Wayback when

I asked a couple of friends, “how would you characterize the change in the blogs over the last 2 years, if any?”

One friend’s reply: “Boringer.”

Many of us are new — for kicks sometime, I recommend you scan through the archives (see the sidebar) or look at our old site. For those that have been around a while, how have things changed?

Comments

  1. The level of discourse is typically higher. There is less whining (thank Heaven) and less abrassive posts. There are better ideas and better scholarship now.

  2. I disagree with everything you say, J.

  3. Whiner

  4. I dunno, Stapers, at least about the tone of the ‘nacle. Now that I’m a phat kat at BCC, I’m more inclined to be rude. Back when it was just little old United Brethren, I worked very hard to be nice. Now, you can all just get lost, you Yankee, Bush loving, conservative rednecks. I am right. You are wrong. You are stupid.

  5. Things don’t seem to have changed a ton, from my perspective. I agree with J. about many of the posts having a higher level of discourse these days. BCC seems to have changed a lot over the last two years, but that might be because of template changes etc. and the addition of new people more than because of a change in content. I haven’t really found the blogs to be more boring than two years ago.

  6. ….(continued from 4)…Which is to say, no, we’re as abrasive as ever. Too many boyz. Note how many women commented on the Bush meltdown thread. One, I think. That’s a sad trend. Perhaps a worsening trend, in fact. Are there fewer women’s voices in the nacle than there were 2 years ago? I think so. At BCC and T&S, certainly yes.

  7. What Ronan said in no. 6.

  8. D. Fletcher says:

    One big difference. I knew no other blog when I first came to BCC. Now, there are millions worldwide, literally thousands in the Bloggernacle alone. No one can really keep up. It’s like attending Church at 100 different wards every week.

  9. I think there are less abrassive posts. Abrassive commentors abound.

  10. …(continued from 6)…I mean, more women’s blogs maybe, but there are a lot of women who you used to see on the non-ghettoed blogs who aren’t around anymore, or far less anyway.

  11. …(contined from 10!)…in other words (and relating to the BCC old timers), we want more Kris W…and KHH, where the hell are you, girl? ECS? Sad too that the T&S female quotient also went down.

  12. Ronan — got any theories why there are less women on the big blogs?

  13. J., less abrasive posts? You mean like this one? Or maybe this one?

  14. Kris, as one person put it to me, maybe it’s because all the big blogs are dominated by sexist a@@holes.

  15. D. Fletcher says:

    One big board I post to regularly is the Home Theater Forum. There are NO women over there at all.

    Computers, home theater, equipment, seem to be boy things, and this extends to the Internet, too. Not that there aren’t plenty of women interested in boy things, and in blogging. But it does seem to be at a significantly lesser level than what the men are doing.

  16. Totally. You can have riligous outrage over war and it not be abrasive. Go back and you will find outrage over Mormon culture and even sometimes the Church. I think we have grown up a bit.

  17. Spelling, at least mine, has not changed in two years.

  18. Steve, is this a confession? :)

  19. It’s not exactly a false statement, Kris, I’m sad to say. Look — I’m not a big proponent of gender-influenced means of expression, I am not convinced that it’s a helpful way of getting one’s message across. But you totally see it happening in the blogs, and I think that’s fairly damning.

    Good to see, in any event, that good old gender issues are alive and kicking after all these years!!

  20. Kris (12),

    I am not in touch with the feminine psyche, so I don’t really know. I do know that the utter lack of women on the near-400 comment Bush thread says something, though.

  21. Fewer posts by Bryce I

  22. Mark Butler says:

    Some people (like me for example) are just indifferent enough about President Bush to not feel like defending him against a constant onslaught of comparisons of him to the root of all evil.

    I can’t remember the last time I mentioned his name online. Nor can I quite recall the last time a discussion about President Bush or U.S. foreign policy or war in general had any perceptible doctrinal or theological sophistication, to the level of D&C 98, for example.

  23. mark: threadjack.

  24. There is a lot less of the “bloggernacle as community” meme.

  25. Mark Butler says:

    Sorry, I will shut up now (at least about that).

  26. #21: Proof positive that the women are just smarter than we are. As if we needed more proof. (Hi, Mogget!)

    I can’t really weigh in on 2 years, but in the past 1 year… not much has changed. Definitely not boringer, though, thanks to the Snarkernacle! (And, um, ok, the Ironic Priesthood.)

  27. D. Fletcher says:

    Yes, I think there’s less community, because it’s too big. Although I still see many of the same names from 2 years ago, starting with Steve and yourself Mathew.

  28. People still can’t spell, and I’m confident that they don’t know the difference between “less” and “fewer”.

  29. Eric Russell says:

    Actually, I think there are a lot more women in the nacle nowadays, it’s just that they’re all on their own women’s blogs. I think you guys scared them away.

  30. D. Fletcher says:

    (Did I use the term “less” incorrectly? I meant it in a generic sense, as in a lessening of the sense of community, not in fewer overall members of the community.)

  31. Mark B. is still a grammar nazi after all these years

  32. Not you D.

    Geoff, it’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

  33. I think BCC has become more scholarly maybe due to its alliance with Dialogue and the new permabloggers. I am happy about that.

    It has also become a little less fun. For instance, I doubt we will ever again see a post entitled “Will I be a D-Cup in the Resurrection?” I regret that, but it is a consequence of an expanded readership. Rameumptom dot blogspot circa October 2004 had the feel of a few friends goofing off on a Friday night. Them days is gone for good. (take that, Mark B. :->)

  34. Will I be a D-Cup in the Resurrection

    I bloody hope not.

  35. I’ve only been participating for a little over a year, but I agree with Mark. It’s not as fun as it used to be, even a year ago. Part of that, I guess, is that the “newness” has worn off, but people seem to be overly-sensitive all of a sudden.

    There are also a LOT more posts–thus making it more difficult to keep up. But while quantity has gone up, I’m not sure if the overall quality has as well.

    “Boringer”–Not a whole lot of originality, and too many posts about the same topic that always take on the same discussion.

  36. D.,

    I’m not sure there is less community within the bloggernacle, just that the idea that one of the primary purposes of the bloggernacle is to foster community. It seems many came for community but stayed for ideas–or made enough cyber-friends they stopped cruising for more. I’m guessing more of the socializing now takes place in private forums–email, IM, etc. Then again I have a heavy BCC/T&S bias which are really just two data points in a much larger world.

  37. “Rameumptom dot blogspot circa October 2004 had the feel of a few friends goofing off on a Friday night.”

    I think that is basically accurate description of what was actually happening.

  38. I think D. in #28 is on to something. Two years ago, I felt like I had a pretty good handle on who most all regular commenters were. Now there are just so many people that I can’t possibly keep up or keep them all straight. As a result, I often find myself skipping over most comments unless I am familiar with the person who wrote them, even if the general subject matter catches my interest.

