Really? On A Day When 27 Die In A Shooting Rampage ChainLinkers Have Time To Be Snarky?

Summary

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When the lead story in the news today is the tragic deaths of 20 children and adults in Connecticut schools occurs the ChainLink is embroiled in a competition for “snakiness”. Is there no shame? Are we really that important that nothing tragic can move our focus from ourselves?

Perhaps so, let’s take a look. We first have the thread on too many threads (with the same subject):

Multiple threads on same topic
Posted by h’ on December 14, 2012 at 12:50pm

Seems like a lot of crabbing about this today. I thought I’d provide my 2 cents:

  • with the lack of functionality of the current internal search, the expectation that one search to see if a topic has already been covered is borderline unrealistic
  • with only 10 topics showing on the main page, and several levels to click down through to get to older threads, it’s asking a lot to expect anyone to search more than the first 3 pages or so, and a relatively new user will likely not even be aware that there’s a way to get to discussion #11 and onward
  • with the current format, a discussion becomes next to impossible for all but very regular users to follow once it breaks onto a second page; virtually nobody is going to read through seven or 8 pages of discussion when coming upon a discussion for the first time before posting. So left to its own devices, a discussion will ultimately reach a point where it’s not much easier to follow than discussion broken over several threads.

I’m not trying to argue for the wonton creation of duplicate threads, but I do think it’s a bit ridiculous to blame the user most of the time. So until we get a working forum interface, which looks like it may be imminent considering the apparent success of the fundraising effort, I would suggest that people try to be as descriptive in their subject lines as possible, but also have a little tolerance for some duplication.

I’m sure nobody else has an opinion on this and the thread will quickly sink, so thanks for reading.

Howard you are quite welcome. Always obliged to drink in the thoughts of the “willfully ignorant”. Ah, but there is one reader:

Reply by Kevin C 2 hours ago
I have an opinion about everything.

I agree that the search function is not what it should be and threads can get posted or re-posted even after someone diligently searches for past discussions of the same topic.

My objection is when someone feels the need to post another version of a thread when 3 out of the 10 threads displayed on the main page are already on the same topic.

I guess the subject of search functions is high in the priority list for the ChainLinkers who despite the carnage in Connecticut are diligently dissecting their own entrails:

Reply by Anne Alt 1 hour ago
+1 With the amount of discussion yesterday about a certain person, it would not have been difficult to scan the first page before posting redundant threads.

That being said, I look forward to the Chainlink upgrade, because the search function really needs a lot of help.

I still wonder why it takes $15,000 to get such a basic sort of thing like a site with a suitable search function up and running but hey, that’s just me. The money is well spent if it gives some kid a chance to gain part-time employment and get these guys to the point where they can find their behinds in the dark. But frankly the upgrade needed for the site has more to do with the participants than it does the software.

Next we have something a bit more high-minded the attempt to drive people to a site to donate money to a fellow cyclist from Berwyn hit by a car and now in the hospital:

Bicyclist critically injured in Berwyn last week needs your help
Posted by John Greenfield on December 14, 2012 at 10:07am

Justin Carver, a good friend of a friend of mine, was riding his bike home from his library job last week when a driver turning left at 26th and East in Berwyn failed to yield. Justin sustained a traumatic brain injury as well as several broken bones. He is still in the ICU fighting for his life after surgery to remove part of his skull and relieve the pressure in his brain.

The driver who hit Justin only had minimum coverage car insurance, which will not cover his medical bills, let alone his lost income. A donation site has been established to help cover short-term expenses for Justin and his wife Kim, as well as future medical bills. I’m sure he would appreciate a show of support for for his wife from the local bike community as she goes through this extremely challenging time. So if possible, please consider making a donation at this site: http://www.gofundme.com/1om2b4
Thanks,

John Greenfield

Now the problem here is that this thread is one of many on the topic of the injured rider. And of course at least one wag has to point this out since we are all aware now of the previous thread on “too many threads”:

Reply by Tony Adams 3 hours ago
Done. I’m glad to see the gofundme link. It seems really difficult for me to write and mail a check.
But there is already a thread for this topic at: http://www.thechainlink.org/forum/topics/cyclist-seriously-injured-…

Multiple threads on the same exact topic water down the conversation and make it more difficult to have a cohesive conversation.

