I have always been an outspoken supporter of freedom of speech in MT. WGW created the Rule, and if he chooses to allow people to post non-Tolkien threads, then that's the Rule. Sure, this means the Pony has exploded all over the place like Mr. Creosote, but that's a natural expression of that freedom of speech.
As for the bickering, well, that's easy enough to stop, isn't it? Pick your favorite fued. How is it easiest to stop this fued? Just get the participants to knock it off. Who gives a crap who struck John? If you know that your fued is causing problems for WGW and MT, then knock it off. Find some way to come to peace, or take one for the team. That's what anyone would do who really cared at all about this community.
That brings me to the topic of reinforcements. If you see something going on, and somebody attacking one of your friends, or something along those lines, then report it to WGW. Doing the old dog-pile routine has never yet stopped one of these fueds. If it was an attack, and violated the Rule, then it deserves reporting. If it wasn't, and doesn't, then jumping on the pile will just make things worse.
Of course, there is another way to end these fueds: Banning.
Now, on to the Lit Forums. I think it's the primary concern of a topic starter to try to keep his topic on track, and to respond to those who post in his thread. If you post a thread, you read it, don't you? Then you know who is 'being ignored'. It's your responsibility to respond to that participant.
Sometimes 'being ignored' is misinterpreted. It is sometimes true that members of a thread simply have nothing to say about what a person has said. This might make it seem as if he is ignoring the other, while it really isn't true. I think it's the thread starters responsibility to respond, so the person doesn't feel ignored. Starting a thread is like inviting people into your home. It's your job to make sure everyone's glasses are full, that people aren't disappearing into the corners, and everyone has a generally good time. If you don't do that, you've failed.
Sometimes, though, and very seldom does this occur, people are purposely ignored. I say this is rare because generally, if you've gotten it into your head that you're going to be spiteful, then you are generally going to attack. On the rare occasions when someone is being ignored, there must be a root cause. that's for the participants to discover, not the community as a whole. Work out your problems, and get over them.
Now, SSA brought up a point, and I'd like to answer it.
quote:For being polite and responding to another's post, I am now told, with two others, not to stray off topic. Either be rude or be wrong? Forget it. Sorry.
I am pretty sure I know what this is in regards to, specifically, my Hobbit Lawlessness thread. I will quote myself directly:
quote:While this is a fascinating discussion topic, it really has little to do with the topic in hand. Perhaps someone can start a topic that deals directly with this?
Now, this can be taken one of two ways. Either I don't want to hear what the people want to say, and I'm asking them to leave, or I think it's a good topic that deserves a discussion thread of it's own. Well, giving myself the benefit of the doubt, I'd say the latter. People often complain about the lack of action in the Lit Forums, when in truth the amount of threads could be doubled quite easily! If, when you've gone off topic, you say to yourself, "Cheese, but that's interesting! I think I'd like to start a thread about that!", then start a topic. That simple. Twice the threads for the price of one. Instead, many fascinating discussions are hidden in topics to which they are not related. It's a real shame. But I also think this is part of the thread starters job: recognize when something is off topic and suggest it be taken to a new thread. It also behooves the TS to participate in the new thread.
Now, I might have been able to express this better, to make sure that my intention was clear, but I thought that it was. If it wasn't, I apologize to all concerned.
That's my feelings, in a rather large nutshell. I, like many others, haven't posted as much in the Lit Forums as I did previously. Like WGW said, things go in seasons. I now have a number of thread ideas I want to start, but not the time to do them! What a world, what a world! So many months of non-Tolkien posts when I had plenty of time, now, desire to do right, but not the time!
I also have felt the desire to just vacate MT. Part of this is because of the trend towards bickering, but mostly because I don't know what I have to offer the community. I have pretty much excised myself from the Pony, which leaves me the requirement of actual rational thought in order to post. Too much to ask of an Old Man!
