First, some good news. Today's e-mail brought a message from JanetLee, who you may remember requested removal from The Big Blogroll recently because of Lowcountry Blogs' association with Charleston.net. She didn't want her blog associated with Charleston.net because she objected to the site's handling (or, rather, her point was its lack of handling) of what she felt were racist comments.
JanetLee pointed out that since her protest, Charleston.net has added a cautionary note to the stories it displays, and cited examples of comments that indicate a new attitude by the staff. Her conclusion:
I'm taking this as a sign that the powers to be at charleston.net are making a sincere effort to clean up the filth that was being posted on the website.
Since that is all I ever really wanted, for them to take some responsibility for monitoring their own site, I feel like I can have my name back on the Lowcountry Blogs and feel good about being there once again!
So, pretty please, if y'all will have me back. Thanks, JanetLee
Well, duh. Welcome back, Kittens on the Keyboard!
Second, a new addition that's really a new addition: Organic Process Productions is a company run by my friends Mitchell Davis and Farrah Hoffmire. He's a tech/media entrepreneur. She's an artist and filmmaker. Together they're a production company that's doing 21st century media in decidedly interesting ways. Keep up with both of them at OPP Blog.
Finally, some weeks ago I was informed that a decision had been made to move all of our staff blogs from the Typepad accounts where I've been building them since 2005 to a blogging platform that's integrated into Charleston.net. Yesterday I met with a representative of Charleston.net to begin the transition, which really shouldn't take that long.
Some friends of mine and I started up the Postscripts staff-blogging program here in early 2006, back when my official title was "web developer." I left that job to return to a full-time reporting slot in February 2007. Running our blogging accounts isn't part of my job description, but it followed me home and I just couldn't let it go hungry.
All things come to an end, though. The transition from Typepad to Ellington will officially mark the conclusion of my involvement with both the P&C's blogging program and Lowcountry Blogs, which will henceforth be run by the Charleston.net staff.
I love this site, and as a local blogger I look forward to its continued success. Thanks for giving me so many great things to read.
Craft-blogger and pro football fan Vera Hannaford came up with a great idea last week: Why not launch a fantasy football league for local bloggers? We exchanged a couple of e-mails and -- just like that -- Vera had set up the Lowcountry Bloggers League (LBL).
This is an invitation-only league through NFL.com, but that's just to keep random people on the Web from signing up. So here's how this will work: If you want to join the league, e-mail Vera. She'll send out invitations on a first-come, first-served basis.
The LBL is a free, 12-team league. The teams so far: Vera's Crafty Fantasy (Vera, of course), and the Xark City Urban Achievers (me and Janet, who would have to sleep in separate rooms if we were playing in a league against each other). The scoring is yardage, with some bonuses and penalties, and it's a 14-week regular season, followed by a four-team, two-week playoff, with the championship played in Week 16.
Most importantly: The draft is Sept. 1, and it's set up to be automatic. You can read the rules beforehand, if you're into that sort of thing.
Anyway, you're all invited, but only the first 10 will be able to join this league. If there's overflow, let me know and we'll see what our options are.
Personally, I think the idea of a local bloggers league is great because, well... 1. Every single one of us is entirely capable of taking our creative trash-talk to teh Interwebs; and 2. If we feel like it, we can also get together for beers, etc. And big thanks to Vera for coming up with the idea and making it happen.
Here's a complete heartbreaker, which just arrived from JanetLee:
It is with much regret that I write to ask that you remove my blog, Kittens on the Keyboard, from Lowcountry Blogs.
I have been very concerned for some time now over the content of
the comments allowed on Charleston.net's news stories. I realize that
the comments are monitored somewhat, but I feel that allowing anonymous
commenting is wrong. Letters to the editor require a name and address
for a reason: to make people responsible for their words. The comment
section should do no less.
The comments have become overwhelmingly negative and hate filled
as people hide behind fake names and feel free to post things such as
ooooooo lordy, shirley! go puts da pig feet, cornbread and chitlens in da bean pot fo suppa!
And that is one of the milder racist comments I have seen on the site.
I have written to Elsa McDowell about this have received a reply
that leads me to believe that the Post and Courier supports this type
of commenting. By pretending that it is better to let people post this
type of hatred rather than just "thinking" it, by pretending that the
commenting community will police itself, the Post and Courier is
condoning this behavior.
I do not want to remove myself from the wonderful community we have
built here. It breaks my heart to write this letter to you. If I felt
the paper was trying to keep the debate in the comments section above
racist, hate-filled name calling, I would give it some time.
But they aren't.
It's an embarrassment to Charleston and all who live here. And a shame for the Post and Courier to allow it.
I cannot support it. I cannot be a part of it.
