[To read Part 1 of this interview.]
Quest: How do you feel about anonymous comments v. fellow blogger's comments v. regulating comments v. commenting in general?
Chris: I have to say that Gawker commenters are--I hate to say this because I am a commenter on Gawker--but they're the scum of the earth.
Quest: I didn't realize you had a specific "most hated" commenter. So you mean, Gothamist and all those guys?
Chris: Oh, yeah. If you're commenting on a blog, unless you're a fan of what you're reading, you're probably commenting because you don't like what you've read. I had a string of two posts last summer that were both linked by Gawker over a span of 2-3 days. People threw insults my way. People called me a rapist and a womanizer. I'm like, "What!?!"
So I guess the old adage is true: "Anyone can say anything on the internet."
I'll let anyone say whatever they want on my blog as long it's within reason. If it's completely and totally offensive, then I will go in and delete a comment. Luckily, that's only happened once or twice. It's a democracy.
I don't ever moderate my comments, but I do have a spam filter. And sometimes things that aren't spam, end up in my spam filter. Someone will tell me, "I posted a comment and you won't let it go up." And then it's followed by a nasty email. I get blamed for it, but honestly I didn't even know. I'll go to my spam filter and there will be three comments from people waiting to be approved. So fair warning to commenters: There are certain words that someone might use which will trigger the filter. You just have to be aware and be patient.
Quest: I was thinking of switching over to Wordpress. You're using Wordpress, right?
Chris: Yes. You can do more, but you can do less with Wordpress, too. It's very restrictive in terms of templates and they don't allow flash or anything on the site. It really restricts what you can do. Today I had a post from CollegeHumor.com and it's because of that restriction that just a couple weeks ago, I migrated to a new server--just so that I could use flash again. Wordpress, if you host it on your own server, is a lot more flexible.
Quest: If you're hosted somewhere else, then it's more flexible.
I was so blown away by the tech stuff. I'm not a technical person at all. When I had to move all my stuff over to a server, it became a nightmare. I spent 12 hours on a beautiful Saturday sitting in front my computer all day trying to figure it all out. All these code words and everything--The "php" dot file. I don't trust myself messing with files when I don't know what they control.
Quest: What do you use, Mac or PC?
Chris: I have a Mac. Although, if I'm posting at work, I'm posting on a PC.
Quest: Do you consider yourself funny?
Chris: I don't think of myself of as funny. I think it would be really cocky to say that I'm funny. I thrive on feedback. And when I don't receive any, I begin to get nervous. Last week was a prime example: Summer's over and there's work on the table for everyone. And suddenly every one stopped commenting. I put a post up saying, 'What the hell guys? You're not giving me any feedback at all.' And then people started commenting are even moreso, which was good.
Quest: You actually posted, 'Why aren't you commenting?', to your readers?
Chris: Yes, and it worked.
Quest: So were you a class clown in school?
Chris: OMG, I was the biggest recluse in school. In school, I was the quiet one. No one expects that now. I did a total about-face. I was funny-looking, but I was never actually funny growing up as a kid. In my earlier years, I was totally an attention-whore. I will gladly admit this. When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a game show host when I grew up. I would have my grandparents as contestants. I would ask them questions about my favorite cartoons. And they wouldn't know the answers and they would lose. I would get fed up with them and throw things at them. I was a really vindictive game show host! I was one sexual harassment suit away from being the next Bob Barker.
Chris: I actually have two friends who won the Showcase Showdown on The Price is Right.
Chris: I mean, won it all!
Quest: Aren't they taxed when they win?
Chris: Oh, yeah! They all had to shovel out ridiculous amounts of money in taxes, just to get their prizes. So you actually don't want to win it all on The Price is Right. Winning cash is one thing because they can just take it out--they can just garnish the cash. But with prizes it's different.
Chris: If you a win a prize, for example: if you win a car, you can't just saw the car into two pieces and give the government 52% of it.
Quest: Why not just sell it?
Chris: But, you have to pay the taxes just to receive it.
Quest: No wonder people were so pissed about the Oprah car giveaway. I would opt for Jeopardy any day.
Chris: Yeah. (pause) I once was a contestant on Cash Cab.
Quest: Really?! How did that turn out?
Chris: We ended up losing it all before we got to our destination.
Quest: Bummer. Sorry to hear that. But Ben Bailey is a mad genius of a comedian.
Chris: Yes!! Ben Bailey is a sorely underrated! People don't realize how terribly funny he is. You spend 45 laugh out loud minutes in the cab with him, and you only get to see a snippet of his personality edited into 7 min.
Quest: Do you think you have to develop sense of humor to live in NY in order to survive?
Chris: Oh, absolutely! I think if I didn't have a sense of humor about the things that I see in the city on a daily basis and the things that I deal with on a daily basis here, I would be a miserable person.
We're sharing so much of our personal space. There are people that live out in suburban midwestern cities that never come within 3 feet of someone in a given day. And here we are stuffing ourselves into a subway train, giving each other our six inches of personal space.
Quest: Is that humor or couldn't that be misconstrued as just plain patience?
Chris: I don't think that it's patience because no one in NY is patient. Let's be honest. We're always in a rush to get to our destination. I admit, I have Pedestrian Rage. Just like most people have Road Rage while driving, I have Pedestrian Rage. We have to replace it with something. It fills that little void that we left behind when I sold my car. There's no way you could get by if you didn't just roll your eyes and kind of chuckle to yourself this person in front of me is plodding down the stairs really slowly. One on the local and one on the express track. And I just put up my arms. You get frustrated but you just have to brush it off.
[ The continuation, Part 3, of this interview you can find here. ]
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Thursday, September 20, 2007
[To read Part 1 of this interview.]