Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 29, 2009

Can’t stop now, don’t you know…don’t go

Filed under: Alameda, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:48 am

I’ll admit it, I was never a huge fan of Knife Catchers, I occassionally read it and enjoyed the snark, but I didn’t follow it on a regular basis.   However, I was disappointed to read on Michele Ellson’s site that the blog owner, L. Opine, has shut down the site, seemingly for good. 

When reading this initially, I had assumed, like probably most people that she shut it down because of a potential lawsuit, however, according to L. Opine herself, she wrote in Michele E.’s comments the reason why she shut it down was:

…No lawsuit, just threatening idiocy from some realtors, and general tiredness about having to explain what I wrote over and over to people who were too willing to cling to their erroneous interpretation of what I wrote, or why I did what I did.

I didn’t shut down comments because of people disagreeing with me. I shut down comments because that particular post specifically said something like “this is a fact-based thread; you’re free to disagree as long as you support your assertions with hard data.” Instead people kept repeating intuitions with no supporting facts, and when called on it, they cried censorship and said I couldn’t handle disagreement. So the discussion devolved into insults about my tone and attitude, and frankly I’m not willing to tolerate people insulting my on my own blog. After I shut down the comments, the idiots tracked me down and insulted me over email.

So I just had enough and pulled the plug…

For those who enjoy the drama, here is the cached version of her last post — not the one that generated so much heat — but the farewell one with lots of people asking her to reconsider her decision to close down the blog.

Here’s a piece of unsolicited advice to L. Opine from one blog owner to another.   If you are going to run a blog that sets the tone with snark, you sort of have to expect the same in your comments section.   At times people are going to go after you and unfortunately it’s not all shits and giggles.   Sometimes it’s just eye roll worthy and can go up to being really hurtful and personal.   The best thing to do when getting a really insulting comment is to walk away.   Literally, step away from the blog and computer and walk it off.  Don’t respond, it’s not worth it.   People who appreciate your work see the value in what you do and a few one off random insulting comments from someone with a bone to pick is not going to diminish you.

Also, rise above it.  Try not to respond like for like if people are lobbing personal insults at you.   Don’t call them “idiots,” etc… you can respond back in your patented snarky way, but don’t give folks ammunition to say, “well you called me a so and so, so it’s only fair if I call you a blah blah blah.”

So, L. Opine, even though you loathe my neighborhood with every fiber of your being and have said some uncomfortably snarky stuff about Bayport, I enjoyed your blog and hope that you will reconsider.   If you ever need someone to walk off insulting comments with, drop me a line, we can compare notes.

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7 Comments

  1. I liked that blog. And, I truly appreciate your work here Lauren … even if we rarely see eye to eye ;-)

    Comment by Jeff R. Thomason — May 29, 2009 @ 8:59 am

  2. The above comment by JRT has taken my opinion of him up quite a few notches.

    The graciousness of the comment is truly astonishing to me, but nevertheless it is welcome and appreciated.

    Comment by Carl Halpern — May 29, 2009 @ 12:28 pm

  3. This was actually the post that generated the last flameout-

    http://bit.ly/2jsR24

    (The comments do not appear in the cached copy.)

    I enjoyed the blog for awhile but was increasingly put off by the insults to her audience(!) and over the top, mean spirited characterizations of some agents, like calling an African American real estate agent an “illiterate, spastic baboon”.

    http://bit.ly/15MsP3

    I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt that she probably didn’t know where she was going with that one, but that was pretty much told me that she was rather off-keel. It’s a shame because she was doing the local community a favor in showing how overpriced many of these properties are, but as much as she could dish it out, she simply could not take it.

    Comment by Robert Davis — May 29, 2009 @ 6:48 pm

  4. Hi I came across this post today after dealing with quite commentor on my blog. Feel free to check it out.

    http://www.brookestatestheobvious.blogspot.com

    Comment by brookeatl — June 1, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

  5. I enjoyed Knife Catchers. Obviously, in these difficult times, real estate agents are sensitive about the possibility that some buyers might just be a bit too informed.

    Comment by Joe — June 2, 2009 @ 8:28 pm

  6. Lauren

    It’s a shame L Opine decided to shut down the blog. It was definitely entertaining and informative, albeit controversial.

