The dysfunctional LISNews family.

I've always wanted to be a part one of those much hyped "online communities." I guess in some ways I am a small part of Slashdot and metafilter, two sites with huge and dedicated communities, though I rarely contribute at either.

After a brief email discussion with an LISNewster in which he described LISNews as a "dysfunctional family," I came to realize maybe we're a community now. I've always felt there were a few people who felt some connection with LISNews over the years, and now maybe it's more than a few, so maybe now we're a community, maybe even a coven. There were people who I became e-cquaintances with through LISNews, and now, there's folks who've made other e-cquaintances as well. Not that we have a big group of people who would be hugging and kissing should they ever meet in person, but there's no doubt a group of people who, for whatever reason, like hanging around the site, and contribute on a regular basis. Some of them know what's happening with the site better than I do most of the time. There are even a few dedicated souls who I know have stuck with the site for years now.

The interaction between & amongst the LISNewsterz is very interesting to me. The interaction in the journals is often quite nice, very supportive, and I see much of the same in the comments, though probably not as much in the latter as the former. There are still trouble makers, people who have a very high percentage of negative moderations, people who really get under my skin, but for the most part many people are usually civil and even helpful. I don't want everyone to get along all the time, but what I would love to see is a higher percentage of civility, niceness, and helpfulness, and a lower percentage of nastiness and flame wars. I'll never understand why the web makes people so crazy-mean all the time. I figure if most of the really active people are mostly nice most of the time, then we'd be miles ahead of most other sites that have an open commenting system. Are we at that point? Probably. Maybe. Almost. It did make me sad to read someone write they've lost faith in the profession because of what they've read here. I think a lot of people are turned off, and driven away by all the fighting. The silent majority doesn't give a shit what Rory thinks about me, nor should they, and seeing everyone screaming and yelling at each other really makes people not want to come back (there's days when I don't want to come back, so I'm sure there are many others who feel the same). I guess we'll see at then end of the month if that last flame filled folly scared anyone away, I do know that we're not doing any record breaking numbers this month, so, not surprisingly, many of the most popular stories this month were only popular with a few people. I wish I had more time to really crunch the numbers. Anyone good with grepping logfiles want to have at it?

So it seems that at some point, I'm not sure when, LISNews developed into an online community, and I managed to completely missed the transformation. People get to know each other, they make friends and enemies, they have discussions, and they help each other out. They reflect a diversity of opinions, and they respect those they disagree with, or at least we do most of the time.

-If you're wondering about the drive to pay for the server in '04, it seems like we'll make it already, I'll add everything up, and write something tomorrow, I hope. I've been completely blown away by the support I've received.

Comments

good timing!

Funny you should post this when you did--I just mentioned an embarrasing college incident in a reply to thesaint's new journal entry and it made me think of how I would probably not share that story anywhere other than here, nor would it really fit on most other sites I frequent. There really is (for me) a sense of community. Then I saw your journal entry. What good timing! :-)

Re:good timing!

That's actually what reminded me I had written this one last week, and I needed to post it!

Crazy-mean

"I'll never understand why the web makes people so crazy-mean all the time."

Blake -- In my case, it's usually lack of coffee.

Re:good timing!

thesaint here. I was so mortified about my email gaffe, I just had to get it off my chest. Even though I have been coming to LISN for a few months, I new somebody would understand!

Big Daddy Blake

We (heart) the patriarch of this dysfunctional brood and it's okay with us if you take a switch to the backsides of the more unruly among us.

rochelle

p.s.
Can you raise my allowance?

LISCommunity

I don't consider the LisNews community dysfunctional at all. I think that we are a dynamic 21st century e-community built specifically by and for this technology.This technology enables us to transcend theconfining and unimaginative social boundaries we set for ourselves when we choose to hang out only with the people who are just like us.Though we are diverse,though we may not all agree, though we may never meet face to face...our LisNews e-commons brings us together to share information and have discussions that express in a very powerful, very inspiring way the intellectual,political,emotional and professional mind - heart- and soul of librarians.

Re:LISCommunity

For some reason, this post made me start singing "We Built this City" (on Rock and Roll), which recently was voted the #1 worst song ever by Blender magazine.

MODERATED "Belly Bouncer"

Funny stuff Rochelle!

Re:LISCommunity

I know, I wanted to moderate it as "touching"...

My two cents (CDN)

I've always wanted to be a part one of those much hyped "online communities." [...]

And here you are you've gone and created one.

After a brief email discussion with an LISNewster in which he described LISNews as a "dysfunctional family," I came to realize maybe we're a community now.

Community, yes. Dysfunctional, no. A group is not dysfunctional just because some or all of its members don't always get along. Our interactions are the result of the normal and healthy relationships we have with each other. Frankly, I'd be seriously worried if this were a Stepford community. I'd call that dysfunctional.

Not that we have a big group of people who would be hugging and kissing should they ever meet in person, [...].

Oh, I don't know. Hugging someone puts you in a very good position to slip a knife into his back. As long as you're wearing your own chainmail shirt, of course. Don't do hugging myself, though. I'm not one of those nineties type of guys.

(Plus, my chainmail shirt is at the cleaners.)

[...] but what I would love to see is a higher percentage of civility, niceness, and helpfulness, and a lower percentage of nastiness and flame wars. I'll never understand why the web makes people so crazy-mean all the time.

It's because cybernetic communications creates a kind of buffer and that buffer is empowering. Probably as much as anonimity. I'm a great deal more confrontational in cyberspace than I am in the physical world; always have been, and I started messaging about ten years before Al Gore "invented" the internet. I see this as the result of two factors. One is that you can't shut me up unless you ban me from the forum, and I can say what I want to say without being interrupted. In a face to face talk,
the conversants frequently interrupt each other and can only address one issue at a time, so the discussion suffers from a kind of Brownian motion, whereas in text communication, you can address any number of issues in a single message. The second factor is that there is no fear of reprisal. Threatening to beat the daylights out of someone who lives in Sweden and who knows that you are in Australia is pretty silly after all.

It did make me sad to read someone write they've lost faith in the profession because of what they've read here.

Urk! Blake, come on. If a librarian has lost faith in the profession it can hardly be because of the infighting we do here. Our interactions might have been the last nail in the coffin, but there were a lot of other nails driven into that coffin first. Consider It's A Wonderful Life. George Bailey wasn't driven to attempt suicide by any one thing, but by the slow and patient accumulation of one thing after another throughout most of his life.

Anyway, it's much more likely that person was just venting his frustrations.

So it seems that at some point, I'm not sure when, LISNews developed into an online community, and I managed to completely missed (sic) the transformation.

Yeah, children grow up and suddenly you're wondering where all that time went.

Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. --John Lennon

Note to self

Resist urge to hug Fang Face should meeting occur. ;-)

For those of us headed to Orlando, I'm wondering if we should come up with a hug/no hug list. Or maybe stick-on H's? For the record, I can go either way. Will also exchange European air cheek kisses, if culturally appropriate. Hand-shaking a little weird, but can acommodate. Working on "Live Long and Prosper" hand gesture.

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