Wednesday, February 18, 2009

And Now for Something Completely Different

I pretty much never post about the LFCA on the LFCA; meaning, we've rarely had a discussion about how the Lost and Found and Connections Abound (get it? LFCA) is running or suggestions for improvements/additions. Except right now I do have an idea to propose, but it requires an explanation longer than a paragraph as well as a response to a recent comment.

Someone posted anonymously yesterday: This site doesn't work. Your clickers have cliques, and many people are missed who need support.

And it begs the question, does the site work? I think it depends on what you think is the purpose of the site. If you see it as a central meeting spot that people know to check for news, a place to post information that creates a level playing field between a blogger with 500 daily readers and 50 daily readers, or a way to disseminate information across a population, I think it works. I especially think it works if you get behind on your Google Reader and want to have a sense of what is happening across the blogosphere. I may not have important information from blogs that you read in particular, but you can get a general sense of what is happening. The site helps us work collectively instead of individually. In the example of Kirtsy, our Kirtsy'd Pick o' the Day gets on to the front page of Kirtsy 100% of the time. We manage to have a story about infertility, adoption, or loss on the front page of Kirtsy every day. How many communities (beyond the gossip sites) can claim that? And it's only possible because we draw together through the site.

If you believe that all sites listed that day will be flooded with supportive comments, you'll probably be disappointed. It is hard to know that about 1000 people read the LFCA daily and then see how many people click over if the blurb is not stating a crisis or unusual event. But is the fact that the person receives three extra comments they wouldn't have otherwise seen worth it? I think it is. Or the times that two people connect because there is something in the blurb that speaks to their own experience so they find one another? I don't need to see 1000 comments to think that the time put into constructing the daily post is worth it as long as I see that small connections are made here and there. Hopefully you agree.

If you are also waiting for your Clicker to find your information, you're going to be waiting a long time. The Clickers worked best at the beginning of the LFCA two years ago, when there were about 700 blogs on the blogroll and we all talked about how crazy it was that there were 700 blogs. Now there are 1700 blogs on the blogroll and Clickers simply can't keep up with the number of blogs out there.

About 20% of the blurbs come from me, 30% come from the Clickers, and 50% come from the people themselves or one of their readers. In other words, more and more people are submitting their own news or have a friend who submits it. Since I created the form and put a link to it at the top of every LFCA post, more and more people have used it. Which is great--I'd much rather receive the same news 5 times (and this happens daily that I receive the same blurb five times from five different people. I just upload one and delete the rest) than have someone free-floating in the blogosphere without support.

It's really not okay anymore to sit around and say, "but you didn't post my news." Because there is a clear reason for why the news wasn't posted--you didn't submit it. Unless it doesn't adhere to the subject matter posted in LFCA, it gets uploaded to the site. Is it nice when you unexpectedly see your news pop up on the LFCA and know someone out there cared about you? Well, yes, it is. But it's unrealistic with 1700 blogs on the blogroll to sit back and hope your news is found. Even posts that I've commented on cannot be guaranteed to make it into the LFCA. The only guarantee is if you submit it.

This is the analogy Josh uses: would you rather wait to have a surprise party thrown for you or would you rather call your friends over for a party on your birthday? Surprise parties are great and it's fantastic to know that someone cared that much about you to throw the party. But when you wait, you also risk celebrating your birthday alone. When you take matters into your own hands and call your friends over, you get a celebration that is no less caring--the fact that people would drop what they're doing to come over and eat cake and celebrate the day of your birth is actually quite special--and it ensures that you ultimately get what you want. Which is to be surrounded by friends, not testing your friends.

And now, the idea. I have created a badge that people can place on their blogs if they wish. It is connected to both the LFCA in general (in case they don't know what the LFCA is) and specifically to the submission form. It looks like this:

Submit My News

Click here to submit my news to the LFCA

It will hopefully streamline the process so people can quickly submit something they read. In other words, if you're reading blogs today and happen across something LFCA-worthy (and click here to read about what is LFCA-worthy if you have questions) and you see that badge on their sidebar, click it, report it, and move about your day. Again, don't assume someone else already sent it in--it's better to receive it 5 times than not at all.

To get the code for this badge to place on your own blog, click here and then cut-and-paste the HTML onto your own sidebar. If you want others to submit your news for you, I would mention it in a blog post and draw attention to the fact that the badge is there. Hopefully, if a lot of people have the badge on their blog, it will become more commonplace for people to quickly click over and submit the news. Of course, I also caution that if it is truly important, that you submit the news yourself. If you need support, ask for it. If you want people to celebrate with you, ask for it. It's the only way to ensure that you get what you want.

So, a long way of answering the anonymous commenter who criticized the site. I'm always sorry when I hear that someone has slipped through the cracks and not received support. But I'm human, I'm not paid to do this, I need to fit it into an already packed day, and it's uploaded 5 times a week. I enjoy putting it together each day and I'm always happy when someone has a good experience with it. At the same time, if it isn't working for you, you don't need to read it.

I personally think it's an important resource and worth the time even if only one person is helped daily. I always wanted a philanthropy but we don't have the money beyond what I donate from ad revenue. So instead I donate the one resource I can--my time--and use my should-have-been-a-personal-organizer skills to churn out the LFCA daily with about 20 minutes of pasting. Consider it one of my donations this year to a community that gives back so much to me.

