Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Discussion Boards Dead? Discuss.

I cut my virtual teeth at babble, which, I just learned celebrated its tenth anniversary in April. I joined in 2002 or 2003, near enough to 9/11 that the OMFG-handholding-minute-by-minute-planes-crash-into-WTC thread made for riveting reading. (I just had a lazy look for it, but couldn't find any threads older than 2005.)

There was some major unpleasantness, totally ignored in the anniversary story, and a bunch of babblers left in high dudgeon.

Judging from this, same old shit is going on.

Many of the dudgeonistas fetched up at something initially called 'babble strike' or somesuch but became after a democratic vote (natch) enmasse. (I was pumping for 'Herding Cats', which got some, but not enough, votes.)

Further unpleasantness and a further rift ensued, this time dudgeonistas found themselves at Bread&Roses. That's where deBeauxOs and fern hill met and started our blogging careers at Birth Pangs.

Just to round out the round-up of Canadian non-partisan political boards, I should add Free Dominion, aka The Dark Site, where I frequently still lurk.

So, nowadays, leaving aside my FD lurking, I rarely go to any of them. They seem just plain sad to me. They seem to function mostly as link-farms where people stash stuff they may want to go back to. Membership is much diminished and the personal schticks are getting pretty old.

Once vibrant -- B&R in particular was the chosen hang-out of some of the snarkiest lefty bloggers and blog-commenters -- now left behind in Twitter-dust.

On a slightly peripheral note, I hate the new Facebook, but still occasionally visit some political groups I joined around the second prorogation to see what people are talking about. But I don't -- and never really did -- feel any connection to it.

Blogging and tweeting are enough for me.

What do you think?


Dr.Dawg said...

Babble was fairly quickly taken over by Stalinist nutcases, facilitated by "moderators" who banned, lectured and commissared about at will.

En Masse proved to be no better.

I prefer blogsites like yours (and mine). Our common commenter policy appears to be far more open than is the case with these in-grown, cultish old-Left sites. The latter stand for everything that has hamstrung us since the heyday of the Great Redeemer of the Masses.

Feh. Break the chains, I say. Including the ones that we ourselves helped to forge, back in the day.

thebanana said...

I remember the discussions on The Well. Fuck I'm old :)

fern hill said...

@thebanana: This Well? That does go back a way. You musta been very precocious. ;)

Beijing York said...

I started with IRC and Usenet fan communities and then joined a Motet conferencing forum hosted by Alternet shortly after the 9-11 attacks. I became a moderator there and the community was progressive and vibrant between 2001-2003. Fractures developed with the ramp-up to the 2004 presidential elections. Alternet decided to dump the forums and promote direct commentary/discussion with each article posted around 2005? Our forums where then transferred as a subset of Cafe Utne forums that used the same software. That transfer basically shrank the community significantly and killed the possibility of any new members joining. Utne magazine then decided to dump their forums and a stand alone community called the New Cafe took over them. Without a flagship news page (Alternet and Utne), there were no opportunities to attract new members and basically die-hard old-timers still participate with different factions fighting each other for control. Very weird space.

As for the three you mention, I try to post regularly for the sake of solidarity with online friends made over the years but it's no longer as fulfilling as posting on direct blog or facebook articles that elicit vibrant discussion. I haven't adopted twitter but it seems that is now the hot thing.

thebanana said...

It was a Bulletin Board System. Had to dial in over a 2400 baud modem from northern Manitoba. It was the frishizzle, I tell ya. I was more of a lurker than an intellectual poster :)

Beijing York said...

I still kept my Hayes 2400 modem for our future old technology museum. Every word counted back then since it was so easily cut off.

Námo Mandos said...

2400 baud? Luxury! I remember using a Gandalf 300 baud model with the Bell 212A command set, before the newfangled Hayes AT command set that is even still in use on cell phone tethering systems. I used it to dial up my cousins and bank away at the keyboard.

Námo Mandos said...

[insert long topical comment here that Blooger swallowed with a 503 exception!]

Suffice it to say that there are aspects of the boardiverse which I miss and didn't transfer very well to the, um, proprietor-focused character of blogs. I prefer moderators to blog owners, as a general rule, including preferring myself to be a moderator than a blog owner. Aside from places like Dawg's, blogs have had a tendency to be, if anything, much more ideologically intolerant than boards.

Post a Comment