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Thread: Are you happy with this forum?
October 28th, 2009, 11:01 AM #31
- Join Date
- Jun 2009
- Northern California
- Blog Entries
Interesting idea Fung Koo. The bookclub I belonged to (for over 12 years) has died (a natural death) and I'd be keen to participate in something like that.
When I first came to the forum, I was more interested in the writing forum, but I did check out the Books and Literature forums and didn't like what I saw (not much 'discussion' or discussion on books I hadn't read).
As you mentioned, I think we all have more than enough on our personal book lists that having the books chosen and mailed in advanced would help.
October 28th, 2009, 02:06 PM #32
Actually, we used to have a very dedicated bunch of folks in each club (or both clubs, depending on the person) who made it a priority to get the books, read the books, think about the books, and comment on them at length, think about other people's comments, then comment on them, no matter what books were selected.
In my early years here, I always treated the book club as a means of exposing myself to new and different styles, writers, ideas, whether I ended up liking them or not. I think a lot of people did. People would read and comment on books they were pretty sure at the outset they wouldn't like, but they also knew that in a month or two when a book they did like came up, other people would read and discuss it even if it wasn't their cup of tea. Over time, a few of those folks drifted off due to time or life changes. Some are still around, and new people have shown up, but there doesn't seem to be that commitment any more. Many of the comments are shorter than they used to be and there doesn't seem to be a willingness to interact, to offer thoughts to others and receive theirs in return, to create dialogue.
What has taken most of the wind out of my sails as far as the book club (or even posting much of anything on the site in general) is concerned is that I don't feel the same interaction that I used to. There was a string of book club discussions where I (and/or a small number of others) posted thoughts and comments in the discussion thread and received no response at all. I think the one that really did me in was this one: http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16668
I'd love to see interest in the book clubs pick back up. I'd love to see the SF up and running again. The mods have talked about it. The members have talked about it. At times, it has seemed like there's been more energy spent talking about the book clubs than about the books in the book clubs.
Regarding SFFWorld mailing books out to people...my impression of the way this site works is it will never happen. It's not a business; it's a hobby. Money doesn't change hands between the members and the administrators/staff for legal reasons, and it's not a can of worms we'd be willing to open (that's my understanding, at least). But, really, we live in a world of libraries/Amazon/Abebooks/brick-and-mortar stores. A few clicks on the internet and a new or used copy of a book can be delivered to your door within a week.
October 28th, 2009, 02:37 PM #33
- Join Date
- Oct 2007
- The Fung Küniverse (Currently: Toronto)
- Blog Entries
Regarding one's sense of obligation to participate, I'm not sure it's helping that the book clubs aren't part of the main body of the forum -- out of sight is out of mind. The monthly flash fiction contest isn't separated from the main body of the Writing forum, for example, and I suspect participation would decrease significantly if it was parked behind the scenes as a subforum. To be completely honest, I mostly just forget the club exists.
So perhaps the easy fix here is to just sticky a master-thread for the book clubs in the main genre forums, update it monthly with a link to purchase the following months book, and then start the monthly discussion threads as necessary (then stickied, of course, and de-stickied the next month).
October 28th, 2009, 03:32 PM #34
So would integrating the book clubs back to the main forums help?
The issue of paying for book club stuff is that we're international (which is part of the fun when discussing stuff) and we'd aim to cater to everyone from the US to antartica. Logistically it isn't straightforward. It's one thing to do an amazon listmania thing but another to do something directly from sffworld.
On the other hand, would posting a provisional list of 6 books for the next 12 months be helpful in allowing members to access books in time?
October 28th, 2009, 05:39 PM #35
Another thing I would like to see is more plot oriented discussions. Seems to me that 90% of the discussions that go on in here are about wether you like an author or not, wether a book was well written or not, etc. I see very little discussion about the actual plots of the books, speculations of what will happen in future installments of the series, etc.
Not much you can do as forum administrator/mods, but I find it curious why this is. For me, I'm more interested in those aspects of the discussion and they seem rare.
There's like too much focus on the authors rather than on the stories they tell, as far as discussions go. Am I alone in this?
October 28th, 2009, 06:35 PM #36
- Join Date
- Apr 2000
- NSW, Australia
I like the idea of a link to buy the next month's book in the main thread - one less barrier to entry.