    I don’t think the bloggernacle is any more boring than it was two years ago. I can see how people have become bored with it though. If I were to come to the bloggernacle for the first time now, I suspect I would be every bit as interested in it today as I was back then.

  39. Steve Evans says:

    Amen Mat (#37). We’ve gone all institutional.

  40. I never liked the old banner. The new ones are better, even though you ditched “snowy woods” for “rocky beach.” I really liked the Banner of Heaven banner image, but now I’m guessing it was probably faked. Bummer.

    I liked the width of the main content column at the old site. Things seem a little squished as presently formatted, especially in the comments.

    I think the content at BCC and at other LDS group blogs covers a wider range of topics now. That’s both good and bad. Given the steady stream of new readers, I think we do need to go back and revisit “bread and butter” Mormon Studies topics every now and then.

  41. Dave, to be truthful, we went from Snowy Woods to Green Forest to Rocky Beach…soon to be suplanted by….

  42. D. Fletcher says:

    That rocky beach art, is that from Ryan’s Daughter?

  43. Whose beach this is I think I know,
    He used to live in woods of snow.
    He moved to forest green, and then
    changed to an autumnal glen.

    Thank you. Thank you very much.

  44. The ghost of JMW says:

    Where it’s always winter, but never Christmas! :)

  45. JMW’s Ghost: awesome. completely awesome. See? Now THAT was fun.

  46. Eric Russell says:

    “Rameumptom dot blogspot circa October 2004 had the feel of a few friends goofing off on a Friday night.”

    If there’s one blog in the last two years that had that feel – it was Banner of Heaven. Since then, nothing has replaced it.

  47. D. Fletcher says:

    That’s Narnia.

  48. Since I first saw this post, I have been thinking about this. I think I have found a way to tie it into one of the 7 perinnial bloggernacle topics: aggregators (which is also a peripheral tie into another of the 7: DKL). When I started blogging about two years ago, there were no aggregators. So people chose slightly more outrageous topics and slightly more outrageous titles because it was hard to draw viewers to one’s site. Now, once you are on the aggregator, every boring ol’ idea that happens in your head gets broadcasted. So, people pick and chose based on who you are, not the goofiness or outrageousness of the title. When it was all about catching the attention of someone so that they would put you on their sidebar, you had to try and have your a-game every post. Now, not so much, that’s only an issue if you want to move up in the boxes (even then, not so much). The aggregators have made it much easier to be seen and, therefore, have made it unnecessary to be super-awesome every time you write. Of course, that hasn’t stopped me…

  49. I’d like to make a suggestion, knowing beforehand that it will mean uncompensated work for somebody. (Sorry, Stapley!)

    I participate in online discussions on other blogs, and some of them have a “greatest hits” or “top ten” feature. Steve is right – there is a lot of great content buried in the archives here. Maybe next time you rearrange the layout you could find a way to recycle some of them? Posts like “The Etiquette of Conference Viewing” and “Who Are the Ignoranti?” are too good to enjoy only once.

  50. My theory on the reason more women aren’t participating: lawyers are boring.

  51. Will I be a D-Cup in the Resurrection

    I bloody hope not.

    I bloddy hope I won’t be either. If it’s going to be a perfect body, I vote for an A cup.

  52. Bloody, damnit.

    I can’t even swear properly.

    Or maybe it’s just my American accent showing.

  53. bloddy

    Well Crystal, I guess that makes you a DD cup.

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist. :-)

  54. re 15: Kris, as one person put it to me, maybe it’s because all the big blogs are dominated by sexist a@@holes.

    Steve, someone really said that to you? I don’t understand it. If you consider T&S and BCC to be a majority of the non-female-only big blogs, then it really doesn’t make sense. Did that person mean that BCC and T&S are dominated by sexist assholes?

    With BCC, we have you, Ronan, J., RT, and Kevin, none of whom, based on the content they have routinely posted, could even remotely be considered sexist (I am just listing a majority of the males here — if you’re not on the list, it doesn’t mean you are a sexist, it only means I haven’t personally read a post from you that indicates clearly that you are not a sexist) and four women, none of whom are presumably sexist against women.

    At T&S, you have a similar breakdown, with Kaimi at the helm. Kaimi is demonstrably not sexist; many of the other males at T&S have written material indicating they are not sexist. Moreover, the women at T&S are arguably not sexist against women.

    If you take the “big blogs” as T&S, BCC, M*, FMH, and perhaps BT, then you have a majority of big blogs — T&S, BCC, and FMH — for which no reasonable argument can be made that they are dominated by sexist assholes. Admittedly an argument exists as to M*, but not because those blogs really are dominated by sexist assholes but rather just because the blog is perceived as overarchingly conservative politically and the contributors, to my knowledge, have not often written posts that would explicitly identify them as not sexist.

    To summarize, when this person told you that the reason that there weren’t more women on the big blogs was because they were dominated by sexist assholes, did you think that was a valid observation? Do you feel that BCC is dominated by sexist assholes? T&S? If not, then which blogs could he/she have been referring to?

  55. Aaron Brown says:

    I agree that the Bloggernacle, as a whole, is “boringer,” but that may say more about my waning interest in certain topics than it does about the quality of the blogs per se.

    There are too many commenters now. I feel an obligation to read all the comments in a thread before I comment, but I often don’t have the time or energy to go thru them all. Once upon a time, the community was smaller and tighter composed of less voluminous commentary.

    Also, I don’t blog enough. I’m sure that if I ever find my second wind, the quality around here will just shoot thru the roof, and BCC will rapidly become everyone’s favorite blog. :)

    I agree that we should recycle some old themes from a year or so ago. Those of us who have been around forever often assume that everyone else has also, but it just ain’t so.

    I like the idea of having a “From the Archives” section — even if we would be shamelessly ripping off T&S. I particularly like the idea strictly limiting its content to posts written by yours truly. :)

    Out.

    Aaron B

  56. John, the fact that you don’t notice the sexism is just another artifact of your male privilege.

    :) (I’m kidding, mostly)

  57. Prudence McPrude says:

    This place is as sinful as it ever was, and is surely ripe for destruction. I’m a bit surprised it hasn’t been lanced already, as the cancerous boil on God’s green Earth that it is. No one knows the Lord’s timetable, of course, and Vengeance is certainly His, but if He ever wants to use this faithful servant as a blunt instrument in his hands to wreak fiery, righteous punishment upon the wicked bloggernaclites, He has my email address. I anxiously await His instructions.

  58. Kristine, I understand you were kidding but I am aware of that argument. Still, I don’t think it applies to, at the very least, BCC, does it? Can BCC conceivably be considered dominated by male sexists?

