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Minas Tirith Forums » Minas Tirith Site Announcements » Here's your suggestion box, so stuff it! (Page 35)
Author Topic: Here's your suggestion box, so stuff it!
Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 490

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It comes down to the differences between two of the major ways of reading books, Reader Response and...I can't remember the name for the one where the author's take on things was the ultimate (four hours of sleep [] )...But I think having a place where The Letters don't decide how we should read LotR would be nice.
From: California ainrofilaC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Amárië
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I've been reading up a bit on "Reader Response" as you call it, and I find it quite an interesting concept. I am not opposed to the idea that the reader takes their own meaning from the text (I think it's impossible for the reader not to interpret the text in their own way at least a little, actually), but I also think that completely ignoring the author's intention is, to put it bluntly, a bit arrogant.

I suppose you could put me somewhere in the middle of these two poles. I feel that the reader's personal response to any work is important, but I also think that it is important for that reader to understand exactly what it is they're reading before they respond, and the ideas and images that work was meant to convey. Does that make sense? Pure Reader Response seems a bit like anarchy for me. I certainly wouldn't have enjoyed Animal Farm half as much if the allegory hadn't been explained, or Slaughterhouse Five without knowing about the Firebombing of Dresden. It's the same with Lord of the Rings.

To me, Tolkien's intentions and ideas do not take away from my enjoyment, they broaden it. And it is not as if an interpretation of Lord of the Rings based on Tolkien's letters and/or unpublished texts completely negates any need for debate, or disallows opinion. I like to think of myself as someone who respects and listens to Tolkien's beliefs and holds them of supreme importance, but Fëanor is still, by far, my favorite character in the legendarium, despite Tolkien's beliefs that his actions were evil. See what I'm saying?

From: Mishawaka, IN | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 490

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Forgive my disorganization...We're moving furniture and I'm surrounded by chaos...

I enjoy looking at books in a variety of different ways. I value the author's interpretation. They've thought about their works for much longer and in much more depth than I have, in most cases! Reading Tolkien's "Letters" has very much made me enjoy LotR more.

In general I like reading up on the author's life and times and learning about how the world they lived in and the life they led might have influenced their work (I love the author bios in books). I agree; knowing exactly what Orwell was thinking of when he wrote "Animal Farm" makes for a better experience.

Where Reader Response comes in is when a Reader wants to apply "Animal Farm" to another situation, using examples from the text. No one needs to come in and say "Orwell wasn't writing about that; he was writing about this" if the person gives evidence from the text to support their opinion. The Reader has the right to apply "Animal Farm" to the other situation, regardless of what Orwell intended it to be about. They can't say that their situation is what Orwell intended cause we know full well it isn't; but that doesn't mean they can't make their own intepretation (provided they back it up with the text).

My only problem with either RR or Authorial Intent is when the interpretation isn't supported by the text. It's not just the Readers who do this, as JK Rowling recently demonstrated when she told everyone that Dumbledore was gay. OK, JK Rowling, you've written seven books. Where in those seven books is there any indication of Dumbledore's sexual preference? If she can't prove it using her published cannon, her opinion is valuable, but doesn't have to be taken as cannon. Imho.

We probably agree. I don't believe that people should run amuck with their interpretations and totally disreguard the author. I just think that the Reader shouldn't be disreguarded either, provided they can do something to back up what they think (this is when submitting their opinion to others).

From: California ainrofilaC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Adulithien
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Agreed. And that is not necessarily so different from literary analysis. Good art has subtlety, and that leaves room for interpretation. If we want to talk about all literature, then most literary analysis is an exercise in supporting personal interpretation with evidence from text — because not every literary work has an accompanying body of letters to supplement or limit criticism/analysis.

Just because Tolkien wrote a lot of letters does not mean that there is no longer any place for reader interpretation. Even textbooks have room for interpretation because there is no such thing as 100% exhaustive research. In consideration of the above, reader interpretation is not necessarily even non-scholarly, provided it is analytical, critical and based on the text. (That's what most literary criticism/theory is.)

And I think that such a discussion (potentially) has nothing in common with role-playing.

