The Star-Tribune just converted Russo's Rants to their new blog format (similar to the Access Vikings page.) As far as reading the content Russo and Rachel Blount provide, there's really no big difference for me.
But as far as the comments section, there's a major difference for me. What made "Russoville" Russoville was the community that developed among the commenters to The Don's posts. Obviously it's about reading the work of the best beat writer in the biz first and foremost - and I hope the new format will not cause anyone to stop doing that. But Russoville was other things as well.
The new format makes it more difficult to work up the continuity of conversation than the old format allowed for. That may sound unimportant, but think of it like this: you and a group of friends go out to dinner every Saturday night, always to the same place. It gets to the point that you get the same table, tucked away in the back, so you can chat freely amongst yourselves. Then one week you show up there and not only do they not have your table, but they tell you they will only seat you at tables for two, scattered around the dining room. Obviously the restaurant doesn't HAVE to make your old table available to you. It can do whatever it wants. But you can see why this new set up is frustrating to the "regulars" of the old place.
So, we created a new place to hang out.
Don't get me wrong: this in no way means I will stop reading Russo and Blount. As far as I'm concerned there's still no better authority on the Wild. I just won't be commenting there at anywhere near the level I used to. This is not some kind of "punishment." I don't want the Strib to fail - selfishly, because I want Russo to be able to continue covering the Wild. But I didn't comment there because I was supporting the Strib so much as I enjoyed the community among the commenters. So I will treat the Strib like I treat every other website I frequent: as a place to go and read content, but not necessarily to hang out. And, for the community feel, I'll be at the new place.