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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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108 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Thank you, CK!Report

  2. Avatar Damon says:

    Will fixing this issues bring back my deleted “moderated” posts that no one, still to this day, has explained to me?Report

  3. Avatar North says:

    Thanks CK, you’re the cat’s pajamas!

    As for what I’d like to see change:
    More Russel (maybe the League should spring for babysitting)
    More Rose (maybe the League should spring for babysitting)
    More Ladies contributing articles.
    More everyone else.
    We might do well to get a regular conservative contributor to help balace out our ideological makeup. Yes I know those’re hard to come by.

    Also we were talkign about a daily thread post.. might be useful. Also I have the crack-shakes from the Dish being gone something fierce.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to North says:

      As much as I’d love to have more Russell and Rose, I’m afraid that, while they might pop in occasionally, bigger, more widely read, and better paid gigs have ripped them from our grasps. However, if you are on the Twitters, I highly recommend following them, as they will link to their writing over at the Daily Beast and such, as well as to other fun stuff.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Chris says:

        Well that is simply richly deserved and the only rational response is to say “good for them”; another star in the OT’s esteemed constellation of alumni.

        Alas, I don’t use twitter.. I’ve never been able to stand it. I can’t get the saying “You can’t spell twitter without spelling twit” out of my head.

        Also it has too few characters for me.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Chris says:

        I’ve decided it has its uses. Meaningful exchanges of ideas are not on that list, but broadcasting links to longer articles is something it’s good for.Report

      • Avatar kenB in reply to Chris says:

        Yes, I don’t use RSS so Twitter is a convenient way to see when a writer I like has posted something new. I basically don’t ever tweet anything myself — there’ve been as many spam tweets sent from my hacked account as genuine ones written by me.Report

  4. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    Ideas for making the site better:

    – Make it possible to edit comments, if that’s do-able

    – Adding subject tags for articles (both current and past) would be very handy when searching for discussions on a particular topic. Adding a calendar so you can search for everything posted on a given day/week/month would also be convenient.

    – More articles by people other than white guys would be a good thing for the range of opinion and knowledge and awareness on the site. (Though pushing for that feels a tad hypocritical of me, as I’m female and am not volunteering to do frequent articles.)

    – In contrast to North, I don’t think this site is short of conservative commentators; it seems to be predominantly libertarian-leaning to me, with most of the members being social liberals and economics conservatives or centrists. A regular contributor who’s economically left-wing would be a good addition. More coverage of security-state and military issues (e.g.: surveillance, the CIA spying on the Senate oversight committee, drones) could be good; I get most of my writing on those issues from Conor Friedersdorf over at The Atlantic, but OG has the advantage of a comments section that generally enhances articles rather than detracting from them.

    – Less of Saul complaining about how unfair it is that people think he’s a snob just because he has better taste than them. 😉Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to KatherineMW says:

      “Make it possible to edit comments, if that’s do-able”

      I suspect, to make that doable, commenter registration would be required (someone can correct me if I’m wrong).

      If that’s the price, is it one you are willing to pay?

      Me, I don’t like registration, it discourages lurkers popping in for the occasional comment. Which is why some sites do it, because they feel it also discourages trolls, but 1.). You can never stop dedicated trolls entirely and 2.). I feel it’s not worth it in terms of the reduction in conversational spontaneity.

      But then I don’t have to spend all my time banning trolls and moderating threads, so I would say that.

      That enough pros and cons? 😉Report

      • Avatar kenB in reply to Glyph says:

        So we’re all agreed that we’re going to ignore Tod’s implicit suggestion that we hold off on discussing this stuff until the more formal request for ideas? 🙂

        Re registration, I don’t know what WordPress allows, but there are lots of sites that support both registration and anonymous comments — best of both worlds?

        Re content and commenters, there are going to be a lot of conflicting opinions, so I’m hoping that the shadowy cabal that runs this place is currently trying to better define what sort of place they want this to be.

        By the way, if we do create a daily open thread and if we want a fixed name for it and if we want some other candidates besides “our daily thread” (which is good, I like it) and if it’s OK to steal another site’s idea, the latest SlateStarCodex open thread is entitled “Tragedy of the Comments”, which I think is fairly awesome.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Glyph says:

        FTR, Tod is totally cool with all suggestions here AND later. I am taking notes.

