Nipping This One In The Bud

GeoThumbnail 
I’m not sure if it was the nice shout-out I got the other night on the radio from Kevin Lee that brought in a whole new crowd; or the fact that I dared to compare Bruno Junqueira to Franck Montagny. Whatever the case, it set off a firestorm on this site yesterday that I had never seen before — and quite frankly, I didn’t like it.

When I started Oilpressure.com last spring, it was due to the urging of family and friends that knew I had a passion for IndyCar racing and they thought I should start a blog site. I really knew nothing about blogging, so I just started typing away on topics about the sport that were near and dear to my heart. To my surprise, people that I didn’t know started reading it. Soon, I began getting comments and e-mails from the regular readers in Indianapolis, Minnesota, Florida and even London and Malaysia on a steady basis. The comments were all the same. They appreciated my levelheaded approach and liked the historic quips that I threw into the articles. Not everyone agreed with what I said and let me know in a friendly, civilized way. We would swap a few e-mails back and forth, with either a consensus agreed upon or else a polite agreement to disagree.

It was all in good fun and I’ve developed some nice relationships with readers over the past few months. Another common theme from readers has been that they enjoy this site because it doesn’t have all of the garbage that so many of the forums and hate sites have. I don’t have the cleanest vocabulary around, but I vowed from day one that I would keep this site clean and pretty much G-rated.

If you’ll notice, there are no ads on this site. I have no aspirations to make money from this. I have not invested a dime into it, nor will I ever make money keeping this site going. It is not my goal to try and draw excessive numbers to this site. My goal is to continue to slowly grow the numbers of responsible, respectful and loyal readers. I write this blog because I love the sport. I am deeply concerned about several aspects of the sport, but I still love the sport and I try to communicate that to fans who have the same love of the sport that I do. The vast majority of the readers that have grown over this summer, seem to appreciate this site for what it is — a site put together by a fan, for fans. They don’t have to share my thoughts, only my passion for the sport. It has been more enjoyable than I ever imagined.

At least that was the case, up until yesterday. Without trying to sound completely sanctimonious, I don’t want that kind of traffic. This site is not a forum, nor will it ever become one. I purposely avoid the forums because of the venom that spews from them. I wrote an article last week about “The Legions Of The Miserable”. Well, the legions were out in force yesterday. The going back and forth on the comment section yesterday bordered on becoming a hate-forum.

Please don’t get me wrong. I have had many readers that have strongly disagreed with my articles and opinions. They take their shot, express their side and we move on. Before yesterday, I had never had any comment on this site cause me any concern. I wasn’t concerned that someone had attacked my view. That was nothing new. I’m pretty thick-skinned and can take it. I knew that there would be barbs thrown my way when I got into this.

What upset me was the direction that the comments took between readers. This was when the site took on the appearance of some of the flame-wars that you see on the most bitter of forums. Yesterday was a record day in the number of hits to this site. I have always been extremely grateful and flattered for anyone to migrate to this site and read my ramblings about IndyCars. But I wouldn’t give you a nickel for yesterday’s traffic. It was a cheap and sleazy way of getting a lot of hits – and it was certainly not my intention with what I considered a fairly benign article.

Please don’t think I am trying to alienate readers or discourage comments. I’m not. I encourage and enjoy the comments and appreciate opposing viewpoints, so long as they are well thought out and presented responsibly. I welcome well-placed humor. It’s when the comments take on the tone of a fifth-grader that makes me lose my patience.

Without trying to sound elitist and snobbish, the everyday readers of this site have always been very well informed, open-minded and above all else – polite and well mannered. That is what I always felt held this crowd above the other sites. They know how to discuss issues in a friendly, yet direct manner. I must enter a disclaimer here…when I say other sites; I’m only talking about the extreme IRL hate sites and forums. I’m not talking about Pressdog, My Name Is IRL, Planet-IRL, 16th and Georgetown, Silent Pagoda or some of the other IndyCar blog sites. Those sites are great and those bloggers have been very helpful to me as I get started.

It’s the trash-mouth forums that encourage the legions of the miserable that I personally have no use for and shy away from. Ironically, I saw my own site devolving into that type of cesspool yesterday. I felt that it was time to take control of things and to nip this thing in the bud, before things got too out of hand.

There won’t be a poll question for this article. There is no need for one. Thanks for allowing me to rant and as always – thanks to those readers who have been so loyal in following my writings. I try to have a mixture of articles regarding current concerns and issues within the IRL, profiles of drivers who should or should not be driving; lighthearted observations loosely related to racing and of course – any topic that pertains to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. If that’s what you are looking for, then you’re in the right place. If you’re looking to stir the pot with some flame-war forum – then I kindly suggest you go elsewhere. There are many sites devoted to that sort of thing. This isn’t one of them.

