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Old 04-08-2021, 01:29 PM   #1
Soriman the Whide
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Question Learning about this website

Hello, I'm still fairly new. I'm just trying to piece together where this site is at? It seems that there are only a handful of active users left and as far as I can tell The Barrow Wight is supposed to be the admin/owner here but that account has not been active for a while.

Can anybody give me a quick rundown of who is in charge round these parts and the recent history of the site?

Looking forward to spending a good long while here anyway, I don't mind the slow pace.
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Old 04-08-2021, 06:53 PM   #2
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You have basically apprehended the basics: this is The Barrow Wight's site and it has grown quite sleepy--the analogy of the Ents turning treeish has been made many times and it grows truer with each year.

As far as "in charge" goes, it is still the Barrow Wight's site, even if he rules it as Elessar did Arnor--i.e. mostly from afar. There has, in my sixteen years, always been an element of "self-policing" among the membership, and this has grown as the membership had become more stolid and staid: the influx of teens during the early years after the original Peter Jackson movies is no more.

That said, even if we are more of Old Folks Home than a party house these days, some of the admins or mods are still about, even if they're not always logging in, and one of the factors that contributed to the site falling asleep was the rise of social media--but with the silver lining that, should any of them be needed, someone can usually be summoned swiftly enough through the Facebook group.

Ultimately, if there's a desire to shake us up or wake us up, I am not entirely unsympathetic (perhaps I am more of a Quickbeam than a Huorn)--I would gladly have a return to the days of logging in and finding a stack of posts awaiting me daily, but that would seem to imply a need for change and, well, change isn't always such a popular thing. From a structural standpoint, as noted, this website is still legally the Barrow-Wight's and although the majority of the membership has clearly fallen away from regular activity, I can attest to a high degree of emotional--and even financial--investment in the 'Downs as it was .
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Old 04-08-2021, 08:37 PM   #3
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Thanks for the background, completely understandable situation you find yourselves in here. It's a shame most forums began to fade with the rise of social media, so much knowledge and great connections can be found on forums such as this one.

I find it entirely regrettable that I did not find this site 10 years ago.
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Old 04-08-2021, 09:04 PM   #4
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I find it entirely regrettable that I did not find this site 10 years ago.
Let me tell you that I joined some 10-odd years ago, and still feel a very young Entling and the newbie of the place.
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Old 04-09-2021, 04:02 AM   #5
Pervinca Took
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According to the words under my username, I've been here just over 11.5 years. I joined after I met and liked some of the members in person at various Oxonmoots (the main annual event of The Tolkien Society). I was once very active on a Tolkien messageboard under a website called Imladris, but it crashed about 20 years ago and was never the same after it was rebuilt, and then disappeared completely a few years ago. It always had a very heavy film bias, too, which was probably partly why I didn't feel at home there once I had seen and not particularly liked the films.

Nearly all my posts are in the Password thread. Unless anyone starts a conversation about Frodo, when you will see that I am not really sleeping, whether I snore or not.

A hearty welcome, Sir!
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Old 04-09-2021, 04:16 AM   #6
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It is pretty slow here. The only thread with regular activity is the Password game, but others pop on and off at times - a couple of the other Games threads have had bursts of engagement, and every so often there's a game of Werewolf/Mafia (as Tol-in-Gaurhoth, because we are geeks).


But - as this very thread demonstrates! - if a new thread goes up, it will usually accumulate at least a few replies over the next few days. There's been activity in all three Discussion subforums this year (ten different threads posted in over in Books!), and in both Quizzes and Mirth, so yeah, it rattles along. It just takes someone throwing out an interesting idea or question to get the discussion going.

You can probably see for yourself that Roleplaying is long since departed; the last attempt to start an RP was in 2018 and didn't get any traction. Fanfiction is under construction (and currently serves as an archive for older material), and the New Silmarillion is an interesting project that has about two people occasionally working on it.

