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Chaos II

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Chaos II

Postby sluggo » Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:34 pm

I've found myself (as I suspect many have), recalling the concerns of Brazilian Dude just before he discontinued his erudite commentary here. At the time I thought BD was being a bit sensitive, as our diversions at that time were at least on the original subjects. And maybe the perspective is relative, but there's no question the readability of this site has plummeted lately and evolved into little more relevance than a Facebook wall.

Rather than "chaos" I'd term it "Noise"-- a stream of self-indulgent incoherency that serves only to dilute real discussions on the topics we originally came for. A perfect example is this ongoing chat box-- five pages old, and you have to go all the way back to page one to find a single post even remotely related to the actual topic, and only rarely even touching on the topic of language at all.

At the risk of stating the obvious, it seems an egregious waste of a worthy resource. And more's the pity.
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Postby Slava » Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:49 pm

Thank you for saying this Sluggo. I've been feeling that we'd become a chat room for a bit now. Very few of the posts in the past two weeks have really been about language. It is easy to get caught up in it all, too. I've caught myself more than a few times, and have had to remind myself to use the PM, rather than the board.

So, folks, what do we do to restrain our enthusiasm a bit? This is supposed to be a language board, not a popsicle board.
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Postby sluggo » Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:38 pm

To clarify what I'm sure you mean, Slava, it's really not a matter of enthusiasm, but the simple discretion of --and there's no other way to put this-- actually having something to say before opening the dialogue box.

This is the value of a site dedicated to a specific interest-- it demands that one put some thought into offering a worthwhile addition to the thread and absent that, being content to simply ingest and learn. The Good Word Suggestion forum for example: I've always felt that if I suggested a word I'd better have done my homework first. And that's a good thing.

But when we reach a cacophony of vapid personal whimsy, with or without a contribution, whatever well-thought musings may have also occurred will be watered down and ultimately drowned. And filtering out all this noise is frankly a PITA.

I'd far rather have a site that's relatively quiet yet dense with deep thought, than one swimming in superfluity.
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:01 pm

Perhaps this is why so many threads stopped in
2005-2006. People were tired of the put-downs
for "chatting" and just decided to go away.
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Postby sluggo » Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:29 pm

Actually the only name who "went away" at the time was BD himself, shortly after that single comment. The threads went on thrivingly and didn't stop at all. Until recently.

I'm not sure how starkly this really needs to be spelled out, but would just note two things: (1) , have a look at the thread index and read down the right column; and (2), see "noise" above.

Perhaps discretion is the better part of monologue...
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Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Feb 14, 2010 3:44 pm

Perhaps, but people also do not have to respond.There are
dozens and dozens of threads where no one has, for five years or more.
I enjoy repartee: and don't see the point of waiting
a month or two to post something. I've also researched
and posted some new words. I am aware that I have
posted considerably, but folks can also ignore me.
And there are plenty of 'chats', e.g. turkducken, flass.
I am not the only one, they were there long before I
found them. And what is the purpose of the site if only
3 or 4 people are using it? And if people resist posting,
why not just leave the site? The conversations concern
words and there are dozens here with no response. Slava
has posted many, many, and many of mine are responses
to those. No one else has touched them, and they have
been there for half a decade or more.

I understand what you are saying: stick to the point, stay
on topic, and appreciate your comments, thank you.
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Postby saparris » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:42 am

Perhaps discretion is the better part of monologue...


I couldn’t agree more. However, a discussion board—by nature—is not a monologue. Rather, it is an ongoing dialogue among individuals who share a common interest. Furthermore, as these individuals get to know one another, they are prone to make comments that are personal, humorous, and sometimes just plain off-topic.

Such comments are neither “quiet” or “deep with dense thought,” but they do serve to reveal the multi-dimensional quality of the members who participate in the forum. And that’s not such a bad thing.

Recently, several members, including me, joined Alpha Agora because the forum we used previously was shut down—not because of inane posts, but because of an unwanted and seemingly uncontrollable influx of unsolicited advertising.

Thus, we are new to the Alpha Agora playground, and to the frustration of older members, are saying hello to one another, learning the technology required to post avatars, make our signatures a different color, add hyperlinks, and so on. We’re licking our fur, scratching new fleas, checking out the food supply, and settling in.

Does all of this muddy up some of the threads? Of course it does! However, these “hellos,” technical experiments, and “glad you made its” will subside when the new members have reached a comfort level. More important: they have revived some threads that have not been the object of a deep, dense thought for several years.

Personally, if I want to increase my knowledge of a given subject, I will buy a book, watch PBS, or go to a site like academicearth.org (a fascinating site, by the way) and watch free lectures on any topic I choose to explore.

But if I want to be a part of a discussion forum, I will bring my personality with me. If I dirty up the sandbox a bit in the process, I apologize. Just try not to step in it.
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Postby sluggo » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:29 pm

Saparris, your entries thus far have been at least to these eyes thoughtful, well-conceived and entirely enriching, so perish the thought. Intermemberial greetings have been a time-honoured tradition here, and without the jolly quips, puns and light cuts, it would be a dull place to be indeed.

