Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Idea for a possible regularly scheduled post

Anyone reading the comments at Monday Meet and Greet, specifically the part starting here, has already heard this idea.  But I want to make a main post about it so that everyone who has an opinion can weigh in without first looking through an unrelated thread.

The idea is this: Once a Week (I'm thinking Friday but that's subject to debate) we have a link post that links to the various deconstructions that have been updated since the last such post.

The reasons for this idea are multiple and at times conflicting.

One is that at least one person would like a return to the weekly links to Fred's deconstruction of Left Behind so there is a place to discuss it that isn't disqus based.  Generally when there's a problem those who speak up are outnumbered by those who don't, so even though only one person has said it doesn't mean that only one person would like it.

As a sort of side issue to this rather than a separate reason, Ana Mardoll's excellent deconstructions use the disqus comment system meaning that there could be people who really want to say something about those, but can't because they're not disqus users.  That would be sad.

A regular "Deconstructions around the Web" post could solve these problems.

A second reason is that this has been a fairly pro-deconstruction community.  Of the top of my head I can think of deconstructions by current or former members that cover, Left Behind, Left Behind: The Kids, Edge of Apocalypse, Soon, Babylon Rising, This Present Darkness, Narnia, Twilight, (possibly 50 Shades of Grey but I'd need to double check that one), and Disney Animation.  I'm sure I'm forgetting some.

That's only talking about writers.  We have even more people who enjoy reading them.

Having a weekly post linking to deconstructions around the web would help people keep track of them and possibly tell those who enjoy deconstructions about ones they had been unaware of.  Thus giving them more to enjoy on the internet.

A third reason is that a regularly scheduled post such as this would be a good thing for the blog at this point in time.  It doesn't require someone to write an entire article, it just requires someone to go to a list of links and see if there's a new post there.  If there are new posts, link to them, if there aren't don't.

It means that we can have a frame around which to build the blog.  These are the regular posts, these are the framework in which we insert the other posts.

A fourth reason is that, so far as I know, no one else is doing it.  Left Behind, Left Behind: The Kids, Edge of Apocalypse, Soon, and Babylon Rising are all very closely related works yet if one wants to keep track of the deconstructions of them it's a process of link hopping and guesswork.  The idea that someone who was interested in a Left Behind deconstruction might also be interested in a Twilight one makes a lot of sense, but there's no deconstruction index one can go to to find out that both things exist.


Now we get into the pros and cons:

On the upside it's a way to keep track of all the deconstructions out there.
It might hook people up with things they like that they'd otherwise be unaware of.
It might get worthy works more readers.
It's a regular post and could give a sense of stability in the tumultuous time of moving.
It gives people who want to comment on these things but can't a place where they can make their voices heard.
It's a relatively low effort thing: go to link, see if there is new post, if so link to it.  Not something that requires a lot of spoons.  It's something I could do when the depression index is as, "Can't get up off the floor."

On the downside we're talking about a non-submission based link post.  If we limit this only to those who are active participants in the Slacktiverse that means that we fail at the basic tasks of creating a useful deconstruction index and linking to things people don't already know about.

Some of the deconstructions that would most belong on such a list belong to people who left the community. Some amicably, some not so much.

Linking to people you don't like is sort of how the internet works.  (One of the first links here was from a community that doesn't like us.)  That's no big deal and part of the expected way of things.

Linking to people who don't like you is a bit of a more morally suspect thing.  Linking to someone and saying, "This is really good, you might want to take a look," when the person hates you is somewhat strange. As one commentator pointed out it's using them to pad out your post.

Is it right to link to [redacted] because people might find [redacted]'s deconstruction to be a good read and a worthwhile way to spend their time even though [redacted] really doesn't like us?  That's a question that needs to be answered because the alternative is to leave out [redacted]'s deconstruction even though, based on its merits, it definitely deserves to be mentioned.

Ok, so that was big flashing con one.

Con two is that it's a link thread.  Link threads are inherently diffuse because they link to a variety of different things and that can make it hard to carry on conversations.  If one person is talking about Left Behind, one person is talking about Twilight, and one person is talking about This Present Darkness then those three people are probably not talking to each other.

The entire point of this place is the community.  The entire point of this place is to facilitate people talking to each other.  And the above assumes that people are talking at all.  Sometimes in link threads no one says anything in the link thread, instead restricting conversation to taking place on the things linked to.

