Robert A. Heinlein Commentary Blog
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Author:  JamesGifford [ Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Robert A. Heinlein Commentary Blog

PeterScott wrote:
Jim, you do love to tilt at windmills.

Oh, I'd be the last to disagree.

But I do think you're missing the essential point here. It's not any matter of factionalism or territorialism, especially not on my account... at this stage of the game, I don't care where the locus of Heinlein fandom and study goes, as long as it continues to go. I am defending this locus only because it is the oldest and best-anchored; you're free to read that as "archaic and fossilized" if you like. However, I see it as better to build on that foundation rather than scamper off to build a beach house on Titan, no matter how lovely the view there.

I sincerely admire all of the attempts that have been made to make alternate RAH venues as well; no hard darts or slightest ill wish on RP, this time, or on anyone prior.

I'd like to think that creating more and varied Heinlein-centric loci was a good thing and translated to multiplying the community and its facets. Unless something has radically changed, though, that's not true; each instance of a discussion or content locus dilutes and divides the community and interaction. That's what each one has done for the last 15-20 years, without exception.

So you can champion the great individualistic approach that this modern wonder of a net provides, and everyone can create their own vision of a Heinlein oasis... or you can realize that everyone sitting in their oases with infrequent circulating visitors is a thinner and less satisfying universe than creating a single locus that focuses the paucity of people and interest to the greatest good. I'll maintain my preference for the latter, no matter where that locus is.

As for "finding us" and "links" etc., I think that's the core of the problem, not the solution. Efforts should be applied to making whatever locus is selected high in visibility, to draw the interested in. Grinding the visibility up and scattering it like fairy dust means that there's no center - "finding" is a matter of hopping from mote to mote and (for the less than overwhelming interested) never finding more than tastes of the whole. My objection to link-posts is based on just that: I don't want you to point me to something interesting somewhere else, I want you to bring the party here, or bring the interesting goods to the party. Link-posts are just lilypads for those who endlessly wiki-walk around the net, not contributions to a community of focused discussions.

Enough, I suppose. I'm tired and the windmills are unfazed. But if you or anyone else wonders why I don't visit here often, the answer is woven in the above stream of comments.

Author:  NickDoten [ Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Robert A. Heinlein Commentary Blog

despite the fact, relative to those outside this group, i'm extremely well versed about RAH and his writings, in this forum i feel like a neophyte- imagine what a true new comer to Heinlein would feel here ? excited to be here but absolutely speechless- when the Heinlein "experts" (read biographers, literary experts, professors, and so on) amongst us speak, well it's a tough gig to add anything new or of relevance- is this even an appropriate site for the casual RAH fan ? not really- i don't think we'd enjoy them any more than they'd enjoy us

but i do see these alternative RAH sites/blogs/ you name it as gateways- they winnow the RAH fan base for those who may possess a deep and real Heinlein interest- the existence of these RAH sub-sets provides us the opportunity to cast a wide net- our link there provides a sign post for those who may desire more than RAH pablum - i guess i see these alt sites as emissaries who can help direct kindred souls our way

but don't expect a flood- it seems there's fewer readers- those who read sci-fi and fantasy fill a narrow niche of this population- those reading an author who died 30 years ago fill a tinier bit yet- but without an influx of new blood we aren't we wholly a "last man standing" kind of group?

i'm wondering what we're doing to give this forum relevance to RAH fans who don't quite qualify as "experts"? looking at our membership list versus those who are truly active in the forum- it shows interest by a couple hundred worldwide but only a dozen or so voices are heard with any regularity- how do we get those we do attract to join in our discussions? i'm not suggesting a dumbing down for the masses or a letting in of the barbarians :) but what do we do to both attract newcomers and engage them ?

as usual i'm long on questions but short on answers

we may need to re-examine our goals and decide if this forum will be but a sanctuary for the last standing RAH admirers and scholars- do we want more than that?


<kicks aside the soap box and sticks "kick me" sign to his backside>

Author:  DanHenderson [ Wed Apr 18, 2012 10:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Robert A. Heinlein Commentary Blog

NickDoten wrote:
despite the fact, relative to those outside this group, i'm extremely well versed about RAH and his writings, in this forum i feel like a neophyte

Hear, Hear! I'm in *exactly* the same position. I've been a devoted Heinlein fan for 55 years, have owned at least one copy of everything he wrote and every book about him that I could get my hands on, subscribed to the Virginia Edition and the Journal, joined the Society, went to the Centennial (my first and only SF convention), and have thoroughly enjoyed reading a lot of what's here. But I'm no scholar, have zero skills in literary criticism, and feel like I have very little to contribute here besides love of the Grand Master's works. I submitted an article to the Journal that didn't pass muster and was never printed, and in one post here I happened to mention that my mental picture of Friday was as a blonde, and I got *thoroughly* corrected; I'm unlikely to dip my toe into similar waters again. Posts like this that contain information about nobody but myself? No problem. But I'm going to continue to be very careful about saying anything about Heinlein that might be untrue or misinformed.

Author:  PeterScott [ Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Robert A. Heinlein Commentary Blog

Dan, I enjoy each and every post of yours and you have made some truly touching and valuable ones. I don't want anything to discourage you from posting here more and I will personally stomp on anyone who gets self-righteous on your ass.

Author:  JamesGifford [ Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Robert A. Heinlein Commentary Blog

Peter beat me to it. Dan, both you and Nick are among those who I meant when I was talking about folks who are hesitant to speak up but often contribute gems when you do.

After all these years, Bob H. is still fertile and largely unexplored ground. Anyone who's got a little savvy and interest can contribute, and contribute well, to the pool of new insights.

Author:  DanHenderson [ Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Robert A. Heinlein Commentary Blog

Thank you both! That's very kind of you to say.

Author:  JamesGifford [ Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Robert A. Heinlein Commentary Blog

OMG this is so cool.

Author:  NickDoten [ Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Robert A. Heinlein Commentary Blog

satirically noted- the link was kewl :) but, most importantly, on point ! thinking that the younger you are, the more prone you are to being socially "connected" but disconnected with face to face humanity- even we "old timers" need beware less we too fall prey and lose that unique/quirky thing called "I" as we are absorbed into the "collective" KEWL

Author:  JamesGifford [ Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Robert A. Heinlein Commentary Blog

Besides the interesting parallelism of thought (nice to know I'm not quite as isolated and nutty as Tesla), I think it's an excellent example of how some things divide at a greater rate than they multiply. You end up with ten channels of communication, each containing less than one-tenth the prior flow. In some (many? most?) cases, MUCH less.

Author:  PeterScott [ Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Robert A. Heinlein Commentary Blog

I read an account of a lawyer who beat the pants off his opponents during a complex and fractious M&A. He noticed that during meetings the numerous lawyers for the other side were all multitasking on their Blackberries. He was the only one who paid complete attention. They never figured out how come he won.

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