        If anything, we need to ask these things more often.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Glyph says:

        I prefer the current system over registration.Report

      • Avatar kenB in reply to Glyph says:

        Fair enough, Tod. One suggestion i have is to return to having sub-blogs and a clear distinction between them and the front page — my memory is that there was something of a shared sense back then that front-page posts needed to be more thought-out and less ideologically parochial, and it made the main site more accessible to a wider range of commenters while also giving various spaces for having a conversation specifically within a particular ideological framework.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Glyph says:

        I prefer the current system over registration, as well. If we went registration-only, I’d probably end up dropping the site from my list of regulars. Aside from preferring the ease of open commenting, I’ve found that sites get far narrower when they move to a registration-only format.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to KatherineMW says:

      I’d agree Katherine that there is a strong libertarian contingent here but I am of the mindset that libertarian =/= conservative (though granted conservatism copies libertarianism blatantly for at least their surface policy on economics). I do think we’re short on movement conservatives though that seems part of a general phenomena of conservatives retreating into their own internet ecosystems ceding the wilderness to conservatrolls, libertarians and everyone to their left.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to North says:

        On economics, I find conservatives and libertarians essentially the same, hence my description of the site as economically conservative/socially liberal (and generally pro-civil liberties on police/security issues).Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to North says:

        By “movement conservatives” do you mean party-line Republicans?

        We’ve got notme, and I don’t think more comments of that flavour would add much.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to North says:

        Well, especially here, with most of the libertarians being soft libertarians who understand a welfare state has to exist and all of the neoliberals, the majority of discussion on economic matters tends to circle around, “well, I guess some stuff has to be done by the government, since we haven’t figured out a good way to privatize it yet,” even if the policies might differ slightly.

        As for movement conservatives, I think the fact that Tim Kowal’s largely disappeared is proof that even a seemingly smart guy like Tim can’t deal with having 90% of the responses to his posts being negative, so I doubt that any other movement conservative would go any better here, especially if they tried to defend the modern GOP beyond economically. I mean, I don’t think a poster trying to explain why it’d be a good thing if 16 year old’s who came to America when they were three months old get sent back to Honduras.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to North says:

        Being the token is very limiting, not only in terms of positions but also in terms of topics. Constant negative feedback can get old pretty fast, too.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to North says:

        Yeah. It’s hard to recruit and retain anyone outside the consensus. (True of economic leftists, too, in addition to the more conspicuously absent conservatives.)Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to North says:

        @katherinemw

        Well I’m a hard core libertarian and I see lots of differences between conservative (republican) and libertarian economic thinking.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to North says:

        Damon – Would you care to elaborate?

        To me it feels like both conservative and libertarian economic views favour less government action; more privatization of services; more deregulation; a view that growth and equality are conflicting aims and that economic policies should focus on increasing growth; and a general tendency to idealize ‘market’ mechanisms.Report

      • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to North says:

        @katherinemw

        To me it feels like both conservative and libertarian economic views favour less government action; more privatization of services; more deregulation; a view that growth and equality are conflicting aims and that economic policies should focus on increasing growth; and a general tendency to idealize ‘market’ mechanisms.

        I think that’s mostly right, but I do think conservatives are more willing to accept and promote protectionism, restrict immigration (which is indirectly an “economic” policy as well as other things), and restrict “immoral” market transactions (gambling, porn, drugs).Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to North says:

        @katherinemw

        Gabriel’s post below our comments is quite succinct when talking about conservative and libertarian positions, but there are many nuances in the differences. Also, remember that there’s a difference between Republican and conservative positions. Republicans may talk to the voters like conservatives but in reality they are just a bunch of statists like liberals and Democrats: they want to use the power of the state to tell/force you to do something they want you to do. The manifestation of what they use the state’s power on is the only real difference. Generally the differences has been left = social areas, right = military/foreign adventures.

        Libertarians, in general, abhor the workings of the state, viewing any action it takes as violence against individuals and rejecting the thinking that the state, or a group of people, have the right to tell other people how to live their lives. As a result, they reject concepts of illegal drugs, taxes, market regulations, etc. and put the onus of responsibility upon the individual not the state.

        Sorry if that was a bit rambling….I’m at work :0Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to KatherineMW says:

      I would second

      “More coverage of security-state and military issues (e.g.: surveillance, the CIA spying on the Senate oversight committee, drones)”Report

  5. Avatar George A. Chien says:

    Some small things:

    I don’t care if postings have pictures or not, but I don’t understand why, if they exist, they show only on the home page and not when you open a post. Often in the post or in comments people reference the picture, but one has to go back to the home page to see what they’re talking about. If there are going to be pictures, they should appear on the post itself.

