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Before we enter the Nineteen Fifties I wanted to take time to thank the 30,000+ visitors to the site who’ve made this crazy endeavor a success since it debuted in 2017. Everyone who’s checked out even just one or two reviews (or those who suffered through reading all six hundred and seventy-one) are all greatly appreciated.

Obviously Spontaneous Lunacy is a long-range project. We’re approaching our third anniversary and in that time we’ve covered not quite three years of releases, a pace that is sure to begin to slow even more now that the industry begins to put out more and more rock records with each passing month. This kind of methodical and detailed exploration into something as vast as rock history naturally means the way people experience this site will be different for everybody.

Most who come here for the first time will do so via a search engine looking for something specific on an artist, a record label or a particular song and after they (hopefully) find what they’re looking for they’ll leave and may never have reason to return again. Then there are others who land here for the same initial reason but wind up being intrigued by the full scope of what we have to offer and they’ll stick around awhile, taking in as many pages as they can handle that first day and then making it a point to return later for further exploration. That may mean they’ll be frequent visitors here for a week or a month before their enthusiasm wanes and they find other ways to occupy their time, perhaps returning every once in awhile if they’re looking up another related topic or if the site happens to cross their mind out of the blue.

We hope that in both of those cases what we’ve written proves valuable to that type of casual visitor and we understand everybody’s level of interest in this subject doesn’t match our own and so whether you’re here for an hour or a month, the goal is to provide as much verified historical information and personal insight as possible and hopefully present it all in a reasonably entertaining fashion.

But then there’s the last group of visitors, the ones proud to be called “Lunatics”, who are a truly committed breed of music fan that can’t get enough of reading about rock ‘n’ roll and all the wild characters, behind the scenes intrigue and historical ramifications that includes. Though the site is designed to allow it to be appreciated in bite-sized portions, cherry picking which reviews and artists you want to focus on, the larger in-depth story of rock itself that we lay out is best consumed by reading it all chronologically, one review at a time, as if it were a book.

Admittedly that’s a lot to expect out of people, but there are a surprising amount of visitors who are doing just that. Though the story is going to get even broader and more detailed as we go along and all of the various rock subgenres start to make their initial appearances, the goal remains the same… to leave no stone unturned when it comes to delineating rock history. So for all those who are down for taking that ride with us, whether you’ve been here from the start or just recently hopped on board, we’re glad you made that choice and honored you’d trust us behind the wheel.
 

CHANGES TO THE SITE: Comments
I also want announce two site changes that have been in the works for awhile but I wanted to wait until we reached this natural transition from one decade to the next to institute them.

The biggest change is the elimination of the Comments for the posts on the site. This wasn’t a change I took lightly as I realize visitor comments have been a staple on blogs from the beginning and have the potential to add something of interest to other readers and so losing that feature definitely comes at a price. In fact that was what kept me from making this decision even earlier, but over time the cost-value imbalance has gotten to be far too much to keep them around.

The first reason they’re somewhat expendable of course is because statistically speaking very few people ever leave comments on any blog. Less than one half of one percent of regular visitors on even the most popular blogs will ever leave even a single comment, so eliminating it isn’t really depriving the overwhelming majority of guests of something they use. Most people are just there for the content and if the content is good, that’s all most need and want.

That being said I did enjoy all the commentators we had, both frequent and one time only posters. Comments are what form the personal connection that turns this from an anonymous – and seemingly solitary – journey to a shared experience and that’s been one of the nicer aspects of doing this every day, knowing that certain people you’ve come to know and like are right there alongside you as you go. That can’t be replaced and it made the decision to drop the comment option a much more agonizing one to arrive at.

There have also been a few relatives of artists we’ve covered who’ve left messages of thanks for bringing belated attention to their loved ones and I’m honored that they’d feel I was doing their ancestors proud by what I write. One of the goals of the site – maybe the overriding goal – has been to make sure that none of these artists are allowed to be erased from history and so finding out that it was being seen by those who knew many of these artists personally was rather unexpected and truthfully kinda cool.

