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Joan Walsh

Joan Walsh
San Francisco, California, US
September 18
Editor in chief
Salon Media Group
I'm Salon's editor. I'm Nora's mom. I'm Sadie's...person/slave. And I'm your friend!


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DECEMBER 28, 2008 10:15PM

My year in politics -- with thanks to OS

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I wrote Salon's traditional "Year in Politics" wrap, and my introspection featured a lot of thinking about Open Salon. I talked a little bit about how some extreme (and nasty) early Obama partisans got my back up, and how some of the kinder, smarter (in my opinion!) Obama supporters talked me down. I also thanked some Hillary Clinton supporters who were always kind and supportive to me.

Interestingly, a lot of the people I mentioned (and some I didn't, and thought of later, and probably should have!) wound up here, on Open Salon. I don't really think that's an accident. In my solipsistic way, I think part of the smart, searching, striving, embracing tone of Open Salon grew out of the nastiness of a short period of the primary campaign, when a lot of us, even (especially?) those of us who sometimes disagreed, were horrified by the rhetorical excesses of too many Democrats on the Web. Part of me can't believe Open Salon opened (for its early beta, anyway) in that crazy time; part of me thinks it makes perfect sense.

I'm aware I'm not posting as much as I used to on my Open blog, but I'm actually reading and lurking even more than I used to. Words can't really express how much I love what Open is and is becoming. Happy holidays, everyone. Thanks for everything.

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Thanks Joan for being as open, smart, and honest as you are.
Thank you for OS and Salon and Happy New Year!
I owe a big thanks to OS. I would have never, ever kept a blog if it wasn't for being introduced to this environment (thanks Barry).
We appreciate all that you do, Joan. Thanks for Open Salon -- it is a wonderful community that you and your staff have provided for us. Let's hope 2009 can bring us all for which we have HOPEd -- I believe that it can happen!
Glad to be here. Thanks for the hospitality.
ePriddy, you were one of the people I thought of after I published! Thank you too gracielou and T&D.
I'm grateful to OS because it's allowed me to reach an puffed up brain audience. They've learned so much from me.

I love you Sloan (don't be jealous Zerry).
Thanks Joan (and all the OS editors and staff)! I kept a blog, but without the commentary and interactive quality it was just not interesting.

I'm glad I stumbled upon OS, it was a happy accident.
Thank you Joan, for getting lots of us to write here in an environment of support. Your "Year in Politics" is a fascinating look back. Many of us watched just what you experienced first hand and it seemed pretty rough out there from both far right and left. You were one of the people who helped keep us on course. Thank you for that too, and Happy New Year.
Lisa, Wayne, artsfish and Lea, thank you. And Freaky, well, occasionally I think Open was spawned by the Barack/Hillary showdown, or the Obama-McCain smackdown, or the need for a forum to talk about Sarah Palin (especially). But we all know it was created to feature Freaky Troll, and the rest of us just wait for the occasional cover opening. And even Zerry knows that.
OS has been a wonderful gift in so many ways, but looking back, one of the greatest joys was going through this incredible presidential election together. From the New Yorker cover to live-blogging the VP presidential debate to Freaky's candidacy ;) this place became an oasis, a lifeline. Thanks for making it all possible, Joan (and Kerry and Thomas). Here's to a great 2009, whatever it brings we'll sort it out here together.
Thanks Joan. But couldn't you put an ignore button on so we could limit who we sort through? Or if there is, could someone please explain it to me? :)
Thank you for your hospitality. It's was fun to watch you match wits with Chris Hitchens.
Thank you Joan. If not for OS, I'd still be doing more thinking about writing than writing. Now I'm doing more writing about my thinking, and am so glad I have such a great crowd to place my work in front of. Even if I were not blogging here, I'd think OS was a pretty unique and wonderful experiment.
Thanks for Open Salon. Like Sandra, I would not be writing so much and enjoying it so well without OS. It is a whole new world for me.
Thank you Joan. You were my voice of sanity during the primaries. OS is a wonderful outlet, and I am honored to rub shoulders with you here.

You speak for me so often and so eloquently; it's a relief to know you are out there with a real voice.
thanks to you Joan! This is a unique community as you are so aware and it's been wonderful to meet you, write alittle and hopefully see each other soon... Great post.
I love what you've done with the place...

thank you and wishing you and everyone in OS the best in the new year
Thanks, Joan, for OS, for your blog, for your sharp and cogent analysis, for standing up to the bloviating talking heads on TV. I'm a charter Salon subscriber just getting my feet wet as a blogger thanks to OS
I'm not sure I can put into words what an honor it's been, and a privilege, to share in the glory of Freaky Salon. I know for a fact I'd never have worn a tube top if it hadn't been for this place. And to be able to rub pixels with so many great writers and thinkers and artists, why, it's like some kind of new millennial rive gauche Bloomsbury Round Table research kitchen.

