In the renewed spirit of Firedoglake community, presaged by Peterr’s magnificent “Why Are You Here?” post and the forgiving commentary that followed, I’d like to set aside tonight’s comment space for folks we sometimes jokingly call “the lurkers.” These are the readers, the many people who stop by Firedoglake but don’t announce themselves.

You know who you are. We’d like to know you better.

Our web traffic statistics show that there are lots of you — lots more who read than comment, actually. And we respect your privacy: we understand the instinct to hang back, to be anonymous, to observe and absorb. But we would like to take some time to get to know who you are, what you like and (maybe) don’t like so much around here, why you are a non-commenting participant. I would like to know if there is anything we can do to make Firedoglake a more welcoming place, a place where you might feel more comfortable commenting and contributing your thoughts to the ongoing dialogue here.

Around FDL, the folks who read and observe but don’t comment are sometimes called “lurkers” but we may err in ascribing shyness or hesitancy to you. It’s because you haven’t raised your voice in the group that we don’t know very much about you — except we know there are lots of readers. Based on our monthly traffic statistics here at FDL, it’s easy to tell that there are some people who pop in daily, or more often, to read but who don’t leave a comment in the threads.

Can you tell us something about yourself? Can you “decloak” from hiding for a moment this evening, please, to let us know who you are? Please don’t compromise your anonymity, or pseudonymity, if you’re unwilling to do so. Leave us a little tidbit, if you wouldn’t mind.

We’d really like to get to know you just a little bit.

We value your readership. We know you comprise the vast silent majority of our readers. And we’d like you to feel welcome to comment, to engage in the debate, to become a vocal part of our FDL community. We feel like we know you, because we once were like you! All of us began our Firedoglake adventure as a reader. Some of us made the transition to commenter; some of us to diarist; some of us to front-page contributor.

There are lots of ways to participate, and yours may be the largest group of participants. That’s why we’re curious!

Without your readership, we’d be typing into the void. You’re a very important part of this place. And, to serve you better, to meet your expectations, we’d like to know a little bit about what you want from Firedoglake.

So, please — register tonight (in the Toolbox way down the right-hand column) and say “Hi.” Let us know what you like about FDL, why you read the site, what you’d like to see more (or less!) of at Firedoglake. I’m going to take a bit of a backseat tonight, not engaging quite so much, so that new voices can be heard on this thread. I’m going to say “Hello!” to all our regular Sunday Late Night guests right here and right now, and then leave the comments section to any of you who’d like to de-cloak. Unravel the mystery, please…. we promise no ionic disrupters as in the clip above!

Have at it. Tonight’s your night to shine, quiet ones.