The End of the Open Thread

This is a tough post to write but it’s a long time coming…Sometime back in 2008, in an attempt to keep the comment threads associated with individual posts on topic, we began running an Open Thread post every day. The theory was that the OT would be a place where people who wanted to discuss anything off-topic could go and do just that. It was also an attempt to accommodate the site’s most active commenters who, quite wonderfully, had begun to forge quite meaningful online and offline relationships. As time has gone on though, the Open Thread has become both more insider-y and, often, more toxic than we had initially envisioned. We hear frequently from readers bemoaning the negativity, profanity and clubbiness on the Open Thread and stories of other long-time readers who have all but abandoned the site because of the tone set by the Open Thread. So we’re stopping it.

The decision is made difficult only by the fact that many of the participants, some of whom we’ve come to know personally, are some of the most longstanding and loyal readers of the site. Most of them are wonderful, interesting people but we agree with the critics who say that the Open Thread culture has become at best exclusionary and at worst offensive and inhospitable. There is no reason why a small group of people needs to carry on its discourse on a stage in front of a couple of hundred thousand people every month. There are ample social media platforms that are more appropriate and, frankly, better equipped technologically for this type, and size, of discussion. To that end, we have created an Open Thread page on Facebook that all are welcome to visit.

Going forward there will be no Open Thread on the blog and we will be actively monitoring the other comment threads and forum posts to ensure that they stay (relatively) on topic and respectful. Repeated attempts to highjack any of these discussions will result in users being banned from the site. If you have not already noticed, the new commenting system, while not perfect, does enable readers to flag comments and posts that are inappropriate so please feel free to alert us that way if a thread starts going off-track or a commenter starts acting inappropriately.

We hope that this will be an important step towards cultivating a more welcoming sense of online community that every person who visits the site will feel comfortable partaking in. We hope that we can get back to a time when discussions focused on old houses, neighborhood news and Brooklyn quality of life issues. If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines for a while, we hope you’ll come back into the fold and contribute your two cents.

913 Comment

  • All good things, including brownstoner, must come to an end. From the loss of the widget (under pressure no doubt from the advertisers) to the lack of any data published from the surveys, to the change in the site and the inability for the vast majority of people to even log into it from behind firewalls, I suspect this is the beginning of the end for the entire site.

    God knows what the page view numbers are any more and why people are even posting listings here given the overall perceived lack of traffic.

    It has become apparent from the comments posted in the Forum that many, many people are troubled by the new site and have left. I suspect the OT is being used as a scapegoat. If people are put off by the OT, they ought not to visit it.

    Facebook, OT, gimmie a break.

  • DIBS, no need to cry about the spilled milk. this was disappointing but expected. It’s his site and his choice. Let’s be more adult-like and simply just pack up our toys and go play somewhere else.

    Mr. B, thank you for hosting us all this time. wish you the best of luck. good bye

  • Many companies specifically ban Facebook.
    Eh bien. I can’t help but notice that the end has come just weeks after I moved to Westchester.

  • Meh…

    For whatever it’s worth…been lurking here a while though rarely posted. Agree that it was “clubby” but when I didn’t want to get caught up in the “clubbiness” I just didn’t read the open thread.

    Not sure how removing easy to ignore content benefits anyone…

  • Thanks, more4less. DIBS, the issues driving this decisions LONG predate the move to the new site. LONG. Believe it or not, the number of comments has very little impact on overall pageviews so the decision doesn’t have anything to do with that either. It’s about the often negative tone and off-color subject matter in the OT and the way those things make most visitors to the site feel alienated. Plain and simple.

  • In the last few weeks I’ve been unsure whether I’m on Brownstoner or on Streetsblog – today looks like being no exception.

  • Or you could do what I do, and just don’t read the OT!

    Ditto – you’re in Westchester?!?

  • “I suspect this is the beginning of the end for the entire site.”

    Sadly, I agree with dave. As I just said in an email, the same people blocked from posting here by corporate firewalls are also blocked from posting on Facebook.

    I fail to understand why people who feign being offended by the OT simply don’t read it.

    I also think that the loss of the community will mean a further loss to the site of regular posters commenting in other threads and replying to Forum posts.

    Since Facebook isn’t an option, it’s time to find or create an alternate site on which to post, one that is all inclusive and not blocked by corporate firewalls.

  • Well, I’ll be retiring soon anyway and leaving Brooklyn so it won’t actually matter anymore.

    Could you please finally address the widget and the survey issues??????

  • ditto, when did you move to Westchester???

  • “I fail to understand why people who feign being offended by the OT simply don’t read it.”

    Because they have nothing better to do than think of reasons to complain about most anything I suspect. Thin skinned as well.

  • We can use lech’s site:
    jackalspub . b l o g s p o t . com/

  • Mr. B, I think m4l speaks for all (well, most) of us in wishing you well. And, it is, as he said, your business.

    That said, I’m no slouch, but I still don’t understand your decision, and I say that as someone who has read and participated in the OT for years.

  • Thanks for the memories & friends, Mr. B.
    Luckily, we can still meet at watering holes.

  • yes, I sold out and moved to Westchester just in time for a 4th July BBQ in my backyard to celebrate us Brits being beat by the upstart colonials. Ironically enough I’ve been coming here more often to find people to fix this, that and the other in my new house.

  • This is the part I really don’t get:

    “We hear frequently from readers bemoaning the negativity, profanity and clubbiness on the Open Thread and stories of other long-time readers who have all but abandoned the site because of the tone set by the Open Thread.”

    I can imagine the whining emails that he got.

  • PS, as clubby and insider-y as the OT may be, EVERYONE new has always been welcomed to the OT with open arms (plus manuals and tiaras), and EVERYONE new has had the opportunity to join the club.

  • Here’s a recent email on the topic:

    I have not signed up for a new log in since the new format because I find the inclusion of the “open thread” to take away from the high quality of the rest of the blog. It is nothing more than an aol instant messenger chat amongst a group of HIGHLY negative, arrogant and annoying people. Because of the open thread, people seem less likely to post on the actual content of the blog and it makes the site overall extremely negative to read these days. I know TONS of people who have abandoned brownstoner, not for the new format but because a few select individuals have been given so much power to override your blog with nasty, negative comments. Why in the world is an open thread needed, they have gchat for that? Everyone in my co-op used to read brownstoner and at our last co-op board meeting I asked around and EVERY SINGLE PERSON said they had stopped reading. Number 1 answer: “people there are so negative”

    I feel that the open thread just fans the flames of the negativity and it also makes new people looking to brownstoner for information come away with a very poor view of Brooklyn. The exact opposite of what I think you intend for.

    I beg you to increase the quality of comments on your blog and do away with the open thread and perhaps people will start coming back to commenting again on the actual news of the blog, instead of fighting with each other about politics and poo mist.

    Thanks for the consideration.

  • If a book is by an author I don’t like I don’t read it. If a movie is reviewed as being on a topic I’m not interested in I don’t go to it. If a t.v. show is offensively stupid in my opinion I don’t watch it. Why on earth would people who object to the OT click on it?

  • seeinh as this is the end-of-the-road party shouldn’t we invite back The What, Polemicist, Sam etc for the day?

  • CobbleSnaps, I think we now have a party theme for our end of summer gathering:

    The End of the OT Gala

  • Meanwhile, we’re having an impromptu next Thursday, August 4th, at Montero’s, 6:30pm until whenever. All are welcome!

  • I understand, Jon. An you’re right. It’s not like some of us treated the site or you without much respect. We acted like the OT was our own personal, playground and didn’t care what we posted. Some of us had a grandly inflated idea of our own importance to the site. But I do disagree with people saying they were not welcomed- I never saw any new OT poster ignored. And I also agree with dave that all someone had to do was simply not read the OT. But all in all, thank you for having us for so long.

  • I hope FIPS, Hts Blog, OTBKB, etc. all feature “Death of the OT” articles today so the word gets out to the teeming hordes who want to get back on a more tasteful site.

  • I’m almost speechless. (I said almost.) I have to agree with Arkady. While I wish you well, Mr. B, I’m pretty shocked by this decision. I, personally, have always welcomed new people in the OT very sincerely.

  • Again, Mr. B., the “recent email” is bizarre. Like so many have said, if you don’t like the content of a particular thread, then don’t read it.

    Such was always the case for “Third and Bond.”

  • I guess we should’ve written thank you notes more regularly to Mr. B. Studies show that one positive letter to a corporate entity is worth about 120 negatives.

  • Well said sir. Detox can be painful but well worth the purge.

  • Yes, I agree, whenever anyone new showed up on the OT, they were always welcome.

  • If a large # of people didn’t transition over to the new site, don’t blame OT. Blam the requirement to recreate a new login, slightly less user friendly site (at least at first), loss of the widget and other changes (including HOTDs that seem to shill for brokers).

