Running a website is a fascinating business. I can tell, for instance, that something (probably the post "Funny That Way") got some traction out on the broader Internet—not only because our traffic for the past two days has been about 40% higher than normal, but because of a sudden increased incidence of what I call "drive-by comments." (The allusion being, of course, to wild potshots taken out the windows of speeding cars by perpetrators who think they won't be held accountable.) "Drive-by comments" are flippant, dismissive, or insulting. They're usually snide. They're usually very brief, and typically offer nothing substantive—they do no more than register an attitude, a stance, a pose. A raised middle finger, perhaps.
I don't post 'em.
The reason they stick out is that they're in such marked contrast to the thoughtfulness and friendliness, the cordiality, the collegiality, of 99% of the comments we get on ordinary days from readers who've been with us a while. "Drive-bys" are probably a normal style of Internet discourse, but elsewhere.
Of course, The Online Photographer always welcomes new visitors. But, as I try to mention from time to time, this isn't a forum. Comments are moderated. The everyday, all-purpose rule is "no ad hominem." We're adults here (or act that way)—a community of equals, no one better than anyone else despite our varying levels of activity and expertise, and we try to observe civilized conventions of decency and politeness. We like it that way. Why? Because it makes it a nicer place to visit.
So to those whose habitual mode of discourse is just to take a potshot without thinking: no need to bother. We already know you have an opinion, because, er, everybody's got one. Better yet, hang around for a while, read along, and wait to make a comment until you have something to add to the conversation.
T.O.P.'s Chief Bottle-Washer and Head Factotum.