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November 21, 2008

Dealing with a nasty post

I had hoped that csmertycha's post would simply be ignored by everyone, which I think is usually the best way to handle such things. Then it would have sunk into obscurity, quickly getting pushed off the Most Recent Comments list.

However, that didn't happen. And, OK, I have to admit Owl's response was pretty funny. Perhaps even brilliant. Unfortunately it kept getting responses so the post is rapidly becoming the post that wouldn't die.

There are two reasons I'm giving the whole subject its own entry. ...

First, even though csmertycha got the immediate reaction from me (and you) he/she hoped, which is my back up, there is some truth in the specific examples. Not Bucky, of course. Of course we don't want Bucky to go home. But we had been going after Jill to the point that I was starting to feel uncomfortable. She lost; not a good time to keep piling it on. And the whole Jack's Bistro thing, which was funny at first and accurate, is starting to seem, well, a little mean-spirited. It's a pretty good local restaurant.

My point is that however idiotically csmertycha expressed him/herself, I do like it better when we're attacking someone like the Eagles fans being more good-hearted. I hate to think that's the impression we're giving to a casual visitor.

Second, let's go easy on the gastrointestinal references (gastropubs notwithstanding). I'm invoking Rule No. 3 here.

I'm going to post csmertycha's comment below in case you don't want to be bothered to go back to the original entry:  

There are what? 10 of you, bloggers- "gotta be witty" "gotta be creative" "gotta correct", and, Bucky, you live in Colorado, but you're clinging to Baltimore? Go Home! ...Let's bash Jill!(don't care about topic), I JUST WANNA BE HEARD! My life blows, so I feel CLEVER as I blog! I wanna be witty and rap so everyone takes me seriously. I know Jack's Bistro doesn't have a publist, but I'm soo JEALOUS! I am really Ethan Hawke's character in "Reality Bites." I JUDGE YOU. I AM SMARTER THAN YOU. I blog!!

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 2:02 PM | | Comments (83)


Every once in a while we need reminding that this is a big tent; big enough to accomodate all sorts of unusual and off the wall
We CAN get along; YES WE CAN...maybe.

If I can make all the voices in my head get along, then this should be a snap.

Thanks for addressing it, EL. I'll admit that there have been more than a few occasions when I've wanted to comment but haven't because I didn't want to incur the vitriol the gang of blog regulars are so quick to lash out with. I agree with Regina, it's a bigger tent than just the 20 or so who go off on their tangents in the comment section. Try to be a little more welcoming and not so mean-spirited in the criticism dept.

I occasionally comment on this blog for two reasons. Because I enjoy exchanging good-humored repartee with bright and entertaining people who enjoy good food and drink as much as I do. And because I get some terrific restaurant recommendations. Which is why I resent the occasional visitor who can't think of anything to contribute other than a snide or surly put-down. Fortunately, since they don't share our interests -- or spirit -- they don't hang around the sandbox too long.

I agree as well, I like our little community bette when we aren't snarking on someone or some thing. In the spirit of the coming holidays, lets raise a glass to our good fortune, that we all are here together and have a great community and lively discourse.


rpb, a lot of bloggers have incestuous tendencies. You may just have to get used to it.

I hadn't read csmertycha's comment the first time, and I'm kinda sorry I did just now. As a rule, Sandboxers are very civil. If someone feels a need to snark as badlhy as csmertycha did, perhaps s/he should be invited to post elsewhere.

Sorry, I'm just not seeing any up side to this entry. It's demeaning and angry, but about what? People's cleverness and wit? Jealousy perhaps! And, about the Jack's Bistro backlash? Who are you really csmertycha? The owner of Jack's Bistro? Maybe things went a little far with the Jack's thing but having it injected into every blog topic was rather odd and annoying. And because Bucky wants to hang out with us? No anger here - all are welcome from everywhere. Life is too short to be p.o.'d all the time. Get over it!

well, it is about time that someone put you people in your place.

I thought I recognized "csmertycha". I have reason to believe that she is indeed affilitated with Jack's Bistro in some fashion.

I can't tell whether you're joking or not, but you do know she's a she, which startled me when I realized it. EL

RoCK, I should hope that our places are at the dinner table.

I wasn't joking,

Hal "VoR" stands for Voice of Research, today. Excellent job, Hal.

What an interesting thread to come home to, after a week on the road and a week dealing with a sudden and unexpected vocational twist. As, at best, a periodic contributor to this blog (and at that, mostly at odd hours and sometimes from odd time zones or days late on a thread), I was flattered to be remembered among the list of "regulars."

