Thursday, October 17, 2013

You Are My Editor And What Sitemeter Tells Me About You

I once lamented to an Anchorage Daily News reporter that I needed an editor and the reply was, "You don't want an editor!"  I was thinking about someone who would correct my typos and flat out mistakes.  The reporter was thinking of someone who made assignments and set deadlines and cut out things the reporter didn't want cut out.  I guess freedom from an editor, on the whole, is better than getting my typos corrected.

And I have readers who help with the typos.  AKHarpboy leaves comments or sends emails when he catches something.  My mom used to let me know about mistakes when she could still read the blog regularly.  And others chip in now and then and I just want to say thank you.

I also get some unintentional editors - people who come to the site and get to a page that has a typo or needs updating.  Every now and then I'll see that someone went to a page and I can't remember what it was about and I'll look and be appalled to see a glaring typo. (I can tell on Sitemeter where people go.  I've left it open for anyone to look at so you can see what computers know about you.  It's down on the right side column below Blogs Of Friends Or Acquaintances and above Labels.  Just click on the number.)

Here's the page they got me to update the post on people born in 2011.  Vietnamese General Giap was, at that time still alive at 100.   I'd heard the news the other day that General Giap had died and when I saw this inquiry, I realized I needed to update the post.

Here's what that user looked like on my Sitemeter.   (The links don't work because this is a screen shot.)  If you click on the Sitemeter link on the right, click on any of the categories under 'recent visitors' and then click on a number, you'll get a page like this.  Not every page has all the information, I'm not completely sure why, though I know if you browse through a proxy server - this link offers you some examples - you can clean your tracks to some degree. 

 Another post I try to keep current is the one on the number of African-Americans in Congress. This time, though, I was aware there was a likely new Black US Senator and made the changes as they were happening.

Visit Length is often a misleading category.  I've been told that it only has the time until the last page visited.  So if someone only looks at one page, it says '0'.   Experts say there is no way to know how long someone has been there unless they click on something else.  So, if someone visited only one page but clicked out on a link, it would tell me how long she'd been there until she did the link.

But there is a section called "Who's On?" (left column near the top).  That tells me the time they got there.  So even if they've only been on one page, but they are still there I can tell they've been there, say five minutes.  Why can't trackers use that to calculate how long they've been just on one page?  I'm sure it just hasn't been a priority for anyone.

Anyway, to my many editors, THANKS!  You make this a better blog.  Keep those corrections coming in. 


  1. Steve, the reporter is wrong. Everybody wants (or should want) an editor. When I worked as a newspaper reporter, I did my share of bitching about editors who savaged my awesome prose or sent me out in the rain to cover fires, but all reporters know in their hearts that the editor is their best friend. As a blogger I often wish I had an editor -- to catch typos, of course, but more important, to tell you when you're too far out on that tree limb and perhaps it would be wise to rephrase that snarky comment or check your facts once more.

    Speaking of snarky comments, I have noticed that good editing is an endangered species in today's news world. It's especially apparent in print, where typos are far more of an issue than they are in broadcast, but I really mean the kind of more important editing in which somebody points out to the reporter "this doesn't make sense" or "that's a lie, even if a US Senator said it" or "your biases are showing."

  2. Kathy, I've thought long and hard about the editor issue. Yes, I'd love to have an editor who can tell me I've gone too far, but not one that has absolute veto power. And when I know I'm pushing or when the topic is particularly sensitive, I do ask my wife to do a snark check. But I also think that a blog is different than a newspaper because my readers can comment as soon as they read it. And I can make corrections or explain why I'm standing firm. But that's not a firm position. The fact is that I don't have an editor other than myself, my wife, and you readers. And on occasion the people I've written about - like a certain dentist and certain film festival.


    Every family and every nation has its good days and bad days. Certainly the Irish have to be careful when they talk about other countries' internal squabbles. And the British have had a role in shaping those problems as well as creating the boundaries of many current Middle East, African, and Asian nations that have led to intractable conflicts.
    Equanimity comes to a country when a) the population is very homogenous and b) when the power balance makes dissent nearly impossible. But if b) continues for too long and too harshly people have nothing to lose as we see in the end of the Soviet Union and Syria, etc.

    In the US, the traditionally privileged white, male, Christians are having some of that privilege stripped away. The ones who are seriously angry don't see the privilege part. They don't acknowledge that their situation was at other people's expense. They see it as their rights being stripped away. And they aren't going to give it up easily.
    That's my take on the basic problem. But I don't think other peoples should be too snooty about our problems, because they've all had their times and will again. Dismay? sure. Empathy? Would be nice. But not superiority.

  3. Replies
    1. This is all relevant to having an editor who can point out that we've left out some context. This sounds a little like the middle man position - that leaves one defending against attackers and critiquing defenders. Your audience doesn't know that you've taken the opposite position just recently. And sometimes you forget which audience you're addressing.
      Some of today's problems can be directly traced to Reagan's policy of shutting down mental health institutions and putting the patients out on the streets. There were certainly abuses in the mental health institutions that needed correction and constant oversight. But rewarding and giving attention to the most anti-social behaviors of some of those off their meds is also an abuse.

    2. I'll remove my remarks as I think it best now. It is confusing to the folks back home.


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