talking about the common ills

mike just called. he and nina are already in line for the movie they're going to see but he asked me if i'd do something for him? surely.

he meant to note a favorite entry from the common ills tonight and forgot. he's trying to remember to do that and the reason for that is the first year anniversary of the common ills is coming up and he knows c.i. won't make anything out of it.

79,651 views of c.i.'s profile. pretty impressive. but i actually just pulled it up because they used to tell you how many posts you'd done (and they used to give a sample, a few lines, of about 4 posts and also tell your weekly average number of posts). i'm not sure when they stopped providing all that information. my plan was to note how many posts c.i. had done. i'm sure it's over a thousand by now.

and i should note that the posts includes members like ruth, isaiah, kat, gina, dallas, billie, shirley ... members make the common ills, c.i. always says that and it's true.

i log on and i get to write about whatever i want to. that's never the case for c.i. after elaine told me last thanksgiving that c.i. was the 1 doing the site she kept telling me to visit, i went there right away. that's what friends are for, as dionne, stevie, gladys and elton sang.

but before i started my site, i was pestering elaine to start 1. and i would talk to c.i. about it and how could we get elaine to do 1. i wasn't thinking about doing 1 then. but 1 thing that came up was the issue of water privatization and c.i.'s very big on that issue and how we need to pay attention to it. c.i. was hoping to write about that topic. it still hasn't happened. it will soon be a year and it still hasn't happened.

that's because members (and i'm one) will write in and say 'c.i., no 1's talking about ___ and this is really important to me because ___' and that becomes the thrust of the entry.

c.i. planned a site and it's not anything like what it was planned. it was going to be common sense based and that's remained. but otherwise, what the common ills is nothing like what was planned. in the original days, you could post comments. but back then, you had to be a member of blogger to post comments at the site. c.i. figured out how to allow anonymous posts and switched that but by that point, the community gathering had already decided no to comments.
that was at least partly because idiots kept dropping by. 2 in particular who were 'centrist' dems and would say idiotic things like 'there's nothing more beautiful than a blue dog democrat' or some sort of nonsense.

1 thing c.i. believed firmly in was that it would be a work safe environment because a friend of c.i.'s got a verbal warning at their job for visiting a site - what site? the washington post. it was when the post quoted cheney using the f word.

keesha was 1 of the 1s saying 'lose the comments' the most loudly. c.i. was trying to figure out how to do that (you change it to 'do not allow comments') but new to blogger's program and to blogging. (back then, it was a blog.) then some 1 posted a comment that had nothing to do with the topic but was advertising a porn site with all these graphic terms and c.i. shut down the comments because something like that could get some 1 in trouble at work.

members weren't interested in going through a ton of comments. they wanted to read a voice.

that was the other change. gina was especially fond of saying 'oh it's oprah time!' in the early days because c.i. would say something like 'i disagree with _-- in the times' and that was it. c.i. had let it rip a few times by this point and members knew it could be funny or to the point or both and that's what they wanted.

that is so not c.i. c.i. wants time to reflect. if you ask c.i. a question, expect the answer to be a question. that's a given. a lot of times those questions are too narrow down what you are asking because it may be a broad category and c.i. may be attempting to zone in on what you're really wanting.

but 'snap' analysis really isn't c.i.'s thing. but that's what the community wanted and c.i. listens to the community.

members see c.i. as the voice of the community and that's a huge burden. i wouldn't want that burden. i can write something here and if i piss you off i'm not overly concerned if it's something i really believe in. if c.i. upsets even 1 member, there's a back and forth of attempting to find a common ground and figure out how to address something better the next time it arises.

it's a huge responsibility and c.i. never whines about. i wasn't even aware of it for the longest time. it's something that would come up in discussions at the third estate sunday review. if a member had an issue that they'd e-mailed c.i. about, c.i. would say 'okay, you can do this but i can't be a part of it because ___ has an issue and . . .'

i prefer saying it the way i say it, hopefully they'll get over it. but c.i.'s got to be the voice speaking for every members.

it's not all negative. members (and i'm 1) love c.i. and the closeness they feel (which is shared by c.i. towards them) is incredible bond. and members have c.i.'s back.

but along with that and other positives come a lot of negatives because that's how i see them.

so a year's around the corner and what has c.i. done?

i think the most amazing thing c.i. has done is be a strong voice against the war. after the election, you saw a lot of groups and people drop the war issue. you saw moveon.org ... move on.
c.i. didn't. the common ills has spoken out strongly against the war and strongly insisted that the troops need to come home because this american led occupation only inflames the tensions. c.i. raised the stakes for others who might want to be mild.

and kids were looking for a strong voice. i think it was february 2003 when c.i. began speaking to student groups and that was as a favor to a friend who's schedule changed and c.i. was asked to fill in for 6 weeks. it was still going on during the election. and after the election, the day after, when we were all depressed, c.i. got up and gave the most inspirational speech that had us all jazzed. but because c.i. had spent about 20 months speaking to students all over there was no need for a focus group or a poll.

so when the common ills took off with college students immediately, it wasn't a surprise.

and while c.i. cares about the feelings of members, c.i.'s not about to stay silent. we saw that when c.i. took on the myth of simon rosenberg is a shoe in for dnc chair and a hero and all the other crap that was all over the net.

it is hard to be an independent voice while also factoring in the issues of a huge community, but c.i. manages to swing it.

and day in, day out, the common ills has been there. c.i. might have to dictate entries over the phone to a few trusted friends and lord knows when there's time for sleep, but day in and day out, the common ills has been there.

the community has grown and grown. and even at the beginning it wasn't just college students. you've had eli, ruth and you've had other adults of various ages.

and it's the site that has spawned other sites. i was the first spin off. then came the third estate sunday review (jim, dona, ty, jess and ava), then a winding road by folding star who gave up on the hassles of blogging in july for a variety of reasons, then betty with thomas friedman is a great man, then kat decided to start kat's korner in addition to her cd reviews at the common ills, then mike started mikey likes it, then cedric started cedric's big mix, then elaine started like maria said paz, then seth started seth in the city and then wally started the daily jot. the common ills spawned 10 sites, 9 that are still going.

it also spawned the uk computer gurus biweekly newsletter and the gina and krista round-robin which publishes every friday as well as doing special editions when needed.

my favorite entry? that's always a hard thing to pin down but i think i'll go with 'should this marriage be saved?' and i'm sure that as soon as this posts, i'll kick myself and say, 'rebecca! you should have picked ___!'

that's it for tonight. i've spent a lot of time on this entry. i'll try to grab time to do a sex post soon. in fact, i know what i want. let's do 1 on sex and music. what i need from you is to know what your favorite make out song is. so weigh in if you've got 1.