    In the time I’ve been reading this, Brownstoner seems to have moved from a site focused on community, renovators and potential buyers/renovators to a site focused on glossy product and pumping up real estate.

    Probably a little unfair, just saying OT has likely contributed virtually 0 to any declines in logins.

    • Very true. And I really dislilke disqus, which tracks you to other sites and keeps a complete record on their 3rd party servers of everything you write across the web. That’s very intrusive and a huge turnoff.

      • I had no idea that disqus does that — anyaway, half the time comments at other websites are blocked at work.

        As fir pcvhaiti’s observation, I agree completely that the OT has almost nothing to do with a lag of transition. (and i say this as someone who almost never reads the OT, mainly because I don’t IM in the first place so the format was not for me.) The new site is a _lot_ less user friendly — text in the forum posts is sometimes non-existent, the “reply” function sometimes doesn’t work, etc.

        I don’t think the site is that much more “developer” friendly than it ever was — HOTD’s were often shills for brokers, even back in 2005 and 06 when I started reading this.

        Eliminating the widget was the silliest thing ever; who cares if it was accurate? It was interactive and forced 50-100 users to pony up their opinions daily.

  • props to Dibs’s zinger on Third and Bond

  • btw, how does one delete one’s profile if so desired?

  • I think pcvhaiti, as a new poster to the OT, basically has it right, unlike the lurkers who can’t bring themselves to join in but merely whine like children.

  • One issue with the new site is it often says “0 comments”, or says there are “two comments” all day even when plenty have been posted. That reduced my number of page views for sure as I was often under the impression that there was nothing new to read (when often there was)

  • m4l – theres no need to commit blogicide when the whole sect is imploding

  • I agree with pcvhaiti.

    For all the people who find the OT and the PLUSAs offensive, I’m betting there are a larger number of people who read and post on the site because of the PLUSAs. I encountered a surprising number of them at work. And, I used to be one of them myself before I jumped in and starting posting, first in the real threads, and then in the OT, where, I might add, I was welcomed with open arms by all the PLUSAs.

  • ironically, dumbonyc just launched an OT: http://dumbonyc.com/2011/07/26/dny-open-discussion/

  • I think the other thing that occured recently was the language monitor. The banning of the ability to use the “f word” actaully encouraged more usage of it in forms like F U C K.

    • A prime example of the most regular users undermining the tone of the site rather than setting a good example

      • I was thinking the same thing; this thread proves what was said about the OT. Somebody above said detox is painful but worth the purge. So very true. The site will only improve with some freshening and some new users. Good luck! (Said sincerely, not snarkily as some did).

  • Who the F U C K cares about Dumbo? :)

  • See my previous post “0 minutes ago.”

  • This is BK, aren’t there supposed to be a bunch of weird, obnoxious folks to give the place character?
    Anyway, thanks for hosting us and for me, creating a place where a person new to Brooklyn could find a way to meet her neighbors.

  • At least i won’t have to do rob’s taxes anymore.

  • Look at the demographics on the OT. Ages from 20s to 70s, diversity of political leanings, all sexual preferences (maybe not a plus?), range of vocations & educational levels. I’d say it’s more representative than not.

  • It’s true, Blayze. I think there’s talk of Monteros on Aug 4.

  • So no political discussions today???

  • Well played brownstoner, you have cut out your cancerous tumor and spread it to the competition’s OT. Dumbo beware, something negative this way comes.

  • blayze, I just posted, next Thursday, August 4th, at Montero’s, 6:30 – ?

  • Minmin here. Longtime reader, occasional poster. I’m sorry to see this. I for one wasn’t totally in favor of the OT thread when it was started: I liked the permutations and meanderings of the threads prior to the advent of the OT. But, I could understand why Mr. B. felt it should be done. Sometimes I read the OT, mostly I don’t (too many posts, sorry guys!, not enough content), but I love that it exists. I think the site itself IS less interesting than it used to be, and it’s because it seems to be less a labor of love (and initiative) on the part of Mr. B, than a formula that does–increasingly–seem to be working WITH the realtors than in parallel formation.

    Oh well….

    BTW: what are “PLUSAs”??

    • Minmin, PLUSA = Pathetic Loser Usual Suspect Asshat. After/during the go around which ended with the creation of the OT, regulars were called lots of names. We decided to adopt them for our own unique ‘sobriquet’.

  • blayze, that was what was great about the comraderie here. I’ve even met up with jessi in Philly at Dirty frank’s for drinks

  • And I’ve been to two of Dave’s four houses.

  • its part of the genericization, then will some the sterility, then the franchising. It’ll be like dunkin donuts “coffee”

  • Questions still to be answered:

    1. Why did you pull the widget?
    2. What happened to the restaurant reviews and why?
    3. Why did you never publish the survey results?

    • 1. it didn’t work very well–consistently underpriced, which was extremely unfair to sellers–and we didn’t have the resources to do the significant work to make it a better predictor.
      2. They were very expensive to produce and we never met a single person who said they used them–nor could we figure out a way to meaningfully monetize them.
      3. Here you go: http://svy.mk/ppRfwC

      • It was hardly unfair to sellers, at least once it was fairly well documented that the mean was not a good predictor of the final sale. And why should your readers care about so-called fairness to the seller?

        Also, there was always a lack of clarity of whether people should input their subjective evaluation of the price at which it should sell for or their “objective” evaluation of the price at which it would sell for.

        If you want to make it a better predictor, than put the underlying raw data up and crowdsource it here. The data will get sliced and diced by all us nutjobs, and then the “conclusions” will be picked at by the people who don’t use Excel on a regular basis.

      • Hey! I used the restaurant reviews, or at least I tried to. Sometimes it was difficult to go back and find something after a long time had passed, while standing on the corner with an iPhone…but I have gone out and tried new places as a result of the reviews on this site.

  • There are PLUSAS too embarrassed to wear the tiaras I made them (and one guy with a lavalliere too (you know who you are).

  • Daves four houses of the apocalypse?

  • blayze, we were going to go out tomorrow, but a lot of PLUSAs (Pathetic Losers Usual Suspects A s s hats) aren’t available. You can count on next Thursday at Montero’s. I’ll be there – just look for a squat flightless waterfowl playing pool.

  • Perhaps because of his b o o b s pics?

  • In the early years of Brownstoner, I think people felt that though it was Mr. B’s party, it was relevant because all were helping to create it.

  • In light of posts like Minmin’s, I wonder what the results would be if Mr. B posted a poll asking all readers – rather than self-selected PLUSA-haters – whether or not the OT should be banned.

  • I wonder if the NYT will do an article on this, the end of an era, or the end of an error as Mr B sees it.

  • The OT thread was easy to ignore. I do hope Brownstoner is intent on doing the moderating necessary to avoid the problem that created the OT thread in the first place….

  • You know, Mt. B- I hope you would reconsider. A lot of us on the OT made sure to post on other threads, there were some brilliant (and far from brilliant) discussions, hilarious punnage, wonderful insights (and others not so much) but the OT really humanized the site. We kept most of the dou chebag gery on the OT so Brownstoner never became another Curbed. And Plusa could be a little more circumspect about what and how we post.

    Mr. B- How about giving us another chance, and maybe with some ground rules. I mean, really, as much as I love jackal off line, what’s so important about being able to use profanity to express an idea? More important than keeping the OT? Not to me.

  • I rarely if ever posted OT – as to me it seemed unnecessary, random, and somewhat silly but I do not get the decision, most days I just skipped it entirely and frankly it had no effect on my view of Brownstoner. BUT I do think that something has happened at Brownstoner in general that has made the site less interesting and less ‘sticky’ – I suspect the stories being picked are sort of ‘less engaging’ which leads to fewer discussions and less interest overall.
    Montrose Morris stories are now the highlight of this site.
    I am not sure exactly what changed or what can be done to improve it, but I definitely feel like the site has lost something.

    • I think most of us feel that way. It’s become formulaic. The site seems to have become all about real estate, not living in Brownstone Brooklyn. And more about new developments- the majority of which are so similarly uninteresting that people don’t much care (unless they are looking for a space.)

      And honestly, after all these years of seeing HOTD,COTD and ROTD every day, how much excitement can you drum up about them, especially since after awhile, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

      But the vibrant intense discussions we used to see on brownstoner, that attracted people to the site, seem gone. There are articles in the links threads and once would have been threads by themselves, and would have elicited tons of comments. Now it seems there are only Bike Lane threads or AY- and how many times can we rehash those topics again and again?

      • Fair enough. We welcome feedback on content issues. Email us any time you see something that you think would make a good post.

      • Bxgrl also notes an important point about the HOTD etc. The better HOTD posts are the ones that for some reason trigger discussions about the exact location — the Wyckoff Street HOTD is a good example: people discussed relevant comps (including stating that a house the next block over was in contract for exactly the ask), commented on issues like the closeness of the projects, through street traffic, etc. I think this use to be much more the case than it is now — if you want to see more community the posts themselves may need to propmt information along these lines.

