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Evie
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Joined: 24 Oct 2008
Posts: 3569


Location: Kenilworth, Warwickshire, UK

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:12 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

I can only apologise again re the personal blogs - I hope you both saw my earlier post about this.  For what it's worth, I agree!

I'd also say, in my defence, that they weren't intended as an alternative to the communal threads - the request was for somewhere for people to keep a track of their own reading and their own thoughts, so they could refer back to them easily, as a complement to the existing discussions.  I agree that they have separated people off a bit too much.

I don't think of Ann and Marita as lurkers, though...they both seem to post from time to time, or maybe I am just confused as to how long it is between posts!

Anyway - the key thing is to get on with the discussions, and for Apple to work out how she wants to set this up - separate threads for each person who wants to post (otherwise discussion is going to be tricky, I imagine) or some other way?  Then we can get started and stop worrying specifically about who is or isn't around, and as Apple says, maybe some lurkers will be encouraged to join in.


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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3864


Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Evie wrote:
I can only apologise again re the personal blogs - I hope you both saw my earlier post about this.  For what it's worth, I agree!
.


Oh Evie - do stop apologising! Very Happy You have nothing to apologise for - not even the first time round!

As it is, I don't think the personal blogs were such a bad idea. I've certainly made use of them, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who enjoys Mike's regular blog posts. The reason this board has become quiet is that, for whatever reason, and with the occasional exception, we stopped engaging with each other. And I'm as much to blame for that as anyone.

The only way to get discussion going is to discuss, and invite discussion. And respond to others' invitations to discuss. In short, to engage with each other.



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Evie
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Joined: 24 Oct 2008
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Location: Kenilworth, Warwickshire, UK

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is hard to discuss things when you haven't read the book someone else has posted about, even if they have posted a really interesting review.  I would personally rather see things on the What are you reading? threads than in the blog threads, but I realise some people enjoy using them - I do think it's a bigger issue than that, but I don't think the personal blogs have helped in terms of group engagement.

Anyway - onward is the only way we can go!  Look forward to reading about people's favourite or least favourite authors.


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Apple



Joined: 24 Nov 2008
Posts: 1751



PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Back to our Roots? Reply with quote

TheRejectAmidHair wrote:
I must admit that I've always regarded 'I agree/disagree with your point of view' as the start of a discussion, rather than the end of one, although I realise that's a dangerous perspective in a world in which personal opinion is regarded as sacrosanct, and challenging a personal opinion as an affront.

I think the only way to talk about books is to ... Well, just talk about books. Discuss. Argue. Put forward counter-arguments. Question the terminology. Consider the nuances. Be prepared to look on familiar things in different ways, and to modify one's own thought in the process. This is what discussion is. I find these days that I can't really get too interested in mere opinions - not even my own. A mere opinion leaves no scope for discussion. Presenting an argument is another matter, and unless and until we can do so, I honestly don't see much scope for discussion. But if we can do so, and are happy to do so, then even if there are only a few of us doing it, we can still have a discussion board on which we can actually discuss.
There is a big difference between discussing, and between arguing, arguing is putting your viewpoint over as the correct one and the only one and belittling contributions of those you don't agree with and by bullying people around to your way of thinking, and by twisting what they say to suit your agenda, and jumping on things that have been said and taking them out of context to make something out of something which wasn't there in the first place, just to try and make yourself seem right. Whereas discussing is as you say listening and appreciating other peoples contributions and accepting that maybe just because they don't agree with your view that that is not necessarily wrong and to be belittled.  For example you dismissively say  "mere opinion" well that for me is the starting place for discussion to develop, if you don't have an opinion on something how can you offer it to create a discussion, which can develop? which confuses me slightly as in your opening to your post your comment was
Quote:
I've always regarded 'I agree/disagree with your point of view' as the start of a discussion, rather than the end of one
to say you agree or disagree is to offer an opinion surely?!

Anyway...