First, fear not (as the angels always say) about the excommunication thing: it is above my pay grade (though, interestingly, also below it as well ... but that takes us to a very distant world of Canon Law blogs).

Second, I am fascinated (though not surprised) at the extent to which this "virtual" community behaves like the "actual" communities that I deal with day in and day out. I will spare you all the geek talk about community development theory, but I smell a transition here.

MD Canon - please elaborate on the transition.
You have my total interest (until something drives by or gets knocked over - you know how it is with ADHD!)

MD Canon wrote - ...but I smell a transition here.

Did you intent to drop that statement and then just leave us hanging? What transition are you speaking of?

MD Canon,
I'm with Joyce, I'd like to hear more about your community development theory. Too bad it can't be in front of my fireplace with a glass of port and some walnuts.

So, I step away for a few days and all hell breaks loose. Where do we go from here? Singing kumbaya is all well and good on those cold night at summer camp, but it just ain't doing it for me anymore. Spunky and funny are the name of the game, and yes, that seems sometimes you walk up to and across that line. It's too bad for the innocent dropper-by, but I think intentions matter. No one I have read in the Sandbox seems to intend harm. Correction: Yes but Harm: No. If that occasionally grates, so be it. Part of playing in the sandbox is occasionally getting sand in uncomfortable places. I've had my fingers singed a few times, but that's the nature of the beast (I'm not all out of metaphors).

Joyce, have you ever read the webcomic Sluggy Freelance? You might enjoy Kiki the Ferret.

Oooo! Shiny!

Where I come from, "transition" is something that those aligning their internal gender with their external physical bits do.

I don't think that was what MD Canon was thinking of, though. Blogs don't have gender.

Lissa - "oooo! Shiny!" is part of my everyday thoughts (at least unspoken)...

Lissa--blogs don't have gender? What about all our blog girls?

Don't forget our League of Roberts.

hey RoCK, how about them Ravens! A close game turns into a rout!

since this is a food blog, the nachos I had were great! They added a bit of chili to the usual chips, cheese, and peppers. And since its in the Pier Bar, where its unheated and has a GIANT door open, the warm food was quite welcome.

In case you are wondering, it was in the low 60s today but brilliant sunshine, much like the skies in Baltimore. There were people swimming today-must be the Canadians.

PCB Rob, did the swimmers wear speedos? If so, that's a sure sign of a Canadian.

Hmmm--I didn't know my husband was Canadian ...

Hmmm--I didn't know my husband was Canadian ...

They walk among us. They appear to be normal.


Yes, one was wearing a speedo. The other two were women though.

I agree with 100% with csmertycha.

Someone from Colorado is posting here daily....hahaha.

Eric, finally the voice of reason

So much for nice lockdown

In the unlikely event that snotty remarks drive Bucky away from here, he is always welcome at You Don't Say.

See, my character flaw is that comments like csmertycha's, Eric's and Anonymous' don't make me want to go home. They make me want to post twice as often.



Have you been over to You Don't Say recently. Its like old home week. Mr McIntyre use the 5 Most Recent Post option (we have 8) and earlier to-day everyone of the posts was from a D@L regular. There's no poaching, we're just taking over.

I have noticed that too. I think the regulars here are finding that You Don't Say's Parlor is a good spot to visit in between updates here.

Maybe its because the Parlor is a civil environment that we prefer, much like it is here, most of the time. :-)

RtSO wrote There's no poaching, we're just taking over.

First the sandbox, tomorrow the world. Bwaa ha ha ha ha!

You are welcome here anytime. Your posts are always a great read.

Heck, they let me post here, but I'm a former Baltimorean and will always be one at heart.

RE: Transition ...

First, sorry for not getting back sooner. I work weekends!

Second, the take on community development theory that I go back to has to do with the size of the community and how it organizes. There are many ways to slice the apple, but the one that I think works best says that there are five groupings: "Family Size" communities, with core participation of 70 or less; "Leader-Centered" with core participation of 70-140; "Transitional Size" with 140-225 participants; "Program Size" at 225-350; and "Corporate Size" with more than 350 active members. (Look up "Arlin Rothauge" in your favorite search engine to learn more about this schema.)

With respect to community development, my favorite folks to work with are those communities that have between 140 and 225 active "weekly" participants. This is the grouping with the most dynamic characteristics, including a sometimes random fluctuation in membership and response to group conflict that is hard to predict. ("Alice Mann" is the guru of this material.)

