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Mynoris

Why We Don't Post

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We've all heard that a concerted effort is desired to breathe life back into the forums.  The issue has been tackled from the angle of looking for what we want, what we think will help.  So I want to narrow the focus slightly, and look at it from a bit of a different angle.

 

Posts are made.  Some posts make it to a couple pages and then peter out.  Some posts only get one or two responses and then die ignominiously.  Others never seem to get a single peep and are lost to the mists of time.  Okay, that was being a bit grandiose, but my point still stands.

 

Clearly, there's a reason why each person posts when, and where, they do.  This also means that, conversely, there's a reason why people DON'T post.

 

So, let's see if we can sort through this a bit.  I'll start by bringing up some reasons why I personally don't post.  Then we can discuss those reasons, and you can all feel free to add your own, or modify the ones I have here.  We can talk about whether these are good reasons, or bad reasons, or case-by-case reasons.  We can talk about whether the mindset has to change on the behalf of the original post/posters, or the people who read the posts and decide not to post.

 

All in all, I'm hoping to unearth a fruitful discussion on posts and the expectation around posts.

 

So, here are the reasons I might not post:

 

1) Everything has already been said: I don't have a single new thing to add to the conversation without repeating what someone else has already said.  I don't have a new insight to add, or even an amusing anecdote that is somewhat on topic.

 

2) It's already a long thread, and I'm intimidated by the size: Sometimes the start of a thread is interesting, but usually if it gets past three pages, I'll start to skim instead of reading it all.  Then I worry about whether or not I have anything new to add, or if I'm repeating what someone else said, or if whatever I want to say is even pertinent anymore.

 

3) It's already a really old thread: I know I've been told that necroing here isn't an issue, but it IS an issue on many forums, so there's sort of a learned response of 'I shouldn't post here, it's been too long.'

 

4) The first post is too long: It's awful for a writer and reader to say this, but sometimes the first post really is very long.  And if I'm under time constraints, I might just not feel up for tackling it.  Then I forget to go back and read it.  This is definitely a mea culpa on this one, but I'm sure I'm not alone.  (Also, this post is one of THOSE posts, and I am fully aware of it.)

 

5) I don't know enough about the subject matter: We're writers, not omniscient.  We can't know everything, and sometimes a post is looking for information we can't provide.  So, instead of bulking up the forum with posts stating, "I don't know anything about this", I just let it go, hoping someone else with more knowledge will pay attention.

 

6) I'm on my phone, not my desktop: It's not a secret around my house that I have phone rage.  The teeny-tiny keyboard just is NOT conducive to writing out a long, well-thought out, meaningful post.  I get so frustrated I want to throw it against the wall, so I typically don't post on forums while on my phone, unless I can do so in a couple short sentences.  But that doesn't stop me from reading while on my phone.  Unfortunatetly, by the time I get to my desktop, I've forgotten what I've wanted to say in response to which threads.  Ooops.

 

7) The subject is 'sensitive', and I'm not sure if my opinion is welcome: I know we should all be mature enough to agree, or at least, agree to disagree.  But sometimes that's hard; we're all human after all, and tempers may flare and/or feelings might get hurt.  I really don't like hurting people's feelings, so if I  think I can't communicate something without doing so, I might pass.  This is probably less likely here, since this isn't a general forum, or one about politics/religion, but it can crop up from time to time.  After all, we're not writing in a vacuum. 

 

7b) The subject isn't sensitive, but something in the post has become sensitive: If feelings are already starting to get involved more than calm words, then I don't want to add fuel to the fire, so to speak.  Nor do I want to turn ire onto me by pointing out that 'we should all just calm down and get along.'  Sometimes it's just best to let these threads sleep, or alert a moderator to take a peek.

 

8} I've already answered in a similar post, and I don't want to repeat myself: A lot of times people don't go back very far, and they post something that's already been posted.  If I answered an earlier post, I might not want to answer again.  Or I might post a link to the older post; it depends on my mood.  But something like that might, inadvertently, kill the conversation on both posts.