      • I agree. I agree completely with bxgrl and frsq. I don’t know when this started to happen. But it happened. The forum was filled with fake posts all during the crash (down to the writing style), maybe it started then. Now like so many things, it is all about a formula — COTD, HOTD, Rental of the day. Yawn. And it is a broker shill site now. With bike lane stuff thrown in for a little spice. Please. And now no OT and Forum broken.

    • Montrose Morris stories are indeed a highlight.

  • Personally, I used the restaurant reviews a lot, posted when I knew the restaurant, and relied on recommendations I read in the reviews.

  • I see from the survey results that despite the anti-car hate on here the majority of readers own cars.

  • I haven’t read the previous posts (no time right now) so I apologize in advance if I’m repeating anyone’s sentiments.

    Mr. B, I don’t imagine that this was an easy decision for you to make. I truly believe that you thought about this long and hard. And, as sad as I am right now reading your sentiments, I understand. For purely selfish reasons, I’d love to see the OT continue on into eternity. To some this may sound silly or trite, but I feel like I just lost a second home. But I also get the ‘business’ considerations to be made.

    With or without the presence of an on-site OT, I hope the site continues to flourish for you and I sincerely thank you for putting up with our shenannigans over the years – Lord knows we’ve made you put up with a lot of things.

    This will be hard to swallow, but I really do get it. For some of us, this is a playground. For you, it’s a business, your livelihood, your way to support your family. And that must always come first. I don’t know for sure that nixing the OT will further that goal, but the decision has been made and I hope it works out well for you.

    And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go weep in the corner. And if I may, I’ll pour a little glitter onto the ground in memory of the good times in PLUSAville.

  • From the survey, 46% surveyed said they used the restaurant reviews to select one.

  • re Mr. B’s response to the three questions posed by DIBS…
    1) The question about the widget has been asked since the day the widget was pulled. Why wait so long to respond? In “Last Week’s Biggest Sales” the differential from the widget was often mentioned. Just because something sells for a gazillion dollars, doesn’t mean I (or other widgeteers) think it’s worth it.
    2) Re restaurant reviews: newspapers pay for restaurant reviews. Most blogs don’t. I’m sure there would have been plenty of people who would have written fair reviews without having their dinner paid for. “nor could we find a way to meaningfully monetize them.” Actually their value was in rounding out Brownstoner. I went to a few places mentioned…sorry I didn’t think to send a thank you note. Why does everything have to be monetized? The blog-wrap also doesn’t, but as an aggregator helps round out the blog.
    3) no comment, too lazy to click through

    • this was just the editorial cost of taking the pictures, uploading the menu, excerpting from other reviews, etc. just took a lot of time and therefore money to produce and it wasn’t clear to us that in the end the world needed another restaurant review site…

      • Oh no, that’s too bad. i used the restaurant reviews all the time– every time i needed to pick a restaurant in a neighborhood. the site review round up was really handy. i would also email ones to ppl as suggestions. oh well. it was good while it lasted.

  • The “formal” restaurant reviews were not necessary – there are 100s of sites that have commentary on reviews. The open/closing was much more significant IMHO.

  • I’ve been checking in on this Blog since early 2005. IMHO this this blog was attractive because it dealt with areas of brooklyn life I was interested in. The operative words here are “Brooklyn life”. Every day in Brooklyn I see much that interests me and a few things that I don’t care for. For those things, I usually ignore them or work to fix them. For this blog to be representative of Brooklyn life the full gamut of discourse needs to happen. The positve and yes, the negative and the profane. Occasionally I’ll engage but mostly I’ll ignore those who chose to conduct themselves in a way I don’t agree with, just as I would on the streets of our community.
    The loss of the OT is but the latest migration towards pleasing the middle and safe. But Brooklyn isn’t the middle and isn’t always safe, but we love it and live here anyway. Mr. B, you’re blowing it.

  • Public Service Announcement:

    Since the OT is disbanding, we’re migrating to jackal’s pub:

    http://jackalspub.blogspot.com

  • Hoot & a half that Mr. B’s post was blocked!!!

  • OMG- Mr. B you were flagged for something you said to me? That’s hilarious!! :)

  • butterflu, why bother being here at all???

  • I wonder if Mr B will get banned

  • B’stoner for all I know the site is more successful than ever and you do not need to change a thing. But from my perspective, the site has lost something. One thing I notice is that some of the most interesting Brooklyn/NYC stories are mentioned only as a link which leads to very little discussion (does discussions matter – I have no idea).
    Take today for example – I would be interested in a discussion about the “co-location” story, or even the closing of Post Offices across the city. But I really dont care to comment on new sidewalk sheds – either you like em or you dont – but that got a whole section.
    I get that writing snarky commentary on every news story is impossible – but maybe you can post each link with a seperate comment thread, and then if you get interest you can highlight it (with snark) later in the day.

    Anyway maybe things are just fine and no advice needed.

  • dave, the likes of butterflu are sure to improve the content on this site. I’m sure s/he’s one of the email haters.

    Why not listen to him/her when you could instead listen to posters like minmin, fsrq, boerumresident, hdlbklyn and pcvhaiti?

  • I hate to see this. As a newcomer and infrequent poster, I disagree that it’s exclusionary.

  • Someone else suggested….lets see a poll on whether or not it should stay or go.

    Make sure people can’t vote twice.

  • I’m in a unique position here. I’ve been a reader since 2006, and a contributor since 2009. Brownstoner has given me not only a voice, but a job that I really love. As a reader, I’ve gotten to know neighborhoods that I hadn’t set foot in, and learned a great deal about the business of real estate. I also learned a tremendous amount about how Brooklyn runs, and because of B’stoner, have been able to participate in activities that I may not have known about, had they not been posted here. Because of Brownstoner, I’ve met a diverse group of Brooklynites whom I probably would never have met, and some have become dear friends, and many more, fun and interesting people that I enjoy spending time with socially.

    This comraderie happened long before the Open Thread. It happened before the PLUSA’s, the political arguments, or the pun-fests. In some ways, I think we were better then, as familiarity can indeed breed contempt. We, here on Brownstoner, still have a unique “family” that is unknown in most on-line arrangements – our get-togethers began as great fun, and getting to know some of the people here has been a pleasure and a privilege.

    That said, I understand why the OT has to end. (And no, I had no advanced warning or was not consulted. This has always been Jon’s sandbox, not mine. He just lets me, as well as all of us, play here.) I allowed myself to get sucked into a lot of acrimonious political discussions, as well as arguments with Rob, even though I knew I was wasting my time. But it was my choice. I’m an adult, and can push away from the keyboard anytime I choose.

    I understand why people hate the OT. I’ve met a lot of readers over the years who have also told me they don’t read the OT, and a few who hate the site for a number of reasons which include the OT, and the people on it. I’m sorry they feel that way. I’ve chosen to read it most of the time, and participate when I wanted to, and have gone away when it revolved around things I found distasteful.

    Long story long, I will miss the parts of the OT that were fun, like people sharing recipes, or punning, or talking about their childhoods or some other innocuous topic. I won’t miss a lot of the rest. I’ll still see my friends, and hopefully our social events will continue. I will also get a lot more done in other areas of my life. Look – a silver lining!

  • I have been on this site since the beginning. It helped me tremendously….repeat…tremendously with my renovation. It was learn as you go for me and the posters on the Forum were absolutely fantastic.
    I tried to return the love by posting as much as possible in response to people on the Forum. I believe that much of the community developed…at least for me….on the Forum. I read the articles regarding real estate, but I already had my place and my own interest was maintaining it.

    So I have maintained my relationship with the Forum. Many of the people I got to know on the Forum migrated to the OT for it free form discussion. It was fun and I am surprised by the comments on its negativity. Yes, there was the inevitable discussions of poo mist and other stupidities but the OT was magical also. In the midst of the fake family fights, there definately HAS been a powerful sense of community developed. I think that there are levels of civility — often that have less to do with the use of the f bomb — and for the most part, people on the OT have had a welcoming attitude toward outsiders and YES, toward each other.

    Also, what I think you underestimate, Jon, is the energy that fans out from the regulars into the rest of the site. The “regulars” are regular posters on the forum and on the regular threads. These are the people who helped build your business.

    Hey, it’s your business, your site. Do what you want. I’m taking a break.

  • The one comment from butterflu is, I suspect, typical of the approach that someone like her would take…passive/ agressive and typical of the mediocrity all of us try so hard to avoid.

  • does anyone else have Frank Sinatra’s My Way playing in their heads now?

  • No one is begging, m4l. If you’re tired of it you should leave as well.

  • ditto…more like “Burning Down the House.”

  • anger, shock, denial, – should be in acceptance mode by 5pm or so

  • It’s all too “little town blues” if you ask me.

