July 27, 2005

Woo hoo! 20,000 visitors and counting

Thank you! Thank you very much! Please sit down. You're too kind. Thank you.

It's official, The Inside Dope has received it's 20,000th visitor since counting began on February 16th, 2005. (the blog actually launched a couple days earlier)

In the 157 days since The Inside Dope was launched:

  • Nearly 700 posts have been written (including at least 5 good ones),

  • Readers have contributed over 2,600 comments (not including my own),
and the experience has ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous.

I've learned and observed a lot since this started. Primarily, I was caught off-guard by the intense and unrelenting effort to figure out who I am. This still amazes and annoys me. It's only natural that there would be curiosity about my identity, and some was expected, but how fervent, intense, and borderline obsessive some were (and still are) in their efforts to "out" me certainly was not.

The exertions and lengths to which some went to to try to find out my identity was alternatingly surprising, flattering, disturbing, infuriating, and often very amusing. They simply would not rest until they could think they knew who was running The Inside Dope. (Like it matters.)

This clamor has thankfully died down, especially since I was forced to go to a registered users only format. There seemed to be a handful of people who felt it was their right to know the identity of the person who produces this blog. Perhaps they've become satisfied that they know who I am.

If so, I get satisfaction imagining their smug belief that they've figured it out, since I'm certain they're 100% dead wrong and at best, have no way to be certain. (I've thrown out some misleading clues here and there, especially on the tech end. Maybe they took the bait?) And hey, if it keeps them happy, it's all good. I just hope that whomever they think I am doesn't get too much blame (or credit) for what I do.

And it's always possible that those who obsessed on my identity have simply grown up and realized that when all is said and done, it doesn't really matter who I am. (I'd like to think that, but sadly, I doubt it.)

Another issue which proved difficult was deciding whether to allow comments to be wide open to anyone. I've been forced to implement a registered user only policy, and it's definitely improved things. Perhaps limiting comments to those who at least have the ability to figure out how to accomplish the simple registration process set the bar for admission. It's a very low bar, as it should be, but it seems to have weeded out the idiots. I regret that leaving things wide open for anyone to comment didn't work out, as I don't want anyone who would like to offer rational comments to be excluded.

Despite relenting and going back to an "anyone can comment" format a couple times, I've regretfully learned that leaving the gate wide open really messed things up.

Experience has taught me that some people can't resist the urge to reveal their more idiotic side and tend to devolve into infantile behavior when given an opportunity to actually say something, which is a shame and a disappointment.

HOWEVER... as part of the 20K visitor celebration, I will again throw open the gates of The Inside Dope to everyone who stumbles through the neighborhood as sort of an "Open House" for the occasion.

How long will they stay open? Until I decide I need to slam it shut again and try to mop up the muddy boot tracks, replace the ripped drapery, and clear out the half burned furniture from the fireplace. But I hope I can keep it open for a while. We'll see.

As the humble proprietor of this little blog, I'd like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who has frequented the place and participated in our little experiment. Whether you've agreed with me, or I've made you so aggravated that you've made comments about my parentage, mental capacity, physical appearance, sexual preference, or some combination of the above, I'm glad you at least had an opinion and took the trouble to share it here.

There have been a few periods where I felt so discouraged by things around here that I seriously considered just throwing in the towel. It just seemed to be a waste of time, judging by the reaction of some. I have periods where I feel like my work here sucked so bad I wanted to make it disappear. After all, the only way I have of knowing how I'm doing is traffic and comments, and at times, neither have been too encouraging. But I usually bounce back after a short period of introspection accompanied by wild days long drunken hedonistic binges, and come back to pound away at it, with the hopes that I can improve the quality of it somehow, usually without much success. But I'll continue my efforts to come up with ideas for making the blog more interesting to more folks.

And I'd like to take this opportunity to give particular thanks to a generous reader (whom I'd never met) who stepped up early on and has given me much needed support through their encouragement and too generous donations. They know who they are, and I will always be grateful that someone out there appreciated my efforts and showing it by contributing made it all the more gratifying.

Thanks to all 20,000 of you for getting this thing to where it is. I hope you'll stick around for the ride.


At 7/28/2005 10:08 AM, Blogger DownLeft said...


You started your blog just a few weeks before I started mine, but I always assumed you had been doing it much longer.
I haven't had anyone go out of their way to discover my identity, that I know of. I wonder what I'm doing wrong?

Anyway, thanks for doing your excellent blog and please keep up the good work.

At 7/28/2005 12:53 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

You're always welcome here, and thank you for your excellent contributions. Your blog is a fine one as well and I encourage people to check it out. It's included in my blog list in the column to the right.

Just be glad you don't have people sniffing around. It's a real pain.

At 7/28/2005 1:12 PM, Blogger Champaign American said...

Inside...I agree with your registered comments policy and I had to implement the same rule on my blog last week for the exact same reasons.

BTW: Where's my link at? I'd be happy to trade blog roll links with you...

At 7/28/2005 10:31 PM, Blogger Dissenter said...

Look, Dope, stop your complaining. I called off the private investigators and halted the stake-outs the instant that I determined that you are, in fact, fitness guru Richard Simmons.

I offer you my sincere congratulations and admiration on this, one of undoubtedly many benchmarks on your growing success. If you disseminate interesting and unique perspectives, they will come, and come they have to this wonderful site. I can't thank you enough for the tremendous sacrifices and outstanding efforts. I offer only my hope that this site will continue to be the wonderful bastion of local political insight that it has so quickly become.


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