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Old 04-09-2021, 07:22 AM   #7
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I'm just glad this forum is still around, even though it's gone treeish over the last couple years.

Like a lot of forums a few years ago (what was it 4-5 years ago?) it suffered a vicious virus attack that nearly destroyed the whole thing. But perhaps the best thing about social media is the members banded together to rescue it. Even though if most of them don't post anymore (for a variety of reasons) there was that dedication and love from the membership to not let the site suffer the same fate as Melkor and disappear into the interwebs void.

Lately I've been a little more active here than I have the last couple years, and I always intend to do a little more (I swear I'll return to that movie marathon thread at some point). My problem is I get easily distracted, like in real-life with the baseball season starting, and nostalgic feelings for the phantom's Arda Cup
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Old 04-10-2021, 10:47 AM   #8
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Thumbs up

Soriman, I am perhaps the only "active" administrator left on this site. It was founded by Barrow-Wight, as others have commented, and, when it began to gain traction, he invited myself and two others, Mr. Underhill and Sharku, to join him as administrators. A few years later, Thenamir was added to the team. I am still, more or less, in touch with BW, Underhill and Thenamir.

At the height of the interest generated by the movies, we added several moderators, one or more for each forum, to keep things more or less under control. We prided ourselves as being the "thoughtful" Tolkien board, though we certainly provided opportunities for fun and creativity.

As time passed, interest dwindled. The "fair weather" fans spawned by the movies faded away and the Hobbit movies did not resurrect them. As you have commented, other forms of social media have also distracted folks who might otherwise be interested. Even as members drop away or stop by less frequently, we still have a core of members that remain truly interested. Even here, after a while, some stop posting (we have always called it "getting treeish") but they are usually replaced with others.

I too miss the way things were ten or more years ago, though there certainly were challenges posed by the sheer volume of traffic that we had. I am glad that we still have a core of posters, but wish there were more. All I can say is the same thing that I have been saying for many years. Start a thread and people will discuss what you have to say. If you don't there is nothing to discuss.

Once again, welcome Soriman.
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Old 04-10-2021, 05:24 PM   #9
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As time passed, interest dwindled. The "fair weather" fans spawned by the movies faded away and the Hobbit movies did not resurrect them. As you have commented, other forms of social media have also distracted folks who might otherwise be interested. Even as members drop away or stop by less frequently, we still have a core of members that remain truly interested. Even here, after a while, some stop posting (we have always called it "getting treeish") but they are usually replaced with others.
Very true, this.
Though not an "original" member, I found this forum within 7 months or so of its founding. I've been around for a great deal of the goings-on here.

There were indeed some very spirited discussions here back in the day. The fur was really flying for a while just before PJ released the LOTR films, and those threads were great.
What I love more than anything are the book-threads: getting deep into Tolkien with like-minded people on the Downs is a unique experience.

I've personally been busier than Gollum at a salmon farm the past couple of years: retirement, back to school, new career.....but I still check this place every day, and if I at all have time to comment on something, I will.

Am I going to have to watch that wretched Amazon series so I can come here and tear it shreds?
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Old 04-10-2021, 08:19 PM   #10
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Silmaril

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That said, even if we are more of Old Folks Home than a party house these days, some of the admins or mods are still about, even if they're not always logging in, and one of the factors that contributed to the site falling asleep was the rise of social media--but with the silver lining that, should any of them be needed, someone can usually be summoned swiftly enough through the Facebook group.
Funny I never thought of the Decline in that context, no matter how obvious it seems now.

I didn't see it at the time, but I guess for me the process really started when some of us started using LiveJournal for talking about non-Tolkien things. Though obviously it wasn't until the rise of Facebook that things really escalated.

I always just assumed that people got busy, and you know, that the crushing pressure of the absurdity of life had finally gotten to us all.

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Thanks for the background, completely understandable situation you find yourselves in here. It's a shame most forums began to fade with the rise of social media, so much knowledge and great connections can be found on forums such as this one.