Thank you, Joan!
Thank you, Lonnie! It's been a honor to share a tube top with you! Or something like that. I can't entirely keep track of what Freaky has done with each of us over the years/eons....
Thank you for creating this opportunity for people to write in a respected and established environment. I'm a new member, but I've written more in the past two weeks than I have in the past two months and I'm loving getting back in the writing groove. This is a special creative community, smart and supportive, and I am honoured to be here.
Thank you, emma, we are honored to have you!
All I have to say is, I luz me some Joan Walsh! I stumbled in to OS after watching you as a guest on Countdown. I agreed with your take on politics and was just curious about
I've never really written anything but a resume before, but the wonderful people here took me in as one of their own.
It's been a thrill for me to be accepted by so many great people, so I must humbly thank you. I wish you a very Happy New Year!

PS. You can lurk in the shadows of my blog anytime.
I do so try to behave! We do have a lot of fun here, Joan. Thanks for OS!
OS is probably one of the greatest writing gifts I have ever received and was fortunate enough to stumble upon (I STILL don't know how it really happened..thee was an e-mail from Kerry). This community is authentic, diverse, interesting, opinionated, funny, smart and available in a 24/7 way that continues to amaze me. It's like reading the contents of my head and also getting to spill them at the same time.
Thank YOU and OS members for inspiring me to want to write well, often and better every single time. Rated.
My dear Mme Walsh ~

A wonderful article from our very thoughtful and insightful Editor in Chief. It illuminated a great deal that I found puzzling in the past year. Brava!

There aren't a whole lot of editors (I know of uh. . .NONE) who would publish something titled---"What I Got Right and Wrong in 2008"

Doing things like that, the gracious tone, the incredible ability to take a punch and still genuinely smile----I find it, and I know others do too, to be inspiring.

Open is a place where the community really does offer the kind of thought provoking and musically poetic
power that's bigger than any one voice. It's that kind of power that gets stuff done.

Happy Holidays to you---and here is to what we are all becoming!

"You speak for me so often and so eloquently; it's a relief to know you are out there with a real voice."
Kelly summed up what I feel perfectly. Thanks for OS!
I'm honored to have been a part of OS beta (albeit rather late to the party), and it has been a thrill to remain here. Thanks, Joan (and colleagues), for your involvement here, and for letting some of us common folk express ourselves in a quality public forum.
Thanks for everything, Joan, and Happy New Year. You seem like a very cool person, but one who is always working. You need to come over to OS and play more often.
I haven't had an addiction as all consuming as OS in a very long time. Your site may end up being one of the reasons I'm considered in the layoffs at my company ;). I have to say that what you have created here in all of it's forms (because it can be incredibly beautiful and incredibly ugly depending on the people) is nothing less than blog heaven. I can't thank you (and all of the members of OS) enough for what's going on here. Very best wishes for the new year!
Hooray for OS and thanks for the work you do.
"Words can't really express how much I love what Open is and is becoming."
Add me to the list of gratefuls. It's nice to have a place to be heard, but it's even nicer to be heard in this place. Happy New Year!
Joan, in the overcrowded Internet arena filled with political, journalistic and social media sites, you've managed to do the impossible ... create the two best sites and attract the smartest, most articulate participants. Shout out to Kerry and Thomas too.

Open wasn't "spawned," it was born of creative excellence and marketing savvy, not to mention dedication to Truth, Justice and the American Way.

Happy New Year, Superwoman!
Thanks for your incredible work on Salon, and for giving all of us the opportunity to aspire to the excellence established by your thought-provoking and brave work. For myself, I thank you for the encouragement and support of my work on this incredible forum.
I admire your courage a great deal.......facing down opponents with a strong, informed, and confident reasoning.
Happy new year, and as Jimmy has mentioned, come by and play more often!

My kudos to you for maintaining an even-tempered public persona (if you threw things at the wall in private, no one would blame you). It was nice to be hanging out here with you and others during the awful and ultimately wonderful election. Thanks.
Joan, I liked the article and especially its reflections on where predictions had been wrong. I wish more people did that. I once did a big software project I didn't like and when it came time to write it up, I ended up just writing up the problems it had rather than worrying about making grandiose claims papering over the problems. It was easier to write honestly and I think it served everyone better. That's what I saw you doing here, and I think it's a good strategy both on the topic and as an example of how a thoughtful person approaches a hard topic that just can't be done right every time.