  • where’s Biff?
    I’m getting all emotional

    • Hi Ditto! I got laid off (too much reading the OT?) and have been working 70 hours a week at freelance jobs to pay the mortgage and health insurance. Plus I’m having a really hard time with the new Forum format….guess you guys are too.

  • True, bxgrl, but fortunately, as others have posted, we’ve made a lot of great friends here, and our friendships are not dependent on the OT or the site. It’s not like there aren’t a lot of PLUSAs who haven’t been able to post here anyway since the re-launch, but I’ve been no less in touch with them.

  • Bay Ridge Girl (or pseudonym thereof)?

  • m4l,you’re the one reading too much into this.

    Relax.

    I’ll voice my true opinions at the end of the day

  • Biff is blocked by a corporate firewall, ditto.

  • One last time….

    bxgrl you’re a MORON.
    :)

  • I rearely had time to read the OT but when I did it was validation of why I have loved Brooklyn for the past 30 years. I spend less time on the site overall –the new format is quirky and too slow and the rampant commericialization is a deal killer. Besides Mr B’s ventures, do we ever hear of other events — street fairs, markets other than the flea? And the listings? If I wanted to look for a new home I would never look there.

    It’s too bad. Like all good things–it’s time may have passed.

  • m4l, you’re just having a hissy fit because you dragged your feet and are now priced out of Brooklyn

    I bet there’s a Queens site for you!!!!!!

  • Well as somebody who doesn’t often post on the OT but values my relationships with many of its posters, I must join the group of people who have wondered on this thread why people not inclined to appreciate the OT couldn’t just not read it. That being said i also will join many other people in respecting brownstoner’s right to edit the site as he sees fit. I hope that this change will spur more interesting and in depth discussion in other threads and that the site will not dwindle without the OT regulars. I also hope that most of them will continue their OT elsewhere while continuing to participate here. I certainly plan on being a loyal and participatory reader of Brownstoner and hopefully many of the PLUSAs will as well.

  • hi i am only back to give my 2 cents, please don’t get mad at me mr b….

    i think the biggest thing jon is overlooking here is that a lot of people are just reluctant to post on a blog, but not the PLUSAs and OT regulars who would without a thought jump in to comment and start a discussion. now that you have pushed us all away, who do you think is going to start the conversation or keep it going??? posting traffic already seems way way down- it is rare for a thread to get over 20 comments and most have 1 maybe 3 posts. even when you try to bait people with a bike lane thread or Atlantic Yards….its just gotten tired.

    you may not like everything everyone says all the time and it is your site so go ahead and push the people who helped make this site a success (i am NOT lumping myself into the category, i have probably been more of the problem than the solution), but you did not get successful by being so safe. remember that. or just enjoy having a boring, vanilla, broker shilling real estate aggregator of a blog if that is what you want.

    ps. keep up the good work MM. i might stop by to check our those posts, but otherwise i’m out of here.

  • Maybe, as What suggests, he’s selling the site & the new owner doesn’t want foster kids.

  • Hi randi…coming to Montero’s next week???

  • boreum – they have a little mobile bar at the front of each platform in the evenings so you can pick up your poison of choice then walk on to the train.
    I’ll get worried if they start selling alcohol for the morning ride in.

  • m4l – is your wife still lobbying you for an expensive hood?

  • As a reader and participant from the earliest of days I am on one hand surprised at the move to cut off the hand that had fed you and on the other support the change in the business model. Too much of an entitlement mentality from some of the OT crowd that spilled over into other posts. Steady as she goes captain.

  • Did you like my “4 August” EUROTRASH style???

  • i’m with fsrq
    I rarely if ever posted OT, most days I just skipped it entirely. I read brownstoner for the renovation, neighborhood, and entertaining real estate info, and to contribute to the forum community specific to these topics.
    And really there’s just too many comments in the OT to weed through.

    I also feel like the site has lost something…maybe the new design, lack of comments, no widget, no restaurant reviews, too much non-brownstone neighborhood stuff. Actually i’m looking at the site description again and it doesnt sound like a site i’d read everyday…which i did.

  • Surrogate Post from Slopefarm:

    “Site won’t let me post for some reason.

    Sad day. Sad to be losing the OT. I also have little time to post today. I realize Jon won’t keep the OT unless it is in his interest to do so, so may I make a few points/suggestions:

    1. A bunch of us PLUSAs comment regularly and responsibly in the forum and on home page threads. If we hang out here less, fewer threads will have active discussions that keep people returning to them. Forum threads already generate significantly less discussion than before the relaunch. The discussion is part of the attraction and the brand. So that is one reason to reconsider. I know if I can’t come here and hang out with my friends, I will be here a lot less, maybe only when I need forum advice.

    2. Perhaps a compromise is to downplay it, so unwitting readers who might be turned off don’t stumble in. Don’t post it as a full-size homepage thread, but merely as a link on the side.

    3. Have real clear ground rules and state them at the top of every OT.

    Otherwise, it’s been a fun ride and I hope to pop in (nh) for a few goodbyes in the afternoon.”

  • “Too much of an entitlement mentality”

    So is the termination of the OT a democrat concession in trying to get a deal on the budget? Mr OB?

  • what’s to stop us from using the daily links thread as the OT??? i mean as long as you stay within the rules of the site there is no reason for Mr B to ban everyone.

    so maybe if we all play nice we can just move over there….

  • Well, you could see this coming. Mr. B has bigger and bigger corporate advertisers, and a lot of what goes on in the OT is not conducive to acquiring more of them. He needs to make a living and this is how he does it. No hard feelings from me.

    Just when I changed my avatar too!

    Well, I’m sure both Mrs. D and my partners will appreciate that I seem to have more productive time on my hands.

  • also, why do this on a wednesday? usually you fire people on a friday so as to get the most for you money.

  • . Perhaps a compromise is to downplay it, so unwitting readers who might be turned off don’t stumble in. Don’t post it as a full-size homepage thread, but merely as a link on the side.

    Good idea, at least as a trial.

    I’m too lazy to go to any other site

  • “Perhaps a compromise is to downplay it, so unwitting readers who might be turned off don’t stumble in. Don’t post it as a full-size homepage thread, but merely as a link on the side.”

    Include a doorman (CGar) and red rope with stanchions.

  • Montero’s, Thursday, August 4th, 6:30pm – ?

  • Surrogate Post from DeLepp:

    “The OT is like TV. If you don’t like what’s on, turn it off or change the channel.”

  • M4L Manhattan ? Do you have money to burn?
    Not that living in Brooklyn means you can’t afford Manhattan, you might be living there by choice etc.

  • I’m glad you capitalized it Randi.

  • “In the time I’ve been reading this, Brownstoner seems to have moved from a site focused on community, renovators and potential buyers/renovators to a site focused on glossy product and pumping up real estate.”

    I really agree with this statement and I do hope Brownstoner takes it into consideration. I’d love to see more posts about quality of life, events, neighborhood concerns, ideas, just anything about Brooklyn life (food! the commute!) that brings us together as a community. Real estate news is fun to read about, but when you’re not in the market anymore, you don’t need or care about how much some 2 bd coop on Eastern Parkway is going for. I think you’d find much more growth if you could expand to those parameters and make it a place where those of us who live in neighborhoods that don’t get covered in the general blogs (gothamist, eater, i.e.) can go to find about what’s happening in their community. Think outside real estate. Think “Brooklyn Life.” What does that mean to you? Is all listings and new developments? I’d like to see coverage of more new businesses, profiles, etc.

    And it actually makes me giddy to hear that some commenters claiming to leave the site based on the removal of the OT. You didn’t have to read the OT to be annoyed by these people. Just in regular posts, they came across as know-it-alls and it would ruin the discussion for the rest of us.

    • These are all good ideas that we are open to…The best way to make it happen is to send in tips and photos. Despite the prevalence of iPhones etc. the number of tips that get sent in has not risen.

    • in the old days i would have responded with anger to this post, but seeing as the new world order has set in….

      i see your point. i want to apologize on behalf of all regular brownstoner/OT/PLUSA posters. yes you are right, we are know it alls and ruined every discussion for the rest of you.

      but tell me, what did you ever contribute to anything?

    • While I agree that the site has evolved away from it’s initial concept, that’s part of the nature of the beast and, I assume, Mr. B’s biz plan.

      I Would like to see some more of the features PW says, but the bottom line: this is a blog/site about real estate. Take all the OT folks over to brooklynian.com and you’ll find amble space to riff of many Brooklyn topics, and off Brooklyn topics.

      And I’ll point out this is my FIRST OT-related post, and obviously my last.

      Suck it up and move on. Hope to see most (not all) of the readers/posters on the rest of the site…Mr. B’s, I might ad.

  • “There is no reason why a small group of people needs to carry on its discourse on a stage in front of a couple of hundred thousand people every month. There are ample social media platforms that are more appropriate and, frankly, better equipped technologically for this type, and size, of discussion.”

