Circle of Discussions
May 27, 2008

For just a moment, forget the circle of life and beautifully scored Lion King music. Let's talk about something more immediate for the rest of us netizens.

The circle of discussion board topics.

Seriously, have you ever noticed how some topics keep coming up no matter how little interest or how much division/derision they stir up?

  • religion (primarily Christianity)
  • politics (primarily U.S. with a smattering of U.K. or Canada)
  • life after death (usually a subset of religion)
  • make money on your blog (which some elevate to a subset of religion)
  • user name or blog name origin
  • surviving/getting Love
  • whining about a technical service (might be from that particular site, might be about another site)
  • insomnia questions
  • RTFM questions (sprinkled with legitimate user questions which aren't in "the manual" or found easily thru search)
  • Adsense (ought to be part of making money - but it's darn near it's own category anymore)

What's interesting is watching the community react to historical conversations. Those conversations might get ignored, causing newer people to either dominate that discussion or to feel slighted at being ignored. If one of those historical conversations has been contentious (particularly in the recent past), a lot of "oldster" may react with seemingly out of place frustration or even hostility - causing newbies to wonder WTH is wrong with this particular discussion board.

It's interesting to watch as cycles of new "immigrants" "invade" an online community. I hadn't thought about it quite this way before, but it suddenly hearkens back to the waves of immigrants coming through New York (for those of you familiar with U.S. history). I very much see knots of users on most forums which more or less correspond to when they started participating on that forum - OR who were all involved in a pivotal conversation on that forum and so became a kind of "ethnicity" for that particular board. "We are the people who participated in the ThreadName debacle." And when newer folks start up a thread or make a comment which somehow touches on a part of that particular incident, that "ethnicity" of forum participants suddenly comes out guns blazing.

Of course, it's more fluid than that example, but if you've been online long, you probably get what I mean.

I've seen many an established member of an online community "move out" of the community when a wave of new "immigrants" changed the tenor of the community into something other than what it had been. It's not so much, I think, a moving away from the new as it is finding a place which suits your interests better.

Then again, if you only "live" where your interests are, how do you discover new interests?

I often wonder if we're too fast to leave when things change ....

Posted by Red Monkey at May 27, 2008 11:47 AM | Blog | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


K. Fields said:

I have to agree with your post! The various forums that I have been on forever have this same thing going on... Seems after a while some of the ones that have been on it forever seem to just disappear; Maybe it's because of the redundancy of the threads.

I also think sometimes it is harder for new people to come into a forum with subjects that haven't been done to death, because you cannot easily find the threads that have already been posted on the subjects. And even when they are found, others make comments about how old the thread is "who drug this back up" etc, etc. So things end up being repeated over and over again.

Where as other times “posters” do it just to irritate too!

First time I have been to your blog! Nice!

May 27, 2008 12:13 PM


timethief said:

While it's true that each invasion of newcomers do tend to post the same topics over and over again IMO this may be because they are not aware of how to use the search functions. IMO if the search functions were used prior to posting new forum threads then it would be immediately evident which subjects have been discussed to death and the "necro posting to resurrected threads" would be a less frequent occurrence.

Setting that matter aside, IMO blogs and groups are the correct places to post religious topics and to enter into prolonged discussions and debates. However, as christianity is a religion based on evangelizing any attempts to steer overly zealous people towards blogs and groups usually leads to an over-reaction by christians, who feel that their freedom of speech is being interfered with.

This is not a phenomena that is typically Canadian. In Canada only after we have formed a relationship with an individual will we choose to discuss religion. Prior to forming a relationship we do not welcome religious questioning and if questioned we are more likely to turn away from discussion and debate than we are to engage in it.

The reality is that christianity is a religion that has splintered into many different schisms, all of which think that they and only they have the correct message. Of all the world religions christianity is viewed by many as being the most destructive of all due to its historical emphasis on paternalism, subjugation of women, children and homosexual people, destruction of entire First Nations cultures and belief systems, hypocrisy and war mongering, as well as, the cover up of institutionalized systemic abuse of adult followers and sexual abuse of children by pedophiles.

From what I can tell most of the bloggers posting to the BC general discussion forum threads are from America, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. They have heard the gospel message. Many have rejected it and many will not tolerate having the general discussion threads becoming a platform for proselytizing.

I could probably go on and on about this but I won't.

May 27, 2008 12:56 PM


Shirley said:

This is so true of the boards. I've been holding back lately because it's getting redundant. Lately I just mostly do other things now.

May 27, 2008 12:58 PM


Chris said:

Its the ones that post questions to use the answers on their blog that piss me of. One every now and then is ok but every bloody time you post something is fing annoying.

Oh I will give you a link back if you answer.

Woopy Bloody Dooo - We write your chufing content and all we get is a lowsey link back. On every bloody post you write.

Ok mate get stuffed.

Now my rant is over

May 27, 2008 3:09 PM


timethief said:

Appranetly Chris and I have them same take on that. What really pisses me of is this kind of bullshit OMG! it's back on the board

May 27, 2008 5:09 PM


Kdawg68 said:

I think you nailed this spot-on, Ender. Waves indeed. Rather than focusing on that which tears us apart though, I thought I might comment that the glue that binds - the one thing that seems to get the community the most energized (read: when you see reply stats rocketing) is when folks bring out their best comedy routines.

Stop and think about some of the best times you've had on BC - most of them involve snorting, or being doubled over in laughter while family members look at you as if you were crazy. Anit it's never funny to someone outside the community. You've just got to be a part of it to enjoy it.

May 27, 2008 8:51 PM


Mark Stoneman said:

One thing I've noticed is that newbies come in thinking they know what's up because they're old hands on other threads. Instead of waiting a little while and just going with the flow, they jump in and tell the rest of us how things are gonna be from now on. Imagine if real-life immigrants did that. Some don't understand that each forum has a culture.

Course what you point to is one of the reasons for this culture's mutability, which is not a bad thing.

May 28, 2008 12:47 AM
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