A mission statement for masterstrack.com? Besides muckraking?

My oldie homepage, circa 2004. Archive.org has has mirrored this site nearly 500 times since 2000.

Veteran readers know what to expect from this site: the unexpected. Also recurring rants on records, quickie Q&As, self-deprecating humor and links to obscure foreign sites. But Janet Johnston, whose comment was No. 32,773 here since January 2003, makes a good suggestion: Why not a mission statement? “Your mission statement would help your readers know what we can expect in your blog,” she writes in the wake of my notorious Ruggless posts. So OK. Let’s do this. I’ve changed my top-of-the-site descriptor to say: “Ken Stone’s hobby blog for showcasing and watchdogging adult age-group track and field.” (The previous: “Older, slower, lower: Ken Stone’s world and USA home page for adult age-group track and field.” And before that: “Older, slower, lower: Independent world and USA home page for adult age-group track and field.”) But what is my mission beyond being a cheerleader and muckraker? Well, I aim to be honest, fair and transparent (See SPJ’s Code of Ethics). And fearless while boasting a thick skin (at the risk of hurting my 100-meter time).

I rarely delete comments — even when they tear moi a new one. It’s only fair. (Some comments are delayed going “live” because of my WordPress settings, which require that I manually “approve” posts by first-time commenters.)

I’ve posted 5,637 times since 2003 — usually daily — addressing grown-up issues because you are an adult audience. I assume you can “handle the truth” (or the best obtainable version of the truth) or my wack opinions.

Even with the advent of social media — my 788 Facebook “friends” augmenting National Masters News and this site as sources of masters track news — folks continue to flock here (7.2 million page views since March 2010) for hot topics. Doping. Masters nationals and worlds. Sprinters claiming to be 119.

Also for the community — since the comments can be more revelatory than the posts.

Much of my content comes via tips. Masters moles are complicit in this evil enterprise. (But I try to confirm the controversial leaks.)

So what’s my full-blown mission statement? Hmmmm. Still thinking.

What do YOU think it should say?

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September 29, 2017

7 Responses

  1. Michael D Walker - September 29, 2017

    Sounds good to me. I know that there were a number of comments about the appropriateness of the recent “Ruggles Posts” in your blog. Personally, I have mixed feelings about the post. One one hand, while I don’t know Joe Ruggles, it sounds like he said things in anger that he regrets and apologized for. But at the same time, at a Striders meet a few years ago I bought one of their tee shirts. A few weeks later the late Ross Dunton saw my shirt and talked about having once belonged to the striders. He was very proud of the club’s record of being open to anyone of any race or color.

  2. Rob W. - September 29, 2017


    You should probably add political commentary to your mission statement as well. I may not agree with what you say but I respect your right to say it even if I think you are wrong. Or as Evelyn Beatrice Hall said; ” I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” Track and field is the least polarizing sport particularly at the Masters level. We are all in the same boat some can just paddle faster than others. Keep doing what you are doing and try not to piss so many people off at one time. 🙂

  3. David E. Ortman (M64), Seattle, WA - September 29, 2017

    It may worth a quick comparison between Ken’s Masters T&F hobby blog and the “LetsRun.com” Running Forum website with “world famous message boards,” devoted mostly to College and Elite/Open running topics, with individual event message threads during the Olympics and World Championships. Their “terms of service” are provided below.

    Suffice to say that I stopped visiting and reading this site between Olympics and World Championships, because of the large number of racist, misognistict, sexist, and vulgar messages posted by a regular band of bitter trolls with nothing better to do from their overstuffed couches.

    Just one of countless such LetsRun posts: “Do you guys post these threads during ritual circle jerks about Japanese runners?”)

    Plus, there seems to be as many off-topic message topics/treads as there are running message topics, with little apparent moderator effort to delete non-relevant topics. (e.g. “While serving in the military, have you ever shot and killed an enemy foe? “; “I keep being warned about post-nuptial shut off, but it doesn’t make any logical sense to me? – Engaged to be married”)