    Makes sense to me. I too enjoyed commenting here, but folks here (me included at times) were definitely engaging in some really dumb discussions that had little to do with the site and its orientation. I don’t think the site itself is at an end by any means (much to the dismay of some here); editorial products always have an ebb and flow. As long as Mr. B continues to provide content that readers (like me) want and appreciate, he’ll be fine. Thanks for a good time and leep up the good work.

  • “Think “Brooklyn Life.” What does that mean to you?”

    trophy brownstones, dog crap over the sidewalks, and good coffeee shops

  • “Perhaps a compromise is to downplay it, so unwitting readers who might be turned off don’t stumble in. Don’t post it as a full-size homepage thread, but merely as a link on the side.”

    Your desperation is showing.

  • I don’t think anyone is desperate, ENY.

  • Mr. B I gotta say that you are one of the weirdest businessmen I have ever encountered. A few thoughts:

    -are you a user? A few weeks ago you wrote a private e-mail to many of the most frequent posters, almost all of whom were the OT posters, asking them to evaluate the new site.

    -negativity? Who is it, Mr. B., who promotes the negativity on this site? Who writes the now-formulaic articles decrying virtually every developer as greedy philistines who put up buildings with “no soul”? Who was it that was quick to condemn any church leader struggling with what to do with a decaying church building? Who had a regular column called “Horror Show Friday”? Who writes articles that play on supposed class superiority, highlighting renovations for the bemusement of the gentry. Nice try pinning the rap on one thread – the OT.

    I’m with M4L. It’s your site, your call. Adios.

    • YIKES! I’m agreeing with benson. (I may need to seek professional help!) : P

    • benson- I got to hand it to you- well said.

    • Ii completely agree.

      Totally.

      In addition to being completely non-plussed by this finger wagging stance toward the people who helped him build his business and stuck with it during the bad times, who allowed the What to carry him for entertainment (and clicking value) for ages….. I don’t get the business thinking behind this. So is this some variant now on the NY Times real estate listing/article site. Hey why not go directly to the NY Times? So I guess this is a broker site now. And your parting shot is a kick at the people who helped you.

      I am sick of venting.

      Adios. Adios. Adios.

  • it’ll all come out in the wash – two months from now the page clicks will show whether it was a good idea or not

    • of course we hope that traffic goes on up the site–that’s always a hope–but honestly that’s not what this is about. it’s about the vibe, which we can also do something about by improving some things on the editorial end as well.

  • runslow, there was never anything of any subsatnce on it. that’s what it was created for. How long did it take you to figure that out?????

  • Cobble, you’ve needed help for years. You just never listened.

  • Who had a regular column called “Horror Show Friday”?
    **

    Yeah, I never dug that, as it smacked of elitism. And I agree there are at times strains of – as Benson puts it – class superiority in some of the posts. But it is your site and when I encounter such posts, I tend to make my views known.

  • Well, one thing I did learn…

    If I ever decide to do some website,, i now know who not to hire for it.

    • >who not to hire for it.
      Before I sign off…what was the name of the firm working on the redo? I must’ve missed it…I sometimes need to recommend web designers (in this case, not).

  • There was nothing wrong with Horror Show Friday. Avtually believing there was is the elitist view, ENY.

  • I thought the whole idea of the OT originally was to keep the “really” dumb discussions out of the rest of the site in the first place.
    *

    I guess they were dumber than even Mr. B anticipated.

  • “Well, I was the bouncer at Montero’s once.”

    Shortest bouncer ever…in both stature and duration.

  • “There was nothing wrong with Horror Show Friday. Avtually believing there was is the elitist view, ENY.”
    **

    That’s what you think.

  • “it’s about the vibe”

    You’re lucky you banned Rob, Mr. B – or else he’d skewer you for this one.

  • “it’s about the vibe”

    It’ll be a lot less from now on.

  • I don’t think Rob is up to skewering anyone – he needs to man up before that can occur

  • new success formula found. killing or threatening to kill some regular threads will generate gazillion posts / page clicks

  • “it’s about the vibe”

    REALITY CHECK:

    THERE ARE 12 OTHER POSTS OUT THERE ON THE OTHER THREADS!!!!!!

  • Will this “End of the OT Thread” stay up forever????

  • I was an occasional poster on the old site and now have a brand new name. I read Bstoner most weekdays, I click through 75% of articles, participate in all surverys, have used restaurant reviews, click some ads, occasionally fiddle with the Marketplace, and I have avoided the OT for years. Never bothered me because I chose to ignore it after the first year or so. I will say, though, and I have never commented before about this dude, that “pitbullNYC” a/k/a “butterfly,” you know, the guy who puts his name in asterisks after every single inane post, is also very easy to ignore just because of those asterisks. I see those asterisks and skip right over his comments and I have been much happier with Bstoner after I began to do that. His posts used to infuriate me, much as the OT did, and once I ignored each of those I was fine. So I’m not an OT lover, but it’s just so darn easy to ignore — the fact that it could be offensive is so irrelevant.

  • “killing or threatening to kill some regular threads will generate gazillion posts / page clicks”

    just killing a regular will generate even more. Lets vote on who.

  • “traffic on the homepage has been basically flat for the last year and a half”

    Then the statement that the OT has driven a lot of people away is wrong.

  • New Public Service Announcement:

    We’re having impromptu drinks tonight. ALL are invited. Details at:

    http://jackalspub.blogspot.com

    ***This is in addition to The End of the OT Party next Thursday, the 4th, at Montero’s***

  • I think Mr B is still sore since he posted those pics of his kitchen all those years back and we all ripped it.

  • “scares people from participating across whole site because they think one of the regulars will chop their head off for saying something”

    That risk will always be there. Besides, a lot of people say stupid things

  • Mr. B, are you open to any of the ideas or proposals or is your decision here final?

  • where is the What’s bro’stoner site?

  • cobble……, its dead (puts hand on shoulder). We have to move on.

  • “Vibe” update:

    still only 12 posts in the other threads

  • ditto, we’re all over on the blog jackal set up:

    http://jackalspub.blogspot.com

  • At least Mr B had the decency to provide this thread so we could bitch today instead of just pulling the plug. Feels like we’re slowly slipping into the icy depths as the string quartet plays

  • CGar – I just want to go down with the ship today – seems like the decent thing to do. I’ll come over there the day after.

  • yikes, I just got home and read this.

  • Why were you out all night and where were you and with whom, Pete???

    I thought LM was away!!!!!!!

  • he was home.
    I biked to Y on 47th street and home. I really hate bicyclists. Most are totally nuts.
    Now driving upstate — so see you later this afternoon

  • I feel like putting on my “What Would Jane Jacobs Do?” t-shirt.
    In her words: “By its nature, the metropolis provides what otherwise could be given only by traveling; namely, the strange.” (The Death and Life of Great American Cities)
    The comments on the Open Thread are some of the last vestiges of the quirky and interesting aspects of this blog. No one who lives in Brooklyn agrees with everyone else, but most people appreciate the cacophony of disparate voices as one of the challenging charms of this place. The “strange” is never perfect, but it adds something vital.
    Robert Moses favored the disregard of public input and sought to eradicate the uniqueness and variety of Brooklyn in favor of something new and shiny and profitable. Fortunately, this is a website and not my neighborhood, so its increasing commercialization and banality can be avoided by ending my readership.
    Though I mourn the loss of what felt like an encapsulation of my feelings about Brooklyn, I am enough of a realist to understand that nothing is permanent in this city, especially anything that provides a forum for all. To suggest that one can “travel” to Facebook to commune with an empty shell of the original is absurd. So be it…Brownstoner has become yet another incarnation of social media with the central goal of mining its users for revenue.

  • “CGar – I just want to go down with the ship today – seems like the decent thing to do. I’ll come over there the day after.”

    I understand, ditto . . . and our comments today are akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

  • “I really hate bicyclists”

    I’m suprised that got through the filters

  • Just started reading today’s OT and wanted to say to you OT’ers… thanks for the entertainment. I read the OT occasionally, posted infrequently, but was almost always drawn in by your hilarity. If that makes ME a bad person, so be it (I’m from Brooklyn, I can take it). It was the OT that had me coming back to the rest of the site to get references, ideas, etc. I guess that makes ME a confused person as well. Like some of you have said, if I didn’t relate to the topic, I moved on and came back later. Isn’t that what humans do? OK, will read more later before you all disappear. Hopefully you can be found elsewhere. Shame on those who complained about something they had to go looking for to report on. Good luck all.

  • BHI, we’re going out drinking tonight (though you’re in Maine), and next Thursday we’re having an End of the OT party at Montero’s.

