Springtime PSA: How to Be a Helpful WSR Commenter and Support Our Site

Hello WSR reader,

At the risk of being downright schmaltzy, you are why we write these stories. We want you to feel informed about and connected to the community we share. No one’s getting rich observing a CB7 meeting and living to tell about it! We do it because we love this neighborhood.

But we need your help to make WSR even better. Here’s how you can support us and promote local news.

Tell folks about The Rag and make sure everyone signs up for our newsletter.

Hard to believe, but not all UWS denizens know about us. Please urge your Upper West Side pals to check us out and get the WSR newsletter to keep up on all the UWS headlines.

Send us news tips.

We depend on tips from readers to know what the heck is going on and what needs investigating. Send your tips and photos to westsiderag AT gmail DOT com or tag @westsiderag on Twitter.

Be a helpful contributor to our Comments section.

Commenters feed the energy here. When comments are collaborative and insightful – even challenging, we fuel up and chase down more news with gusto. When comments are mean and divisive, we feel dispirited. Who wants that?

It’s spring – a good time for a fresh start to Comments.

We’re aiming to create the most informative, entertaining Comments section anywhere. That means we will be moderating Comments with a keener eye to civility and helpfulness. We want more voices and new perspectives that enlarge and sharpen understanding. One-on-one debates? Non sequiturs? Not so much.

So, what do great comments do?

Provide additional information. Know more about the topic? Have personal experience with it? Got a better idea? Remember a similar incident on the UWS? See something elsewhere in the city that ties to this story? Please share relevant specifics. We will all learn more, and additional info often incites important follow-up reporting.

Build community. Rally the neighborhood around the story’s issue and speak to how residents can make things even better. Let us know why you appreciate coverage of this type of story, why it matters to you. Give a shout-out to the heroes in the piece. All good.

Correct errors. We all make mistakes. If something in the story is dead wrong, please let us know. But maybe hold back on the finer points of comma usage and verb choice. Deal?

Suggest future, related stories. Tell us what questions you still have, what perspectives you would still like to understand. We always prioritize reader requests when choosing where to put our energies.

Make us laugh. With wit and good cheer. Bonus points for bad puns.

Readers like you give this site a flavor and fervor unlike any other in the city. Thank you so much for your support, constructive criticism, tips, photos and comments. Keep ‘em coming, and we’ll keep bringing you UWS news.

– The West Side Rag Team

COLUMNS | 21 comments | permalink
    1. Jay says:

      What would be helpful for the comments is to come up with a code of conduct, post it for everyone to see and stick to it.

    2. Carlos says:

      Thank you for running an excellent site – it is informative and fun. I totally agree with your suggestions. A few suggestions from me:

      – Please try to update the comments as often as possible. If they haven’t been updated for a while on a topical story, you end up having numerous people posting the exact same thing because they haven’t seen the other people posting that fact since those comments haven’t been made live. I don’t need 12 different people commenting on the fact that you spelled a word wrong or misidentified the location of a store.
      – Some posters feel the need to dominate certain conversations and respond to every single comment. It really detracts from the reading experience. If you are really going to curate the comments, please limit this.
      – We all appreciate the good old days and this is a great place for reflection, but at some point, the whining about missing how things used to be can get old – there is a very big difference between nostalgia and whining.

      Thanks again for your great work!

    3. GanerAnd says:

      “schmaltzy” ?

      • sputnikki says:

        “Schmalzty” is a great word! Webster’s defines schmaltz as: “Noun – 1. sentimental or florid music or art, 2. Sentimentality. Adjective – schmaltzy.”

        So in WSR’s usage above, they’re saying “at the risk of being sentimental…”

    4. Sid says:

      May I suggest switching to Disqus for comments instead of Akismet?

      • Jay says:

        That would be great. It would cut down on folks who post under multiple names.

      • nyc10023 says:

        Disqus would be most appreciative and I think would allow for livelier (real-time) discussions in the comments 🙂

    5. Ben David says:

      WSR, thank you for this springtime PSA! Thank you for all that you do!
      Here’s a story idea that you have seen many, many times in the comments sections. Numerous readers tell of trying to reports crimes to NYPD and being rebuffed and discouraged. The captains of the 20 and 24 are very happy to report that crime is down according to statistics, but they are never challenged to respond to the MANY readers here who try to report crimes, including assaults, quality of life violations, etc., and are turned away. Digging deeper into the gap between real crime on the UWS and official CrimeStat numbers would make for excellent journalism.
      Thank you, and please keep up the great work.

    6. Stephanie says:

      I’ve been reading for a long time now, but this is my first comment! GASP! The PSA above is a wonderful example of what first rate reporting the West Side Rag team is doing and the kind hearts behind it all. Thank you for all you do!

    7. Where would we be without you? You enable in us a big, menaingful charge of positive energy as well as a way to make the world we live in better.

      Thanks for zeroing in against hostile comments. Outdoors, my community is so very sweet, I just don’t get the hide-behind-anonymity-and-take-aim frequenters on this website. I have to immediately stop reading and change the channel.

    8. Susan Gutterman says:

      I have become addicted to WSR & now turn to it before & sometimes instead of the national news. Recently you did a fantastic reporting job updating the “Sue Trott” murder.

    9. MB says:

      I read WSR every day! Thanks for being the best local news out there. Can you bring back the profiles on small businesses? They’re my fave.

    10. JS says:

      Many thanks to West Side Rag!

    11. Yael says:

      Love the WSR & the comments! I hope the new “monitoring” will discourage trolls & bullying, while not discouraging comments.

    12. Wendy says:

      It’s hard to build community here, especially in the Comments section, when so many comments are mean, and insulting to others…and often from the same posters. It seems that they revel in being snarky. Would love to see WSR editors moderate this section much more closely and approve every message. Not only does it make UWS’ers look like a bunch of obnoxious, prejudiced, too-smart-for-their-own-good complainers, it does not reflect well on what is an otherwise very pleasant, informative and often helpful site. Looking forward to a more civil tone! I wonder if our city councilpeople, police officers, Mayoral administration folks read this blog – does WSR know?

    13. nwags says:

      I love this! I tell everyone I know about WSR. Even non-Upper West Siders. Must-read for everyone, in my opinion!

    14. Carnival Canticle says:

      Thank you for this. The WSR comments are often well-considered additions to a debate and for the most part are civil. Yes, there are a few “regulars” who seem to enjoy the sound of their own virtual voices whether or not they have anything relevant to say, but they are relatively benign. As for the suggestions to switch the comment function to Disqus — please don’t. Gothamist, which sometimes provides very good reporting, is a sad example of a site whose comments are a seething swamp of insult, bad manners, personal animus and trollery. WSR is a local gem; let’s keep it as nice as it is.

    15. Ann March says:

      Since leaving the area I have continued to rely on WSR for news of my former longtime home. Appreciate the accuracy in portraying the neighborhood through the wide ranging, well researched, well written articles AND the comments, whether they’re nostalgic, whining, or even more obnoxious. Please be judicious in your moderating so the true character of the UWS is fully represented.

    16. Sam G says:

      I read you every day and try to repost on social media as often as I can.
      Thank you for keeping us up to speed on the recent blight of vacant storefronts.
      Speaking of which: Here’s a question for openings/closings: what happened to the West End Hall (fka Five Lamps)?

    17. NYYgirl says:

      Love WSR!!