It is also entirely inappropriate for the self-proclaimed scholars on this board to put the "objective" smackdown on anyone up North who wants to engage in a different flavor of literary criticism AND to also demand that such discussion be provided no quarter. How narrow. How arrogant. []

As for suggesting that people interested in such a thing should be limited to RP, well, that's absurd. There is a huge difference. And just because RP-ing incorporates part of this for some Rpers does not mean that others should have to make do with bits and pieces of what they're looking for — especially as that tends to get people harangued out of threads and entire forums (fora?) around here.

If you want to stay in your cut-and-dried havens, then do so. But suggesting that others who don't share your interests/preferences/opinions should both be prevented from sullying your hallowed space AND from creating a harassment-free space for their differing interests/preferences/opinions is narrow, presumptuous, elitist, and frankly, a load of horsecrap.

If the reader and his/her interpretation are irrelevant to discussion, then why so many dozens of pages worth of argument over Peter Jackson's interpretation of Tolkien's books?

If Tolkien's works have nothing to do with the reader, then why the hell did any of us read them?

[ 03-09-2008, 04:52 AM: Message edited by: Adulithien ]

From: Austin | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Lillianna
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I pretty much agree with everything Addie just said, but my opinion on this matter has been made known before. I have a lot I don't like about authorial intent and I think it can turn art to propoganda and it's also lazy, in my opinion. Anyone can pull out a stack of Tolkien letters and other shreds of writings he scratched out on pieces of dirty napkins, but it's a lot harder to pull out a clear and well supported interpretation from the canonized text. But that's how literary discussion should be. What goes on for the most part in the north is a hide and seek game. Example:

"I don't know _____ about ______. It's hidden."

"Ok, let me pull out my letters of Tolkien and find it. Oh, here it is! Problem solved."

BORING.

What Tolkien wrote on a letter doesn't automatically qualify it as discussion ending evidence.

I would LOVE for there to be some sort of discussion that banned the letters (voluntarily, mind. Don't go all ape-sh!t on me). Would make things so much more interesting.

[ 03-09-2008, 05:59 AM: Message edited by: Lillianna ]

From: Back to Cali, Cali | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
White Gold Wielder
Steward of Minas Tirith
Citizen # 2

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Have there really been that many cases where posters found themselves beaten into silence by responses that included Letters quotes? I feel this to be a non-issue. Speculation on interpretations outside Tolkien's own on any issue can easily be handled within the current structure and certainly don't warrant an entire forum.
From: Chicago | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Athene
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Oh come on, Tuor may not be willing to admit it but he blatantly meant that as a take-down to people who don't want to accept Tolkien's final word on something. []

Quite right too, IMO. The man wrote the books; you can post a "what if" but stating that you don't think it was one way when he clearly said it was makes no sense. Do we really need a different forum for that? []

E: Perhaps we could title relevant threads with, for example: [Reader Response]Who would have represented Sauron in the Cold War? or something like that? Then those who don't want to take part can post elsewhere. []

[ 03-09-2008, 09:39 AM: Message edited by: Athene ]

From: Hades, UK | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tuor
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quote:
Oh come on, Tuor may not be willing to admit it but he blatantly meant that as a take-down to people who don't want to accept Tolkien's final word on something.
Not at all. I see nothing wrong with non-Tolkien Middle-earth discussions. I just believe that they should not be considered the same kind of discussion. A line should be drawn between the two. Having seperate forums for non-Tolkien discussions would be a great way to create such a line.

But WGW has already spoken. I was just responding to your statement about what I "really meant".

From: Oklahoma | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Amárië
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I like Athene's idea. For people who want to participate in such threads, why don't you just label them? That way everyone can be happy, but we don't need a new forum?

[ 03-09-2008, 03:09 PM: Message edited by: Amárië ]

From: Mishawaka, IN | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
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Citizen # 490

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I like the labelling idea too [] If you don't want someone coming in to throw Letters at people, one can say so at the beginning of the thread []

Or you could do a mix. I think that

Person One: "Tolkien said this, but you could also say this because of this [insert cannon evidence here]"
Person Two: "And this because of this passage in LotR"
Person Three: "And this because of this passage in The Silmarillion"
Person Four "And this too, because I interpret the bit Person Two posted this way."

makes for a more interesting and fullfilling conversation. Even if someone started the thread just wanting to know what The Professor thought about something, you can still expand the original explanation into a RR conversation.

