|Good idea, I'd wondered about it but didn't feel confident in starting it.|
Okay, so I didn't do it last night (too much wine and masturbation), but will get to it.
In another part of the forest, .trampetunia makes a number of (inebriated) points that I think are relevant and that I hope (s)he won't mind my quoting here:
and happy to be on barbelith
but sad that it isnt living up to my dreams.
sad that barbelith is soooo slow.
I read barbelith for a good year or two before joining and was excited by the new approch it gave to internet discussion. the fact that it aimed for more that just a 'LOL'-fest. The fact that barbelith seemed somewhere that people came to really deal with what needs dealing with and take it into the world around them.
And i still think it's those things.
But i think it seems slow. Maybe it's like [insert name] said - the internet version of the 'slow food' movement. It's GOOD that people actually read posts first and then think about what they post in reply. It's GOOD that people speak in full sentances and give references to what they say.
I argued agaisnt someone recently for saying that barbelith is very cliquey and slightly unwelcoming. But i'm starting to see wha tthey mean. I still see that people cant be expected to be best-buddies straight-off, and i dont want that.
However, i see in this 'space' (i never know which metaphor to use..) an.. oldness. There lies within the very discussions held here the fact that a lot of the posters have been here for nearly half a decade.
If you go to vashti bunyan's website, she give excellent story to her experiences of moving to the outer-hebrides - how the community was very insular and dissaproved wholly and in an outspoken manner to her and her husband moving into their community.
This isn't like that. I'm not being ignored. Nor are any of the other new posters.
But this board (thos 'community') definitely has its groundrules. and the fact that they aren't written doesnt mean they aren't there. I read on the wiki that you can post whatever you want, but you will be called up on it. Since readin this, i have seen a member banned for questioning the holocaust (no, i don't want to deny it either, but blocking out people's questions doesn't really deal with them, does it) and another banned for misogyny.
I don't doubt the rationale behind these decisions. If this is to be considered a community, then we are to make sure that overly negative elements are cut away - jsut as immigrants with a poor criminal record are kept out of the country.
I'm going off track. I dont disagree with the recent bannings. But following the debates involved (especially with the shadowsax case) it seems that people were unlikely to post a view that didn't conform with that of 'most' (ie the hard-core of posters).
It seems there is a certain element to barbelith that consists of those who have been here a long time. I feel the culture of the place is formed around these posters. This is inevitable, seeing as they have produced the most of what is Barbelith - being made of its posts, it depends on the posters. But i feel there are certain limits and boundaries set by these 'posting conventions' that constrict the n00b and (this is my main concern) the nature of barbelith as a whole.
As an 'outsider' who believes somewhat in the ideal of barbelith as a revolutionary force for growth, healing and progress, i'm inclined to ask "has barbelith stunted its own growth?"
Are the rules already set for this game?
Is barbelith no more than a chess board?
I would preview and edit this post, but i'm drunk!
LONG LIVE THE LUSH!!!!!!!
and yeah. i bitch and i moan, but i fully admit i wouldn't be happy on any other board (or 'online community')
I've reposted it here because I think several of .trampetunia's points are pertinent (if a little depressing) as is, possibly, the fact that (s)he had to be 'well refreshed' to articulate them.
I responded specifically to the paragraph mentioning the ShadowSax thread:
If that's what you genuinely think, then I'm forced to concede that, in at least one of its main aims, the ShadowSax discussion thread failed. This disappoints me, because I was aware that people were uncomfortable 'contradicting' certain posters in the Women-Friendly or Moderator Actions thread, but had hoped that, by opening discussion in a separate thread and welcoming every viewpoint, those who held a 'non-conforming' viewpoint but were too timid to post it might feel freer to speak up. The fact that such individuals (and the fact that thirty-odd people chose to PM Tom Coates rather than post in the thread confirms that they exist) were evidently still unable to voice their opinions publicly makes me slightly sad - and makes me wonder in what circumstances they would speak up.
I think it's worth pointing out that "'most'" doesn't map onto "hard-core" here (in that the majority opinion doesn't automatically = the collective opinion of the "hard-core", however we're defining them) and that, even among long-term/frequent posters, there is no unified opinion: my opinion is different from Haus's opinion is different from Flyboy's opinion.
Using the ShadowSax case as an example, what changes would've had to be made to the process for those who didn't voice an opinion publicly to feel comfortable in so doing?
Mordant echoes my sentiment, as usual more succinctly:
I don't really rip people's lungs out.
Just so's you guys know.
Miss Wonderstarr develops the theme:
I feel the dynamic .trampetunia talks about is there, and is inevitable, and that those who count as longterm, hardcore have earned it, but that there certainly is an unspoken hierarchy that would be very hard to dismantle, or to neutralise in an individual thread.
Longterm contributors have met regularly, have formed loyalties, friendships, romantic bonds; have developed respect and affection for each other. Even if a sense of dispute or dislike comes across among these contributors, it's still deeper than anything I could feel for .trampetunia, for instance, or s/he for me.
On the ShadowSax thread the question came up, and was apparently put back down, as to whether some posters carry more "value" than others and would tip a balance: if one big name says s/he's leaving, then that carries more weight than someone threatening to leave after six months and 500 posts. The idea of top trumps, with some people worth more textually and in terms of community than others, was set aside as I say, but I still think it's there really. You still see one old-guard poster referring to another as a long-term, valued and respected contributor, and I think it's very probably the case that people are allowed more slack and space because of what they've put in, over the last five years.
Again, I think that's inevitable and in a way, it's not just understandable but right. If Haus' contributions have been 80% intelligent, helpful, charitable, well-meaning and useful since 2001, then that does, and I think should, give some leeway if 20% of the time his approach to debate seemed inclined to bring out the worst in his antagonist. Just an example: I'm not saying those percentages reflect reality.
But I do feel there's a top-table here, and that those belonging to that high team will be able to get back-up in a way that others can't hope to. Of course, those who've been around longest and contributed most are some of the sharpest, most dedicated and best-informed people on the board too ~ that's why they've stayed here, and that's why they have earned affection & respect. But that does mean that if you disagree with one old-timer, you're likely to get three pals down on you, who also happen to be not just some of the most intelligent and confident people in the community, but the people who are prepared to spend hours on a Barbelith argument.
I don't regard myself as an internet shrinking violet, but I feel it's not worth raising my head above the parapet in that kind of situation, to get it blasted off. If I disagreed strongly with someone like Mordant, Nina or Ganesh I'd really have to consider if it was worth the fight, because I'd know it was going to be a long one with the odds actually stacked against me. So I've tended to be meeker and back down sooner or not bother, because it doesn't seem worth bringing down that kind of thunder.
I'm hoping the conversation can be transposed here.