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  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
    Did you swing the chicken head above your head in a circular motion while reciting the secret chant?
    I did, but it was a gluten free organic chicken head made out of mushrooms and chia seeds. Do you think that might have been the reason?
    I threw a glance at humankind and saw them treacherous and feeble.
    Severe judges, cruel, unkind and fools who are always close to evil.
    Before their frightful, anxious mob, indifferent hate forever rages.
    Not learnt the lessons from the ages!
    What use are wise and tempered words?
    "Sometime, in my sweet blindness" - Pushkin

  2. #32
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    I would like to make a recommendation that there is a bias (albeit a humorous one with much truth to it) in the naming of this new section of the forum. It implies that the discussion must necessarily be heated and volatile. This needn't be the case, and in fact from experience I can say this has rarely ever been the case in the comments sections on my blogs. There may have been deep disagreements, but I can barely recall a few times in the 7 years I've been here that something has seriously gone wrong, and I don't feel particular dislike or discomfort with any specific member. May the feeling be mutual.

    (A lot of times esc says things that make me scratch my head in more ways than one, but I adore him all the more.)

    Perhaps "Dante's Purgatory" would be a more suited name? Inferno may give people the wrong idea that they are actually free to flame, which is the exact opposite of what forum staff have intended with this.

    For the time being, I have privately confided some of my thoughts with the individual who kindly reached out to me and told me about Dante's Inferno in the first place. I expressed that I would like this faculty member to share those thoughts and concerns with the rest of the staff in their own time.

    ---

    In short, my minor concern is that, as the name suggests, the writing may find itself frozen from being so segregated from the general readership. I felt that the blogs section succeeded in being out of the way and sufficiently designated as a place separate from the rest of the site, without it being an echo chamber or at risk of being besieged and starved out like an impenetrable stronghold.

    Political activists or political-science majors or a "certain class" of citizen are not the only ones who can contribute to political discourse. At least here in the west, we theoretically value the contribution of every individual. Or, at any rate, respect the potential for any given individual to contribute meaningfully. They don't have to share their opinion on everything if they don't want to, much less have an opinion on everything. They don't need to vote on everything, or even anything. But it's their right which can only be revoked by themselves.

    My proposition is therefore as follows: I understand that there are some who would like to use the blog section as a place for something entirely other than politics. And that somebody like myself, who tends to post things of a political nature, would be inescapable to people who want to get away from politics. And having those people "block me" would certainly be a solution, but maybe not the best solution.

    So, if technically possible by means of the forum software, I think a compromise would be to provide everybody this "ticket" to Dante's Inferno (still maintaining the minimum post count; think of that as "voting age"). People can choose to not use their ticket. If they feel so strongly, they can even contact staff to have their ticket taken from them. Breaking the rules of Dante's Inferno (or Purgatory, should the name be reconsidered) would have your privilege revoked, either temporarily or permanently, by discretion.

    The point is that I have learned plenty from people who have only very rarely commented on my blogs. Similarly, I have learned plenty from people who comment routinely on them. But somebody who only comments on them rarely, may not wish to navigate the new red-tape and acquire this ticket, effectively stripping everyone else from the chance to hear what they have to say, however seldom that might be. I would certainly be all the poorer if sealed off from such input.

    ---

    There is a third matter that I brought up privately with a member of the faculty. It would, ironically, be something that would now have to be discussed in the new forum Hell (which hopefully will be remade into a purgatory; a place that acknowledges the great, vast potential for differing outcomes and opinions that shall ultimately be judged by ourselves as well as forces beyond ourselves).

    I sincerely asked that this faculty member privately share the issue with the other members of the staff, either one by one or as a whole, however this person sees fit. It doesn't have to be today or tomorrow, but preferably sometime this week so that the discussion can be had. I do not expect any "updates" on the matter, who said what, who disagreed or agreed or abstained, or what have you. I would just like to know that it's been given proper consideration. I'll be able to tell how it played out by simply continuing to use the forum as I normally do, observing the day to day interactions of the townsfolk, as it were. Sounds more sinister than it is, but that's what happens when you move things behind closed-doors; really, all I am asking for is that rules continue to be enforced fairly and justly, not haphazardly.

    In other vague terms, what is defined as "political" is partly a matter of who's doing the defining. And part of the matter is also a question: is something only political when somebody "dares" to dissent?

    It is unfortunate that my most major concern cannot be discussed openly here. But that's not really the fault of this change to the forum, so it's neither here nor there.