    Please do away with comment nesting. It’s very annoying to have the columns grow narrower so quickly, especially when reading on a smart phone. Many times I am trying to puzzle out a comment which is a series of individual letters one beneath another.

    rot13 should be banned in this universe and in all universes that may exist. Short of that, it should be banned here. It’s insanely annoying. One has to open another window, copy, paste, flip back and forth, which is tedious on the computer, and just impossible on the phone. And its very existence encourages people to encode “spoilers” about books published years ago, movies released in the previous century, and even their own speculations and imaginings, which are not even spoilers at all! Ask me sometime how I really feel about it ;).

    As I said, small things. Over all, a great site, and one which I have only see to grow better over the years I’ve been reading.Report

    • @george-a-chien You might have created a short list of things I dknt think I’ve heard anyone bring up behind the scenes. And people have brought up a LOT behind he scenes. So thanks for this.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Tod – Is there a way to enable spoiler tags on the site – such as [spoiler]text[/spoiler] or text – that will white out the spoilered text and let people view the text by highlighting it? That’s how a lot of sites or forums operate, and it would make things simpler than using rot13.Report

      • Avatar Guy in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        On the useful tags note, can there be some pinned post that says something along the lines of “heres a bunch of nifty things you can do in comments” and then explains stuff like block quotes?Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        I like that idea, Guy. I still don’t know how to do block quotes or hyperlinks on this site. Maybe put the notes of that sort in the “About” or “Commenting Policy” sections.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to George A. Chien says:

      @george-a-chien – Hey George, RE: rot13, not sure what is available for mobile, but on your desktop browser you can get plugins that let you easily right-click/translate rot13 and other cyphers “live” right on the same page, both directions (English-cypher, and back). I use LeetKey in Firefox.Report

      • Avatar aaron david in reply to Glyph says:

        @glyph
        What is this LEET key you speak of? How do I get one?Report

      • Avatar aaron david in reply to Glyph says:

        My only thoughts would be to add the number of commenters per article on the front page, do not have comment editing (if someone wants to change something or make a note, just add another comment) and move the gifts of gab below Off the Cuff (this would be easier for mobile viewing.)

        And thank you CK!Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Hey @aaron-david , I’m not at my computer so I can’t walk you through the actual steps, but in Firefox (and I am guessing in Chrome) you go under your Tools/Add-Ons menu, and search for LeetKey. Install the plugin and (probably) restart your browser and from then on, just highlight text you want translated, right click it and you’ll have a little menu of translation possibilities (of which rot13 is one), and it’ll translate for you.Report

      • Avatar aaron david in reply to Glyph says:

        Cool, thanks @glyph !Report

    • Avatar kenB in reply to George A. Chien says:

      I agree re the pictures. Re rot13, I agree that it’s a PITA to have to go to another site, but my preferred solution would be to have this site incorporate a rot13 encoder/decoder in some way.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to George A. Chien says:

      There are browser plugins that let you highlight a ROT13’d section and pop up the translation. Much more convenient than flipping back and forth (even if your eyes are as bad as mine, and reading the popup can be a bit of a struggle.)Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to George A. Chien says:

      Lest it be seen as a universal request… I’d see the removal of nesting as a serious blow to the comments section.

      In fact, I’d request that we increase the nesting by 1… in the last re-do, y’all corrected the infinite nest, but I think it would be better if the nesting allowed for slightly more side-notes – not a lot more, just one more level.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Marchmaine says:

        I’d like to split the difference…like you, I like nesting (even more of it)….WHEN I have the screen real estate for it.

        But on mobile, as George Chien says, it quickly results in having to try to read English words in a Chinese single-column-top-to-bottom-characters way.

        So, we may need a “mobile” option, much as I hate the OTHER site reformatting that often comes when you implement a site for mobile.

        If there was a button to just turn nesting on/off in users’ views, that would solve the complaint I think.Report

      • The limited nesting would be less of an issue if every comment had a reply button and linkback.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to George A. Chien says:

      I’ll second the rot13 complaint, although I must admit I have used it once or twice.Report

  6. Avatar Chris says:

    More baby elephants. I don’t care how we work them in, but it is absolutely imperative that we do so.Report

  7. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Quick note: I am on the road, so if you leave a suggestion and I don’t comment directly, know this is why. I will be taking all to this down when I return.Report

  8. Avatar switters says:

    Ability to see how many comments there are on a given article (like for the articles in off the cuff). I don’t do RSS and im limited in how frequently i can refresh my pages due to me browsing at work. And I really like reading the comment conversations. So knowing if one is happening on a particular article without having to click on that article would be helpful for me.