  59. John, there’s no question that the discussions at T&S and BCC are dominated by men. All of them. Whether or not the men are sexist a@@holes is a matter open to debate. Most likely, they don’t see themselves that way — who would? No, no one’s chomping on a cigar, wearing a Boss Hogg suit, slapping a stripper on the ass while commenting. But we all do a pretty poor job of being welcoming to women and accepting female modes of communication as being of equal worth. FMH is the exception.

    Was this person’s comment a valid observation? Valid enough for people to look at themselves and make some changes, yes.

  60. See, the Boss Hogg caricature is exactly why few men would entertain the thought that they might be sexist. I’d rather be slapped on the butt than forced to conform to paternalistic expectations of what a woman’s role should be, no matter how benevolently and beautifully expressed.

    Anyway, I appreciate Steve addressing this issue respectfully. It’s an issue I’ve discussed at great length with others, and I’m not sure what the answer is. Susan M. may be onto something though…

  61. Amen ECS — although hopefully no one is actually requiring you to make that particular choice…

  62. Not anymore :)

  63. Kevin Barney says:

    I too would like an occasional “from the archives.” I’m a relative neophyte, and occasionally someone will post on a very old thread that bumps it up in the recent comments list, so I’ll take a look. There is some wonderful stuff in the dustbin of past threads. (Just to name one example I enjoyed, there was the South Park stone in the hat thread. I had no idea that existed until someone bumped it up.)

  64. Mark IV,

    Must you mock me with the truth, you sexist a@…

    ;)

    Sorry, couldn’t resist, either. ;)

  65. 62 — BCC’s paternalistic expectations are neither benevolent nor beautifully expressed. The rest is all true.

  66. I was going to write on the subject … but I think we have really entered into the Bloggernacle’s period of group blogs. They seem to be everywhere. I meant to count them up … I just haven’t gotten around to it.

    If there is really any kind of BCC/T&S war, I think BCC is winning. Not that I don’t want to see what T&S is up to … but I felt the loss of two women bloggers at once was symptomatic of something wrong over there.

    I don’t think the ‘Nacle is “boringer.” There are some topics that have been kicked to death so badly that I groan to see them. But I’ve also seen some great posts, maybe even some of the best ever. Mogget’s posts on Job were so good — for the first time ever I bothered to paste and copy a series of ‘Nacle posts into a single document and print it out for outside-the-’Nacle reading. Made for 39 pages of great subway pondering.

    I think the ‘Nacle growing bigger and bigger is a good thing. Even if certain ‘Nacle hierarchies become more and more entrenched, the growth and addition of new bloggers helps to counteract the problems that arise from that sort of thing.

    Right now the aggregators are artificially hierarchical and seem to be designed in a way that requires too much manual maintenance. Too much deadwood. I’d like to see aggregators that allowed people to register their blogs and that somehow used RSS feeds to measure how long a blog has been _inactive_. I’d love to see deadwood blogs migrate to a list of “inactive” or “defunct” blogs if they haven’t posted new material in a period of 30-60 days.

    Dave’s Mormon Inquiry is the “iron man” of the ‘Nacle. He consistently shows up and shows up and shows up and more importantly he stays relevant and cool-headed no matter what is happening.

    I’m sure I’ll think of more to say. I’ve been thinking about writing a post about my thoughts on the State of the ‘Nacle. Maybe this will be it. I don’t know.

  67. Dan, don’t count T&S out. Margaret Young is a brilliant writer. Hopefully she will post there frequently.

  68. m&m, me, Paula, annegb, at least four women posted on the Bush thread, I think. =) Nothing to add but that.

  69. I think it’s disappointing that there aren’t long threads anymore about Signature Books.

    I think that it’s worth noting that it was almost exactly two years ago that we first heard (from T&S’s very own Greg Call) about Lou Midgely’s unannounced visit to Lighthouse ministries to rudely interrupt George Smith having fondue with the Tanners.

    It was almost two years ago that a few T&S permabloggers tried to increase the effectiveness of the insults they directed at me by playing tag team. It was on Nate’s brilliant (seriously) post on his wife’s underwear, entitled, “My only real regret“. After repeated attempts at collaboration showed them unequal to their ambition, they opted simply to ban me.

  70. Molly Bennion says:

    I don’t find BCC particularly sexist but “why fewer women?” reminds me of one of my admittedly narrow observations teaching gospel doctrine and relief society for many years. It’s seemed to me that fewer women are interested in intellectual banter (even if they are interested in the intellectual issues) and more women express some fear of conflicting ideas either for what those ideas might do to their thinking or, in the case of the banter in which many BCCers excel, for creating possible bad feelings between conversants. Especially women lifers. Example: 2 bright male grad students approached me after a Gospel Doctrine class to say they had been upset by my teaching Joseph Smith put his head in the hat, etc. so they researched it and discovered it was correct. We became good friends who could even argue and banter about scores of controversies. Women faced with similar information too often run to the RS President and the Bishop and demand I be released immediately for straying from the manual. They virtually never confront me. The women who do like my classes, which beg for honest and lively debate, frequently say nothing in class and then tell me afterwards that they love my approach. Fewer women engage directly over questions close to the soul (no doubt for a host of reasons) and very, very few banter. BCC is refreshingly direct and delightfully jestful.
    Only one piece of the puzzle and not designed to tarnish my feminist credentials.

  71. I agree with the comments about the community. In the good old days, comment threads included a lot of familiar faces. A thread would have comments from Nate and Kristine, Clark and Bob, Lyle and Matt and Grasshopper and Ryan Bell and Julie and DMI Dave, and it was more or less like everyone knew each other. One change has been that the community has grown, and that original community members have dispersed or disappeared. New entrants are around, and sometimes are great. But sometimes they’re not, and when they’re not, it’s harder to have the same conversations. In particular, the shared history and trust and community aren’t there with newcomers, and this makes discussion more difficult sometimes.

    I can discuss a difficult or controversial issue with someone who’s been around a while — John Fowles or Ryan Bell or Clark or Aaron or Bob or Melissa — and even if we disagree strongly on that issue, we’ve got years of comment interaction, friendship, understanding that we’re all part of the community. It’s not as safe or easy to do so without that history. Obviously, history isn’t everything. On the other hand, it’s so much easier with new and unfamiliar voices to make negative assumptions and be less tolerant of opposing views.

    Hmm, what else has changed?

    BCC has gotten a whole lot better. The BCC-Dialogue alliance has been an unqualified success. Kudos to BCC for making that work.

    BCC has changed a _lot_ in membership. Despite the terrible blow of losing its cherished, beloved, practically worshipped co-founder, it managed to stay afloat during the dark times. The infusion of new blood has been one of the great success stories of the bloggernacle.