At any rate, I would like to repeat what I've said before. if you are involved in one of these fueds, get over it, or get gone. Give peace a chance.
From: Playing softball with the Nazarenes | Registered: Nov 2001
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I have read this thread and don't really have much to say 'cept for the fact Tuor is right everybody is ignored sometimes that is simply the nature of the beast - if you are new, assuming your post is of good quality and you have read the thread, it sometimes just takes time to get to know people before you can "chat up a storm" as it were. That said, I don't feel refering to previous topics helps much and I have always been against it but for some it is certainly necessary (ergo: Tom Bombadil) otherwise I think it might be better to allow some retreading to promote discussion.
SSA, now please do not take this the wrong way but do you think you could quit with the sour grapes? Constantly bearing the banner of the perpetual victim of the evil Lit. thread posters(and others) really doesn't help things and only leads to further fights as often people feel falsly accused as you have choosen to remain ambiguous in all allegations and citations of evidence.
From: Worcester, MA | Registered: Nov 2000
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Just think if all those people who felt ignored decided to interact with each other in the lit forum!
As far as bringing up old threads, it is easy enough to ignore those older links and continue on. Or one could always continue the older thread, they generally aren't locked.
From: Oklahoma | Registered: Mar 2001
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Sorry to interrupt this mature discussion, but I'd like to respond to Tuor.
quote: As far as bringing up old threads, it is easy enough to ignore those older links and continue on. Or one could always continue the older thread, they generally aren't locked.
My own personal feelings are that some of the old threads are indeed old. Like over a year. Can't we discuss it again, and maybe there will be some fresh insight by newer members. Perhaps it would be better just to quote relevant passages from those threads, instead of bringing up the entire thing. I just think, "So what if it has been discussed before? Let's do it again, if it's an interesting topic!" Another reason I'm not a big fan of linking old threads is that they are sometimes rather long and, call me lazy, but I just don't feel like reading all those pages. That's just my two cents, I guess I could just say that I generally try to follow your first suggestion and ignore the older threads
From: Tennessee | Registered: Dec 2001
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SSA: It is your decision to post in the Literary forums. No one can, or should, try to make you post there if you don't wish to. Of my own personal experience, I have been ignored (but that's happened in every type of discussion and I haven't had reason to consider it intentional) but never attacked. I'm sorry that you have been treated in such a way and I know that I, and others, would welcome your return. That is, of course, your decision however.
On the other hand, another reason that this thread was created was to address the constant bickering that is tearing apart the City. For my own part, I could usually care less who is in the right. Let's just end it, as MUR suggested, and if it can't be ended maturely then just walk away from it and ignore any continued provocation. And that most certainly goes for all parties taking shots at each other, please don't think I'm picking on you, SSA!
Herendil: Personally, I see the LotR forum as pretty lightweight, the majority of the topics in there aren't too technical and anyone with a basic knowledge of Tolkien's works could easily participate; especially in the asking of questions if not answering!
SSA, okay-I'll be frank because my time is short. Stop causing all of this crud. Fine, you were ignored and then yelled at in the Lit. You were wrong and was corrected, the Lit people were wrong for ignoring you. Do two wrongs make a right? BLOODY HELL NO
Please-just drop it so we can move on.
E:Great, SSA went poof on her posts so I look daft now..
WGW-Remember this is just a rough patch-I'll pass!
-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~- We work in the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.
From: Garden State | Registered: Dec 2001
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Anyway, I'm guessing that this bickerfest is in itself founded in something else. Maybe those involved here should examine that and see if they can come to a solution?
From: Playing softball with the Nazarenes | Registered: Nov 2001
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Some more 'divorces' being contemplated. As one of the oldest members of the board (longevity wise, not age wise, though I am 'up there') I am Citizen #270. Number 123 of those that still have ID's and only about 20 of the 123 are active. (I defined active as those that have posted more than once in the last six months.) I'll be here. I'm not going anywhere soon.