 

9) I had a 'wonderful' answer all written out, and my web-crashed/computer reset/etc: Sometimes you have every intention of answering.  You have the interest, you have a response, everything seems lined up.  Then you have a technical failure after writing a couple paragraphs and you just don't have the heart to type it all out again.  This is sad, and frustrating, and I hate when it happens.

 

So, what are some of your posting hang ups?  Which of  the ones already listed do you identify with?  Discuss.

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I post when I have something I think would make an interesting topic, or have some writing-related thought that occurs to me, or when I need a quick fix of adulation vis-a-vis my WIP ;) . I am always on the lookout for interesting conversations. I would add that in alongside the posts that peter out or never get a peep, there are many that generatre good chat. And there has definitly been an increase of that recently as, I think, we all dig in a bit.

 

I don't know if I would agree on point 1. It may be true at a point in time, but that's just because my brain isn't coming up with anything new in that moment. To be fair I haven't trawled the archives looking for the topic to see if it exists earlier but then again I don't object to new posts of the same thing. I'm also a bit lazy in that respect hehe

 

I am seeing several necro'ed threads. That's fair game imo; the points they make still stand, so rise up your dead! I have responded to a handful. But some of your other posts are familiar to me, particularly the phone one. Sensitivity is not an issue for me. I'll talk about anything and am not - I hope - a particularly inflammatory individual so I don't see any issues there. This forum is currently my forum of focus though I am active on a couple of others.

 

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Another reason o/ -raises hand- I'm an incredible lurker. I only post when I really think I have something to contribute and feel that I need to make my posts a little more worthwhile. Or I have few spoons of energy.

 

I find long posts super daunting, which is why I make mine really short in the hopes it encourages people :)

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Well, this is getting philosophical.

 

Might we not also ask the question, Why DO we post?

 

I'm not being completely facetious here. If this is a forum for fantasy writers, which posts are actually valuable? I will make my own decisions about which posts interest me, or seem useful, or I have an opinion on, or I can offer some advice/experience. Others I'll skip.

 

I don't know who else read this advice from Andy Weir on the nanowrimo site?:

 

"And, finally, I have this advice: Resist the urge to tell friends and family your story. I know it’s hard because you want to talk about it and they’re (sometimes) interested in hearing about it. But writers have a dirty little secret: We are mainly motivated by our desire for people to experience our stories. We want an audience. We need it.

 

Telling your story to friends verbally satisfies that need for an audience, and it diminishes your motivation to actually write it. So make a rule: The only way for anyone to ever hear about your stories is to read them. You can still give it to them chapter by chapter—so you get the sweet, sweet external validation that you crave during the process. But no telling the story outside the pages.

 

If you do that, you’ll at least finish the book."

 

From my own experience, I think there is a lot to this, though obviously everyone is different, and sometimes getting mini-feedback and encouragement can help you to write more.

 

So, I will tend to avoid posts that are an invitation to discuss your characters/story, because I think - is this helpful? is it procrastination? is it actually unhelpful?

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Right now one of the main things that is making me a kinda inactive, not even a lurker, just inactive, is my lack of energy. I would love for there to be an active forum, but activity also sort of intimidates me because when I've had a bout of inactivity due to whatever reason (lack of spoons, real life stuff getting in the way, just plain old forgetfullness) and I see that a forum has been active I'm sort of afraid that people will point at me and pester me about why I haven't been active.

That's completely on me and my old damn mind being annoying, I'm in therapy for stuff like that.

When I look at the activity stream I'll see people replying to a certain topic and I always hover over it to sort get a look at the reply, but not all of the discussions really interest me or make me want to add my own comments. Right now I see one on religion for instance, the discussion is highly valuable in my opinion, but it is not a discussion that I want to involve myself in, at least not right now.

