• Sugar,

    No, we haven't canceled your subscription. Hamp told me he was checking with your carrier and trying to work out the delivery problems you're experiencing. A big part of a newspaper's value certainly is on-time delivery. I know we credit subscribers any time a delivery is missed. Please be sure you call our office to get the credit on your bill.

    In terms of the discussion about value, the customer certainly is the ultimate judge of that. I have to say I'm always baffled, though, when people tell me any newspaper isn't worth 50 cents. Actually, it costs less than that if you get home delivery through EZ Pay.

    What's worth 50 cents to you? To me, just one article would be worth that. Toss in just one comic strip, one thought-provoking letter to the editor, or one money-saving coupon, and the value far surpasses 50 cents for me. That's just me. I've long thought newspapers don't do a good enough job of marketing their value.

    Thanks for letting me get on my soapbox.

    October 14, 2008 at 9:10 p.m.

  • Chris, I agree all articles in a newspaper will not appeal to all people. You should, therefore, not be surprised then when a reader tells you that is indeed the case for them, and that the reader has come to the conclusion that the subscription price is not worth the material. It's not like I am singling the VicAd out; don't be offended. I have cancelled magazine subscriptions throughout the years for the same reason. It is my power as a consumer. There are also numerous magazines I still subscribe to and likely will for many years to come because they are varied and appeal to a number of members in my household and myself, and their value is great in that the material received is very much worth the subscription price to me. Likewise, I will probably always take the Houston Chronicle, even at a premium price for the mailing, for it is worth it to me; I agree with you that there is value in a print version and that holding an actual newspaper in one's hands is something that cannot be matched online. I have always been a newspaper freak.

    Case in point: I again did NOT receive my paper today. I assumed (yes, I know what happens when one ASSUMES) that you stopped my subscription already. If that is not the case, please let me know. I haven't formally called the VicAd to cancel, only what I have said on the blog here. If my subscription was not cancelled by you, then we have a case of another missing newspaper for Tuesday, October 14. If you haven't formally cancelled my subscription, then could you please do so now. I was going to wait until the subscription I have already paid for expired, but I think that will be next month if I am not mistaken. I have reported a missing paper online for today; if you cancelled my subscription already, then please disregard that report. Thank you, Chris, for the honest dialogue.

    October 14, 2008 at 7:54 p.m.


    October 14, 2008 at 4:58 p.m.

  • I'll talk with Hamp about your continued delivery problems. I recall you live in a fairly remote area, which poses problems for delivery.

    In terms of the tabloid nature of the paper, I respectfully point out that a newspaper is meant to appeal to a broad audience. Because of that, no one should expect every single story to appeal to him or her. If you don't like Aprill's stories, that's fine -- many others do. She is only one of many writers. Today's editions contained stories about water bacteria, a business expo and cancer awareness month, to name only a few. Are those tabloid in nature?

    We appreciate people reading in print and/or online. To me, you get a very different enjoyment from reading a paper in print than you do the online version. You read the paper for a sense of place and permanence -- a tangible feeling of belonging to a community. You read the online version for multimedia, immediacy and interactivity. Both have their place in this 24/7 world.

    Of course, I also encourage everyone to support the print version -- that's still what makes possible the Web site. Until we figure out how to make digital delivery pay for the news operation, we need to keep the print product strong. Meanwhile, we'll keep trying to attract as many readers as possible to both. It's incredible to me that we reach 9 out of 10 people within Victoria and 7 out of 10 in the Crossroads region. No other medium comes close to such a broad reach.

    When we reach so broadly, though, we recognize that some might not agree with all they see. Our challenge is to listen to those concerns and be sure they're reflected in our newspaper. Thanks for adding your voice to that conversation.

    October 14, 2008 at 8:19 a.m.

  • Yep, you and Hamp did, Chris, and this is not to sound ungrateful. I (and the other members of my family) find that we can get what info we need in the online version, and we are also all in agreement that the VicAd has become too "tabloidish" in many respects. Please take this as constructive criticism. If we wanted to see the nature of some of the latest articles, we could pick up a People magazine and/or a high school publication (see Aprill Brandon). There have been some delivery issues, and I don't mind a missed paper every once in a while, and when I call, the VicAd always sends the missed issue the next day, not a problem there. However, the person who delivers (from Hallettsville) has sent several notes that we are to call her/him if a paper is missed. I have tried that; every time I do, there is no answer. Messages are left with no reply. So I have to call the newspaper. Now the deliverer says maybe dogs are carrying it off. I know that is not the case. She has called and woken up people in our household to tell us we need to get a red plastic container so that the paper does not go missing. As I have said, I don't expect perfection, and I don't mind a missed paper every now and then; it happens. But I am tired of going round and round with all this. The paper isn't of the quality that makes it worth the hassle to me. I appreciate your and Hamp's hard work; please don't think I am ungrateful. But it has added drama into my life that I don't really need right now. Thank you, Chris.

    October 13, 2008 at 10:31 p.m.

  • Sugar,

    Why are you canceling your print subscription. Didn't we work hard a while back to get you the delivery you wanted? Has something changed?

    October 13, 2008 at 10:02 p.m.

  • SatansLittleBuddy - I could not agree with you more. I haven't posted a blog in some time because, to put it succintly, the flesh is willing but the spirit is weak. I love the fact that you used the terms "drowned out" and "signal to noise" problem. I could not have put it any better myself. I don't like to report posts, but find that on the rare occassion that I do, for a REAL reason, it is ignored by the VicAd. I cannot be the only one who has experienced this. I am having an increasingly hard time taking anything seriously on this site, just for the reasons you have stated. Yes, I still do (increasingly more infrequently lately) post on the forums, and to someone else's blog, but may not bother for too much longer. PLEASE, cj, DO NOT allow people to post blogs that are purely advertisement, and if they do, and readers report those blogs as being in violation, have the good sense to REMOVE them. I am cancelling my print subscription to the VicAd. I am afraid that before long, I will have no use for the online version either. cj, it is a heavy load to put on your shoulders, but I believe YOU CAN improve this site, IF YOU LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE! Sadly, this is just not being done anymore, it seems. I look forward to the changes.