    There should be an “older” link for Off the Cuff articles, just like there is for gifts of the gab. Once the off the cuff article disappears due to x number of new off the cuff articles, the only way i know how to find it is using google-fu, which is, for me anyway, a pain in the ass.Report

  9. A few tidbits I feel comfortable discussing:

    1) Registration would not be required to have comment editing. Comment editing can be made possible by having a voluntary log-in system, or by way of a time window. These have been brought up, but no decisions have been made. There are upsides, but also downsides.

    2) The comment counts and author names will likely be addressed prior to any revamp.

    3) The pictures are not a technical issue. That’s something that post authors need to do. It’s been brought up, but compliance on this matter is difficult. We can bring it up again on the list, though.Report

  10. Avatar James Pearce says:

    I have a troubled relationship with the blog, so take this with a grain of salt:

    Re: Lurkers/newbies/outsiders – You have created a great community here, but it’s not very open or welcoming. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen folks, mostly Todd or Jaybird, throw some welcoming comment to a new name. “Thanks for commenting, come back soon!” And that’s nice.

    But it doesn’t seem to overcome the generally unwelcoming, clique-y vibe that keeps the lurkers lurking and the same score of commenters coming back. I get the sense that some efforts have been made to address that kind of thing, but maybe it’s time to consider making OT a more closed system.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to James Pearce says:

      @james-pearce

      I don’t think we are cliquey per se but I see what you mean. There seem to be two types of commenting available on the Internet.

      1. An unmoderated free for all where you need to do a lot of weeding to find the good stuff. The Slate and Salon comment sections come to mind. So does Gawker.

      2. Sites with a small group of dedicated commentators. This has the cliquey feature but also tends to have more substantive commentating and very little trolling (well we have some but everyone knows who the trolls are). Sites in this view are us, LGM, Crooked Timber, etc.

      I am not sure of a middle-ground that is completely inclusive but I would also like more regular commentators.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to James Pearce says:

      @james-pearce

      Can you be more specific about A) what contributes to the cliquey feel and/or B) how we can resolve it?

      I would agree that this is an issue but as someone who is within the clique, it is hard for me to know what to do about it.

      Thanks.Report

    • Avatar James Pearce in reply to James Pearce says:

      @kazzy @saul-degraw : Upon further reflection, “clique-y” is not the right word. That conjures up images of high school cool kids and that’s not really what I meant.

      I meant that you guys are such a tight-knit group that it can be somewhat intimidating to be a lurker or a sometimes commenter. You have formed relationships with each other that you just don’t have with the “average blog commenters” who follow some link or come by just to see what’s up. I’ve been lurking here for years, commenting sometimes, but I’m a long-time participant in the community over at OTB (Nod to Pinky and Will) and I can tell you we don’t have that over there, those relationships. That’s unique and special and you should hold onto it.

      As for how to resolve the problem, if that is what it is, I’m not even sure you need to. You should make those relationships the point of the site.

      On a technical level, I think you should consider scrapping that comment side bar thing. It’s too provocative. Nested comments can be confusing and hard to read.

      A Sullivan/Boing Boing-style endless page of text would be cool, with a bit of a teaser and a click-thru for the full post. A churn of content, which you guys could pull off, would make policing the comments sections easier and extended, boring arguments more difficult.

      Also, everyone should stop using the word “fish” euphemistically. Okay, so I’m kidding about that last one.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to James Pearce says:

      @james-pearce OTB is a place of malice and thoughtlessness. No one should try to duplicate it, except maybe psychiatric teaching hospitals.

      To your larger point, everything has tradeoffs. Ordinary Times has a group of like-minded friends, and if the cost of that is a little too much like-mindedness, it’s worth it. There’s no deliberate exclusivity here.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Pinky says:

        I have a troubled relationship with OTB like Pearce has with this site. That said, there are roughly two primarily-political websites that I have participated in (three if you could Glittering Eye), and OTB is the other one. I swear it off every now and again, but (albeit in small doses) I’ll take it over most of the alternatives.Report

      • Avatar James Pearce in reply to Pinky says:

        pinky “OTB is a place of malice and thoughtlessness.”

        It’s not, but I understand why you would have that impression, considering how unnecessarily mean that blog has been to you.

        saul-degraw

        Re: day jobs. Sure, me too. But I’m to believe this blog community can produce pages and pages of comments, but not pages and pages of posts? My friend, you doubt yourself.

        At any rate, I’m talking more about form than output.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Pinky says:

        To James point:
        I’d like more explanation/follow-through on guest posts.
        If something’s not getting posted, I’d like to know why
        (I have written two guest posts in the past year for the main
        site, and neither was posted…).

