December 6, 2005

Comments and Feedback

This blog and its readers never cease to confuse me. I posted my weekly "Link-O-Rama" entry on Friday and that afternoon the Twins made headlines by trading for Luis Castillo. Not surprisingly, the comments section quickly filled up with discussion about the trade, and the end result was an impressive 78 comments.

Then yesterday I actually wrote about the Castillo trade, devoting about 2,000 words to covering it from just about every angle I could think of. And what happened in the comments section? Well, not much of anything. In fact, the measly total of just 11 comments were the fewest an entry has produced since November 8.

The way I figure it, either I did an extraordinary job of saying everything there was to say about the trade or the 2,600 people who stopped by here yesterday were just sick of talking about Castillo. What other way is there to explain how the 10 previous entries received an average of 36 comments each, but yesterday's got less than one-third of that?

One thing the readers of this blog can never be accused of is being predictable. On a given day I am never sure of what you guys will complain about or find offensive, and now apparently I can't even be sure of what you'll be compelled to talk about. I thought Friday's comments section would turn into a lengthy discussion of Jessica Alba's butt and instead it was all about a 30-year-old Dominican guy named Luis.

As long as I've turned today's entry into nothing more than navel-gazing and some serious meta-discussion, here's something else I found amusing about the way people react to things. For any fellow writers out there, an experience I had last week is a good example of why it is extremely important to take all feedback with a grain of salt.

I received a ton of e-mails regarding my "Counting on Comebacks" article over at The Hardball Times last Wednesday, including five that arrived in succession the morning it was posted. To better illustrate my point, I'll quote only the opening sentence of each.

1) "Come on Aaron, I know you can write better than this."

2) "Good article at THT today."

3) "Nice article today."

4) "Your article today was pretty worthless."

5) "Excellent approach in the article on Hardball Times on Thome and Lowell."

And as any of you who actually read the article know, it wasn't exactly filled with controversial statements. The crux of the piece was basically just showing that while Jim Thome and Mike Lowell had lousy seasons in 2005, several other big-name hitters have bounced back from similarly poor seasons in recent years.

That's it. No big, sweeping conclusions, no extreme predictions for the future, no claims that what I wrote was anything more than a few hundred words for people to breeze through on a random Wednesday during the offseason. I didn't even make fun of Jim Souhan.

Feedback is always good for a writer, positive or negative, because getting some is better than not getting any. But as I've learned over the years while putting my writing out there for an increasingly large audience, not every opinion is the majority one and not every criticism is worth taking to heart. Of course, I'm sure Souhan feels the same way.

Now, if this exhilarating, thought-provoking entry isn't good for at least 79 comments, I don't know what is.

UPDATE: It's only 7:30 a.m. and there are already 15 comments. See how much better that is?

Today at The Hardball Times:
- Third Base: The Crossroads, Part Five (by Steve Treder)

Pick of the Day (148-126, +$2,125):
Cleveland -1 (-110) over Sacramento

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