Confusion erupts as humor article is posted to our Facebook Page

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Somebody sent me a link this weekend to a satirical piece about a Vancouver bylaw that requires people to write a letter when they move away from here. I posted it to our Facebook Page and it got so many clicks that it reduced the load time of the page to a trickle and we thought the server had broken.

HERE is the article. Its headline is “Confusion erupts as young woman moves without writing ‘Why I’m leaving Vancouver’ open letter”, and it’s a lighthearted (yet biting) look at the practice of people writing Dear John letters to Vancouver when they move away, as well as the media’s role in circulating them.

More than 9,000 people clicked on this article and read it from our link on Facebook. 113 shared it. 1 marked it as “Spam”.

We didn’t publish the article. The outlet that did is called The Other Press and is Douglas College’s student newspaper. They’ve categorized the piece as “Humor” but you’ve got to be pretty savvy to look for that label on the bottom of the post, so there were some people who were confused about what they were reading. A few were gobsmacked, actually believing the story to be true and wondering how they had missed this weird bylaw. Some were angry that we were promoting “fake news” and called us out as potentially being a Russian bot farm started to disseminate propaganda (we’ve been accused of a lot of things over the years but that’s a new one). And then there was the majority who understood it was satire.

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Out of the people who knew that what they were reading was meant to be humorous, not all of them found it funny. Our affordability crisis is real, and we’ve been publishing more and more features about it recently. We used to ignore it entirely and stuck to light and fluffy articles but now that we have more resources from Glacier Media we’ve been able to tap in to more stories, a growing number of new hires, and real news. We’ve actually been working on a series dedicated to solutions which will be launching soonish.

I fall on the side of the privileged who chuckled at this satirical piece and re-shared it (113 people shared it from our post alone), as I’m proud to have been brought up in a blue collar family and worked my way up to being able to live comfortably in this expensive city. However I won’t tell you to lighten up; the crisis is real, it is affecting people I know and countless others I don’t know. If it continues this city will be a very different place than it was when I was able to move here 20 years ago and rent an apartment for $600, and make a go at being an entrepreneur. Below is one comment from a reader that resonated.

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Please know that we’re listening, and we’re working on some new features over here. No Joke. Stay tuned.