LFCA goes back to normal tomorrow. If you have other suggestions, I'd love to hear them as well as whether you agree or disagree with the anonymous commenter on whether the space "works." All of this is only my opinion, you may have a very different point-of-view.

And since I'm posting an out-of-the-ordinary post, I'd like to take this space to first and foremost thank the Clickers and the people who submit news that is not their own. It is a wonderful thing that you do and I certainly don't and can't thank you enough. There are some people who literally submit daily and one Clicker who even arranged for someone to take over her position when she was delivering. I think setting up a substitute Clicker to ensure her section of the blogroll was covered is pretty damn amazing.

I'd like to also thank the people who click over and leave a comment. Sometimes I don't have time to go read the whole post until later in the evening and when I click over and see 8 comments all beginning, "here from the LFCA" it solidifies that it was worth it. Thank you for taking the time to reach out to another person. I know we're all busy but it means a lot when a person knows that their words were heard.

And thank you, Tash and Eden, for weighing in yesterday.

And for people who do want to submit news (their own or someone else's news), you should know that I usually paste the list around 9 a.m. (United States EST). Anything that comes in after that goes in the next day. If the news fits one of the categories, it will always be uploaded (though I sometimes edit things if the LFCA is running long or to make the blurbs uniform for quick reading). If it is a new blog, please heed the numerous reminders all over the form and email those. I have a system for those that streamlines the maintanence of the blogroll. I told you--I should have been a personal organizer.

And if you want a post Kirtsy'd, send that my way too using the guidelines that can be found through the button underneath the header. I can't guarantee that I will Kirtsy every post because it all depends on how many are sent that week and if you've ever had a post Kirtsy'd before. But again, you can't complain that you've never had one Kirtsy'd if you never send one in (just a heads up for this week; I do have posts set for Thursday and Friday).

And I think that's that. The comment box is open for your thoughts. I only have my opinion--I would love to hear your opinion as long as it is respectful. If you agree with the anonymous commenter that the site doesn't work, what would you suggest would make it better?


Meghan said...

I think this site works fabulously Mel. I won't lie, it is nice to see myself mentioned by the clickers, but the response I've gotten the few times I submitted questions or calls for support is amazing. You've truly made this wide, empty, anonymous space of the internet feel like my local coffee shop (not starbucks of course ;)

Anonymous said...

Interesting anonymous comment. I like the way you responded.

As someone who was not a "popular" blog when I was out in the open and even less so now that I have gone password protected, I have submitted my own news to LFCA. The main reason I have done that is so that people will find out what has worked for me on my IF path. To let people know, that may be in a similar situation to mine, where my treatments have succeeded and where treatment has failed.

If I waited for a clicker or one of my blog readers, my news never would of gotten out there. Also, I don't expect much from my readers. I barely expect comments. Why? Because I know how busy everybody is with their own lives.

And this is where you need to ask yourself, why do you write? To get comments or to write out your thoughts and feelings.


Fiddle1 said...

I'm positive that anon poster just wasn't familiar with the format of this site. I don't think anyone who visits it and uses it would expect their news to miraculously show up. This forum is a wonderful way to get support for the many who need it. Thanks for all that you do.

loribeth said...

Cr@p, Blogger just ate my comment. :p Attempting to recreate...!

This was well said, Mel. You remind me of when I worked on our company newsmagazine, & we would get complaints that this or that branch/province/region/country was not receiving any coverage. We would always ask, "What have you sent us lately?" Our company has almost 70,000 employees in 50 countries, including more than 30,000 across Canada, and our resources are limited -- there is just no way we can keep tabs on all the great things that people are doing out there, and certainly not without a little help. : )

I think this site works amazingly well. You will never be able to keep tabs on what every blogger out there is doing, but you've still managed to connect a lot of people, a lot of whom wouldn't have received support otherwise. I don't have the time to click on every link every day & leave a comment, but I have left comments that would otherwise not have been written, and I have found some great new blogs that I now read regularly via this site. Thanks again for everything you do for us!!

AwkwardMoments said...

Another well stated and brilliant Idea.

To respect privacy, I always ask if a blogger would like it posted to the LFCA - this is a great tool

Niki said...

Mel, I'm sorry that someone anonymously complained about what you so graciously do for all of us. I just want to tell you how grateful I am for your site. It was your site that inspired me to start blogging. I used your site to connect with other babyloss mamas and women pursuing surrogacy to start/add to their families. I credit your site for my readership. I started my blog laast summer and have garnered a regular following already, which I can only presume had a lot to do with my listing on your blogroll and for you listed me in your news. Thank you for your tireless work for this community. Although many may not say it often enough, we are so very fortunate to have LFCA. Keep up the great work!

G$ said...

I love the LFCA, it's my morning starter. And today I am a bit sad this had to be said in its place.

I think all parts of the blog community can be cliques if you let it. Blog world is that which you make it. If you post something and hope it ends up on LFCA, you are missing part of the point. If you need help or support, submit the form. Winning the lottery isn't getting your name in the LFCA (exactly the opposite in many cases).