    Meanwhile, you can find us at: http://jackalspub.blogspot.com

  • Hi everyone! Just heard the news. As some of you know I have been posting on this site for a long time, mostly on the individual threads and compulsively on MM’s threads. I more or less ignored the OT because it was too time-consuming and well, clique-ish. I like to post and then come back an hour or two later to see what’s new on the site. I have jumped into the fray the past few days and it has been sort of interesting, although also annoying. I disagree that newcomers were welcomed in the OT, I think it fairer to say they were selectively welcomed. And certain posters did monopolize the conversation.
    I would recommend that you all look at the other threads more. some of them are really interesting and often no one comments but me and maybe one or two others. I do agree that the level of discourse on the OT was often crude and offensive, that’s why I rarely joined in but I am surprised that people complained about it.

  • Well said, BHI.

    And here all I thought you were was a gin swilling, pompous WASP jerk.

  • 100 of 308 comments posted? let the other 208 rip! Its the last day right?

  • ***SURROGATE POST FROM PLUSA PRESIDENT-IN-EXILE BIFF CHAMPION***

    The Brownstone, Brooklyn, Official Statement from the PLUSA President (and Prolific Punster):

    It is with sadness and regret that I hereby resign as the PLUSA President effective at midnight, Wednesday, July 27. It has been an honour to serve the PLUSAs of Brownstoner.

    Sincerely,

    Biff Champion

    (Note: any resemblance of the above resignation to that of former Congressman Anthony Weiner is strictly coincidental.)

    p.s. Thank you Mr. B for giving us a place to play for so long, thereby allowing us to make friendships on the blog and in real life. All the best to you, the site and your family.

    “Why can’t we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn’t work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos.”

    -Snoopy

  • While we’re at it thanking everyone for all their past input, let’s give a shout out to Obama for instilling cinfidence in the financial markets!!!!

    helluva job!!!

  • Brooklyn Heights Ivy: The comments on the Open Thread are some of the last vestiges of the quirky and interesting aspects of this blog.

    Quirky and interesting are DEAD. We have transitioned to Big Box. Bland. Boring. Big Brother.

    This is now officially FEDDERS of the blog world.

  • ditto, the rest are still here…gotta scroll down

  • Oooh, I thought they were rude posts that had been put in a waiting room

  • bxgrl – He knew that if he didn’t allow comments we’d’ve trashed every other post & he’d’ve spent the day eradicating all we said.

  • “It was the OT that had me coming back to the rest of the site to get references, ideas, etc”

    slope4eva, me, too. That’s how I became part of the cliquey, clubby, insidery, OT in the first place.

  • BREAKING NEWS….

    There are now a total of 13 posts on all the other threads.

    The “vibe” lives!!!!!!

  • Minard, I agree with most of your last post, except the part about the OT being selectively welcoming. The PLUSAs always welcomed every new poster and always invited them to meet us for drinks, yourself included.

  • action – Get your reading skills tested – there’ve been well over a dozen constructive suggestions made just today, never mind since the new site went into effect.

  • action…suggestions have been made below.

    Ever think of making one yourself???

  • that’s not what I meant by non-welcoming. it’s not that everyone was invited to drinks except YOU so-and-so. It is more that comments would be ignored if you were not a regular. That’s how I always felt.

  • Ok, maybe I will come in for the closing to this thread later, but I have to say that I am so po’d I really need to take a break from this. See you later PLUSAs. I hope you are all going to the White Horse later.

  • someone needs to wake up DH, he’s missing all the action

  • dave, you’re a jackass!

    (I am being coached by Cobble)

  • B’stoner – I think your analysis is wrong – I think the level of engagement is not at all related to OT (and I say that as someone who almost never even reads OT).

    One interesting metric would be click through on non-OT threads. If people are just going to homepage and not clicking through I think the issue is more about content then people’s fear of rejection.

    I truly think the best part of the site was the discussions that merged the RE angle with the sociology of the Boro. Crime, Architecture, development, traffic, retail – all of those have a RE component but a larger societal one, that IS interesting to discuss. I think it may be that BS has become more exclusively listing based.

    Anyway I hope some of today’s discussion can help B’S get its mojo back…I also think a mobile formatted site would be nice.

    • I agree with this assessment.

      Now look at most of the current articles. Most of them end, “what do you think of the price on this?”

        • That’s why I ask what is this site anyway? A clone of the NY Times real estate blog/listing site? If you want interesting discussion, you are not going to get it this way. You are NOT. If you want a site where people come back, rather than Consumers Report where you go when you are buying a washing machine, you create something where people want to go back. How many brownstones can you buy anyway? I bought mine 7 years ago and I am not buying a brownstone, I am not buying a coop, I am not buying a condo. The rentals are interesting because I find out that I am routinely undercharging for rent but that’s ok. I am interested in neighborhood news, developments in the hood, but maybe that is not how you made money. I look at the tradesmen ads. THis is not a “newspaper” in that it DOES not cover key developments in a neighborhood.

          In Fort Greene, this past March, 5 kids were shot on my street, right outside of Bishop Laughlin (the original home of the Brownstoner Flea). Brownstoner didn’t even mention it until I emailed about it.
          Community Board meetings, police developments, many of the developments that have to do with actual neighborhood life. It doesn’t get covered. It just doesn’t. We do get incessant coverage on bike lanes but try to find anything interesting (other than MM’s stuff) on the site to stimulate discussion as frsq mentions…..its OVER. At least the way the site is now.

          Blaming it on the OT is beyond the pale. An ungracious kick at people who stuck with this through thick and thin.

  • As someone who’s been known to be oversensensitive and insecure at times, I really have to wonder, HOW insecure you have to be to be too intimidated to post anonymously on a blog!!!!!

  • Minard, since we’re going out in your nabe next Thursday, the 4th, at Montero’s, will you meet us??? Drinks are on dave.

  • What time are people getting to the bar tonight???

    • 6-6:30-ish. That is, if I don’t start drinking earlier! : P (KIDDING!)

    • More importantly, how late are you all staying? Iffy for me, but if I get there it will be on the late side.

      Meanwhile, I’m trying to decide whether to follow biff and resign as de facto OT poet laureate or see whether SSCJ&L (or is it SSCJ&J now?) can fashion some good papers to file for a TRO against termination of the OT.

      Seriously — I think click count discussion misses the point a bit. How long will visitors keep coming back if there’s not much going on in the discussions? I think a bunch of us who keep discussions going responsibly will not post nearly as much. I would expect that to have a long-term negative effect on clicks because I really think discussion is part of the brand. Despite the rhetorical excesses some of us PLUSAs may have on other threads, the knowledge and level of discussion is far mroe substantive and on point than, say, on curbed, gothamist or the typical neighborhood blog. I really believe it is part of the brand and part of what keeps cvoming back, and you have to accept some unruliness on a successful blog; it shows the blog is alive.

      [I may have to keep arguing this all day until I run out of appeals.]

  • That was really heartbreaking from biff :(

  • “HOW insecure you have to be to be too intimidated to post anonymously on a blog!!!!! ”

    It really boggles the mind, CGar.

    But then we are talking about self absorbed, entitled rsidents of Brooklyn.

  • I think I figured all of this out…..

    CGar, remeber when I had the big cocktail/dinner party???

    Did i forget to invite Mr B??????

  • Minard, glad to hear it. I still have your email addy, so I can send you a reminder when we’re closer to game time.

  • CG – I’ve seen any time from 6 to 8 mentioned (& one 10.)

  • I don’t know, dave. I’ll have to check my records and look at the invite.

    In fairness, though, we always invite Mr. B, though he doesn’t always join us. Guessing he doesn’t want to be seen in public with us. :-)

  • dave, get me a bromide . . . and put some gin in it.

  • “I truly think the best part of the site was the discussions that merged the RE angle with the sociology of the Boro. Crime, Architecture, development, traffic, retail – all of those have a RE component but a larger societal one, that IS interesting to discuss. I think it may be that BS has become more exclusively listing based.”

    Agreed. Real estate + religion; real estate + new charter school; real estate + overpriced ice cream…

  • For what it’s worth, we happen to think that today’s post about Lexington Avenue should/could be a good starting point for a discussion about architecture, the interesting evolution that’s starting to take place on this block, retail needs in this section of Clinton Hill, etc. There are lots of “on topic” things to talk about!

  • I didn’t really have that much practice on the OT but the nastiest postings were usually on the bike lane threads. Holy smokes! People are out of their freakin’ gourds when it comes to bicycles. A lot of pent up resentment comes out when the subject is two wheels versus four wheels.

  • or two wheels versus two legs (I’m still pent up about the Pulaski bridge s%*tshow)

    Mr B – I for one always bypass stories with empty lot pics

  • Biffy, CG. He has client thing first.

  • How will anyone be able to follow my nooners if the OT disappears?

