Archive for the 'Site News' Category

Several times over the past four years we have publicly raised the idea of more closely moderating our comments section. The issue always generated discussion, and the feedback has helped guide our actions. However, the site has grown to be so large that the number of problematic comments has gotten out of hand, and we’ve heard repeatedly from readers that they chose not to engage in discussion because of the unsavory tone our comments section sometimes takes.

That’s a problem. It might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s clear that taking a hands-off role in commenting is actually creating a chilling effect on the conversation.

So, in the last few months, we’ve been deleting and banning with a heavier hand, and taking note to ourselves what it is about those comments that we find unacceptable. From those notes, we’ve developed a list of broad themes. Before we add them to the template, we thought it only fair to put them up for discussion here. Tell us what you think.

Comment policy:

Sheepshead Bites is intended to be a tool to find and discuss local information. Commenting is moderated to ensure that all comments are constructive and fair. While negative comments are allowed, this is not a forum to indiscriminately bash Sheepshead Bites, other readers, local businesses or public persons. Therefore, the following policies have been implemented:

  • Comments should be relevant to the post’s contents.
  • Critical comments should be specific, relevant and constructive.
  • No personal attacks, either to businesses, agencies or people discussed above or to other commenters, are allowed under any circumstance.
  • Intolerant comments against a person or group’s race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender or age will be removed.
  • Removal and/or banning is at our discretion. If you disagree with a comment’s removal, you may e-mail us directly using the contact button at the top of this page. However, we will not engage in a debate about our terms in the comments section.
  • Any violation of the rules above may lead to the user being permanently banned.

A Merry Christmas To You…


Photo courtesy of the Brian Merlis Collection / www.Brooklynpix.com

Sheepshead Bites wishes our readers a truly Merry Christmas, and a joyous season’s greetings.

As a side note, the site will have a lighter-than-usual publishing schedule between Christmas and New Year’s.

Be well, be warm, be happy.

Our planned site maintenance appears to have gone well. We’ve still got a lot of back-end tweaking to do today to ensure the best experience possible for you readers, so we’re going to focus on that.

If you see anything acting strangely – broken links, missing images or gremlins crawling out of your computer screen – please e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com and let me know.

While I’m taking the time to make this post, I’d also like to give an ENORMOUS thank you to Ilan Patao of DangerStudio.com. Ilan, a longtime reader of Sheepshead Bites, offered to help us out with the switch. He came into the office and guided us through the entire process. Without his help, I’d probably be curled up in a dark corner, crying and sucking my thumb while my server burst into flames.

Thanks again for your patience as we make this transition. Here’s your Monday heap o’ open thread.

UPDATE: Speaking of back-end tweaking, it looks like Disqus isn’t a fan of our new configuration. It appears I may not be able to get this resolved so quickly, and new posts may not immediately allow commenting. We’re working hard to figure it out.  Fixed!!

Sheepshead Bites and Bensonhurst Bean will be undergoing technical upgrades over the holiday weekend. Most readers should not see any change in their browser, but in some cases, or in the occasion that we hit an unexpected bump, the site may go down at intervals throughout the holiday weekend.

The updates involve moving our files and databases to faster systers with upgraded technology and higher capacity. For readers this should mean a faster browsing experience and swifter navigation of the site’s pages, delivering a better user experience overall. However, we will not be updating over the three-day holiday weekend. In the event that we need to report breaking news, we will do so using the various other platforms that carry our content. Please be sure to subscribe to one or all of the following to keep informed as we make our transition:

Sheepshead Bites:

Bensonhurst Bean:

We appreciate your patience during this downtime. Thanks for reading, and supporting local independent online news. We’ll see you Tuesday!

*

This is getting to be an old story for me. The rare trip out of town, the uncommon unplugged weekend, the incommunicado expeditions. I can count on one hand how often this happens. One hand that’s been mauled by a bear.

But when it does happen there’s always a slew of big stories that, of course, wouldn’t have happened on any weekend I was here. This time it was a shooting death, a major fire, and a car versus building. Two of the three we now have stories published, but they didn’t come with the usual flurry of breaking updates and on-the-scene observations that Sheepshead Bites excels at. For that, I apologize. But everyone needs a break, right?