In regards tro Erf's post, I'm in a very similar situation. I used to put in a lot of effort to try and read the books every month, even if it wasn't something I'd normally be interested in (I still have a Sanderson somewhere on the shelf waiting to be read and commented on). A couple of factors wore me down - one was the real world: sometimes life just gets in the way of reading. The other was having people jump in to vote for a book I was borderline interested in, then not turn up to discuss it (or any other books for that matter), leaving me having read a book I disliked with no one to talk about it with. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty about not putting in as much effort as I used to, but I wonder if the reward would still be there. At any rate, as Erf pointed out this is all stuff we've been through before with the book clubs, and if we had the answer on how to revitalise the system we would've used it by now.
Originally Posted by Erfael
October 28th, 2009, 07:50 PM #37
- Join Date
- Jul 2001
- Hobbit Towers, England
- Blog Entries
Thanks for the idea, Fung.
However, if some of the debates about such matters are remembered correctly, anything involving the exchange of money isn't going to happen at SFFWorld. We did look at book-swaps too at one point, but in the end felt that the risks outweighed the benefits.
The bottom line is that as Fluffy says, as much as we might want it to happen, it's just too risky and some might say too open to misuse. Accusations of paying for Hobbit's holidays just aren't worth it.
We did talk about a limited fee/donation for selected areas at one time, but if I remember right it went against what we thought was more important: a free website for anyone interested. I'm personally mindful of our younger members who couldn't afford it, for example.
As I mentioned above, I think one of the things I have to often get my head around is that the nature of websites, and even Forum members, does change. People come and go, interests vary.... and this might explain why things are different now as to when we were on dial-up!
But ultimately a lot of it is down to the contribution made by members. You only get out what you put in, and whilst we have a large group of committed members there's a lot out there prepared to just have a look.
It's giving those the confidence to contribute that seem to be the key. How we actually do that.... if I knew that, I'd be a rich man!
October 28th, 2009, 11:20 PM #38
Just had a thought about the author forums and such...
Likely a horrid idea in practice but i really respect the authors that show their face and are active on these forums. I understand how much mental flak they get reading everyone's opinions, but it is really that cool to see a author actually communicate with fans.
why not have author forums for authors that are active on the forums or semi active... as they have to keep writing and have a life or something.
I guess you would have to define 'big time' authors which generate enough chat to do so.
well the more i think about it the more it seems like a bad idea ... but as a idea i'll post what i have so far ...
As many others have said for some reason the scifi/horror thing was the first thing that came to my mind. I completely understand why you have merged them though.
Overall I'm very happy with the site, i always wish that there we more active members, more discussions and such. I am very guilty of the lerking and one sentence posts a bit, as well as not being too active, but i have a hard time believing that there aren't more intelligent people out there then me that would be able to respond....
TBH, i didn't know that really was a issue. The whole one sentence response. Thats just the way i have come to accpet most forums nowdays regardless of the subject.
I find that the writers forum has many in depth discussions. Maybe another idea would be to make another forum made for more mature people that wish to have spoilerific and in depth discussions, and make the nature of this forum abundantly clear. Maybe specifically ask members to lurk if they don't have a valid response and counter argument or agreement.
Beyond that the only way i see that working is to make some kind of a point system to get into a privileged and more mature forum.
I love the well read posters on the forum, many of which are moderates and for that i'd like to thank them for all the good reads i have had by their posts.
Is there a chat system here?
on a more serious note, what about a one way microphone of sorts for me to spout off about SFF? as long as it travels through the intertubes of the intronet... thats fine
PS sorry for the grammar ... that's why i don't write
Last edited by Rilzik; October 28th, 2009 at 11:27 PM.
October 31st, 2009, 08:01 PM #39
We do have dedicated official author forums for some of the authors who want them. It started out as an experiment and in some ways it's been successful, although the level of participation has varied. Some authors, however, have their own websites with chat forums and aren't interested in starting one here or don't have the time.
Seventy percent of horror is fantasy fiction, and one of the reasons the horror forum got less traffic was because members would regularly discuss horror titles in the Fantasy Forum. So it made sense to us to combine them. Since no one is forced to read the horror threads, it certainly isn't any harder to sort them out than it is threads on fantasy authors you are not interested in. There is now a horror category market and if that grows larger, we may end up separating the two genres again, but for now, horror is very much a part of the fantasy field, so we see it as providing more benefits than detriments.
We'll continue to monitor the situation concerning lead authors and the former author forums. But again, those threads are pretty clearly marked.
Anybody have any suggestions for types of threads they'd like to see?
I also would like to have more discussions about plot/story rather than members' ideology. I have found it effective to ask specifically about plot and to keep asking until someone coughs it up. If enough of us talk about plot, we might be able to have more discussions about it.
October 31st, 2009, 10:40 PM #40