Paul Wilson: The Bottom Line on Comments and Commenters


John Landsberg

Yesterday Hearne pointed out an article written by John Landsberg, media mogul at Bottom Line Communications

I hadn’t seen the story but apparently Hearne is among Landsberg’s eight or ten readers and he asked me for my thoughts. So I decided to write a story about it for one reason and one reason only; hoping I could write a story Mysterious J could get all of the way through.

In Landsberg’s September 25th post entitled, “Popular Science Joins Others in Shutting Off Comments,” his thesis was based on the 114 year old magazine announcing it was shutting down its blog comments section, stating that comments can be “bad for science.”

Landsberg pointed this out as a trend “sweeping the country.” 

For the record, I don’t know John, never met him. I understand he’s a good, Christian dude, but that aside, the story made no sense to me from that point on.

Landsberg stated that most sites are now requiring a Facebook log in to avoid the dreaded “anonymous” comments he claimed “often are mean-spirited, often follow an agenda and can diminish all the hard work and effort that went into producing the original story.”

mysterious_apes_by_humon-d4j7ojsHere’s where Landsberg went bat shit crazy, forcing me to re-read it three times before the blood shot out of my eyes.

He stated; “On some blog sites anonymous commenters have simply all but hijacked them. On one Kansas City blog site people with fake names such as “Hot Carl,” “Orphan of the Road,” “Balbonis Moleskine” and “Harley” respond to virtually every story in order to attract attention to themselves.”

I can only assume he’s referencing KC Confidential.

“Hot Carl” is an infrequent commenter at best, and when he does comment, it’s to the point, well reasoned and often very funny. Never once have I read an Orphan post and thought, “I bet he’s sitting at home just giddy that he saw his name in print and got all this attention.”

Balbonis Moleskine, far from a site or comment hijacker, has ripped me a new one from time to time, but I like everything he has to say and enjoy his comments. I don’t think he’s there simply to attract attention to himself either.

Landsberg continues; “On the other hand, the popular site does not screen responses and conversations can get ugly very quickly. However, they often seem to elicit the true pulse of the public on hot-button issues of the day.”

Tony Botello

Tony Botello

Hold on, his original premise was the elimination of anonymous comments because they have a tendency to go “mean spirited,” but he points out Tony’s as the “popular” blog site,  made up of 99% anonymous comments, that, in his words, most certainly diminish the hard work and the intent of the story.

Not that posting links is hard work, but you get my drift.

At this point I was wondering if it was just schizophrenic ramblings because I was totally lost as Landsberg had just taken both sides of the issue, as if not expecting readers to notice.

Here’s Landsberg’s money quote; in his disingenuous charge against KCC and his attempt to kiss Tony’s ass, he added;

“It also is a trick for sites to try and generate more hits.”

That’s Hearne’s little secret to build hits, let people comment?

Mr. Landsberg, you’ve truly lost all credibility with me at this point. Allow me to review the “popular” site, “Tony’s Kansas City” in a 60 second scroll down his current headlines:


Jordan Carver

* Gemma Massey hotness and a quick look at Kansas City mainstream media links tonight

* Melissa Debling starts this collection of Kansas City links with her impressive calender hotness. Take a peek:

* Lacey Chabert inspires this collection of Kansas City morning links with her recent lingerie hotness for Maxim.

John – if I may call you John – what’s Jordan Carver have to do with my morning news? What’s Gemma Massey and her hotness have to do with my “mainstream media links” tonigh?t And how does Lacey Chabert and her lingerie hotness add to the meaning of my “morning links?”



You’re the media authority, can I ask you why Tony does that?

There’s one and only one reason; to build erroneous hits. Nothing more, nothing less. People trying  to Google Lacey’s lingerie hottness or “Maxim” accidentally get directed to Tony’s.

And voila, whats he get from that? A hit.

So why do you seem to want to blame KCC people for just commenting as a hit building tool yet overlook Tony’s overt attempt to do exactly that by the use of cheesecake lingerie pics? Maybe you simply think your pal Tony just has a soft porn addiction that he likes to share with his readers because none of the rest of your story makes any sense.

Come on, John, you’re better than that. 

You are, aren’t you?

sportswife14Let me caution you, however.  I sincerely hope you’re not just staring at Lacy’s “Maxim lingerie hotness” because you know what Jimmy Carter said about committing adultery it in your heart.

Landsberg continues; “Uncivil comments not only polarized readers, but they often changed a participant’s interpretation of the news story itself,” noted a column in the New York Times.

Where, Mr. Landsberg, can you find any more uncivil, foul, hateful comments than at Tony’s?