I appreciate the brief respite from the 'real world' that MT provides. For this reason I contribute to WGW for the support of this world. Would I be disappointed if MT went away? Yes, definitely. Would I be crushed and suffer severe emotional damage? No, I doubt it. I would miss finding out what is happening in other parts of the world from my friends here. But I wouldn't go into mourning. I'd just wander about the web until I find something else I like. Perhaps my interest in philately will come to the front once again!
MT going down hill? Not in my opinion. Just different. Seems to be more whiners and more thin skinned persons. But there is good traffic, good conversations and fun challenges to the intellect, whether it is attempting to solve a puzzle, or the latest discussion debating some US policy.
I like it here!
-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~- Marcho Blackwood, MSS - #16 Brookshade Close - Bindbale, North Farthing, The Shire 1st Winner Mahanaxar's Boy Howdy of Approval with 2 Bronze Stars (3rd Award) & Balrog Cluster with Laurel. King of Grammar with Queen SSA Sass this hoopy hobbit frood who really knows where his towel is!
From: Bindbale, North Farthing | Registered: Feb 2001
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Visiting this website borders now on a surreal experience for me. It feels like a place that I have no time for at the present, but somewhere that I have to peek in every once in a while. The feeling is quite phenomenal when I stop by every time. Things are changing rapidly here, especially the look and feel of the website, the t-shirts, the archive forum and now strict disciplinary action... wow.
Well it looks like some of old things still remain... intact. Hopefully the good will remain yet.
Firstly, it is quite splendid indeed to see so many names that I have not looked upon for a long while. As we visit a website as a community, we relate to many people, we make friends and learn and teach. I have met a tremendous amount of intelligent people here, probably of a diversity that I could not hope to do in life otherwise. Some people you have the honour to befriend, while others are the excellent folk that you have not had a conversation with but are happy if not thrilled by their presence and the fact that such people exist among us. Whether there are other websites that are like this, I do not know, and I hope there are! For sharing this intelligence is a good thing. But this website is a place that I found all by myself once I stepped out on The Road. It is special to me for the enviroment it brought me into, and special to me because of its people. This website has not been about Tolkien for me. It has been about the world of creative myth and reality, and I am fortunate to have met some fine people who have made this website very special for me. Each of us bring to this website what we see or want from it, and that's why it's a better place. We have lost many fine citzens, but they are still out there. This website is a stage to the world of Tolkien. Your discovery cannot begin and end here, but you delight in the audience and your fellow actors, and you return because the show is both entertaining and thought provoking.
Secondly, the upgrades are excellent. Every small embellishment added is beautifying this place. Granted it will not make up for an increase in discord, but I find the care with which it is being done to be quite wonderful. It would be nice to help but it is easier to coordinate this if WGW works alone I guess. Coming back here is like discovering a new door in the Last Homely House. How indeed does this add to Tolkien discussion? Would you enjoy a good drama on a dirty stage?
Thirdly, every one must discover a solution in their own good time. It's only then that it not only strikes them the best but also gives them an inspiration to act and an insight to resolve. That is true even for the Steward, ent or not.
Well, fools better watch out.
PS: On a side note, I'm happy to see Adanedhel, MUR, Thorin, Fingolfin, Miz Lobelia, tWl, Roland and WT here after a long time.
I still like this place. The only thing I don't like is the notion that rudeness and lack of civility have their place in intelligent, mature discourse. Or, perhaps it's that so many don't recognize when they're being rude and uncivil.
But it's not unique to MT; it's a phenomenon of the era we're in. I can't stand watching TV political pundits (or listening to the radio ones) because of their callous behavior. I don't mind the opinions differing from mine, but I find it stunning that they interrupt and ridicule their guests or callers, or ridicule public figures without allowing for dissent. What I find even worse is that people actually watch and listen to this stuff, that they actually give credence to statements that come out of the mouth of a person who can't stop shouting long enough to listen to what someone else says.
