Dennis Knight

Dennis Knight
Whittier, California, USA
December 31
I'm the typist of those little labels you find in the pockets of your new trousers.
I own several ant farms, but the little fellas haven't produced a single crop.


DECEMBER 18, 2009 9:07AM

5 Things You Need to Know About Open Salon

Rate: 86 Flag

 5 Things Final Pic

 By Will Someone Feed The Cat and Dennis Knight

There’s no shortage of posts describing Open Salon - from virtuous praise to vile reprimand. This is not one of them. This is a combined effort from two borderline personalities attempting to share some ways you can survive and thrive here at Open Salon.

1. Leave Open Salon Better Than You Found It
Dennis: Open Salon will never be greater than the members make it. This group of amazingly talented people could potentially blow the doors off the artistic world. And that should be our aim. Swing for the fences everytime you click the “Publish” button.

Remember to spell check your piece. Look it over for grammar too. Read it out loud to yourself to hear how it sounds. Never settle for less than you’re capable of putting out. Seek to make that the rule. Not the exception.

Sometimes we just want to have fun. That’s normal and good. But our consistent goal should be to offer this place the best we have.

Cat: And before you think we're getting all crabby teacher on you, consider this: the easier it is to read, the more - and more likely - people will read. We only need a small excuse to pass over something; don't make easily fixable things that reason.

Dennis: Make the same attempt when it comes to leaving comments. Read each post like you’d want your post to be read and leave a comment like you’d want to receive. Simple huh? Not so much. It takes time and heart.

Cat: Plugging a link into your comment is effectively asking a reader to navigate away from the blog they are on. That's kinda rude, don't you think? There are exceptions; but not many.

2. Posting Wisely
Dennis: Post a couple times a week and you’ll make it easier on your fans to comment regularly. Post every day and your readers will have a hard time keeping up with you. (Translation: They’ll drop like flies.)

Fight the temptation to post compulsively. Lots of good stuff gets buried when you post every day or several times a day. And very few will go through your previous posts to find the gems.

Learn to say more with less. The co-author is laughing at me. But she and others have helped me learn to whittle my posts down to readable chunks. Long posts can discourage some readers. You may get comments like, “Great!” and “Good job!” but you’ll never know for sure if that was code for, “Geez louise this is long!”

Cat: Again, it's not a hard and fast 'rule'. It's a suggestion; some posts need and deserve more elbow room; many don't. Many messages are best distilled to their essence for the biggest effect. What is your essence?

Dennis: Use paragraph breaks. That means hitting the return key now and then. Remember we live in the era of the sound bite. If you feel you must write at length at least give people brief rest stops to park and ponder on the road to wherever. 

3. Figure Out Why You’re Here
Dennis: Open Salon’s stated purpose is to be a publishing platform for “writers, photographers and artists of any stripe.”  It’s actually evolved into a very different creature.

Open Salon is a mixture of book store, newspaper, television, YouTube, art gallery, and every kind of unmoderated chat room you ever or never encountered.

You need to determine why you’re here. Once you do that, navigating the beautiful vistas as well as the mine fields becomes much easier.

If you’re here to be creative you’ll find an audience. You’ll acquire fans if you’re good and even if you’re not (an excellent example of this being the two authors of this post - ladies first).

If you enjoy civil debate on the issues of the day there are blogs where discussions like that take place.

If you’re here to cyber fight and live out your issues online there will always be several folks more than willing to engage you.

Focus on why you’re here and encourage those who are doing the same. Ignore the pests and embrace the rest. It will make your tenure much easier.

Cat: In a world of no censure and no rules, create some for yourself. Vow not to make others feel badly about themselves, and not to allow bullies to engage you. Your biggest weapon is actually silence, not your words.  Where you use your currency in OS - your comments and ratings - indicates what you will pay to read.

4. How To Find The Good Stuff
Dennis: Open Salon states that, “Outstanding posts are given an Editor's Pick tag by staff editors. The best of these posts are highlighted on Open Salon's homepage...”

The Editors use the words, “outstanding” and “the best” as subjectively as their own tastes. What they consider great you may not. This proves to be the case sometimes. A lot of the time. Most of the time. All the time. Depending on who you ask.

My advice is: Don’t depend on the Cover and editors picks as the only way of determining what you read. Try the following things as well:

a.  Select writers you enjoy as “favorites.” Then you can click through your favorites each day to see if they posted anything new.

b.  On the top of the Cover page there are 4 white tabs. They read:
• Cover
• Editor Picks
• Popularity
• Most Recent
(without my fancy bullets of course).

By all means look over the Cover, and scan the Editor Picks, but also click on that 4th tab marked “Most Recent.”

On any given day there will be new posts every few minutes. You’ll eventually get pretty good at spotting new authors and things that look interesting to you. You’ll also get a feel for how fast this place moves and why we suggest you try to write shorter articles and post less often.

