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Friday, November 24, 2017

Breadcrumbs, Call Numbers and Just Average Joe

Credit: Felix Burton
Change. It's rarely easy.

My investigations into the history of BrooWaha continue-- this week a chance discovery of a recent comment on a year-old article breaks open the old vs new divide.

In the classic fairy tale Hansel and Gretel the children leave a trail of breadcrumbs to enable themselves to find their way back through the forest. At the library, each and every item in the collection has a unique call number, which makes it possible to track and locate any item at any time.

The early BrooWaha participants clearly did not know much of anything about web publishing, nor the ways of Google which pretty much every web publisher MUST understand. No one who understands search engines would ever add a three type-written page comment to a year old article, rather than simply publishing a new article which would get spidered and indexed, unlike the comment which may very well pass un-noticed.

It is a sad fact that most websites are not designed by librarians. Hence even the articles in the BrooWaha archives do not have any unique and user-usable call numbers. While there are search features, putting your hands on a particular article is considerably more hit or miss than locating a particular book at the library. And as for the comments, which at times are considerably longer than many articles and often contain fresh news or perspective which would have added greatly to the indexed collection had they instead been written as articles, the comments are not easily located by search.

I sometimes quite enjoy the feature on BrooWaha's front page that shows the five most recent comments posted. These fresh comments are for me often a gateway to older articles and I always enjoy learning more about the history of BrooWaha. And sometimes, a comment is revelatory. On the afternoon of September 10, 2010 I happened to be visiting the front page and noticed a comment that Just Average Joe posted on his July 6, 2009 article, Art Town 2009 House Award. Since seeing and reading (and re-reading many times) that comment, I myself have left breadcrumbs in the forms of links to that article in several different articles and commentaries. I have also quoted some of what Joe said in that comment, although I have not specifically attributed it to him.

I'm honestly not sure what the ethics are of posting someone's comments in a new article. But I do know that generally speaking, once you post something on the Internet, you pretty much lose control over it. And honestly, I think that what Joe wrote and said on September 10th deserves a much wider hearing than it is ever likely to receive buried in the comments on an old post that few current BrooWaha participants are likely ever to read. Below, in bold face type I am posting approximately the first one-third of Just Average Joe's September 10th comment. My response to his comment appears beneath the comment in italic face type.

I left Broowaha for the opposite of why I came, contributed, and involved myself with others I grew to like and respect, and stayed as long here as I did. Broosters Morgana, Craig, Julian Gallo, Garry Crystal, Ed Attansio, and HurricaneDean magically transported and deeply transformed my life, and then my family’s lives. Soon after, we left the Christian faith, have been surfing and dipping into self-improvement stuff, and changed our registration from Republican to Green. No more do we let anyone including an invisible god just tell us what to think, or read, or write, or say, or do, or feel, or be.

Brian Burghart, Editor of the Reno News & Review, wrote “Call me old school, but I believe newspapers must go back to what they did when they provided a high-quality product and service.” Brian listed his ideas for a high-quality newspaper product and service. They are, well-written local stories, in-depth coverage and investigations, insightful commentary, and more. The only print newspaper in Northern Nevada that I thought was providing all that was Brian’s Reno News & Review, which I’ve taken to exclusively reading on-line. I’d heard about this Reno BrooWaha, then I read this Craig B.’s comments he had posted to articles in the Reno News & Review with a link to this Reno BrooWaha. I thought his comments were insightful commentary, and more. I further read this Reno BrooWaha. There I discovered well-written local stories, in-depth local coverage and investigations, insightful commentary, and more.

I say Good Riddance to the old clunky print newspapers, as they are stale and often dead on arrival when they hit the newsstands. Gannett and Hearst just don’t get it and I’m not waiting for them to do so.

Here’s the story here as I now see it. Tom Lewis, Alan Handwerger, Jack Bates, Tony Berkman, and John arrived in my virtual Reno Broowaha neighborhood here with a thud of monumentally sized disdain, and ignorance. I overall call Tom Lewis, Alan Handwerger, Jack Bates, Tony Berkman, and John, The Wrecking Crew. Along with The Wrecking Crew came a lot of Milksops --what Brooster Bill Friday had long ago cynically and correctly tagged with the fitting RER label. The Broosters, and they know who they are, and the now Broos, who are so woefully ignorant of Broowaha’s rich history, and constitutional rights, are plentifully different in worldviews and their expression of it. Broosters are intricate, intellectual, and passionate with complex deep sense of humors, know how to construct a sentence and a paragraph, in other words, tell stories, and carry on a conversation. On the other hand, Broos are uncomplicated, shallow, superficial, ignorant, and vengeful, and do not know how to carry on a conversation.

I do know well what it is to lose an online community that has changed your life. I first became involved in an online community more than twenty years ago. And while some of the people I met in that community remain my friends today, we have all of us for many years mourned the passing of that first community we once shared. As time goes by, I have come to realize that change is the only constant in any online community. While I have great sympathy for anyone who has felt that their online community has been taken away from them, I also know that there is never any going back. Once the "wrecking crew" arrives and makes things over, it is the new replacement look and way of doing things that is the reality.

While website communities are formed by individuals and are strengthened by the bonds those individuals create with each other, websites themselves, for better or for worse, are owned and operated by individuals and corporations. Those owners have every right to sell their sites to someone else, to cease publishing a site or to do pretty much anything else they wish to with their sites, including choosing and limiting who may "speak" on a particular web site and what they may say.

Since your remarks make clear that the earlier participants on BrooWaha preferred to be called "Broosters" I have tried to adopt this usage consistently in the past week or so. It does concern me a bit, Joe, that you seem unwilling or unable to even acknowledge that all of thse "Broo-words" are merely invented language that does not in fact mean anything.


Be sure to return next week, when I will be publishing more of Just Average Joe's September 10th comment as well as my reply and reactions from the people named in Joe's last paragraph above.



About the Writer

Libdrone is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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