    I hope I've made my case clear. Thanks for reading.
    Last edited by Smith; February 4th, 2020 at 05:24 AM.
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  3. #33
    Is there a McDonalds around here?
    Writing Discussion.
    We, like all forums, change. Just as the world around us changes and the mind set of people changes.
    It does suck when the ground is changed underneath you though, especially if you are a longterm member who's contributed alot to the forum and you weren't consulted at all. Speaking as someone who's only been here a year, obviously.
    mm... It sorta kinda doesn't sound freer.
    I have to agree. And the reason I feel this way is because the banhammer rules seem extremely unspecified. The most concrete thing I could gather from the announcement thread was "don't cuss too much, and probably don't be racist sexist homophobic etc." Discounting the fact that all three of those words are highly nonspecific, political debate has historically raged around all of them, and defining them outside the bounds of acceptable political discussion is objectively arbitrary. I would prefer that you simply said: "Don't cuss, we'll ban you. Don't be racist, we'll ban you." Even if I don't agree with it, at least I know what I can and can't do. I can point to a rule and say, "I didn't do this. You are treating me unfairly."
    Dead by Dawn!

  4. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Smith View Post
    what is defined as "political" is partly a matter of who's doing the defining. And part of the matter is also a question: is something only political when somebody "dares" to dissent?
    Sounds like a good topic for the fiery place...


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and are awed,
    because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    - Rainer Maria Rilke, "Elegy I"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
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    C'mon everybody, don't need this crap.
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  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles View Post
    Sounds like a good topic for the fiery place...
    Ideally, I was hoping it'd be one that would be addressed in the wake of this change.

    I also hope my point would be considered in regards to not naming it the fiery place. Self-fulfilling prophecies and all that.
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  6. #36

  7. #37
    It must be remembered that this is primarily a writing site rather than a site in which to express views on more controversial topics. I feel the change is, in part, a response to the changing world out there where politics have become more polarised and higher levels of sensitivity abound about all manner of topics relating to gender, race, disability, religion and ethnicity. Although some may regard their content as innocuous, they don't get to see the reports that are made. Those of a more sensitive disposition no longer have to read subjects that they allow to cause them grief, and those who wish to continue posting on such subjects can now do so with greater freedom as a result of the changes.
    Don't criticise the choices someone makes unless you know the options they have.


  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Istine View Post
    It must be remembered that this is primarily a writing site rather than a site in which to express views on more controversial topics. I feel the change is, in part, a response to the changing world out there where politics have become more polarised and higher levels of sensitivity abound about all manner of topics relating to gender, race, disability, religion and ethnicity. Although some may regard their content as innocuous, they don't get to see the reports that are made. Those of a more sensitive disposition no longer have to read subjects that they allow to cause them grief, and those who wish to continue posting on such subjects can now do so with greater freedom as a result of the changes.
    Don't criticise the choices someone makes unless you know the options they have.
    Ah, I understand. I was just hoping my points would be given a little more formal consideration. Is there really zero merit to any of the things that I articulated? I mean, it is what it is if you think so, but I'd at least like to know. I spent the better part of 30 minutes writing what I felt was a well thought-out response to a sudden change that fundamentally alters the way I use this forum.

    I've always heeded the point that it's a writing site. That's actually why I tried to never stray from the blog section when it came to politics, which for the 7 years I've been here has served as the predecessor to this new addition to the forum. I think in the 7 years I've been here I got out of line once, and promptly apologized for it. The world didn't stop turning. It didn't sour the good relationships I've enjoyed building with the staff. It's inevitable in any community.

    And you bring up an excellent point of contention, Phil. Do we enable this notion that people can't handle political discussion? That feelings should silence or continually compartmentalize any political discussion into smaller and smaller spaces to the point of irrelevancy? Of all places, a republic or anything closely resembling democracy is probably the last place you'd want to enable that kind of mindset.

    Some of the greatest prose ever written was political. Persuasive or satirical or informative. At the very least it can't be pretended that there's no relevance whatsoever. So the line seems ill-defined. Do people who, in good-faith, are writing political prose for one of the aforementioned purposes, now have to try and find constructive feedback in a debate room? Perhaps I have misunderstood. I acknowledge that I only read the OP and the first page of this thread.

    I also admit that I do not see the reports that you get. But I'm speaking for myself here, not anonymous people. Allow me to tell you some anecdotes that you may not have known. I didn't get along with Plasticweld for about the same amount of time that we've since gotten along. We disagreed on a lot of things, and had a lot to learn about one another and ourselves before we found the common ground and mutual understanding and respect.

