Level of Participation

Started by Qwerty, November 21, 2020, 10:18:21 PM

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I'm new here at BWF. Only fifteen posts and zero kudos. But I'm already beginning to wonder why there are so few writers taking part in the various threads. In more than a few forums, for example, the last post is more than 120 days old.

I joined BWF because it appeared to be populated by adults, not... well, people who take more pleasure in insulting each other than giving each other thoughtful, informed critiques.

Can't say BWF is dead, of course, but I'd sure like to see a bit more activity than I've seen so far. Anyone have any suggestions for ramping this forum up a bit?
Words go together in zillions of ways--some ways go shallow and some ways go deep. ~ James Dickey

Mark Hoffmann

True, it's a bit of a backwater. But if I have any serious prose questions there are people here who will help me.

I'm not sure a constant stream of postings from wannabes who then get miffed about negative feedback is such a great way to operate. So I'm happy we are not that sort of forum.

This is probably not the best forum for serious poets. Tangled Branch would be a better home.

For prose writers who want to hang with other prose writers, have a bit of fun, and get the odd bit of advice when needed, then BWF is fine.  :)
Writing humour is the hardest thing since sliced bread.

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As Mark says, we're a bit of a backwater these days.   We are the survivors of a once brilliant forum which went to the dogs and someone kindly gave us a 'liferaft' when the other place began to sink under an absolute barrage of spam.

We are the ones who still believe in email and didn't throw the baby out with the bathwater in a mad rush to embrace facebook, twitter, etc.  We tend to take our writing seriously and ourselves perhaps not so much.  We've seen fragile and over-inflated egos com and go, nurtured a few promising talents, and tend not to rush after the latest shiny new object or writers' utility which promises to solve all our problems.

www.tangledbranch.com is indeed where most of our poets went during the transition and remain.  There you will find poets both playful and deadly serious.  Sometimes in the same person ;-)  That place always perks up in June, when the national poetry month challenge is up and running.  Thirty poems in thirty days creates something of a hot-house atmosphere.

We rarely squabble on either forum and differences in opinion are handled in a mature way.  Often we just 'agree to disagree' instead of turning it into a fight which nobody wins.

Yet again it's not as fast-moving as some poetry sites, but you will get thoughtful and considered responses.  We tend not to do the short 'me too' answers if someone else has already covered what we were thinking of saying.

Re the kudos rating;  I've never really understood why it was there.  We managed perfectly well without it before it turned up.  Likewise the hero rating.  All that means is you've been around long enough to build up a fair few posts.

Although it's not an excuse, and it seems counter-intuitive, the whole damn world seems to have slowed down during this Covid pandemic.  You'd  think that people sat at home would spend more time writing or versifying, but that doesn't seem to be the case.  Those of us who often drew inspiration from being out and about, 'people watching', have had our main source cut off.  I suspect a lot of us didn't realise quite how much we relied on it.


Jo Bannister

I rather agree with Mark (first there, hey, Mark?) about the critiques business.  I think it's generally - with laudable exceptions - good writers wasting time trying to help novices who don't want or aren't ready to hear the truth.  I'm happy to comment on a short excerpt, as to whether the subject and standard of writing are likely to find an audience, or how a specific issue can be addressed, but I'm not spending half an hour wading through something I'd put back on the shelf if I stumbled across it.  There are people, some good writers among them, who are prepared to do that; I'm not one.  I'd rather work on my own book than sub someone else's.

At the same time, I think many of us wish there was a bit more writing-related discussion on the forum.  If you've any suggestions for topics of debate, post them - they'll be most welcome.


Thanks for the replies. Looks like you folks are reasonably satisfied with the way things are but would like a bit more writing-related discussions. Your comments reflect the history of more than a few of the forums I've been on over the years. Some became ghost towns: when the gold ran out, the rats fled the ship. Oops, that was a mixed metaphor or a lousy analogy. "The survivors are the backwater of a once brilliant forum" is better. Yeah, writers like me who could no longer suffer Twitter, Facebook or rough-and-tumble writing forums.

I only mentioned kudos because it can take some time for newcomers to get replies or kudos. I don't need them to feel like I'm being accepted. And thanks for the link to Tangled Branch but I no longer write poems. I do enjoy posting mine and reading the ones posted by others because poetry, for me, is a concise way to get entertained, informed and inspired in minutes rather than hours or days. And I long ago lost my enthusiasm for struggling through dozens of contradictory and often ridiculous comments about what was wrong with one of my poems. Rarely did anyone tell me what was right about a poem or give me what was obviously informed, thoughtful feedback. The result, when I was a beginning poet, was to turn a good poem into a bad or ugly one. And too many of the critiques left me feeling as if I had been beaten with a stick. I did the best I could, then published them--my mindset being that, like children, once they left home, they'd have to speak for themselves.