Thanks for doing the LFCA Mel and the Clickers and people who randomly submit. Thanks for creating the easy to use form. I appreciate the time and energy put into it.

Me said...

I think LFCA is awesome.

Lori Lavender Luz said...

I would like to tell Anon one of the many wise things my dad taught my sisters and me:

"Draw a wider circle."

If you're feeling left out, try taking a little more responsibility to include yourself.

Which is another way of saying what you said so well, Mel.

Also, Anon, I am sad and sorry that you feel this way. I have felt that way at times (IRL) and it's no fun, no matter where the fix lies.

Lori said...

I really really enjoy your site. The only criticism I have is I wish the site was expanded in my RSS reader so I could read directly from there. I also would like the snippets to be a little more about what the link will go to. "So and so is having a difficult time," and then I click it and am punched in the face with a pregnancy belly slideshow and a post about dinner being burned (a made up example). Some days are harder than others, you know, and I just want to know where I'm clicking before I do it.

nh said...

I think LFCA works fantastically. I started blogging as a way to release the thoughts from my head - and I don't have that many readers, which doesn't bother me in the slightest. I know when I needed support, I asked for it and received it. It is too much to expect anyone (or many people) to read all our blogs on a daily basis and find out who needs support.

You do so much for us - and I am grateful!

Tigger said...

I think it works well. I come here to see what's going on. Some blogs I don't read, but if something is going on I want to give support - I just can't/don't read the blog regularly.

Like Meghan, it's nice to see my news up without having to report it myself. For me, it's along the lines of "if I look down and like I need a hug, give me one - don't make me ask for it". I blogged my news. Those who read me will make comments - or not. I'd prefer more people knew, but I can't bring myself to say "HEY! This is what's going on!" because then I fee like an attention whore. (not that those who report their own news are, but it's just the way I view myself)

Jendeis said...

I'm sad that Anonymous thinks of the Clickers having cliques. Mel, I thought your response was articulate and I would like to add something. It's always hard to judge when someone needs more support and just how much more support they need. As a Clicker, I try to err on the side of sending in the news, with the belief that even if the blogger is just having a bad day that will blow over soon as opposed to going through a tragedy, other people reading and commenting can't hurt. I'd also like to add my urge to bloggers to send in their request for support -- no one knows that you sent your own news in, and it doesn't matter anyways. The strongest people are those who are able to ask for help and support in hard times.

ms. c said...

I think the site is wonderful.

Until last night I never felt the need to submit something on my own behalf. But I was really feeling liek "I need help", and knew of I submitted my question I would get support. (Figures, you aren't posting today!! ;) )

ALl that to say: people, if you need help, this is the place to come. Don't be shy, we are here to help each other. And sometimes we don't know that you need help unless you ask.

Thanks for taking the time every day to put this together, Mel.

chicklet said...

I'm with both you and the anonymous commenter. I do think that people go to the sites they know, or the sites with big drama or upset going on (mine included as I can see my traffic go up when my cycles fail), but I've found new people and new people have found me through LFCA so I'm quite happy to use it and be a part of it.

Yea, it won't work for everyone, but how can it? And I'm totally okay with that, cuz like you think, if it helps even a few people, that's the goal.

Anonymous said...

I love LFCA. I check it everyday. I think that the support it provides is wonderful, I have been able to connect with people that I would have never been able to find. Thank you for all that you do Mel!

Anonymous said...

I can't really comment on the clicker cliques.... I've never seen that as an issue. When I've had something I wanted a wider audience to read about I have submitted my own news to LFCA. Never occured to me to have someone else do it for me. But maybe I'm just self sufficient that way?

LFCA DOES real GOOD. I would never have connected with Dora if it were not for her question on LFCA about people's willingness to donate embryos to a single woman.

I'm sorry that anonymous feels left out. Sometimes you have to take a risk and "put yourself out there" to get the support you need or want.

You do a great job, Mel.


Delenn said...

I think the site works, however, I do feel that it is very hard to be inclusive and that people can get left out. However, I think the button idea is a good way to spread the information out there. I think sometimes people are not able to submit their own news, especially if it is bad news. So, if they have that button, maybe others will see it. I do think this is a good Mitzvah and thank you so much for doing this, Mel!!

A n T said...

First...LOL...I kept flipping from this post to your stirrup queens blog thinking I was on the wrong blog until I started reading...then I was like ooohhhh.

I think this site is awesome. I've been in situations where I wanted to receive love and support and I simply emailed you with what was going on and it was up the next day. I'm not too big of a person to let others know when I need help or if I need support. And I realize that those in blog world understand my situation a whole lot better than any IRL person who has never walked a day in my shoes could understand.

I remember when I first got started with my blog, I asked you how do I get people to comment and notice my posting and you told me, visit other blogs and post there and 9 times out of 10 they will visit your blog to see just who you are and many start to follow you that way. And thats what I did. Its all about getting out the comfort zone wanting people to come find you and reach out to others.

Mel I think you do an awesome job. This is something you do in your spare time for FREE for those of us who need constant support and I thank you!

Anonymous said...

Mel, I am amazed at how much of your time you volunteer to mothering this whole community. 1700 ALI bloggers!!!!!!! Holy crap on a stick!!!!!!!