Allow me to add what the real conclusion of your story should have been had you had approached it with a modicum of journalistic integrity.

Blogs like Popular Science and many others have one intent, to push forth an agenda. You know that, you’re a media and PR guru.

What do these sites have no interest in?

Well reasoned, fact based comments in opposition to their agenda. That’s the real reason they shut down their comment section. “I want to use my site to promote global warming and I have no interest in giving you a platform to prove I’m full of crap!”

A secondary reason can also be that some sites can’t afford to staff a sufficient number of moderators to read and approve and/or screen comments to eliminate gratuitous usage of the N word, the F word, racist comments and personal attacks that are allowed to spew forth at the popular Kansas City site…what’s it called…oh yeah, Tony’s Kansas City.

syphilisteaser20130129081447Landsberg’s final quote:

“At Bottom Line we must approve all comments on stories and make sure they are relevant to the topic and not hateful or mean-spirited.”

Guess what? You’re never going to believe this, but there were no comments on your story. Not one.

The bottom line is, Mr. Landsberg, I’m sure you could have gotten this more wrong, I’m just not certain how.
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31 Responses to Paul Wilson: The Bottom Line on Comments and Commenters

  1. Orphan of the Road says:

    Guess that is why he has allowed several of my comments on his post. Actually everyone of them.

    Wonder if my reply to his blog will make the cut this time.

  2. balbonis moleskine says:

    Odd article, dont know what I did to rustle his jimmies? Ive been making sports picks on here recently and occasionally thrown in my two cents but Im hardly a big contributor.

    Didnt you two guys work together back in the day at that big campus on 119th street that has the cheap office space? :^)

    The idea of people taking a nom de plume isnt exactly new even to the digital age. People were doing it 400 years ago for really similar reasons.

  3. harley says:

    I went to his site once…boring as hell.
    It was just “breaking news” about a bunch of people nobody knew about.
    And he’s wrong about generating hits…these sites don’t sell ads.
    Tonys get the worst comments…and now glaze is over there and there
    are the same old…worn out beat down comments every time glaze
    posts a article.
    But really…its all a gamefor fun andenterttanment. I get on…tell people
    things backed with facts/figures and then the rest of the kcc gangs
    comesout with attacks not against the theme of the article…it comes
    out about personal stuff they know nothing about.
    This is all a game…this isn’trocket science…everyone gets their
    laughs ….everyone gets to vent anger….and its a chance to
    break up the day byposting and reading some stuff thatcan
    be very creative and funny. I could see some of the commentators
    writng comedy stuff for glaze.
    If we wanted it to serious we’d end up boring the crap out of everyone.
    Go to redstate…or huff post…or chucks favorite…there’s
    a lot more b.s.and attacks on those than any site.
    This is entertainment…hearne needs something to do in between
    checking how his trust fund stocks are doing….Wilson needs another
    job…orphan needs some help…glaze needs an avenue to
    say shit because none of the women he runs with are past a
    3rd grade education….I play with the kcc crew and see what
    funny way they can describe me….its not personal…its one
    big freaking circus.
    Most ofgthe comments are prettycivil…but after reading this
    landsberg crap I ‘d like to see him takeon glaze. I mean theres the
    chief clown of the bunch. His articles spew some of the funniest
    nonsense since guttenberg started printing.
    Its all fun and games…too bad this nerd has the audacity to state
    ” “Uncivil comments not only polarized readers, but they often changed a participant’s interpretation of the news story ”

    this guy on some meth or blow. Has he read kc confidential. Theres no
    news story. Glazers ffotball picks…reviews of shows no ones seen or heard…
    the guy with the funnygerman accent writing about air travel…
    Wilson stories that are usally old 7 day news by the time he gets them
    poster…..winey boys anger that his 3k pic with Romney gets a high
    bid of 30 cents on ebay…orphan bakcing down from a bet for me
    to prove my house price and art collection…hearne bashing a guy for
    playing at knuckleheads (hearne be careful…you run down kunckleheads
    ad those bouncers will spill your blood)….stories southerland that
    are so far out even those scientists couldn’t understand it….and lat but
    not least chuckles anti black /hsiapnic/muslim/hindu/American indian
    / aluetian/Asian/Polynesian rants that are more common on here
    than ads for roger the fat plumber who $900 to unplug a clogged toilet…
    of no name clowns and wanna be writers who found the perfect outlet
    for some fun and games and a lot of laughs.
    i’m rolling laughing about this guy..hey get hearne to comment…
    I mean he’s the main driver of this big clown car!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. chuck says:

    The optics on this brouhaha in a tea cup are very interesting Paul.

