Sometimes people ask us why we did or didn’t link to things that are out there. Below is a discussion of some of our thinking. Read on!
Why Didn’t This Story Show Up?
Most likely, we missed it. Please send us an email and tell us about it – we may well link to it. And sometimes, we won’t. We link to stories that show up in media sources with editorial processes – whether they’re advocacy media or not, whether they’re gigantic like the NY Times and CNN or tiny like the Noe Valley Voice. We don’t link to stories in blogs or stories run in “media sources” that do not have an identifiable editorial process, as we want to direct our readers to News About Politics, rather than Slander And Innuendo – and also, the Internets are big and filled with lots of writing and we do not have 36 hours a day to update Suspects.
Sometimes the decisionmaking process involves a judgment call; usually it’s pretty clear to us. And sometimes people don’t like these rules, which we understand – this is real life, and Your Mileage May Vary.
You Damn Bastards Didn’t Link To This Story Because You Are Secret Facists!!!!
We get a version of this email from time to time. Yay – what fun. If you think we missed a story that should be on Suspects, please let us know – we’ll go take a look at it and see if we agree. But if you start your message off by saying that we’re clearly engaging in a conspiracy against you, or that we’re trying to silence dissent, or that we’re shills for the tobacco industry or shills for the anti-tobacco industry or that we’re cannibals (OK, we’re cannibals – you got us there), we’re likely to pass your email around, snicker at you, and decide you’re unpleasant. (And yes, if the story should have been linked, we’ll link it, because we play fair.)
Please, please, please just ask us whether we missed the story, and point us at it, please. Nobody likes a sourpuss, and you’ll give yourself a tummyache with all that paranoia.
Why Won’t You Run My Meeting Announcement?
We rarely link to events, except for the rare link to a SPUR forum on What Happened In This Election. Why not? It’s simple. If we post your meeting announcement, we’ll have to post everyone’s meeting announcement, because that would be fair. We don’t want to turn into a calendar service for San Francisco politics, because keeping up with the hundreds of civic and political meetings each month would take a long time. So no, we’re not posting your District Twelve Community Meeting announcement. (Even though you’re serving Danish and lumpia and the dogcatcher is making a presentation.) Yeah, yeah, we know. Sorry. We think Linda Post does a great job of cataloging all the political meetings in town: check out her list here.
Why Aren’t You Saying Something About This Story?
Usually we say something funny or snarky or informative about the story we’re linking to. Sometimes we don’t, and we appear to be reallyreally quiet, for some reason. Why is that?
Suspects was started by Alex Clemens, who also started Barbary Coast Consulting, an advocacy firm – and now Barbary Coasters take turns updating our site. Sometimes we work on things that wind up in the newspaper. We’ve struggled with how to manage this so that Suspects remains neutral and fair – because if we used it to shill for our clients, it wouldn’t be of much use to the general public. What we do now – after trying to approach it in a few different ways – is not to be snarky or funny, or even to say anything at all. We simply copy the language that the news source has used in their headline or link, and link to the story without comment. Yes, we do place the story on the page based on how important we think it is – upper left being pretty important, and bottom of page being less so. You could absolutely email us and tell us that the story about the thing we’re working on shouldn’t have been the second story on the right side of the page, because it’s clearly less important than the third story on the right hand side of the page, and you might even be right. However, if you did so, you need to go get a life, please.
So What’s The Bottom Line?
The folks at Barbary Coast all update Suspects. Jaime Rossi, Alexis Smith, Ross Guehring, Katie Kincaid, Jesse Feldman, Alia Al-Sharif and I all take our turns waking up early and finding stories that need linking. We do it somewhat collaboratively, and we try to keep each other honest. Some people may not agree with our posting policies – and that’s just fine with us. We play fair and abide by a set of rules we think are honorable, and in the rough-and-tumble world of San Francisco politics, someone’s always going to be unhappy with how things turn out. We understand that.
If you don’t like how Suspects is run, start your own website that does something similar, but better. We encourage you to get involved and have your voice heard – there’s plenty of room here on the Internets.
And if all else fails, and this still doesn’t satisfy your complaint, please take a deep breath, count to ten, and check this out. So there.
Thanks for reading.
- Alex Clemens, Founder