I LOVE the LFCA, I read it every day, and usually click on at least one blog I've never read before. I should comment every time, but I don't always... I resolve henceforth to do more of my part.

At the non-profit I used to work for, we often cited the statistic that one negative comment has about 20x the impact of one positive comment. I hope you get 20 gazillion positive comments today :-)

Michelle said...

I love LFCA and I think it works great. Most the time I have submitted the news myself and I love when people who do not normally read click over even if it is one or two. Thank you Mel for all you do!

Anonymous said...

This site works in a way I couldn't have imagined. It brings people together across blogs that you'd never find from simple blog-to-blog-to-blog clicking.

[Or cliquing, as is my case, since I usually trend towards GLBT blogs. Not that GLBT bloggers are cliquish, although I assume that straight people sometimes feel a little left out. Waitasecond... three of my favorite commenters are indeed straight, so maybe that's not the case. Okay, now I'm rambling.]

I've submitted my own news three times, all related to a short-lived pregnancy that started with low betas. Had I not participated in the community at that low time, I would have missed out on support that felt like a lifeline at that moment.

At the time, my blog was PWP and the December break was upon us, which meant I wasn't flooded by any means.

It turned out I was hoping for such flooding (an ugly desire that says ugly things about me, I'm afraid). This taught me three things:

1) I didn't actually want to be PWP. I wanted to more fully participate in the blogosphere, and if that means sharing more openly, so be it.

2) I had chosen to limit my support structure so much that I was overtaxing my few supporters, asking far more than was reasonable.

3) It was high time to woman up. I made the blog un-PWP, shared more about my struggles with my IRL peeps, went to an IF support group, and made a consious effot to post comments other blogs mentioned on LFCA.

In closing to my novel, you rock, LFCA is a brilliant idea, I appreciate all the time and love that goes into LFCA, and the blogosphere would be a much lonlier place without this forum.

Anonymous said...

Okay, just saw how long my comment looks/is. Um... apologies.

Becky said...

I can only offer what I personally experienced after my m/c in January. I started my blog mainly to keep friends and family updated on the progress of what I had hoped would be my one and only IVF cycle. I think it would be safe to say my readership is probably on the low end of the spectrum. When I posted the news that we had lost our baby, someone submitted it to LFCA. I didn't even know what people were talking about when they said "here from LFCA," I had to google it. Here is what I posted in regards to LFCA a couple of days later,

"It was actually a great comfort for both John and I to check the blog or our emails and read the comments. I was not familiar with Lost and Found and Connections Abound until yesterday. Thank you to whoever sent my name into the site on Tuesday. I was overwhelmed by the support I received and it was truly an example of what the site hopes to accomplish."

Hopefully, this helps answer your question. I am certainly not part of any clique. Thank you for what you do.

Sherry said...

Mel -

I think LFCA works fine. As you said, 1700 blogs is a lot for any group of clickers to get to in any given day.

Truthfully I don't even think the button/badge is necessary, because I agree with pp that we all need to "draw a bigger circle" and take some responsibility ourselves.

But I suppose it can't hurt.

Just place my vote firmly in the "LFCA Works if you work it!" column.

Aurelia said...

Ok, this is weird...this one came through on bloglines!

None of the others have for ages. Now I'm convinced it's something about the format of the text, or html. It must think you are updating a similar post.

Hmmm, anyway, the LFCA isn't meant to be perfect, it's meant to help out a bit.

I find I get more readers and comments when I leave more comments, especially with smaller bloggers, instead of just the big bloggers.

Some of the smaller bloggers who don't get much support, tend also to be the ones who rarely comment on other blogs, at least from what I have seen. I know it hurts to feel like you are being left out, and I feel bad for Anon, but it's not a guarantee that you will get readers just be being on the big list.

If you are giving lots of support to others, then when you need it, you will likely get it back, even if you aren't noted in the LFCA. And if you aren't noted, then hey, maybe time to put your own stuff in.

As for the clickers--maybe we need to recruit a few more, or a few dozen more? do enough Mel.

Anonymous said...

Mel - first, I am in completely in awe of all you do for our community. LFCA is one of the first things that I check every day, and I try to make it a point to click through to as many of the sites as I can. I think it's a tremendous service (one I have personally benefited from and am grateful for), and the fact that you're doing it simply as an ambassador astounds. Thank you!

Chelle said...

I think the site works great. I submit my own stuff and why not? What's wrong with that? I wonder if the anon commenter is embarrassed?

Anyway, I appreciate the effort you give to running the site and helping us all get the support we need. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Mel, I have to admit your site was a bit overwhelming at first - especially with being new to infertility and blogging. I so appreciated (and still do appreciate) the support and assistance you gave me when I first contacted you. It made things easier, and I was happily surprised at the comments I received right away. Sometimes people need to think of the reason behind blogging. For me, its just a way to get my feelings out and try to make some sense of everything we are going through. I view the supportive comments as a huge bonus. Thank you for all you do!

HereWeGoAJen said...

I hope that person who made the anonymous comment is a clicker themselves. Otherwise they can't possibly realize that it is often a very difficult job. As a clicker, I often agonize over whether to submit something or not (and usually do, just in case) and I feel terrible when I miss something, am late, or make a mistake.

