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Are we a community?

Posted by Rona Fischman October 26, 2012 01:53 PM

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I am approaching a personal landmark: 1000 entries. It is making me look back at my tenure here at BREN. I am aware that this site gets thousands of independent hits every month, but there are only a small number of people who comment.

Today, I want to hear from the silent majority.

I believe that the work that I do at BREN is about community building. I put in my part and the commenters put in theirs. The result is a product that is informative and somewhat entertaining.

Buying a house is stressful, so is selling one. Repairing and maintaining a house can be fulfilling, but mostly, it is expensive and time consuming. (There’s a part of me that says, “Renting is not picnic either… What are we doing living here near Boston?”) My challenge has been to come up with new situations that give me an opening to teach would-be buyers and sellers something while still leaving an opening for the well-informed commenters to bring their knowledge in.

At the beginning, the comments were moderated by the writers. This was not the way to go; it was way too slow. Then a crew was hired to moderate; it was still slow, but it was better. Were you with me in the bad old days of slow comment posting?

The good thing about the old set-up was that I had the email addresses of the commenters. I could ask for clarification, if I wanted to answer the comment in depth. In the process, I had email relationships with some of the regulars on the blog, Markus and Charles being the most long-lasting and notable.

Then, there was “the great comment wipeout” that happened when the formatting changed to instant comment posting. All the comments prior to that date were gone forever. Some good conversations (and some not-so-good) were lost. Most of the commenters at the time felt it was well worth it, since now there was a real-time conversation going on. Were you there?

I make a conscious effort to provide information without tooting the horn of my personal business. I have been writing here as a service to the Massachusetts Association of Buyer’s Agents. (MABA.) My web address is not on the masthead (upper right.) Although I have been accused of self-serving, I believe I give more than I get.

Do you think of this blog as a community? Is it a source of information, period? Do you think of it as comedy? Tragedy?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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