    I don't know where Grayson has went off too. Hopefully things are going well for him. But him and I would have some of the most headache inducing conversations about philosophy and politics (as if the latter needed to be anymore complicated), and at the end of the day we were still cordial with one another. I think him and I definitely grew as a result of the exchanges, and even had a friendship, at least by internet standards.

    Esc once said to me that he often does not agree with that I write, but he agrees with my right to say it. As the saying goes.

    Disagreement and having your feelings hurt is part and parcel of going outside as far as I'm concerned. If you're going to try to appease and appeal to everybody, you couldn't even have any rules at all.

    If my attitude was "I'm going to leave if one person isn't nice to me" or if they say something that indirectly hurts my feelings, I would not have been here for 7 years. And probably would not have been on the internet for 7 minutes.

    So why make those people the moral and ethical standard of the forum? Yes, they're people too, and I'm not by any means justifying being outright and overtly rude and bullying. It just makes no sense to me that you would take a belief like that and use it to guide how you operate. Well, more than that; taking that belief and saying that everybody else has to play by those rules. Don't you think it's an unreasonably low standard to set for adults? On the internet of all places, too.

    I assume this is all just a part of the major difficulties of trying to run a site like this. Understandably you have a reputation you want to maintain, and some sort of ideal form you want the forum to reach. Part of that ideal shape is a focus on writing. That's cool with me and makes complete sense. (Using "you" to refer to the administrative staff as a whole, not any particular person.) The writing aspect is why I joined in the first place, so it isn't as if this is news to me. It honestly shouldn't be news to anybody. But it also shouldn't be news that this place has also been a community of humans. Not writing robots. And the concept of community tends to encompass a lot, lot more than writing. Even a writing community.

    I still hold that the name reflects an incomplete view of what political discussion is. It's not all flames. It never has been, either.

    So let me ask then, rather than act on assumption. Why was it named Dante's Inferno?

    I should note, for those who don't know, that the sister site already has a system like this. They called it The Debate Room though, and *you don't have to request a ticket for entry*. The name seems a little more representative, although it certainly lacks the wit and divine humor of Dante's Inferno.

    Let me finish by saying that I do not know whether it grants more freedom than was had before. I do know that people do not have the same freedom to read what I write as they did before. However, I am appreciative that the staff have sought to find a compromise, when they could've went the easy route, said "screw it" and canned it altogether. Oh, and then said "if you don't like that, you're not welcome here anymore". They could've, but they didn't. So thank-you for seeking an alternative solution. Do not treat my feedback of it as being unappreciative.

    But since I didn't get to have any input when this was being deliberated, the result is that you've only delayed the inevitable, even if it should prove futile on my part.

    So concludes my long-winded appeal for now. I'd welcome any thoughtful response.
    Last edited by Smith; February 4th, 2020 at 08:40 AM.
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  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Smith View Post
    Ah, I understand. I was just hoping my points would be given a little more formal consideration. Is there really zero merit to any of the things that I articulated? I mean, it is what it is if you think so, but I'd at least like to know. I spent the better part of 30 minutes writing what I felt was a well thought-out response to a sudden change that fundamentally changes the way I use this forum.

    I've always heeded the point that it's a writing site. That's actually why I tried to never stray from the blog section when it came to politics, which for the 7 years I've been here has served as the predecessor to this new addition to the forum. I think in the 7 years I've been here I got out of line once, and promptly apologized for it. The world didn't stop turning. It didn't sour the good relationships I've enjoyed building with the staff. It's inevitable in any community.

    And you bring up an excellent point of contention, Phil. Do we enable this notion that people can't handle political discussion? That feelings should silence or continually compartmentalize any political discussion into smaller and smaller spaces to the point of irrelevancy?

    Some of the greatest prose ever written was political. Persuasive or satirical or informative. At the very least it can't be pretended that there's no relevance whatsoever. So the line seems ill-defined. Do people who, in good-faith, are writing political prose for one of the aforementioned purposes, now have to try and find constructive feedback in a debate room? Perhaps I have misunderstood. I acknowledge that I only read the OP and the first page of this thread.

    I also admit that I do not see the reports that you get. But I'm speaking for myself here, not anonymous people. I didn't get along with Plasticweld for about the same amount of time that we've since gotten along. We disagreed on a lot of things, and had a lot to learn about one another and ourselves before we found the common ground and mutual understanding and respect.

    I don't know where Grayson has went off too. Hopefully things are going well for him. But him and I would have some of the most headache inducing conversations about philosophy and politics (as if the latter needed to be anymore complicated), and at the end of the day we were still cordial with one another. I think him and I definitely grew as a result of the exchanges, and even had a friendship, at least by internet standards.