Cat: The feeds also remind you of why your titles are important. Give them some thought. Provocative will give you initial clicks, but clever or interesting will serve you better. Dig through your high school concepts: alliteration, analogies, similies, puns, questions. Stand out in a postive way. If you've written a piece you're serious about, ask a good titler for help. 

c.  Dennis: On the left hand side of every person’s blog page is a column titled: “My Recent Comments.”

Sometimes you can find gold by clicking on one of your favorites’ comments and discovering a post they liked.

You may also wind up in the middle of a “blog party” which can be great fun and a way to meet new members.

Cat: If you're new, jump in and introduce yourself. Play. There are many, many kind people in OS; hang out in friendly territory as you find your way around, and you'll also note another thing: if someone has been hurt, reparations can be made. Apologies help heal.

Dennis: You might also tumble right into the middle of a flame war in which case I advise you to tumble right back out.

The point is, unless you uncondtionally love the Editor’s picks you can always find ways to discover great writers, artists and blogs on your own. And did ya notice we made that as simple as “a b c”?

5. Finally - Have Fun & Don’t Lose Heart
Dennis: People get discouraged here. Often. Sometimes they leave. Sometimes they come back. Sometimes they lather, rinse, and repeat. This is referred to as “flouncing.” It’s not my favorite word.

It’s easy to get discouraged when writing your heart out and feeling overlooked. You may be tempted to think this is like high school. That there are “cliques.” Don’t. That’s the easy way out. You lose all perspective when you surrender to that. OS is a huge place. Write, create, and cultivate friendships. You’ll find your niche. But it may take time.

Cat: Create a post asking for direction, if you need to. Ask where the music junkies are hanging out, the poets, the fiction talent, the bakers - we love to be asked, and we love to show off. But mostly, leave your avatar stamp all over as you read, and become recognizable. OS is about give and take.

Dennis: Remember you are online. Finding even one person who really is who they say they are is a gift. Be careful not to trust too much to anyone too soon. The anonymity of the internet allows people to behave badly. There’s nothing wrong with getting to know someone before you agree to pay his or her college tuition.

• Post Script
Cat: Posts like this one, a service call if you will, have been done, and done well, many times in the past. Our only goal in providing yet another one is a nod to the many, many new faces who cross the threshold each day. If you have unanswered questions, please ask around. (What’s a meta post? What’s monkey fingered mean? What the hell is with all the pirates?). Questions on meanings can be asked at the source, or using a pm to someone who seems kind-ish. Gossip is best left unsaid, so don’t ask us about that.

Dennis: What Cat said. (How’s that for brief?)

~The End~

Disclaimer: This article is intended for the sole use of the 9 interested readers at Open Salon and is not intended for: actual paid professional writers and/or artists, lawyers, children under the age of 50, Mariah Carey fans, people who write with Jumbo Size hexagonal pencils on grade triple “Z” paper, people currently undergoing therapy for failed online romances, people living in mom’s basement, people who collect Star Wars/Star Trek/Star Gate figurines, blogbots, employees of Open Salon, Real Salon, BEEG Salon, or any other kind of salon be it hair, nail, massage, pet grooming, or Christian Science Monitor Reading Rooms etc., Canadians with an axe to grind, Americans with “we’re best” issues, or anyone with more than a third grade education.


All characters mentioned in this piece are purely fictitious. Any resemblance to people living or dead or inbetween is purely coincidental.


By reading this post you agree to surrender all rights to your personal creative work, your spouse, children, homes, automobiles, savings, checking account, investments, and self-esteem.

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
An OS primer. Perfect.
Love it. Great. Sheesh. Couldn't you get it down to 3?
Best post on the subject I have seen Dennis.
Kudos for this to the two of you.
Thank you both totally and completely and sincerely.
I actually break, no smash, all 5 "rules" of thumb, I believe. I should get something for that, no?
All good advice--thanks for the service! Scanning Favorites' comments for new bloggers is a favorite technique of mine.
Wonderful guidelines...
This was tremendously helpful. I was a) posting daily, b) feeling left out and c) considering a "flounce." You have saved me; thank you!
this is the first thing I read this morning and I enjoyed it xoxo
I likey! But yes not surrendering my checkbook and crap although the bank she is empty so why not! Great primer for all readers not just newbies.
You two work well together - great post.
Thanks everyone for the kind remarks. It was Cat’s idea - or it would have been much shorter.

scupper - that was the goal, sort of :)

Lorraine(flw) - we tried. Cat suggested 5. I wanted 7. She won. She slaps.

Mission - thanks very much

Nikki - thank you for the kind comment.

Lorraine - bluster, bluster, so not true.

Bob - I think you define these 5 rules... ::ahem:: guidelines perfectly.

AtHomePilgrim - great piece of advice thanks.

Buffy- thanks.

Lorraine - promises, promises

Ann - Thank you. That really puts a smile on our faces.

Amanda - thanks. Really grateful you liked it.

Lunchlady2 - dang. and we were just about to hit you up for cash

TokenTarheel - you bet. That’s why we tried to suggest a few ways.
There’s so much good stuff that can get missed.

dustbowldiva - thanks. We thumbwrestle to decide most stuff.
Very clever and extremely helpful to the readers, especially the new ones!
Dennis - great job.