I am also in awe of how much you do, Mel. Sometimes I can't find time even to click every day and you do so much more than that. Thank you.

Jill said...

I have no idea how you find the time to do everything you do!

I'm not a "popular" blogger, and I've never had any of my news submitted by anyone else. That said, I have submitted my own stuff a few times and have really appreciated the quality of the responses I have received.

The LFCA is a fantastic resource and it has helped a lot of people. Kudos to you!

Cara said...

My two cents? Running quite well for those who know how to navigate it or what they are looking for.

Keep it up!

Cathy said...

I'll bite on this topic.

I don't entirely think this site works. Not because the news doesn't get out there, but because so many people don't actually provide the extra support.

I've been mentioned on here before, and I appreciate that. I've made a few good connections, even! But it is disheartening to see the site stats for my blog go sky-high when I'm mentioned on here for my life falling apart, and yet not have any of those people comment. To have 500 new people come see that your life is a flaming ball of suck, and none of them say anything to you.

So it's not a flaw in the site, or in its concept, it's a flaw in its users. Or maybe that's just my experience with it. I don't know that there's any way to FIX it, either.

Jess said...

I ditto Cathy.

I LIKE this site. I do read and have made connections through it. I dont' read and respond to EVERYTHING but I commit to actually giving feedback if I click most times. And often I stay with a blog, too.

That said, I was going to post what Cathy posted...because it's through her that I've been less sure that it "works"....I don't think that people just HATE Cathy, therefore I think other people who are mentioned likely would see the same thing...many many hits, few actual comments of support. It leaves a foul taste in my mouth to think that people are just lurking to see what the awful news is...I'd rather assume they just don't know what to say, but an "I'm so sorry" or an "I'm thinking of you" or even a "I'm here from the LFCA and don't even know what to say, but wanted you to know that I read" would be nice, too.

It's certainly not a flaw in THIS SITE necessarily, and I don't mean this to be a mean comment to you, Mel. I think you're a saint for doing this stuff with no real compensation. But I do wonder why SO MANY would come without saying anything. It's disheartening about our COMMUNITY, you know?

That said, not everyone can comment or will comment...but if you have no time to comment, why click links that day...of ppl you don't know, at least. Know what I mean? It makes the blogger listed feel like people are trainwreck-watching, which is hard, too.

Not that there's anything YOU can do about it, just that it's an observation. I know there are MANY MANY people out there who DO offer lots of support. And for that, it IS worth it.

Jamie said...

This site is amazing! I have found so many people that I would not have otherwise have found otherwise. I appreciate all of the hard work you put into the Lost and Found. It is worth it. Don't let that comment get to you! This is amazing and it is open to everyone.

Nadine said...

I think LCFA works great, and love my daily dose, sometimes I click on to read others blogs, and sometimes I don't (especially if I have nothing of use to say!).

FattyPants said...

I completely understand where that comment came from. I try to read at least 2x a week and comment on whatever I feel I can be useful on. Hell, I AM a clicker, but most of those blogs are no longer updated. I will admit I was pretty offended when even the birth of my baby wasn't anounced. I got over it and try to continue to support others. I won't even get into the entire "popular" bloggers not returning comments thing.

That being said, I still think this is a great idea. It is a wonderful way to spread news and need for support. And mel you work so hard on it and we really appreciate it. I think thats why nothing was said sooner.

Anonymous said...

I think LFCA works great overall and I know to submit my own stuff. It was exciting enough to actually see my question on the site! LOL. My question is pretty narrow so I don't expect a huge response but hey at least I knwo I did my part to look.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Clicker and I can tell you that every single blog from my categories in in my feed reader--and I read them first every day. I'd hate to hear someone felt left out by me, although I'm sure it has happened. All that to say that we're trying.

Nicole said...

You do a fabulous job Mel on all aspects of LFCA/Blogroll/Kirtsy and I am in awe of your creativity, consistency, and overall organization. You ROCK!

Geohde said...


This post is well timed. I've been brewing guilt that I really need to email you about clicking- the section of the blogroll I have is H U G E, and I find that whenever I pick a chunk, I get about ten blogs in, nine point five are inactive and I lose heart entirely.

Precisely because I don't want to be all clique-y, I don't usually submit news from my 'mates', unless it's big news.

I should be doing the latter rather than the former....

Off to have a cogitate.


nancy said...

Good idea.

Although I totally think LFCA totally works. I've quite frequently given my own news to LFCA when I knew I needed support and wanted to ensure I got what my heart needed. And then there is the other times I totally was surprised to see my name in one of the lists, knowing either you Mel, a clicker or one of my readers submitted it.

Soralis said...

I have found many new blogs through this site! I think you do a great job putting out the information! It's impossible to please everyone anyway!

Anonymous said...

I love this site. It is great to see the new blogs, and I like catching up with everyone on the overview. I have never been "noticed" by clicker people - but I understand there are tons of blogs out there. I am sure I have more traffic on mine because of this site, and I'm really happy to post my big news myself.

It is hard for some people to be that outgoing and submit news, so I think having the buttons is a good idea. Maybe if someone feels they aren't getting enough attention from an overextended clicker, they could become clickers themselves!