    Blogs have fragmented. Two years ago, there were a few places to talk, and they attracted a diverse audience since there were few alternative fora. Today, bloggernacle blogs exist for iron-rodders, feminists, liahonas, orthodox Mormons, halfway-Damu types, and all sorts of other variations. In some respects, this is really good. Different communities build around different blogs. In other respects, I miss the greater interaction that (sometimes) existed under the old model.

    Sometimes I look at an old post at T&S, and see the interaction in the comments, and it seems better, friendlier, more sincere. And I smile sadly, and wish we had more of that now. I didn’t realize then how good we had it.

  72. Halfway-Damu types?

    I would love to see a list with definitions of all the classifications.

  73. To my list of sadly missed BCC-womyn, let me add Karen. Apparently, she’s off saving the world in the Middle East. The rest of us are left to pursue mundane, unimportant things (= blogging).

  74. If the “bloggernacle” is really that concerned about creating a welcoming space for people to participate in discussions, much more time and energy would have to be devoted to enforcing neutral community norms that participants would accept as being part of the bloggernacle. No one wants to do this because: (1) it’s difficult, not to mention pretentious and self-important, to identify bloggernacle community norms that most people would accept, (2) settling conflicts over alleged infractions of norms would be tedious, and(3) no one cares -that- much.

    Here’s one example of neutral community norms – in U.S. society punching someone in the face to resolve personal conflict is illegal. We have constructed an entire judicial system to define and adjudicate assault and battery crimes.

    A few blog comments directed at me _feel_ like a punch in the face, but there’s no recourse for me except to appeal to someone’s sense of propriety. And since each of us has a different sense of propriety, you risk being laughed at or ignored.

    All I’m saying in this very long winded comment, is that I’m not sure it’s particularly helpful to characterize women’s non-participation on the some of the bigger blogs as a reaction to male domination of the conversation. When we characterize things as “female” and “male” approaches to conversation, it’s easier to call someone a sexist or to say that women are weak and timid and unintellectual, instead of looking at the norms and patterns of the conversations and deciding if, say, insults and personal attacks should be tolerated in the community.

  75. Crystal, # 64.

    LOL! And you’re right, I’m often an ass, occasionally even a sexist one. But at least I’m irresistable. Actually, based on your # 64 and my # 53, we can conclude with absolute, metaphysical, take-it-to-the-bank certainty that we are both irresistable. The guy who wrote I’m OK, You’re OK made millions. We ought to collaborate and co-author a book called I’m Irresistable, You’re Irresistable. It’s much better to be irresistable than merely OK, so I’m sure we would have a bestseller. We could go around together to all the lame-o shows like Dr. Phil and Oprah, and a year from now we will be rolling in lucre. Deal?

    See you on the gravy train!

  76. ECS,

    If I’m understanding you, your objections are not so much to something that would be described as sexist. Rather, you are reacting to plain old rudeness.

  77. ECS The bloggernacle has become very intolerant. All that is welcome is very lukewarm “me, too” comments. Orthodoxy is taboo. Bloggers and posters who have orthodox LDS beliefs must be very circumspect about posting them. On the other hand we must be terribly inclusive of those who have a burr under their saddle about some aspect of LDS belief, life, and leadership. Plenty of sympathy is required. Anything else is hateful, repressive blah blah blah….

  78. Steve Evans says:

    George: “Orthodoxy is taboo.”

    I disagree. First, I think you’d have a tough time showing what constitutes orthodoxy. Second, I think that an honest review of the posts at BCC will show that we are not very unorthodox at all. Now it is important to distinguish between orthodoxy and conservatism — I would probably agree that BCC is not a conservative blog. But orthodoxy? I think you have a tougher fight there. Usually, people complain about the repression of the orthodox only when their own social structure is threatened. Perhaps BCC doesn’t make you feel socially comfortable. But in every meaningful doctrinal sense we’re spot on, and I believe you’ll have a tough time demonstrating otherwise.

    Now if your comment was directed at T&S, then I totally agree with you.

  79. ECS: “A few blog comments directed at me _feel_ like a punch in the face”

    Sure they do — but at the end of the day, they’re still just words. Sticks and stones, as they say. There is a judicial system in place for physical attacks, but quite rightly there’s no punitive system for verbal jabs and snipes. If I’m reading your comment right, you’re by implication suggesting that there be some sort of bloggernacle judiciary code, complete with tribunals. That’s not just unworkable, that’s unwise, because we are (as Mark IV said) just talking about rudeness.

    A much better approach would be for people to simply take civility seriously, as JNS (and several others, yourself included) indicated here. A periodic reminder of our hope “to become more civil, more charitable, and more Christ-like in our online interactions” strikes me as the real solution.

  80. georgeD:

    Plenty of sympathy is required.

    Yes, it is. Why is that a bad thing? How is that any different from real life?

  81. That’s a great idea. I would also add to that the exhortion that we try to be more Christlike in our mental judgements of who is a heavyweight and who is a lightweight, of who is worth a careful reading, and whom we may dismiss at first glance. I think we all might get a lot more out of the bloggernacle if we realize and remember that we’re speaking with future gods. =)

  82. GeorgeD: ECS The bloggernacle has become very intolerant. All that is welcome is very lukewarm “me, too” comments. Orthodoxy is taboo. Bloggers and posters who have orthodox LDS beliefs must be very circumspect about posting them

    I emphatically disagree. As someone who has posted a fair number of unorthodox comments, I’ve generally found that “orthodox” types are engaging and willing to discuss the issues on their merits. I believe that it is more often the case that liberal, unorthodox types behave in heavy-handed, judgmental ways that show contempt for other people’s points of views. The most recent example of this is JDC’s post on Bush, in which the author pretends to be an arbiter of who is and who is not a “man of God” based on whether they advance one of several possible mainstream positions on the current wars. Another is this post on Joseph Smith, which I believe shows contempt for a standard Mormon view.

    In short, I’ve found that orthodox Mormons are a whole lot more tolerant of liberal Mormons than vice versa, though liberal Mormons tend to flatter themselves with the fantasy that they’re more tolerant based mostly on how willing they are to agree with DAMU types that orthodoxy is the problem.

    Regarding rudeness: Most of the time when this comes up, I simply role my eyes. Everyone knows that I’ve had a lot of people complain that I’m rude. It’s worth noting that a surprisingly large fraction of these complaints come from people who are invariably rude themselves, and who are simply unhappy with my rude responses. To draw on an example from the preceding paragraph: Given the approach that JDC took to his Bush post, he’s not really in any place to complain that it got rude reactions. Basically, you can’t pick a fight with someone and then complains that he hit you. Here’s a basic moral maxim to live by: if you’ve got a special aversion to being treated rudely, then don’t be rude to others.

  83. 81 is directed to 79.

  84. Perhaps, even, there are more women posting than some of us realize, simply because we tend to dismiss many women’s posts without much consideration.

  85. Tatiana, interesting thesis. It brings to mind that I’ve seen people mistake Kaimi for a chick on more than one occasion.