Right now my focus is on getting my story written, figuring out how to do the editing part, how to do the publishing part later on, how to get readers, how to get sponsors/donations, doing my research. It's absolutely selfish, I know it is, but activity on a forum is rarely unselfish because you always get something out of it (even if it is liking it that you're helping someone). People can shoot at me for thinking like this, but I don't mean it in a mean or condecending way or whatever. It's like a cost-benefit thing that everybody does, maybe not consciously, but at some point people are waging the costs and benefits of doing things, including whether or not to answer on a forum topic. I've had major discussions about this with my boyfriend and other friends.

I felt like this is a topic that deserved an answer because it's something that we're grappling with as a group, but otherwise I wouldn't have taken the time and energy to even read everything let alone reply because of interest and energy issues.

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I guess I have a few reasons, some of which are echoed here, but for me its mainly:

 

1. The post takes my interest but I don't feel like I have something to say that will contribute to the discussion.

2. The post takes my interest and I have a contribution but my brain is mush after work and I can't formulate it into a coherent reply.

3. The post takes my interest and I have a contribution and I fully type that contribution out...and then I second guess the value of that contribution, delete it all and close the tab. Which probably says more about my social awkwardness than anything else!

4. I think I'm also just a bit weird about sharing stuff pertaining to my writing. I'm excited about my characters and world, but sometimes I just don't feel ready to share new developments until I'm 100% happy with them, which once again, is probably more of a self-confidence thing than anything to do with the forum.

 

I know that I'm talking to a group of like-minded people and there's no judgement, so a lot of my lack of posting issues just need to be addressed by me pushing my own comfort zone and just posting on impulse.

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Lots of great points here, it is really multifaceted why people don't post.

 

For me, I would phrase it as 'people don't always RESPOND'. We may answer a topic, but it ends up being a list of responses rather than an actual discussion about the topic, we aren't reading and responding to the post immediately above us, we just respond to the original poster. This is not an accusation, I am 100% guilty of this, like in the religion thread. I went on a big whole spiel about my gods but didn't comment on anyone else's religions.

 

I think as writers we are really fond of our own ideas and get excited, we want to share. But we don't always have that same connection to other people's ideas and so don't bother asking for more details. This doesn't happen with all posts, but I have seen it lots.

 

We can improve that situation by trying to be more involved with each person in the thread, or at least the last responder.  Get involved, brain storm with each other, spread the love :)

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Mynoris[/member], I think it's interesting that you pointed out that long first posts can be intimidating, because you're absolutely right... but it also depends on A) how interesting the topic/post itself is and B) how well it's organized. Your post is very well organized and easy to digest, so I had no problem getting through it.

 

However, long posts with no solid organization pattern, especially when they have big blocky paragraphs of text, are often intimidating even when the topic is interesting.

 

Lord_Aetius[/member], I like the quote you shared. It's an interesting and valid concept; it may not work for everyone, but I can certainly see why someone might not want to share details about their story given that idea. Also, I loved The Martian, so bonus points for Andy Weir!

 

Romancegirl[/member], you're right about the costs/benefits thing. I'm definitely the sort of person who will reply to a post because I don't want someone else to experience the feeling of crying out into the void and getting no response in return! So I get that, and everyone has different thresholds for what's beneficial vs detrimental for them.

 

Penguinball[/member], you put into words something I couldn't figure out how to, but that has been bothering me too! You're right, people don't always respond even when replying. I think we could all stand to work on that, but also acknowledge that sometimes someone won't have the energy to do that and it might be better for them to share their thoughts than post nothing at all. As long as that isn't happening all the time, I think it's okay, because we all get what that's like.

 

I don't think anyone super cares if something is a little repetitive. There's a difference between kind of restating something you've already shared in a necroed thread because someone started a new one with the same/a similar topic... and the repetitive things that people actually do find bothersome. There's the sort of person who gives off the impression that they just like to hear themselves talk, and frequently say the same sorts of things, but I think it's different when you're just responding to someone new asking a familiar question you may have answered before.

