Historic Day of Respectful, Running-Related Discussion on LetsRun Messageboard
By Tim Silva
April 1, 2023
You probably didn’t notice it, but on January 28, history was made on LetsRun.com’s World Famous Message Boards. On that day, according to a detailed internal analytics review of the site, two remarkable things took place that had never co-occurred before. First, every thread and every post were clearly and solely related to running. Not a single person started a discussion about topics such as someone’s faulty understanding of which countries comprise North America, how to live on $235,000 per year in NYC, how to break up with one’s girlfriend, having just broken up with one’s girlfriend, things not to do on a first date, UFOs, at what age one should no longer be living paycheck to paycheck, opinions on Tucker Carlson’s passionate hatred of Donald Trump, and the demise of Silicon Valley Bank — to name just a few of the non-running related threads that were started in the first quarter of this year. While it’s not entirely unheard of to see all discussions focused on running, attentive readers will agree that it is rare.
Much more impressively, the running-related threads remained focused on running. No one posted comments that turned the discussion away from the original topic.
“It was really gratifying to see an exclusive focus on running for one full day,” said co-founder Robert Johnson. “After all, we named our site ‘LetsRun’ for a reason, instead of, say, ‘LetsTalkAboutRandomShit.’”
The second, even more noteworthy thing that happened on January 28 is that every post on every thread was respectful and well-considered. Contributors remained thoroughly polite. No one insulted or demeaned anyone else. No one seemed angry or dismissive. Participants in the online discussions stated their disagreements plainly, tried to offer support for their arguments, and happily welcomed others to weigh in with opposing positions. Several posters noted with pleasure how they had come away with valuable new information, insights, and perspectives.
“It was truly shocking,” said co-founder Weldon Johnson. “I didn’t think people in 2023 were still capable of interacting that way on social media. I assumed civility was dead. But do I think we’ll ever see it again? Sadly, no. We’re more likely to see track & field become the number one spectator sport in America.”
Tim Silva, lives in Washington, DC, and has been a LetsRun.com reader since the beginning.