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Evie

Blog section on the board

Hello all - I was wondering if I could put in a plea about the way peope use the individual blog section on this board, as I know it causes a bit of friction, or at least that there are some who don't read everyone's blogs and feel they detract from wider discussion.

If you review something and want to start a discussion, it would be fab if you could post this on one of the open bits - starting a review in the review or novel, etc, section also makes it easier to find for future reference.

I set up those blogs in response to someone who wanted a place where they could keep track of their own reading (but hasn't been seen on the board since!), and of course they are for anyone to use as they want to, I'm not being prescriptive here - if you want to include reviews on that section, you are of course free to do so!  But maybe consider copying it to the review or what have you read sections too, to make it easier for others to find and join in.  The blogs give a sense of detachment from the rest of the board, which doesn't help with that sense of promoting greater discussion and engagement that some have been talking about recently.

It's just my own plea, and you may disagree with it, but I would love discussions to take place in the more open forums of the board, and the blogs used for more personal things - which people can comment on if they wish to, but as I say, I know some don't read the blogs, or not all the time.

I know I've made mistakes along the way in organising the board, and these are difficult to undo - I don't mean that the blog area is a mistake as such, but I do think they detract from the more communal areas of the board.

Please feel free to tell me how you feel!  I don't mean to criticise anyone, different people respond differently, and some of you may have no problem at all with discussing things on individual blogs.  (My keyboard doesn't like typing the letter l for some reason, and it keeps coming up with 'bogs', so apologies if any bogs have slipped through...!)

I haven't expressed this very well generally, so apologies for that too!
Jen M

Thanks for posting this, Evie; I am one of those who doesn't look at the blogs very often - they are what I skip if I am short of time and then I find I have too much to catch up on, so it is easier not to bother.  I am sure I have missed some interesting stuff this way.

I know I have not been posting very much recently (my time and energies have been needed elsewhere) but I do lurk around the monthly reads, novels, genres and individual authors sections, which is where I would hope to find items of interest to me.  

I am also very much aware that I sometimes read books that have been talked about on here, long after the discussion has taken place, and then have difficulty finding the original discussion, which I might like to add to.  I don't think that is so much a problem of board organisation but of others posting things where I might not expect to look (which is not anyone's fault, just the way different people think and order things).  

Thanks for all you do, Evie - running and maintaining a website takes a lot of work.
TheRejectAmidHair

Reviews of books, or opinion pieces, or arguments (in the sense of arguing a case) are best placed, I think, in separate threads. And if a post within a personal blog thread attracts comment, it would be a good idea, I think, to create a new thread for it.
Evie

Thanks Jen - though in fact this board takes very little running all together!  It looks after itself mostly, and we now seem to be free of spammers (famous last words...).  The return of adverts does seem to mean we are more visible, and we get lots of lurkers (43 this morning), but so far no one has bothered to try to force their website on us.

I did consider stepping down, as I felt a bit defeated generally by last year (in life, not on the board, but didn't want the responsibility any more), but it proved too difficult to transfer 'ownership' and I ended up making myself a replica of someone else rather than transferring things!  So as it really is not demanding, I gave up trying, and am still in post.  And not feeling so defeated, so it's all good!
Apple

Well said Evie! I couldn't agree with you more, and don't feel you made a mistake you did what you thought was best at the time. Smile
Castorboy

Re: Blog section on the board

Evie wrote:
......there are some who don't read everyone's blogs and feel they detract from wider discussion.....and the blogs used for more personal things......Please feel free to tell me how you feel!.....

I'll take you up on the last, Evie Laughing From my observation the blogs have generated at least as many discussions as the general threads and the number of views on the blog gives an indication that a blog has been read. In addition at a time when there is a reduced activity on the board then in the absence of many posts I would have thought any blogs should be read as they are still book related and as easy to find as any general thread.
When you say 'personal things' I interpret that as personal book choices rather than personal news because we have the Who are you? thread for items of individual non-book related matters.
I find my blog allows me to waffle at length, and quote extensively, in a way I would hesitate to do on a general thread. I don't have the analytical skills to comment on the literary quality of a novel so a blog allows me the freedom to use my own words without worrying if I am using the correct terminology.
My blog gives me a sense of attachment with the rest of the board and it surprises me that anyone should feel we blog users are aloof from the other contributers.
Evie

Thank you Castorboy!  Yes, personal book choices and personal thoughts that you may want to record, definitely didn't mean non-bookish stuff.  And you are right, there have been good discussions on the blogs - I am just aware that some don't read blogs, and it does make the discussions of specific books harder to find in future.  I am never sure why people use blogs rather than, say, the monthly reads thread, or the more specific threads (adaptations, etc).  But of course people have different ways of thinking about the board, and that's great!

I know there is a search thread, but I find it unhelpful - it still takes me ages to find the books and discussions I am trying to recall!  You are clearly very good at it, as you find things that the rest of us are racking our brains for.

I just think the 'open' sections are more inviting and more neutral, especially for new members (!), and offer a sense of engagement with others rather than focusing on our own reading.

I am also responding to feedback from other board members, but this really is a free board, so of course keep using the blogs as you wish, I am certainly not playing the admin card here.  I am sure there are as many pro-bloggers as anti-bloggers!

I do take all your points, especially the last one, that using your own area gives you as blogger a sense of attachment - good to think about it from the other side.  And certainly there is a lot of content in some people's blogs, so that is something to enjoy!

