image by Millicent Garenger, @millicentg on Instagram

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Omrane November 17, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Well, I’d argue that you see different miasfeatntions of the problem of pointlessness at different boards, which suggests to me that it has more to do with the general phenomenon of groupthink than anything that specific boards are doing or not doing with their memberships.And I agree that they’re workshop environments, and that most of the attempts should and will slip into oblivion. Nonetheless, across a number of boards, there seems to be an emphasis on How something is executed (the stuff you can teach, the stuff from which house styles develop) at the expense of What and Why, which you can’t teach, and which expose a much more personal, much less fixable problem (namely, um, you’ve got nothing to say). For example, every board has at least several friendly, avid posters who write quite poorly and yet never seem to get taken to task for the cumulative problem beneath the surface of their umpteenth poem about Robin At My Windowsill, or Poignant Moment With Uncle Fred: they’re hopelessly bad writers. The critter’s mantra of focusing on the particular work keeps the poster and the critter safely away from what’s obvious to any visitor to the site, or to anyone familiar with the previous six hundred poems posted by Good Old Whomever: the poem is dull because it’s the product of a dull mind. Apparently, however tough or gentle a board’s critting style may be, the Don’t Quit Your Day Job level of analysis is considered too brutal. So a politic this isn’t working and/or a few in-line suggestions are offered instead, and the good-natured squatter is off to pen next week’s Twilight Makes Me Think of Stuff.I don’t know what the solution is, really; different boards have tried different approaches, but they all have squatters, just as they all have wits who aren’t funny by any non-board standard. Maybe someone could launch an invitation-only board, and attempt to pilfer the better writers from other sites and (gasp) non-web venues, but I wonder how long it would be immune to groupthink. I dunno.


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