Really loved this and I hope every member - especially the new ones - bookmarks this.

I have.

Oh yeah, great job, Cat. Now get off his lap and get back over to your own blog.
Really glad to know there are only five. I'm still working on the part about how OS is secretly run by a Canadian matriarchy.
Are you insinuating there is something wrong with using "Jumbo Size hexagonal pencils" ????

Great collaboration, you two!
Like the eensy writing also. Guidelines are good. R
My two rules are 1) keep it short, hint hint, and 2) don't tell other people how to enjoy their time at the OS, hint hint.
So, am I like one of the nine? or what? May I second this? One thing I do want to say is that like high school there are cliques here. Not so much in a mean and exclusive way but we do gravitate towards like minded people, well except for those who have only fostering discord as a goal and believe me, they are here. I try to be nice. I try to find something positive to say or something that will add to a post. If not, there is no shame in just rating and keeping your mouth shut.
Very nice! The only part I might disagree with is where you imply that the editors actually read the posts that end up on the cover.
Thanks everybody. This is what makes OS fun.

spotted? I use Jumbo Hex pencils and crayons to write with. That was Lorraine taking a shot at me.

bob- yes. You are one of the nine buddy :)

The reason for frequent paragraph breaks is to give the eyes a break. It is much easier to track the 4th line out of a 5 line paragraph than to track the 7th line of a 14 line paragraph.

It's easier to skim, too.

I frequently don't read on once it becomes too hard for me to track where I am.
Really, really good stuff. Thanks a bajillion. Rated
Thanks guys. As a newbie this is really helpful. Hopefully I didn't create the need for it. ;)
Thanks, that was helpful to me as a newbie. Not always clear to me when "the regulars" are doing their blog party how open it is. I appreciate the transparency of this post. There are lots of wonderful things about this site.
Enjoyable, like a neighbor giving advice about a new neighborhood. Thanks to both of you good people.
Really kind comments all. Thanks to everyone.
scarlett - hardly :)
espritgui - warm welcome to you. And for sure, always jump right in.
Lea - Cat’s good. I’m marginal at best.

seriously... eensy?
Nicely done. I've not been around much lately and found myself amazed at so many new names on the cover this morning, writers I've not yet met. It's great that you're showing the new folks around and reminding the rest of us what drew us here in the first place.
This was a great post, answering a lot of questions. But being new on OS is a humiliating experience. You say there are no "cliques" on OS, but there are. I'm doing pretty good now, but I had two EP's when I first came to OS that were read by fewer than 30 people each. I make it a point each day to read one or two new people, and to welcome them to OS. If you are not a persistent SOB, you may quit before anyone knows how good your writing is. Don't, good writers are rare, and will be found!
Now somebody explains this stuff to me. Great post! What time are you serving cocktails and hors d'oeuvres?
Nice collaboration kids! Follow those you luv comments, can't be stressed enough...
While a critical view can be helpful, hateful, or hurtful, kind words inspire, show a little compassion here or... Thanx for this...RRR
Great advice. This should be given to every new blogger. It took me a few months to learn these things.

Fantastic...a must read for all OSers. And I agree with the "less is more". Something I work on constantly and haven't yet been successful at. A good friend who is a blogger on Psychology Today said that their blog limit is at 800 words. That would be a good thing to keep in mind. Rated.
scanner - great points. It’s not that cliques can’t form. Our point was “don’t go there” and end up getting discouraged. Find your niche as you an d others have pointed out.

The cocktails and hors d'oeuvres (I had to copy and paste that one) won’t include “Thunderbird” or “Night Train.” Just the good stuff. Guinness, Scotch, Gin. But the err... munchies will be vegetarian and bivalve in honor of Frank.
You forgot to mention?
No sit at a bus stop to blog.
If you get cold it's because`

You sit in snow with laptop.
No sleep with cats and snore.
That causes cat sneeze spray.

The computer window is goo.
Blog with bare midriff shown.
Walk in the snows drifts bare.

Pierce belly button for a E.P..
Wash windows. Aqua Velvets.
Act dizzy and play saxophone.

Have no ethics or sane morals.
Put telephone poles in Ya eyes.
Ride the railroad train caboose.

Drink Dread Scott's Wild Turkey.
Get gussied up. But, no upchucks.
Praise Cargill, Monsanto, and Kant.

No label Dennis Knight`nincompoop.
No worry about ides of God's existence.
Wonder why on Earth are we here existing.

Never call human beings the nitwit bloggers.
No worry. We are born. We will some day die.
Ask Henry Kissinger to kiss under a mistletoe.

Be an apologist for stinky skunk polecats? No!
Thank Cat for the stuff to ponder in the snow!
Hector 'Star Wars' critter like de `Chewbacca!