I'm struck though, that you are so in-the-trenches about the process and the people and that you didn't draw back and speak even a little to the overall impact of Salon, and of Open Salon if it had any. Yes, it provides you with an opportunity to interact and maybe those stories are a more objective statement of your effect than just something abstracted away. I find people I know usually know what Salon is and a few might know Open Salon. I'd be fascinated if you knew any kind of stats or stories about whether anyone calling the shots reads these on a regular basis. As editor-in-chief, I mean, it would seem that some of your effect in politics is “just getting the magazine out,” “getting it seen by the right folks,” “focusing it,” etc.

And, incidentally, as long as you're beign candidly reflective, I'm curious whether you as editor-in-chief endorse, encourage, or merely tolerate the strange preference for highly sensationalized pictures and headlines that make the page, many of which seem the antithesis of any kind of reasoned/logical study of a political issue. I don't know if you'll agree with that one, but it seems like a giant disconnect in how the magazine is organized and a constant source of meta-buzz here at OS among those people who are struggling to get a serious message out.
thanks for OS and thinking about where it is going ...

Wow, I was keeping up with comments awhile, and then I fell hopelessly behind. I would be simply wrong if I didn't say thank you to everyone who's commented here. And specifically:

To God Almighty, thank you so much, I love you too, but I feel you are needed more on other OS blogs this week, so I appreciate your taking the time to be here;

Thank you, Monsieur Chariot, we all miss you but I notice your wonderful comments regularly;

And Kent Pitman, thank you for all your great work here. I'm not sure what you're asking about Salon and OS's wider public impact; you'd probably be as good a judge of that as I am! On the Open cover: I don't get involved with Open cover decisions, at all, but I don't see them distorting the content on Open. They're our best take at pulling together and dressing up our version of the best of Open every day, and of course that's subjective.

Happy new year, everyone!
Hope you read what i wrote on my blog about Open Salon. Feels like bein home. Found my way here largely because of watching you on MSNBC and then reading you here. Thanks.

Watch for some articles that I think you will like as soon as I learn how to post Word docs.
Thank YOU, Joan! I live in an ultra-conservative Bible-Belt portion of Pennsylvania and would never have survived the last election without the sanity of Open Salon. Actually, it's done so much good for me in so many ways that I'm just going to overlook the fact that a 12-step program might be in order. Happy New Year. Can't wait to see what 2009 brings us!
I certainly got into some heated arguments during that primary period, but I have to say that even though I often disagreed with you, I was never tempted to be critical because you always worded your opinion in such a non-confrontational way. I never understood why so many people were nasty to you simply because they disagreed. It's not like you were ever arrogant, churlish or unfair.
Joan: OS has become an extended family for me and I am very grateful for everything that OS represents. I missed the beta time and came here in late October. But I have been warmly welcomed and feel that is a unique aspect of OS. We all are concerned that newcomers get some recognition and some serious looks at their work.

One thought I had about that would complicate your staffs' work but could offer many more opportunities for OS members, old and new, to get some recognition. Would it be possible to organize OS in the same way as Salon, with a main cover and then a series of topical pages? That would get a lot more people some recognition and would allow those who really want to focus on politics, or media, or cooking, etc. to direct their posts to those subjects through the tagging process.

Regardless, I am hooked on OS, and like many others I got to Salon because I was impressed with your cool and incisive comments on MSNBC.

Happy New Year, Joan.

Thank you. Thank you. A place to play. Great minds in this family. It seems everywhere I turn in Open Salon, I am NOT faced with mediocrity. It has begun to be a surcease. Nearly every person I read knows something I do not and teaches me that new thing. I hope only that I can offer like for like. ' fair dinkum, Mate'.

The level of writing, exchange, debate, is at times spectacular. Amy T the other day was complaining because of the extremes of debate and passionate promotions of ideals. Complaint? I thought it was a finest hour!

These brilliant people, frequently with superior ideas, can this site somehow begin to use, promote these sterling examples, ideas, problems solved? Can this, in some small fashion, become a think tank and submit the fruits of our abilities to those that may be able to do? Can we lobby Congress? A huge chunk of this 'family' are bright enough to 'do' something. And as a group, the potential is staggering. Can we become a voice?

We have a magnificent playground here, for that I thank you. Can it become more? Should Special Editor's Choices be published in Salon proper and paid? There is another ambition.

A belated thank you: for your sense of humor, sense of balance and fairness, and for your enthusiasm.

Most of all, thanks for Open Salon.