So I'll hang out with you folks and post a reply or start a thread from time to time. I've written a few writer-related articles and how-to guides. I'll post one and see how it goes. Cheers everyone!
Words go together in zillions of ways--some ways go shallow and some ways go deep. ~ James Dickey


Hi Qwerty

When I first saw your name "Qwerty" in the "welcome thread", I laughed. I did so because it reminded me of one of the more popular passwords that someone I used to work within the IT industry use all the time. Your name reminded me of him.  :)

Yep, the previous forum was indeed a wonderland for years.

Personally, I don't post too much anymore because my questions are few and far between, and I'm not much of a "social butterfly", which is probably one of the reasons why my writings haven't been very successful. I've had a few short-stories published on a few websites (they, of course, didn't pay a dime). My writing isn't as sophisticated etc., as many other stories I've seen (although sometimes I do surprise myself) and I often think that's a problem. My "style" or lack thereof can be straight forward or a bit quirky. I get tons of rejects and think why someone else's story is accepted and mine is not, even though I think it's just as good. Maybe I'm the only one who enjoys them or maybe I don't put into words what's in my head.


My email is qwertyportne because qwerty represents writing (first six keys in upper left corner of a typewriter/keyboard), and yportne is the reverse of entropy (my idea of what writing does.) A bit odd, I guess, but there it is.

And I certainly resonate with your comments about the difficulty of publishing something you've written. You can read some of my feelings about that in my recent post titled Why Do You Write.

Like you, I don't consider myself a great writer. Maybe a good writer--sometimes. But I enjoy the process of using words to express my thoughts and feelings. And I don't feel it's bad judgment to think maybe somebody else will benefit from what I've written.

Several years ago, my wife bought me a book by Stephen King titled On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft. Near the beginning of the book, he said something to the effect that poor writers can learn to be good writers but good writers can never become great writers. Well, maybe he's right. On the other hand, maybe he's wrong. Either way, I keep on keepin' on. And it's intuitively obvious to the most casual observer (Bertrand Russel's phrase) that you are too... cheers!
Words go together in zillions of ways--some ways go shallow and some ways go deep. ~ James Dickey


Ok, so, part of the problem was caused early on by there being a lot of reviewers without having people who want their work reviewed. This was a direct result of a lot of established member of one forum basically moving in all at once.

With no-one to review, some of them got kinda bored and left.
Why can't you support my gibberish? I'd do it if you were stupid.


What can I say? I come and go. I'm not the most social person in the world, and don't feel a great need to constantly engage with other humans. In fact, I'm generally more comfortable engaging with my cats.  :)

In my case, Covid and the lockdowns have been a blessing. I've been self-isolating for close to a year now, and it has been one of my most productive years, because I did not have to deal with that constant social overwhelm that had been depleting my energy levels for as long as I can remember.

I do like coming here, though, to chat with old friends a bit. Or to ask the odd writing-related question. But I've been around for nearly 6 decades, and don't have as many of those questions anymore. Experience has already answered most of them.
Daan Katz, Author - Where the Magic Happens
Join my facebook group Daan's Magical Worlds

Jo Bannister

I like you coming here too, Dan. 

Look, it is what it is.  Surely no one should feel pressurised into doing more or other here than they want to?  It's a forum, not a chain-gang! 

Just keep in touch.  Give my love to the cats.


Karl created this forum as a lifeboat for the survivors from the shipwreck of MWC.  In that respect it's doing just fine.  People who need us know where to find us.

We're not hidden ;-)  The spammers have no trouble finding us.  Killing them off  sometimes leaves me - metaphorically speaking - 'red to the elbows', but there's a certain grim satisfaction in it.

I like to feel that here we're more reflective, thoughtful, philosophical, (you could use a whole damned thesaurus here)  than sites which rely on twitter, facebook, what'sapp, instagram, etc.


Patrick Wood

It has been two years since you posted this you had zero kudos and now you have 2. If you start a discussion on some serious topic related to writing or publishing many writers will replay. You will see if you ask for help, with what you are writing, you will find many writers taking their time to help you.