Now being a crass individual I would have “lit this fellow up”. Of course he was nice enough to provide a link to the “real” thread so I guess you cannot be too bummed out. But really…

Nevertheless, John politely replies:

Reply by John Greenfield 3 hours ago
Thanks a lot Tony!

And let us not forget the nasty dastardly John Kass. Once again the ChainLinker version of the “War On Christianity” (apologies to Fox News) erupts as two columns in as many days are released and people on the ChainLink are literally wetting themselves with anger.

So now the Active Transportation Alliance has wakened from its usually semi-comatose state (unless of course John Kass is saying naughty things) and is offering their version of the GOP/Tea PartyTalking Points” on the Urban Cyclists version of Fox News by handing out what are essentially “Non-Talking Points“:

Kass’ Friday column and why sometimes the silent treatment is best
Posted by Active Transportation Alliance on December 14, 2012 at 10:29am

The latest Kass column on biking today is a great example of why sometimes it may be best to ignore. Responding to him or engaging with him may not do anything except to generate fodder for his column, where he can selectively quote you in a way where his followers will nod their heads in agreement with him. Kass is an opinion columnist and not a reporter, meaning he’s just interested in riling up people who agree with him or creating a stir, and not in revealing truth or helping people understand objective information.

If you really feel the need to write: consider a letter the editor that just focuses on your own positive message. Don’t even bother responding to what Kass has to say in your letter — just write your own take on the new bike lanes on Dearborn and elsewhere as if you’d never read his column. Keep in mind most people who read your letter will not have just read Kass’ column, so if you respond to him point-for-point, you’ll be playing into his framing of the conversation.

– Lee Crandell, Active Trans

Ok. Now we all know what to do. And won’t Jack Kass be surprised when he comes to the realization that we are “ignoring” him. Perhaps we should hold a strategy meeting in our online “dome of silence” to further consider our options?

Well the pity party proceeds with the usual “Trained Seals” offering up their wisdom as taught them by their betters:

Reply by Jason 5 hours ago
He’s fighting the inevitable. I don’t see why anyone “in the know” in the bike community would get upset with his antics. But for some reason people have quoted that article in about every thread I’ve read today. Go figure…

Reply by Cameron Puetz 4 hours ago
The absolute worst thing you can do to a guy like Kass is ignore him. He throws temper tantrums because he wants the attention. The minute people stop looking he’ll quit crying about whatever topic and move on to complaining about something else that will sell newspapers.

Also excellent point about not letting the opposition frame your discussion.

Reply by Anne Alt 4 hours ago
Well said. The only way you could have improved on this would be NOT linking to his column and giving him page hits.

Reply by Kevin C 4 hours ago
This is consistent with the new Chainlink policy of posting multiple threads on a single topic without regard for, or reading what’s already here.

So far so good. The pews of the Church of Urban Cycling are filled with “hosannas” and “amens” to the rafters. And suddenly someone forgets his place and offers this assessment:

Reply by Joe Guzzardo 1 hour ago
You may want to nail me up, but I kinda liked the column linked to in the initial post. I rode over the summer along the LFP and I had several close calls. People, pedestrians, as well as too many cyclists, seem to think that the rules of the road, as well as common sense, don’t apply where vehicular traffic is not allowed. Riding along the LFP on a nice summer afternoon, particularly on the weekend, can be very risky, which is one of the benefits of winter riding. Winter riding separates the serious riders from the amateurs. If the city wants me to pay for a licence, as long as it’s not too onerous, then I’m cool with that. Hopefully, at least some of the additional revenue will fund more bike infrastructure.

As I’ve said before, along with rights comes responsibility. I consider it a privilege to be able to live, work and ride my bike in this fair city. One of the founding principles of this great country is no taxation without representation. If we become obligated to pay for our bike riding rights, then we will also have a louder voice.

I’m not a fan of the critical mass rides, yet I agree with what they are trying to accomplish. Does the means justify the ends? No, not always.

My $0.02.

What a “buzz kill”. This is why you really need to vet the folks with funny surnames before you let them on the board. They sometimes bring a perspective that is inconsistent with the group narrative. But hey, all this talk helps us avoid thinking about the 20 children killed in Connecticut and lets us focus on the newly installed bike lanes on Dearborn and our chance to be on the television news tonight.

Viva la movement!