 

I'm the sort of person who avoids necroed threads, if only because often a really old thread includes or was started by someone who's not really around anymore and thus can't really reply to new responses. So I actually like it when someone starts a new topic even if an old version of it is sitting around somewhere. However, if someone else reanimates a necroed thread, I won't hesitate to join in, so... maybe I'm not that picky?

 

So... I think most, if not all, of these rationales for why someone does or doesn't post are valid. If the goal is to increase activity, I guess the question is what to do to tackle these problems?

 

Here are some suggestions that I have...

 

  • Try to keep posts/thoughts concise - obviously sometimes they'll get long, but if we're mindful of scaling them down where possible, it might help someone without the energy to look through something really long.
     
  • Keep posts organized, and try to be mindful of when paragraphs are getting too lengthy. Similar reasoning to the above.
     
  • Where possible, reference content from people who've replied before you! It's polite and helps everyone feel included. However:
     
  • If that's not possible, try not to stress! Just say something like "I didn't have time to read everything, so I hope I'm not being redundant, but these are my thoughts." We get it! Not everyone has the energy to go through everything all the time. Just try your best :)
     
  • Come up with a method for marking posts you don't have time to reply to right now, but want to. There are lots of potential options here! For one thing, after reading a post you can mark it as unread. For another, you could post a placeholder post. Again, we know what it's like to not have time; we'll get it. Even if your placeholder includes vague notes to yourself about what you want to add when you have time, we won't judge :P

 

Any other suggestions? Or adjustments to mine?

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I'm the sort of person who avoids necroed threads, if only because often a really old thread includes or was started by someone who's not really around anymore and thus can't really reply to new responses. So I actually like it when someone starts a new topic even if an old version of it is sitting around somewhere. However, if someone else reanimates a necroed thread, I won't hesitate to join in, so... maybe I'm not that picky?

 

Maybe we want to look into something like a soft reset of the forum? Like, archive anything that hasn't had a post since mid 2018 so people don't feel strange about starting new topics or necroeing old threads? I personally don't have a problem resurrecting old posts, but I completely understand others not wanting to, it feels like you are elbowing your way into someone else's conversation. ESPECIALLY when you are new and still getting a feel for the culture of this forum.

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"And, finally, I have this advice: Resist the urge to tell friends and family your story. I know it’s hard because you want to talk about it and they’re (sometimes) interested in hearing about it. But writers have a dirty little secret: We are mainly motivated by our desire for people to experience our stories. We want an audience. We need it.

 

Telling your story to friends verbally satisfies that need for an audience, and it diminishes your motivation to actually write it. So make a rule: The only way for anyone to ever hear about your stories is to read them. You can still give it to them chapter by chapter—so you get the sweet, sweet external validation that you crave during the process. But no telling the story outside the pages.

 

If you do that, you’ll at least finish the book."

 

That's really valuable advice and crystallises something I was aware of but hadn't entirely articulated to myself; that there is merit in not sharing, in keeping things precious. It is tempting to get kudos left, right and centre for one's writing and ideas but after a while I find that takes it all away from me, in a strange way, as though expanding the universe too far pulls at the fabric of it and lets the - bleaugh! - the workaday in.

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I identify with 1) Everything has already been said: I don't have a single new thing to add to the conversation without repeating what someone else has already said.  Or I feel it is not my place to speak, when the question is strictly fantasy-related (e.g. worldbuilding or religion, since my historical or contemporary world is already created and I only navigate through it and thoroughly research what exists in matters of religions/ history/ geography/ etc; or give snippets/ examples.... and I am not writing in English, mostly, and I don't feel like translating big chunks into English). Another issue is simply related to lack of time, but mostly the two above. When I feel inspired by the discussion, I always participate.

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I'm the sort of person who avoids necroed threads, if only because often a really old thread includes or was started by someone who's not really around anymore and thus can't really reply to new responses. So I actually like it when someone starts a new topic even if an old version of it is sitting around somewhere. However, if someone else reanimates a necroed thread, I won't hesitate to join in, so... maybe I'm not that picky?

