Go Ahead, Call Me Transparent

It used to be that if someone called me “transparent,” I’d be insulted. But these days, I take it as a compliment.

Technically, ScottsdaleTrails is a blog, and in the blogosphere, transparency is highly encouraged.

I promise not to get too technical on you here, and I also promise that there’s a relevant point to this.

Welcome To The Blogosphere

An article at Problogger explains a bit about what the term “transparency” means in the online world:

Great blogs  leave no question of their motives, who their partners and affiliates are, and who their authorship is. Transparency means that no matter what the blog is about, the readers know what they’re getting into. Because transparency is really about trust. Great blogs have earned the trust of their readers through their posts, their opinions, and their engagement.

So I guess the opposite of online transparency would be anonymity.

My Point, And I Do Have One

Over the past week, I’ve had three in-person conversations with ScottsdaleTrails subscribers, each of whom I was meeting for the first time.  Each of these folks shared with me that one thing they do not like about web sites that allow comments–such as ScottsdaleTrails, AZCentral.com, and many other blogs on the web today–is that the comments are often left anonymously. One woman stated that she feels that if someone is not willing to attach their actual name on a scathing rant, that they should not be submitting it in a public arena.

She then expressed appreciation to John for setting up his user profile on AZCentral.com using his real identity. “I always know how you feel on any issue,” she stated.

A gentleman commented to me yesterday, “I want to see that they’re willing to put their name to it. That they’re a stakeholder when they spout their opinion.”

Agreed. That is the ideal.

Just So You Know

Posting comments on ScottsdaleTrails requires a name (real or not) and email address (that only John & I see). As of this writing, we manually review comments as they are submitted, mostly to eliminate spam comments (you wouldn’t believe how many of those we get each day!) but also to ensure folks are not completely inappropriate.

[Note: if you don’t spend much time in the online world, you likely aren’t aware of the internet trolls. They do exist, and we will protect you from them.]

Our Commitment To You

But, because we don’t want to hinder potential conversation, ScottsdaleTrails doesn’t require full names or even your actual name when submitting a comment. We leave it up to you, but we always love to see when someone submits their full name. Taking responsibility for your opinion lends greater credibility, and helps us practice transparency, which is important to us.

After all, our names are out there for everyone to see. Way out there. (Gulp.)

You can also count on us to reveal connections and relationships to our sponsors, advertisers, affiliates and any businesses that are reviewed on ScottsdaleTrails. And we commit to pursuing balance in our writing: acknowledging positive experiences or contributions from others, along with those critical opinions we post.

As I’ve said before, if you want to ensure that your comment is published, just disagree with us.

Or call me transparent.

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