Blairsville.com – Building an online community for Blairsville,
In March of 2006, my brother, Bill Boemanns, and I had the good fortune
of purchasing the website Blairsville.com, which provided a basic
community portal for people who love the North Georgia mountains, either
because they live there now, have lived there in the past, or hope to
live there soon. We bring our local perspective and technical expertise
together to build the site into a valuable resource where people can
talk about local issues or just chat about what’s on their minds, and
also learn about local news and events, and the history and people of
Blairsville.com has a tarnished history, as the online forums, a place where people can come freely and post openly, were abused by a few people who posted negative and hateful posts, some directed at specific people and businesses in the town, others at forum members. Like all online forums, people can sign up using “handles,” or fictitious names, and unless they break the law, it can be difficult to identify them. However, as in the real world, long term participants on a site grow credibility and earn the respect (or lack of it) by what they post.
When we purchased the site, we developed a new usage policy, designed to protect the site’s ability to maintain open forums. We implemented a simple policy where any post violating any portion of the guidelines is removed in its entirety, with only a notice on the site to indicate action was taken. We no longer permit people to “get away” with posting, and then have a moderator edit the bad parts. We have also added features to enable users to report abuses of our policies, so we can take appropriate action.
Our strict adherence to this policy has caused posters who abused the site before our ownership to leave. Unfortunately, the boards cannot be monitored continuously, so some posts survive longer than others, but rarely more than a day. Those who post messages also remain legally liable for any harm their posts cause, and we cooperate in any way we can with identifying posters who break the law.
Recently a local newspaper editor in Blairsville misunderstood a number of things about our forums, about when we took over the site, and the policies we have since implemented. That paper published ads condemning sites with online forums and the editor has continued to spread misinformation about our site, particularly related to actions that predated our ownership and that are no longer on the site. We welcome the criticism – as we use it to improve our site. But we do not welcome the misrepresentation, and ask the people of Blairsville to come to our site at http://blairsville.com, read the pages, read the forums, make up their own minds and let us know what they do or don’t like.
Now, as we look to Blairsville.com’s future, we are still excited about the value the site brings to our town. We are adding photo galleries, factual information, guides to local events, businesses, and individuals, and have plans to expand the content and information further in many directions. At the same time, we continue to provide open forums to the community, and will do so as long as the website goals allow. Open forums allow people to post their opinions, viewpoints, and interesting knowledge on topics relevant to Blairsville, bringing the cherished American tradition of the “town hall” into the twenty-first century.
Please contact us regarding any of your comments, thoughts, or questions about our site. We look forward to hearing from you.
BoeBro Ventures, Inc.