        Also, if you want more out of guest posts than what passes for “normal posts” around here,
        It would be nice if you’d elaborate on it (not just in comments — somewhere on the site itself).

        [Much of what I see in “normal posts” around here is “Hey, I found this link!” Let me tell you about what I feel about the link.]Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to James Pearce says:

      @james-pearce, this site feels like a real community to me in a way that other sites just don’t foster. It’s like moving into a small town. Yeah, a lot of us know each other fairly well (as well as you can really know someone from purely online interactions) and you naturally feel like an outsider at first. But the overwhelming majority of the regulars are genuinely decent people and the principals are always welcoming to new and interesting voices.

      It’s worth putting in the effort.Report

    • Avatar Zac in reply to James Pearce says:

      FWIW, I like the tight-knit nature of this place; it makes for much more enjoyable reading. And while I also fit the “longtime lurker, rare commenter”, I’ve never felt at all unwelcome.

      Side note: I know this may sound a little weird, because obviously all of you are (probably) real people, but I’ve always kinda thought of this place as a kind of long-running hangout-sitcom/PBS-roundtable hybrid with a great “cast” of “characters” and I would hate for it to lose that vibe.Report

  11. Avatar zic says:

    I wonder about the need to hit the refresh button so often, if only to find out if anyone’s said anything new, let alone to see what they said.Report

  12. Avatar Kazzy says:

    I’d like to see us formalize the editing process a bit. I know we throw articles around behind the scenes, but that is usually for content editing. I think we need to be better about copy editing. Leaving it up to individual writers isn’t the best approached because we are often blind to our own poor tendencies.

    This would admittedly slow the creation/publishing of content but I think would make for a cleaner, more professional overall feel to the site.

    And, no, I’m not volunteering to edit everyone’s posts. 🙂Report

  13. Avatar Kazzy says:

    http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/media/2015/02/8561887/emtabletem-magazine-starts-charging-commenters

    Stumbled upon this through 538 and found it really interesting. Personally, I think they set the price to high to consider it a ‘nominal’ charge. I mean, simply asking people to register is often to high a cost for participation so asking them to shell out real money is even higher still. So while their intent is not to make money, I’m actually curious about how this will impact their revenue streams and ability to sustain the site. It seems interesting in light of @saul-degraw ‘s conversation about sustainable blogging models. I’m not suggesting we start charging for commenting privileges, but it will be interesting to see how this plan impacts the quality/quantity of their comments AND their financial bottom line.Report

    • Avatar Mike H R Rice in reply to Kazzy says:

      [Removed by the management. Another like it and you’re gone.]Report

      • Actually, since this came all of 20 hours after the last suspension was lifted, I’m going to go ahead and just re-suspend commenting privileges again.

        Mike/Scarlet, after this suspension is lifted in a week or two from now, please either find a way to interact with people in a non-troll fashion or please find a different place to comment.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Kazzy says:

      @kazzy

      I read Tablet Magazine. They often get a lot of anti-Semitic comments well from people wanting to leave anti-Semitic comments. My guess is that this is a way to keep the Jew-haters out. Do people hate the Jews enough to pay them to leave comments?Report

  14. Avatar KenB says:

    I think it’d be great to have selective, tailored confirmation dialog after you submit a comment — e.g.:

    “Dude, you’ve posted 50 comments so far this week already – maybe the blog can do without your wisdom for a day or two?”

    [Sorry, I’ll shut up now]
    [Fish you, the world needs to hear this!]

    Or with a bit of AI:

    “You seem to have used the word “fish” non-euphemistically – this is likely to cause a little confusion. Post anyway?”Report

  15. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    One thing that bothers me way more than it should: on just about every other blog (pretty much every other website), clicking on the site’s title at the top of any page takes you to the site’s home page.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      Yeah, it’s good for a click-nothing-happens-again-and-I-feel-stupid at least once a day.Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Pinky says:

        Just so y’all know, I’ve been on a deadline and unable to participate in this discussion, though I’ve also been interested in seeing what was suggested without my interference or prompting. I’m also glad to see ideas from people whose monikers I don’t recognize (though maybe you just frequent other threads than I usually do). We still have a few questions to clear up before we can really get started, but thanks for your anticipatory thanks anyway.Report

  16. Avatar zic says:

    You know, I wish I could embed photographs easily. Perhaps you don’t want me to do that, and I’m definitely cool with that. But I mostly would share things I’ve posted to G+, and generating a preview would sorta kinda make me happy. I’d certainly try not to abuse the privilege.

    Just sayin’Report

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