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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question...

ID: 515
posted: 17 Jun 2001
updated: 10 Mar 2002

I have a suggestion for an addition to the website... How about a general discussion threaded message board to stimulate more productive conversation instead of just the guestbook?

There is a long history behind the decision to not have a threaded message board on the Ishmael website...(we used to have one, two in fact...)

Dan once called the threaded message board a "Drowning Pool." He found that people would go in there and, with the best of intentions but little understanding of some issue, and they would start to confuse others and lead them down paths that he never intended and sometimes totally disagreed with! He and I both found ourselves (with more and more frequency as time went by) diving into the discussion to straighten people out. For example, some people with a rudimentary understanding of evolution would start to talk about the need for people to evolve beyond their current state (sometimes ala James Redfield...vibrational states...but sometimes they were talking in the biological sense) -- well this is fine if someone else is there to remind them that individuals don't evolve, populations do...single organisms don't evolve, species do. In the absence of that clarification (and often much assistance to grasp this) people with even less knowledge of natural selection and evolution would be dragged under by the first person...leading to a massive drowning that would only be rectified in one of two ways: get more lifeguards and train them; close the pool. Dan opted for the latter because he saw the entire forum as a losing battle. Open 24/7 the bboard collects drowners, and there will never be enough lifeguards to keep everyone's head above the water -- imagine a teacher's classroom filled with questioning students 24/7 -- the teacher could not be expected to be there every moment to help students into a better understanding of the topic. Any yet, this is exactly what people demand on a bboard. Bottom line, he didn't want the responsibility to watch the pool 24/7 -- he wanted to write his next book and have a life. And, the Ishmael Website Volunteers too, have a life beyond the website. ;)

The way it is currently set up it is more like a treadmill...only those close to you can drag you down, but they get shoved off the end quickly and so don't do too much damage! We do have lifeguards, and you should see their ever-presence as reassuring that things will never get TOO out of control. (If you watch, someone will chime in when someone is sinking below the edge of the pool, just to pull them to the edge.)

Anyway, check out this active discussion board: IshThink.

Note: This question answered by the webmaster.

category: Here's My Opinion, What's Yours?,I Have a Question On a Specific Subject
keywords: Quinn's Motivations,Website

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