Party’s over

I’m going to shut down the comments on our website. Sorry about that—the party got out of hand, and I’ve had enough for now.

There are three reasons. Two are technical, and one is my own failing.

First, the report-a-comment function isn’t working. Second, I’m not always receiving emails when new comments are posted, as I should. WestonWeb is old and decrepit, and some things just aren’t working as they ought to. As a result, some comments I won’t allow have been getting by me.

Finally, my enthusiasm for WestonWeb has always ebbed and flowed, but as you can maybe tell, it’s pretty low at the moment. I’m not checking in often enough to keep a handle on the corners of the site that have gotten out of hand.

So, lights are up, music is off. Thanks to those of you who came with love.

In other, related, news, I think I’m going to take a week or two off to see if I can rekindle some enthusiasm. I see that this is our 4000th published article, and it seems like as good a time as any for me to take a break.

We’re 10!

Well, would you look at that? WestonWeb is ten years old today.

It’s been a huge privilege to be read by friends—and a bigger one to be read by strangers. It has also been wonderful to work with Roy and the many other contributors who have gone on to great things.

I’ve found great joy having a theme strung through the last decade. Some people can play piano or run marathons. I can’t. Some people can make movies or sing. Not me. Just about the only thing I am halfway good at is typing. That’s not much of a skill these days, but it turns out to be enough.

We’ve uncovered a few really big stories, and very many little ones, and I’ve always thought that the little stories are the important ones. I hope you think so, too. I certainly plan to keep telling them.

Thank you for reading us. It’s been a great privilege to write for you.



A word about comments, again

A welcome to all!

I think it’s again time to draw everyone’s attention to a few rules we have.

We like discussion. However, we have a rule about what you can say (and what you can’t). It’s a loose rule, but loose rules, like pajamas, fit best. Our rule is this: if it wouldn’t be welcome at a dinner party, it’s not welcome on WestonWeb. So don’t be rude, crude, angry, or dumb. Don’t attack people. Discuss ideas.

If we see comments that break the dinner party rule, we delete them. We sometimes get more comments than we can keep up with, though, so if you see a comment that is not dinner-party friendly, please flag it with our newly (re)instituted “Report Comment” function. That will draw it to our attention.

About anonymity: We allow it, with reservations. I think the world would be a better place if we put our names to comments, so I encourage you to do so. I see, though, that the vast majority of people don’t. I think you have good reasons, which is why we haven’t made people sign up. If you disagree, though, I’m interested in hearing your point of view.

I understand that people will not always agree with the rules or our judgements. I hear cries of “Free Speech” and “Censorship” all the time. As always, my offer stands: if you would like to set up your own blog, send me an email. I’d be glad to help. Really!

A new feature

The eagle-eyed among you may notice a new feature: we have a newsreader who will read the articles to you. To access ‘him’, click on the headline for each post.

I hope that this will make our site a little more accessible. I also think it’s super cool! ‘He’ is an AI voice created by Amazon.

We’ve also launched a very beta podcast. You can subscribe to it here for now. With a bit of luck, we’ll be on iTunes et al. soon—and then we’ll launch an Alexa skill (that I’ll be the only dorky enough to use!)

If you have any feedback, feel free to send it along.

Happy birthday to us!

If I remember it right, we were walking home from the Farmers’ Market nine years ago this weekend, when I asked my wife what she thought about me starting a blog about Weston.

I’m pretty sure we were walking under the mulberry tree on Elm (I love mulberry trees) when she asked me what I would call it.

“WestonWeb?” I said.

She thought the name was stupid. I remember that clearly. She’s probably right.

But it stuck, and nine years later, we are still the best blog about Weston. Happy birthday to us!

Most nine-year-olds have different tastes from us, so it’s hard to find a gif.

Some comments on commenting and contributing.

Weston Web has been ‘on the air’ since 2010 when Adam started to write about things going on in his neighbourhood. Very few corners of Toronto have such a source of local news and we’re proud of that fact. Hundreds of articles have been written about the Weston / Mount Dennis community and all of them are still accessible through our search function. We make no secret of who we are and what we think. We’re opinionated and unabashed centre-lefties and we often think our leaders can do better.

Readers may believe that we are not fans of certain politicians. That’s not quite true. We attempt at WestonWeb to make our points by attacking ideas and actions rather than the people behind them. We almost always support our opinions through facts and links to other publications. As I mentioned, we stick our names on top of articles we write because we’d like to see our neighbourhood get a better shake and we’re not ashamed to be identified.

We have a comment section after each article because readers often add to a topic – sometimes providing insights far better than anything that we could come up with. Commenters can remain anonymous if they wish.

We get the occasional ugly comment after a WestonWeb article. Such ‘contributions’ attack the authors or people mentioned in the article. We also get unsubstantiated smears on our community as being crime-filled and run down – false notions that we have refuted extensively. Adam generously ‘disemvowels’ such comments, while I zap them out of existence without a trace.  These people never identify themselves and I can only infer that they do not want their family, friends or neighbours to know that they hold such opinions.

On the other hand, our comments section receives some fantastic well-thought out ideas from readers, many of whom identify themselves. To these people, thank-you. We value your opinions even though don’t always mesh with ours. Some of our commenters have become guest writers and we cherish their contributions.

If you think you can contribute to our community discussion, we welcome your ideas. Write for us if you think you have a few articles in you and if you’re commenting; don’t be Anon or Anonymous. We’d love it if you could identify yourself or failing that, give yourself a consistent handle so readers can follow your ideas.