    Ok, thats a fu*kin lie, I just wanted to use the word “Optics”. How popular is that word these days? “Gravitas” weeps and gnashes it’s teeth.

    Actually, here are MY optics on Paul’s article and commenting here on kcconfidential.

    I think it is interesting, from my point of view (Optics here?), that the first 2 guys who commented have politcs and world views dramatically different from mine. Orphan and balbonis are, in my opinion, about 180 out from my spot up here on Golgotha.

    That said, I read every word those two guys write and take their opinions very serioulsy. They are always, well thought out, usually mordant and will as often as not, open my mind up to other possibilities with respect to the given subject.

    Indeed, all comments on the various and sundry blogs throughout this city are, in my opinion again, important by way of catharsis, communication (No matter how vicious.) and the inescapable fact, that reading another’s opinion, in some respect, MAKES you walk in his/her shoes for just a minute. This discourse, this anonymous Lingua Franca, can be frequently tautological and inane and then brilliant by way of experience, history and hope.

    It would seem that Mr. Landsberg’s corallary with respect to kcconfidential, TKC and comments in general, is an agenda driven “The model IS the reality” effort, that is hung by it’s own petard.

    Comments, Harley’s included, are important. If after you read Harley’s take on anything, you beleive, as I do, that his indifference fo consistancy makes his writings imply everything and nothing, they are still really fun to read. Everyone has an opinion and what could be more democratic and egalitarian than to listen to them?

    I don’t mind.

    How ’bout them optics?

    • Orphan of the Road says:

      If we are all saying the same thing, it isn’t a discussion. It’s just gabbing back and forth.

      As all the criminology books will tell you, an eyewitness is the least reliable source.

  5. chuck says:


    “to consistancy…”

  6. The Singing Slanderella says:

    TKC? Popular? With who? The retarded? It’s all turned to shit. The Dead Blog Media. Too much opinion accepted as fact, too much unverifiable nonsense, too much made-up stuff. And way too much racism.

    And too much Slanderella.


    • admin says:


      He’s still pulling in some numbers though.

      But he’s starting to become more than a little predictable in many of the ways you’ve observed. I mean, at what point do the words “TKC exclusive” and “awesome TKC tipsters” go from being redundant to cliche boring?

      I worked with Tony for nearly two years and he did some really exceptional work, stepping outside of the rut he’s been in for however many years. He doesn’t make any money doing this and he puts in a ton of time. But he doesn’t really seem to get that making even the slightest effort to confirm something is important.

      And the bottom line is that while anybody can spend four or six hours a day linking to other websites stories, what does it really accomplish? It’s kind of a Cliff Notes for people who are too lazy or unmotivated to keep up on their own. And maybe there’s a market for that, but if it was a huge one, probably the Star, the Pitch, somebody else would be doing it.

      Toss in the endless stream of unconfirmed rumors and “facts” and you get…TKC.

      It’s amusing how he gets wind of press release material and dumps it out as “TKC exclusives” by beating mainstream news who have to take the extra hour or three to properly report it.

      He takes a juvenile pride in those “scoops,” which there’s nothing wrong with, but is kind of silly to anybody that understands the way information flows.

      He’s a pretty good guy though.

      • Orphan of the Road says:

        Tony raises good strawmen and is indeed a Cliff Notes of WTF reports.

        Would Richard Sanders or Poor Richard pass Bottom Line’s sniff test? LOL

  7. Mysterious J says:

    First of all, I am honored by the shout out!

    However, I am sad to report that I honestly just couldn’t make it. I started skimming at about the point of Fat Tony’s pic and ended up throwing in the towel soon after.

    I will say that this was a good effort in the sense that I have made clear that Hearne’s feuds are one of the main reasons I frequent this joint, so referencing Tony and Landsberg should have made it a slam dunk…but alas.

    Sorry to let you down. You truly seem like a good sport. I am not here to be a comment section celebrity, just to have a giggle at Hearne’s foibles from time to time. I appreciate that he generally has a sense of humor about it and provides this sand box for us to play in.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Oh, man, MJ, I’m so sorry I let you down yet again. Maybe if you pick a topic I can do something you’re interested in, I can leave out Fat Tonys pic and you can possibly get all the way through for once; be that as it may, I appreciate your repeated attempts to conquer my horrific stories.
      You’re welcome for the shout out, you deserve it and I AM a good sport! Even negative comments are fine as long as they come with intelligent, well reasoned form and style. I don’t suffer fools well, however, so when they come from left field, full of incoherent ramblings, I tend to just throw someone up on the ole white marble altar, rip out their heart and scream, “Whooooo’s NEXT?”
      Thanks again. My only goal in life, at this point, is to get you all the way through one of my boring ass novels.

