The week in comments at


Each week, online comments at number roughly between 100 and 400, sometimes many more when a subject sizzles. The volume depends less on how combustible the content is and more on the combustibility of the readership. Preoccupations of all sorts trigger the impulse to comment, and often the article to which the comment is attached seems only slightly related to the comment thread that attaches to it.

Following are some examples of this week’s comment colloquy, reproduced here without editorial sprucing up.

To begin with, a Letter to the Editor, Please, SSA, do something, published online and in print, attracted more than 40 comments. Leah Casey of Oak Bluffs detailed her disappointment with the Steamship Authority for its travel policy when weather interrupts ferry schedules. Response to the letter was decidedly mixed.

The letter:

On Saturday, February 25, my family and I made a reservation for the 9:30 am boat. Due to high winds, the boats kept getting cancelled. We were forced to wait for the 10:45 am, which they didn’t let us onto, so we waited for the 1:15 pm, and here’s the problem: instead of boarding the people like us who made reservations four hours ago, they boarded huge trucks, huge trailers, huge vehicles that take up enough room to fit five vans.

We had made early reservations and had been sitting in standby all day. Our car died, too. And they were loading enormous, probably empty, trucks? It is so infuriatingly wrong.

And the Island Home isn’t running but the Martha’s Vineyard is?

I thought that new boat was $33 million? What a waste. We are so devastated and furious. Please, somebody, do something about this bogus.

Some comments:

Please, somebody, do something about the uninformed, impatient, silly folks who write letters when they clearly have NO idea what they are talking about.It is not the SSA’s fault when boats are cancelled due to inclement weather… they are not god, and have no control over such things…. THEY do not want to cancel boats and lose revenue from the weather anymore than YOU want to be inconvenienced by them being forced to do so.The size of the vehicle is of NO importance in the decision making process. Perhaps ambulances waiting to carry patients off-island for urgent treatment should wait until your smaller car boards the boat, simply because an ambulance is a larger vehicle? Those large trucks carrying supplies back and forth are the life-force of this island…. without them, we have nothing to eat, no mail, no medicine for our hospitals…. no nothing. Who cares if they leave empty? Do you just expect them to poof, disappear, and reappear in Woods Hole ready to load up again? They only get to board the fery if they are full? Then next week we get to read another silly letter from you about how the Stop and Shop was all out of milk, because some person with infinite wisdom, and too much time on their hands, determined that empty trucks should hang around the island indefinitely, rather than leave promptly to refill and come back with replenishment…?Ah, me…. I really wish people would think a little bit before they write such rubbish. Andrea Maynard

after having my 7 am boat cancelled on sunday and not getting off until 115 i understand her frustration. It’s just stupid that they spent so much money on the brand new boat only to not run it when its windy, they could have just made another ‘marthas vineyard’ style that clearly runs quite a bit more. plus most of those trucks should be on freight boats, even after 20 years here it still boggles the mind that they stuff everyone in with semi’s when thats what the freight boat is for, and if they wind up cancelling the island home why not run the freight boat an extra trip or two just to keep it clear? seems kind of stupid. MVuser

Well the TSA has made me miss a couple of connecting flights. Cost me time and lots of money, but we can control that by dumping it. Sorry but acts of nature are out of our control, the system now is the best one. RedSoxPatriotsCelticsBruinsFan

Inexplicably, a detailed news story, also published on March 1, explained the Steamship Authority’s weather troubles on the weekend when school vacation began, described the boatline’s policy for dealing with weather, with delayed travelers, and what the theory is behind that policy. The news article “Martha’s Vineyard ferry service is weather and design dependent”, attracted only one comment. Go figure.

Hmm, I guess Leah’s story was worth commenting on more than the paper’s. BloodyRueAndrue

A story about Tisbury’s new property valuations sparked commenters, “Tisbury’s proposed new property valuations available for review.”

Tisbury property owners take notice. I am a year round resident. I just checked my newest assessment and the town has increased my property value by almost 56%, this in a real estate market that has been down for the last 6 years. Neal

Tisbury is going to have to assess everything at higher rates if it hopes to survive the growing list of current and impending lawsuits. One can bet the town administrator is happy that the BOS never followed through and made him purchase a home here. Ebbenflow

The photographer and poet Julian Robinson, whose work appeared regularly in The Times for years, died February 24. The notice of his death drew many comments, all recognizing his gentle, warm, and genial nature.

We admired Julian Robinson’s osprey portraits and loved his subtle and perceptive poems. He is gone from his beloved world too soon. Christine Powers

I will always remember my days working at Slice of Life when Julian would come in daily to share his photographs, poems, and smile with us all. He inspired me to enter my work in the Annual Pequot Art Show, and helped me to grow as a photographer. Even now, seven years later, I still look forward to running into him when I come back. Mimi, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in this difficult time. Julian was a truly wonderful man. Sophia Grimm

I was the lucky MV Times calendar editor who used Julian’s lovely photographs and poetry every chance I could. He made my job a pleasure and then I was lucky enough to become his friend. My prayers to you, Mimi. And Julian, my friend, rest in peace. You will be missed. Tori Socha

Julian was one of the nicest people I have ever known. I am so sad to hear about his passing. Glenna Barkan.

Oh, Julian, how you’ll be missed. You were so kind and encouraging, thoughtful and generous. I, for one, loved your sweet little poems. Killagorilla

And, the March 1 At Large column, “At Large : Our man at Walden Pond, just trying to get along”, which discussed Thoreau’s formula for living his life, attracted a first person description of Walden Pond in the 21st Century. The comment’s author is a frequent commenter.

Henry David Thoreau would be spinning in his grave if he could see his beloved Walden Pond on a sunny summer day. A few years ago, we attempted to visit the pond for a swim. Traffic on the narrow Concord road was backed up, the parking lots were full and we were turned away. Walden Pond is best in the off-season, when one can park and walk the perimeter of the pond. Christine Powers