 

Maybe we want to look into something like a soft reset of the forum? Like, archive anything that hasn't had a post since mid 2018 so people don't feel strange about starting new topics or necroeing old threads? I personally don't have a problem resurrecting old posts, but I completely understand others not wanting to, it feels like you are elbowing your way into someone else's conversation. ESPECIALLY when you are new and still getting a feel for the culture of this forum.

 

I have to reply to the rest of these posts later, but I just wanted to say that this is a good idea. I realized last night that some people are responding to topics that were started by people who are no longer members/active on the forum, which people wouldn't realize unless they looked at their profiles. So I think that it will be easier if we start with archiving and locking old topics (but we'll still definitely encourage everyone to recreate the topic if they wish to discuss something that's already been archived. There's nothing wrong with starting a discussion on the same thing, since we have so many members who've gone inactive that were once active and it will help bring new opinions and perspectives to those discussions that weren't given previously) from maybe mid-2018 (or maybe even the start of 2018?) and then it'll be a lot easier to shift the forums around, maybe.

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I'm really very happy that so many people have responded to this thread, and so thoughtfully too!  Here's a few comments on what I've seen so far:

 

I post when I have something I think would make an interesting topic, or have some writing-related thought that occurs to me, or when I need a quick fix of adulation vis-a-vis my WIP ;) . I am always on the lookout for interesting conversations. I would add that in alongside the posts that peter out or never get a peep, there are many that generatre good chat. And there has definitly been an increase of that recently as, I think, we all dig in a bit.

 

I never said that there weren't any posts that didn't have good responses.  Only that it had been pointed out that the site is flagging a bit.  Obviously the ones that have a lot of good responses aren't an issue, so there's nothing there to fix.  I didn't mean to imply that all threads were problematic. :)

 

 

Another reason o/ -raises hand- I'm an incredible lurker. I only post when I really think I have something to contribute and feel that I need to make my posts a little more worthwhile. Or I have few spoons of energy.

 

I find long posts super daunting, which is why I make mine really short in the hopes it encourages people :)

 

Ah, a spoon reference.  Yay!  I was never really sure how widespread that article was.  I learned about it while playing Love Nikki.  Yes, lurkers tend to post less, and that's fine too. :)  Especially when it's an issue of low energy.

 

Well, this is getting philosophical.

 

Might we not also ask the question, Why DO we post?

 

So, I will tend to avoid posts that are an invitation to discuss your characters/story, because I think - is this helpful? is it procrastination? is it actually unhelpful?

 

I studied a bit of philosophy in college, so I'm not surprised.  But yes, I could have asked why DO we post, but it seemed more to the point to take the other way around. :)

 

I don't know who Andy Weir is, and I'm sure it's good advice for some.  It would probably be useful for me, but I find that I'm less likely to keep writing something when I keep it all to myself.  I suppose I feel too disconnected from the story that way.  But, writing advice, I find, isn't a one-size-fits-all.

 

Right now one of the main things that is making me a kinda inactive, not even a lurker, just inactive, is my lack of energy. I would love for there to be an active forum, but activity also sort of intimidates me because when I've had a bout of inactivity due to whatever reason (lack of spoons, real life stuff getting in the way, just plain old forgetfullness) and I see that a forum has been active I'm sort of afraid that people will point at me and pester me about why I haven't been active.

That's completely on me and my old damn mind being annoying, I'm in therapy for stuff like that.

When I look at the activity stream I'll see people replying to a certain topic and I always hover over it to sort get a look at the reply, but not all of the discussions really interest me or make me want to add my own comments. Right now I see one on religion for instance, the discussion is highly valuable in my opinion, but it is not a discussion that I want to involve myself in, at least not right now.