Hurray for Lills and Addy, I quite agree []

From: California ainrofilaC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Adulithien
Guard of the Citadel
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Thread labelling sounds like a mighty fine idea. []

That way those who do feel scolded into silence can post there. (Because there does seem to be plenty of them... that's the reason that seems to be given most when people explain why they only post down South. I suppose those silenced people just haven't been speaking up enough about it. [] )

Anyhow, nice idea, Athene. It's good to see you doing something to prove that the Best Citizen category wasn't rigged. [] [] []

[ 03-09-2008, 10:46 PM: Message edited by: Adulithien ]

From: Austin | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Dread Pirate Roberts
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Citizen # 2117
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quote:
How about a 'Tolkien Free' forum so that people like Dread Pirate can discuss Middle-earth without worrying about people quoting letters and ruining their fun.
I'm sorry I missed this for several days and likewise sorry to not have responded before WGW made his decision on the matter. The request shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the problems I have with certain types of posts.

A discussion board is for discussion. When a question is posed, it is for the purpose of discussion. Many of us already have Letters and/or HoME. If we want to know what they say, we'll either 1)read them ourselves or 2)post the question in the HoME forum or 3)ask in the thread "what does HoME or Letters say" about the subject.

There is a great deal of difference between asking a question for discussion's sake and asking it simply to get Tolkien's answer.

When we're talking about something in LoTR, Silm, or Hobbit forums, we are discussing within the context of those texts (to my mind).

I'm on another discussion board for another author and the way they have it set up is a separate forum for each book, then one forum called "the whole thing" or something like that. Only in "the whole thing" do people discuss the whole thing. In the individual book forums the discussion is mostly limited to those books. If conversation drifts to the entire legendarium, the thread is moved to "the whole thing" and everyone's happy and nobody's spoiled.

So maybe rather than add a non-Tolkien forum, we should add an "Entire Legendarium" forum. Even the name, "non-Tolkien," is condescending. It implies that inference and deduction have no place in a true Tolkien discussion, that thinking for oneself and reasoning on the text itself without outside influence (even from the author) is somehow "fan-fic" and doesn't belong here.

Sorry, but it does belong. That's part of what discussion is.

Finally, not to get too personal, but Tuor, I have a lot of respect for the Tolkien knowledge you possess and your vociferous support of the professor's view. Same goes for Eluchil and many others here. I realize I don't know Tolkien like you know Tolkien. Also, despite how I may have come across lately, on the spectrum of how to interpret literature, I am much closer to the authorial intent end of the spectrum than the reader response end.

But there is a place for both, and even more so do I believe in the third way of interpreting literature: from the individual text itself. Words have meanings that are somewhat more firm than a reader response proponent might give them yet somewhat more malleable than an authorial intent proponent.

In conclusion, I hope we're all cool.

From: Blacksburg, VA | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Thorin
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http://www.minastirith.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=8;t=000485;p=1#000000

This semi-greeting thread might be better placed in the Log instead of Computer Games.

Edit:

http://www.minastirith.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=17;t=000270;p=1#000000

And this one looks like a good candidate for the NLC LOTR forum.

[ 04-01-2008, 03:06 PM: Message edited by: Thorin ]

From: Helsinki | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mithrennaith
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I think this thread: http://www.minastirith.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=21;t=000023 belongs rather in the other (i.e. LotR) movie forum.
From: Amsterdam, Netherlands | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Thorin
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How did I manage that? I guess I wasn't paying close enough attention. Believe it or not, I never did notice that it was in the wrong forum until just now. Sorry, WGW.
From: Helsinki | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Snöwdog
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What? A three-digiter making such a mistake??? []
[] []

From: In the Shadows of Annuminas | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Earendilyon
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Citizen # 322

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No suprise: he's a high-3-digiter! []

~ Ear.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-
"For I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me."

John 3:16-21

From: Rivendell | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scientia Excelsa
Soldier of Gondor
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I sought but did not find...I hope this hasn't already been suggested. I've seen the occasional online forum that has a system for the awarding of reputation points between members. For example, someone posts a helpful reply to a question, and is rewarded with a +rep to be tallied under the screen name. If it is possible for such a system to be installed here, I think it would add to the depth of our beloved city.

