Over time, for various reasons, the message boards at a druid site I help administer have become disparate and chaotic… we now have three… three is normally a good number in Druidry, but not always.
How we came to this pretty state is not unimportant, and relates to relationship… something itself of importance to Druidry. In holding a space open for a hurting member we effectively made that space untenable for others… folk grew tired of tirade and left, if not the organisation then at least the message space. We were right to act thus, but the damage was long lasting.
Holding the value of words written, rather than delete the old space we built anew… a new space. And so chaos emerged, a little Loki with a lamp, to show us that relationships depend upon the way they inter-relate one to the other. The new design was… okay. Fully integrated into the web site design, and anarchic… folk could add sections to the board, until of course it became unwieldy and impenetrable.
So now we have a third incarnation. We need not to make the same mistake again… if this is the new board then the old ones have to go. Ended. No longer accessible. And we can’t get it wrong this time, this board has to be the one – right for our needs, attractive to the user, simple to navigate and post into and read.
But so many folk now post to, and often solely to, Facebook. Wide open, mass readership, far more open than even a blog. Facebook, filled with tailored advertising and distraction, debates about dinner and cute kitten cartoons. And almost every response a soundbite. Is that a replacement for a closed community message board?
Asked today, by a druid friend in a Facebook post, to define deity, I responded directly and honestly. My comment mixed into the growing chain of replies which included jokers, atheists and speakers of other truths, and was lost in the noise, without response, challenge or continuation. Some of the other comments were excellent too, and some – in my opinion of course – not so much, and none of them were really followed up. Tomorrow, they’ll be lost in even more noise, the chat of the ever now.
The advantage of a closed community message board is perhaps that those messages that stir thoughts within you are still to be found tomorrow, when you’ve had time to sleep on them, time to consider more fully, time to respond fully, in awareness of a shared lexicon and a group zeitgeist. As more message boards go west in the determined face of the book, I miss some of the days long rambling conversations that I took part in.
So I hope we get this new message board right. And that we rebuild a space for deeper conversation. May the gods that be, agree.