Re: Writing community - many changes
- From: "ShellyS" <shelly.s@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: 10 Jun 2006 08:10:56 -0700
Sudden Disruption wrote:
but you've clearly not figured out how things work yet.
I may not be as well informed as you, but I DO have a clue about
inclusive / exclusive human behaviors. And I also know there's a line
between spam and useful contribution. Sometimes it's a wide gray one -
or at least it should be.
No, not really. There's TOS and there are things that violate TOS. And
I know a bit about human behaviors, too. I also know that that line is
placed in different places for different people and nothing anyone says
will change that. So the consensus rules.
First I'll address this little clique.
Newsgroups like many things in nature are driven by the power law - a
few individuals do most of the posting, forming a familar core group.
They discuss how they take their coffee, cats and conga rats, leaving
others ostracized if they miss a beat, or don't conform in some
This is true for any group, online or off. There are groups that are
ruled by going off topic. The group "theme" exists merely as a reason
to congregate, nothing more. There are also groups where the theme is
the purpose and what drives the group. Within that are consensual
"off-topic" topics and yes, the group gets to decide on those by
That newsgroups get to decide why they exist and how they function
isn't anything out of the ordinary. Newcomers are accepted and welcomed
when they don't barge in and try to change things. This has been a
continual problem on other writers boards, too, where newcomers try to
tell the regulars how to behave. The typical reaction is usually: Would
you go into someone's home and start criticizing? Would you barge in
and try to sell something? If yes to either, then there's a reason you
aren't welcome. The rhetorical you, of course. And yes, this is a
public group, but one of longstanding and yes, there are "rules"
governing what is on-topic and what is not, what is spam and what is
FAQs are written and social pressure applied to filter out those who
won't "figure out how things work". It's xenophobia at it's best.
FAQs are helpful for newcomers who don't know the lay of the land or
space sector. If everything was allowed everywhere, there'd be no need
for specialized topic-oriented newsgroups. Why shouldn't this newsgroup
be specialized, with a helpful guide to "how things work" here?
This is one of the best newsgroups I've encountered (I'm including SFF
message boards on various services and on various sites) in that it is
heavily used and more relevant than others. If I wanted to see ads
about writing services, I could find a place to tell me that. I come
here to read and occasionally participate in the conversations as
outlined by the theme of the group, which is pretty much the name of
the group. The FAQ explains what's relevant and what's not. If someone,
in the course of a discussion, mentions a useful site, then it is
relevant and on-topic. Posts that simply promote a service, especially
when posted in more than one thread, are ads, plain and simple.
When this behavior progresses to it's extreme, a moderated group is
formed which then slowly dies as the scope of acceptance narrows. I've
seen it happen. It's a pity.
As a student of Burning Man I know the value of radical artistic
expression in bringing fresh blood to the mix. I feel it should be
encouraged when encountered, whether it perfectly conforms and pays
homage to the ruling elite or not. I do my part when I can.
Time and place for all things. Not every place needs to do that. People
do like to have a place to go to where they know what to expect, where
they can simply engage in congenial discussions of the art and craft of
writing and maybe talk about their cats or favorite chocolate. I don't
have a cat, but I do love chocolate.
And there's a big difference in expressing radical writing ideas and
selling something. And when such ideas are presented, that doesn't mean
it has to be or will be embraced. People who don't agree have the right
to shoot them down. From such things, discussions can grow. Everyone
agreeing all the time tends to be boring.
There are some really good websites for writers and this one isn't included.
And that means you should only defend and promote the status quo? Did
the 60s never happen? I don't like spam either. But there is a cost
benefit ratio for every line we draw in the sand. I don't let my
hatred for spam keep me from having an open mind. He may improve. An
on-topic post every six weeks is not abusive - especially if he
honestly IS making changes. I would give him benefit of the doubt.
You should give it a try too. You might find something new.
Improvement usually is more likely to take place when people receive
instructions or explanations as to what needs improving. However, much
as we'd like a perfect world where everyone is helpful and friendly and
warm as fuzzy bunnies, this isn't a perfect world or a perfect
universe. People come in all personalities here and some are cranky.
Some get tired of one spam after another. Some will snap. Some of them
might apologize later. Some don't feel they should. Neither is wrong.
If I've learned nothing else from being online this last decade is that
I needed to develop a thicker skin. Which is useful. I'll probably need
it once I start submitting my ms and the rejections start rolling in.
The other thing I've learned is to not scold others. It more likely
just makes a situation worse. So I explain my feelings, act according
to what I feel is right, and let the rest slide off. I'd suggest others
do that, but I know that approach might not be for them. ;)
Or at the very least ignore him.
Think if "I" had been intimidated...
You would have missed this wonderful post!
I think this is one of the saddest thing I've seen on message boards
and newsgroups. The whole "intimidation" thing, as if being online is
some cosmic battle, to be won or lost, instead of merely enjoyed.
- Re: Writing community - many changes
- From: Pat Bowne
- Re: Writing community - many changes
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