Site Update: September 2008
Well – I was going to do monthly updates but it appears that administrative tasks and list writing / editing has gotten the better of me and I have not written since May! I apologize for the delay – but better late than never.
Since our last update we have appeared on Radio Scotland where I was interviewed (or grilled as the case may more aptly be stated). You can listen to the interview here. Many thanks to my brother-in-law Geraint for providing the recording for us. In addition, we recently appeared on the BBC television program “Click” which has nearly doubled our traffic! The injection of “fresh blood” in the comments has been interesting – we have some great new commenters and some rather questionable ones – but all are welcome and we certainly appreciate the new attention. We also had a 30 minute article about the site on BBC Radio (not the same as the BBC Scotland interview) – it can be heard in its entirety here.
As most of you will know, we have two administrators on the site (in addition to me as over-all owner/administrator). We have Cyn (who has been absent recently due to evacuation for Hurricane Ike) who is our main site comments administrator, and dangorironhide who is our forums administrator. I am now happy to (belatedly) welcome Geraint (my brother-in-law as mentioned above) who has now taken on the arduous task of managing the four servers that this site runs on. You may have noticed that our downtime troubles have virtually vanished – that is thanks to his excellent efforts optimizing and monitoring the machines and site.
As we have so many new readers I thought it might be a good idea to just give a little background – especially in light of this comment on the Top 10 Favorite Films of JFrater which I wrote to celebrate my birthday this year: “I dont know who you are but if your choice of movies are anything to go by I wouldnt (sic) invite you to any of my parties” (your loss ManxMark, I am great at parties!) So, I am a New Zealander but started this site while living in London (about one year ago). I was studying opera singing at the Royal College of Music and contracting as a software developer. As many people have asked for a song, this is a recording of me singing Onegin’s Aria with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. I have since returned to New Zealand (Wellington to be exact) to be closer to family and friends.
We have redesigned the front page of the site to showcase the various areas of the site. So far the feedback has been positive but we are always interested in improving the experience of the site – so if you have any complaints or wishes, let them be known. At some point in the future (when the site is making enough money to pay for more than just the hosting) we will get professional designers to give us a makeover – but until then it is just me! Be sure to check out the front page every day – sometimes there are new features that you might like.
I am not a fan of popup and popunder advertising, but one of largest advertisers has recently asked us to trial these (popunders only). After their promise not to include heavily animated or audio ads I have complied and the trial began yesterday. As a compromise for quality, these ads are only showing on the main page and subsidiary pages such as the list archive. No popunder adverts will appear on any lists on the site. This should mean we can generate sufficiently higher revenue to start saving for updates, while not spoiling the viewing experience. Furthermore, the advertiser has assured us that each user will only see one popunder – so don’t be dismayed if you get one – it should be the last one you get. You don’t need to click these ads unless they contain something of value for you – we are paid for views, not clicks. Having said that, if you do like what you see – feel free to click as the advertisers are of high quality and you should not end up at any questionable sites. Please inform me if you have any issues with these ads – the most important thing for me is keeping you all happy! I promise!
We are always looking for high quality submissions. These can be lists of 5 – 30 items and should include at least one paragraph for each item. We have had some brilliant submissions over the history of the site and we would like that to continue. We especially love submissions of a bizarre nature – but we will certainly consider everything. Please remember to spell check your submissions – it can sometimes take me a great deal of time to edit and spellcheck submissions. Submitters may find this list of 10 common English errors, this list of another 10 common English errors, and this list of top 10 tips for great writing useful.
Our second crossword competition ends today! Be sure to get your entries in. This competition is much harder than the last, but that shouldn’t put you off – with a little perseverance you will get there. We have a small number of entries so far, so your chances of winning a prize are great. The prizes are taken from the List Universe Store.
With the larger number of people commenting of late, we seem to have (unexpectedly) a great number of personal attacks – as opposed to attacks of an argument. We pride ourselves here on having great dialog in the comments, and part of that is listening fairly and with an open mind, to the views of other people. No matter how inane someone’s comment may seem, we owe them the benefit of the doubt and should reasonably debate their argument, not make personal attacks. An ad hominem attack (the term to describe attacking the person not the issue) is usually a sign that you have lost the debate. If you find yourself resorting to these types of comments, you probably need to consider whether they may be right and you wrong. This site is about learning – no one learns if we refuse to consider a fair argument from a person holding an opposing viewpoint.
I was recently approached by a Canadian company who wished to buy the site. The offer was a generous one but I turned it down. The reason is that I love the site and I love what it has become with the user contributions. I couldn’t give that up to a faceless organization who are interested in financial gain and nothing else. I hope that this will reassure you all that the site is here to stay and is not going to be usurped by big-business.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has contributed in some way to the site – whether it be as an administrator, a commenter, or a submitter. Without your contributions the site would not succeed – and while I may not say it often, I really do appreciate it. I am proud of the wonderful community that you have all developed here and look forward to many more years of the same.