This has no impure thought. You may delete.
banter goof, ramble, jabber, happy day, aye.
No call Dennis Knight a lowly based blogger.
It's just innocent popping off. Have nice day.
Tickled the cockles of my...something or other. Fantastic summary and roadmap, you two. But you left out Freaky Troll, cake, Cindy Ross...

Ah, well. Sometimes one just needs to soak in it.

that is one smart cat
Words from the wise. This should prove very helpful. (Loved the fine print.)
It's about time we had a Strunk & White for OS. Thanks.
Cat and Dennis:

Thank you for the advice. I'm a tyro freelance writer who got frustrated with The pay was abysmal, and the literary standards dishearteningly low. No one cared whether you said anything worthwhile, as long as you said it often, and made sure it got seen. People at Open Salon may give their work away, but at least they can network with writers who care about turning out quality work. For me, that represents a huge improvement.

You don't have to worry about my netiquette. After more than a decade online -- during which time I've made dozens of friends and carried on a few love affairs -- I think I'll be able to conduct myself like a gentleman.
I said eensy the other day. Couldn't remember itsy bitsy in that moment.
PS: A little editing can go a long way (no pun intended.)
Nice. Like I said over at Cat's blog:
Who let the adults in here?
Well, at least I now know which rules to break.
Thanks Guys!
Thanks for putting this together, being part of OS has made me a better writer and exposed me to ideas I probably wouldn't have encountered.
Like I said over at Cat's blog:

{throws a leftover olive at MJ}
Thanks everyone. The comments alone tell the story of why this is such a terrific place to offer our creative works and to encourage others. You gals and guys are Open Salon.

JK- Dang. The slanty bold. We forgot the slanty bold!

patricia - thanks so much.

Duane - that was really nice of you to say. ‘Specially about her getting off the lap and all.

Kathy - When was that ever a secret?

Bonnie - “Tips” has always been a fun topic.

Lorraine - you really can’t help yourself can you?

spotted and bo - I already got you two :) Thanks.

rita - eensy? Egads another one! Thank you :)

ocularnervosa - subtle aren’t ya ;)

mishima - thanks. Ha! Those glasses aren’t fer nothin’!

Malusinka - exactly. And again, some posts are okay without. But most profit by simple guidelines like you referred to.

Walter - thanks a bajillion back 'atcha.

Scarlett, espritgui, and Lea - caught you all the first time around. Thanks.

Maria - Thanks so much. It really was primarily meant to help anyone especially new people by suggesting ways that might be easy for them to employ.

patrick - you are so right. Everybody can use a little help and encouragement.

Gwendolyn - thanks. I’m way slow on the learning. Please tell me what you’ve learned! Pretty please! With sugar on top??

scanner and O’Really - got you two on the first lap. Thanks.

Mary - I’ve been aiming for 600 -700. Not always and not as a confinement but as Lorraine has said - like a river bank that can channel the force. Thanks.

Art - how do you do that so darned beautifully! Thanks man.

Saturn - thanks. I still like your first choice of Jupiter Jones :)

Denise - Freaky all by herself would have taken a blog to adequately describe - and this was all about brevity ::cough::

knecht2 - that she is. That she is.

Stacey - thanks. The fine print was on advice of our legal department.

Jeff - love the Strunk & White reference!

LuluandPhoebe - hey that makes two of us!

Max - warm welcome man! I like that term “netiquette”. Freaky will too if it involves letting her eat cake.

Midwest Muse - Thanks. We’re very happy to hear that.

alsoknownas - oh please man. Don’t encourage her!

JB - maybe not intended but very funny nonetheless.

MJ - you can break all the rules you want man. You kinda get a pass :)

Julie - thanks very much.

sueinaz - that’s a great comment thanks.

spotted - you had to be the one to start the food fight eh?
I can't agree to the Terms and Conditions part about Mariah Carey.
Con - well dammit, that was on advice of our lawyers.
bbe - I agree. Kent, Rob, Ric and others have really outstanding work. That’s why we said these aren’t hard fast rules. They’re an attempt at helpful suggestions to take or leave. Btw your post on the 5th was terrific.
Thank you Cat and Dennis. I am so glad I discovered OS and plan to stick around even after I run dry of words to say myself.

Excellent manual- I plan to keep this next to Pilgrim's list of Nutrients for the Holidays.
OK, so saying that my stupid computer kept locking up and I was very frustraited first thing this morning is no excuse, but I shouldn't have said what I said and the way I said it. With total sincerity I do appologize.
Appreciate the first half of the post. I'll let you know my thoughts on the rest of it when I have time to finish.
IF I had actually read this post, I'd concur. Furthermore, IF I had actually read the tags rest assured I would not have read this post.

As with any traipsing through the creative meadows, one needs to discern which are the sweet-smelling flowers and which are the ragweed.

And of course, one has to watch where one steps.....

This comment is not intended to reflect agreement nor dissent with any particular view. Any resemblance to an actual comment, whether living or dead, is entirely coincidental and likely the result of overmedication or a seriously extreme case of imbibing.
I have not read this post.