What we're seeing here is not just an MT problem. It's a worldwide problem. If we could all just talk things out like reasonable people, we'd get a lot farther. Good grief, Tuor and I disagree on nearly everything -- and we've done so publicly on many different threads -- but we've never had a flame war.
One of the main reasons I come here (besides the Tolkien talk) is to interact with lots of different people. Yes, even those who believe differently from me. Why don't we all try that? I'm not the only one here old enough to remember the song "Try a Little Tenderness." *glances at Snowman* Tenderness works much better than shouting, folks -- give it a try!
If I post less here in the near future, please don't take it personally, anyone. I still like you all and really dig this place. Thanks, WGW -- for everything.
From: Meridian ID | Registered: Dec 2001
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Though I do not consider myself a heavy thinker, I have appreciated the care and time that WGW and MT citizens give to the Fair City for love of Tolkien. I have tried to be careful in introducing threads and questions in the literary areas, watching how the great ones interact and speak, learning techniques of polite conversation and scholarship, realizing also that there is flux as we start from Tolkien and grow in sharing the rest of the universe together. This learning includes the manners and art of how to keep a conversation going. Thank you for extending patience to learners, both young and old, as we step further into discussions and into each other's lives. I enjoy the individual style and personality each of you bring to this site, whether I agree with your stances or not. Those who study the nature of groups and group theory would probably be amazed at the (hobbitish?) resilience of this site. Most groups tend to become closed to newcomers after a while. For fresh life then it's just time to take a break, relax, form new groupings, or introduce new topics, deal with news, seek out new relationships, look at point-of-entry areas such as the Floating Log introductions, and so forth. Work? or Recreation? or a mix of both?
PS. WGW, there's a small donation attached to my T-shirt order.
From: First Homely House, Rivendell, Eriador | Registered: Apr 2002
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1) Adding links to Lit threads. There are two ways to do this and two ways to look at it. The first is insulting/insulted. It is rude to post "this has already been discussed here." Of course it has already been discussed... the chances are slim that someone hasn't come up with the same idea over the past few years, unfortunantly. A better way of linking is the second way: helpful/enlightened. It is extremely more pleasant to post(and read) "for more discussion on this topic read this thread." I, for one, would be thankful for the link... especially if it contains pearls of wisdom, concerning a topic of interest, by wise citizens long gone.
One trouble with linking, of any kind, is that it kills any discussion. I would like to, say, discuss Thranduil's role in the War of the Ring. While it is of interest that citizens did discuss the topic back in 2001, I would like to see what current citizens have to say on the matter. Posting a link to an old thread stops people from posting their ideas... unfortunantly.
A suggestion: perhaps, if a new thread starts (concerning a old topic), WGW could physically connect the two? Not just by linking, but by moving the new thread to the end of an old thread. Just a thought.
2) Being ignored in the Lit forums. I'm sorry... but I think some people are being a little oversensitive. You can't please or interest all of the people all of the time. Don't worry if all of the citizens online don't find your recent post scintilating(sp?)... and are not overcome with the desire to immediately post a response. I find the vast majority of posts insightful and interesting to read... I may not have anything to say at the time, but someone might in the near future. Your post is part of the thread until MT dies or WGW decides to prune the thread. Future citizens will read the thread and read your post... it is part of the discussion and therefore of interest.
True... but this is the scenario that I believe happens. I post a thread concerning Thranduil. Citizen X comes along and posts links to earlier discussions on the subject. Then, when Citizens A, B and C read my thread... they see the links and realize that anything they have to say on the subject has probably already been said. And they move on...
My belaboured point is: links often kill any future discussions. If A, B and C had started posting their ideas and thoughts, perhaps Citizens D, E and F would have paid attention to the thread and posted more interesting ideas concerning the subject.
