Sunday, August 19, 2012

Housekeeping - Volume 10

Like most readers, I watched the leaders debate Sunday evening, which did not give me a lot of time to write a proper post about it.

Never fear!
Sometime later tonight or tomorrow morning that critique will appear and you will have ample time and space to air your opinions as to who won or lost, who made the most salient points or who made no sense at all. 

Please don't post comments about the debate to this post, wait until that post appears, tentatively entitled... 'LIAR'S CLUB'....

Since I last wrote a 'Housekeeping' article, readership and participation has actually taken a satisfying spike upwards.

You may have noticed that the little counter of monthly pageviews in the right margin has been climbing slowly, but surely, and now shows over 50,000 views per month.

This counter is not particularly accurate but it gives a sense of where we are and in what direction we are going.

Here is a more accurate snapshot of readership, a detailed study by Google Analytics.
You will notice that the pageview count is much, much higher than what is shown in the margin each day. Google is actually reporting over 75,000 pageviews last month.

Of course I'm convinced that our success comes from the fact that there are not many websites offering an anglo perspective of Quebec, a site that is unafraid to voice harsh opinions and a place where the frustrations and anger of a community finds an unapologetic tribune in the comment section.

Before I go on to talk about the comments section specifically, I want readers to understand that this blog is viewed and your comments are read, all over the world.

Last month we had visits from over 100 countries in over 1400 different cities.

Our blog is read in embassies and consulates and the halls of government across the world.

I know this because of the contact I have with many who make private inquiries via email.

I also have the ability to see the town or city from where readers arrive, the blog posts they read and the links that they click on.
I can tell you that it is always surprising when a visitor from Washington, Beijing, or London follows a link to a political story about Quebec, written in French!

I'm not boasting, I'm just trying to get you to understand our impact. 

And yes, our blog is followed closely by the crowd, who as I said before are attracted here like moths to a flame.
I find it amusing that we are denigrated as 'angryphones' a pejorative that I wear as a badge of honour.
I do however correct all who refer to me as such, because I am way past being angry and more appropriately like to think of myself as a 'furiousphone'

I take great pleasure in the fact that each time militant sovereigntists visit our site, they are subjected to insulting cartoons or photos and are subjected to your unapologetic comments.
Militant separatists are a largely grim and serious lot with decidedly thin skin. It hurts a lot!
Nothing but nothing annoys these people more than being mocked on a worldwide stage and I am happy to oblige.

Now to the comment section, which is an integral part of this blog.
Many people write to say how much they appreciate what goes on in the comment section.

We have a fantastic corps of contributors, varied in opinion but sharing some common traits, being extremely literate, well-read, educated and knowledgeable.
Their posts are informative and interesting.

I again want to stress how many people around the world read your missives and so I'd like to offer a little friendly advice.
  • Take a few minutes to review your post and ask yourself if it is interesting to others or is it just self-gratification.
  • We are not obsessed with spelling or grammar, it is opinions that count, but it wouldn't hurt to use a spell-checker.
  • Rage is fine, but sometimes adding a gratuitous insult takes away from the discussion. If you want your opinion to be considered by the opposite side or those who are neutral, you really aren't helping your case with a profane, cruel or ad hominem  attack.
  • Also, it goes without saying that it is never a good idea to comment when over-tired, angry or under the influence. Resist the temptation!
Now I'm going to make a very, very gentle suggestion to commenters, that if you can, please write your comment in English.
Now this does not apply to those who are not comfortable or proficient in English.

They are always, always invited to write in French.

But we have a surprising number of Anglos and ethnics who are perfectly comfortable writing in French and do so on and off. Actually it is very impressive!

I would hope that they would reconsider. Most of the people coming to this blog from outside
Quebec don't speak French and many comments are, as they say, 'lost in translation.'
The francophones who visit with us all understand English, otherwise they couldn't comment, even in French.
This is just a very gentle suggestion, do not feel obligated.

One last point about the comment section.
As editor and moderater, I try not to interfere in the comment section other than to remove unfit material.


But I add my two cents rarely, because I believe that the comment section is a tribune for others.
I think 50-75% of the comments are fantastic and believe me, I change my mind about issues constantly after reading your posts.

Strangely, or perhaps not strangely, the longer comments usually seem more interesting.
It is easy to dash off a one-liner, but to write out a well thought out comment, a couple of hundred words, takes a lot of concentration and effort.
I do appreciate the time you take to develop these responses and congratulate you on your effort.
You are commended and perhaps rewarded, (like all writers) in knowing that many, many people all around the world are interested in what you have to say.

At the other end of the spectrum, write a banal one-liner, with an insult attached and everyone just skips over it.
And no, I'm not referring to one of our prolific commenters, S.R, who I actually like as a contributor.
When he is at his best and he writes something sarcastic and biting,  I laugh, even when his target is aimed at me.
There is no room for a thin-skinned here!

As for promoting our views, a lot of readers ask me how we can get the message out and how we can encourage more people to visit our blog.

Here, I must ask for your help.
The best way to get people to read this blog is to promote it through the social media.

If you find a story interesting please use the FACEBOOK icon to post a link to the story on your personal page.
This is by far the most effective tool for propagating our message.
You can also add a link when commenting in the comments section attached to news stories  in mainstream media.
One good link in a national newspaper can steer 200 or 300 people to our site.

