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R.I.P., A.F.H. 
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Post Re: R.I.P., A.F.H.
jeepojiii wrote:
Blackhawk wrote:
{With reference to the Facebook Heinlein fora.} And I was often frustrated with the inane and childish bickering I saw there so I skimmed it rather than followed it closely.

"Inane and childish bickering" was not unknown in alt.fan.heinlein. There were a few [OK, quite a few] memorable flame wars in a.f.h over the years. ;)


Yep, I just deleted those. They didn't keep me from finding enough good posts to make it worth checking once a week or so.

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Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:41 pm
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Post Re: R.I.P., A.F.H.
AFH was on a considerably higher plane, back a ways. Generally very knowledgable and very focused crowd. Newcomers were welcomed and the plentiful discussion stayed on incredibly high levels. It was the era of discovery and someone had something new to share almost every week - and most of the discussions were not yet stale.

Then came an influx of those whose dictionaries lacked the word "topic" (as in "on-") and proceeded to overwhelm the group with chatroom babble about kitty-cats and exchanging virtual drinks a la Callahan's and generally acting like a bunch of teenagers in a bar - and those of us who tried to get them to shut up or move on basically ended up chased out. The place never recovered, except for kittycats who kept tabs on the virtual drink exchange and moved on to kissies and backrubs.

The following era belonged to His Snideness and cronies and wasn't much fun, either.

The last gasp was a pale shadow of the heyday.

So mote it be.


Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:15 pm
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Post Re: R.I.P., A.F.H.
JamesGifford wrote:
AFH was on a considerably higher plane, back a ways. Generally very knowledgable and very focused crowd. Newcomers were welcomed and the plentiful discussion stayed on incredibly high levels. It was the era of discovery and someone had something new to share almost every week - and most of the discussions were not yet stale.

Then came an influx of those whose dictionaries lacked the word "topic" (as in "on-") and proceeded to overwhelm the group with chatroom babble about kitty-cats and exchanging virtual drinks a la Callahan's and generally acting like a bunch of teenagers in a bar - and those of us who tried to get them to shut up or move on basically ended up chased out. The place never recovered, except for kittycats who kept tabs on the virtual drink exchange and moved on to kissies and backrubs.

The following era belonged to His Snideness and cronies and wasn't much fun, either.

The last gasp was a pale shadow of the heyday.

So mote it be.


Obviously, I missed the heyday. I think I missed most of the chatroom babble phase, too. The last few years that I've been checking and very occasionally posting, it was a mixed bag with some interesting information and about as much useless verbage. Still, I did get some good from it. I enjoy this forum, too, but as I said earlier, it seems to be a pretty small group. Certainly, everyone seems pleasant (most of the time) and knowledgeable and I appreciate that. I wouldn't mind a larger audience for my Heinlein models and reproductions, and I may join Facebook so I can post about that. Hopefully, I can avoid the rest of the Facebook world.

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Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:35 pm
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Post Re: R.I.P., A.F.H.
Well, we do have a fairly large audience for you, 190 members, but it appears to be true that most people are just happy to read the posts and not comment on them.


Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:31 pm
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Post Re: R.I.P., A.F.H.
DavidWrightSr wrote:
Well, we do have a fairly large audience for you, 190 members, but it appears to be true that most people are just happy to read the posts and not comment on them.


Thanks for that information. That number may have been mentioned before but I don't recall seeing it. It is interesting that so many have bothered to join but not say anything. I suppose that's mostly true of all forums and discussions online. I seem to be incapable of remaining silent. I am sure that says something about me. ;)

Anyway, it's good to know that there are more interested in Heinlein than is obvious.

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Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:51 am
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Post Re: R.I.P., A.F.H.
Blackhawk wrote:
Anyway, it's good to know that there are more interested in Heinlein than is obvious.

The number has never been large - at peaks, the biggest 'forums' had perhaps 100 active participants, always with a core of 10-20 very active and sustaining participants.

One of the biggest mistakes made with each iteration of Heinlein online-ism is assuming that there are uncounted billions of fans waiting to be swept into the fun. It hasn't proved out yet. (I speak as a charter member of many and a founder of one or two...) I don't think even the largest, best-publicized and most lavishly underwritten 'Heinlein Online' will ever draw more than that dedicated hundred or two.

