Ask Me Anything. Vol. 3

me
Photo by Hugh Clarke

Ed. Note: Thanks again to everyone who has donated to the St. Baldrick’s Fundraiser in the fight against Childhood Cancers. We are 3/4 of the way there! If there are others who’d like to make a donation, any amount helps, please do so and get a free PoPville shirt at the head shaving event!

1. Why is the last post of the night always (usually?) at 10:22? I’ve had fun wondering about it. Is someone’s birthday October 22? Is it your lucky number?

When I schedule posts the default is military time so, 10:22pm is 22:22 and I just like the way that looks. When my older daughter was born, years after I’ve been doing the blog, she was born at 22:22 which was insane and I’ve taken it as a sign to keep it going.

2. Will you ever use the frog again? I was — and am — totally charmed by the Frog Prince.

Nope. The frog prince is permanently retired. Maybe I’ll bring him back briefly for special occasions like the 15th or 20th anniversaries.

3. I’ve also wondered how you go about screening the comments — and what criteria you use. (Yes, I’ve been scrubbed more than once, and would like to do better….)

There’s a couple ways to answer this. And this screening has evolved over time. Basically, all the overt racist hateful shit gets deleted immediately. If I catch the subtle racist stuff I’ll delete that too. If commenters are assh*oles to me, to you, to anyone and they make it personal – it’ll be deleted. If someone has been an assh*le, racist, crossed the line in the past I’ll remember that. They are held on a very very short leash. If they don’t like it, I don’t give a frog’s fat ass. I came to this conclusion a few years ago and it has made my life much more enjoyable. Hopefully for you too.

Here’s another example of someone’s comment who will also get deleted. If every time there is a crime post (no matter the location) they say “you see this is why we need concealed carry laws”. Every single time. The same exact commenter, saying the same exact thing. They are not looking for a discussion. It’s just online screaming basically. Or if every single time there is a crime in a particular neighborhood they say “you see X neighborhood is stabby, dicey, shady” or whatever. It’s not useful and you’re (not OP here obviously) just being an assh*le. This applies to any comment that is parroted after any particular post. I’m not saying there can’t be genuine discussion about gun laws, or crime/safety in particular neighborhoods but my goal is to keep those discussions genuine. Also if you say “Make America Great Again” or MAGA after every comment you write? Yeah, I’m deleting that too.

Finally, it’s arbitrary. I can’t read every single comment, every single day so sometimes comments that shouldn’t have been deleted get deleted and vice versa. It’s just the nature of a one man show. At the end of the day, I try to keep this a respectful place where folks can have conversations without being harassed or insulted like many other places on this world wide web of ours. It is a flawed process, no doubt, but I err on the side of trying to keep things civil.

4: If you have any secrets about shoes and/or aching feet that you’d care to share.

Wearing running shoes is key. I always get new ones every two or three months max. I once wore snow boots on a 14 mile walkabout (after it snowed obviously) and I was hobbling for days afterwards. If we ever get snow again, I’m like a six year old and I tie plastic bags around my feet.

5. Has Dingo ever been featured on Animal Fix? I enjoyed the Dingo video moments!

Yup, here’s Dingo looking at my fish tank in the last photo of this fix.

-Dan Silverman: Citizen of the District of Columbia

If you have a personal question you’ve been dying to ask me – fire away! You can ask in the comments (which I’ll go back to and pull from) or just send an email with your question to [email protected] with “Ask me Anything” in the title.

51 Comment

  • binntp

    Dingooooo! This post made me happy 🙂

  • #Dingo. I’m telling you.

  • Blithe

    – This post has totally made my day!!!! Really!
    – DINGO!!!!!!!! <3 <3 <3 Love that "hope springs eternal" photo! lol
    – Soooo, I'm now making plans for the 15th, or maybe the 20th anniversary celebration. I Really have fond feelings for that frog! 🙂

  • Blithe

    – And thank you for such an in-depth description of how you go about screening the comments. It’s a huge part of what makes the comment section here a nice place to play. And to exchange information. And to exchange ideas!
    – I’m sure there’s no way that I can possibly imagine all the scummy stuff that you have to read through so that we don’t have to, but please know that your efforts are very much appreciated!

  • I appreciate the effort you put into screening comments. I’ve been surprised to be caught out a few times, but it’s both a good chance to take stock and see whether I’m being an ass and also a reminder that a dry sense of humor can fall flat online. Either way, you have helped make me a more positive part of this online community. Thanks!

  • ah

    So, regarding question #3, what about “Maryland driver” – do those get deleted? I think not, nor should they, because it’s a hilarious meme on PoP!

    • Blithe

      Derail: While you find it hilarious, please know that some of us don’t. Many “Maryland Drivers” are people originally from DC who moved to Maryland, often primarily for financial reasons. Many of the people who deride “Maryland Drivers” are people from outside — often from WAY outside — the DC area who use the phrase to scoff at the perceived incompetence of those who aren’t lucky enough, rich enough, competent enough, etc. to live in the city that has been rapidly impacted by gentrification and rising housing prices. So, while it’s hilarious to some — and I DO get the joke — it’s a meme that also can carry a lot of baggage, and that can be heard and understood in multiple ways.
      – I’m not in any way suggesting that “Maryland driver” get deleted. Just putting it out there that as a meme, it’s complicated.

      • Woaaahhhh, this is looking at it way too closely. I was born and raised in Northern Virginia and we just grew up hating Maryland in general. It has nothing to do with the drivers. And the way you have expanded this meme means DC drivers suck then? And I even know people who are from Maryland who make fun of Maryland drivers.