I find it entirely regrettable that I did not find this site 10 years ago.
Like many others in this thread I also long for the days when the site was buzzing with activity. Back then I would log in several times a day, these days I am proud if I remember to do it once a month.

I have made so many wonderful connections trough this site and not a day goes buy without some of my fellow wights being in my thoughts, which is probably why it pains me not to be more active.
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Old 04-11-2021, 02:31 PM   #11
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Gosh, remember when we were pseoudonymous (except for a certain few people)? And then we started mooting.

I think one of the really memorable things about the Downs is that it was limited to Tolkien talk. That focus was not dissipated by other topics and it allowed us to communicate without the usual distractions of real life partisanship, age, gender.
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Old 04-11-2021, 03:16 PM   #12
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I'm one of the moderators that hasn't gone completely treeish, though my life has changed since the days I joined here (going on 20 years ago!) and I don't have the time to spend in intensive discussion or storytelling any more. I remember (wistfully) the days when I spent nights (due to time zone differences) in the Downs' chat room.

For me, lots of additional reading was inspired by discussions of Tolkien books that I hadn't previously read, and real life activities (especially Tolkien Society conferences and Oxonmoot, plus the German Tolkien Society, of which I am an active member) came about because of information shared on the Downs.

As others have said, the limitation to Tolkien discussion, with special emphasis on the books, and the insistence on (family) friendliness that some felt restrictive is what made this site unique. Meeting other members in real life was a privilege, and even in these days of restricted travel, keeping in touch with BD friends online is one of my life's pleasures.

I often forget to look in daily, but do try to keep up with any interesting discussions going on. We shall see if the new series sparks renewed interest in discussion...

Anyway, welcome to you and any other new members, and please enjoy yourself - you might inspire us Entish trees to wake up again!
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Old 04-11-2021, 04:45 PM   #13
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Oooh, first Rune, then Bb and now Esty! Form, how many long-time members returning does it take that it does become a party house, in your opinion?

Granted I keep in touch with a few of you almost daily now since the pandemic, but it is nice to return to the forum to discuss our favorite author and his stories again.

Pardon me if I told you this story, Esty, because I can't remember if I did, but I haven't forgotten it. One of my first threads I created was "The Decision to Croak" (I would link the thread, but I don't want to return to that embarrassing time). Anyway, Esty, rightfully raked me over the coals for that atrocious thread title. And if your intention was to sear into my brain "do better when naming threads here" it definitely worked. 15 years later I still agonize over what to title threads. "Will Esty drag me for this thread title?" is to this day what I ask myself before submitting a new thread. "I haven't seen her around for a while, but she could be lurking and it's not worth the risk!"

So, Soriman, welcome and thank you for your interest in learning more about this site. Some of us, myself included, might seem like we are Huorns, as described through Merry's eyes:

Quote:
"They stand here and there in the wood or under its eaves, silent, watching endlessly over the trees; but deep in the darkest dales there are hundreds and hundreds of them, I believe."

"..Dangerous. I should be terrified of meeting them, if there were no true Ents about to look after them."~Flotsam and Jetsam
But (at least for myself) I'm just protective over a place that has been like a home for over half my life now. Unfortunately, that could lead to an impression that I'm naturally suspicious and standoffish to new members, but I'll make more of an effort to not be so insular.
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Old 04-12-2021, 02:35 PM   #14
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Pipe Looks like we are in 2004

When was this website last updated?

The social media links to use for Personal Messaging are ANCIENT.

I've never even heard the names of these social media connections except for Skype.

Probably should include some modern stuff.
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Old 04-12-2021, 02:43 PM   #15
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When was this website last updated?

The social media links to use for Personal Messaging are ANCIENT.

I've never even heard the names of these social media connections except for Skype.

Probably should include some modern stuff.
Who are you calling ancient?!

I know a lot of the peripheral applications on the actual Downs site are obsolete. My guess would be that it's due to the fact that only the forum section is seeing any real use, and it's been that way for quite a few years.