But I love you guys, anyway. Thanks for what I imagine you have said here.
fusun - thanks. And please send Cat a copy of that book on nutrients. Seriously.

ocularnervosa - I’m very slow. I thought your comment was snidely funny. All is well and glad you joined the party.

David - thanks for reading the first half. I told Cat to keep her sections shorter!

Bill - you’re funny. Great finish to your Trilogy today my friend. Everyone should check that series out.

Frank - hmmm. You being snide too? :) We love you too man. I was so happy to see Cat give you the nod today for your incredible writing. Now read the damn thing!
A little refresher never hurt anyone!
Seriously, Dennis (and Cat), this is a beautiful post and should be required reading for everyone. I'm sure some people won't agree. But the interesting thing is that, you're right: the combined talent here is just stunning to me. If we could all be our best selves, what a great place this would be.

Of course, you understand that by "best selves," I include spanking parties and rasslin' with pirate wimmen. I mean, er, cooking for pirate wimmen.

I understand that you now own my self-esteem. (Heh-heh. Suckers.)
I'm a newbie here. I've just posted my first piece yesterday early evening. It got very quickly buried in the "Most Recent" column. Is there an el primo time of the day to hit the "publish" button?

Thanks for the tips. I've already figured out a lot of that. But I don't know what else to do now except make comments on others' posts. The tip about posting well but not often is excellent. Thanks again.
This is a thoughtful, positive piece and very welcome!
Thank you Dennis and Cat. Your work on this is greatly appreciated.
Uh oh! You left out rule #6: Always read Freaky - and bring cake!
Excellent. I don't let slips in editing detract from a piece I like, and the people who read me don't seem to either. For instance, in this post, the sentence: Look it over for grammar too. I think there needs to be a comma after grammar. But, that's just me, and it doesn't detract from the piece. I'm just not much of a rule follower. xox
This is a really great post, thanks Dennis and Cat!
Oh, putting so much thought into an 'audience' is such a chore. Just write.
You all are great. Thanks for the feedback. And snark.

Monsieur - I wholly agree. Especially if there are beverages involved!

Harvey - thanks. Geez. I tried to get Cat to shorten up her part. What else can I say?

Frank - The potential of this place truly is staggering. And you my friend are the poster child for that. Yep. We own yer arse. Don’t tell JK.

JOY - thanks and a warm welcome to you! Mornings are good. Late nights sometimes too. Even noon some days. It really depends on the feed and the number of new posts. Cat can answer that one better. Try PMing her maybe? She’s taking one of her l-o-n-g lunches... again.

Gary - coming from a master artist we’re deeply grateful for your comment.

TBL4(L) - thank you very much. you know you and others helped inspire this, so quit being humble :)

cindy - I’m gonna let you and Lorraine thrash this out. I’m slow - but I aint crazy :) I cannot afford the dry cleaning bill.

Freaky - my comment to Ms. Verbal Remedy above was in fact singing a high note of praise to you.

Harry - dammit. I knew that.

Robin - thanks for your comment. I don’t either as a rule. This post was really a bunch of suggestions - however subjective - and not hard fast rules, that we hoped would prove helpful for people starting out or trying to find their way.
Joan - thank you for providing such a wonderful free forum for all of us to be so creative.

Norman - see that’s the beauty of OS. Some will follow that advice and others will lean another way. Thanks.
Thank you. This was funny and very helpful.
I second the advice to folks posting multiple times a day. Is everything you are putting out there worth reading? Go ahead and write all you want. It doesn't all have to go into the feed. I am building up a cyber storage shed of half-baked posts and ideas that I hang on to for a rainy or uninspired day.
Rasslin'. That's what I'm talkin' 'bout. I will volunteer to be sign boy and bonnet holder.
‘Bout dang time you got back. Had an eensy little 4 hour lunch did we?

Frank - wrastlin’ can get scary with them wimmen.
Thanks for the guidance. OS has never seemed cold to me, but as someone who can only be online briefly and sporadically, I still feel new. And it probably doesn't help that I can't seem to pick a single genre to write in...
Linda - thanks for the kind words.

jimmy - thanks. That’s sort of how I do it too. Lots of my “Manage Posts” is rough drafts. But then you post great stuff and I post total crap.

Blue in TX - I’m the same. I don’t know that anyone needs to pick a genre per se. Mixing up stories and narratives and poetry can be a real relief. Thanks for your comment.
This is exactly the kind of tutorial I have been giving on another site that I'm now trying desperately to get away from, because no one listened and it sucked the creative life out of most of us.

I'm glad I found this place. I just wish I would have found you before I wasted so much of my creativity elsewhere.
How come you guys aren't the editors? Could we put it to vote? Please? I'm in favor of electing Dennis and Cat editors of Salon. Anyone else?
Lorraine - well, thank heaven you made it home before closing ;) Frank’s serving Absinthe over at your place and JK’s making Perogies.

Ina - thanks so much and a warm welcome to you. I think you’re going to like it here a lot.