Right now my focus is on getting my story written, figuring out how to do the editing part, how to do the publishing part later on, how to get readers, how to get sponsors/donations, doing my research. It's absolutely selfish, I know it is, but activity on a forum is rarely unselfish because you always get something out of it (even if it is liking it that you're helping someone). People can shoot at me for thinking like this, but I don't mean it in a mean or condecending way or whatever. It's like a cost-benefit thing that everybody does, maybe not consciously, but at some point people are waging the costs and benefits of doing things, including whether or not to answer on a forum topic. I've had major discussions about this with my boyfriend and other friends.

I felt like this is a topic that deserved an answer because it's something that we're grappling with as a group, but otherwise I wouldn't have taken the time and energy to even read everything let alone reply because of interest and energy issues.

 

Another spoon reference.  Yay!

 

I feel similarly myself in many ways. I'll start out strong somewhere, and then a 'bump' will come along and I just lose energy, or I'm sick and don't touch my computer for a few days on end.  Or there's a great family upheaval and this sort of thing falls by the wayside.

 

I agree with your sentiment about being selfish.  But, being selfish isn't always bad; it's not the same as being greedy.  Some philosophers, in fact, state that there is no such thing as altruism, and that even a kind act has some selfish aspect, even if it's just the reassurance that you're not a bad person.  But, this is a writer forum, not one on philosophy, so I'll drop it for now.  Still, it's some good insight.

 

Thank you so much for posting, especially if it's hard for you right now.  You had something valuable to add, and you did it!

 

 

3. The post takes my interest and I have a contribution and I fully type that contribution out...and then I second guess the value of that contribution, delete it all and close the tab. Which probably says more about my social awkwardness than anything else!

 

I know that I'm talking to a group of like-minded people and there's no judgement, so a lot of my lack of posting issues just need to be addressed by me pushing my own comfort zone and just posting on impulse.

 

#3 is something I also feel, but it didn't cross my mind for the initial post, so thank you for bringing it up. :)  I'm a chronic second-guesser.  I usually go further into third and fourth guessing.  And yes, sometimes it takes a bit of adjusting to get used to a 'safe' environment to post in.  Especially since so much of the internet is full of vitriol. 

 

Lots of great points here, it is really multifaceted why people don't post.

 

For me, I would phrase it as 'people don't always RESPOND'. We may answer a topic, but it ends up being a list of responses rather than an actual discussion about the topic, we aren't reading and responding to the post immediately above us, we just respond to the original poster. This is not an accusation, I am 100% guilty of this, like in the religion thread. I went on a big whole spiel about my gods but didn't comment on anyone else's religions.

 

I think as writers we are really fond of our own ideas and get excited, we want to share. But we don't always have that same connection to other people's ideas and so don't bother asking for more details. This doesn't happen with all posts, but I have seen it lots.

 

We can improve that situation by trying to be more involved with each person in the thread, or at least the last responder.  Get involved, brain storm with each other, spread the love :)

 

A very good point.  It also goes back to the notion of being selfish addressed earlier.  Still, you're right, responding to a specific question/statement isn't the same as simply posting.  It's even more to the point and, I would wager, is really what we're trying to get more of.  So thank you for pointing out that distinction.

 

 

So... I think most, if not all, of these rationales for why someone does or doesn't post are valid. If the goal is to increase activity, I guess the question is what to do to tackle these problems?

 

Here are some suggestions that I have...

 

  • Try to keep posts/thoughts concise - obviously sometimes they'll get long, but if we're mindful of scaling them down where possible, it might help someone without the energy to look through something really long.
     
  • Keep posts organized, and try to be mindful of when paragraphs are getting too lengthy. Similar reasoning to the above.
     
  • Where possible, reference content from people who've replied before you! It's polite and helps everyone feel included. However:
     
  • If that's not possible, try not to stress! Just say something like "I didn't have time to read everything, so I hope I'm not being redundant, but these are my thoughts." We get it! Not everyone has the energy to go through everything all the time. Just try your best :)
     
  • Come up with a method for marking posts you don't have time to reply to right now, but want to. There are lots of potential options here! For one thing, after reading a post you can mark it as unread. For another, you could post a placeholder post. Again, we know what it's like to not have time; we'll get it. Even if your placeholder includes vague notes to yourself about what you want to add when you have time, we won't judge :P

 

Any other suggestions? Or adjustments to mine?