Life in Eden said...

I love LFCA. LOVE it. And I can't believe it has been 2 years!

ColourYourWorld said...

I certainly think that LFCA works.
I think you do an amzing job running this site all for the love of it, all for us, your fellow IFers !

Thank you to you and the clickers.

Anonymous said...

I love this site. It is great to see the new blogs, and I like catching up with everyone on the overview. I have never been "noticed" by clicker people - but I understand there are tons of blogs out there. I am sure I have more traffic on mine because of this site, and I'm really happy to post my big news myself.

It is hard for some people to be that outgoing and submit news, so I think having the buttons is a good idea. Maybe if someone feels they aren't getting enough attention from an overextended clicker, they could become clickers themselves!

Andrea said...

I really like the button idea... and it will make me more inclined to leave news, as one of those terrible lurkers who reads all and almost never comments. Most of the time its not because I am trainwrecking but because I just dont feel comfortable telling someone I dont know a thing about... anything.

I read the LFCA every day, dont have a blog, and have gotten so much support just from knowing that I am not alone. That sounds like LFCA is working, doesnt it?

(ps I do occasionally leave news in the comments... I am super lazy for forms...)

Queenie. . . said...

First, I think you are an organization goddess, and I bow to you (if you could see my desk right now, you'd be horrified!).

Second, I think the site is amazing, and you do a fantastic job. I regularly check in, and use it much as you suggested--to see what's going on in our world, and to offer support to people who catch my eye.

Third, I must confess ignorance. I (dumbly) thought that ALL info on LFCA was posted by the Clickers. I never noticed your little icon that allows other people to submit. I didn't know it was so easy, and so possible. And now that I know, I will happily pass news along when I see it on a blog I read. I'll bet there are many people like me who overlooked this--thanks for bringing it to our attention. I think this will make LFCA even better than it already is!

Anonymous said...

I really don't think any of this has to do with you specifically, and I don't think the LFCA is at fault, either.

I must admit that there have been times when my own news was posted, either by myself or someone else, and I still didn't receive much support at all. I am sure that a ton of people READ the LFCA, but not nearly as many people actually comment. At least not on blogs they aren't already familiar with, aka 'the popular blogs', which is probably what anonymouse meant by 'clicks'.

It does really hurt to know that people are reading, but can't take the time to write a few words when they would really make a difference. Kind of makes you feel like you're just 'on show' or not as 'worthy' of support as other blogs. And you really can't help but notice if your miscarriage post receives 5 comments and a more 'popular' blogs similar post received 289. It just happens that way sometimes.

Having experienced this, I really try to go out of my way to leave a comment to show support or offer good thoughts - even if I can't really relate to the poster. I always love to see comments on other blogs that start with 'over here from L&F'.. I'm glad that there are some who go out of their way to comment on blogs they may not even be familiar with.

Anonymous said...

I agree with so many commenters have said Mel--LFCA is a wonderful thing/resource/fountain of info!

I check it every day religiously and think it does a fantastic job of bringing this very large community 'together'--consider it a "town hall" of IF sorts.

The fact that you dedicate yourself to this site, your own writing career, and your family speaks volumes about your dedication and commitment to us. Thank you for all that you do :)

'Murgdan' said...

HA! I think I've been reading LFCA for months and didn't even know what a 'clicker' was until this subject came up. I've always submitted news myself. Wow.

I love reading here, getting a general update about happenings...and I've found new blogs here as well. I love it. It works IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Anon, I understand what you mean, and I think I can even explain a little: Maybe. I'll give it a shot, anyway:

Sometimes, I just don't have time to comment.

Sometimes, I don't have the hands free to comment.

Sometimes it feels like all I'm doing is saying 'me too!'

And, honestly, most of the time I'm just overwhelmed with stuff here at home. There are so many new blogs out there and each of them deserves support. I simply can't keep up with them all in addition to the blogs I've literally been reading for years. Reading and commenting on a new blog can be intimidating, heartbreaking, annoying...all those things and more. Sometimes you click with the blogger, sometimes you don't.

I hope you get more readers as time passes. I hope you'll leave us the very best of news sooner rather than later.

Take care.

HaleyMarieOlson said...

I wanted to apologize because I added the badge to my sidebar and I clicked it by mistake, so I don't really have any news, but I just wanted to let you know I love this site and think you are doing an amazing job!!!!

Stacie said...

I read the LFCA daily and have made many blogging friends through this site. I post information about the blogs I read (and my bloggy friends) when I can. I don't feel this is cliquish because really, I can only give information on my blogging circle.

I also regularly try to click on as many blogs listed on LFCA as I can, but I do have to admit that I can't always comment.

This site has been a blessing to me during some very dark days in my life, as well as on some good days, too. Any time I am mentioned here (and I have been fortunate to have had others post for me), my blog stats double. Of the new readers, I will maybe have two or three new commentors. I don't see a lack of commenting directly correlating to a lack of caring, though. Instead, I'd like to think that all of those other people who have read my posts have thought something about what I've said and maybe sent a burst of positive energy my way. Maybe that is just me?

What happens of this site is just like any other situation in life. It is and will become what you make of it. If your information isn't published, and you'd like something there, it is okay to publish it yourself!

