Steve Klingaman

Steve Klingaman
Minneapolis, Minnesota,
January 01
Steve Klingaman is a nonprofit development consultant and nonfiction writer specializing in personal finance and public policy. His music reviews can be found at

NOVEMBER 30, 2012 11:10AM

So Long, It’s Been a Good Run

Rate: 11 Flag
Wordle: Lots of errors occurred

I took a couple weeks off from Open Salon, just to make sure.  Despite a rapidly deteriorating platform that seemed to portend a death spiral, I wasn’t sure I could stay away.  Four years of a weekly blog is a habit that’s hard to break.  But break it, I did.

            My bottom line is that it’s work to write a blog that contains elements of new reporting, analysis, op-ed perspective, and finally, writing worth reading.  It takes, at minimum, one good take on the news per week.  And when you do it well enough, it deserves a platform that matters.

            I am immensely grateful to Open Salon for nearly four years of stellar performance.  As to the last six months, well…in Minnesota we say if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say [or write] anything at all. 

            Open Salon has had an amazing run if you measure it by the wonderful array of writers and personalities who chose to congregate here, when they could have gone anywhere.  The archives on this site contain a collection of writing that can only be called an anthropological treasure. Writing as an artifact of a moment in time, a little archeological sliver, of an online community that mattered.  Open Salon’s heyday coincided with the economic meltdown in such a manner that people had time on their hands and axes to grind.  So they became whom they really were, or adopted avatars to let them become the bad boys and girls they always wanted to be, and that’s why cyberspace is a bit like a saloon on a strange planet from Star Wars.  Dated, now, but cute just the same.

            For people who care about writing, it was about the writing.  For a brief moment, the short form personal essay was hipper than at any previous time in my lifetime, and really, I suspect, since the 18th Century when broadsheets were new technology.  Open Salon became a platform that brought thousands of clicks, if not readers, to work that merited readers.  A marriage made in digital heaven. 

            It is only natural that socio-literary experiments enjoy a moment in the sun and then fade like yesterday’s emoticons.  It all comes down to money—adverts reaching eyeballs—in the end.  If this little experiment were delivering enough bangs for the buck, we’d have servers that could withstand the harshest spam assault and curation worth noticing.  So you can’t blame Salon.  Not for trying.

            Whether they can “fix” Open Salon or not, who can say?  Stranger things have happened.  All I know is that in my little personal equation of work v. reward, the equation has shifted:  I need more eyeballs to make the effort worthwhile.

            I mentioned in a piece several weeks ago citing four years of writing here that the work itself can get to be a grind regardless of platform issues.  So I’m not here to blame a flounce on Salon for that reason as well.  Rather, I’d prefer to call it a leave of absence.  If I soon feel a dramatic need to blab, or if Salon makes the platform once again more enticing, then, well, who knows?  Never say never.  Or maybe I’ll just take a little break and try a new, robust, platform somewhere.

            I have aspirations to write about climate change the way I wrote about health care reform—week after week—presenting ideas and perspectives vetted by some of the best minds in the business, as well as a few notions of my own.  Now, as we face a chunk of ice as big as the United States disappearing from the Arctic, and people are still mopping up in lower Manhattan, maybe people will notice that dealing with climate change is really the imperative of the century—that nothing else matters as much for the long-term livability of this little planet; well, don’t get me started.

            It’s been a good run.  I deeply value the relationships engendered here.  I deeply appreciate the readership, having been an avid reader here, and lots of the nonsense that occurred in between.  I’ll still be a reader, if not as avid a reader as I was in our halcyon days here.  And if I never again encounter the phrase “Lots of errors occurred!” that would still be too soon.

            So thanks for the memories, Open Salon, and thanks to all my peers, friends, and frenemies who congregate(d) here.  It’s been a good run.



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I am sorry to see you go because I have always admired the effort and care you put into your work, and your generosity with others. But I can't really blame you. I am a relative newcomer to this site but it does feel as if the energy is draining away. It has been a good run.
Thanks, Ted, you bring great energy and insight to this joint. I will continue to follow your work here, and, if need be, elsewhere.
I second that, Steve. It has been a nice run, but it is very sad to see many of my previous posts disappear into oblivion this manner. A few are still being read numerous times every day by people all around the world (like some of yours too).