Which is at the core of my continuing arguments for ONE such locus that does its best to serve the interests of a great majority of visitors. Chatrooms optimized for fly-by postings virtually exclude serious, continuous discussion. Forums populated only by us dense graybeards turn off newcomers. Discussion boards off the main trail divide the population and interest instead of multiplying it.

We are a rare and ephemeral species, and we need an organized and suitable preserve, not representation in fifty random collections.


Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:59 am
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Post Re: R.I.P., A.F.H.
James, everything you say makes sense. I know for me, Heinlein has been such an important author in my life I can't understand why everyone doesn't feel the same way. I suppose it's a form of religious zeal; I'm sure they'd all be Heinlein fans if only they'd give him a try. :)

But the truth is that most people I know have never heard of Heinlein. I have even encountered a very few who have read some Heinlein and didn't like it. It's usually someone who started with his later books so I recommend something earlier like Double Star or the juveniles. Maybe some of them came around but maybe not. Unfortunately, as you say, there aren't those huge numbers of Heinlein fans that it seems there ought to be.

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Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:22 am
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Post Re: R.I.P., A.F.H.
No, it's not that there aren't the fans. I think the number of people who have read some significant number of Heinlein books and might care to discuss them reaches the millions. That's always been part of the faulty thinking - that if we form a group or a site or an org, all we need to do is publicize it and the sheep will flock in.

No, it's the intersection of those people and those who are comfortable and able to discuss online that's small. In the olden days, it took a fairly tech-savvy person with a somewhat rare online connection to reach Usenet and make use of it. Services like AOL and predecessors were closed groups and didn't attract the techiest or sf-iest crowds. The internet in general seems to have an IQ of about 76, so while there are billions of users, the number of them who are interested in Heinlein and capable of/interested in ongoing discussion is very, very small.

I'm out of the Heinlein organizing game. But I suggest that all efforts consider the pool of participants small and elite, and create solutions and programs with that in mind - NOT with the idea that if you do it long enough or loud enough, it will become some much larger group. Hasn't yet. Probably never will. And that's a shame.

But as you say, the number of people who have heard of Heinlein seems to be very small indeed - much smaller than the book sales would indicate. I still wear my Heinlein Hero t-shirt in public from time to time. Since I started wearing it around 2000, I've had a $20 in my pocket, which I planned to hand to the first person who engaged me in significant conversation about old Bob. I still have the 20 - a very few people have asked, a fewer still have said something like "Heinlein, I think I read his book in high school"... but not one person has crossed the low bar and won the prize.


Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:28 pm
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Post Re: R.I.P., A.F.H.
Blackhawk wrote:
JI have even encountered a very few who have read some Heinlein and didn't like it. It's usually someone who started with his later books so I recommend something earlier like Double Star or the juveniles. Maybe some of them came around but maybe not.


I don't know about the Heinlein dislikers that you met, but I'm one of these. I started reading Heinlein when, at fourteen, I picked up Stranger in a Strange Land from the library at my high school and about choked on wildly free sex and *cannibalism*. Hey, I was a new convert to Christianity at the time and this stuff was NOT on the menu for me.

A couple of years later, somebody persuaded me to pick up one of the juvies (don't remember which, maybe "The Rolling Stones" or something like it) and I enjoyed it. I kept reading, kept enjoying his earlier juvie work, and in college decided to try another of his adult novels. This time, I picked up "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress". No cannibalism, and by then I'd actually learned enough about myself and sex not to find the odd marital arrangements on Mars painful to consider. I finally got around to trying Stranger again in my late 20s, after reading some anthropology and gaining a stronger stomach thereby. ;) And enjoyed it too.

Not everybody likes Heinlein at first. That doesn't rule out the possibility that they'll come to like his work later.

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Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:56 pm
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Post Re: R.I.P., A.F.H.
I always enjoyed afh.

Great gobs of threads that any or all could participate in or ignore.

It never required sign-in or password.

It never appeared self-righteous or pretentious.

It never claimed exclusivity.

Posts never had to pass a gatekeeper (it had a "send" button, not a "submit" button)

It came about to escape the AOL nannies.

All the things that characterize this forum.

Most of all.........it was fun, but became uncool after the purge.

oz, who checks in ever year or so to see if anything has changed........


Mon Nov 26, 2012 5:04 pm
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