Comments welcome, but there are exceptions …

   As I have explained numerous times, I am working frantically to get
accustomed to this blogging business, and that includes understanding and
orchestrating the comments section at the end of each blog.
  
   Creating discussion is an important element in the interactive component
of modern media, but in the case of commentary on my blog, it needs to be at
least remotely related to the blog content.
  
   As the editor of Sports Collectors Digest, I have no role in determining
matters related to advertising, and thus am pretty careful about not
creating blogs that blur the line between editorial and advertising.
  
   I also understand that for the individuals who want to control the
direction of commentary on the site that is a point of frustration, but it’s
the ground rules that we are faced with. Confronted with numerous posts
about matters over which I have no control, there’s nothing that I can
provide in the way of discussion.
  
   I am subsequently charged with being a censor because some posts have
been deleted. Again, there’s not much I can say about it, other than to note
that there’s nothing in my history or background to suggest an affinity for
censorship or curtailing the free flow of ideas. With this understood, we
will continue to delete comments that simply are designed to harangue me
into discussing areas that fall outside the editorial end of SCD.
  
   Some of the comments related to the dissolution of the Mastro Auctions
behemoth do prompt this observation: the available information about what is
currently underway in the hobby is minimal to non-existent at the moment.
Even the initial reporting in the New York Daily News last summer was
virtually without discernible attribution, and nothing reported since then
has changed that situation.
  
   What moves through the hobby is recycled, second-hand speculation that
travels at the speed of light and takes on a sheen of legitimacy that wasn’t
present at its birth. If I am going to be a party to disseminating something
that has such extraordinary impact, I would want to be convinced of its
unassailable nature.
   We ain’t there yet.

11 thoughts on “Comments welcome, but there are exceptions …

  1. Former Subscriber on said:

    Swing and a miss, T.S.

    Once again, we get the don’t-blame-me/nothing-to-see here routine. Super. I suppose I’m just being silly. Not much has happened anyway over the past few years. Minus a few bozos on ebay, the hobby’s never been in better shape. No authentication or shill bidding or card trimming issues going on here anymore. Operation Bullpen wiped away all the bad guys forever. It’s all hunky dory in Hobbyville.

    Let’s hear more about Don Mossi’s funny looking ears. I too can’t wait for the new Heritage set. Yippee! You know, I’ve always wondered how ball cubes are made. How about a four-part series on that? Maybe the guy that spent three months transcribing both those interviews he did about the fake Brett Favre jerseys can write it. I particularly enjoyed all the follow-up pieces he wrote and how they filled in those mile-wide holes that were created in the first article.

    T.S., I’ve just talked myself back into a subscription to SCD! Any chance you can haggle your publisher down to a $20-a-year subscription on my behalf?

  2. Another Former Subscriber on said:

    You may not be responsible for the advertising in SCD, but you ARE a well-known hobby advocate and journalist, and thus have a moral obligation to tell it like it is, and to warn people away from crap being sold within your publication’s pages. Even if this cannot be done within SCD’s pages, this could be done as an individual. Employment at SCD doesn’t revoke your right to free speech.

    I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I were silent about such matters, all the while being in a position to help save people from throwing their money away.

    Why not be a true ‘Voice for the Hobby?’

  3. VOTC on said:

    Where there is smoke there’s fire. I am in the publishing business also and understand the need to draw a line between editorial and advertising. However, why not just come out and tell the truth, "We are not going to jeopradize ad revenue from a deep pocket client like Mastro Auctions/Legends for the sake of conducting an investigative report exposing the allegations of impropriety from one of our key advertisers."

    People would have more respect for that than simply ignoring the issue.

  4. Steven D Miller on said:

    Just not true and honest reporting of revelant hobby happenings. The blog on the Sun TImes show is just one small example. What was the truth about attendence? I was there all three days and it was dead!! How about the general lack of competition for Tri-Star and the companies insane autograph prices!!
    We get a blurb about the now Bankrupt Hartland Collectibles. Have you seen the awful statues Heartland have been producing over the past two Chicago Shows? You report on some stupid mit and ignore the general demise of one of the hobbies long-time companies. Why becasue they advertise in SCD?
    There would have be zero attendence if not for the 1985 Bears reunion.

    What about Mastro??????
    Come on TS, tell it like it is!
    Yet another former Subsciber

  5. As noted in the blog on the Sun-Times Show, there was indeed more to come as I had plans on more reporting through the week. The show did seem somewhat lightly attended, which prompted my question to the promoter, who in turn said he thought it was close to November’s turnout. That show may have been 10-15 percent down from the first 2008 Sun-Times Show.

  6. JRJ on said:

    TS – I know the blog thing is new to you, but the purpose of the blog isn’t to channel conversation into subjects you see fit.

    A blog brings you closer to your buyers/subscribers and the people you write for. Don’t put a barrier between yourself and your buyer. Embrace the questions, topics and learn more about their persona. If they didn’t care about the hobby, then they wouldn’t ask the questions.

    A blog brings transparency. You said a few times how there isn’t anything out there for some of the stories that are discussed. Tell us what step you have taken to research the subject… be transparent. Give us the "behind the scenes."

  7. Take some responsibility! Maybe it’s true, maybe you are not responsible for advertising. However, why do you cover the results of coaches corner and why do you cover their upcomming auctions and make no mention of the fact that they get much lower prices than legitimate auction houses? why don’t you cover the fact that they continue to come with very rare items over and over again and this seems suspecious? I wish there were more web site resources available where we (the hobbyists) could share our experiences. If anyone can recomend any I would be most grateful. TS – please don’t delete these posts, haven’t you lost enough credibility?

  8. lynn on said:

    Coaches Corner is obviously a very touchy subject for all of you at SCD. If you do a google search on them, you will see that you are fighting a battle that cannot be won. The unfortunate part of this is that you HAVE known for years that coaches corner is not on our side.

    There is a reason why other auction houses will not touch anything that comes from them or their authenticators. And there is a reason why all of their babe ruth autographs sell for a lot less than what they should. (how do they manage to get so many of them anyway?)

    Because you always avoid the subject of them and make excuses like the ones above, it has become obvious to us that you have traded the integrity of yourselves and the magazine for their advertising dollars. that is a real shame and not at all what credible publications do. times are tough but are they so hard that you are willing to stab your own hobby in the back?

    my comments are in line with the topic that you started Mr. O’connell, so i hope you will not find an excuse to remove them.

  9. Rob on said:

    By Mr. O’Connell’sl logic "If I am going to be a party to disseminating something that has such extraordinary impact, I would want to be convinced of its unassailable nature," SCD would cover these stories as follows:

    – Terrorists attack world trade center on 9/11…..Not a story yet that we can report today because it hasn’t been proven in court that terrorists did anything.
    -JFK shot and killed. Sorry, lots of rumors out there about Lee Harvey Oswald. We’ll wait a few years to have a voice on this until things are firmer.
    -Hurricane Katrina devastates the Gulf Coast, government response slow. Well, the government hasn’t said their response has been poor, so we can’t report that now.
    –Mastro Auctions dissolved. Bill Mastro exits hobby. "I’m not convinced of its unassailable nature, and I won’t do any work to sort it out so I can help readers determine fact from fiction."

  10. TomTesh2 on said:

    TS, Check out my new YouTube video featuring YOU!

  11. Another Former Subscriber on said:

    I wish I hadn’t trolled so hard during those days. I’m sorry for giving the SCD guys, O’Connell, Bloedow, Nerat, etc a hard time back then, as I understand the pressures and realities they faced.

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