The Richmond Register

Opinion

April 5, 2008

Online forums and polls identify hot topics of community interest

People in increasing numbers are getting their news through the Internet. Because this is a growing trend, community forums and online polls are becoming a very popular way of free expression. A community forum allows users to comment about news of the day as well as discuss anything on their minds with other users anonymously, while online polls allow users to express their opinions about different questions of the day.

The results can be quite interesting as we are finding out as users express their views about “saving” Camp Catalpa and the Richmond City Commission race. Currently on our Web site, our online poll reflects one of the most controversial issues since the Sunday alcohol issue. Saving Camp Catalpa is consuming our community forums and our online poll.

There are four active discussions regarding this issue, while our online poll is getting very interesting. Just last week, the poll was lopsided and now we have seen a complete reversal. Last week, 84 percent were against it. Now, 55 percent are for it. We saw this same kind of turnaround in June 2005 when the city wanted to build hotel and convention center with a water park at Exit 90. That online poll got real whacky and this one is following suit. It’s very interesting to watch.

In the beginning, the supporters against the RV Park were driving it. Now, those in favor of it are now driving the results. Lakeview RV Park LLC, through its own Web site, is encouraging supporters of its cause to express their support by logging onto our Web site and participating in our online poll. They also sent out a global e-mail to encourage people to participate and these strategies are working. This issue will likely continue to be a high topic of interest until it’s finally resolved.

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