  86. I didn’t realize ECS was Elizabeth.

  87. GeorgeD, I just realized that you and I are in emphatic agreement and not emphatic disagreement.

    Susan M, you mean Elisabeth, right? Does that surprise you?

  88. Right. And no, it didn’t, I just for some reason assume anyone using only initials is a male.

  89. Steve – I disagree. The sticks and stones theory isn’t valid in practice. Look at any number of instances where mere name calling (or, recently, an irreverent cartoon of Mohammed the prophet) caused widespread violence. And the judicial system _does_ in fact compensate those who have been harmed by name calling. Not to mention the U.S. Supreme Court’s “fighting words” doctrine, which mitigates the legal sanctions for people who respond violently to personal insults.

    Similarly, Canada has a particularly interesting statute criminalizing “hate speech”.

    Public incitement of hatred (s. 319[1]). Every one who, by communicating statements in a public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of [a crime]. — s. 319[1], Criminal Code of Canada

    I’m not saying the Mormon blogs in the bloggernacle should all get together and establish a United Federation of Blogs dedicated to championing the values of liberty, equality, peace, and cooperation. The blogs aren’t at all important in the grand scheme of things. What I’m saying is that whenever we ask questions about the diversity of experience and participation on the blogs, it’s more helpful to think along the lines of general norms first, rather than immediately categorize them as male or female.

  90. Steve Evans says:

    ECS, hate speech, fighting words (which BTW is much more than mere insult) and language not protected by the 1st Amendment I’m sure we all would agree aren’t acceptable in the Bloggernacle. But that’s not what we’re dealing with here on our threads. As for the reaction of the muslim community to the cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, are you saying that it’s the cartoon that is the cause of the violence? I am not so sure.

    I completely agree with your last sentence.

  91. Steve Evans says:

    p.s. 2,000,000 bonus points for using the Criminal Code of Canada.

  92. Steve: yes, of course. I was responding to your sticks and stones comment by illustrating the power of words (and pictures) – not justifying violence.

    DKL, what you say in comment #82 may be true. Orthodox Mormons may be much more honest and direct than liberal Mormons. However, it’s not convincing to justify your own rudeness with the rudeness of other people. You have a choice whether to respond rudely to people who treat you rudely. And you consistently choose to respond to rudeness with rudeness – typically escalating the rudeness and contention – and drawing attention away from the substantive argument to yourself and your own righteous indignation.

    You know you could still make your points and share your brilliant insights with us without being rude. For a good tutorial on how to do this, read Kevin Barney or Russell Arben Fox.

  93. #76: Mark IV, yeah, I think that’s the gist of it. :)

    I was getting all philosophical at Target this morning after I wrote that comment about “neutral community norms” and remembering part of a book I read called “A Theory of Justice”. I was thinking if all of us could get together in a blogworld pre-existence, what kinds of rules would we make for ourselves in supporting our interaction on the blogs? In this blogworld pre-existence, we wouldn’t know whether or not we would be reincarnated in the real world as a woman, a man, an inactive member, a convert, a secret porn addict, anorexic, etc., but we’d have to come up with rules of engagement that would give everyone the same advantage. It’s a pretty useless exercise given that we’re content to participate in the Mormon blog community in its current state of nature, but it kept me thinking while I searched up and down the aisles for the saltine crackers (they were way down on the bottom shelf).

  94. Aaron Brown says:

    Anyone who thinks BCC is a bastion of “orthodoxy” should revisit my last post.

    Aaron B

  95. Aaron Brown says:

    Er … I meant to say my next-to-last post of August 15.

    Aaron B

  96. DKL (65)

    “I’ve seen people mistake Kaimi for a chick on more than one occassion. . . ”

    I’m not sure why this is, either. But if it keeps up, I may have to consider giving up wearing mascara, strappy heels, chandelier earrings, and maybe even my favorite old comfy denim skirt.

    GeorgeD,

    Your mockery of the idea of sympathy for opposing viewpoints is unsurprising. You’ve stated (and demonstrated) your own contrary approach on multiple occassions: You’re Elijah, and anyone who disagrees with you is a priest of Baal.

    (Though if I’ve got to be a player in that drama, can’t I at least be Jezebel?)

    Steve,

    The civility pledge was a good step. So was Jim’s civility post. You’re right, I think, that occassional reminders are likely to be helpful.

  97. Steve Evans says:

    ECS, I think that some of us were unrighteous in the blogworld preexistence. Their punishment: BCC permabloghood.

  98. D. Fletcher says:

    So, people who used to be in charge think that things were better wayback when, and people who are in charge now think things are better now. Conservatives think they’re the most hated, and really hate how liberals treat them, and vice versa.

    I guess the answer to the original question here, what has changed? is a resounding, nothing.

  99. Sheesh, is this thread really turning into a YADOD — Yet Another Discussion of DKL? Hasn’t every BCC thread from the past 2 weeks been YADODified? Don’t we have anything else to talk about? SSM? Abortion? Women-and-priesthood?

    The poor bloggernackers are lamenting to their therapists. “I don’t know what’s going on. I tried to start an inflammatory discussion of how women-and-priesthood issues relate to same-sex marriage. And within 50 comments, the discussion was all about whether DKL was a sexist jerk, or merely a jerk. Yet another promising bloggernacle thread, gone to YADOD. I don’t understand what I’m doing wrong . . .”

    Well, if this thread is going YADOD, then let me at least kick it off right:

    DKL is a rat bastard.

  100. D. Fletcher says:

    HeHe

  101. Steve Evans says:

    Kaimi, you’re not helping. But you’re right, and I don’t particularly like it either. DKL, I don’t mind — talking about DKL ALL THE TIME? No. That, I do mind.

  102. D. Fletcher says:

    There’s always a DKL. Remember Lyle? Whatever happened to him?

  103. D., last I heard Lyle went to Iraq. No, really.

  104. D. Fletcher says:

    Really? Good for him. (I mean, if it was voluntary.)

  105. D. Fletcher says:

    I kept this post by Dan Burke over at T&S, because I thought it might come in handy every so often.

    This is a bit of a digression, but a previous thread analyzed the nature of boards and blogs, and found a pattern of initial enthusiasm followed by contention, followed by dissolution.

    Researchers who study the social structure of computer-mediated communication (CMC) have noted that CMC discussions appear to evolve through one of a discrete set of predictable life-cycle progressions. Most start with a period of initial growth and enthusiasm, where participants join the forum and post actively. A very few discussions achieve an equilibrium of arrivals and departures that sustains them in a steady state over a long period. More often, they fall into decline; some slowly collapse in on themselves, like a white dwarf or neutron star, leaving only the charred husk of their former vibrant community. Others vanish like supernovas in the fiery violence of flame wars.