        • Blithe

          Maybe it is looking at it way to closely, particularly from the point of view of someone who was born and raised in Northern Virginia vs for someone who was born and raised in Petworth. ( Lots of implications there, right?) Yes, I get the regional rivalries. And no, it doesn’t suggest in any way that DC drivers suck. And yes, I’m sure that you do know people who are from MD who make fun of MD drivers. I’m also sure that you do know, or know of people who make sneering comments about “PG”. Similar thing, and sometimes similar implications.
          -Again, I apologize for the derail. I just wanted to put out the possibility that one person’s (or one culture’s) “hilarious meme” might have other meanings for other people.

      • I’m a road rager, so I definitely have some opinions.
        Having learned to drive and then having been licensed in states where “Keep Right, Pass Left” is the law (and enforced), I was shocked that there could possibly be a place where it isn’t the law. And, you guessed it, it’s Maryland. THAT is why I hate Maryland drivers. Because even if it’s not the law, it’s good driving etiquette. MOVE OVER for drivers that are overtaking you in the left lane.

        And, if your windshield wipers are on, then you MUST turn your DRIVING lights on . (not your parking lights).

        Sorry Maryland, but you guys seem to not remember to ever look in your rear view mirror to recognize that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

        Never even knew someone would take this as a racist comment until someone mentioned that on these forums a few weeks ago.

        • So, since you’re concerned about driving laws, I have to wonder, when you’re passing on the left, do you exceed the speed limit?

        • Blithe

          – One more thing that might shock you: I don’t know if this is still true, but when I got my license, DC drivers had to drive around downtown during their test. In marked contrast, MD — or at least Montgomery County — drivers did their tests in the safety of a lot designated for the tests. So no assessment of how they performed in actual traffic was (is?) necessary.

          • In Montgomery County, we also had to complete drivers’ ed. By the time I took my test in the safety of a designated lot I had already demonstrated my ability to drive on small neighborhood streets, the Beltway, and everything in between.

          • Tom

            I recently took the D.C. driver’s exam with a third-party service (big shout out to Ethio Star Driving School, you guys rocked) at the Brentwood DMV, and it was all street. We didn’t go all the way into, like, Peak Downtown, but I did get a nice little ride around Brookland out of it. Conversely, I took my first driver’s test in rural southern New Jersey at a disused airport, of all places.

        • I’m from Maryland (originally) and you are not wrong about any of this. Having lived other places… I get it now.

    • Personally, I think it’s often a veiled racist comment. Also having lived in DC and worked in MoCo (which is very overrated in many ways, but that’s a different comment), I’d have to say that Virginia drivers are the worst and I truly hate driving in Virginia in a way I don’t in DC or MD.

  • RE: comment screening…is it possible to “whitelist” certain links? Say major newspapers (WaPo, NYT, and the like…or even just WaPo for a local focus) and other Popville posts? I avoid posting links here, even when they’d be helpful, because I know it takes a while to screen and allow them, and by the time the comment appears, the discussion has often moved on/taken a different turn/etc.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Between, 9am-2pm I usually get them pretty quick so just do it in that window 🙂 No whitelist is unfortunately not an option on my software.

      • Tsar of Truxton

        Have you ever thought of adding some frequent readers who you trust as mods on a volunteer basis? Not even sure it is possible, but just a thought to help you out with some of it.

  • Andie302

    Questions for future posts: How’s it going in your new neighborhood?
    Can you easily see (maybe from the IP address?) when an anon comments in multiple places? Any information that can lead you to believe that it’s a regular commenter choosing to be anonymous for that post?
    You may have covered this before – but is all of your income from ad clicks? If not, what’s the breakdown of income streams (obviously not asking your income, but I’m interested in what comes from where and what percentage it is of your total income from the site).
    What are some outcomes from this blog that you never could’ve expected when you started it? (This obviously has a very personal impact for me, having met my fiancé at the informal HH. I’m betting there are some other things that strike you sort of like that – be it personal or business relationships, or WAPO using your site to scoop news lol)

    Thanks for all you do, and especially for screening comments. I hate trolls and appreciate that this is generally a troll-free place!

  • Whatever happened to regular comment contributor Justin BC (or something like that)?

  • just curious, why censor the word “asshole,” but not the word “shit?”

    also, will you censor this comment?

  • Clueless

    PoP, I swear your doppelganger is Diplo. Do you agree?

  • Re: question 3, perhaps try a good pair of waterproof hiking boots for walking on snowy streets? That’s my preferred snow footwear.

  • Questions:
    Do you have any idea how much time I waste per day while I’m meant to be working? (Not rhetorical…can you tell how much time I spend looking at your site and reading the comments?)

  • gerresdpm

    Agreed on having good shoes. 🙂

  • I don’t think I’ve ever worn them for one mile, let alone 14, but I’ll suggest you try Neos or comparable overshoes as a snow footwear alternative to boots or plastic bags. Basically an outersole with a waterproof liner that goes over your regular shoes.

  • I walk a lot (around 40 miles per week) and one of my best purchases in a long time was a pair of Keen trail shoes. They’re comfy and they have a heavy-duty sole which hasn’t worn out even a tiny bit in the first few hundred miles I’ve put on them. They’re pricier than the running shoes I have but I expect them to last a really long time. Plus, they’re waterproof! Maybe they could be an option for you?

  • Love this series! Here’s a random question – how do you pick out the rentals/houses of the day? Do you have a method or process?

Comments are closed.