Evie wrote:
Quote:
I can only apologise again re the personal blogs - I hope you both saw my earlier post about this.  For what it's worth, I agree!

I'd also say, in my defence, that they weren't intended as an alternative to the communal threads - the request was for somewhere for people to keep a track of their own reading and their own thoughts, so they could refer back to them easily, as a complement to the existing discussions.  I agree that they have separated people off a bit too much.

I don't think of Ann and Marita as lurkers, though...they both seem to post from time to time, or maybe I am just confused as to how long it is between posts!

Anyway - the key thing is to get on with the discussions, and for Apple to work out how she wants to set this up - separate threads for each person who wants to post (otherwise discussion is going to be tricky, I imagine) or some other way?  Then we can get started and stop worrying specifically about who is or isn't around, and as Apple says, maybe some lurkers will be encouraged to join in.
Don't apologise Evie, you set up the blogs in good faith its not your fault - you were the founder of this site and the MSN one before it and if it wasn't for you when the beeb board shut there would be no forum.

Also as you said in your later post -
Quote:
It is hard to discuss things when you haven't read the book someone else has posted about, even if they have posted a really interesting review.  I would personally rather see things on the What are you reading? threads than in the blog threads, but I realise some people enjoy using them - I do think it's a bigger issue than that, but I don't think the personal blogs have helped in terms of group engagement.
I couldn't agree more they haven't but I reiterate thats not your fault, in a way thats the fault of the person who writes the blog, if as you say it was in the what have you read portion or in book reviews that generates more discussion as perhaps people feel unwilling to "intrude" in a personal blog, whereas they are more willing to ask questions or offer an opinion on open threads and as Himadri says there has been a distinct lack of engaging with each other and that I think has become a vicious cycle.

I would like to add I only referred to Ann and Marita as lurkers as tht is what they called themselves in their responding posts I didn't mean anything by it.

Finally yes I do have to decide how to set this up, if we are going for it, and for that I am hoping that maybe Evie can help me? and also use this thread for people to offer ideas as Ann did for topics to use, up to now we have Top 5 fav books, Top 5 worst books we have ever read, Top 5 guilty pleasures, top 5 best recommendations, I was thinking when we have all the discussion genres sorted, set up a sub forum or something for it - like on the lines of the seasonal shorts so it can be accessed easilty and people can post there what do you think?



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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3864


Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Back to our Roots? Reply with quote

Apple wrote:
TheRejectAmidHair wrote:
I must admit that I've always regarded 'I agree/disagree with your point of view' as the start of a discussion, rather than the end of one, although I realise that's a dangerous perspective in a world in which personal opinion is regarded as sacrosanct, and challenging a personal opinion as an affront.

I think the only way to talk about books is to ... Well, just talk about books. Discuss. Argue. Put forward counter-arguments. Question the terminology. Consider the nuances. Be prepared to look on familiar things in different ways, and to modify one's own thought in the process. This is what discussion is. I find these days that I can't really get too interested in mere opinions - not even my own. A mere opinion leaves no scope for discussion. Presenting an argument is another matter, and unless and until we can do so, I honestly don't see much scope for discussion. But if we can do so, and are happy to do so, then even if there are only a few of us doing it, we can still have a discussion board on which we can actually discuss.
There is a big difference between discussing, and between arguing, arguing is putting your viewpoint over as the correct one and the only one and belittling contributions of those you don't agree with and by bullying people around to your way of thinking, and by twisting what they say to suit your agenda, and jumping on things that have been said and taking them out of context to make something out of something which wasn't there in the first place, just to try and make yourself seem right.


No, that is not what I understand as "presenting an argument", and certainly not what I am proposing.



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chris-l



Joined: 27 Nov 2008
Posts: 731



PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to agree with Himadri here: we are talking about 'argue' used in the sense of discussing in a focused way, not to mean quarrelling or falling out. So we could 'argue for' or 'argue against' a particular view, but at no point should we be lacking in respect for those who disagree. They will be convinced by the sheer force of our arguments, not by any bullying tactics!

