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January 1, 2008 |

By Dustin Rowles | Comment Diversions | January 1, 2008 |

I think the day that Pajiba turned the corner, from obscure movie review hobby site to relatively obscure pop-culture site with some goddamn personality, was the day that we switched on comments. At the time, it was a fairly difficult decision — most other movie review sites had not done it, and I was terrified we were going to realize the reason why: Either the commenters would tear us to pieces, or worse, they’d never materialize and we’d feel like the jackasses who invited the entire class to his birthday party only to end up alone with three kegs of PBR and a five-gallon cooler of vodka and Kool Aid. But, miraculously, you folks came. And a lot of you brought your own drinks: Scotch, Whiskey, a lot of international beer, and some of you bastards even brought roofies. And now, Pajiba is one of the most commented upon sites in the webosphere — there’s not another place, I’d argue, that you’ll find as many well thought out, intelligent, thoughtful, and amusing comments. Look around — where else, besides blogs devoted to politics, will you find 30 - 200 comments per posts from commenters who have more to say than, “First!” and “Sweet! I’d tap that”? Since May of 2006, when we rebuilt the site from scratch after the Department of Homeland Security seized our old site, we’ve received nearly 60,000 comments. It’s amazing; it’s probably the single thing that I’m most proud of about Pajiba: The intelligent, hilarious community that it has attracted. A lot of folks, in fact, have suggested that they come for the reviews, but stay for the commenters, and I’m not in the least ashamed of that.

We’ve been mentioned in quite a few major publications by now, but one of the nicest plaudits that I think we’ve ever received was from Rich, over at FourFour, who — when asked what blogs he recommends at the Rock Critics Music Symposium — wrote of our site: “They do provide lengthy, intelligently written film and TV criticism. What’s most amazing is the devotion of their readers: people responding not to flashy images or quick, thoughtless sound bites, but actual text. With our attention spans getting progressively shorter, Pajiba’s devotees are truly hope for the future.” It was a warm fuzzy moment for me, and Rich was right — after all, what other site has a drinking game devoted to its comment section?

Sure, over the last couple of years, you folks have scared a few reviewers away and nearly chased away some others; we’ve had our fair share of squabbles; and you’ve deflated my ego more than … well, damn near every day. Sometimes, it’s felt like a love/hate relationship, and on other days, I want to find some of you and bust a knuckle in your ass (there is nothing more disheartening than to spend half a day on a review and then, 30 seconds after its [sic] posted, to be scolded for a typo or a grammatical mistake).

But, on most days, you folks have made writing for this site not only worthwhile, but a goddamn pleasure. We’ve gotten to know some of you over the years — both from the comments section and from private emails — and a few of our reviewers come from those ranks (Ranylt, Stacey, Socalledcousins, and Vermillion) and I, for one, often stick around just to see what a certain commenter is going to say — if one of us doesn’t meet the scathing and bitchy quota, a commenter or 15 always will. We don’t tailor our reviews to our commenters, obviously, but don’t think that, occasionally, I don’t write something and think, “Hmmm. Well, I know how a certain commenter is going to respond to that.” We’ve also learned an immense amount from you all, about movies, TV, music, and books, pop culture, and liquor. I hope it’s been a mutually beneficial relationship.

At any rate, in the new year, I’m going to explore and experiment with new ways to get the commenters a little more involved. But, until then, I just wanted to recognize and show our appreciation for all of the contributions you have made to the site. We know damn good and well that it wouldn’t be the same without you, and that you all make Pajiba what it is. Besides, someone needs to remind us that the backlash is nigh and otherwise keep our standards high. And while we appreciate everyone who has commented on the site — yes, even you, Pookie — I’d just like to recognize the current Eloquents (coined by a former commenter and current staffer, Ranylt), those who have contributed the most to the comments section over the past year (and I’ll hyperlink this page from our Staff page, where The Eloquents are recognized as a staff member). First, I’d just like to give a special thank you to the 10 commenters who have contributed the most to the site, by number of comments (I won’t reveal the number, except to say that B-Slim (now a Pajiba institution) has left over 1,000 and that all ten have provided more text to this site than all but a few of us staffers):

1. Barbado Slim
2. TK
3. Socalleddonlycousins (a.k.a. Ted Boynton)
4. Vermillion (a.k.a. Claude Weaver)
5. Samantha T
6. Brian
7. PaddyDog
8. Alex the Odd
9. Manny
10. Jerce

And then, here are our commenters who have 100 or more so far, in no order (and if you feel I’ve missed you, please send me an email): Pinkcheese, Katy, Kolby, Kevin Longrie, Alabamapink, Kathy, Loob, Stella, Pookie, Agent Scully, Daphne, Rudy, wsapnin, Mara, Emily, Armando, Scarlett Knight, Anne in Reno, Robert, JP, Bweaves, Maria, Finn, Rob, Melody, Twig, go big red, Kitty X, AM, Dammitjanet, Smokin, juliagulia, Jen, Rachael, citizen_cris, ciji, Kristen, PissBoy, greer, anikitty, Maigirl, lyricalcat, em, sansho1, becca, geetch, Rebecca, Helcat, and insertclevernamehere.

There are literally thousands more who have delurked only once or twice, and many of whom are relatively new to the site, but are nearing the 100 mark. We thank you all. Tremendously. And we wish you all the best in the New Year.

Ode to the Sandy Vagina

A New Year's Tribute to the Pajiba Comment Section / Dustin Rowles

Comment Diversions | January 1, 2008 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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