Now, I haven't had time to look at every week's postings to count the number of participants (and maybe the blog software can do this if asked) but it feels to me, intuitively, that we have crossed into this category.

EL herself wondered if the odd comments would simply be ignored, and eventually the regular community of this blog will be large enough that that will happen. The theory says that the larger the community gets, the less time and attention will be spent on outsiders. The good news is that it helps to focus the conversation on things that are truly important to the community (say, restaurant culture in Baltimore); the bad news is that it will eventually "homogenize" the content of the blog. But if we are a community in the transitional zone, it will be hard to predict how we will respond to any given input. Personally, I think this makes the whole enterprise more interesting.

But I'm really only here for the food!

MD Canon--it's hard to imagine this virtual community becoming "homogenized" as long as we have the feathered one among us. He scares away the timid and the lukewarm.

it's hard to imagine this virtual community becoming "homogenized" as long as we have the feathered one among us

And where is the feathered one? Although BG has reported his weekend activities, we have not heard from Bird since, by my calculations, this post went up. I, personally (they hate that phrase over in Wordville) have been waiting for his take.

And where is the feathered one?

Maybe we're taking a vacation from him. I mean him from us.

I don't know about homogenized (although I'm resisting a very bad pun...don't want to drag Joyce into my bad sense of humour). Websites work differently than RL (and I'm not sure I buy all the sizing theory on RL). Not all large websites get homogenized.

Drag away, Lissa. I liked your take on "transitioning" too.

I agree that this group is too headstrong and argumentative to achieve homogeneity.


this group is too headstrong and argumentative

We are not!

Joyce, I disagree with you agreeing with me disagreeing with MD Canon.

And, I am unanimous in that!

Lissa, you are right to be skeptical about the size theorizing. In fact it is still up for debate in the organizations in which I work, and there are some significantly different schemes that challenge the assumptions that underlie mine. Like any tool it has a usefulness, but not an unlimited one.

I am curious about the extent to which an online community reflects real life communities. But even that curiosity betrays my assumptions, compared, say, to my 20 year old son whose primary community relationships are online.

MD Canon, I've done a lot of thinking and talking about online versus real life with friends online and off over the years. Doesn't mean I have any answers, but online seems to scale differently than RL. They are also real in different ways, although there is certainly cross-over.

I remember reading a fascinating article in some business publication about a company that had found that groups over X (where X was roughly equal to some Christian communal group popular in Alberta, or something - Dunkers, maybe?) stopped functioning well, so all their factories and worksites had only X employees. I'm thinking that number was in the low 200's.

It is all certainly interesting and useful to play with.

We aren't that big here, yet, but I think we have attracted enough regulars that we have in jokes (which make joining the group difficult for outsiders) and enough common history for teasing and cryptic references. This might be leading to some of the sniping and such we've seen lately. People want to join, but feel pushed away by the camaraderie, and don't realize they can quickly become part of the in group by making a couple amusing or informative posts.

Of course, I could also be completely full of crap, too.

When I first starting commenting on this blog, I felt a little self-conscious that perhaps I wasn't enough "in the know" to be here.

But the regulars here have been more than welcome to anyone that posts an honest comment. Of course, there has been some humor I don't get, probably because the joke started before I got here.

It doesn't matter though, I still enjoy reading EL's posts and the W I D E variety of comments that take the conversation far from where it started.

Rob, you were here before me. I, too, found it a bit hard to start to speak up, but found folks welcoming. More so than many other places I hang out on the net.

Just, please, keep me off the topic of "nice." I can go for hours on the harm and evil that has been accomplished by the modern USian cult of niceness.

I don't mean to keep you on any topic that you don't like. I just wanted to post my thoughts on why I continue to post comments here.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions.

Enjoy the day of thanks that is coming up, wherever you may be or wherever or however you may celebrate it. That goes for everyone here. I'm not going to be where I want to celebrate it, but I will make the best of it, and celebrate with the friends I have here.

Not trying to be harsh, and that is not my intent, I'm just trying to make the best out of what is presented to me.

Sorry, Rob, the nice comment wasn't directed at you. I'm been holding back on my grandiose social theories, both because they aren't appropriate here and because I'd bore everyone to tears.

Didn't mean to imply you were holding me to a topic. I think the topic is timely and needed.

As one of the earlier posters here (I started reading the blog the first day and started posting about a month later, if memory serves), I was a bit taken aback by csmertycha's attack.

