The death of Portland Metblogs

by Steve, June 18th, 2008

This past winter, I had a little falling out with Metblogs. I’d been writing for them for a while, when BOOM! Metblogs central decided to relaunch the site with a plethora of technical issues. As a technologist, I found that annoying.

But what really got to me (and a bunch of other writers) was the new registration requirement for comments. A couple of us were summarily “fired” by Metblogs honcho Sean Bonner (I subsequently had my account re-enabled) for complaining about this, and a bunch of others quit in disgust.

Ugly words were exchanged between the rump of the Portland Metblogs crew and those publicly critical of the changes. Talk immediately began of starting up something to replace Portland Metblogs, with total local autonomy, to replace what was once a lively discussion forum.

As I suspected it would, Portland Metblogs has been dying a long, slow public death ever since. New posts are rare. Comments even rarer. Portland Metblogs has long since faded into irrelevance in the Portland blogosphere.

I made one attempt to spark things up, and proposed positioning the site as one of public journalism. Though respondents to my poll overwhelmingly supported the idea of public journalism, the idea went over like a lead balloon with a couple MB stalwarts. They clearly didn’t understand the idea of public journalism vs. social networking, and certainly didn’t appreciate me rocking their little boat.

It was pretty much at that point that I decided I wasn’t doing myself any favors by continuing to contribute to the site. And it’s only gone downhill since then.

Now, just over three months later, it looks like a group of former Portland Metblogs contributors (including “captains” Betsy Richter and dieselboi) have started their own site. With open comments.

There could still be hope for Metblogs. My suggestions of public journalism, open comments and revenue sharing to attract quality writers were met with hostility when I floated them before. Metblogs could be a voice in the Portland digital media milieu. But most likely it will quietly fade further into irrelevance.

11 Responses to “The death of Portland Metblogs”

  1. Comment from Cosmic Charlie:

    Thanks for showcasing us! We weren’t technically ready to launch, but watch us grow from the ground up. It *will* be a more open format than MB.

    Stop by and say hi.

  2. Comment from Betsy:

    Whoa….we were so NOT ready for prime time.

    Right now, this is squarely a ‘kids in the barn’ arrangement, solely funded and managed by Yours Truly in my oh, so copious spare time. (tongue firmly planted in cheek.)

  3. Comment from Steve:

    It’s a little too late, but you might want to use the Maintenance Mode WP plugin in the future. It let’s you stage your site behind the curtain, without counting on “security by obscurity.”

  4. Comment from dieselboi:

    Thanks for the shout out. Give the props to Betsy. I’m there, but she built it. Come on by and chat.

  5. Comment from maxadders:

    portland metblogs is absolutely crawling these days. posts stick around for over a week. booooooooooooring!

  6. Comment from Betsy:

    Yeah, i should have used that plugin – but I got the bee in my bonnet on Sunday, moved the site to the new domain Tuesday night – who knew I needed to be vigilant about getting it behind a curtain!

  7. Comment from McAngryPants:

    “who knew I needed to be vigilant about getting it behind a curtain!”

    /me looks behind curtain

  8. Comment from divebarwife:

    You are so laughable – I can’t believe you’re still obsessed with this topic.

  9. Comment from Steve:

    You wouldn’t believe some of the other things I’m obsessed with.

    Counting steps.

    Washing my hands.

    Dog walking.

    Alien abduction.

    Crop circles.

    The time loop.

    Baseball statistics.

    Seriously, my obsession with Portland Metblogs is nothing compared to my obsession with orthotic insoles.

    Or the precise sequence of my morning routine.

    Or the way a dishwasher must be loaded.

    I could go on, but you get the idea.

  10. Comment from brewcaster:

    I see Divebarwife is in her true form. I saw the emails you sent to some of the folks that were speaking out. shame on you.

    Just because you believe in something the rest of us don’t, I wouldn’t call that laughable, I would call that diversity. Diverbarwife, if you are happy with Metblogs and what it does for you, I cheer you on.


  11. Comment from metblogs reader... sort of:

    Gotta say, I’m happy to see I’m not the only one who’s noticed that Portland Metblogs is dying a slow death. I still have it in my RSS feed, more out of habit than anything, and a tiny part of me truly hopes it does come back to life.

    But the lack of posts recently is, quite frankly, a little pathetic for a site that, prior to the relaunch debacle, was alive and bustling and full of wonderful, helpful and fun information. I found the conversation to be interesting as well, and it’s as if it’s hit a brick wall since the relaunch.

    I couldn’t believe there wasn’t more mention of the Obama rally on the waterfront (one measly sentence), Ignite Portland 3 before the day it occurred, and any big Portland news that doesn’t involve Tri-met or obscure bands. I know I’m generalizing a bit here, but I used to rely on Metblogs to get a personalized version of “local news coverage”; a “Daily Show” version of local happenings, if you will. Now, in a matter of months, it’s practically obsolete. Very sad.

    Kudos to Betsy and Dieselboi; I’ll be adding to my daily read.