    Disagreement and having your feelings hurt is part and parcel of going outside as far as I'm concerned. If you're going to try to appease and appeal to everybody, you couldn't even have any rules at all.

    If my attitude was "I'm going to leave if one person isn't nice to me" or if they say something that indirectly hurts my feelings, I would not have been here for 7 years. And probably would not have been on the internet for 7 minutes.

    So why make those people the moral and ethical standard of the forum? Yes, they're people too, and I'm not by any means justifying being outright and overtly rude and bullying. It just makes no sense to me that you would take a belief like that and use it to guide how you operate. Well, more than that; taking that belief and saying that everybody else has to play by those rules. Don't you think it's an unreasonably low standard for adults? Isn't part of acting like an adult knowing how to handle disagreement, both in terms of having thicker skin, in addition to treating each other well?

    I assume this is all just a part of the major difficulties of trying to run a site like this. Understandably you have a reputation you want to maintain, and some sort of ideal form you want the forum to reach. Part of that ideal shape is a focus on writing. That's cool with me and makes complete sense. (Using "you" to refer to the administrative staff as a whole, not any particular person.)

    I still hold that the name reflects an incomplete view of what political discussion is. It's not all flames. It never has been, either.

    So let me ask then, rather than act on assumption. Why was it named Dante's Inferno?

    I should note, for those who don't know, that the sister site already has a system like this. They called it The Debate Room though, and *you don't have to request a ticket for entry*. The name seems a little more representative, although it certainly lacks the wit and divine humor of Dante's Inferno.
    At the time of responding, I note that the like button has been hit by BornforBurning, which seems to have a degree of irony in view of the name Dante's Inferno being one of the issues you mention.

    There is no way of pleasing all the people all of the time, of course - on that there is no argument. If this were primarily a debate/discussion site about current affairs, I would be in agreement with you. On such a site it might even be the case that poetry and semi-fictional stories about politics would be compartmentalised. Also, it's still the case that current affairs may be alluded to in creative works on the general forum.

    The changes were discussed thoroughly, including the types of issues you raise, and some concerns were expressed about them. It must be remembered that this site is not a democratic institution, and nor need it be.


  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Istine View Post
    At the time of responding, I note that the like button has been hit by BornforBurning, which seems to have a degree of irony in view of the name Dante's Inferno being one of the issues you mention.

    There is no way of pleasing all the people all of the time, of course - on that there is no argument. If this were primarily a debate/discussion site about current affairs, I would be in agreement with you. On such a site it might even be the case that poetry and semi-fictional stories about politics would be compartmentalised. Also, it's still the case that current affairs may be alluded to in creative works on the general forum.

    The changes were discussed thoroughly, including the types of issues you raise, and some concerns were expressed about them. It must be remembered that this site is not a democratic institution, and nor need it be.
    Divinely, ironically comedic. Sure. But I don't know what their username means. I think I have a much better understanding of Dante's Inferno, and how it's being used as the name for a debate room. I think the line being drawn there is pretty clear, but I admit that I'm assuming, so forgive me if I'm off the mark. Believe me, I get the joke. I'm just pointing out that it may give the wrong impression. I don't particularly want to be relegated to some "forum Hell".

    Isn't this discussion you and I are having here evidence of exactly what I'm talking about? This is a microcosm of all the more political discussions I've been a part of on this forum. This change honestly blind-sided me after 7 years of how things worked before with seemingly very little trouble, outside of the one instance I was rightly reprimanded for.

    That's right. It doesn't have to be a democratic institution. It's up to the staff if they want to act democratically. Just know that the manner in which decisions are made will necessarily instill different reactions in the people that are affected. Nobody wants to be a member of any online community where they don't feel heard. Since I didn't get input during deliberation, I'm giving it now. If it's futile, that's fine.

    I'll add this here, because I think you read my post before I was done editing it for the billionth time (ironically to prevent upsetting anybody lol). Do not mistake my feedback for me being upset or outraged by this. In the grand scheme of my life this is peanuts (and I'm not allergic to peanuts). I openly recognize that the staff could've taken the easy route and just banned it altogether, and said "tough luck". They didn't. So thanks.

    But I'd like to point out that people have less freedom to read what I write than they did before. Which is why I would like to see all members who hit a certain post count, given access to the new debate forum. If not outright given access, then formally offered without exception (barring forum users who are not on good terms with the staff because they've already caused trouble).

    Because writing is a two way street. If it's just going to be me talking to myself (or talking to people in an echo chamber), then the extra freedom doesn't really serve me, does it? A writer needs readers.
    Last edited by Smith; February 4th, 2020 at 09:14 AM.
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