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"More fun at the kid's table": Response to Sandra Stephens (5 July 2009)

I'm wondering if he understands that if you post on OS, you're insufficiently independent--perhaps by definition, not so worthy, or at least not a real writer. I know writers who'll do blogger but would never consider OS -- it would make you too much one of a bunch, never sole proprietor. Old-fashioned understanding of what a real writer's identity is all about. I have a strong hunch that that's it. My sense of Kerry Lauerman right now is that he still likes to flag posts which seem like they could fit in with Salon's front stories, rather than recognize posts which carry more of the indigenous OS flavor/genius. It's more, "look, we have some people here near as good as you guys”; and not, “look, here at OS is emerging THIS sort of communally-inspired charisma." (I'm posting this for my own consideration, too.) Scott's a good guy, but even from someone who helped start up OS, this could be it. Other things that come to mind: It is possible that he thinks OS a bit maternal -- not something someone at WIRED wants to be linked to, not something that comes to mind midst a WIRED interview.

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Julie Tarp: RonP01 IS very much getting at how OS is appraised by many. The old identity of a reporter is sort of masculine -- independent, not communal. OS does not fit that old model at all. It will come across as gossipy -- not a knitting-group, but something akin. What it is is casual, supportive, friendly -- an environment which could prove inducive to innovative, playful stuff, but also to the development of good friends, good living. Scott should have had confidence in it. And we should not look at it as Salon's lesser site, but as Salon opening up to something more. Lead the way, OS.

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About the ad stuff: What some of us didn't like was how it was presented. You don't see ads on the page one day, and then turn to Kerry's post about how we can make money here too!, and not think he suspects we lack a wee bit of integrity. If he was talking to Salon regulars, he wouldn't spoken to us as if we're the infomercial crowd. My disappointment with Kerry there was akin to yours with Scott, here. Also, I like that some would still fight to keep OS as ad free as possible: I would respect a site, where just to keep the ad pollution down as much as possible, to keep up its communal, wholesome feel, good numbers who could be making money of ads, chose not to do so. Ads were coming; but they came after we had a sense of what it was to be in an ad-free environment: it was a good thing that many here genuinely were concerned that ad money would encourage a different crowd, cheapen the current crowd, weaken the communal feel. Again, the sense provided was that ultimately, Kerry couldn't care less about the sort of community dynamics that were developing, because he too is Salon independent, not OS bowed ("this is a business, after all" -- something he would never dare say about Salon [hey guys, we're not ultimately in this to fashion a better country, to beat back rightwing advance -- it's about the sweet green . . .])

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Sandra, I said that it would be assessed as maternal, even though, after considering for a bit, I knew that it might well even be 50/50 here. It's domestic here. People will show one another their cat/dog pictures, sometimes their boobs -- or some semblance of them -- quite readily. I like that. But, in an old-fashioned sense, that makes OS not serious. It makes it gossipy -- for the "women." Personally, none of my friends who publish only with the "well regarded," who would feel cheapened, dirty, if they associated with OS, strike me as all that mature -- they're reporters, writers, in part, for defensive purposes. (Even wonderful people like Joe Conason, who would never, ever consider posting on a social site like this, regardless of how reputable - -are a bit immature, me thinks.) I maintain that the best writers, best people -- friends -- could well emerge out of OS, if the friendlier, better adjusted, continue to find their way here. I think we should, for the post part, forget about what WIRED knows, what the NYT thinks. Let's go for it -- have fun, take chances, be a bit clueless: be the "free range" kind of community that everyone's now looking to cultivate but fear have lost all sense as to how one goes about creating it.

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Hey Liz, lets hope that those "notable" writers, the ones who "at best [see] OS [as] [. . .] an outlet or an incubator or an experiment," aren't paraded too often on the cover. For how can you take a "magazine" seriously that would praise most those "sober enough to not take it too seriously"? Visit OS! -- here you'll find a bunch of scrambling would-be EPers, and a few who can write, who stop by for a piss and a drink, and to try out a few one-liners before heading back to the “show.”

Personally, I'm with all the "kids" up for some Looney Tune, Alice in Wonderland, kid's table redemption, here at OS. Should draw in a few, thanks maybe in small part to the "sanguine," "mature," "monetizing," "marketeering," "adult" space you've helped summon-up as counterpoint.

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Kerry's comment on gender is disappointing. Yeah, you made use of a situation here to demonstrate your PC nature, and to denigrate those of us (i.e., me -- Patrick McEvoy-Halston -- RonP01, and mishimma666) who were trying to provide an honest assessment of our feel of OS at this point (perhaps we weren't, as you insultingly and too hurriedly/eagerly assessed it, so much "immediately trying to denigrate it, " as we were -- from our experience posting here -- fairly trying to assess it), and help stifle a worthwhile discussion through invocations of the PC police. (A person apparently denigrates Oprah, if, after watching many episodes, decides that it has the feel of a show that would appeal largely to women: THIS, is Reason?) For the record, again, I like this site -- a lot -- and feel very comfortable here.

Link: Wherefore Open Salon (Sandra Stephens)

* Marvelous line said by Dr. Spudman 44.

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