The rep system has a few issues, however. First of all, it swiftly becomes an annoyance, as there are always a few insecure cheapskates lobbying for points. Abuse of the system must therefore be punished. Perhaps with the addition of the ability to deduct points. This would cause more abuse, however, requiring even more regulation. Perhaps if points could be deductable solely by the individual who bestowed them, and a maximum amount of negative points could be set per person.

Anyway, if Minas Tirith has the capability to host such a system, (I really need a good synonym for "system") I feel that the idea merits discussion. It has both pros and cons that must be taken into serious consideration by the steward and senior members before such a step can be taken.

From: Michigan, USA | Registered: Aug 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Artaresto
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Sorry, but I doubt that WGW will have time for that. []
From: Forochel | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Neytari Took-Baggins
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Citizen # 490

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I think we did have one and he disabled it on purpose? Or maybe I'm confusing boards...Either way, I'm against it []
From: California ainrofilaC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Nimruzir
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I'm on a couple of boards that use this.
It works really well actually.

It prevents a lot of the "I agree", simple posts of a "smiley face" or even "blank post" since that is essentially the function: to agree.

These boards also implement a minimum number of characters necessary for a regular post (20 seems to be average). If you are going to say something, use a least 20 letters. That also seems to work well to cut down on superfluous postings since the "rep" option covers this type of post.

It also seems to help in the reply itself since you are actually replying to the post directly without having to quote the post you are agreeing with or giving a smiley face to.

I believe these boards use this option as a way to cut down on unnecessary bandwidth usage. There are many boards where posters will quote a page worth of someone's post just to add a "QFT". Sad really.

It also seems to keep down the number of pages a thread will create, but then they also seem to have a limit on the number of posts a single thread can have as a maximum before they close it and require a new one to be created (200 posts seems average - in a discussion that's quite a bit when you remove the stuff that is covered by the "rep" option). Also a bandwidth issue as well I believe since you are not loading 125 pages of a thread just to add a smiley face to a post.

From: Den of Iniquity | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
White Gold Wielder
Steward of Minas Tirith
Citizen # 2

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What would a rep score gain us? No opinion in the question, just find it missing in the discussion.
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Nimruzir
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Citizen # 248

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Aside from the benefits already mentioned, the rep score also has the equivalent of the rank system in use here that you can label specific to your site. Soldier of Gondor, Guard of the Citadel, etc. That is more or less just a "fun factor" since the real benefits are already outlined above and most likely done to make it more attractive to use instead of a normal post.

Or, you could assign some other rank system and use both. You may even be able to utilize it without a rank system. I'm not familiar with the formatting or coding involved.
IIRC you eliminated post count due to postings done for no other reason than to increase personal numbers, which is good.

Edit:
Here is an example I pulled from one of my own posts, with user names x'd out:

Nonono.
They've been leaving because of Global Warming.
Don't you know THAT is the root of all evils?
You should follow the media more closely.

Comments on this post
XXX agrees: Al Gore would approve of this post.
XXX agrees: Good call. haha
XXX agrees: Not just al gore. me too.
XXX agrees: I second.....no.......three......no.....I uh....fourth that!
XXX agrees: I fifth that []


[ 08-28-2008, 06:19 PM: Message edited by: Nimruzir ]

From: Den of Iniquity | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Matt The Courageous
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quote:
Sorry, but I doubt that WGW will have time for that.
This is my view as well. WGW has enough on his plate.

Maybe a new category for the over one thousand posts, but it should be simple. I realize it's been mentioned before.

Besides, some of us would fear being ranked on a scale. []

From: pacific northwest | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Lostfiniel
Guard of the Citadel
Citizen # 2983

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We know there are many different personalities and views on this site, not to mention differing views. I know a lot of the rep systems are built in such a way to render those points void...but I never believe they work as well as they would like. One of those ideal situations, in my opinion.

Sometimes the personalities with outrageous, slightly offensive, views are the ones who keep discussions alive (and fun.)

I admit I am not ever around enough to fully see if the forum is running smoothly or not. But, are things poor enough that we need a rep system or the like?

From: Carlsbad, California | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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