On the other hand, I do welcome a few topics where a discussion such as this can be generated. Of late, I have tended to feel that I can only present ideas and responses that I have fully thought through (which partly explains why my posting rate is so low). The opportunity to develop and evolve opinion in the course of debate is a welcome one.


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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3864


Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

chris-l wrote:
I tend to agree with Himadri here: we are talking about 'argue' used in the sense of discussing in a focused way, not to mean quarrelling or falling out. So we could 'argue for' or 'argue against' a particular view, but at no point should we be lacking in respect for those who disagree. They will be convinced by the sheer force of our arguments, not by any bullying tactics!

On the other hand, I do welcome a few topics where a discussion such as this can be generated. Of late, I have tended to feel that I can only present ideas and responses that I have fully thought through (which partly explains why my posting rate is so low). The opportunity to develop and evolve opinion in the course of debate is a welcome one.


Indeed, and thank you for that explanation.

I spoke in my earlier post of “mere opinion”. I don’t have the OED with me right now, but the free online dictionary defines “mere” as “being nothing more than what is specified”. I think this definition will serve for now: by “mere opinion”, I had meant – quite reasonably, given what the word “mere” means - “no more than opinion”. Or, in other words, “opinion unsupported by argument”. And I had said that “mere opinion” does not really interest me – not even my own “mere opinion”. And this is because “mere opinion” does not tell me why that opinion is held; and hence, there is nothing to discuss.

I often post thoughts that are not fully formed, in the hope that it will lead to discussion and debate, in the course of which I can come to more considered viewpoints. Discussion and debate are important, as without them, we are merely – that word again! - trapped in our own minds.

And, inevitably, words are important. Literature is made of words, after all, and we communicate on this board purely by words. Words have denotative meanings, and also connotative meanings, and they all count. This is why, when we debate these matters, the words we use should be scrutinised, their various levels of meaning teased out. This is why the words we use ourselves should be questioned. This is why we should question our own words, and be prepared to concede, or to modify our own viewpoints. Indeed, if I come out of an argument without having modified my own thoughts in the light of something I had not previously considered, I can’t help feeling that the argument has somehow been unsuccessful, that it has failed at some vital point. Literature is a complex and subtle thing, much more so perhaps than we can realise; and we must recognise the complexities and subtleties not merely of the words we read, but also of the words we write when discussing.

I have frequently enjoyed very fine debate and discussion on the internet, both on this and on other sites. On another thread here, I have been describing how my perspective on Austen has changed over the years, and much of this is thanks to various discussions I have had with people, both on this board and elsewhere. This is why boards such as this are so important. Our perspectives on literature are never fixed: they are always inchoate, in a state of perpetual flux. What better than to enter into debate and discussion – and, yes, argument – with those who may help direct one’s perspectives towards new and rewarding areas!

I am not talking about personal attacks: by “argument”, I mean probing each other’s viewpoints; I mean questioning the wording, teasing out subtleties and complexities that are not immediately apparent; I mean picking holes in what others are saying, and having holes picked in what I myself am saying, so that in filling in these holes, we may consider things we hadn't considered before. These are all not merely legitimate aspects of discussion, of “argument”: these are, indeed, vital if we are to have any discussion at all. My own literary perspectives have developed thanks to many people here; I hope I have myself been instrumental in helping develop some perspectives of others. This is what discussion boards should, ideally, be for, and this is what, I think, this one has lately been missing.



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county_lady



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
Posts: 633


Location: N Worcs.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applause. (why is there not emoticon for this)

I lurk more nowadays as lately I've been too tired to read much. Sad


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verityktw



Joined: 18 Dec 2008
Posts: 145



PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Declaration of a serial lurker, one time prolific poster to try and stop lurking and start posting regularly this year Smile

I remember with fondness the Chocolates vs Poets competition - perhaps there is scope to do something similar. I wonder about some sort of books v films competition, but the books (for the most part) would undoubtedly win...



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