    October 13, 2008 at 9:09 p.m.

  • SatansLittleBuddy (or can I call you SLB? As you can tell by my name, I'm really into initials.)

    We are actually working on some ideas for site redesign, and a way to highlight featured blogs and better organize them. Feel free to send me any ideas you have on how we can improve our site. You can e-mail me at

    October 13, 2008 at 6:34 p.m.

  • Cleric,

    If you post a blog, you do get an e-mail when a comment is posted to it. We don't have the capability now to also send you the text of that message.

    With CJ Castillo as our interactivity editor, we're going to try letting readers know when their post violate our policy and have to be deleted. That could be too time-consuming, but perhaps people will learn and cut down on the flagrant posts as a result of the messages.

    October 13, 2008 at 5:25 p.m.

  • Well, it's good to hear that the Advocate has taken a step (albeit small) in the right direction. CJ has been one of the few bloggers who actually make worth reading.

    As for retiring my SatansLittleBuddy moniker - well, I might start up another account under my real name just out of a sense of fairness, but I'll keep this one just in case I want to fly off the handle and be a jerk every now and again. I mean, if you going to allow it, I might as well take advantage of it, right?

    Don't let the inmates run the asylum and expect nothing to get broken. Straight jackets and lobotomies are there for a reason, Nurse Ratched.

    October 13, 2008 at 4:59 p.m.

  • Satan,

    Thanks for clarifying. We have a new interactivity editor, CJ Castillo, who will be trying to cut down on the noise. She could use everyone's help on this daunting task. For example, you might change your name to better fit the civility of the post you just left. Of course, that's one small step for man. Perhaps if everyone did this it would be one giant leap for mankind into cyberspace.

    October 13, 2008 at 4:48 p.m.

  • Chris,

    What contradiction? I post anonymously now because I can. You change the rules, and I have to play along if I want to post, right? I would have no problem posting under my real name if I had to. I'd also watch what I post much more carefully, as I assume everyone else would.

    The thing is, this is your site (by you, I mean the Advocate). You decide whether you want it to be a place where there are rules of civility and openness, and we are required to follow those rules or be prevented from posting; or you want it to be a place of ranting, idiocy, and threats, where any moron (me included) can hide behind Internet anonymity.

    Right now, you've chosen the latter, and as such, will never become a place of interesting and useful discussion, since every interesting or controversial discussion quickly devolves into childish bickering, name calling, and, occasionally, threats of violence. The rare blogs that are actually informative, smart, charming, or funny get drowned out by the stupidity the either floats in out of the ether or overflows from the comments section.'s has a huge signal-to-noise problem, and unless you decide to clamp down on the nonesense, any sort of useful community discussion here is impossible.

    October 13, 2008 at 4:45 p.m.

  • I appreciate your point of view, Satan, but I also feel compelled to suggest that heavier-handed moderation probably would result in deleting your moniker, for starters. How do you resolve this contradiction? Your name seems to be begging for the fight you say you don't want to see on the forums.

    October 13, 2008 at 4:29 p.m.

  • "We think the online community should police itself."

    I think this sums up the attitude of the VicAd quite well, and, as a result, is the reason the Web site has devolved into an Internet Arguing Machine for a small group of idiots who like nothing more than to yell at each other about the same short list of topics ad nauseum.

    The Blogs section, the Reader-Submitted Content section, and the Comments section are all fairly useless now, because anyone looking for any intelligent discourse has to wade through the heaps of garbage that the Advocate allows to be piled on the site.

    Maybe, if the Advocate got a little courage and sense, and was able to come up with a set of content guidelines that apply to EVERYONE that posts ANYTHING here, the site would be a little more useful. need a heavy dose of moderation and a better user registration system to prevent things like this - and all of the other crap that passes for blogs, comments, and reader-submitter articles right now.

    Until then, remains a place for the same handful of idiots to yell the same five or so things at each other until the rest of us run for more sane pastures.

    October 13, 2008 at 4:26 p.m.

  • I see making users responsible for their own comments pretty much the standard and logical nature of the industry.  Much like when you watch a movie and it has that screen saying the commentaries are the opinions of the person saying them, not those company, parent company, blah blah blah. 

    Where do you draw the line at making "someone else" responsible?   Is Dell/HP/Sony/etc. responsible for making the computer this person used?  Or take it further and make the company overseas who actually molded the keys for the keyboard responsible.  I mean after all, if they had not manufactured that keyboard, that comment could not have been typed. 

    I also don't know if calling someone a "nutcase" is the right way to go about things.  Finally, I do not know what the threat/stupid movie reference you are talking about, so I have no opinion on that.

    Reading Luminary's comment; what if when you get notified via email that you have a comment, the message include the original (and later the edited) comment?

    That way Vicad could restate their policy on comments below the actual comment.

    **Note:  I deleted my second comment and just added it to my original in the interest of having OCD with my comments.  lol

    October 13, 2008 at 11:21 a.m.

  • Luminary,

    Yes, we allow anyone to self-edit a comment. I understand your concern, but we think people should be able to edit themselves and even take back a comment upon reflection. If you're concerned that another reader might not follow the conversation, you could note in your own post that someone deleted or changed a comment.

    October 13, 2008 at 11:17 a.m.