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Old 06-28-2013, 03:45 PM   #1
Formendacil
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The Downs as Blog

May the admins forgive me if this veers too close to off-topic, though I think I'm okay.

I was reading a blog post today (see here if interested) and part of what it is saying gave a flattering reflection to the Barrow-downs, which I thought were worth sharing with the rest of you:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Seliger
In online forum culture, there’s a strong bias against linking to a poster’s own blog. That bias often slides into strict rule enforcement that degrades the quality of the forum itself, because most people who regularly produce substantive writing will want their own, ideally non-transient, forum for such writing. A blog provides that and most websites don’t. That means sites like Reddit—which has an overly strong opposition to what they call “blogspam”—tend towards intellectual vacuousness.
No one here, I am sure, will think of the Barrow-downs as anything similar to Reddit--and I daresay we would all think that a good thing. Among other things, it means that we DON'T trend towards "intellectual vacuousness." Indeed, by the definition given above, the Barrow-downs is more of an "ideally non-transient, forum for such [qualitative] writing"--what he is referring to as the benefits of a blog versus a forum.

On this note, he goes on later to say:

Quote:
Work I published in 2009 can, and often is, still be relevant, while I can’t even keep track of the forum posts I wrote in 2009. They’re too disparate. Blogs act as repositories.
I suspect this is the norm out there--except that I know Barrow-downers as a rule are exceptionally capable of finding posts they wrote here sometimes as much as a decade ago.

There's a lot of meat on this article, but I think I can sum up my thoughts thusly: "good job, the Downs, for being everything a forum should be and nothing it ought not." And the real distinction is that we are a forum of substance rather than a "social" platform (though we do have some strong socialisation carried on on different sites).


EDIT: I moved on to the next tab I had open, and I found this (here):
Quote:
...One side is too tired or has more pressing matters (Like living, working, etc). I’m a writer and if I have strong feelings about a subject like capital punishment, I’d rather write a long blogpost to express my opinions than continue some unending Facebook thread about the topic.
An interesting take on the matter--we all know well how comments (anywhere on the Internet they exist) frequently devolve into relentless back and forth argumentation. While forums do involve this, they seem to avoid--at least on the Downs--the same kind of acerbic battle. Is this a result of a medium that is not about a "thing" that is commented on, but a first comment followed by further (equal in status) comments?

Last edited by Formendacil; 09-23-2014 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 06-28-2013, 06:02 PM   #2
Inziladun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Formendacil View Post
An interesting take on the matter--we all know well how comments (anywhere on the Internet they exist) frequently devolve into relentless back and forth argumentation. While forums do involve this, they seem to avoid--at least on the Downs--the same kind of acerbic battle. Is this a result of a medium that is not about a "thing" that is commented on, but a first comment followed by further (equal in status) comments?
I admit to not closely following any blogs, or any other fora on the 'net than this one, so I don't speak from a wealth of experience.
However, I think what has kept this forum so civil for all these years is the consistent emphasis on keeping it all-Tolkien, all the time. For me, it's rather difficult (and pretty silly) to get all worked up over who Bombadil really was, where Orcs began, and of course, they fabled Balrog-wing debate (no wings! ). It seems to me that the focus on Tolkien and his works has overall attracted a very mature sector of webcrawlers, and the polite level of interchange here is a direct result of it.
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Old 06-28-2013, 06:19 PM   #3
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This may be a bit beside the main point, but I think that the Downs just can't be pinned down by any one of these criticisms because it combines so many things in it. You could use it to argue and debate over various topics, or to look up info / dig in other people's brains and books, or to even create an almost blog-like thread to share the results of whatever Tolkien experiments it is you are doing. You can treat it as an intellectual place, or a silly place, depending on whether you tend to frequent Books or Mirth - or both. You can use it as a place to socialize, as long as it's at least somewhat relevant to Tolkien. We have threads like Hook's legendary Newspaper thread, which is kind of like a blog thread with regular comments stuck between entries. There are debate topics (no wings! ) and informational topics (good chunk of Movies), random opinion topics, and socializing topics like the renowned Mordor/Shire/Orthanc threads which, to be honest, have veeeeery little to do with Tolkien and a LOT to do with our personal lives. And, of course, there's always the PM option for everything that's too un-Tolkien to be squeezed into the Downs.

You can now paste the above post on an advertisement and expect an influx of Tolkien fans. But, point is - you can't criticize the Downs for lacking an element.

EDIT: and how could I forget our WW games? Speaking of diversity...
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