Well, it’s been a year. The first post was on February 25th, 2011.
Here we are a year later.
I’ll talk a bit about what I intended, what I think worked, what I think didn’t, and wonder aloud what needs to change to make this place better.
The main thing that I wanted to do was create a place that was, if limited to one word, “comfortable”. I liked the idea of the same thing happening every week, week after week. I still very much like the idea of big essays on Monday, music on Wednesday, commercials on Saturday. It feels like the internet version of a hoodie taken right out of the dryer. (Your mileage may vary, of course.)
I am also still tickled by the “one word title” thing. Probably much more than I ought to be… but I am.
Since we started, I’ve added the whole “asking about the weekend” thing on Fridays (and dropped the Friday night bottle of wine thing) and am reconsidering the whole “recommendation on Tuesday” thing given that it’s so very close to Monday’s big essays (and the background for most recommendations require an essay about the size of a Monday essay)… and so I may move recommendations to Thursdays. We’ve also started the Bookclub (which, at this point, I consider a rousing success) and, after that, maybe we could do a bookclub with an actual book, maybe. (We’ll see, of course. No hurry. No pressure.)
The stuff that didn’t work, I find, is discussions of various movies. I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t talk about them the way that I would *WANT* to talk about them. (Some paralysis may come from the fact that one of the first movies I’d want to post about and dissect would be Fight Club.) I wrote an essay about Captain America, for example, but it was *WAY* political. I rewrote it to take the worst of the politics out, and it became an essay that merely complained for four paragraphs. “Why would someone want to read four paragraphs of you complaining?”, I asked myself and then deleted it. Talking about some of my favorite movies from the past would involve stuff like Religion (Fearless… the Jeff Bridges movie, not the Jet Li movie), Politics (Fearless, the Jet Li movie, not the Jeff Bridges movie), or Philosophy (Fearless, the Taylor Swift album… no, I’m just kidding, The Fisher King). (Now, yeah, I know that Philosophy is one of the main subjects always bubbling under the surface for anything we talk about… at the very least aesthetics.)
Which brings me to the Philosophy of the blog in general… the “no politics, no religion, no philosophy” thing was intended to actually open up conversations… allowing people who may have seen themselves as enemies in the one place come here and, I dunno, maybe see that they’re just rivals or something. I don’t know how successful it’s been at that. It feels like it’s been more successful at getting people not talking than at getting them talking. (Then again, maybe it’s monumental hubris in the first place to even make the attempt.) So part of me wonders if we shouldn’t lighten that part up… I mean, we can’t talk about Captain America without talking about what happened in WWII and what national narratives mean (part of my essay talked about what a movie from 2070 that took place around 9/11 might look like). Is it better to just not talk about Captain America at all? Well, that’s what I did… and I don’t know if that was the right response.
In any case, I couldn’t possibly be happier about the last year and couldn’t be more excited about the year to come.
Not that I have any big plans, or anything. (Maybe I’ll move recommendations to Thursday or something.)
Thank all of you all for coming along for the ride. (Write a guest post!)
For what it’s worth, I think Mindless Diversions is a delight just the way it is. My only lament is that I am not in any way a gamer, and so I have little to contribute to many of the discussions. I would loooooooo0ve for there to be more movie posts, just because I am (or was, pre-Critter) a huge movie fan and would be able to participate more. But that’s just me.
Also, if you’re soliciting advice, I don’t think you need to make much of a change to the site’s philosophy. If you think the “no religion, no politics, no Great Pumpkin” rule is getting in the way, then soften it. But Lord knows there are plenty of spaces hereabouts for those topics, and I think it’s a boon to have one explicitly free of them.
I was just about to write a response to this post, and I realized Russell just said everything I was going to say. I’m of exactly the same mindset – right down to the not being a gamer.
Congrats to you – and Pat as well – on the anniversary. This is by far the funnest of all the cites, townships and municipalities that make up the League.
I’m not a gamer either 🙁
I’ve been lurking around the league since October, but this is the only place I’m truly comfortable commenting. I’m glad it exists. Thanks, JB 🙂
This might be the highest compliment this blog has ever received.
Thank you, Mary.
Your presence embiggens this site.
This blog is awesome and I don’t think you need to change a thing. But if you’re inclined to, you could certainly relax the no religion/politics rule — people know this isn’t the place for a flame war, and anyway you’re around enough that you can always jump in if you see a conversation going where you don’t want it to go.
And I do like the regular schedule — if I’m ever playing anything that I feel like talking about, I know just where to comment and when (except that if I have something to say about a game on Wednesday, I have to make the agonizing decision of whether to comment in the prior Saturday thread or wait for the next one).
Until I graduate, I can only read blogs that don’t have politics, religion, or philosophy in them. Not that I would tell you how to live… wait, no I do that all the time.
I’ve so enjoyed reading these posts this year.
I credit Mindless Diversions with getting me to resume RPG’ing. I love the “no politics, no religion” rule here — I leave those bugaboos behind when I come here; this is a place for fun and enjoyment.
You should deconstruct Captain America on the front page. Politics are OK there.
I’ve loved M.D. almost since the start (somehow I missed the first couple of weeks, :sadface:).
I agree with Burt, if you want to do discuss where politics or religion cross with otherwise mindless diversions – take it to the front page, it’s not like geeky stuff is verboten there.
Congratulations for a mindlessly diverting year!
If the politics proscription is feeling like a constraint to you, here are two things you could think about:
1) As Burt suggested put the more political stuff on the main page.
2) Loosen your prohibition to something more like the semi-ban on politics that Less Wrong has. Which is: 1) overly poltiical content is off-topic. 2) If you need to dip into politics don’t do it unless you absolutely need to to make your point. That goes double for contemprary politics. You’d probably have to lean heavier on the moderation on the grey-area posts but I think it could work.
>>part of my essay talked about what a movie from 2070 that took place around 9/11 might look like.
Prolly the same as the Titanic musical.
Thank all of you. I don’t really intend to change how I do things at all, really.
I like the whole “no religion, no politics” thing rule for myself. I do think I will relax a bit for the comments (or guest posts, why not) and allow conversations to take place if they’re inclined to take place.
The main rule I’ll have, however, is no flames *WHATSOEVER* related to those things. Disagree if you must (because you will) but disagree with the other person as if they were your cousin and you were at the dinner table at gramma’s.
In a nice family. Not a drinky/hitty one.
Jaybird, I love the site as it is and congrats on a year.
If you are looking to do something more political, you could do it a little like you do for spoilers. Hide it and let people make the choice.
Still, I am fine as it is right now.
A couple of thoughts:
I want to read the Captain America post. If you’re writing stuff and then deconstructing it to fit here, I say you do like Burt and Plinko sez and post it on the front page. The front page could do with the occasional “thing to argue about that is based on something other than real-world politics that get people killed”, anyway. If you can’t do that, next time you feel like deleting something goddamn it email it to me first.
I need to blog more. My RSI has been… problematic… and it’s keeping me from sitting down and writing like I write when I write posts, but it’s not problematic enough to keep me away from the combox where I probably ought not to be because it’s making the RSI worse. I’m not sure what to do about that… voice recognition software?
Hm. Podcasts? Is that terrifying?
I’d listen to a podcast.
I like the D6 Generation. Great general gaming podcast and I have learned quite a bit about many games.
You haven’t heard my voice yet.
This may change your mind. I don’t have Sam Shepherd’s gravelly drawl.
A podcast would be amazing.
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