[Ansteorra] How about a forum?

Quill gray.quill at gmail.com
Sat Mar 29 02:55:07 PDT 2008

Perhaps a flash of brilliance, perhaps I simply betray my ignorance but...

Lately my inbox has been getting more and more inundated with messages from
the Ansteorran Mailing List. This doesn't surprise me; it's a big beautiful
kingdom whose people have much to say.

Unfortunately I've found myself deleting a lot of your words without
bothering to read them lately (and I know I'm not the only one) because I
just don't have the time to give every person's words their due. It's a sad
thing, and every time it happens I shudder to think I may have missed
something important.

And that's not the only reason. Particularly when long conversations are
carried out on the same topic, as ideas and information are tossed back and
forth, I find the messages get harder and harder to follow. It seems a lot
of people don't know how to clean up their messages, how to delete the
automatically forwarded record of all comments prior to their own, which
makes for long, bulky emails that sometimes get misinterpreted when they
have to be processed through two email providers and whatever the ansteorran
list is run through. The end result is a huge chain of garbled nonsense that
makes actually getting to your gems of actual contribution nigh impossible.

But of course this is my own problem, and I can solve it for myself by
simply deleting and letting that be the end of it, so I haven't felt the
need to share this dilema.

Until now, when I suddenly realized how not only my problems could be solved
(and I can only hope that others share similar difficulties, and so I am
made to seem less selfish - I like to think I consider others even when I'm
helping myself) but this whole matter of discussing important issues could
be... perhaps not "taken care of" but maybe cleaned up a bit. A way to make
the conversations easier to follow, and even to make archiving those topics
and recalling what is said easier in the future.

Forum. Has there ever been an Ansteorran internet forum in existence?

See, I rather thought the purpose of a mailing list was to created a way to
get the same message out to a bulk of people to whom the information
contained in said message would be relevant. Turning it into a way to make
conversations not only public, but practically forced on everyone subscribed
to the list, whether the following comments are relevant to those people or
not, sort of defeats the purpose... especially when people like me find
themselves deleting messages unopened because they can't find the important

Whereas a forum is more conducive to conversations, in which a topic is
introduced, and other people can then comment in such a fashion that each
piece of conversation is kept linear and chronological, much easier to
follow and handle.
A forum would require members to create accounts, on which they can provide
information about who they are - thus resolving issues that arise from
people talking to other people they don't know. (Imagine being able to click
the sender's name and seeing instantly their full persona alias, mundane
references, their location within the kingdom ("This person is in my own
Barony? Wow, I can go to them directly for information on this subject!"),
maybe even a face to go with a name...
Forums can organize conversations into various topic clusters and "rooms",
so someone looking for a way to discuss SCA combat can keep their words
disentangled from those who just want to know the
who/what/where/when/why/how of an upcoming event.
Furthermore, moderators can be instated - people who have a lot of knowledge
in an area given the power to prevent spam and hopefully be diplomatic when
a topic starts to turn sour (or something touchy like, oh... regional
boundaries or principality options comes up). ((I know some people would
probably scream against this one, because of the possibility for people to
go power mad and start censoring everyone... but my faith in Ansteorrans
tells me that such moderators would be endowed with the wisdom to rise above
that temptation...)

Maybe this suggestion is way out there, and it's insomniac college student
dementia and naiivete that's making me say these crazy things. Maybe
everyone else is happy with things as-is and there's no reason to try
something new. Maybe trying to get the great mass of people who use this
mailing list as they do to go through the trouble of registering a profile
and learning to use a new forum-based system is just too much to ask.

But you never know until you try, and the only stupid questions are the ones
not asked...
(and yes, I'm aware of the irony of asking you to discuss this matter in the
very mailing list I'm saying is overworked as it is. Ho ho, hee hee, ha ha.

In service to The Dream and Dreamers all,
Cuillioc /|\ "Quill"
Titled Bard of the Barony of Bonwicke

"It is said that the Devil never crossed the Tamar into Cornwall on account
of the well-known habit of Cornish women of putting everything into a pasty,
and that he was not sufficiently courageous to risk such a fate!"

-From the cookbook _Cornish Recipes Ancient and Modern_

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