Noah - Thanks for the kind words - truly - but I can tell you both of us would run like hell the other way at the thought of that job.

cindy - I can’t answer for Cat but I will say this, the particulars, preferences, and styles of artists always come first. What we tried to do here was offer some gentle hints and general suggestions for people who have asked for them and/or who would appreciate them. And... ummm... I think you have an olive stuck in your bonnet...
As someone who collects Star Wars/Star Trek/Star Gate figurines, I resent this post bitterly. Y0u can both expect a series of vicious and bizarre PMs from me beginning immediately.
I'm not a total newbie, but enough to really appreciate this. Been meaning for awhile to tell Cat how much I just love reading her blog name. (One of my cat's is a very vocal eating machine, and it makes me smile everytime I read "Will Someone Feed the Cat.)

Question: I'm a little surprised to see certain of my blogs have been read more than others or are more popular, but have no idea how to see stats on past blogs (e.g., how many times something's been read). Is there a way to see stats -- once you've disappeared off the "Most Recently Published" area? I've actually put this question to OS twice and never gotten a response.

Anyway, bless you both for taking the time to hold the hands of the inexperienced. Cliques or no, there were always a few of the "popular kids" in high school who were genuinely nice to everyone. I guess you guys are the nice ones.
nana - I expected this kind of revolt. If it helps, I’d still assemble “Aurora’s Famous Monsters” if they were sold.

Barbara - thanks so much for your kind words. I can’t answer your technical question but if you PM Kent Pitman if anyone here can answer your question he can. By the way check today’s Friday Wrap you’ll see that cat recommended your work. That’s one big reason that some posts get more attention than others.
Great guidelines which I´ll do my best to take into account. Thanks!
Donald Kite, I saw you being all nice in that comment, I just thought this needed a ::cough:: from the source.

ARTHUR! Oh, my yes. Yes.
Very good post, and tells newcomers what it's taken me ... six months to conclude. Either of you mind if I link it on at my place please?
Fabulous! Thank you, even though I knew all this stuff...
@ Nana: Starwars/Stargate/Star Trek?

If you're up for sending vicious and bizarre PMs, could you shoot me a few please? I miss getting phone calls where I get shouted at in Klingon by the local heavy breather.


*ambles off* =))
I'm just grateful to be hanging out with people who can spell hors d'oeuvres! Luv the eensy writing too. Nice work!
can i surrender my debt as well?
Good advice. There is a topic called "os user manual" that you should add to your tags. When I come across a newbie asking questions, I usually direct them there. This one should be there too.
"Topics" is the best way to keep track of the feed. The frontpage feed on blog-sites is always limited by space. Rated.
Good points and well said. I gotta say though, the eds here are not living up to their stated purpose of OS with their poor covers. They drive a lot of what gets written here by what they feature. When they put up the same writers over and over, and ignore lots of really good new and/or occasional talented and informative posts, they eventually drive people off the site.

I've been here well over a year, and the number of readers commenting and viewer hits (according to OS stats) is less than it used to be. That's right, less. It's PC around here to proclaim that you don't care about EP's and covers; however, a cover with changing variety would help. And with that said, in the past week, the eds seem to have done an about face and have put up a whole lot of new contributors, and I like that. And of course, this is a free site for us.
I find lots of fun stuff here - and then some really dumb stuff too (even some of mine).
Enjoyed your post. Thanks.
Lorraine - ah. Back in time to sit and wait ;)

Marcela - thanks for your comment. We hope this helps.

Freaky - this is very special. You appeared twice ::bowing humbly::

hourglass - as lorraine said we’d be honored to see you do so, truly. Especially since you can post it in Klingon :)

sweetfeet - thank you. Well dang. You coulda told us ;)

Deborah - confession: I hafta copy and paste “hors d'oeuvres’.” Lorraine can spell it. But please don’t get her started on “eensy.”

L - ouch?!

cindy - careful whatcha wish fer...

marcelle - nuh uh. Only assets. Least that’s what Lorraine said...

Kellylark - thanks for the great suggestion. Done!

BOKO - thanks for the information.

grif - thanks for the comment. The great thing is OS is huge and filled with talented people. It’s still a young site. We have terrific opportunities. And, as you mentioned, it’s free :)
This is a really great primer/reminder. I wish it could be sent out automatically whenever someone signs ups for OS. I wish it had been sent to me lo' these many months ago!

I enjoyed your different voices coming through here as well. Reminds me of the game wherein one person starts a story and then passes it on to the next... Hmm, a new posting? ::head in hand, stares off into space looking VERY thoughtful::
I love you both!

I have thought a lot about my purpose here over the past year and it has really helped me to edit out some of the posts that I have written in my mind but realized may have not served my/our greater world well.
I also forgot to add, constructive criticism is a fine and valuable art. It is so much different than what I read in the nasty comments some people find joy in leaving. If someone leaves me a comment that is well thought out and well written, it can differ from my views or be critical of my writing without offending me. A really good one can help me open up my mind/eyes a little wider and I appreciate it.
Ummm... you forgot one thing...


