What should Rostra 2.0 to look like?

Tony Manolatos Tony Manolatos 16 Comments


One of the great things about San Diego Rostra is its ability to attract a variety of voices with different political views.

Rostra is a center-right site, but local journalists and some well-known Democrats are regular readers and commentators. With monthly hits by unique visitors as high as 20,000, Rostra has become a must read for numerous San Diegans.

Where else can you find a site that blends colorful personalities like Mighty Thor and Thor’s Assistant with political stalwarts like Darrell Issa, Brian Bilbray, Nathan Fletcher, Carl DeMaio and Bonnie Dumanis?

Along with smart and timely political commentary, Rostra occasionally breaks news, and has done a good job of using Twitter and Facebook to reach a wider audience.

Some posts – let’s be honest – aren’t in the #winning category. Or are they? On the other end of the spectrum, there are posts like this one from Richard Rider, who shares his son’s struggle with cancer and the role medical marijuana played in that fight.

Bloggers like Jim Sills, Bradley Fikes, Erica Holloway and Gayle Falkenthal, aka The Libertarian Lass, also routinely draw readers in with lively and thoughtful posts, as do many others.

So where does Rostra go from here? Should the 1 1/2 year-old site, for example, dump anonymous bloggers? What about anonymous comments? Would you object to Rostra displaying ads? Should the site separate blog posts from news releases?

Mighty Thor wants to hear from you. You can leave your comments below this post, or email them to info@sdrostra.com

Lastly, Rostra is looking for a web intern. If you or anyone you know is interested, please send an email and resume to info@sdrostra.com

You can follow Tony Manolatos on Twitter or LinkedIn Click here to view his business profile.


Comments 16

  1. Well, not to anyone’s surprise, I prefer real names. I know the arguments on the other side, but find them less persuasive than full disclosure.

    The only exception one might make is for a “whistleblower” who wishes to remain anonymous, but they should be cleared by the Rostra plantation owners after confirming the characterization.

    One thing that is NOT an issue is the First Amendment — a clear limitation on GOVERNMENT’s ability to squelch free speech. Too many people wrongly think that the First Amendment should control the PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS of newspaper, radio and TV owners — and website operators — to impose requirements on users of their service.

    BTW, ads are fine with me. Only problem that such ads MIGHT present is that they can affect the editorial decisions of the website owner, but that’s an ethics matter left to each operator.

    I’m certainly willing to risk it in this Rostra case — if it helps defray costs. Just don’t dare to make a profit (or pay yourself a salary) — that constitutes greed.

  2. Richard, as a test, please log in to the site prior to commenting, as if you were logging in to post a blog. We believe that ensures your comments are immediately posted without going into the “for moderation” queue. Let us know. This will be a test of the Rostra commenting system.

  3. Just confirming what Thor says… that is standard
    operating procedure. Many a comment i’ve made
    has talen hours to show up. Thor is not discrim-
    inating against Mr. Rider.

    This site, like most others, is overwhelmed with
    500 to 1,000 SPAM messages a day. That is not
    an exaggeration! We have software to filter that
    stuff out, but it not perfect and sometimes catches
    a real comment. That’s happened to me as well.

    If that software was NOT in place, 95% of comments
    here would be about (A) “Fake Watches” (B) Pills for
    Your Ills and (C) the sicko stuff which is best left not
    described at all.

    It’s a a Jungle out there!

  4. Richard’s suggestions are good ones. Yes to mostly posting on a real-name basis, but allowing limited pseudonym posters when vetted by Rostra management.

    And yes to allowing comments by posters to appear immediately, not just for their own post, but for all on Rostra.

    As a compromise, allow some posters the superability to approve/reject comments on all posts. With enough people pitching in, the lag time can be reduced to a minimum.

  5. So, Bradley, your comment above went into the moderation queue, then it was approved by us. Were you logged into the site when you posted it?

  6. OK, thanks for trying, this tells us most assuredly that being logged in does not circumvent the spam filters. We will see if this can be avoided in some way.

  7. Tony,

    As for real names, personally I have never blogged or written under anything other than my real name.’Nuff said on that.

    As for content, unless you take mullah from some one-note moneybags and hire blatherskite young journalists who will write anything to please the said moneybags, your best bet is to encourage a variety of knowledgeable contributors from both left and right. That could be especially useful in the coming months as Manchester and Lynch settle old scores and purge the UT of “undesirables”.

    Make no mistake there will inevitably be a Kristallnacht in Mission Valley. This is a power struggle and right now St. Augustine is a length ahead.

    As for monetization, I have no idea. Probably the only return is indirect to you, Dwane and Barry.

    Good luck.

  8. To the SD Rostra Blogpen:

    It has taken 2 years and 3 months (since August of 2009)
    to build this thing into the Undisputed # 1 website for SD conservatives and libertarians. It was all HARD WORK,
    every step of the way, and by the Whole Team

    Is there a compelling need to change a smashing success?
    We can document an audience of 19,100 individual readers,
    and have 2 San Diego Press Club awards to our Credit !

    If there are modest revisions to do, or bugs to work out, then
    I say “fine”. If we are talking about a full Makeover to Rostra,
    then my reaction is simply ……” Why? “

  9. Post

    Hi, Jim…

    No one is talking about a full makeover. You’re right, the site is successful, but I think it can be better with some relatively pain free changes.


  10. Tony: Thanks for the reply. I am fine with
    improvements. The early days here were
    a Struggle (!) , but we had a shared vision.

  11. To be clear, recent discussions involved some items that have been in order for some time, including better site navigation, a more efficient ability to approve legitimate comments, and adequate technical support/backup. They all involve a cost, as does search engine optimization, which would assist in gaining even more readership. While we’re at it, it makes sense to solicit a few opinions about some other subjects. Tony has agreed to assist in this regard. We appreciate it. The goal is to improve on the success of Rostra, while providing the best level of support possible. Everyone’s input is appreciated.

  12. I don’t post here often (most comments already posted reflect my beliefs and I don’t want to be redundant). I do come to the site multiple times a day. Why? Breaking news and local politics. I have found you have a knack for scooping stories ahead of the U-T and others.

    I stopped posting comments on the U-T site because I do not want to be identified. I have a website that deals with local issues related to a specific area, so I understand the difficulty of maintaining and policing the site, etc. on my own time and dime. I do not sell advertising because I don’t want to have it seen as an endorsement. That may have to change in the near future, but if I ever do sell advertising it will be from vendors with whom my readers would benefit.

    Maybe it’s time for a fundraiser?

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