George Phillips

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15 Responses to “Nipping This One In The Bud”

  1. I didn’t read those comments because I don’t care if FM is driving a car or not (although always happy to see car count increase.) I thought the discussion got a little heated, but not too bad at all. Obviously some opinionated folks, but people who have followed racing and are passionate about it. I’ve certainly read much worse elsewhere. For instance–just read any “comments” after any sports article in any newspaper–it’s really awful.

    I understand and appreciate your concern to keep your blog on the high road but I sort of enjoyed the back and forth of those guys.

  2. tim nothhelfer Says:

    Wow, I guess these people should exchange phone numbers….or IM each other which is less personal…

  3. Hey George,
    Have you considered putting a moderating system in place? It may give you a heads up with regards to “overly strong” opinions and call into check any comments that are plain potty.

  4. Unfortunately most of the comments made yesterday are SAME people you will see debating the SAME content on other blogs. Keep up the great work George! I enjoy the laid back animosity free commentary. It’s very classy.

  5. Donald McElvain Says:

    I love this website and read it everyday. I appreciate your opinions and your efforts to “keep it clean”. Keep up the good work! See you tomorrow.

  6. George-

    Your blog is exactly the way I would conduct a blog, as a fan, and someone who is passionate about Indy Car racing, its history, and its excitement today. You aren’t on the phone with the drivers, but you pose thought provoking questions and your opinions on such. As a fan, I thank you for your blog, and encourage you to keep it the same as always.

    Thanks, George.

  7. Having been on-line for twenty*cough* years and been on both sides of this in one form or another, my thought is that the Haters will quickly grow bored (as you’ve said, the tone here is more academic than sports-bar) and move to where the food is. But you may end up with a lot of readers who will appreciate what you offer, and that’s a good thing.

    I’ve heard this about radio talk shows: only a very small fraction (like maybe 1%) of the audience will actually call; yet it that’s 1% that gets sampled on the air, and not necessarily representative of the audience as a whole. They’re just the ones who are motivated to do it. I get the impression that blog-readers are the same.

  8. George,

    I was kinda surprised to see “computer karate” being played on your site. It occurs to me that this may be the hazard of increasing the popularity of your blog. Sooner or later, trolls will show up. I try to treat racing on my blog the same way as you do – to react with passion, write with intelligence and thought, and maybe a tad bit of sarcasm and wit.

    Keep up the good work and just ignore the flamers out there. (They ARE everywhere.)

  9. I assume you are talking about my extended debate with AZZO45, especially when you state “They take their shot, express their side and we move on.”, which I suppose means you expect people to make their point in one or two posts and no more. It kind of disappoints me if you think that was a flame-war or talking smack or being a troll. I did not say anything nasty about AZZO45 or about you; I merely have a higher opinion of Junqueira than AZZO45 does. My posts are usually well-thought out and I don’t think I was using “fifth-grade level” discourse either.

    I do post on a board elsewhere with people who do talk some smack about Tony George and TV ratings and so on, but I don’t usually participate in that stuff there and have a much milder reputation than that; I also have been known to critique fanboy venom, and I don’t think I was being a fanboy yesterday. If I had been bashing and hurling personal insults at AZZO45, I could see where you were coming from, but I wasn’t. I didn’t realize a debate should only be a certain length.

    • oilpressure Says:

      Sean:

      I was afraid you might think these comments were aimed at you. They were not. They were partially aimed at the one you were sparring with, among others. They were trying to stir the pot. You have made responsible comments in the past. No offense taken on my part and I hope none on yours. — GP

      • I’m glad…because I also believe Sean & I carried out a health “public” debate. We never insulted each other… we just DISAGREED.

        I still disagree with you championing Bruno… but it is YOUR blog! I stop by OilPressure because I enjoy what is written & its general overall approach.

        IMO, you could have cheerleaded for Bruno & left FM out of it. One could argue that Bruno once was Franck… only a Brazilian “unknown” bumping a driver that had done the American training ground series’ & remained unemployed. Bruno wasn’t a “ride buyer” & neither is Montagny.

  10. Jack in NC Says:

    Good to nip it in the bud, George. Otherwise it will get out of hand and eventually will turn to debating healthcare or other political garbage. Keep it focused on open-wheel racing (IndyCar, Indy car, whatever) and keep doing what you’ve done well for over 3 months now.

  11. jerrycruz Says:

    George, I visit your blog everyday and it is probably the one I’m anxiously waiting to come home and read (ask my wife!). As people gets notice of your blog those legions will eventually fly-by here. Pay no attention as I did and probably 90% of your fans.
    Keep it clean and please add to your list that you have open wheel fans in the Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico.
    Keep the great work flowing.
    Thanks!

  12. John McLallen Says:

    Oil Pressure is one of the classiest blogs on the net and I agree with you George about the thread like activity on the replies. Like Barney Fife would say, “nip it.”

  13. Erm…oops. This is what I get for not reading all of the posts that I fell behind on while out of town before exchanging heated comments on another post.

    Yeah. Sorry about that, George. I’m going to send myself to bed without dessert now. Or, maybe I’ll limit to half a piece of cake and only three shots of ouzo tonight.

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