Without your efforts, Mel, I would have a lonely little blog with no readers and probably would no longer be posting. I'm pretty sure that there are many others who'd be in the same situation. I'd like to thank you again, Mel, for creating this site, giving us an opportunity to meet new people, and for all that you do for this community.

Anonymous said...

I think this is an incredible site and you do an amazing job.
Thank you.

luna said...

haven't read the other comments but I think you address the issue perfectly. the site works especially well for the reasons you state.

I'm sorry the commenter isn't feeling supported. yet there is no guarantee that anyone will get traffic from LFCA, nor is that your responsibility. the best way to be supported in this community is to (a) support others when they need it (ie, be a friend to make a friend), and (b) ask for help when you need it.

kudos to all the clickers who help keep LFCA alive, and to you for making it all happen. you are amazing and so very inspiring.

Phoebe said...

I think LFCA works, especially since you put up the button to post news yourself. It's so easy! 1700 blogs is a heck of a lot of blogs, and I know I probably only have 2% of those on my blog roll. I probably wouldn't have half the readers I do if it wasn't for LFCA and all the other great community building efforts you do, Mel. Thanks.

battynurse said...

I think it works very well and am thankful for the work that goes into it. I know as a clicker sometimes I'm not sure if I should send something in (I usually do) or if it's just day to day frustrations. I also know that there have been times where I have went to someones blog that is posted on LFCA and not commented mostly because I have no idea what to say. I do try though to at least leave an I'm sorry or something if it's appropriate.

Anonymous said...

I think this site works pretty darn well. It's the only centralized "blogosphere" support group that I've really found for any kind of topic out there, so some people must be doing something right, eh?

The only suggestion I'd have would be to make use of an already built system like kirtsy or digg, and maybe tag appropriate things with LFCA or somesuch. Then folks could go to new/recent posts and get a slew of things.

I only say this because lots of people already have kirtsy/twitter/digg links on their posts, and the button provided (though clearly no one HAS to use it) takes up a good bit of real estate.

Baby Smiling In Back Seat said...

It goes without saying that you and everything you do for the community are amazing, Mel.

The cliques comment is interesting. As a clicker, I have all of the blogs on my section of the blogroll on my Reader and submit their news religiously -- everyone. I also submit news about other bloggers that I happen to read. Do other clickers submit more for some people than others? I suppose it's possible, but I think it's more likely that some sections are getting little or no attention at all, rather than that clickers are purposely leaving someone out.

I think that LFCA works wonderfully, but I do think that the clicker system has some flaws. First, some sections of the blogroll don't have a clicker at all. Hopefully you'll get some new recruits after this discussion.

Second, Geohde's comment highlights the fact that people are going about the process of clicking differently. Personally I feel that clicking blogs on a list is an inefficient way to go about clicking, because as Geohde says most people post infrequently (or never). I highly recommend a feed reader -- get all of the new posts, and don't waste any time checking a blog that hasn't been updated for months. I also recommend sorting your reader so that people who are likely to have news soon (such as someone who's 8 months pregnant) will get extra attention.

Third, some blogs are in the wrong sections, which is something that I've been personally working on fixing along with you (from the school of thought that says that instead of just complaining, you should try to help the situation). I am a clicker for IVF/IUI, and some people on the list are no longer doing treatments, pregnant, or even parenting. Personally I have continued reading and submitting news for them until they could be moved to more appropriate sections, but I can certainly understand some clickers not feeling able to handle certain kinds of blogs that they didn't sign up for -- because I have those days too. So, I think that this issue will improve dramatically soon.

As I have been going through the blogroll to make those edits, I have submitted news for quite a few people who had something big happen lately (such as giving birth last week) that hadn't appeared in L&F. This includes sections of the blogroll that do have a clicker (but I'm not naming names). What this says to me is that some of the existing clickers may need to reassess whether they're able to continue committing to clicking -- or if they've already uncommitted, let you know so that you can try to find someone else to take over. This also says that some clickers might benefit from a new system for their clicking such as Reader so that news doesn't fall through the cracks.

Finally, as Geohde mentions, some sections of the blogroll are bigger than others. We're working to reassign some people to more specific categories, which will help this hopefully, but I can also say that some categories will just keep getting bigger. More and more people will keep having multiples, and once they're in that category, they rarely move elsewhere. So perhaps certain categories need to be split up more to relieve the burden on certain clickers -- in that case, either split parenting and pregnant with multiples, or multiples A-M/N-Z, etc.

In fact, it might help the system to break up even more of the categories. I spend somewhere around an hour every day doing clicker stuff, which is much more time than almost anyone has to spare. Part of why people may be reluctant to become clickers is because many blogroll sections are so big. Perhaps a clicker conversation is in order to get people's opinions. Once we finish reorganizing the blogroll...

I can keep coming up with more bossy suggestions if you'd like, but I'll stop here for now.

Baby Smiling In Back Seat said...

Remember a second ago when I said that I was done? I lied.