You know, though, for me that's part of the charm. I can still look at my attempts at winning the haiku contest all those years ago. Sometimes, I can even keep a straight face.
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Old 04-12-2021, 02:49 PM   #16
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Btw, I am not able to post a reply to a thread which had the last comment in 2001.

I do not have "enough privileges" it seems.
Is it archived or something?
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Old 04-12-2021, 02:58 PM   #17
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Btw, I am not able to post a reply to a thread which had the last comment in 2001.

I do not have "enough privileges" it seems.
Is it archived or something?
Yeah--the forum got some rather significant upgrades between its first iteration in 2000 and 2003ish: from EZboard to VBB if I'm not entirely mangling acronyms I haven't seen/used in a decade. Anything older than about 2003ish got archived at some point, if the thread wasn't, at that point, recently active.

It was always, however, considered fine form to post a NEW thread, linking to the old one and explicitly saying in the new thread that you were continuing the old one--if an Admin roused from their slumber and noticed, they'd combine the two threads: otherwise, it's a field trip for the Old Folks to go down memory lane and new thread of its own.

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I know a lot of the peripheral applications on the actual Downs site are obsolete. My guess would be that it's due to the fact that only the forum section is seeing any real use, and it's been that way for quite a few years.
Honestly, even when I joined in (*looks at dusty scroll...*) MMV anno Domini, the non-forum parts of the website were rather less used. I've had my bookmark link set at the forum mainpage since about 2006. I suspect too that even where the forum software has been updated here or there, insofar as forums are not exactly cutting edge technology anymore, the supporting software may not readily have modern social media plug-ins.
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Old 04-12-2021, 03:01 PM   #18
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Well said, Inzil. Rather strange for a newbie to come in and immediately start criticizing the place without any context or history.

Mirc has long passed its day and people can chat in multiple other forms of social media. What this forum has always been about is the posts, the discussion, the way people have responded to Tolkien and to those who enjoy reading him.

Burra's haiku thread was great. So are many others. Well worth reading.

This is internet history.

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Who are you calling ancient?!

I know a lot of the peripheral applications on the actual Downs site are obsolete. My guess would be that it's due to the fact that only the forum section is seeing any real use, and it's been that way for quite a few years.

You know, though, for me that's part of the charm. I can still look at my attempts at winning the haiku contest all those years ago. Sometimes, I can even keep a straight face.
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Old 04-13-2021, 01:00 PM   #19
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We used to get new members though the Elvish name generator! I'll have to check and see if it still works...

The fun stuff on the main site doesn't keep anyone's interest that long, but the forum discussions are still valid, and some of them have moments of pure genius. It's the content, not the form that matters!
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Old 04-13-2021, 01:04 PM   #20
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We used to get new members though the Elvish name generator! I'll have to check and see if it still works...

The fun stuff on the main site doesn't keep anyone's interest that long, but the forum discussions are still valid, and some of them have moments of pure genius. It's the content, not the form that matters!
Could I get a link to this Elvish name generator?
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Old 04-13-2021, 01:10 PM   #21
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Could I get a link to this Elvish name generator?
http://www.barrowdowns.com/theme-gimli.php

I'm pretty sure the name generator in question is on the left hand side of the main site listed as an "all in one" name generator.

It doesn't work as far as I can tell.
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Old 04-13-2021, 01:20 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Soriman the Whide View Post
http://www.barrowdowns.com/theme-gimli.php

I'm pretty sure the name generator in question is on the left hand side of the main site listed as an "all in one" name generator.