This is not to say that link threads can't generate conversation.  I've seen them do just that.  Pages of it.  But it is to say that they can utterly fail to do so.

There's more to say on this topic, but the entire point is to have a community discussion about it, and I have to go right now anyway.  (I wanted to get it out as soon as possible rather than save it and come back to it late in the afternoon.)


  1. So here are my thoughts.

    A. I like the overall idea. I can't comment at Patheos because there's some weirdness with pop-up ads plus the Disqus multi-page thing (my site has single-page comments). And I like the idea of people being able to talk on MY decons without having to wrestle with Disqus. So yay, idea.

    B. There is some overhead cost to it, though. Someone has to actually DO the roundups. So there's that.

    C. Re: Linking. I think it would be fine to email each deconer *once* and say "we will be including your links in the weekly link round-up, unless you prefer us not to". My guess is that 90% of most of the authors will appreciate the linkback and the 10% that won't just have to ping back a Thanks-But-No-Thanks.

    But that's just my view. As you say, linking to people online REGARDLESS of liking (either way) is pretty much internet de riguer, to my way of thinking.

    We could even include a boiler-plate at the bottom of each post, something like:

    Weekly Roundups reflect new deconstruction work viewed of interest to the Slacktiverse community. To be added or removed from the weekly roundups, please email the Slacktiverse administration at ...

  2. I'm so used to being logged in all the time that I tried to comment without logging in or switching to one of the options that doesn't require you to log in. Then something happened and the post was entirely lost, anyone have a similar problem? There might have been an error message but if there was it flashed too fast for me to read.

    Anyway, tech support aside, regarding B, I wasn't kidding when I said that I could compile such a post when I can't get myself off the floor. I'd prop my upper body up against the couch so that my hands could reach and my eyes could see where I store my laptop on the arm of the couch, and from that position of still-mostly-on-the-floor would be fully capable of going to multiple websites, seeing if they had new posts in a given category, and if they did linking to it in a blogger post.

    So I'm not too concerned about the work, I should be able to do it on even a bad day. Generally speaking the only way I'm too out of it to surf the internet is when I'm too out of it to be meaningfully awake. It takes less effort than eating or drinking in my experience.

    So, if people want such posts, I'm pretty sure I can make them, unless someone else wants the job.

    1. And on the tech support side of things, I just did the same thing and it sent me to the login page and didn't eat my post just like it was supposed to. Hopefully the error I had was a one off thing.

  3. I definitely agree with Ana on the third point. Going to a content generator with hat in hand every time they post something worthwhile is unreasonable. A single heads-up email should be sufficient. The decision has already been made, most scrupulously, to not link to people against their wishes in the sidebar. Featuring a person's work in a weekly post probably deserves at least as much courtesy.

    It'll probably be fine. Time passes. And from personal experience, even if an establishment has vexed me greatly in the past, an "Under new management" sign usually buys a fresh batch of tolerance.

  4. I agree that we should just send said disgruntled parties a polite "Would you mind if...?" email that indicates we would like to publish a link to their article without implying that they are still part of the community. I think the fact that we have physically and "emotionally" moved locations will help wipe the slate as well.

  5. As for the disjointed possible nature of the threads, I think that's okay. We might just want to put a note saying that discussion of any and all of these deconstructions is welcome. However, on the note of said people who weren't the happiest about us, we may want to indicate the issue about the comments in the email as well. We don't want people annoyed that people are commenting here rather than on their blog if they like to moderate their own blog comments or feel that it somehow takes away from their community. Obviously, that isn't an issue for Slacktivist or Ana, but others may have a problem with it.

  6. Since when have disjointed comment threads been a problem for any incarnation of Slacktivist/Slacktiverse? In fact, the idea of people finding unexpected connections between unrelated deconstructions excites me.


  7. Since when have disjointed comment threads been a problem for any incarnation of Slacktivist/Slacktiverse?

    Slacktivist? Never. Slacktiverse? When was the last time we had a lively discussion in the "This week in the Slacktiverse" thread?

  8. Not trying to kill conversion in this thread, but since the generally feeling seems to be, "Sure, lets do it, there's just some pitfalls we'd like to avoid." I think what I'm going to try to do is to create a new main post, hopefully by tomorrow, to focus everything in that direction so that the conversation is specifically on, "How do we do this right?"


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