I guess we'll keep in touch via FB. Farewell!
I work in a college, so facing another unstable infrastructure is nothing challenging for me. I haven't been here at OS for very long, but I like having a place that asks me to write. I don't ask much in return. Best of everything to you!
Sad but true, all that you say. Got an anniversary post coming up, and a repost after that ... but then, I think it's sayonara.
I always enjoyed your work, Steve. I like reading things I won't see otherwise and, generally, that's what you provided. Re-news is news I can't use, unless there's a take on the story outside of the main.

Anyway, I quit this grind a while back, posting only ditties and commenting at will. In its heyday, this place was great. Now it's a public toilet for spammers and TPTB don't care about the site they destroyed through neglect, though that's their prerogative.

When I crack open a new blog it will be under my name. If you and others do the same, we can find each other in cyberspace.
I emailed Joan W. a few weeks ago and she responded as if it was news to her. Kerry has never responded. The view I picked up from the CEO about a month ago was that they were stuck getting rid of the spammers, and couldn't afford to make the changes necessary to get rid of them, but that was their intention.

I enjoyed the ride for the same length of time. I use it for a little different purpose than you, but the intention is broadly the same, and the input of other writer's is what enthused me.

What price do they have to pay by telling the truth about what is going on?

If it is the format itself that is proven to be the problem, we may not meet again.
Any news on climate change is welcome.

It sort of puts our other problems into perspective. I applaud your efforts, and wish you luck in finding the right platform to broadcast from.
[r] Good luck, Steve. I relate. They say things last for a reason, a season or a lifetime. Sometimes we don't know which until we reach the very door.

The spam or tech probs don't bother me so much and I don't see them as necessitating an end to OS. The vast support of the corrupt Dem party is what has disillusioned me about open salon in general.

I hope I can recover from that and not leave. Recover my mojo. Sometimes we must pack our bags to re-install it elsewhere.

Vaya con dios!

best, libby
Steve - I invite you to take a look at Our Salon. Many, perhaps most, of the active members have moved over there. You'll see lots of familiar names, lots of good writing, poems, and photos. The administrator is part of the community - she wiil listen and respond. What you won't see are "lots of errors". or

- Mark
Steve, if the problems get fixed here I hope you'll reconsider and return or cross-post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about four years're a contributor with lots of class!
it's such a shame. and when excellent writers and long-timers like you put up posts like this, how bad this has gotten is very real. i've enjoyed your posts, steve, and look forward to the climate change series. i'll look for you on FB. let me know where your writing is going next, ok?
and i'm at started cross-posting at my own site a year ago, must have been prescient. :(
Yours has always been one I have looked forward to reading. Keep writing and make yourself known, wherever that place might be. Many fans here will miss you.
Steve, we'll miss you in this forum for your insights and analysis but, as you know, those of us who value the written world never go away until the final trumpet summons us.
Come back--it's working again!
Things are better now. But OurSalon is a gas. Yo'd really like it there.
I get it. This has been a great place to hone the craft, to learn, to be exposed. All good things come to some kind of end, evolution, change. You have done some stellar work here.
Thanks, Dianne and Sheila, for the kind words. I have to put it on my to-do list to get over to OurSalon. I try to get around and read some of the fine work going on, even if I don't often comment.
Steve: I'm sorry to see you go, too, but I can totally relate. I stepped away for several weeks because it started feeling irrelevant and taken over by people who, as you said, merely had an ax (axe?) to grind, or were merely writing about the latest issue that cropped up on TV, like the new Pope (guilty as charged, sad to say). ... Happy Trails, and hope to see your great writing somewhere else soon.
I kind of come and go on OS. At first, it was amazing to have a place for the personal essay and to find so many good writers. I'm hoping that it (OS) can right itself and be that place again. Hope you stick around.