The BLOG FLUME -- Time to Vote!

We wrap up our virtual reality show, "Persister," by asking you to cast your ballot for the best new Blog Flume writer.

Written by Robert Niles
Published: October 29, 2004 at 7:51 PM

Well, you've read all the candidates. Now it is time for the website to vote!

For the past weeks, you've been reading Blog Flumes contributed by our team of five candidates, each vying to be named the next Blog Flume writer here on Theme Park Insider. Here's your chance to let me know what you think. Which candidate do you believe did the best job? Whose work would make you check back on Theme Park Insider several times a week to read new columns and comments?

To refresh your memory, here are the candidates:

J. Dana:

  • A Bad Day on the Mummy
  • It's a Scary, Incredible, Wacko Halloween Season
  • John Franklin:

  • The Good, the Bad and the Interesting
  • The Wide, Wide, World of Theme Parks
  • Kenny Hitt:

  • That French Word All Over Again
  • Who Needs Tradition?
  • Joe Llorens:

  • Fantasies and Frights
  • Screamin' and Eatin'
  • Russell Meyer:

  • Hold On To Your Hats
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
  • So now, let's cast your vote! You can also submit a comment below, or e-mail me a private note about any of the candidates. If you do submit a public comment, please keep it positive -- talk about the candidate you liked best. I want to thank each of the candidates for sticking their necks out here, and don't want to see any of them slammed for taking a chance.

    Voting is now closed.

    Thanks, again, to all the candidates! Great job, guys; it'll be a tough decision!

    Readers' Opinions

    From John Franklin on October 29, 2004 at 8:56 PM
    I feel the best writer for the Blog Flume is Kevin Baxter.
    From David Klawe on October 30, 2004 at 2:47 AM
    I also have to add my vote to Kevin Baxter, he did a GREAT job........
    From John Franklin on October 30, 2004 at 5:51 PM
    Hey, people, we all forgot one other writer for the Blog Flume. Who thinks Robert Niles did a great job writing these articles?
    From Robert Niles on October 30, 2004 at 10:07 PM
    Um, no one. That's why we're having the competition....
    From Robert Niles on October 31, 2004 at 4:12 PM
    Well, at this point I javen't received a single comment about any of the writers since I posted this article. And once I filtered out a few lame attempts at ballot stuffing, we've very few votes, as well.

    What am I to assume here? No one much cares? They're all about the same? What do I need to do to make this a must-read column for people?

    Again, feedback welcomed....

    From J. Dana on October 31, 2004 at 5:23 PM
    Come on, people....VOTE!! Don't wait till, complain, litigate, hang some chads, do whatever it takes....JUST VOTE. I did....and yes, I was one of those lame dumbs-dumbs who tried to stuff the ballot box (hey, I lived in Florida the past 4 years...force of habit).

    Robert, although it would not be prudent for me to say who I'd like to see writing the Blog Flume (I have a dog in the fight, so to speak), if you had a category for ABSOLUTELY NOT, I'd definitely pick one or two writers I think I'd vote ABSOLUTELY NOT. No names publicly, because politics is dirty enough.

    However, in keeping with our election week theming, all I can say is, I ask for your vote. I'd love to take up where Kevin left off and keep everyone up-to-date on the goings-on with theme parks twice per week. Vote for me and I promise you higher taxes, fewer jobs, but a heckuva fun ride on the Blog Flume.

    From Kenny Hitt on October 31, 2004 at 7:00 PM
    Please vote for me, because I really need the meager paycheck this job would provide.

    What can I say? I'm honest with my constituency.

    From Joe Llorens on October 31, 2004 at 9:28 PM
    In the spirit of hara-kiri, I'd like to officially take myself out of the running for the job. Both my blogs were adequate at best and I couldn't even get my second one to spark any kind of conversation. I honestly feel that any of the other "candidates" would do a better, more consistent job with the blog than I would should I have won the job.

    I get much more enjoyment from commenting on stories and scoops than I get from trying to find them myself. Good luck to the other people in the running, may the best blogger win.

    "Blogger." What an awesome word.)

    From John Franklin on October 31, 2004 at 10:17 PM
    Higher taxes and meager paychecks. Are you guys trying to tell us something?
    I admit my articles are not the typical Blog Flume either. However, there are those out there that want my type of articles for a complete coverage of what is going on.
    So, Robert, how about a new column called The Insider or the Weekly Wrapup or the Weekly Round up or the Wide , Wide World of Theme Parks?
    I do know one thing, my last article got more comments than any of the other articles in round two.

    These are the statistics for both rounds:
    Joe Llorens : 31 comments
    Kenny Hitt : 40 comments
    Russell Meyer:38 comments
    J. Dana: 46 comments
    J. Franklin: 52 comments

    Round one stats:
    Llorens 26
    Hitt 31
    Meyer 27
    Dana 28
    Franklin 25
    Round Two stats:
    Llorens 5
    Hitt 9
    Meyer 11
    Dana 18
    Franklin 27
    One thing you have to say about my articles, I do get the comments.

    Robert, you can always decide who should write this column based on the number of comments.
    Robert, since Dana and I have the most comments, how about a third round with only Dana and I writing an article? And see how many comments these new articles will generate.
    Or better yet, how about 4 weeks where Dana and I will each supply an article and see who gets the most comments?
    And then in December decide who writes this thing based on the total number of comments all six articles generated.