    I will leave the metaphor at that, although if one thinks hard enough, there is probably some CMC parallel to the development of black holes.

    What causes the eventual demise of most — perhaps ultimately all — CMC discussion fora? A branch of political economics, called public choice theory, offers at least one predictive model, a social analog to the theory of “lemons markets” in goods. Public choice theory predicts that volunteer organizations, such as professional societies, will tend to be dominated by individuals from the fringe of the organization, or by marginal practitioners of the profession. Why? Time is a scarce resource, and volunteerism is typically a time-intensive activity. The tangible rewards are typically quite modest; sometimes amounting only to slight social or reputational benefit. Economic man, as envisioned by economists — what my wife has dubbed the Òmaximal utility rationalizer— will tend to use that scarce resource so as to capture the greatest value. The time used volunteering could be used to generate income, or to enjoy more relaxing leisure activities.

    This implies that those most capable of contributing to the organization are likely to use those high-value skills in other, more rewarding ways. It also implies that those most active in the organization will be individuals from the fringe, for whom the visibility offered by participation advances their personal agendas, or is a reward in itself. Alternatively, those most active may be individuals of marginal skill, whose opportunities to use the volunteer time more profitably are limited.

    CMC discussions display many of the same characteristics as volunteer organizations — they are time and labor intensive, and the rewards for participation are fairly modest. The time spent on CMC conversations could be used for more tangible pay-offs; to generate income, or secure tenure, or raise children, or go fishing, or many other high-value activities. Over time, the most interesting and skilled participants in a CMC forum will tend to put their skill toward those other activities. Those who remain active are increasingly those who literally have nothing better to do with their time. The lack of interesting posts discourages yet others from participating, and the forum enters a death spiral until it eventually fades away.

    Alternatively, it may become dominated by crackpots and trolls looking for recognition or advancing marginal agendas. The collision of these volatile participants produces flame wars that swamp the forum signal with noise, driving the few remaining participants away. A good moderator can stave these outcomes off for awhile, but often they occur despite a moderator’s best efforts.

    This model poses a number of difficult questions — first, what are those of us who are blogging, especially those who are blogging a lot, doing here? Second, are blog participants or their interactions in any way different from those in previous CMC media, such that we might expect blog life-cycle to be different? Does the model predict the ultimate fate of Times and Seasons, or can an onymous group of friends escape the predicted demise?

  106. It’s an interesting question, D.

    The problem with that analysis is that it would suggest that Gordon B. Hinckley (for example) is merely wasting his time in a volunteer organization (the church) because he has nothing better to do.

    If we think that the volunteer organization itself has value — for example, the church, as viewed by President Hinckley — then that value is taken into account and weighed against other potential uses of time. Is running the church a better use of time than going fishing? According to Dan Burk’s analysis, probably not — but I have to suspect that most church leaders would disagree.

    Ditto for blogging. Is blogging sometimes a waste of time? Sure it is. But if we believe that blogging itself can be a valuable activity, then we can choose to rationally weigh that value against the value of other things we may be doing.

  107. D. Fletcher says:

    President Hinckley isn’t a volunteer.

    And I’m not sure the Church itself may be used as an example, although certainly extremists are attracted to religion.

    I don’t think blogging is a total waste of time, obviously, or I wouldn’t have started my own blog.

    But I do think the dynamic of initial enthusiasm, contention, and implosion does happen a lot, to many organizations, which may include group blogs.

  108. Please allow me to change the subject from DKL to me,
    I “signed” JNS’s pledge wayback when, so I don’t have a moral leg to stand on for my previous post. It was a bit of a random pot-shot spurred by me being particularly angry about something (about which I am still fairly angry). I need counselling, needless to say. I apologize for being solely responsible for all the ill will in the bloggernacle for at least the past week. Please forgive me.

    DKL,
    I don’t understand you. I don’t recall when I disparaged the outrageous tactics of you or others (aside from the one time I got mad at Matt). Aside from that, I attempted to treat you and the others who disagreed with me with respect. While I disagreed with you, I don’t feel like I denied you a right to speak nor did I attempt to conceal the evidence that you felt relevant. I was much more conciliatory in the comments than I was in the piece partially because I did understand my over-the-topness in the piece itself. I am beginning to feel like I have slighted you in some manner that I am unaware of. If you have a particular bone to pick with me, please email me and let me know what it is. Otherwise, please let it go.

  109. I agree with the point quoted in D’s comment that people who spend a lot of time on the blogs may be total losers, but you also have to understand that much of the interaction on the Mormon blogs is among people who have established relationships with each other (even losers need friends). For better or for worse, the Mormon blogs do represent a community (dysfunctional though it may be), and participation here can be rewarding and meaningful. Along with incredibly aggravating, and a huge, HUGE waste of time.

  110. Eric Russell says:

    What’s Lyle doing in Iraq? Is he a JAG?

  111. Eric, I am not sure if he actually went. I thought he was in the army reserves. But knowing Lyle, he could be a jihadist just as easily.

  112. If you’re interested in avoiding threads being about me, then concentrate on the people who make them about me–as luck would have it, that is not me.

  113. Gee, Steve. What a wild thing to say about Lyle. But then again, he (a rather conservative chap) did admit to doing some volunteer work for the ACLU…

    Actually, I miss his presence around here–hope he’s doing well.

  114. Steve Evans says:

    Jack, I have good reason to think he was going to Iraq — if I recall correctly, he told us so himself. My heart goeth with him — I miss that guy, sometimes.

  115. 96 Kaimi, Don’t you have your own blog? Don’t you think that someone may find your comment a little obscure since my post that provoked it was never posted here? (Or on your blog?) Don’t you find your reading of my post to be somewhat disingenuous? (to say the least)

    But I’ll agree with DKL your name does sound a bit like a mahu.

  116. Steve Evans says:

    GeorgeD, please try to stay on the post’s topic.

  117. George,

    For reasons I can’t fathom, the good folks at BCC haven’t yet banned your sorry ass. Your repeated tantrums and repeated attacks on other commenters, such as at M* or at 9 Moons, are the reason we banned you long ago at T&S. Which is, as you know, the reason your comments aren’t on my blog. Thank God.

    Also, while I can’t speak for him, I should note that DKL did not (as you state) say that my name “sounds” gay — and I suspect that he has far better taste than to suggest that my name (or anyone else’s, really, except for maybe Boy George) “sounds” homosexual.

    (And what the hell does that mean, anyway — a name “sounds” gay? You really need to see a therapist, Elijah, if your anti-gay complex has you seeing homosexuality in the sound of someone’s name.)

  118. Steve,

    I too remember Lyle saying something about going to Iraq. I just didn’t think he was going as a jihadist. ;>)

  119. Lyle did not end up getting deployed to Iraq. He transferred from BYU Law School to Rutgers in preparation for it (a long story) but then it didn’t materialize. He works for a law firm in Philadelphia now.