As is our policy, we'll remove Kittens On The Keyboard. Sadly. Meanwhile, here are the things I can clarify and the things I can't:
1. Comments on Charleston.net require account registration, so while other readers can't always tell who is commenting, the site has a record of who said what. That gives the site administrators some flexibility in how they respond to inappropriate commenters. Anyway, it's a similar system to what we use on this blog, except the account registration works through the site software instead of Typekey.
2. The software (Ellington) we purchased for Charleston.net in 2006 came with a suite of nicely evolved tools for managing comments. Unfortunately for the purposes of this discussion, I've had no connection to Charleston.net since mid-February, so I'm unaware of how the Charleston.net staff and the newsroom staff have decided to use those tools. However, I do know that anyone who reads an inappropriate comment can flag it, and that racist comments are typically removed.
3. To put myself on the record, even though my thoughts are irrelevant to the company policies: I don't think that name and address should be required for someone to comment on a blog or a news story.
Anyway, that's why you won't find KOTKB on The Big Blogroll now.
Local Bloggers Wanted Charleston.net is looking for local
people to write about what is going on in their neighborhoods. Let
others know what is happening in your world! Click here to e-mail us a sample of what you would write about, your name and a phone number where we can reach you.
To keep things out in the open, an announcement: I've removed American Entropy from The Big Blogroll upon a request from its author, Geoff Miller. I do so with regret, based on this blog's policy of removing anyone, for any reason, if they request it. Geoff objected to the wording of a link to one of his posts. Lowcountry Blogs wishes Geoff and his blog well, and he's welcome to return to the blogroll if he wishes.
Lowcountry Blogs is our attempt to keep up with the comings and goings of an active local blogging community. These days it's written primarily by Heather Solos of Moncks Corner Moments and administered by Dan Conover of Xark!. To have your site added to The Big Blogroll or the other lists here, e-mail us your URL, along with a one-sentence description of its focus, style, etc.
Heather's e-mail: Cantalyssa@aol.com; Dan's e-mail: email@example.com.
On Tuesday, May 16, 2006, the first large gathering of Lowcountry bloggers met in Charleston at a harbor-front bar for the Inaugural Charleston Blog Party.
On the agenda: 1. Drinking; 2. Talking; 3. Posing for pictures with Windviel's incredibly cool Mustang.
Photos by Janet Edens Conover
Adam Boozer A local creative director's commentary on his new life in Charleston.
Afrogeek Mom and Dad Afrogeeks: Black people who love Buffy and Star Wars, who have their own folder at the comic book shop, who thought Living Color (the band, not the show) was the bomb, who always wanted to know where the black elves were in D&D. And now they have kids.
Agricola A politically oriented blog by a conservative Charleston native.
Ask Elsa The public editor at The P&C talks about fairness, ethics, and anything else readers want to know about their newspaper.
Audubon South Carolina A blog by "Swampy," a.k.a. Mark Musselman, the director of education at the Audubon Center of the Francis Beidler Forest. The blog has an environmental focus and documents whatever strikes his fancy during the work day.
Baxter sez... An eclectic general-interest blog by "a professional feminist" and a "white Christian Southern male."
Bessie Gantt's Journal A blog about raising triplets, which is just kind of amazing in its own right, when you consider that a mom could have time to blog while raising triplets.
Bill Hawkins The executive editor of The Post and Courier blogs at Charleston.net.
Eat A Charleston City Paper foodie blog by Jeff Allen.
Fantasy Mashup Fantasy football coverage, commentary, conversation and cartoons from Dan and Janet of Xark.
Feedback File A Charleston City Paper music blog by T. Ballard Lesemann.
Feminists for Colbert Women's and Gender Studies at the College of Charleston LOVES Stephen Colbert. Why? Not only is he a Charleston, SC native, but how great was his segment with Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda
Smoke Free Action Network This is a news source for all people who want to make South Carolina smoke free. Many cities have already enacted legislation on this issue, now it's time for the whole state to go smoke free.
Tartelette aux USA Helene is a baker three days a week, a personal trainer three days a week, has a master's degree in history and is a French woman married to an American man. Guaranteed to make you hungry.
The Back Channel The Charleston City Paper's omniblog has morphed nicely into a daily feed of the latest posts from the outfit's growing stable of staff-written special topic blogs.
The Birds and Fishes As the Curator of Birds and Fishes out at Cypress Gardens, and a huge fan of it too, I decided there should be a site about the weekly world of animal care. I hope to educate, enlighten and maybe add a laugh to your day.
The Blogland of Earl Capps Various topics, but here's a blogger who not only writes about politics, he does some of his own reporting.
The Bushido Way An entertaining mix of politics, sports and some kind of special sauce. Big on baseball.
Educators for Jim Rex Talk education ideas with the campaign of a Democratic candidate for State Superintendant of Education.
POLITICSROCKS.COM A team blog based in Spartanburg devoted to politics, with an emphasis on state politics. The main writer is the son of a Democratic state senator. Team members also produce Sports Talk Rocks, a blog devoted to Palmetto State sports.