Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Ideas about Ideas

Years ago, I had a publication called ThinkWell, which was on paper and mailed. Political and personal circumstances caused its untimely death. Many people mourned and asked me to take it back up. It just couldn't happen. I spent the next dozen years concentrating on my children, and a few SCA students for a while in there.

I never stopped considering and discussing the ideas, though, and was recently asked to start up another discussion series. Local in-person discussion is fine, but we might as well gather more input and disseminate the best of what's discussed. Technology has come to the point that we can do more with less organization and effort. If old issues of ThinkWell are still somewhat useful (and might all be available to read online at some point, I hope), discussions with SCA folk who are sorry they missed all that are much more important. They shouldn't be trying to live in the SCA's past.

This could be a great medium for slow-moving SCA discussion. If the topics are really philosophical and timeless, it won't matter at all if people comment on year-old posts, or five-year-old posts.


Matilda Seton said...

Greetings, AElflaed~

I think you are right, that this is an excellent forum for intelligent philosophizing.

What are the ground rules? Are they the same as those live-and-in-person discussions in your library long ago?

Yours Assured,
Aindrea Mac Cullaich
(actually, I'm changing my SCA name to Matilda Seton. Oh! There's a possible (and possibly short-lived) topic. When is it too silly to change your SCA name?)

Sandra Dodd said...

We can't be in costume, so there goes one philosophy discussion tradition.

The TW tradition was people wrote to me and I sifted back and forth through the pile looking for good and matching passages to use. That won't work very well either, though it might in some cases.

If people want to write on their own blogs or sites and just link that here that's one possible way to manage some topics or questions. Those without websites or blogs could e-mail me (if the response was too long for a comment field) and I could put it on a linked page. Kind of an overflow/oversize, one link reaches all. It's possible.

Mike Knauer said...

Hi there!

I just discovered you site here and thought you might like to take a look at a recent post on LiveJournal. It was inspired by my reading ThinkWell #1 on-line a while back.

- Michel Wolffauer, East Kingdom

Garlanda said...

All of my old copies of Thinkwell are sitting on a bookshelf just a few feet from my computer. I have leafed through them over the years and loaned them out to many people as useful food for thought. The success of Thinkwell in part was because you DID edit.Too many emails listed are doomed by excessive rambling. And lest this be one of them, I'll stop now!

Sandra Dodd said...

Garlanda, I can't think of the perfect solution, but was thinking responses to topics could come one of these ways, or some other way I haven't considered:

1) short responses just like this (I approve or disapprove in advance)

2) longer responses could be blog posts on people's own blogs or webpages, with the links left here or sent to me for inclusion in the main topic (edited in as they arrive, or something)

3) people without blogs could e-mail responses to me, and I could put the best parts of those on a page linked to the topic post.

While it won't be as compact a package as the old paper TW, it has the potential to be busier, quicker, broader, and easier for me. And it can be added to indefinitely.

Justin du Coeur said...

Howdy, and good to see you here in the blogosphere! We haven't interacted much since I drifted out from the GC, but I remember the old days of Thinkwell with much fondness. My own blog (I've included the link) isn't quite as SCA-philosophy focused, but heaven knows it's not hard to get me started on the subject...

Steve Muhlberger said...

Looking at the LJ discussion really brought home to me how atomized this electronic TW could be. There were just too many comments on comments for me to want to click on any of them. The comments I could see were quite fine, but I felt no desire to spend an hour or more following up the subsidiary ones.

aedward said...

Good Morrow, All.

May I echo the thoughts of others who note that the dendritic nature of the blogosphere makes it difficult to track; one of the chief strengths of ThinkWell was that it was a place in time and space where the marketplace of ideas could flourish. The synergy was the greatest part of ThinkWell's charm, and it was potent enough that I still use it as a philosophical training manual for folks just comeing up in the SCA who are willing to consider.....possibilities........

To the extent that we might replicate that zeitgeist electronically, well, please consider dealing me in.

In Service, AEdward of Glastonburh, called the Saxon, the People's Barony of Bryn Madoc, Meridies

Sandra Dodd said...

Moved from another topic:

Marie de Blois said...
I find online discussions to often be the most useful to me. It actually doesn't matter as much to me what format the discussion takes - commenting on a blog, email lists, single or multi-person chat sessions. All of them have two key features for me - inherent and accepted delay in responding, and the ability for multiple responses to happen simultaneously.

In person, in groups, I find that I think too slowly, or wait too long for a long enough pause, or pause too long while speaking but then the conversation has moved on before I get to comment.

4:55 PM, August 25, 2006