Goodbye TPW . . . Hello IPR

Austin Cassidy was an unlikely father of the greatest minor-party news site in the history of the Internet. After all, he was and is a Republican, and a thoroughly moderate one at that. He even supports John McCain for president!

But maybe that’s why the old Third Party Watch site was so great. As someone without a stake in the in-fighting between radicals and reformers (LP), theocrats and paleocons (CP), or socialists and progressives (GP), he was able to provide “fair and balanced” coverage of the third-party world — and not in the FoxNews sense of the words, either.

In time, Austin added several contributors, most of whom were libertarians or CPers (few leftists ever seem interested in joining TPW, but they were welcomed by Austin, and we welcome them at IPR), and thus the site’s flavor changed, but not necessarily in a bad way. Austin was the rock to which TPW’s credibility and balance was anchored. Who has ever had a bad thing to say about the guy?

But all great things come to an end, and eventually, Austin had to move on. He sold the site to Stephen Gordon, former political director of the Libertarian Party, and everything seemed to be all to the good. At first, it appeared that Gordon was making TPW into an even better site than it had been under Austin.

This didn’t last long, of course. Opinions vary, and I’ll stick to the facts in this post — that’s going to be a hallmark of IPR’s coverage. But suffice it to say, rancor between libertarian factions increased once Bob Barr, for whom Stephen Gordon had been working behind the scenes, officially jumped into the LP race. Things went downhill from there, and fast. Finally, today it was announced that Gordon had played the role of real-estate flipper, and turned Third Party Watch for a quick profit. The new owner, Richard Viguerie immediately set about restricting the once-free and open atmosphere at TPW, and apparently fired many anti-Barr columnists. It was clear to many of us that TPW would no longer be a suitable home.

I am not alone in embarking on this course. Thus far, here is a list of individuals who’ve agreed to contribute to IPR:

  • Thomas L. Knapp
  • Darcy G. Richardson
  • Trent Hill
  • Fred Church Ortiz

So now you know that IPR aspires to be like the old Cassdian TPW — but better. How IPR will be different, and thus better, is not yet set in stone. We welcome the suggestions of our readers.

The first major issue is whether or not to require registration for commenting on blog posts. IPR’s pioneering contributors are not of one mind on this, but I thought we should try things out with registration, and see how it goes. Silence would be the ultimate condemnation of my case, so if you think registration is a good idea, please leave a comment saying so! And please feel free to offer any other suggestions you might have.

22 thoughts on “Goodbye TPW . . . Hello IPR

  1. ElfNinosMom

    I registered, but I fear a lot of people will not want to do that just so they can leave a comment. What I do on LFV is to leave posting open to everybody with an email address, because Akismet catches almost every piece of spam that anybody tries to post. Of course, the decision here is yours, not mine; I only mention it because you asked for input.

  2. G.E. Post author

    And I appreciate the input!

    So far, we’ve had only two posters, both of whom say registration is a bad idea. But I think our problem is low traffic right now, not people’s unwillingness to register.

    If we can get enough registrations, there will be a tipping point, at which registration will be more attractive. The question is, Can we get there?

    Oh, and just so you know: I still fully intend on writing for LFV and covering the convention for you. This is intended to be more of a strictly news site, whereas LFV is a news/opinion site.

  3. LPiberty

    I miss the good work of Austin Cassidy. So it is great to see another site with high aspirations.

    My main request is a small one. Might the Categories be place more priminently above the Recent comments.

    It helps to understand that this site would be geared more towards news updates rather than editorial content.

    Registration might limit participation, but the process is fairly simple.

    So, who owns this site? What is your price?
    Best wishes. Please share regards with Austin, as possible. And let’s celebrate independce, again and for many years.

  4. G.E. Post author

    LPiberty – I saw the logic of your request and immediately put it into effect. Thank you.

    I, G.E., “own” the site. But ownership is to be shared amongst contributors. We have not settled on the details, but the general idea is that we will share in profits and ownership on the basis of participation.

    If you’re asking about “price,” meaning advertising, we don’t know yet. We have to see how much traffic we can build before we start thinking about it seriously. Do you have an ad you wanted to place? That could probably be arranged for the approximate price of $0.

    I am not in frequent contact with Austin, but I would welcome him to a position of authority at IPR.

  5. ElfNinosMom

    I look forward to your updates on the convention for LFV, GE. ๐Ÿ™‚

    It didn’t trackback that I can see, but I did add you to the LFV blogroll, and wrote a short entry telling people about the site.

    I’ve added you to my Google Reader, so I look forward to reading your site on a regular ongoing basis. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Austin Cassidy

    Hi G.E. –

    Thanks for the kind words. A few people have had bad things to say about me – but that goes along with the territory.

    I was pleased to be able to sell the site to Steve Gordon and have happily lurked (on and off) ever since then.

    I really know nothing about Richard Viguerie – so I guess it would be best to reserve judgement for the time being. The buzz has been a little concerning though.

    But I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of your work here on IPR! You’re off to a very good start.

  7. Fred Church Ortiz

    You know, maybe people would be more willing to register with some kind of re-assuring guarantee that the personal info goes nowhere. Several people at TPW complained that Viguerie had their e-mail addresses now, maybe they’re touchy at the prospect.

  8. Mike Theodore

    Ya, I’m seeing the log in thing as a little annoying. But what can you do? I’m happy someone had the thought to make a second site.

  9. G.E. Post author

    Duly noted, RE: the annoyance. But isn’t it just a one-time annoyance? Don’t you stay logged in?

  10. Mike Theodore

    Well, ya. But what about attracting new members. Thing with TPW, anyone could just pop in and leave a comment. Folks see registration, they think they have to be a member or something like that.

  11. Trent Hill

    GE,

    I think we should definetly open up comments. We’ll get more repeat-traffic and more involvement that way. Thats what made TPW popular.

  12. MattSwartz

    I also vote for opening up the comments. This site looks great and has already replaced TPW in my RSS feed. Here’s hoping that it not only continues in the best of the TPW tradition but also manages to keep it’s neutrality and civility a little better than that site sometimes did.

    Judging by the personages involved, I can say that the odds of that look great.

  13. G.E. Post author

    Well, we have some volatile personalities here, but we all know the difference between a blog posting — especially on a NEWS site — and what’s better left for the comments.

  14. Jerry S.

    Will registration keep the lustful Yanks of the world away? Cute in the beginning, but a daily dose of ass chasing, gets OLD and tiresome…

    LOL, for this old man, anyway…

  15. Austin Cassidy

    I’m tending to favor open comments myself. I switch between my work and personal computers at everytime I log on with one machine it logs me off of the other.

    Entirely up to G.E. though… maybe open it up at first and then close it once people are hooked in?

  16. G.E. Post author

    That approach would piss people off, I think, Austin. I’m hoping we can rope them in first. Every person that registers makes registration that much more worth it for the next person.

    I want to give it until after I get back from Denver, and then I’ll revisit this topic and ask for input once again.

  17. Ross Levin

    I agree that there should be open comments.

    That worked very well on TPW, and even the trolls were pretty entertaining.

    I’m pretty new to the third party/ independent scene, but I’m getting as involved as I can (for a high school student). I would be willing to contribute whatever I can. I’m working with John Murphy for Congress, so press releases from him might even be my main contribution. The more the merrier, though!

    Thank you for continuing the legacy of TPW after its integrity has left it.

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