There... now it's perfect.
This is good.Would that people would pay attention:)
This is cool and I must add: if you start reading OS late at night, and begin following your favorites' comments, you may be up until 4:30 in the morning (as I was) and then tune in again at 8:30 a.m. (I am reading this with one eye open, and I have to go back to sleep, but it's not easy to stop!!!)
Kind comments do give newbies heart. My most-read post was dashed off in 5 minutes, on the subject of loneliness. In short order, a whole group came by and lifted me up (including you, Dennis). It became a community for me that night: even though it's still hard sometimes to feel "worthy" among so many who are so gifted, I now feel brave enough to comment often and hopefully soon I will push publish more often.
Thanks to you both!!!!!
This is great. And really generous of you guys to do this. I've been sensing much discouragement lately from newbies. I was one of them a year ago and I'm still learning. Still trying to figure out why I'm here. But you guys have helped me figure out why I stay.
Good job! An excellent tutorial. Why didn't I think of this?

BTW, are the authors of this post exempt for #2?

As to the disclaimer, do you accept uemployment, worn-out spouses, dysfunctional children, broken homes, one-eyed rust buckets on bald tires, overdrawn checking accounts and depleted savings, Ponzi screwed investments and virtually non-exsistant self-esteem in the surrender?

One more thing ...
You left out #6 commenting on people who comment on long posts. If someone takes the time to read a long and tedious post and leave a comment on it, the least the writer should do is acknowledge them with a comment.
Overall a lot of good ideas although I think links in comments can contribute to the discussion. For instance, someone provided a link to "Myths About Self-Publishing" over at Dave Cullen's recent E-book blog that I personally found fascinating.

I would also add that not only are insightful comments polite but also a good way to promote your own work. If someone leaves an intelligent remark, I always click on their name to see what else they have to say. Now if only my favorite cynic tomreedtoon would start posting . . .

And don't forget the activity feed. If one post tends to dominate it, I'll click to see what all the fuss is about.
Quite the newbie here. 'Ello everyone!

I was glad to find that some of the things I am already doing work well for those who have persevered and made a home here (like gleaning thru the comments on the left to find good posts to read, and not over-posting).

Never thought about the posting links in comments thing. Makes sense now that I've read your take on it.

Thanks to both of you. This hit the spot.
mypsyche - thank you. Cat is a very generous and kind person to co-author with - except for the slapping and elbows.

melissa - the points you make about the value of comments really should have been placed in this post. Thank you so much.

CK - well thank you. Now this post is perfect. ‘Bout time you showed up.

Lisa - you’re very kind. My short attention span almost suggested a joke here - but I’m gonna pass.

tomreedtoon - well, that’s the second mention of Strunk and White. I have a hunch there’ll be a few sold this week. Thanks.

rose - thank you for the very kind words. It’s so true that a single comment can give someone heart. Some kind folks here did the same for me when I was new - and made the difference.

Juliet - thank you. That’s one of the things that motivated us both to write this post. Discouragement is easy to feel - especially when you new and swimming in this huge sea of talent.

Trudge - thanks. Nah, we’re not exempt. Cat just tends to ramble. If you made individual posts of what we each have written here you’d see where the problem lies :) Nice point on the benefit of replying to comments. We can negotiate on the stuff you’re offering.

Travis - thank you much, The point you made about clicking on thoughtful comments is golden. And Cat tried to say that she also believes there are times links can be helpful.

Charlie - warm welcome to you. Thanks for reading and for your kind remarks.

L - Seriously? eensy?
JK - you have no idea how grateful I am you linked to that piece by Lorraine. Thanks. You're the best.
Nice to see that Meta posts still attract the interest and comments around here. It's even nicer to see the pairing of you and Will Someone Feed the Cat offering this very wise gift to the members of OS. I think you both make OS a better place and I miss you and my old friends. It's good to see things are in capable hands. Happy holidays! xoxo
Cartouche - thank you very much for your kind and generous words. There were actually a lot of bribes involved in every aspect of this post. I found out my American dollars are worth more in Canada. I still have no clue what “meta” means.
I like it. I like it a lot.
It would have been OK if you'd just brought over a bottle of wine and a cake, but this was fine, too. And D, eensy is a great word.
Great duet and very kind of you both to post these helpful tips.

I have to agree with Cindy and JK about the links. JK's link on her comment here led me to that beautiful article that made me cry too!

And a sex tips post by Surly and O'Really--definitely not a bad idea.
I would be all set to jump in with a mildly sardonic defense of relevant links in comments (the best prices on product you need!! check out site for gourmet toothpaste bargains galore!! ), but since this is obviously sadly redundant now, I must get back to grinding my Canadian axe, which Americans just don't understand.

Good piece.
Compulsory reading for anyone new to the site. I really liked the fact that you addressed the discouragement issue (we writers do not tend to have thick skin). And the phrase "road to wherever" would make an excellent post title. (Is that a not so subtle way of asking permission of use?) Rated.