Good to hear your views.   Cool
Chibiabos83

The board has become a bit busier in the past week, but the trend in recent months has been towards quietness, and I suspect even a weekly visitor (not a daily one like me) might have found only ten or so threads had been added to (maybe twenty). Might I recommend using this page as your starting point, if it isn't already? We have discussed this before. It gives a convenient overview of all threads that have been added to since your last visit, blogs included.

I don't really use my blog any more, tending to post reviews on the relevant Monthly Reads threads. I'm not sure if that fosters much more discussion, but I think I'm less voluble than I used to be and so am quite prepared not to reply to responses to my posts, whichever thread they may be on. I do enjoy the blogs of others, though, especially the regular ones of Mike Harvey and Castorboy, though I may not post on them often. I suspect that in Mike's case the blog is the best place for him to write, given that he chronicles what he has read, what he is reading and what he is going to read (the Monthly Reads section having been originally intended for books finished - though I'm sure they are not universally used for this purpose), and that he reads such a catholic selection of stuff - a plethora of novels, poetry, essays, non-fiction, drama, children's books and so on. If he posted these on individual threads it might be rather labour-intensive. I like to think of these blogs as individual reading odysseys - you can see the journey from one book to another. You would miss that if the posts were all over the place.

As E/V says, it's not for everyone, but if it works for you then great!
Ann

I keep wondering whether to begin a blog - though I would prefer to use a different word as blog sounds so ugly. I read a great many books but most of them are for entertainment and I very rarely mention them here. If I do they are seldom commented on a so I assume that is not the sort of book chat that this forum is for. However for my own use it might be useful so I will keep considering the idea.
Green Jay

Ann wrote:
I read a great many books but most of them are for entertainment and I very rarely mention them here. If I do they are seldom commented on a so I assume that is not the sort of book chat that this forum is for.


I've always thought that this forum is for any kind of books at all.  Smile
It's just, as several people have already commented, not really possible or useful to comment on books you've not read and do not plan to. But I have to say I enjoy browsing through and reading about the wide range of books, fiction and non-fiction, that people read, even if they're not my thing.
So do try a blog - or diary - Ann. I might even look at it once in a while  Wink
Green Jay

Jen M wrote:
I am one of those who doesn't look at the blogs very often - they are what I skip if I am short of time and then I find I have too much to catch up on, so it is easier not to bother.  I am sure I have missed some interesting stuff this way.

....I do lurk around the monthly reads, novels, genres and individual authors sections, which is where I would hope to find items of interest to me.  

I am also very much aware that I sometimes read books that have been talked about on here, long after the discussion has taken place, and then have difficulty finding the original discussion, which I might like to add to.  I don't think that is so much a problem of board organisation but of others posting things where I might not expect to look (which is not anyone's fault, just the way different people think and order things).  



That just about describes my position, too. I do use the thing that takes me staight to posts since I last logged in, which is helpful and I can pick and choose from there. If there is someone whose tastes are not particularly close to mine I am much less likely to follow their blog and then I might miss something more general being discussed. Don't want to play favourites, but I do find I follow Mike H and Castorboy becuase they give such regular input and it does generate discussion of all kinds which I then get involved in. And I do admire Mike's wide and prolific reading (and viewing, listening etc) which more often overlaps with mine.

I can never find anything with the search button, unlike some here, and so I prefer things posted in obvious places like novels or authors etc. Apart from searching in those sections, I can never track anything down.  But I like it when someone does and revives something of interest from ages ago.

But thank you, Evie and other administrators, for managing all this.
Apple

Ann wrote:
I keep wondering whether to begin a blog - though I would prefer to use a different word as blog sounds so ugly. I read a great many books but most of them are for entertainment and I very rarely mention them here. If I do they are seldom commented on a so I assume that is not the sort of book chat that this forum is for. However for my own use it might be useful so I will keep considering the idea.
I sometimes feel like that as well that the books I like are not ones to be discussed on her and when I talk about what I have read, very rarely does anyone take any notice or comment on what I put either (although that maybe for other reasons  Wink ) my reading material can hardly be called intellectual - but in a stroke of irony the book I read and wrote about which generated the most interest and replies was 50 Shades and you don't get much crapper than that!!  I think there should be a diverse selection of books talked about not everyone is into the high brow stuff (no offence).
Evie

Yes, there certainly isn't any type of book that can or can't be mentioned!  I think responses depend primarily on whether someone else has read the book, or else on whether the poster has mentioned something that has a wider relevance. Many of my posts don't get a response, I'm sure it's the same for everyone.

Thanks for the feedback about the blogs - will respond in more detail tomorrow, it's a bit late at the minute - lots of interesting comments.
Caro

I use my blog just for discussions that are less book-related really, sociological stuff or points for discussion generally. I do admit to ignoring the blogs sometimes when I am tired or busy, but I also ignore reviews on specific books if they are not known to me.  When I do visit either of these, I often find there is a discussion going on which I find interesting.  I think, too, rather shamefully, that I like responses to ME, and other people's blogs are unlikely to be doing that!  

But for some reason (begin growled at a little?) this board has become quite active; the only one of the five regulars I visit which has had quite a bit of input during the holiday period.
Ann

Aplogies for my post in which I do sound rather sorry for myself. I didn't mean it to and I love reading the discussions here. I think it is correct that there is little to say about a book if one hasn't read it. Apple - 50 Shades has been very much in the news  so it is not surprising you got lots of comments. I loved your view of it too! I found it hilarious. Having fallen for buying The Da Vinci Code, which I found absolutely dreadful, I am now very wary of hyped up books and have no intention of trying it.
Did anyone listen to Mariella Frostrup on Thursday afternoon on her summery of the state of the book world in 2012? It was very entertaining

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