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Dear ATQ: You’re not happy, we’re going to listen

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Here’s a further explanation, and hopefully some solutions

Washington v Oregon Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Hello, everyone. This morning, I wrote a post on our staff being verbally attacked in the comments of recent stories, and I’m glad I did. Here’s why:

It allowed me to see some of the frustrations of the community that we need to better address. I will be the first to admit that I’m largely responsible for the disconnection between you and our writers. I personally work full-time, and can’t spend much time on the blog outside of what is required to keep it running efficiently. But clearly, a little more connection would be good for all of us.

I was just reading the ATQ brainstorming post, and I wanted to personally address each point raised in the post:

  1. Quack Fix

The Quack Fix has been a struggle, because as you can guess, they really aren't that exciting to write. To give you an idea how it works behind the scenes, we split them up among a number of us. Each person has a day they are responsible for, and if they can’t get to it, they’re expected to email the group to have someone else pick it up. Unfortunately, even if the email goes out, sometimes we can’t get to it, and you’re left commenting on old threads.

You asked to take over the Quack Fix, so this is me giving y’all the keys. I have emailed our writers letting them know of the change. I will go into the Fan Posts each morning and front page those so that they are easy to find. Hopefully this helps with both consistency and getting back to more of a community feel.

2. “Non-Ducks

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet because I’m not going to speak on these writers behalf for them.

Long story short, Tony has an extensive history in sports journalism and an incredible work ethic to go along. Because of him, we are credentialed for both football and men’s basketball this season, something that hasn’t happened around here for years. He became our football writer because he expressed interest in doing so and is one of our only writers who lives in the area close enough to cover games. I understand his recent work can use a little editing, and we’ve already discussed it, so I have no doubts you’ll see some improvement on that going forward. Much of that is on me for not having the time to read over as many stories as I should be and edit them, so I’m going to work more on that. But let’s still work on showing our writers a little more respect instead of calling their work “garbage.”

Tiana, as many of you have noticed, is not from Oregon, but that doesn't mean she isn’t welcome here. Why bring her on, you ask, if she’s not even from here and doesn't interact with you? Because she’s another writer who is incredibly talented and loves doing what she does. She’ll be rolling out some original content soon in order to connect with you guys more.

You are right in assuming Haisten is one of our “non-Ducks.” SB Nation provides centralized resources that agnostic of allegiance or degree holding adds value to what we do. Because our staff isn't as robust as some around the network, we elect to take advantage of that. If you have any problems with the content they're producing, you're more than welcome to take it up directly with me.

3. The Writing

Like I said above, any lack in quality in articles is on me. I simply don’t have the time to go in and edit every article we post, but it’s clear that I need to make the time so that we don’t have these types of incidents where people are personally insulting our writers. Like I said in my previous post, I just ask that everyone be respectful when we make mistakes.

I am also going to make more of an effort to highlight great fan posts that I think our community should read and share them, because at the end of the day, the community is the core of this blog, and we’ve stepped away from that when we shouldn’t have.

4. Mods, or lack thereof

As many of you have noticed, our writers aren’t too active with you in the comments. Again, a lot of this is on me and not stressing to them enough when I bring them on the importance of being involved in the community. I know Tony did it at first, but can you blame him for disappearing with the way a lot of you treat him? I sure don’t.

Like I said earlier, I don’t have the time in the day to hang out with everyone in the comments or even moderate. We currently have one longtime writer who has agreed to moderate when he can, but outside of that, yeah, we’re pretty absent.

So here’s my suggestion. I’d like to create a community moderator board. This was brought up to me several weeks ago by a member, and I want to go through with it. I’d like to gather a number of you to volunteer as moderators for ATQ. Your responsibility would be to go through the comments of our stories and make sure everyone is respectfully following our community guidelines. Ideal members for this would be longtime members of the community who have no history of making inappropriate comments and who have an interest in making ATQ a fun and friendly place to hang out.

If you’re interested in this role, please email me at slarson262@gmail.com.

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I know that was long-winded, but I wanted you all to know that we’ve seen your concerns and will work to improve our community here the best we can. My email inbox is always open for further suggestions.