  120. Lyle is a college friend. Please don’t diss him behind his back. He doesn’t participate in the bloggernacle anymore, but I do, so it would be a bummer to read disparaging remarks about him.

  121. Hey, I like GeorgeD. He reminds me of how it used to be in the good ole’ days–the days before the tough conservative commenters went soft. (except DKL of course)

  122. (a college friend of mine, that should be)

  123. John,

    Forgive me if my comments came across as “dissing.” I was really trying to be supportive of Lyle and in a fun way trying to imply that the “jihadist jab” may have been a little too wild for Lyle’s tastes. I don’t think Steve ment to be be mean spirited either as he (as I have) has stated that he misses Lyle.

    And, if you will, please pass that along to Lyle the next time you communicate with him–that we miss him around here. Thanks.

  124. I’ll disagree, Jack. I’ve crossed swords with pretty much every one of the strong conservatives of the good ol’ days — Matt Evans, Adam Greenwood, Ryan Bell, J. Max Wilson, Geoff B., Ms. Morality, Brent from We-Win-They-Lose, Lyle Stamps, and a dozen others.

    Only one has suggested that my name sounds mahu (Hawaiian for homosexual) — three guesses who.

    George D may advocate some of the same conservative beliefs as Matt and Adam and others. The difference is that the others have class.

    Can you imagine Adam Greenwood sneering that some opponent’s name “sounds” gay? Me neither. Adam is a gentleman and a class act, even when we disagree on the merits of an issue (which is often). Adam has told me often that he thinks that I’m wrong on an issue — sometimes forcefully — but he has never stooped to petty name-calling, even when we have disagreed vehemently. And it is absolutely inconceivable that Adam would make sexually-related smirks about me or any other opponent. The same goes for Matt, Geoff, Max Wilson, and pretty much every one of the old conservatives.

  125. Kaimi: Also, while I can’t speak for him, I should note that DKL did not (as you state) say that my name “sounds” gay — and I suspect that he has far better taste than to suggest that my name (or anyone else’s, really, except for maybe Boy George) “sounds” homosexual.

    Your suspicion is exactly correct. I was merely making a comment about a humorous confusion that I’ve observed 2 people have with your name. If I did not think that you found it humorous, too, I’d have refrained from making the joke. (Careful readers will note that my insults are generally of either an impersonal or a hyperbolically exaggerated character. I seldom go after people in a personal manner.)

  126. (I’m disagreeing with #121, not #123. I like Lyle as much as the next person, probably, and would be happy to see him participating more in the blogs.)

  127. I should note that at least once, a commenter has taken me to be a chick–a fact that amused me as well as several others who caught the mistake.

  128. Jon in Austin says:

    Just for the record, I thought Kaimi was a woman for at least a month when I first stumbled on T&S in January.

    I mean that in a youre-not-a-sexist-asshole-type compliment.

  129. A lot of the posts around the bloggernaccle ARE more scholarly. Unfortunately, that also means that a lot of them bore the heck out of a portion of the potential audience – and that’s fine, since lack of traffic doesn’t seem to be a problem. You have no responsibility to cater to any particular part of your audience. You blog about what is interesting to you, and if people are reading you, they are obviously interested and engaged. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    What I do think is unfortunate is that the people who are just discovering the bloggernaccle, the newer audience, won’t get an opportunity to go over the “beginner” stuff – the archive/top ten stuff that others have mentioned – because the bloggers are all sick of it.

    Perhaps there should be a Bloggernaccle newbie blog, where those who are new, or perhaps just those of us who are considerably dumber than the scholarly types can endlessly rehash the topics that bore the crap out of the other bloggers.

    Also, I agree with Susan M. Anytime a post title includes the word “judicial” or “legal analysis,” or ponders the constitutional ramifications of the Sermon on the Mount, economic models in Nephite culture, or translation problems that change the entire meaning of the gospel as we know it, etc., etc., etc. – I fall asleep almost instantly. Lesser intellect and all that.

  130. Kaimi,

    It seems to me that there’s a little less fight-picking going on on the part of the old-timers. Those who have been around for a while seem to have developed a more sibling-like relationship with their fellow bloggers–a love/hate kind of thing wherein you love the guy/gal even tho you may still hate his/her religious/cultural/social/political views.

    Or have I just become numb over the last couple of years?

  131. Sue,
    I really like the classic hits idea.

  132. Mark Butler says:

    I hope I won’t be a total loser for too long. (smile)

  133. Well I don’t feel entirely qualified to comment, as I have only been reading the bloggernacle stuff since May 2005 (not a 2004 old-timer), but from the almost year-and-a-half since I’ve been here, I’d say the bloggernacle has changed in the sense that it does feel a little more corporate and scholarly than it used to.

    When I started reading I was thrilled, exhilerated and excited to read ideas coming from church members! Wow! While the exhileration isn’t as there as much as it used to be, it’s still there, and I still find the fact that members of the church can get together and talk about stuff that you don’t usually hear in the halls of church is very meaningful and comforting to me. Thanks for being there.

  134. Jon,

    Thanks — I definitely take that as a compliment.

    Dave,

    Yeah, after 32 years of correcting teachers, ward members, random strangers, I’m pretty used to correcting gender misperceptions from people who’ve seen the name but haven’t met me. It sometimes draws a chuckle, sometimes a sigh. Really, it’s no less or more annoying than the many folks who mispronounce the name.

    If they’re still confused after they’ve met me, then they’ve got larger problems.

    (It is one reason why my official publications go under my full name, complete with middle name.)

    And yes, I understood your comment as intended. And after several hundred on- and off-blog interactions, I’ve kinda figured out your non-serious, over-the-top approach. (As you know, when I’m feeling like it, I reciprocate in kind — such as in the recent “who the f*** is DKL?” comments — but certainly with nowhere near the frequency you employ).

    Jack,

    Agreed — somehow, the old political discussions seemed less personally mean and vindictive than the new ones.

    Meems,

    Don’t be shy, you’re definitely an old timer. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed reading the nacle, and I hope it doesn’t get too scholarly for you.

    I blame it all on people like Jim F. and Kevin Barney and Rosalynde and all those damn ZDs, who keep pushing the nacle toward scholarly respectability.

    Fortunately, there are still folks around like Steve or me, who can serve to counter that trend.

  135. Steve,

    It’s interesting that you ask this right on the heels of your last post. Many of the same themes underlie the two, I think. How do we remember the nacle? I’ve had many a conversation with you about the good old days (I daresay our conversation of a few days ago, about the good old days, may be in some way related to this post).

    Have things changed? How do we remember? And what do we remember?