It doesn't work as far as I can tell.
Quite a shame.
Many others on the Internet work.
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Old 04-14-2021, 02:30 AM   #23
Huinesoron
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Originally Posted by Estelyn Telcontar View Post
We used to get new members though the Elvish name generator! I'll have to check and see if it still works...
Not working:
  • Name generator
  • Personality test
  • Gaffer's Proverbs
  • Magnets (which used Flash!)
  • Quizzes (all show blank)

Working:
  • Madlibs
  • Malbeth
  • Hanghobbit
  • Walk to Rivendell
  • Tengwar scriptor
  • Location finder ("this page has been streamlined")

No obvious pattern, but it's likely the Location Finder used to run the same code as the Personality Test until it was "streamlined"; it might be possible to cannibalise that and restore the others. (Because it's all server-side PHP, I can't see the code and check, so this is all a guess. )

hS
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Old 04-14-2021, 08:52 AM   #24
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Thanks for testing all of those applications, Huinesoron! I tried the name generator, unsuccessfully, but hadn't gotten around to testing the rest.
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Old 04-14-2021, 05:16 PM   #25
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I'm just glad this forum is still around, even though it's gone treeish over the last couple years.

Like a lot of forums a few years ago (what was it 4-5 years ago?) it suffered a vicious virus attack that nearly destroyed the whole thing. But perhaps the best thing about social media is the members banded together to rescue it. Even though if most of them don't post anymore (for a variety of reasons) there was that dedication and love from the membership to not let the site suffer the same fate as Melkor and disappear into the interwebs void.
I just have to say "Amen to this!" Being without the Downs was a distressing time...even though I don't check in to it nearly as often anymore. It is comforting knowing that it is still there. And Boro The Great Whiteout was right before the Ten Year Anniversary Werewolf game (which was partially such an exuberant festival because everyone was so happy that the Downs were back)...so it is more like six years ago rather than five. Where does the time go?

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The "fair weather" fans spawned by the movies faded away and the Hobbit movies did not resurrect them.
I am afraid I must (yes it is a physiological imperative) snidely comment, "Gee, I wonder why the Hobbit films didn't generate a ton of new interest in Tolkien...vile spawns that they were."

There, I said it, I'm better now.

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There were indeed some very spirited discussions here back in the day. The fur was really flying for a while just before PJ released the LOTR films, and those threads were great.
I still go back and re-read lots of threads from the golden years.

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Am I going to have to watch that wretched Amazon series so I can come here and tear it shreds?
Ours is not to reason why,
Ours is but to riff and cry!

Besides, if you don't do it, who will?

I'm reminded of something the venerated Mister Underhill said one time about there only being so much mileage that you can get out of a dead author's work. (I wish I could find the post where he said that, but it eludes me).

One of the big issues the forum faced is I think as the core group of Downers shrank, the long-standers have kind of all talked out the Tolkien issues that we had over the years and there grows to be less and less new items to discuss.

It is why re-reads are good and new blood is better.
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Old 04-16-2021, 12:18 PM   #26
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Question How to Start a New Thread?

So I was trying to figure out--How to start a new thread on the forum,I couldn't find any info about it--not even mentioned in the FAQ!
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Old 04-16-2021, 12:30 PM   #27
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So I was trying to figure out--How to start a new thread on the forum,I couldn't find any info about it--not even mentioned in the FAQ!
Go to the forum where you want to start the thread (eg. Movies, Quiz Room, etc). On the left side, below the Sub-forum box (if applicable) and just above where the threads are listed in their own box, there is a blue button that says "start thread". This is not necessarily intuitive, I know. I recall having to ask for instructions too when I first joined.
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Old 04-16-2021, 02:09 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
Go to the forum where you want to start the thread (eg. Movies, Quiz Room, etc). On the left side, below the Sub-forum box (if applicable) and just above where the threads are listed in their own box, there is a blue button that says "start thread". This is not necessarily intuitive, I know. I recall having to ask for instructions too when I first joined.
Thanks!

Admin should probably consider putting this information under FAQ perhaps...

P.S. Any idea how to change Username?

P.P.S. I understand that I went from "Newly Deceased" to Pile O'Bones--but how do you guys have such cool titles?Are they automatic?

