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Qwerty:
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?

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.  :)

Gyppo:
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.

Gyppo

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.

Qwerty:
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!

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