One thing I forgot, from the other side, is that as a blogger, I've been quite surprised when my own news did not appear in LFCA (and as a result I submit my own news now). Not only that the clicker for my section didn't submit it, but that none of the readers/commenters did either. There have been LFCA-worthy events (such as IVF transfer) where the post had over 20 comments and scores of page views, yet no one submitted. I suspect that there's some diffusion of responsibility going on in many cases -- people assume that someone else must have already submitted the news. I think many people also aren't in the habit of submitting LFCA news. And, some blogs have a very small readership so that sometimes no one reads the post in the first place.

One other thing -- as a clicker I err on the side of submitting too much, but I have occasionally read posts on blogs after I posted their news on LFCA who said:
(a) what's LFCA?
(b) I don't know if I deserve to be on LFCA (such as a pregnancy that isn't yet trusted as real)
(c) I kind of wish my news hadn't been posted on LFCA.

Unlike Fertilized, I don't ask if it's okay to post news. I figure that if you're comfortable posting information on the internet, you're comfortable having it listed on LFCA (I guess if you're not, you should email your clicker and tell them not to submit your news, and then mention it on your blog for other readers who might want to submit news sometimes). The one exception to my rule about always submitting applies to password-protected blogs (not clicker blogs, but ones that I read separately), where I specifically don't post news because I don't know what the person does and doesn't want shared. Sometimes I am bursting with their news but refrain from LFCA and just express my bursting in the form of comments on their blog.

MrsSpock said...

I've submitted quite a few calls for input on various projects through the L & F, and it always has brought a few people over to put their 2 cents in.

As a clicker, I will say that I can see who has posted something new on my Google Reader when I log on , and I do try to err on the side of sending it in. When new blogs are added to my section- that is a sticky part. If there was some sort of organizational way to notify me of their being added, that would be great, but until then it means combing through it for an hour or so to cross-check it with my roll.

I try to click on the new posts every day, but I am very human, and working FT, and have a 9 month old, and a very busy life.

I think some people might be a little shy about sending in their own news- and they shouldn't be! Send away!

And to those that read- post a comment- even if it just to say you're sorry or congrats.

Anonymous said...

Mel - don't know if anyone will read this comment a day later - the blog just showed up in my feeds for the first time in ages.

But I just want to make a point about supposed "cliquiness" - popular bloggers not commenting back, people commenting on "popular" blogs etc. And people feeling left out because of it.

I think, as someone who, in the long, long, LONG distant past had a fairly reasonable readership, that it isn't that these bloggers don't care, or that they think they're above commenting or anything like that. It is simply becasue these "popular" bloggers have been blogging for a longer time - it takes time to build an audience. And the thing is, after a while, you just get over it. You get over caring how many comments you get, and your stats and how many people link to you or don't link to you and so on. It becomes more about the relationships you have already made, and cultivating those. I just got to a point where I no longer felt like I could take on any new virtual relationships unless i felt an immediate and deep connection to the person. I just stopped looking outside of my circle. I stopped clicking over. I know that there were some people that were upset by my doing that, but I simply didn't have the energy after a while. It wasn't personal. Blogging just stopped being my focus.

This is particularly the case, I think, in the ALI world, where people are writing - usually - because they are in crisis and need urgently to build a sense of shared experience through that, and support. But the thing about crisis is that it passes. At some point, most ALI blogs fall by the wayside becasue, quite simply, they're not needed by the writer anymore. It's not becasue the writer is being cliquey or snobby or anything, but IF and blogging and building connections in that world is not the focus of their lives anymore.

So I think anyone who gets upset by a lack of support surrounding "popular" bloggers just isn't seeing the fact that those people have most likely just been blogging for longer, so that's why their circle is bigger. And it's also why they don't comment back. And its also why their posts appear here and yours don't.

Bea said...

I know this is over... but just in case...

I think the "cliques" are just people who know each other better. Cliques sends an image of spite, I don't think that's it. I think it's just that there's a lot of blogs and stuff does get missed all the time, despite the best intentions. More clickers? Well, it's not the worst idea, but you'd be "hiring" every other week.

The self-submission is good. The button is good. Not everyone's going to be comfortable self-submitting, of course. Some people, in the midst of a crisis, need someone else to pick up these things. Having that link on the sidebar to give "permission" (and a reminder) to your readers is a great idea and hopefully that will help a lot.


Anonymous said...

Late to this discussion but I did what to follow up on what a couple of people mentioned.

I wish there were more warnings/headers for some of the entries. As someone still trying for my first child, I don't really want to read about someone with children conceived via ART who is upset about accidentally conceiving another. (This has happened more than once.)

Many of the blogs now mentioned in LFCA include babies or children. I don't want to get into the who's infertile debate, but I would like a mention that this person has a child(ren) before I click over to the blog.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

Hey Anonymous--

Hopefully you'll read this; you didn't give a way to contact you directly.

I certainly try to make in obvious in the blurb if there are children in the picture, but it isn't always possible. And that's just a fact of the list coming out so quickly and so often. There are only so many things we can do when it is something a few of us do for the community to help the community vs. making it our full time job. The other option is to make the posts come out every other day or limit who can get on the list, but that would obviously upset other people. There is simply no way to have the list come out with any frequency and make everyone happy.

And, as I always say, volunteer. Jump into the project. Help out and you can shape it into what you need it to be. As I said before, I can't take on anything else, but if others want to help out, we can do so much more.