  • “I truly think the best part of the site was the discussions that merged the RE angle with the sociology of the Boro. Crime, Architecture, development, traffic, retail – all of those have a RE component but a larger societal one, that IS interesting to discuss.” by frsg

    Frsg and I don’t agree on plaster walls, but we agree on this. This mixture of sociology and real estate – the nitty gritty of neighborhoods can make for some of the best threads on Brownstoner. Not just in terms of gentrification, which can be quite contentious, and bring out some of the worst in people, but also in terms of what makes a neighborhood a good place to live, and how we can work to make those neighborhoods better. That’s an investment in where you live that goes beyond what you paid, or whether you can afford Wolf or Kenmore. We shape Brooklyn by living here, for good or ill. We are Brooklyn. I would hope that can come back to the site in a meaningful way.

    (Fsrg – thanks for the complement earlier. Much appreciated.)

  • Thanks, Puma, I didn’t realize you were referring to Biff.

  • Fortunately, dona, I already have a mailing list.

  • Although I’m sort of a Brownstoner regu;ar and know many of the PLUSAs I’ve spent little time on the Overtime [hey, I'm retired, the time I spend on line is my own, not my boss's :-)]

    Still, I hope the community the OT has nourished and will continue ascomments on the regular threads. FWIW I fount Brownstoner more interesting when many of the threads became at least a bit OT.

  • Aw, Some OT love from Bob Marvin. : )

  • IMO, the thing that the OT & the PLUSAs supplied was the spice: Mr.B could post a neutral-seeming topic & we’d turn it into roiling waters in no time w/ vastly differing interpretation & opinions. That’s what made even bland topics interesting.

  • The OT was DIBS’s idea unless my memory is faulty. No wonder he’s taking it bad.

  • So Dave you’re going to retire? I know that you have been wanting to dedicate yourself to bettering the plight of the less fortunate.
    -eye roll

  • I don’t think brownstoner will fail but I do thing it will become a vastly different type of site- in fact it already is. And less interesting to those of us who came here when it was about being in Brooklyn than buying Brooklyn.

    Once you hit that level of corporate interests, people like us no longer matter because we don’t directly impact his bottom line. the advertisers do. And that’s really sad because people like us were the ones who made advertisers sit up and notice this blog.

  • CG – What’s your rough count for tonight?

  • LMAO to the TRO, Slopey.

    “I think click count discussion misses the point a bit. How long will visitors keep coming back if there’s not much going on in the discussions? I think a bunch of us who keep discussions going responsibly will not post nearly as much. I would expect that to have a long-term negative effect on clicks because I really think discussion is part of the brand. . . . I really believe it is part of the brand and part of what keeps cvoming back, and you have to accept some unruliness on a successful blog; it shows the blog is alive.”

    Well said, Slopey, as usual. And I couldn’t agree more.

  • No, no, CHiller!!! PLUSA transcends place!!! Cobble/Snaps is still a viable entity!!!

  • I think if we are honest with ourselves, all of what Mr. B wrote is true.

  • Arkady’s right. You’ll always be Plusa management to me :)

  • Reader of brownstoner, occasional tipster and former off and on commenter here. I think some of the long-time and most “dedicated” brownstoner regulars here are taking this too personally. You also think very highly of yourselves to suggest that you built this site as if there aren’t thousands of other people out there who read this blog for its information and then take it back to their neighbors, community, co-op members, loved one or friends for up-to-date information about community events, ideas for a renovation or new restaurant opening, inspiration for a new small business or even just tips on gardening and something to do this Sunday.

    The fact that some people are threatening to leave this site due to the lack of an Open Thread is very symbolic of your dedication (or lack thereof) to this website and its creator who spends the time, money and soul in keeping this thing afloat (not to mention all the great contributors). If you are leaving because essentially a personal chatroom has been taken away, then really how much do you respect the actual content of this website? Think about it. How disrespectful to say that now you can’t talk amongst yourselves about nothing related to this website, so you’re going to go now. So was this basically just a chatroom forum for you to use at your leisure? And now you don’t understand why the proprietor of this blog would want to take that back at an attempt to increase the overall quality of the website?

    The fact is that quality has dropped, and I’m sure there are various reasons. But when you look at the website and there’s 400 comments in the Open Thread and 3 in the House of the Day, then something’s gotta give. No, it’s not going to force anyone to post in the real news items of the day, but perhaps it will encourage more people to do so which will feed off each itself and eventually bring back some of the more high quality discourse that brownstoner was known for. I just can’t believe some of the comments here about leaving the website because your personal chatroom has been taken away. You are showing very little respect for what this blog was intended to be. Try to think about the overall quality of the website and understand why the owner of this site might not want what oftentimes looks like the comments section of a HuffingtonPost article about Sarah Palin on his site about Brownstone Brooklyn.

    • Its true, Brownstoner isn’t funny anymore.

    • Hey now! No reason to trash us! Mr. B has already done that for you!

      And further more, some of us tried to help! We beta tested the new site, and offered what we hoped were helpful suggestions, by Mr. B’s invitation. Pardon me if I feel somewhat broadsided by this recent event!

    • I think there has been a lot of painfully honest commentary today- I think there’s truth to a lot of what you say as well. And yes, many times we didn’t think before we posted, but on the other hand, we are part and parcel of what made brownstoner, brownstoner. Enough so that many of us were asked to help evaluate the new site before it went live. I’m not one of those who thinks brownstoner will collapse without me, and I’ve often spoke in Jon’s defense on issues.

      But there is a Plusa community, and the OT was part of it, as well as our very real loyalty to brownstoner. It just seems to me that if Jon valued our opinions about the new site because we are regulars, why not still value our opinions on what we feel the site is missing, instead of killing the OT? lay some ground rules if you want, but don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    • cm — Part of the problem is that, since gthe relaunch, site pages are slower to load. It is more of a pain than it used to be to navigate the site. Many of us who have been hanging out at the OT water cooler met as the site was building steam, pafrticularly at the end of the Brooklyn RE boom and the potentially wild market uncertainty at the start of the recession. There was a lot to talk abvout. A lot of us remain interested in houses, neighborhoods, the whole RE meets sociology point that folks have mentioned. But it may not be enough to keep us visiting and posting regularly if there isn’t an easy perch from which to do this. I’m 4-5 years past the “end” of our RE ordeal and major reno, and it is the companionship and camraderie that keeps me here regularly. Without it, I will probably visit and comment sporadically, not out of protest or spite but because it just won’t be worth the same commitment. None of this is a knock on Jon or the site — the site remains valuable and interesting and he’s given us a place to have fun and make friends. All of that is much appreciated. But I do think killing the OT will have unintended and unforseen consequences for the site and, because I like it here, I will keep advocating for a respite from the gallows.

  • “I think if we are honest with ourselves, all of what Mr. B wrote is true. ”

    Well he did write
    “If you have not already noticed, the new commenting system, while not perfect”

  • Puma, I don’t have a head count yet.

    Looking like an easy dozen so far.

  • I rarely read the OT. I understand how some folks see it as clubby, negative, &c., and oftentimes I’ve been turned off by certain threads. But interestingly, it seemed to be a flag around which so many people rallied to chat outside of the confines of the site. It almost seemed like an automatic ombudsmen for those who felt voiceless or felt their topics had no place on the site. Removing that appears to me to be cutting the “little man” out, squelching dissent, corralling everything and everyone in to neat little boxes. That seems to go directly counter to everything that attracted me to brownstoner in the first place. I, for one, won’t miss OT, but I cannot understand how the protests of some could have the power to remove something that really seemed to strengthen peoples’ connection to this site.

  • crownmolding, I couldn’t disagree more with virtually everything you posted, but, FYI, it was Mr. B who set up a Facebook OT for us to chat in, so it’s not as if Captain Smith himself didn’t direct us to the lifeboats.

    We choose to congregate instead at jackalspub.blogspot.com, not least because Facebook, like Brownstoner itself, is blocked by most corporate firewalls.

  • crownmolding..

    1. None of us here think we “built this site.”

    2. It wasn’t just a “chatroom” for out leaisure. I really haven’t seen you here much actually adding to other threads, while most of the regulars here did, yes, oftentimes snarky but most of the time productively. How often can you say that you did??

    3. If the post count has dropped in the other threads, that pretty much says something about the “other threads.”

    But thanks for the lecture.

  • Agree with what cobble and dave said, too.

  • As I said earlier in off the OT emails, even brokers from the likes of Corcoran and Brown Harris Stevens, some of whom I see socially, while having a love-hate with the PLUSAs, have told me repeatedly that they believe the regulars add a lot to the site. Though it pains them to admit, the regulars often point out flaws in their listings and remind them not to be lazy, e.g., when posting few pics or no floorplan.

    I have also recommended to a number of contractors that they post directory listings – which they have done – and they, in turn, have read a lot of the threads, and find the regulars simultaneously entertaining, informative and irreverent.

    • We’re not discounting what the regulars add to the rest of the site. The OT is a giant distraction with little constructive content and lots of negative content. In an ideal world, regulars would channel that energy into discussions on other posts and, if they are bored by the other posts, try to suggest things to reblog or send in more tips that can be turned into posts. The last thing we want is for regulars to abandon the site though, obviously, that is a risk we are having to take to purge the site of the distraction that the OT has become.