Sure one can post in the old thread that is linked, but, as everyone points out, the thread probably stopped becoming active because everything that could be said had been said. Let new citizens "resay" their views on the subject. Something new and interesting may arise from the discussion ... and why should all of the Citizens with citizen numbers below 1000 have had the exclusive rights to have freely discussed certain subjects?
Perhaps a good rule of thumb would be not to post links for the first few days after a threads birth? That way people can respond with their ideas and thoughts first, before being reminded that the topic has already been discussed to death.
In the early months of my visits to this website I found that the arguments grew in a healthy fashion. This was not because whatever was said was knowledgable or sophisticated, but rather it was civil.
A thread spawned an idea or thought and people were not shy to speak up even if they were wrong. I remember that many times there would be kids speaking up and voicing their view without fear of being proven wrong.
I'd say you were wasting your kind words here, because why must people defend their incapability to participate in the literary discussions in the first place? It's not mandatory, is it?
If they don't want to for any reason then why do they feel inferior? Or why do they feel the need to keep repeating themselves? I've not posted in a literary thread for ages. I don't find myself feeling inferior, or for that matter worried that I'm not an irreplacable member of this community.
If they want to post but they can't then I'd say they have either got nothing worthwhile to add or they are just afraid to be found wrong. The Steward has created a place of tolerance here. Does he strike down a thread if it is a dumb yet sincere question? And as far as I remember I don't find any group of elitist scholars who go around trying to put down every dumb question or response spoken. In fact I have many times seen people going out to reply knowledgably and kindly.
The problem is that if people don't want to post in the literary discussions then they shouldn't be bothered with justifying why they can't. As long as this place remains open to them they should try and do what they enjoy doing.
As for the many threads in parallel, I remember once when there were three threads in different forums discussing very similar topics. I also remember reading ImbŰar's posts in each of those threads with quite a differnt thought put into it. Not contradictory, if you get my meaning, just different. I somehow feel that he'd have stopped with one if we had only one of those threads.
I like order and organization but I also believe that chaos is where creativity originates. If all the information was so easily accessible and so well formatted then what would be the pleasure of delving the mine to find the gem?
I guess as you said one should not be too oversenstitive to these issues. If one really wants to discuss a point of theirs, then they will, and leave the rest to the randomness of the site. Who knows who might stop by and read it?
I think the more important thing is how can this site attract people who want to discuss literary aspects of Tolkien's works. Not how can we make all people who land up here want to discuss these things.
Take yourself for example, I remember when you came to Minas Tirith you used to frequent the Hobbit forum, but then you were not to be seen for a long time. You perhaps returned becuase you made new friends, but later you were much more comfortable to engage in discussion. It is similar for everyone. Until they become comfortable and get to know people around they will be less proactive. But what counts is that they make the effort to join in and feel a part of this place. I believe this place has a heart big enough to accept such a sincere person and as long as it does it is will be a good place to visit even if only every once in a while.
Lugb˙rz- First of all... greetings! Wonderful to see you! Secondly, I'm not sure why the post is addressed to me. I post freely... Lits, Pony and Perch. I could give a flying you-know-what if people ignore my posts or not. My last two posts in this thread were in response to other citizens concerns with the Lit forums.
quote:It's not mandatory, is it?
Absolutely not... but nice.
quote:If they don't want to for any reason then why do they feel inferior? Or why do they feel the need to keep repeating themselves? I've not posted in a literary thread for ages. I don't find myself feeling inferior, or for that matter worried that I'm not an irreplacable member of this community
At no time did I say that exclusive Pony posters should feel inferior. I post in the Pony... and I don't feel inferior. Quite the contrary!
quote:In fact I have many times seen people going out to reply knowledgably and kindly.
I agree... I'd like to think that I am one of them!
quote:If all the information was so easily accessible and so well formatted then what would be the pleasure of delving the mine to find the gem?
Yes, MT is a veritable treasure trove of information. But I rue the day that MT is treated as a library of information and not a place of discourse.