I launched WEHOville almost four years ago with two goals — keeping those who live or work in West Hollywood (or just love WeHo) informed about what’s going on here, and creating a forum where people can raise and discuss civic issues.
It’s clear that West Hollywood residents needed access to more (and more objective) reporting and also to a place where we could talk about local issues and concerns. That is happening. So far this month, 103,650 people have read stories on WEHOville. And since our launch in September 2012, our readers have offered 20,828 comments on the stories and opinion pieces they have read.
A chart elsewhere on this page shows that our readers have made WEHOville No. 1 among sites focused on West Hollywood or the local LGBT community, which we also cover. The analysis by Amazon’s Alexa ranks WEHOville at 53,580 in the United States (Google, of course, is No. 1 in that category, and websites with no U.S. ranking don’t have enough readers to be ranked.)
The reason for WEHOville’s success is you. So I’m reaching out for thoughts from WEHOville’s on how I can make WEHOville even better, make WEHOville a more useful forum for discussing local issues and a better resource for the information you need to make the most of life in this great city.
Here are some specific questions, organized by subject, that I hope you will answer in comments to this article (and please feel free to add other comments on how to improve WEHOville):
OPINIONS AND COMMENTS
I reach out to a broad range of people, asking them to write opinion pieces on issues that matter to them or issues where
they have special knowledge. I’m especially interested in publishing the opinions of people who disagree with mine or who feel WEHOville is biased on an issue. Remember: WEHOville is designed as a platform for all points of view. Most people decline my offer, usually saying they don’t have time. (Note that I am able to help a reader write an opinion piece, and I always edit them for style and grammar. But no opinion piece is published without the final approval of the contributor.)
1) Some readers have told me that WEHOville publishes too many opinion pieces by particular residents. My argument is that I won’t deny a platform to one person because his or her opponents are unwilling to share their views. Should WEHOville limit opinion pieces by any one person to one or two a month?
2) A very influential member of our community last night suggested that I limit comments on stories and opinion pieces to one per person. He said that would curb the sometimes vitriolic exchanges that occur between commenters. I moderate each comment submitted and do reject those that don’t meet our standards, which you can find online here. What are your thoughts on limiting comments to one per person on each story or opinion piece?
3) A few readers have complained (often in comments on stories) that some post comments without disclosing their real names. Unfortunately, in this digital world and with a full-time staff of one (me), it is near impossible to determine the actual identity of a commenter. And some residents offer astute comments but don’t want to give their real names for fear of being harassed by a boss or by a neighbor or friend. One possible way to identify commenters is to require them to comment through a Facebook account. The question: Should WEHOville work to make all who post comments identify themselves by their real name?
WEHOville focuses almost entirely on what is going on in West Hollywood or what may be happening at the county or state level that affects West Hollywood. So, for example, I didn’t write about the City Council’s decision on Monday to join the protest against a dog meat festival in Yulin, China. The subjects that WEHOville focuses on include: City Hall and government, crime and public safety, growth and development, housing, local history, local politics (and elections), and local businesses.
1) Of the issues listed above, what are you most interested in?
2) What is WEHOville not writing about that it should be writing about?
3) What is WEHOville writing about that you aren’t at all interested in?
4) Are you more interested in quick stories on something that has just happened (a serious fire, for example, or the resignation of a city official) or more interested in in-depth stories on local issues?
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and, I hope, to offer your opinions. The only way for WEHOville to better and better serve this wonderful community is by engaging with you and listening to what you have to say.