    The Alameda market is really quite challenging. Granted that like the rest of the country, Alameda saw its own frenzied boom in the early 2000s, followed by the bust (economic downturn, ultra-creative financing, etc), it seems to be recovering.

    From the various properties that have come up for sale (and went pending) in the east end lately, and the multiple offer situations at above list price, it suggests that the Alameda market is alive and well.

    L Opine, in her parting shot, says “feel free to overpay for houses in Alameda”. It seems that people are ignoring that last comment anyway.

    Whether or not she blogs, all kinds of information are available on the internet. It’s up to the buyers, sellers, agents, etc. to interpret that information.

    As they say, “figures lie and liars figure.”

    Comment by Alamedaphile — June 4, 2009 @ 1:42 pm

  7. This is actually not uncommon. There are quite a few anti-housing-madness blogs out there. Perhaps one of the biggest is Ben’s bubble blog, which is more of a national housing blog. The Lion’s share of anti-real estate blogs are concentrated in the juiciest, most expensive metros like NYC, Boston, and of course- SF and the Bay Area.

    Quite a few that I’ve read are kind of like this one mentioned above, which appeared to use lots of simple statistics easily gleaned from MLS listings sites as well as reporting sites like Dataquick and so on. Even if the posts are based on just a graph showing declines, slowing sales, or whatnot, there is always a nasty backlash from various real estate agents, homeowners, and others who don’t want to believe their primary investment is worth less than what they paid for it. Think about it: If you had bought something with the bulk of your finances, would you want to read someone’s blog who was basically showing you that you had overpaid?

    The crazy thing is that people even now are still in this suspended belief that housing prices in the Bay Area are just magically going to go right back to where they were circa 2004-2005.Those days will not be coming back anytime soon. The loan products that allowed the kind of buying frenzy are no longer in existence and the unemployment rate is over 10% in the area. So I failt to see the catalyst for recovery others speak of. The fact that I drove by Bayport last weekend and saw a “sign twirler” out front tells me that the builder is not having an easy time moving their product.In the boom, those houses sold like hot cakes.

    Lastly, I agree with the author of the blog. Home prices in Alameda are way expensive even now with the modest haircuts in prices so far. I’ll agree it is holding up better than say- Stockton. But the typical $450,00-$500,000 for a starter home here is still out of whack. I think where people that write blogs like these get into trouble is when they say that “x” area is “Overpriced”. That would suggest that you’re a fool for paying so much for a home. That gets people up in arms.

    Let’s put it in a different way. I recently took a trip to Austin TX. I visited an area called South Austin, which is an older neighborhood that actually looked an awful lot like Alameda:older homes with sidewalks within easy walking distance of downtown Austin.It was a typically younger area with lots of artistic types. There were loads of quirky resturants, organic grocery stores, clubs, art galleries, and all the other liberal finery you’d expect to see in the Bay Area. The houses were well-kept. The crime rate is actually one of the lowest in the nation. You would just automatically assume that its super-expensive. Yet we met one young couple from there that bought their house for $120,000. I kid you not. 1/4th the cost of the same home in Alameda. So yes- the Bay Area costs more than other places. But most of the reasons people give me for it being so expensive were right there in Austin, and yet it was a fraction of the cost.

    So again- its expensive here and I know most people who buy here rationalize it in one way or another. I’m not going to argue with that because obviously we’re not wired the same way. But it is expensive. I’ll just say that I personally don’t think the prices are worth the end product.

    People that write blogs like these whom often go against the grain and say what people don’t want to hear are in many ways modern day heroes. I read a lot of these anti-housing blogs back when Americans were buying houses like crack and there was hardly any words of caution being thrown out even by the FED. These same blogs warned of impending financial disaster, the looming crash in prices, and the collapse of a system based on debt and faulty loan products. And then it happened, almost exactly as they said and in the end was actually worse than any of them could’ve imagined. Perhaps if more people had given these people a second thought, perhaps we could have avoided some of the wreckless behaviour that caused the recession.

    Comment by edvard — June 8, 2009 @ 4:18 pm


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