Nor has reviving old threads ever been frowned upon here- we are after all discussing language and not current events, so new additions and ideas are always welcome. You guys who just came in recently are all absolutely welcome additions to a place that was getting too quiet, and belated/repeated blanket welcomes to you all again.

None of that is our topic here though. By "noise" and "monologue" I refer to a self-indulgence, sometimes seemingly based on no more objective than seeing one's name on the internet-- empty posts that add nothing, that ramble on about something personal about oneself, that reiterate what's already been said while adding nothing new, that post without regard to the forum designation, that, yes, go off into not just tangents but eternal tangents about how the site works, etc*... none of which contribute to anyone else's benefit.

And this brings up the offtopic tangents-- those will always be with us too, but heretofore we have generally managed to wend our way to other angles (certainly including puns) while still exhibiting some descendance from the original topic. IOW we didn't used to have to scroll up in a discussion of Indian tribes to find out that the actual topic is ...Boxing Day (seriously).

(*When I've dropped PMs to new people to help navigate the site, while the content was received and integrated and responded to, the procedure in at least some cases felll on utterly deaf ears-- even to the point of self-denying posts that actually say "don't mean to take up space in the forum" while their very presence is doing exactly that. The idea that the PM box exists exactly for such one-to-one tips or personal chats seems to have completely eluded some.

So let me reiterate again, we are a helpful bunch and generous with such advice, and the PM box is always open-- the only "drawback" is that that doesn't add to your post total or put your name up on top, but self-indulgence should never be the point.)

Another tip/reminder: posters have the power to delete their own posts, with the X in the upper right of the box. A good remedy for some of the aforementioned clutter.
)

In short it just seems a public discussion forum such as this is intended as a public place where posted content should be of general public interest, not personal indulgence. As someone else noted, it's just not necessary to reply to everything.

We all think of crazy things and filter out what's inappropriate, every day of our lives. In this case, I suggest before one posts a random thought, one should ask oneself: "is this going to be of any interest to anybody except me and possibly one other person?" If the answer is no, it should go through the PM box to that person, or just discarded until something better comes along. It just might come from somebody else. Let's not drown them out or turn into this :P
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Postby beck123 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:40 pm

I understand what Sluggo is saying, and now that I'm learning the ropes of this site - both culturally and technologically - I will, as one of the aforementioned newbies, toe the line with more discretion.

Concerning the issue of flooding the forum with posts, I have only small and random windows of time when I can read or contribute to the site. If I have things to say in different threads, it will appear as if I am flooding, but, in fact, I am only making hay while the sun shines. It may be days before I can return to the forum again.

Finally, I suspected there was a way to delete one's stale posts, and I searched diligently for it both before and after Sluggo's mention, above. I still can't find the magic X.
Beck

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Postby Slava » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:50 pm

beck123 wrote:Finally, I suspected there was a way to delete one's stale posts, and I searched diligently for it both before and after Sluggo's mention, above. I still can't find the magic X.
I was going to make this a PM, but as it seems to be something that many of us don't know, I myself only just learned it, I felt it behooved me to make it for public consumption.

Deleting one's own messages can be done only until someone has responded. Right after you make a post, take a look and you'll see the X (it's actually blue). "Quote," "Edit," "X."

Once someone replies, the "X" goes away. I expect an Administrator could delete the entire topic, but it would look weird if people deleted their posts, upon which the sense of other posts depends.

Hope this helps.
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Postby saparris » Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:59 pm

Deleting one's own messages can be done only until someone has responded. Right after you make a post, take a look and you'll see the X (it's actually blue). "Quote," "Edit," "X."

Once someone replies, the "X" goes away. I expect an Administrator could delete the entire topic, but it would look weird if people deleted their posts, upon which the sense of other posts depends.


That's good information to know. Thanks for sharing it.

So you "be history" if you're quick enough. Otherwise, you've "made history," despite how histrionic you might have been.
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Postby beck123 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:12 pm

Agreed. That's good info. For a while (and still, to some degree) people in the military would say, "That's good gouge." Go figure that one out for us. Military slang might even deserve its own thread.
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Postby Slava » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:17 pm

beck123 wrote:Agreed. That's good info. For a while (and still, to some degree) people in the military would say, "That's good gouge." Go figure that one out for us. Military slang might even deserve its own thread.
Why shouldn't military jargon have its own thread? There is already a Forum just for Slang, so if you're up to it, fire away! As it gets started, you can even call the shots, eh?
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Postby sluggo » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:42 pm

My mistake. I didn't notice this until today either when it came up in the Skinem-on-Skinem action :P

But it is still an option for any current fluff posts that happen to be on the end.
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Postby Slava » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:54 pm

This would also, if I may be so bold, tie into my suggestion that the author of a thread be allowed to lock it. Once the originator decided that the discussion was over, he or she could shut it down.

'Round about now, I'd say.
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