There is, of course, a way you can help. We did receive e-mails from readers, almost all with a link to a news story or a one-line tip that read, say, “Mad fire at East 21st St.” This is a big help, but not when I have no connection to e-mail. That’s why we’ve created a dedicated tips e-mail address that will forward the tip to multiple Sheepshead Bites writers, allowing us to get information out there faster.

Please save tips [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com to your contact books and in your phones. You can – and should – send text, video and photos via e-mail or text messaging to this address.

That said, while any information is helpful, more is more. Snap photos with your cell phones, and e-mail us descriptions of the scene. Don’t just tell us there’s a fire, tell us that the fire has drawn four firetrucks, and that the smoke is choking the streets. Tell us what roads are closed off, or where police are gathering at the scene of crime. Let us know how people are reacting, and if the situation poses an inconvenience or danger to others in the community. That kind of information allows us to get a story out even faster, keeping other readers informed about neighborhood conditions, and allowing them to act accordingly.

Tips [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com. Save it. Now.

Screw the race for the 9th Congressional District; the real vote worth watching this week was CBS New York’s Most Valuable Blogger Awards. And guess who pulled off a stunning upset there? That’s right, Sheepshead Bites. Boom, baby!

Sheepshead Bites beat out Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, Livingfreenyc, New York Places No More, Scouting New York and Second Ave. Sagas for the Editor’s Choice award in Local Affairs. No, we didn’t win the people’s vote – that went to Joe.My.God – but that’s okay with us. We’re more than happy to have been given the recognition by a group of editors over at CBS, though winning the popular vote sure would’ve been a nice touch.

Thanks to everyone who voted for us, thanks to our tipsters, and especially thanks to my colleagues, the hard-working team behind Sheepshead Bites and Bensonhurst Bean.

Sheepshead Bites wishes everyone a  happy, healthy Labor Day. We’re going to take it easy ourselves and catch up on some behind-the-scenes work. We hope you use the day to get some rest or do whatever it is you enjoy doing.

Here’s an open thread to keep you busy. And, as always, if any breaking news comes up we’ll be on it.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the day.

CBS affiliates around the nation are holding “Most Valuable Blogger” competitions in their local markets, and Sheepshead Bites has found itself a finalist in New York’s Local Affairs category!

We’re not sure who nominated us, and we only found out from another contender that we were in it, but we sure do appreciate the recognition. And making the cut to be a finalist is a pretty big honor as is…

Aww, who are we kiddin’? We want to win!

Let’s show these other bloggers who’s boss and vote the hell out of this contest, Biters. You can vote up to once per day per category, meaning you can check back in tomorrow and vote again (and the day after that, and the day after that…). Then share that link with your friends and tell them to do the same.

Winning this contest will be another reminder to the city media that Sheepshead Bay has a voice, so let’s dominate.

And, hey, if we win we’ll have a party or somethin’.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE.

Thanks to all who came out on Friday for Sheepshead Bites Night at MCU Park (a.k.a. Cyclones stadium). Sure, the game itself got rained out (allowing you to enjoy another game at the park any time between now and August 19, 2012 – contact MCU Park for details), but we still had a great time.

Not only did we get to do most of our on-field presentation, in which we had the spectacular students from Covenant Ballet Theater of Brooklyn Dance Academy give an enjoyable pre-game show, as well as honoring St. Mark Catholic Church on their 150th Anniversary with a certificate of appreciation – but we also got to meet tons of readers on the mezzanine. In a way, we actually liked that the game was rained out; it meant throngs of fans came to wile the hours away at the Sheepshead Bites table. Sayin’ hello and sippin’ beers: that’s what it’s all about.

Keep reading and view the photo gallery.

We announced the Pitch-to-Pitch reader contest on August 1, and we’ve been sorting through the submissions since then. We’ve finally narrowed it down to the three best options, and now it’s time for all you readers to vote for your favorite.

VOTING DEADLINE: Wednesday, August 17, at 2:00 p.m.

Not sure what we’re talking about? The Pitch-to-Pitch contest is to determine which one of our awesome readers will throw the first pitch at Sheepshead Bites Night at MCU Park on August 19, when the Cyclones take on the Jamestown Jammers. We asked readers to give us a reason – any reason – why they deserved the honor. We were looking for memorable submissions that were funny or serious, heart-warming or absurd – and we certainly got a number of things that fit the bill. Here are the three best:

Joseph Brodoff (via Bruce Brodoff) – “My Dad’s A Local Hero”

I’d like to nominate my father Joseph, who is a 45-year resident of Sheepshead Bay.

