Of comment numbers and my buddy Jim

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian editor

Published:

 
photo

A few weeks after we switched from anonymous story comments on our website to Facebook story comments, I noted I was pleased with how it was going.

A few folks didn’t buy it.

The “Lou must be kidding” comments have continued in our forums — which still allow anonymous comments. Here’s an example:

“Are you that proud to realize you, and the paper you represent made a big, BIG SCREW UP?

“Don’t take my word for it Lou, look at the numbers. But hey, bask in the glory for being … a screw up.”

Easy, big fella.

Truth is, we do look at the numbers. And they’re good.

Web Editor Libby Tucker sent this out a month ago: “We’re getting close to reaching the same number of comments under Facebook that we had under our old system. I’m estimating it will only be about three months after the launch that we surpass the number.”

I asked our IT folks for the latest figures and it now looks like we’re just about even with comments now compared with before Facebook.

You’re welcome to fight progress. Your choice. But as a mentor once told me: “You can get on the bus or you can get off the bus. But for goodness sake, don’t get in front of the bus.”

• • •

So I’m doing my thing here at The Columbian and I find a few minutes, so I decide to ship an email to my good buddy, state Rep. Jim Moeller.

Fair to say, Jim and I don’t agree on a whole lot of stuff. In fact, I feel he’s wrong on most things. Ten months ago, I had coffee with Jim and told him I thought he was “hopelessly lost.”

His response?

“I’ll save you a seat.”

How do you not like this guy? So I send him this email:

“And how are you this fine day?”

Nothing more. That was it.

Jim replies.

“Good, Lou. Unfortunately inside. And you?

I reply. “Very well thank you.”

Now, I’m sure there’s an interesting study someplace — that taxpayers probably paid for — that looks at what people’s brains do when they expect something but get something else.

In this case Jim clearly didn’t expect to get some email simply asking how he was doing. Certainly, I must have been up to something.

Almost three hours go by and Jim could take no more.

“OK, Lou I’ll bite. As it’s been said ‘sometimes a cigar is just a cigar’ and I’ll admit, this business has made me a bit cynical. But I’m thinking you have another reason other than to just say ‘yo’ for asking how I am ‘this fine day.’

“Hopefully, I’m wrong; :^)”

I couldn’t resist:

“Why should this be any different: Of course you’re wrong. ;-)”

Jim ended the email conversation.

“LM*O!!!”

Jim is still hopelessly lost. But I hope he’s doing well on this fine day.

Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505 or lou.brancaccio@columbian.com.