My favorite piece of advice is DON'T get discouraged. Angus McFlop was the only person to read and comment on my first piece (which I then deleted) and he reached out and asked me not to fret about it. It worked! I'm still here, nine months later!

Thanks, Cat & Dennis!
I've found that many of the best, most insightful & amusing comments can be found way down at the bottom of a post.

Also, a further tip: Read the favorites of your favorites.

And many thanks to you both. Your suggestions are as applicable to everyday life (the need for civility, sometimes silence, concision, and consideration) as they are to life on OS.
Cindy - you’re hijacking now. Cat told me to write that.

owl - thanks. That’s very nice of you to say.

JK - got a bit o’ perogie stuck in yer throat?

Lonnie - thanks. I’m all about the wine and cake but not even sold on eensy.

L - see what? That Lonnie is 20 bucks richer?

Karin - thank you for the kind words. I’m gonna have to outright reject your last idea though.

Bill - I totally agree. I’m American and understand practically nothing.

v. seijo - thank you for the kind comment. That really was the intent. Of course you can use the phrase. Royalties paid monthly to Cat and myself at

OM - thank you. That was an important part of the post. The temptation hits almost everyone.

Jeremiah - great tip. That should have been included in our post. Thanks.
Excellent advice.
Except...Token Tarheel just taught me how to make a link in a comment. He did that because I have left a url for Stellaa when she called for everyone to send her links for unheard Afghan voices. SPose I could send it via email...
my newest skill...
Wish there was someway to select "open in new window".
Love it. Thank you.

Jen C (A Newbie)
Excellent advice (though I don't know what you have against Jumbo Size hexagonal pencils).
Sounds reasonable enough to me.
Very helpful suggestions.
Really well thought and explained. Thank you. Also, I was trying to add you to my page as a favorite but couldn't figure out how. Yes, I tried. Yes, it's embarrassing. Could you tell me how please? Thanks!
I knew if I were willing to admit not-knowing, the answer would suddenly become obvious, which it has. Thanks!
Thanks, Dennis,

Put a smile on my face.

One of my favorite pieces of advice: "Your biggest weapon is actually silence, not your words."
Thank you for posting this.
Well done! I can vouch for browsing the 'most recent' tab being much more preferable to looking at the real cover. As someone who hasn't really gone through all the confirmation ceremonies to be a 'regular,' I would suggest the following additions to your list to help noobs like me dip their toes:

If someone makes a good comment on a blog post you're reading, but you want to finish, right-click on their name and open them in a new tab to remind you to visit their page after you're done. Surfing that way can lead to awesome discoveries of really underrated smarties/funnies/crazies.

And, I emphatically support the "try not to post more than once a day, and even then -- cool your jets a bit" sentiment. It's hard to keep up with those, andI end up missing some of my favorites' good stuff because some random bit of fluff bumped it out of view.
Great post. Two other eensy suggestions re links, which can be our viral friends:

1. Not everything is about Tiger or health care reform. If someone writes on a universal subject and you have (or know of) a relevant former post, provide a link. A gajillion real gems are buried in time.

2. If someone inspires you to expand on a topic or compose a reply/rebuttal, give that muse a shout-out link in your post. Who knows, you could start a daisy chain...

Cindy's correct: learn to use the "right-click, open in new tab" option on links, at least until we can code the target equals *new* command.
Stephanie - selecting in a new window is easy on a mac using Firefox or Safari. It’s either “Shift” + click or “apple key” + click. In the world of Windows I have no clue. Thank you for the kind words.

Jen - a warm welcome and thanks.

Leeandra - thank you.

Steve - thanks. I keep telling people that was Cat’s dig at me. I swear by the things.

Gwool - reasonable is not word people typically use to describe me, so the credit for that will have to go to Cat.

Ollie’s Daughter - great name and thanks for your comment.

Karen - Ha! I am so glad. I usually can’t answer questions and Cat intentionally misdirects people.

Dr Ayala - thank you. I love that line myself.

Nadia - you’re every welcome. We’re grateful if it helps.
Stumbled on this 2 months later, one month after joining OS. Excellent!! It explains what I was fumbling around with OMO, and somehow validates the conclusions I was drawing. I think I remember reading Dennis was leaving (not "flouncing") but didn't know who he was. Now I do, a tad. And I actually collect those little inspection stickers he types out (according to his bio). I use them in collage.
Someone has a button that works.

You got a "r" and i recall the blogger
Bent Kittman. I have only broken buttons.
I poke my belly button and Yell `Yippee!
Where did Mr. Dennis Knight ever go to?
I agree with scupper. Perfect. I poke `gin.
You have such a clear mind. Good heart.
You were always a firm-foundation guy.
You were one who befriended my bater.
I am not sure where folks loiter off too.
I hope Ya just changed you avatar name.
For all we know You could be Margaret?
Miss Feike can organize Halloween Party
The talent comes and goes. I'll call`9-11.
Maybe you are on a`Most Wanted List.
I will reread this and email to Michele O.
Thanks to whoever Ranted you just now.
It's impossible to read every blogger, sigh.