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Old 04-16-2021, 02:30 PM   #29
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P.S. Any idea how to change Username?
Not sure if that's possible, but will leave it up to someone more knowledgeable in such matters to confirm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ring Bearer
P.P.S. I understand that I went from "Newly Deceased" to Pile O'Bones--but how do you guys have such cool titles?Are they automatic?
This is somewhere on one of the several info threads about the Downs, but I can't remember which off the top of my head. Essentially, your title changes with your post count. Once you reach a certain threshold, you're eligible to be promoted to a customized personal title. I suppose in the heyday of activity such promotions happened on a regular basis. They became more and more infrequent as activity declined. I believe I was in the last promotion batch alongside a handful of others. Perhaps, with the increase of activity here, we'll get some more. We certainly have some members who are overdue for one.
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Old 04-16-2021, 03:36 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Galadriel55 View Post
Not sure if that's possible, but will leave it up to someone more knowledgeable in such matters to confirm.
Someone (I cannot remember whom) once told me that it was possible, but that there were no set procedure other than asking a moderator politely. Now since I never got around to makin the request myself, I cannot confirm if this is actually correct.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Galadriel55
This is somewhere on one of the several info threads about the Downs, but I can't remember which off the top of my head. Essentially, your title changes with your post count. Once you reach a certain threshold, you're eligible to be promoted to a customized personal title. I suppose in the heyday of activity such promotions happened on a regular basis. They became more and more infrequent as activity declined. I believe I was in the last promotion batch alongside a handful of others. Perhaps, with the increase of activity here, we'll get some more. We certainly have some members who are overdue for one.
I remember the fuzz surrounding a new batch of promotions. It was an honor, and as such there were no set criteria for being awarded one. However there definitely seemed to be a tendency for in depth book discussions to bein prioritized. Those of us mostly hanging around in the quiz room or the mirth section had to wait a little longer.
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Old 04-16-2021, 04:54 PM   #31
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So I was trying to figure out--How to start a new thread on the forum,I couldn't find any info about it--not even mentioned in the FAQ!
I'm thinking there might be a post count/length of membership standard, but I'm not sure.
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Old 04-16-2021, 06:24 PM   #32
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Names CAN be changed--i.e. it's an option in the deepest, darkest depths of the Administrator's power (and it might be an über-admin power: the sort reserved to the Barrow-Wight himself). But I can't recall a previous instance of it (on this forum--I believe I can elsewhere). If you're looking to refine/redefine yourself, you're best off trying to get a nickname going. In Ye Olden Days*™, besides your obvious ones (like Form for Formendacil, we had:

T.O.R.E for The One Real Estel
Sally for satansaloser2005
Helen for mark12_30

Etc, etc... And, of course, the big differentiators are signatures and avatars.


As to Forum titles, though...

I'm being too lazy to link anything, but memory (and I trust it in this instance) is that the threshold for being considered for a Custom Title was 500 posts--but it was no guarantee. I want to say that Gil-Galad hit 4000+ posts before the Admins added him to the honour roll, which was dramatic but by no means unique. The idea of a custom title was to recognise a certain longevity and importance to the forum: the post count being a measure of quantity but quantity was insufficient. In other words, you couldn't get there purely by contributing to the "fun"--there had to be some substance, gravity of some sort.

But it has been a while. And it was always fun to see what reference or fun title people would come up with.

Mind you, who last crossed the 500-post mark even if the Admin team were still thinking of such things?
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Old 04-16-2021, 07:56 PM   #33
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Names CAN be changed--i.e. it's an option in the deepest, darkest depths of the Administrator's power (and it might be an über-admin power: the sort reserved to the Barrow-Wight himself).
So in other words it involves black magic and necromancy?

There are also members who re-joined under a different name for various reasons, such as log in issues.

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Mind you, who last crossed the 500-post mark even if the Admin team were still thinking of such things?
Though perhaps a rhetoric question, it's one that is easily answered, seeing as you can sort the members list by post count.

