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Old 09-26-2015, 06:31 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Default State of the Sphere

On a recent thread in Metrical, a few long-time Sphereans were noting the decline in intensity and interest on this websiteóa forum which, thanks to Alex, has been a boon to so many of us. ďThings arenít what they used to be,Ē was the gist.

And although itís true that things are and never were what they used to be, the decline on the Sphere is obvious and has been going on for a quite a while now. I suppose that everyone has noted it. There are fewer dynamic discussions, less engagement, less energy, less creativity.

A number of talented people have come and gone from this site, and there is nothing surprising about that. People move on. Thatís life. But there is no reason that the same energy and engagement couldnít be maintained with an ever-renewing membership. And yet the heyday of the Sphere seems to have come and gone. Or has it? Is it just a (by now very long) phase, or an inexorable decline?

One thought Iíve had is that facebook and other social media have taken the forumís place for a lot of people. When the Sphere started, the internet was still new and its options narrower. Another thought is that nothing good lasts forever. Iím thinking that other people here might have more interesting thoughts on the subject.

If thereís already been a thread on this, sorry about that. I haven't seen one.
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Old 09-26-2015, 06:57 AM
John Whitworth's Avatar
John Whitworth John Whitworth is offline
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I don't notice anydecline. Beware of old person's dismay.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Frisardi View Post
On a recent thread in Metrical, a few long-time Sphereans were noting the decline in intensity and interest on this websiteóa forum which, thanks to Alex, has been a boon to so many of us. ďThings arenít what they used to be,Ē was the gist.

And although itís true that things are and never were what they used to be, the decline on the Sphere is obvious and has been going on for a quite a while now. I suppose that everyone has noted it. There are fewer dynamic discussions, less engagement, less energy, less creativity.

A number of talented people have come and gone from this site, and there is nothing surprising about that. People move on. Thatís life. But there is no reason that the same energy and engagement couldnít be maintained with an ever-renewing membership. And yet the heyday of the Sphere seems to have come and gone. Or has it? Is it just a (by now very long) phase, or an inexorable decline?

One thought Iíve had is that facebook and other social media have taken the forumís place for a lot of people. When the Sphere started, the internet was still new and its options narrower. Another thought is that nothing good lasts forever. Iím thinking that other people here might have more interesting thoughts on the subject.

If thereís already been a thread on this, sorry about that. I haven't seen one.
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:02 AM
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Richard Meyer Richard Meyer is offline
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I don't notice anydecline. Beware of old person's dismay.
Also, at times, beware of an old person's memory.

Richard
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:11 AM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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Also, at times, beware of an old person's memory.

Richard
Ha!

I am going to try to post a poem every week or so. For my own momentum against the new semester push. And try to write crits that amuse myself at the very least. I was hard on workshopping once. For my own needs at least, I was wrong. I think the game is worth playing. I say if your a poet then post more poems, take more risks of the them sticking your braids in the inkwell by posting the poems that are pale and gangly or have freckles shaped like night creatures. Bring out your freaks. Bring out your dead. Especially all you cool kids lurking in the balconies. Bring.

Oh.. and join the metrical and non-metrical boards. Face the day.

Last edited by Andrew Mandelbaum; 09-26-2015 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:11 AM
Brian Allgar Brian Allgar is offline
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Well, I'm older than John, and I can still remember a time when I had a memory.
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:32 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Being in denial can be an extremely effective way to tailor-make reality to your own measurements, John, as you’ve shown in so many discussions here.

I’m talking posters’ traffic, comments, insights literary and otherwise, curiosity, more posts about poetry than about people’s self-promoting interests: a gregarious disinterested online poetry community. It’s still there, but sorry, it’s a skimmed thin version of what it was.

Andrew, you’ve actually already been a huge breath of fresh air. Must be the Maine pines.
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:43 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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I think many factors are at play in the decline in participation on the Sphere. One is certainly the declared policy of a number of journals of not accepting any poems that have appeared anywhere online, if they can be found by searching. I noticed a big drop-off in posting as a result of that, and it led to password-protected sections in Drills and Amusements. By the way, to my eye Drills and Amusements is still quite active. I think that has partly to do with the extra password protections, but also to do with the general air of mutual encouragement among those who post there. That used to be more true of the poetry boards than it is today. There have always been occasional blowups of accusations and insults on the boards, but they seem more common these days, and the result does seem to be that some people lose interest and go elsewhere.

I suppose that many people, like me, have jobs that keep them very busy most of the time. I post poems and crit when I have poems to post, but those become fewer when I am busy doing other things. I may look in occasionally, but I only comment when something catches my eye and I have some specific suggestion that I can make quickly. I am most likely to look at poems by poets whose aesthetic is closest to mine, because my suggestions to them are most likely to be helpful. They are also the ones whose suggestions for my own poems are most likely to be helpful to me. I'm not on Facebook and I don't have any colleagues who write much in form, so when I want feedback on a poem, I have to come here for it. So long as I get some comments I can use, I expect that I will continue to do so.

Susan
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:54 AM
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Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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I love your "Bring out your freaks. Bring out your dead," Andrew...but at the same time I have strong misgivings about encouraging people to post something every week, no matter how awful it is.

Good, or at least promising, poems attract and retain the sort of people who care deeply about quality. Mediocrity tends to drive those people away.

Also, I think John is right that the activity in Drills and Amusements seems to be bubbling right along, and I think that the password protections for two subforums there has a lot to do with that. I know that this has been discussed to death, but changing The Deep End to a password-protected forum like the Deep Drills on D&A would encourage more activity from shy folk...and I don't think making TDE private would detract at all from the Met Board, because some people do want a wider audience.

[Cross-posted with Susan.]

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 09-26-2015 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 09-26-2015, 10:04 AM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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Yeah, more posts could mean mediocrity. At first. So keep the crits robust. I don't see any evidence of a fire in danger of too much green wood, too fast. I am not suggesting a mass email to the hallmark society. I am imagining specific poets lounging about bringing an arm load as a consistent habit. One mouth, one vote.
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Old 09-26-2015, 11:28 AM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julie Steiner View Post
changing The Deep End to a password-protected forum like the Deep Drills on D&A would encourage more activity from shy folk...and I don't think making TDE private would detract at all from the Met Board, because some people do want a wider audience.
Hear, hear! And my wish is that a password-protected Deep End could be for poems in any form, with or without meter and rhyme.
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