    Hey Meyer, it's your turn to give us your two cents.

    Also, Kevin Baxter, WHERE ARE YOUR TWO PENNIES?

    From Russell Meyer on November 1, 2004 at 8:52 AM
    In my opinion, number of comments posted on a Blog Flume isn't a fair judge of the quality of that article- as we've all seen, a statement made in a comment can spark further comments not related to the original article. However, if an article did not receive any comments, that would indicate that the writer had failed to capture their audience's attention. Luckily, this was not the case with any of the competitors for the Blog Flume.

    I feel that it is important for a Blog Flume writer to be enthusiastic and well balanced (read: covering more than just articles about Disney). I feel that I have excelled in providing a balanced view of the theme park world by reporting on more than just the two or three major theme park chains.

    While it may appear a thankless job, I enjoy staying informed, and in turn, providing the readers of TPI with the latest, best and most thorough theme park news on the web today. It may seem that to perform this job is to spend two hours before the deadline to do research on a couple of stories- the job is much more than that. It requires someone who is plugged into the goings-on in the theme park universe.

    I believe that I am "the right writer, for the right website, at the right time"!

    From Robert Niles on November 1, 2004 at 11:24 AM
    Well, I consider page view traffic a better indicator of an article's popularity than the number of comments elicited.

    And it is tough to judge a writer on either of those criteria, given that each had just two columns to write, on very different news days. J. Dana's first column came on a day when news broke of a death at Universal Studios Florida. Obviously, that story will generate quite a bit of interest and comment on the site. But other days, with less happening, provide less material to work with.

    What I want to see is who, in their two columns, did the most with the material they had to work with for those two days? Who wrote with strong command of the language, clear formatting, sound insight and an interesting voice?

    *Those* are the criteria for selecting our next writer.

    From Ben Mills on November 1, 2004 at 11:28 AM
    Yeah, look at my Flumes. They've never gotten too many replies, but they're absolutely brilliant!

    Joking aside, a helluva lot of it just comes down to the stories that you get on your day. The Mummy death incident would have provoked a large number of comments no matter who had covered it, although I think J did well in increasing interest in that one.

    From Joe Lane on November 1, 2004 at 11:29 AM
    Kevin set an unusual precedent when it comes to writing The Blog Flume--something most news updates don't usually include--biting sarcasm and quick wit. As useful as news details are, what makes the Flumes enjoyable to read is often the humor that one injects into the articles (a la The Daily Show).

    This kind of stance also served to stir up emotions--and stirred-up emotions generate comments and converstation! TPI is a reliable news source, a great service for safety and accident information and, as important as all these things, a tight community of theme park fans and experts. Communication is a key not just in socializing, but exchanging ideas and viewpoint--maybe getting people to see things in a different light.

    I think all the Persister contestants made a great effort. There's room for improvement for everyone, and a need to settle on a blogging style that is consistant and easy to follow. Sadly, we can only choose one writer to fill Kev's shoes. I've placed my vote. Best of luck to you all.

    From Michael Patalano on November 2, 2004 at 5:42 PM
    I definitely agree that people should be voting on content, not comments. I put my vote in, so to take the words of P. Diddy... Vote or Die.


    From J. Dana on November 2, 2004 at 6:35 PM
    Yeah, just racking up alot of comments--although desirable--isn't the measure of a Flumer's ability. For example, if I wrote: "Disney is buying Islands of Adventure and turning it into an expanded parking lot," I'm sure I'd get loads and loads of comments. But the fact that I lied, or reported something incorrectly, negates all those comments.
    From steve lee on November 3, 2004 at 10:06 AM
    Crap. I think I voted for Buchanan by mistake.
    From Robert Niles on November 3, 2004 at 10:59 AM
    Now *those* would be some interesting columns!
    From Jason Moore on November 5, 2004 at 7:55 AM
    So how goes the voting and the decision making Robert? I haven't seen anything new on the site in a few days now.
    From J. Dana on November 5, 2004 at 12:05 PM
    It's held up, Jason, while the supreme court reads the most recent Blogs.
    From Jason Moore on November 5, 2004 at 2:00 PM
    Thanks J.Dana! So is it the absentees or the provisionals that are causing the problem?
    From TH Creative on November 5, 2004 at 2:47 PM
    I like Kenny Hitt. But, to be honest Kenny, on this site my vote might be calculated as a -1.
    From Andrew Shauer on November 5, 2004 at 3:25 PM
    I too enjoyed Kenny's blogs
    From Kenny Hitt on November 6, 2004 at 8:20 AM
    T, I appreciate the sentiment, all the same.
    From Robert Niles on November 6, 2004 at 2:36 PM
    I've informed all the candidates of the winner, whom I've asked to start on Monday.

    Thanks, again, to all five candidates, and to everyone who commented and voted!

    From Kevin Baxter on November 8, 2004 at 4:48 AM
    Sorry I have been absent from everything lately, but I am STILL in the process of moving and stuff for that OTHER site. That stuff, while necessary, makes my most boring Flumes seem like MadTV skits.

    I want to thank everyone for the nice comments, but I have to say the biggest compliment is that so many of you vied for my job in an even more thankless manner than writing the Flume usually was. It's nice to know that a job that was often a chore for me apparently didn't come off that way. I hope the winner can not only keep the Flume interesting for TPI visitors, but interesting to write also. I lasted two years. Can we get two more from my replacement?

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