There were also a few guests who imparted some important information along the way that was helpful in clearing certain matters up and I hate to lose that, but I actually got more of those corrections through e-mail than in the comments anyway and so since that option remains available it hopefully won’t mean that those kind of contributions are cut off entirely.

But the reasons for doing away with the comment section comes down to the more insidious side of the internet, foremost among them the malicious targeting of the site itself (spam and other attacks) through the comments. The security system here has been very good, only one piece of spam has gotten past the filter so far and even that never appeared on the site itself because I had to pre-approve everybody’s comments before they went public. But the amount of spam we’re receiving here is getting to be overwhelming.

It hasn’t done any harm – yet – but a couple of posts seem to be the portal for them before it randomly changes to another post and that means those pages are screwing up the tabulating methods all sites use for traffic which is an important feature for any blog creator. Trying to determine the actual number of readers of the site when you need to first weed out those who are just spammers is a time consuming hassle.

The more of this type of annoying maintenance I have to do, the less enjoyable it becomes to work on the creative end of the site. My hope is by eliminating all comments (I’ve never had comments on the label or artists pages for instance, only the individual record reviews) it will drastically cut down on this aspect of the job. The spammers won’t have a way to even try and manipulate their way on the site and I won’t have to see dozens of ads for sneakers, cut-rate prescription drugs, off-shore gambling dens and surefire marketing tools to increase my traffic that await me every time I log on.

I can always bring the comments back if there’s an outcry over their loss, or if I just find I miss that feature more than anticipated. The old comments that were made by all of you are still archived in case that happens, but for now we’ll see how things go without them and I hope no one out there reading is bothered too much by their absence.
 

CHANGES TO THE SITE: Master Index
The other change is a small one found in the Master Index that might not be noticed unless I point it out here.

The Master Index was always the page I viewed as the hub of the website for it’s the one place to go to see every record reviewed to date, the basic release information (date and label #) and the score given it, all of which are linked to the posts themselves for easy navigation.

The problem though is we’ve done so many reviews the page has gotten way too long to scroll down and take it all in, especially on mobile devices and that means fewer people are able to quickly find what they’re looking for (the Search feature sucks, I admit, so the best bet outside the Master Index would be either the individual Artist Directory pages or the Record Label Discography, each of which have the links to all of the records we’ve reviewed under those designations).

For re-configuring the Master Index I had a few options that I considered, one being to combine two sides of an artist’s records on one line, as Motown Junkies does, which would cut down on the number of lines by about 35-40%.

But while that seemed like a good solution at a glance it really would only delay the inevitable as we continue to add hundreds of new reviews each year. I also didn’t want to double up the records on a single line because they’d be more likely to spill into the next line anyway, especially on smaller screens, thereby negating much of the benefit. Furthermore since not all records we review have both sides getting written about that might also confuse people as they start wondering where the B-side was when the records around them all had two songs on each line.

The most basic reason I avoided that option though is I just think it looks better with every song getting its own line and score – it’s just easier to focus your eyes on each title when scanning the list if you’re not also looking side to side at the same time.

So after wrestling with this problem for a long time and putting aside other potential resolutions such as giving each year its own individual Index page (which I was afraid would lead to some years being overlooked entirely), I’ve decided the first step is just to use anchor links at the top of the current Master Index page so you can jump to the specific year you’re looking for on that page.

Of course this is still far from ideal but it’s a start. Obviously as the site grows in scope and the list of reviews grows ever longer it’ll surely be something that needs to be revisited but the hope for now is the anchor links will just provide one (totally optional) way to make people’s visits here a little simpler.

So that’s the explanation for the changes taking place now, but the one thing that won’t change on Spontaneous Lunacy is the primary purpose of the site as a whole which is to tell rock’s entire history chronologically, one song at a time.

So let’s not waste more of that time talking about behind the scenes stuff when we have so many more records to get to.