Some of you with TWITTER accounts can re-Tweet a link to a blog post to those who follow you.

And by the way, a special shout-out to ERIC who does re-Tweet religiously.

Another thank-you to THE CAT for helping out with translation, it is much appreciated and of course I want to again thank my lovely wife for editing and critiquing this blog before going to sleep each night. Sometimes it is a chore, but she never fails me, she is a jewel!
(We are married for almost 40 years!)

Thanks to all for your contributions and let us remember that none of us are paid to do this, it is a labour of love.

To those who are shy and wish to remain lurkers, I do appreciate you visiting our site regularly. You count!

In fact, everybody counts and contributes!

Come to think of it, I wish the separatists would understand that concept!


  1. Editor, it would be helpful if you could add a feature to permit a reply to any individual comment.

  2. ...and of course I want to again thank my lovely wife for editing and critiquing this blog before going to sleep each night. Sometimes it is a chore, but she never fails me, she is a jewel!

    Behind every great man is a greater woman?

    Three cheers for Judy!
    Hip hip hooray
    Hip hip hooray
    Hip hip HOORAY!

  3. Thank You again Editor for starting this blog.

    Its given an alternate opinion and voice for Quebec minorities. Especially since many, of the biggest mainstream Quebec English media chose to ignore our opinions.

    Its also helped network diverse range of people that are against the tyranny of Quebecs' Language laws.

  4. I must say Editor, I like the tentative title of your next post.

  5. Thanks so much Editor!

    There are times when people who have trouble getting over a loss are guided to group therapy working with the other members of the group to learn coping strategies.

    Up to the day I was nudged to this page I had no constructive methods to grieve for my life that was erased when we left in the mass migration of Anglos and all the sad memories of racism and bias.

    Coming to this blog and hearing you all gives me hope that there are people of every language that strongly believe Unity is the only way Quebec can experience success.

    1. @Mich B - Thank you so much for still following the politics in Quebec. I have been here forever and lived through both referendums and the angst is coming again - watching our property values deteriorate, the falling of the Canadian dollar, the tension between my neighbours and myself (my being Anglo and wondering if my very close French friend(s) is really a closet separatist) and wondering if at the end of it all, if we will be marching together for Canada or be in two different parades down the main street of our town. It is very disconcerting and very problematic. Wish us well.

    2. I love Quebec! I will come back when the laws protect my Canadian rights. How you keep your patience I have no idea!

      It's a shame how much Quebec doesn't have because i'm not there with all of the others who want to retire where we grew up.

      The perspective's we have by living in other provinces seeing the green grass on each side we are all at the time we can devote huge time to small business creation, community and volunteerism.

  6. Half of my attraction to this blog is the ability to communicate in French with especially interesting people. However, it's your weblog so I shall comply and cease.

    "Noam Chomsky is a self-hating Jew"

    Editor, you're obviously worlds more experienced, read, travelled, and educated than I am. You probably know more than I do about this person.

    I don't know Noam Chomsky personally; I barely know him professionally and perhaps half of what I do know of him has come through (speaking of the power of your weblog) this very site.

    Editor: Couldn't this be a Fundamental Attribution Error? Attributing to internal bias or disposition what could also be attributed to situational circumstance?

    Maybe he *IS* a self-hating Jew. It's possible.

    As I said, I don't know him.

    Isn't is also possible that he's not a self-hating Jew? Could he not have also reached his current contemporary mindset and behaviour through another path than hating himself for being a Jew?

    Whatever mistakes exist in Chomsky's ideas and theories and opinions can be more easily and more efficiently corrected for other readers' benefit by attacking those mistakes or misconceptions. Calling him a "self-hating Jew" does nothing to advance the argument that Chomsky's ideas are mistaken.

    Perhaps I ought to have said the preceding paragraph rather than leaving it at "Pathetic comment". In fact, "Pathetic comment" does nothing to advance the argument that attributing a person's worldview solely to their personal, private feelings about their ancestry is not a real argument.

    1. I'm not sure about the consistency of some people. As Apparatchik pointed out, if Chomsky is a self-hating Jew, then Gendron is a self-hating francophone. You can't bash one as some sort of self-hating neurotic and lionize the other as an honest human rights activist. Yet that's what Editor has done.

  7. I'm confused, Editor. You used to encourage us to post in French. What's changed?

    1. I've always encouraged people to post in French, if their English is not good enough.
      That is all.
      McGill University allows francophone student to write exams in French, if their English is not up to par, but this option makes no sense for Anglos or those who have perfect English.

      We have a large bilingual readership who CAN write in either English or French and so it makes sense to ask these people to write in English.

      I get tons of complaints by unilingual readers who feel left out because of the long exchanges in French.
      Remember, your post in French is skipped over by 70%of those who visit this blog and don't read French, so it makes sense to have your hard work read by more people, if you can.

      My gentle request,(not a demand) is to write in English if you can, so that your comment can be understood by readers around around the world, but it ISN'T A RULE!!!!


      Please feel free to consider my request, but in no way, obligated to follow this suggestion.

  8. BTW in unison with the others, it's a very interesting weblog and obvs a lot of work. Congratulations and appreciation.

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