't always look for the fine print;)

I have never met the Mayor, but if he is guilty of fraud, I do hope he is punished in the way the law states he should be. To be a mayor and a minister and to break the law in this manner seems extra bad to me.

At 7:50 PM, Blogger Larry Bassett said...

Melissa asks,"When you say you haven't gotten immediate feedback on batBack, can you expand on that comment?"

What I mean is that nothing immedidately pops up when I submit a ranking to tell me how others are ranking the same post. Some online polls immediately let you know where you stand in the gathering tide of information! That can be interesting.

Bob says, "And I am certain I will make more errors in the future, as any of us will do at times." OK, no argument there. But errors are NOT a goal, should be retracted and corrected. (You can add to old posts without changing what was originally said so that future readers will have the benefit of your added thinking/information.) If you are saying "I'm too busy to check everything," I understand. You have to have confidence in your sources and be willing to acknowledge up front who your sources are. I am talking about being pretty serious about what you are putting out as fact. Lots of people will believe it.

I followed up on a story I found on the N&A website about Dodson thinking about running as a republican. It was evidently a misunderstanding. There could easily have been an addendum right with the article to correct this. This is not about revising history -- this is about using the technology appropriately to correct misinformation or errors. For example, Campbell changing the Rainbow fountain question in his online poll without touching the existing answers is not "correcting" his website as he claims. It is adding to misinformation.

I could say more about Citizen Journalism and may in the future. Do people on this blog consider themselves to be bound by any journalistic ethics?

At 8:25 PM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...


I appreciate what you are saying about nothing immediately popping up. I have passed on the comment to DH. If you go to the grey box with the colors on it and click on it, it will show you all the votes. But perhaps DH can get it to work in that fashion.

The other questions you ask are good ones.

Personally, I try to stay away from 'hard news'. I think of myself as the 'fluff writer.'

I do try to share accurate information and I think everyone else on the blog does as well. As our readership grows we need to be aware of our audience and make sure we are presenting as accurate information as possible.

At 9:08 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Hi Larry, I have taken your suggestions and added notes to the posts that are in error. It was an oversight on mine not to do this earlier. If you notice in the orignal posts all my sources are listed. Just follow the links and you will see where I obtain information. It has never been my intention to publish inaccuracies, or repeat the inaccuracies of others. Yet, the possiblity of that can happen. And when it does I will stand corrected.

Some of the figures that I may report some may disagree with, if I consider them accurate I will also leave them stand.

Thanks for the comments.

At 11:50 PM, Anonymous "Con" said...

Melissa, I have commented a few times before here and not had one of my posts published I guess due to it being politically incorrect although it was not argumentative in any way.

I have also had BOB not publish my comment, but repost it saying it came from me but under his own name. What is up with that? Was it because I filled in the "your web page" field and my site is in conflict with this blog?

Then I have had a lot of trouble with just posting comments here with the user-name and password fields not accepting me unless I have a bunch of changes made in my browser settings.

These types of things leaves one feeling like not commenting I guess, but since you asked! Now to see if this one will get accepted.....


At 12:04 AM, Blogger B O B said...

Hi Con, the reason I posted your comment which I did in full is that your comment reached our email but blogger was having technical difficulities and reported your post as an error. I copied your comments and posted them, that was the only work around I had.

I have never denied any of your comments, there was a period of time when the blogger data base died, and was limping for several weeks.

And blogger reported that many comments were lost during that time. This is a free service, but it is not without problems. This morning we could not post at all. Sometimes we can't post pictures, and at other times even our site cannot be accessed. I am sorry if blogger lost some of your comments I have always appreciated them.


At 7:15 AM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...


I was unaware that you were having commenting problems. There isn't anything we can do about Blogger causing people a hard time to comment, except maybe to let them know about it. What browser do you use?

Thanks for letting us know of your concerns and difficultes. These are the things that will help us to do a better job and communication is always good.

At 7:17 AM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...


I was unaware that you were having commenting problems. There isn't anything we can do about Blogger causing people a hard time to comment, except maybe to let them know about it. What browser do you use?

Thanks for letting us know of your concerns and difficultes. These are the things that will help us to do a better job and communication is always good.

At 8:38 AM, Blogger DAN said...


What a great thread.

Leave it to Melissa to get the folks talking.

Thanks for all the batBack comments. I really appreciate them. It looks like I will start working on version 2.0 sometime soon. It might take a few months, but I think I have enough material to make it even better.

Larry -- I can make it so that when you click on the rating bar (the bar with the results of the current article election) it tells you how you stand. If I get around to that, I will post an article on it. Sounds like a cool idea!

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Personally I thought that the blog was not limited to Lynchburg city only, which is what a reader feels when they read all the election stuff. I got so incredibly tired of Lynchburg's policies that we moved as fast as we could to the county. And lo and behold, seems as though lots of folks are doing the same thing!

I think I would hit La Villa's one more time on the way out of town (for good.) Those guys are great! And if I ever came back, I would bring a Carabba's with me.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...


It would be nice to have more information on the surrounding areas. Maybe we need to get some more writers who would want to tackle that:)

At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Mappo said...

As we speak, I published a comment in B O B's price "gouging" article which he refuses to publish. Not coincidentally, it disagrees with his take on the matter. It's frustrating to spend time on a post and to have someone who disagrees with you refuse to air it.

One of the problems is that comments are not published immediately. When I try to post, I have NO IDEA whether it will get posted 5 minutes later, 5 hours later, if B O B will just refuse to publish it because he disagrees with it, or if it got "lost" in blogger.

This is not conducive to interactive feedback.

At 1:50 PM, Blogger B O B said...

Hi Mappo, none of us are on the computer 24 hours per day, sometimes we are not just here to publish your comments. All members of this blog can publish comments on any post. As for your comment on gas gouging there is no record of that here, as far as I can see.

At 2:27 PM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

Mappo, we are not always here to approve posts and I tend not to approve comments unless they are on my own posts. I figure that way the author of the post the comment is pertaining to will be alerted to the fact that there is a comment.

I see your post you made on the gas gouging is up, so Bob must have found it.

You are right it is frustrating to not know when your post will show up. We went to that format when we were getting a lot of spam posts (even with the letter thingy). Maybe we can try to go back to automatic posts again and see what happens. The contributors will have to have a pow-wow about it.

At 11:52 PM, Anonymous "Con" said...

Thanks for the response to my problems BOB and Melissa! This really clears up some of what I thought might be going on behind the scenes on your end, which I find I was mistaken about.

Melissa, I use IE version 6 on Earthlink. As it is now or last night all I had to do was turn off my pop-up blocker (which may or may not have needed to been done). I had the most problems when there was the code thing up and it would just keep giving me new codes to put in unless I changed some settings. I no longer recall what I did to get around that which I could only figure out once.

You all keep doing the good job you are doing. (insert smilie face here)


At 12:00 AM, Blogger Melissa O. Markham said...

Well, it is looking like #3 is the charm! It is great to see all these comments and getting these things figured out!


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