    I remember endless arguments with Matt Evans and Adam Greenwood about abortion and same-sex marriage. I remember the T&S sidebar with top-10 commenters, and the names that were on it for so long. You were on that list, and Lyle, and Bob Caswell, and cooper, and grasshopper — so many of the old timers, so few still around. I remember being just blown away by Kristine when she first showed up — weren’t we all? — as she single-handedly blazed the trail for feminist bloggernacking, in her own inimitable way. I remember the excitement as a few _real_ Mormon studies scholars began noticing the bloggernacle — the ugly 12Q with Armaund Mauss; the better reception for Claudia and Richard Bushman.

    I remember the excitement at realizing that a hundred different people — you and me and Greg Call and Julie Smith and Aaron Brown and Karen Hall and Russell the Grey Fox — were asking the same questions, thinking the same things. Blogging was a gateway for me to asking deeper questions and thinking about church issues more rigorously. My wife jokes that since I started blogging, I’ve been “getting in touch with my Mormon side.” It’s true.

    I remember friendships made and conversations enjoyed. Discussions with Melissa about feminism, with Nate about law and community, with Rosalynde about Bannergate, with Christian about Bannergate, with Geoff and with John Fowles about, well, Bannergate. I remember the energy and enthusiasm of those conversations, the discussions with many cherished friends who I’ve met blogging and who I probably wouldn’t have met any other way.

    The friendships are what last. Most of the time, at least. This isn’t to downplay the downside. Sometimes the pain lasts, sometimes the hurt lasts, sometimes trust and confidence can never be reestablished.

    But ideally, hopefully, the good lasts. We take the good from our interactions, the things that matter, and we remember the good, and we incorporate those memories into our lives.

    The bloggernacle can be rewarding, it can be meaningful, it can be wonderful. And those moments where it all comes together, those are worth the frustrations in dealing with trolls, the endless technological errors (some things never change), the comment moderation, the disagreements with co-bloggers and elsewhere-bloggers, and maybe even the wasted time, lost tenure, lost jobs, lost houses, and unemployment checks. (Okay, maybe not that last few.)

    Dan Burk’s quote above about volunteer organizations and wasting time is nice, but it’s also bullshit. Volunteer organizations are _life_. If a person doesn’t want to work his way up in the office from assistant-to-the-general-manager to assistant-general-manager because he’s busy at your local Elks Club or Boy Scouts or ACLU or Greenpeace, Dan Burk’s quote calls that a loss. And that’s bullshit. It’s not a loss, it’s just a reallocation of resources. Who’s to say that time spent doing volunteer work is less valuable than time spent at the office? Someone who doesn’t volunteer much, I’ll wager.

    Blogging isn’t wasted time; blogging is life. To some degree, it’s wasted time, but that’s only because life is also, to some degree, wasted time. Like any other activity — work, school, church, marriage, family, volunteer work, working out, whatever — blogging has moments of sublime wonder, and moments of sheer drudgery.

    How we view blogging is probably for many people closely related to how we view life. Do we remember the good or the bad? Ask a blogger what she chooses to remember, about Banner or about the good-old-days or about conversations and friendships and arguments past and present.

    This comment is already way too long, and I’m pretty much out of juice. Let me just end, like any good Mormon, with a testimony:

    There is too much good in the bloggernacle to simply dwell on the bad. There is friendship and knowledge and sincere (though imperfect) attempts to build a community, to comfort others, to develop friendships. There’s a rich and beautiful history — not without its bumps and bruises and the times it went off the tracks, but then that’s life, too. The friendships we make in the nacle can be real and strong; the ideas and knowledge we find can have a real impact on our lives; and as for me personally, my life is better because of the bloggernacle and the people I’ve met through it. The blogs, and the people I intneract with on them, have contributed pain and frustration and sorrow and annoyance at times, but I’ve gained so much more in friendship, support, understanding, knowledge, comfort, and growth. The net effect is unmistakably positive.

    Do we, should we, remember the good? Hell, yes.

  136. Wow, yesterday, for the first time in a very very long time, I did not go online. This wasn’t intended. It just happened. So I’m returning and responding to a comment from Steve that goes way back in this thread.

    No Steve, I’m not counting T&S out. I’m just impressed with what BCC: has put together over the past year or so and wondering a little about T&S and the state of its “hubdom”.

    I agree that Margaret Young is an excellent addition to T&S.

  137. Kaimi: Fortunately, there are still folks around like Steve or me, who can serve to counter that trend.

    Phew!

  138. Kevin Barney says:

    We used to have a gospel discussion group in our area, that met the evening of the fourth Sunday. For various reasons it disbanded. It was wonderful, and I really miss it. For me, the Bloggernacle is my substitute, a kind of constantly available gospel discussion group. I really need this; the interaction with smart yet faithful Mormons is like lifeblood to me. If all I had was the institutional church and the Ensign, my testimony would have shrivelled up a long time ago. But the vibrance of Mormon intellectual life–and the Bloggernacle is a huge part of that these days–keeps it fresh and healthy.

  139. I’ll agree with Kevin (#138): the Bloggernacle is the fertilizer that keeps the Mormon garden green for some of us who find regular church a little arid. [Add water and that metaphor comes together nicely.]

    I’ll agree with Kaimi (#135) in rejecting Burk’s analysis of the time allocation problem as applied to blogging. It bothered me for awhile because it was technically correct, but only if career success takes most of the weight in one’s personal utility function. If you’re the kind of person for whom a trip to the library seems like a waste of time, no doubt blogging seems that way too. But like they say, no one ever puts “I didn’t spend enough time at the office” on their tombstone.

    Danithew (#66), thanks.

  140. Steve Evans says:

    I’ll agree with Danithew about you, Dave. Your blogging with BCC was some of our finest moments.

  141. Taking the DMI Dave’s watering metaphor a bit further, I’d say that the gospel is like dehydrated water, and the ‘nacle is what you add to make it work.

  142. Steve Evans: [DMI Dave's] blogging with BCC was some of our finest moments.

    But you’re forgetting about all the awesome threads about me.

  143. D. Fletcher says:

    I posted that Dan Burke piece just to keep the dialogue going. I don’t necessarily think it means BCC or anything else is going *down.* It’s just food for thought.

    I did like BCC a few years ago, when Steve first mentioned he had started a blog and I didn’t know what a blog was.

    But there are really great posters today that weren’t posting then, like Ronan, Jonathan, and Kevin.

    And I miss great posts from Mathew, Christina, and all the others who are around less.

    So, I guess I liked the blog then, and I like it now.

    As for DKL, I’ve never had a problem with him, because he always speaks what seems to be the truth, even if it hurts. He’s smart, a good writer, and a blog is fortunate to have him as a troll instead of… some other posters I can think of.

    :)

  144. A periodic reminder of our hope “to become more civil, more charitable, and more Christ-like in our online interactions” strikes me as the real solution.

    I certainly need one once in a while. Thanks for the reminder!

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