...Actually, maybe not so easily, there is perseverance involved. I counted over 20 Ghost Princes at >1000 post count, there are many more in the 500-1000 range. Many of them have not been active for ages, but a good handful are currently or (relatively) recently active. One thing that I learned while doing this exercise is that either half of you people secretly changed your titles, or you just haven't posted for so long that I forgot what they sound like, because it was like reading them for the first time.
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Old 04-17-2021, 04:06 AM   #34
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Oh wow, this thread makes me so happy. Is it normal for a person in their early 30s to get this high on nostalgia?

But yeah, the name generator! (That's where Thinlómien comes from, incidentally.) Or the personal title promotions! And well... everything!

I joined this site when I was 14. Coming across my old posts from say, 2004-2006ish is somewhat terrifying - the teenagerishness radiating from them is quite something. But I'm also pretty proud of myself for joining a forum in a foreign language at that age and discussing everything here quite comfortably if with the occasional sad linguistic error. (I still remember the RPG where I wrote about my character that as a kid he often "coupled with" his sister and I also once got a negative reputation for an RPG post where the text was "the past tense of to teach is taught". Which I still feel obliged to point out I KNEW obviously, but I somehow accidentally wrote "teached" in a hurry. Oh well.)

Yeah and of course my first thread here was about whether some of Thorin's company could have been women since it was reputedly hard for outsiders to tell dwarf women from men, and I got beautifully trolled by the infamous Sauce-Pan Man, because I was a 14 year old kid who took everything seriously. Good times!

But that being said, I'm very happy to have logged in today. I think I will lurk around a little more again. Sadly, I don't think I have the stamina for in depth book discussion anymore, but we'll see. I think Legate and I started a chapter-by-chapter project maybe... four years ago? and abandoned that somewhere in the middle of the FotR. Maybe I could resume the reread and the chapter commentaries!
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Old 04-17-2021, 10:59 AM   #35
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Oh wow, this thread makes me so happy. Is it normal for a person in their early 30s to get this high on nostalgia?

I joined this site when I was 14. Coming across my old posts from say, 2004-2006ish is somewhat terrifying - the teenagerishness radiating from them is quite something. But I'm also pretty proud of myself for joining a forum in a foreign language at that age
Foreign Language? I believe you would have watched LOTR in English tho?
Not hating here--English is not my mother tongue either.

I actually assumed most of you here must be Americans...
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Old 04-17-2021, 12:02 PM   #36
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I actually assumed most of you here must be Americans...
Quite a few are, but quite a few are not. Many are not native English speakers, but they express themselves so eloquently you would not be able to tell, which is an amazing achievement to their credit. And many have been introduced to Tolkien in languages other than English.

Though I currently live in an English speaking country and English is my primary language, my first read of LOTR was not in English, and when watching the Jackson films as a kid I understood exactly one line ("Rohan will answer"), the rest was mostly guess-by-the-pictures. I'm sure there are translated films out there, but at that time we were still using VCR and you watched what you had.


I wanna second Lommy's feelings about coming across old posts. Whenever I look at my early posting I am quite embarrassed for myself. And on the flip side, if I am reading an old thread and think that I've made a good point there, it's probably not from my earliest years on the Downs.
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Old 04-17-2021, 02:06 PM   #37
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Post 4000

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Yeah and of course my first thread here was about whether some of Thorin's company could have been women since it was reputedly hard for outsiders to tell dwarf women from men, and I got beautifully trolled by the infamous Sauce-Pan Man, because I was a 14 year old kid who took everything seriously. Good times!

But that being said, I'm very happy to have logged in today. I think I will lurk around a little more again. Sadly, I don't think I have the stamina for in depth book discussion anymore, but we'll see. I think Legate and I started a chapter-by-chapter project maybe... four years ago? and abandoned that somewhere in the middle of the FotR. Maybe I could resume the reread and the chapter commentaries!
When did Sauce-Pan Man go into "retirement"? It feels like something that happened fairly early on in my membership.