    Unlike Ken’s blog, the LetsRun.com site is a HUGE embarrassment to the sport of Track and Field. So if those offended by Ken Stone’s blog want something useful to do, go clean up LetsRun.com.
    Please note the following terms of service which govern the LetsRun.com message board(s).
    1. You must be over the age of 13 to participate.
    2. You understand that the poster of the content is entirely responsible for all content posted. LetsRun.com is not responsible for any of the content on the message board(s). This means that the poster, and not LetsRun.com, is entirely responsible for all content that he or she fposts. As a result, LetsRun.com does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity or quality of the content on its message board(s). You understand that by using the message board(s), you may be exposed to content that is offensive, indecent or objectionable. Under no circumstances will LetsRun.com be liable in any way for any content, including, but not limited to, for any errors or omissions in any content, or for any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any content posted, emailed, transmitted or otherwise made available.
    3. You understand that because you are responsible for the content you post, you can be held responsible for any laws that you break when posting. This includes but is not limited to violating another party’s copyright by posting another party’s article in its entirety on the message board(s). Please link to articles instead of posting them or you may be sued by the other party for copyright infringement.
    4. You understand that LetsRun.com does not pre-screen content but it may remove content at its sole discretion for any reason whatsoever. If you would like to suggest that something be removed, please use the report a post function or email LetsRun.com at remove@letsrun.com but LetsRun.com does not have to remove any content and may or may not agree to your request.
    While we don’t pre-screen content we want to have a community where ideas are exchanged in a civil manner and people feel open to post. Please be civil and use the report a post function.
    The message board forum(s) are not designed to serve as a place where one makes posts that are nothing more than glorified advertisements (i.e. anything promoting another website, product, etc.). Posts that serve as advertisements are likely to be deleted. If you would like to reach the targeted audience of dedicated running aficionados that come to LetsRun.com, we suggest you consider advertising with the web-site or at the very least contacting LetsRun.com before making posts that are advertisements. For more information contact LetsRun.com at advertise@letsrun.com.
    5. You may not impersonate another person’s identity on the message board(s).
    6. You acknowledge that material that you post becomes the copyrighted property of LetsRun.com and LetsRun.com can reproduce it in any form that it sees fit without providing you compensation.
    7. You acknowledge that your identity is not a secret whether or not you reveal your name in your posts. Your IP address is tracked. As a result others, including LetsRun.com, may be able to figure out who you are and thus your identity may be revealed to others.

  4. Bert & Kathy Bergen - September 29, 2017


  5. Mike W - September 29, 2017

    Ken, I am an enthusiastic visitor to your blog, I visit it daily, an I see it as a valuable source for all things for masters Track and Field. As you have asked for opinion I will give you mine, however, it is just mine and no more valid than any other of your visitors. It is certainly less valid than your opinion as you are the one who puts in the work and effort to make this site function.
    Generally, I feel that any group performs best if it sticks to its basic mandate and avoids cross-advocacy. I.e. Vegans should stick to veganism and not support abortion rights and pro-abortionists should stick to abortion and not get involved with veganism. Alternatively, pro 2nd amendment rights groups should not get involved with, say, DACA and dreamers, and vice versa. The point being, it is a fallacy to assume that if someone agrees with Point A they must also agree with Point B. Individuals can hold a multitude of opinions and any two individuals can agree or disagree on many issues. I feel this site works best when it focuses on Track and Field and struggles when it drifts into cross-advocacy.
    I am a Canadian and, I suspect like many others, am appalled by the tribalism that has taken over U.S. politics. The vitriol that is directed against opponents is beyond belief to many of us. I recently visited to comments section of a major news paper after some mass murder event and the comments were not to do with gun control but rather whether the murderer was a Democrat or Republican. I certainly do not want to see this type of hostility creep into this site. In fact, I see this site as an island of sanity in a sea of madness. You have posters from all over the world and nobody is asking which way you voted in the last election.
    All that being said, this is your blog and you have the final say in how it is presented. My suggestion would be, if you want to have commentary on social-political issues you create a separate section, say “Ken’s social view” and put those posts there and leave the front page to plain old masters track so we can all escape from the real world for an hour or so.
    Finally, I really liked the Older, Slower, Lower sub title. That was something I can relate to.

  6. Michael Jaqua - October 1, 2017

    I like your site ken, and I visit it at least once or twice a week. I like seeing how other athletes my age and beyond are performing, comparing my efforts to theirs, and frequently gain inspiration from doing so. I get enough of the political stuff other places, so I just ignore non-track and field-related comments that I have no interest in. I prefer to look at other Master’s Track enthusiasts as friends and competitors rather than political foes.

  7. SimonM - October 2, 2017

    Agree with Rob, Mike W and Michael Jaqua.

    Either add “policing masters athletes’ political views” to your mission statement, so those of us who don’t want to see that can leave, or

    as Mike W says, create a separate section.

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