I know we ragged a bit on Jack's Bistro. We have been known to occasionally take a topic and run with it - sometimes into the ground. :)

But the attack was personal in a way that the ragging on Jack's Bistro was not.

I did note the way the regulars immediately circled together to protect each other. While only a few of us have actually met in the real world, we are most certainly a virtual family.

I found MD Canon information regarding communites to be quite interesting and I would be interested in seeing how those models apply (or not) to online communities.

As far as my own opinions are concerned -
Don't go anywhere Bucky! You're a wonderful additional to the Sandbox family.
Owlie come home!

Lissa, oh, okay. Thanks for clearing it up.

... I'm been holding back on my grandiose social theories

→ → ♥ ╠═╦═╬═╝!

OK, I retract my previous comment (in another post) about understanding the symbol-language. When it goes beyond one syllable, I get lost.

OK, I retract my previous comment ...

√ + → ♣

Is the translation "Going to love the complexity?"

What I'm hoping is that Σ8>) IS the Owl Man and that on Thursday, he is going to reveal an entirely new Funtastic Language.

He is the only person I've ever...uh, known (you know what I mean)...who is inventive enough to pull that off.

Is the translation "Going to love the complexity?

≈ √

... he is going to reveal an entirely new Funtastic Language.

=> (qwerty) = Ø + ( π♥ ) = 1

yes, Σ8>) does seem to be testing a new language out on here.

When I was in the Navy, I took the DLAB (Defense Language Aptitude Battery) where they use a non-existent language, pretty much gibberish, to see how well the tester can decipher patterns and such. I aced that test, but have no idea what Σ8>) is up to now.

I still remember ig-pay atin-lay, if that counts for anything.

Oh, and Rob, Rob, Bo, Bob, Banana, Fana, Fo, Fob, Me, My, Mo Mob, Rob.

Nice song Bucky, now let's do Chuck.

RE: comments by Lissa & Rosebud -- it turns out that church communities are so ubiquitous they make for easy studying, with respect to community development theory. I'm familiar with the management illustration of factories with a workforce of X, and X is indeed about 200 or so, which is about the largest group of people a single manager can keep track of, in what I previously called a leader-centered or leader-driven system.

I wondered about this earlier, without actually posing the question: EL, can the blog software give you any indication of how many discreet posters there are in a given week?

Hey Bucky,

Since you seem to like languages, here is a sample test of that DLAB.

how many discreet posters there are in a given week?

Probably not that many of those. I imagine you're more interested in how many discrete posters.

(Sorry, couldn't help myself...)

OK, I got nine out of ten and I maintain it would have been ten out of ten if I wasn't taking the test on a MacBook, with which I am wholly unfamiliar.

Where do I sign up? I'd like a job in the intelligence field. It would surprise the hell out of attendees at my next high school reunion. To say nothing of csmertcha and Eric.

Are there any openings at, say, Pearl Harbor?

Hal VOR -- nice catch .. it was the tryptophan typing!

OK, I got nine out of ten ...

Aowla omeato igotado oteno.
B↓ omeo

Good for you Bucky. I got nine out of ten too.

You get to go to school for like a year and a half in Monterrey CA, not a bad place. But then you probably get stationed in some far off place, not so nice.

Whoo hoo! I got ten out of ten!
I guess there is not much of a job market for a 54 y/o female, however, I now know what my career will be in my next life :-)

Rob & Owlie, we could partner up and modernize the U.S. intelligence gathering apparatus. I bet WE could have found the WMDs.

yeah Bucky, we'd make quite a team.

Cosmo Girl, I don't think they let you in after you reach like 30 or so.

PCBRob: exactly my point! However, when I come back for my next life I have my career already plotted out. Of course, that is if I don't come back as a dog or squirrel or something...

Cosmo Girl - age discrimination! I know an attorney....

Thanks Joyce, but the Navy and I would both have quite a laugh at seeing me trying to make it through Boot Camp :-)

Cosmo Girl,
But what if you came back as some highly intelligent squirrel, able to speak English and interpret a foreign language! You could be parachuted into the most sensitive of places and gather intel right under the Bad Guys noses.

Just as long as the Bad Guys don't see squirrel as dinner.

PCB Rob: maybe I should come back as an aardvark. They are so ugly I would hope that nobody would want to eat them.

Cosmo Girl, this could be you:

An aardvark walks into a bar. The bartender asks "Why the long face?"

Depending on which part of the CT specialy you are assigned, you could be in a sealed area on board a ship close to hostile areas.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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