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  • by Sandor (138) on Monday April 09 2001, @09:59PM (#2241) Journal
    Agreed. Community building is a difficult task and one that I am working on trying to figure out myself. If you look at /. and see the user id's in the 400,000+ range but story replies range from a handful (read the science or Apache sections) to 700+ for a good napster revenue grab/story the percentage replying is very small compared to the lurkers. I think it is important to realize that people are indeed reading the materials in your weblog, even if they don't post. Maybe some are scared(which begs the question: Why?) to do so. On our site we have a handfull of posts, probably less than 50 altogether compared to the 12,000+ page views to date(yeah, I use webtrends and they do a decent job with stats and analysis..for free). I have at least twice that in emails from readers saying 'good article' and thanks for the content etc. Probably about 15 emails are in the way negative range. You gotta shrug those puppies off but it still makes me wonder why bother to attack an author personally via email when the boards could do the same thing (look at the kneejerk posts in JonKatz's articles). We keep posting regardless. Like I stated earlier we as a group are in a unique position; we see and meet a lot of our readers in person at these events that we promote through our site. Most of you will never see or meet your readership in meatspace. Generally speaking the in person feedback is the most rewarding, especially from the parents who read the stories at lunch time. The feed back from the martial arts community has been good so far and that is all the encouragement we really need. There is important info and news we share with them and they get it from us regularly. Much of it probably doesn't merit a response; Seminar X will be on such and such date etc. What is there to reply to in that kind of story? What can an author do to illicit that precious response? What causes a person to take the time and effort to post? What are their motivating stimuli? I wonder how many folks read and don't post because the can't figure out how to do so. To you and I it may seem simple, even trivial, but we (folks running these weblogs) as a whole come from a more technical background and are not the 'AOL is the internet' crowd. You may write an article that is really thought provoking or even contreversal. The risk there being alienation of a portion of readership. I don't know, if you look at it from a 'journalistic' point of view the idea of poking at a chunk of readers shouldn't prevent a story from going up per se. When I figure it out I'll let you know. Maybe there is no single secret other than allowing for time and more readership. There are tons of fast food places in the real world and they all have cutomers even if they are parked across the street from each other. I think as a whole the rise of the weblog as a new media source is kind of like the McD's vs BK analogy. They will flock to whatever suits their fancy. Remember when 50 posts was HUGE on slashdot?