Weekly Wide Web

Comment Changes

In this space on May 17 ("Love/Hate Relationship"), I pondered my feelings about our most-prolific commenters at TucsonWeekly.com, one of whom had left 15 percent of that month's comments.

Well, since then, we've banned the people who had been our most-frequent commenters, largely because they insisted on constantly violating our comments policy by leaving remarks that contributed nothing to the conversation—non sequiturs that seemed to exist only as part of an echo chamber for people who liked seeing their every thought reflected back to them on a computer screen. I (perhaps erroneously) believe that their nonsense discouraged people who are actually interesting from participating. Time will tell, I guess.

The real problem is trying to figure out who the comment section is for, exactly: the commenter, or the reader? If we're trying to create a space where anyone can have their say, or the goal is simply to generate clicks to appease the people who care about such things, then it would make sense to let anarchy prevail. However, maybe the comment section should be directed toward the reader—to be viewed an extension of the article itself, where people who actually have useful information to contribute can come and provide crowd-sourced footnotes to the author's work. This does happen occasionally at the Weekly, and I'm ecstatically happy when it does.

I'm looking into changes on our end that might help to that end—for example, highlighting the best comments instead of the most recent. Meanwhile, if you want to come and help start the conversation, it will help everyone out, including me.

The week on The Range

We shared Jim Nintzel's extended interview with U.S. Senate candidate Richard Carmona; shared the news that those proposing an extension to the one-cent sales-tax increase are filing paperwork to put it to a vote; tried to make sense of the U.S. Supreme Court's SB 1070 ruling, and kept up with the reactions of local politicians; made an effort to see what state Sen. Al Melvin thinks of our publication (still waiting for that response, Cap'n!); braced ourselves for a parade of ugly PAC-funded political ads; followed the fallout from Sam Stone's apparent cross-party assist to the Barber campaign; and discussed the highlights of the week's political events with Carolyn Cox and Jeff Rogers on Arizona Illustrated's Political Roundtable, with your host, Jim Nintzel.

We tried to understand why Facebook feels the need to fix problems no one actually has; let you know that another national burger chain is coming to town; wondered why someone would need a Christian version of the iPad; noted that V Fine Thai downtown added a bunch of options for vegetarians and vegans; looked forward to two forthcoming local pizza joints; made an effort to resolve our complex feelings regarding LeBron James; experienced something close to pure joy while watching a YouTube video featuring a magic whale; shared photos from Sky Bar's summer-solstice celebration; relived our youth by previewing a Hot Wheels-themed stunt; cringed at one tale of homemade sushi gone wrong; revealed that a local author's book will become a movie in 2014; bought our tickets to see Wilco; watched a new episode of a local-beer-celebrator's YouTube series, Hopped Up; and celebrated the run of Matt Groening's "Life in Hell," which will disappear from print in a few weeks.

Comment of the week

"One of my favorite lines: 'I'm sorry you got angry when I told you how stupid you were,' and, in fact, this line contributes to the success of my 16-year marriage."

TucsonWeekly.com commenter "Kim Abbott McCarthy" has Matt Groening to thank for avoiding divorce attorneys and paperwork ("RIP, Life in Hell," The Range, June 20).

Best of WWW

We're thankful to have a strong connection to the University of Arizona School of Journalism, and over the next couple of weeks, we'll be sharing some of the best multimedia work from their programs, at TucsonWeekly.com. This is a great arrangement for us, because we get the opportunity to share stories from college students with a fresh perspective on Tucson personalities and news—and someday, when these people are Pulitzer Prize-winners, we'll have their early work to exploit for our benefit. Watch The Range for Tucson Weekly TV features from these up-and-coming voices.