After my mom (Marilyn Brodoff) passed away in 2002, my dad spent a considerable amount of his time and money to create several facilities and programs that assist cancer patients at two city hospitals. He is still very involved in this and continues to improve and expand the program offerings – and he’s earned some nice recognition and awards for his work, including being named a NY1 “New Yorker of the Week.”

In addition to his work with Marilyn’s Place and Learning Center, my dad serves the Sheepshead Bay/Southern Brooklyn community by writing and broadcasting an eight-minute news report on Kingsborough’s radio station, WKRB, every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 3:30 p.m. He also volunteers two days a week at the Sunrise Assisted Living Center on Emmons Avenue; for the past nine years he’s been conducting an afternoon current events/trivia discussion with the residents who care to participate. He spends many hours preparing for each session, and quite a few of the residents who attend his discussions are many years his junior. The residents really appreciate his commitment, and his efforts have been officially recognized by Sunrise managers and other corporate executives.

My dad turned 80 in February and is still going strong, doing good work and helping and inspiring others. Perhaps he’s the hero you’re looking for.

Click here to go to the poll and vote for Joseph Brodoff.

Boris Royzen – “I’ll Do It In A Speedo!”


First and foremost, I’ve been a pretty big Mets fan since way back in 1990, when I came to America.

Secondly, I am a huge Sheepshead Bites fan. I read the site at least four to five times a day and it is my default page.

Thirdly – and this is a negotiable one – because I was on my high-school swimming team. I am willing to wear a Sheepshead Bites speedo, swim cap and goggle’s while I throw out the first pitch. I have little shame when it comes to doing anything involving the Mets organization or with Sheepshead Bites.

Please, no Facebook pictures. While I have no shame, I have shamed my girlfriend many times and this may be the tipping point. Also, I will cancel my one and only weekend vacation this summer to do this.

Click here to go to the poll and vote for Boris Royzen.

Willie Simpson – “My Team Always Loses”

I have been a fan of the New York Mets since I was old enough to remember. I was born in 1984, two years before the Mets won their miraculous World Series against the Red Sox. While I don’t remember that event, I do remember the optimism from that occasion shining through everyone that raised me.  My earliest memories are of the colors blue and orange alternating in perfect stripes over white backdrops.

I remember the first baseball game I ever went to. My father took me to Shea Stadium, just me and him. It was “Disposable Kodak Camera Picture Day.” I remember distinctly the photos I took, but never got the photos developed. I don’t know what happened to the camera, which is a horrible shame because it is one of the greatest days of my life.

I remember being 9 years old in 1993, just finishing my first full year of real little league, fully understanding the rules and world of baseball, thus transforming my childlike fandom of the Mets into one where I could seriously follow the team.

It was kind of heartbreaking to realize that the Mets were terrible, and would be for a very long time. I remember that the Yankees suddenly got incredibly good when I was 12 years old.  All around me I noticed the Yankee fans in my middle school seemingly spring from nowhere all armed with opinions and insults directed towards me for being a Mets fan. Mets fans at my school were few and far between, and most of them became my friends; in most cases, my best friends.

I remember getting an official Mets team jacket for my 15th birthday and wearing it to marching band camp one day. Our marching band included close to 150 people, and the director of the band, stopped the entire practice, barked into the megaphone that “The Mets suck, Willie.”  Everybody laughed, even though that was the year the Mets would reach the World Series. Sure, it was against the Yankees, and they’d lose horribly, of course.  It’s moments like these that probably should have ended my Mets obsession, but I was married to the Mets, and boy, were the Mets one embarrassing bride.

Despite the misery that has pervaded my life as a Met fan, nothing has brought me more joy and more sense of yearly renewal every spring than the Mets.  I will be a Met fan forever, which goes hand in hand with me never sharing in any sort of victory in life.  Winning a chance to throw out the first pitch of the Cyclones game, an experience I would treasure forever, might go a long way to balance out the decades of losing sure to come my way as I go to my grave a bitter baseball fan.

Click here to go to the poll and vote for Willie Simpson.

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