I never managed to be part of a chapter by chapter, and it is actually one of my big regrets on this site. If I was to join one these days, I would probably need to do it by audiobook to make my schedule work. I hope you find the stamina.
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Old 04-17-2021, 05:23 PM   #38
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When did Sauce-Pan Man go into "retirement"? It feels like something that happened fairly early on in my membership.

I never managed to be part of a chapter by chapter, and it is actually one of my big regrets on this site. If I was to join one these days, I would probably need to do it by audiobook to make my schedule work. I hope you find the stamina.
He actually posted as recently as last year.

His activity mostly stopped in late 2009 - early 2010.
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Old 04-17-2021, 05:25 PM   #39
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Welcome to the Downs, Soriman! You've already proven yourself a mighty conjurer to have raised so many undead spirits from their graves (with a little help from Formendacil on Facebook).

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Let me tell you that I joined some 10-odd years ago, and still feel a very young Entling and the newbie of the place.
Are you kidding me? You've become one of the stalwarts of this place, keeping it alive when so many of us (including myself) can hardly be bothered anymore. And you do realise, don't you, that you've been a member for longer than many of us were when you joined?

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But (at least for myself) I'm just protective over a place that has been like a home for over half my life now.
THIS. Even when I often don't check the forum for months (let alone log in, let alone actually post) it still means much to me that it's still around, and every once in a while I'll revisit some old thread for Auld Lang Syne, and I'm profoundly grateful to TBW Himself for keeping the site online to make this possible.

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When did Sauce-Pan Man go into "retirement"? It feels like something that happened fairly early on in my membership.
Not quite, as I vividly remember getting him Fenrissed in one of my early WW games, 2010-ish (my first and only time as the Seer, and I dreamed him on N1); but it was a rare appearance even back then.

I guess what meant most to me about the Downs during my more active membership (apart from the sheer pleasure of finally talking to people who got what Tolkien was all about, and learning stuff about his work that I hadn't dreamed of) was the community spirit (and this, I feel, was stronger, or more tightly knit, among the Werewolfing crowd than the Downs at large, although I guess that the long time role players had something similar going, and there were of course overlappings); and this was also the part of Downs activity that was most easily transferred to social media, hence the shift Formy talked about above.

Also I'm afraid I've got burned out discussing Middle-earth over the years, or at least I'm not interested in discussing the world-building rather than the actual literary works, which is a direction many recent threads seem to be taking (i.e. I couldn't care less which kind of units were in Sauron's or Gondor's army in the War of the Ring, stuff like that); but I'll always be up for close reading and dissecting Tolkien's prose, so... time to revisit Chapter by Chapter, I guess?
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Old 04-17-2021, 05:46 PM   #40
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Also I'm afraid I've got burned out discussing Middle-earth over the years, or at least I'm not interested in discussing the world-building rather than the actual literary works, which is a direction many recent threads seem to be taking (i.e. I couldn't care less which kind of units were in Sauron's or Gondor's army in the War of the Ring, stuff like that); but I'll always be up for close reading and dissecting Tolkien's prose, so... time to revisit Chapter by Chapter, I guess?
This hits at the heart of what I've been feeling as well the past few years.

As I get older, I find myself treasuring Tolkien's works all the more, and becoming rather protective.
I am fearful of not heeding Gandalf's advice to Saruman, about not breaking something to discover its workings. I really have no interest now in how the books were constructed. I don't care about real or imagined symbolism. I know what I feel when I read of Tuor seeing the Great Sea for the first time, and spreading his arms as if to embrace it; or picturing Galadriel standing with Frodo in front of her Mirror, struggling with her own longing and temptation to use the Ring.

That's to say nothing of a relatively little-discussed work, Smith of Wooten Major, that can make me long to journey with Smith and meet the Queen by some shining water.

I love this forum, though. It's been here through a great many changes in my life, and it's always a comfort to know I can come back.
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