  8. Brandon Leftridge says:

    This is all very hilarious. I love all of the commenters that Landsberg hates, which makes perfect sense. I don’t know… internet commenting is an inherently weird thing. Often times, I’m befuddled by internet commenters. I just don’t get why you’d spend the time. I’ve got a lot of shit to do, typically. And if I have free time? The last thing I’d want to do is donate words to some random website that like, 15 people will see. But I get it… (I guess.)

    It’s nice to be heard.

    And when we’re rotting away from cancer, isn’t that what we all want? To die knowing that someone heard us?

    That said, I like that my site allows basically anything, but you have to have a name to say it. The “anonymous” thing is way dumb. And while “Harley” probably isn’t actually a dude named Harley, he’s mostly harmless… plus, I have his IP address.

    I’ve also been sniffing model-airplane glue all night, so I’m a little out of sorts. Please forgive.

    • harley says:

      and I have yours lefty…and information that we dug up.
      Noones immune from the famous hackers and researchers…
      in fact almost everyone who quotes on here can be found…
      just gotta know who to go with.
      but I don’t care…its fun and entertainment…and
      if you think its more you’re a nut.
      tony’s an aggregator…he puts together others stories…
      but i’m willing to be he gets more hits than kcc.
      why…he’s got news you really can’t find anywhere else.
      I don’t subscribe to the stcar so I really need to know
      the homicide count in kansa city…makes my day@@@@@
      Heanre has no news…kind of like the star magazine of
      kc blogs….but its falling way below the level hearne is
      capable of…..and we know heearne can do better.
      aggregators…very popular right now…just combining stories
      for people to read…no exlusive stories…just bringing hundreds
      of stories together for easy reading…heard of drudge report..
      getting millions and milli.ons of hits everyday!!!
      it does work….

    • chuck says:

      Faint praise Lefty.

      Meter for our spirit, would salve our wounds, this tun of treasure, these tennis balls, are returned forthwith.

      • paulwilsonkc says:

        Chuck, I was waiting for Brandon to say I’m the only reason he reads KCC, but alas, it never happened. I’ll have to be content just getting Mysterious all the way through one measly story.

  9. paulwilsonkc says:

    Interesting comments, each and every one. I think KCC does an exceptional job in what it does. Some people are so over anxious to bash you they’ll take anything as an excuse, most recently I read most of my stories are 7-10 days old.
    First, that’s just wrong, but I won’t worry about facts any more than they seem to and I’ll give you Restoration Hardware. There’s still two highly pissed people at the Star and KCBJ over that one!
    This is a site for observation and commentary. The Bottom Line story he wrote was Sept 25th; it just got put in front of me, but clearly holds interest; Brandon even came out to comment, and for that, I thank you. Point being, the discussion is as relevant as if it came out same day. This is color commentary.
    I don’t write, at 6:30am Sunday; THREE PEOPLE SHOT IN KC TUESDAY NIGHT, like some kick ass KCC tipster just gave it to me. If I write on it, it’s analysis, it’s not pretending its news to you.
    Hands down, best site in KC and I’m proud to add my small part. Plus you all know what a broke loser I am; without this second job, I couldn’t pay my power bill, there would be no gas for the boat and lord only knows how I’d cover all the condo expense at the beach. Thank you, Hearne, you make just scraping by a little easier for me.

  10. paulwilsonkc says:

    And a final thought; those you always want to debate “facts and figures”, but only when it fits their agenda and want to claim TKC has bigger numbers than KCC, go quantify, or at least acknowledge the effect

    * Lacey Chabert inspires this collection of Kansas City morning links with her recent lingerie hotness for Maxim.

    Done over and over has on total hits. My guess is its enormous. Strip the false hits away and KCC has a more significant readership, I promise.

    • Orphan of the Road says:

      Wilson, you’ve long been crowned the King of the Dip Sheetz, rider on the storm and have been losing so long it looks just like winning. Wait till you get to your Golden Years. Yippie Ki-Yay Masey-Furgunson!

      When Brandon responds and gives benediction to we scorned commentators it is absolution of our opinions. Anyone who can endure the Royals season after season is bound for heaven for as a Royals fan they have spent their time in hell.

      I’m taking #7, Sammy Halbert against the field at Pomona. Over/under on teams changing their racist names? Will someone other than Zook, Stoltz or Martin win a Rounders VIP?

      I think I’ll tease Yokum to break the Rounders pattern. About 35 of them entering competition next season.