      • Wow! Way to make OT regulars want to support your blog! (NOT!)

      • I agree with Dibs. Why is the OT a distraction? I do not understand that at all. You are driving these people away from the entire webiste by this action. And what I don’t understand is the concern with negativity. I really don’t. On the OT there are fights but also huge amount of positive content. HUGE amount of positive content. I think you are hoping that by closing the OT you will channel traffic to other threads and to encourage regular posters to go there. It won’t happen. What WILL happen is that you will have a radically smaller base, the people who are looking for the proverbial washing machine because you have transitioned the site to a different business model, and it may be many things, but filled with fascinating content it isn’t. The Forum is a mess post new site and the articles are primarily about things for sale or rent. Try seeing tomorrow how this works. Then try getting PLUSAs back on this site. I think you are making a serious business error.

        • No one need be driven away. If they care about the substance of the site, we hope, truly, that they will stick around and contribute to the 20-odd other posts a day. Using a comment thread as a chat room doesn’t make sense.

          • Since when? Yesterday? Last week? Two years ago? When did this ‘bolt of lightening’ come to you, Mr. B? I’m getting really steamed. We hashed all this out, you created the OT, you had to know what it was and why/what we were there back then? What has changed?

          • since when, what?

          • “Using a comment thread as a chat room doesn’t make sense.”

            There was a huge discussion before the creation of the OT. The purpose was to corral us, thin the crazy comments in the main threads. I think it served that purpose pretty well. My question to you is when did you decide that the OT didn’t make sense?

          • Gosh, have had reservations about it for a couple of years…it’s only because we’ve appreciated the effort and dedication of so many of its users that we’ve held off this long.

          • Then why do it like this? You have all our emails, you could have said something. You were more than happy to email us when you wanted our opinions. YOu could have asked us to have some ground rules. This was just a slap in the face and I’m done defending you and Brownstoner.

          • But you still want to be friends, right?

            Oy, Mr. B.

          • Really, Mr. B., you don’t expect the posters and readers of the OT to like it, do you?

          • Jon, this is not Cartesian logic you are using. Trust me. You are pruning your site way down to the quick by doing this. Like I said earlier, it is your site, it is your business, you can do whatever you want. And maybe you don’t care about pruning it to the quick or brushing off the regulars. But to think that by banning the OT (and framing it in a punitive way too I might add, which I think many are reacting to) you are driving away some/many/most? of your core readers. AND by assuming with the OT goine you will get a migration to the other parts of the site, I believe you are making a mistake. You need to listen to the comments here.

            Clearly I am upset. I keep saying I am done here for the day, but I keep coming back like staring at a train wreck.

          • I agree. The way it was done is calculated to offend and rive away regulars. Good work, Jon. You could have given us fair warning .

          • what, like “btw in 2 weeks we’ll be killing the OT”? not sure how that would have made anyone feel any better…

          • No- you could have written us and said how you felt and what ground rules you wanted to lay. We cared enough about brownstoner that we would have worked with you.

          • Not assuming migration to other parts of the site…hoping…

  • I only trust recommendations from PLUSAs. All of the other “recommendations” that turn up are suspect. How will I know now if someone is a PLUSA or not, I can’t check on the OT.

  • You have no idea how truly frightening it is for me to agree with my ewife so many times in one day. Sheesh.

  • irreverence and irrelevance – not wanted at the new corporate Bstoner Inc.

  • Cramer’s running a special edition of Mad Money tonight on how brownstoner is a short.

  • Interesting to think about all the websites/usergroups I’ve been a part of and then just lost interest in; I’ve never considered what it was like for the creators/owners.

  • Slopey, don’t know how late we’ll be there, but you can text or email me if you want to check in.

    Don’t forget, next Thursday, the 4th, I’m doing 3 shows at Montero’s.

    For now, I’m playing jackalspub.blogspot.com

  • “Don’t forget, next Thursday, the 4th, I’m doing 3 shows at Montero’s.”

    OY, following henny Youngman and Shecky Green????

  • Why is it a distraction? That part I don’t get.

  • “The OT is a giant distraction”
    You can say that again, I kept banning myself from it but i always came back.

    PLUSAs, you have been commoditized.

  • Mr. B, Have you been planning this since before the launch? If so, I feel pretty used. I really stuck up for you and the developers through all the hub-bub in the relaunch.

  • (7 stages of grief…I think I’m entering ANGRY!)

  • Jon- not for nothing, and you know for a fact how many times I stood up for you and brownstoner- but the OT was not the distraction. YOu’re reading comments from many people, including those who were not OT regulars and it is all about content content content. If the OT is a distraction then you should be looking at why the other threads are not pulling in comments. Maybe because they simply aren’t as interesting. And stop using the word “purge.” We didn’t poison b’stoner.

  • “I feel pretty used.”

    Not nearly as much as I feel after a good nooner.

  • yea, we’ve just been pushed out of the bed and told to go home

  • Do national blogs like HuffPost have this issue? Or Reason? I’ve added comments there from time to time and they seem to be as rapidly updated as the threads here.

  • I’m gonna put the kettle on and make us all a nice cuppa

  • this is the most entertaining thread on here in at least a year.

  • Although I don’t post on the OT, I’ll miss it, especially because I’m out of town much of the time and it provides a kind of Brooklyn touchstone that I check at least once per day. I don’t go to PLUSA events either, having never felt the need. The regulars here are such vivid commentators that I’ve formed very clear physical impressions of them — it’s like being in the same room — so the “virtual” is enough for me. (And this is the one and only on-line community I have, snookered into it by Montrose Morris who asked me questions in a HOTD thread a few years ago. Thanks, Montrose!)

    I do miss the “old” Brownstoner. The sepia-tinted pages. (They were sepia-tinted, right, sort of like an old row house’s wall paper?) The What. And as for *rob*, his stream-of-conscious postings were a fascinating look into the recesses of a particular person in a particular pocket of Brooklyn at a particular moment in time.

    I hope this change encourages people to write on the other threads. I know I’ll be reading Montrose’s articles daily and will contribute from time to time.

    See you there!

  • Good to see you NOP. :)

  • ““I truly think the best part of the site was the discussions that merged the RE angle with the sociology of the Boro. Crime, Architecture, development, traffic, retail – all of those have a RE component but a larger societal one, that IS interesting to discuss. I think it may be that BS has become more exclusively listing based.””

    Agree. It’s not bad to have a real estate blog–it’s useful, and probably profitable–but there’s not a whole lot to say that’s particularly community-building. I think this is a mistake, and I rarely go to the OT anymore.

  • “Jon- not for nothing, and you know for a fact how many times I stood up for you and brownstoner- but the OT was not the distraction.”

    Much as it pains me to agree with my ewife, yet again, I agree. Perhaps I’m just dense, but I don’t get how the OT is a distraction. As many people have posted, if you don’t like it, don’t read it.

  • 1. That’s not your pervue
    2. Put it somewhere less prominent and add a Warning!!!!
    3. get some 20th century software that will do it for you

  • Whoa. Glad I came by to check in today.

    It feels like the end of an era. I’ll just leave it at that since bxgirl and donatella have basically echoed my thoughts.

    “In the time I’ve been reading this, Brownstoner seems to have moved from a site focused on community, renovators and potential buyers/renovators to a site focused on glossy product and pumping up real estate.”

    Sorry to see the end of yet another online community that I’ve enjoyed being part of.

  • “Readers who see 400 comments and go check it out only to be confronted with insider jokes, f-bombs and sexual references”

    Mr. B, that’s easily fixed with a “Warning” sign before entering or an R-rating!

  • Imagine this scenario:

    -The profits of the Coca-Cola corporation are down.

    -The CEO of Coca-Cola decides that the solution is to ax one particular small brand – let’s say Sierra Mist – and blames all of their problems on it. Trashes the brand and its users.

    -The CEO does nothing to improve the other brands.

    Sound weird? Welcome to the business logic of Mr. B.!

  • NOP’s post does make me think that its becoming sanitized, much like many parts of brownstone brooklyn – when the entry level is $2 million or so, you’ll gebnerally end up with homogenetiy. Its like Guiliani’s the Times Sq. clean up.

  • Serious comment here…

    I would suspect that there are more people disgusted with the site because they perceive it to be shilling for the RE brokers (which I don’t think it is) than there are who are upset by the content of the OT.

    That former issue comes up very frequently and with much more critical and harsh vitriol.

    • Yes- that’s true.When I talk to people outside, they comlain the site is all RE listings. They may say they don’t like the OT but they also say they don’t read it or post on it. It was a side issue, not a main issue.

    • That could be a perfectly valid point, DIBS, but it doesn’t diminish the reasoning behind the OT removal…

  • Because in this case, he makes real sense.