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.

A year in review: WestonWeb–our best year ever

WestonWeb had a cracking year–our best ever, in fact. We had more visits and more visitors than ever before.

People visited WestonWeb.ca almost 118,000 times. That’s astonishing! Thank you for stopping by!

I figured it was the election, but if I know one thing about you, dear reader, it’s that I never know what you’ll like.  The most popular posts were about running: Mark DeMontis decided to run for the PC candidacy (1100 views) and Atlantic salmon ran the Humber (900)

For years, I’ve felt like we’ve been losing readers on .ca to Facebook. That may still be true, because holy smokes do people read us there. We have almost 500 followers, and over the past year, we’ve appeared 71,751 times in your feeds. We’ve also received nearly 15,000 likes. Don’t stop now!


A word about comments

Perhaps it’s the election, but I’ve noticed that a few comments on the site have been rather negative and adversarial—even sometimes a touch unkind. I wonder we could all take it down a notch.

Comments are troublesome all over the internet, and here much less than most; I thank you for that. Nonetheless, I’m going to propose a model for us all to follow: that of a dinner party.

People are polite when they go over to another’s house. Roy and I, and our wonderful contributors, have put quite a bit of work into putting this all together for you.  We are delighted to have you visit, and we’d love to have you stay—as long as you bring your manners.

I mean this seriously, and it will be the test I apply when I decide whether to delete comments: if it wouldn’t be welcome at a dinner party, it’s not welcome as a comment. I shall delight in deleting and disemvowelling boors.

And, of course, people get heated and even angry at parties. I understand. But I think we can see it as regrettable rather than inevitable. Challenge ideas that you disagree with rather than people. You’re here for cocktails, not keggers. Slips will be tolerated.  Blockheads will not.