      Maybe the Washington Football Bigots and the KU Terrorists to reflect the true tenor of their nicknames.

    • harley says:

      truth be known…hearne could do much better than he has.
      maybe he’s gotten lazy..i think he has.
      there was a brightspot there when Wilson did some
      really good stories that maybe kcc could be a go to sight.
      but it tailed offr.
      I have heard more and more people inthis city “secretly”
      reading tonys site because he’s got info on politics…scandals…
      stories no other media would write or present.
      sure…the pics are unique…and some of his negativity gets
      in the way of what most aggregators do…but theres dozens
      of quality writers in this town who could contribute to this
      site with quality writing. Professionals…people with real
      world writing talents…hearne could get them…and make
      this site soar….
      we’re now facing one of the most crucial few months in this
      nation…and the populace is totally lost on what the “truth ” is…
      someone needs to be the voice that they can gturn to to
      get the real information…..
      hearne….you can do better…I hope you will…its not about
      david cook or who’s reading tony or knuckleheads or
      the music at granda….there’s bigger and better opportunities
      for your site to really take off.
      I think you need a new lineup of writers…but then hearne
      doesn’t need the money and proably the drive to excel
      at this is probably gone….maybe he could turn itover
      to some young…aggressive…savy….hungry people and
      make this site what it could be…

  11. Nick says:

    Landsberg has deleted comments forever.

    Most of the ‘disappeared’ concern less than flattering takes on religion in general and Catholicism more specifically; John’s extremely thin skinned about people picking on “The Church” and quickly adopted a ‘screech and delete’ policy toward said opinions. Tres jejune…

    p.s. – he also didn’t find a jape referring to Gary Lezak sleeping with Wendy to be as humorous as I anticipated. Go figure.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Nick, you own that one, no one appreciates tasteless rumors like your reference to Lezak sleeping with Wendy. That’s a pretty low rent comment. It was Stormy he slept with!

      • Nick says:

        Now, see? That’s what I get for not double-checking my sources.

        Guess I’m doomed to submitting stale links to tkc for a career…

        • paulwilsonkc says:

          Nick, don’t dispair; you can email me for tips on life, how to write captivating headlines and killer scoops. I can even mentor you into being one of my kick ass tipsters.
          I know, hard to believe, but I was once like you, look at me now!
          But enough about ME; what do YOU think about me?
          Thanks for your comments, as always.

    • Andrew says:

      Exactly. And not only that, he edits comments—-not to remove profanity or correct grammar, he actually changes content. He edited a comment of mine once, and yeah, it was about religion. It wasn’t rude or anything; just an on-topic comment about a post of his about the church, and he deemed it critical or whatever and changed it until it barely resembled what I wrote. I decided not to bother with him after that. He’s clearly too thin-skinned about his catholic church and unwilling or unable to think critically about a number of issues, so I’m not going to waste my time with him and his site with the circa-1998 design.

  12. the dude says:

    This Landsnerg guy sounds like a total, clueless, pandering idiot.
    That’s all I have to say on this matter, boy that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  13. Hot Carl says:

    Leawood John Landsberg has had a hard on for me for many, many years. Not sure if you can Google his years of craziness on but I know Hearne has had similar run-ins in with him. He’s got to be one of the most childish people I’ve ever run across on the internets. The very fact that he continues to call a message board a “blog” is just a small look into his immature soul.

    He once told me that my comments to him on said message board were hurting his business so my sig line has read for many years “Bottom Line Communications, the Best Damn PR Firm Known to Man!” I don’t think I had nearly the influence he accused me of having.

    Live long and prosper crazy old man!

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Hot, be honest, you just made this comment to see your name in lights, didnt you?
      As I said, I don’t know the guy from anything, but wrote what I did simply because his analysis was so wildly off base. I’m sure that now, I too have garnered a black eye, as he commented his “message board” that I should really enjoy being a “KCC Staffer.”
      I didnt have the nerve to tell him its only for the money…..

      • Hot Carl says:

        Now you’ve gone and made him mad. Don’t ever tell him what you know about his dad and JFK…

        • paulwilsonkc says:

          Less mad than you’ve made ME for, once again, commenting on every single story, hijacking the entire post as part of your plot with Hearne to increase hit rates and to see your own name in my story!

  14. paulwilsonkc says:

    Why thank you, John. I now count you as a fan, reader and “dis3ple.”

    JohnLandsberg says:
    October 6, 2013 at 7:32 pm
    It is quite an honor being a Hearne staffer. Keep up the good work!!

    (You don’t think that was snarky sarcasm do you?)

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