As the Tucson Weekly's web producer, my job is essentially to get people to come to TucsonWeekly.com (which you are, regularly, right?), so I spend an absurd amount of time staring at Google Analytics, trying to figure out how to increase our online audience.
Like people at most online publications these days, we try to engage with readers by allowing comments—and for traffic purposes, the more comments, the better. People who leave comments tend to come back and keep up with the conversation, which means another few page views—and since comments are up 55 percent over last year at this time, that is adding up to more traffic.
What I wonder, however, is this: Can someone actually comment too much?
We don't have a cap on the number of comments someone can leave as long as the comments are vaguely original, so there's a chance that someone can dominate the arena just because they're bored (or whatever else spurs someone on to be on pace to leave 400 comments over a six-month period). The question is: Where does the line fall between someone who comments frequently, perhaps conversing with our other users, and someone who discourages others by dumping their thoughts everywhere, with little to actually say?
While I'm thankful that people want to participate on our site, when one person has left 15 percent of this month's comments so far, perhaps that means we need to rethink how we're managing our comments.
The week on The Range
We updated you on Tom Horne's battle against Mexican-American studies; scolded Jesse Kelly for his loose association with the facts; lamented the ends of Sal Baldenegro Jr.'s campaign and the effort to recall Michael Hicks; tried to figure out what Mitt Romney is so cranky about, and what Paul Babeu is thinking; laughed at the ludicrous conclusions drawn by Bristol Palin; watched even more ads in the Congressional District 8 special-election race; looked at the world through the strange lens of the Fox Nation; gave Sen. Al Melvin a moment to share his love for Russell Pearce; and discussed the highlights of the week's political events with Rodd McLeod, Peter Hershberger and Sam Stone on Arizona Illustrated's Political Roundtable, with your host, Jim Nintzel.
We suggested you catch Gary Paul Nabhan's talk at Antigone; headed down to Elliott's on Congress for vodka and bacon; looked forward to the new menu at Playground; and wistfully gazed at the final menu for legendary restaurant Janos.
We wished a happy birthday to David Byrne; tried to figure out where we're going to get the money together to buy Coachella tickets; mentioned that you should think about opening your home to a shelter pet; mentioned a Kickstarter campaign by a local documentarian; previewed a possibly blasphemous comic by local author Eric Esquivel; thanked Arizona rapper Mouse Powell for remembering that our fair city actually exists; shook our heads at the rapidly expanding cost of prom night; let you know that you could be an extra in Atlas Shrugged: Part 2—Market Harder, if that's your thing; gave up on trying to figure out the Maya calendar; studied a guide to surviving the forthcoming robot apocalypse; bought our tickets to see Def Leppard at AVA; and worried about the kid seen breastfeeding on the cover of Time.
Comment of the week
"BTW, you nitwits need to get together and decide if it's Dumbocrat or Dumbacrat. You clowns lose all credibility when you can't even get your childish insults right."
—TucsonWeekly.com commenter "Pete Hahn" just wants some consistency ("Jesse Kelly Just Making Stuff Up as He Goes Along," The Range, May 12).
Best of WWW
It's new-intern time again here at the Tucson Weekly, as our summer batch of journalism students takes its temporary place in alt-weekly land. Since these interns are responsible for multimedia pieces and a number of blog posts, they can generally use ideas of what to cover. Instead of grumbling on Twitter about what we do and don't cover (we see you—don't think we don't), if you're aware of some fascinating bit of Tucson culture that has cruelly remained underreported, drop a line to our web producer, Dan Gibson (firstname.lastname@example.org), and he'll pass the best tips on to the college crew.