 

I really like the suggestion of marking posts we want to respond to, but don't have the time.  Or even ones we want to read later, and don't have the time.  The other suggestions are good also, but this one stood out to me in particular.

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Well, this is getting philosophical.

 

Might we not also ask the question, Why DO we post?

 

I'm not being completely facetious here. If this is a forum for fantasy writers, which posts are actually valuable? I will make my own decisions about which posts interest me, or seem useful, or I have an opinion on, or I can offer some advice/experience. Others I'll skip.

 

I don't know who else read this advice from Andy Weir on the nanowrimo site?:

 

"And, finally, I have this advice: Resist the urge to tell friends and family your story. I know it’s hard because you want to talk about it and they’re (sometimes) interested in hearing about it. But writers have a dirty little secret: We are mainly motivated by our desire for people to experience our stories. We want an audience. We need it.

 

Telling your story to friends verbally satisfies that need for an audience, and it diminishes your motivation to actually write it. So make a rule: The only way for anyone to ever hear about your stories is to read them. You can still give it to them chapter by chapter—so you get the sweet, sweet external validation that you crave during the process. But no telling the story outside the pages.

 

If you do that, you’ll at least finish the book."

 

From my own experience, I think there is a lot to this, though obviously everyone is different, and sometimes getting mini-feedback and encouragement can help you to write more.

 

So, I will tend to avoid posts that are an invitation to discuss your characters/story, because I think - is this helpful? is it procrastination? is it actually unhelpful?

 

While I understand what the quote you shared is getting at, I really don't fully agree with it. There's nothing wrong with sharing information about your world and characters and such. I've found it incredibly helpful to do so (and maybe I do it too much. I know that I tend to rely on others for ideas a lot of the time, and I've definitely become more aware of that fact and have been trying to not do so as often, though sometimes I really am just that stuck). Sometimes when you discuss something about your characters or your world, it helps you discover something about those things that you might not have otherwise figured out if you hadn't shared them with others, i.e. a post discussing a part of your world building or something.

 

I've never found that sharing parts of my writing has diminished my motivation. If anything, it's created more motivation. If I find myself feeling unmotivated with a story, I think that's more on me as a writer rather than on whether or not I've shared information about the story with other writers. Getting feedback from others as you're writing a story is so incredibly valuable. So, yeah...I understand what the author is saying, but I don't agree with it, at all, really. And I think this is one of those instances where it's one author's opinion. It works for him, so that's his advice, and that's fine. But I certainly wouldn't want to discourage people from sharing information about their stories (I mean, obviously if you're not doing so because you're protective enough about your writing that you really just don't want to share it with anyone while it's in the drafting stages, then that's fine and totally your choice. It's understandable), especially on a forum that is specifically geared toward doing exactly that. I don't see responding to or starting these kinds of topics as procrastination or unhelpful at all.

 

Right now one of the main things that is making me a kinda inactive, not even a lurker, just inactive, is my lack of energy. I would love for there to be an active forum, but activity also sort of intimidates me because when I've had a bout of inactivity due to whatever reason (lack of spoons, real life stuff getting in the way, just plain old forgetfullness) and I see that a forum has been active I'm sort of afraid that people will point at me and pester me about why I haven't been active.

 

You definitely don't have to worry about anyone point and pester at you about not being active on this forum. Any time we decide to address the activity issue, we do so by addressing the entire community and we do not single anyone out for doing so. We get it- real life gets in the way, people lose mental energy, they get a bit overwhelmed, etc. They don't want to prioritize a forum that is so unreliable with its activity, so they don't. However, this means that they are actually contributing to that forum's activity struggles. It's not just one single person that is doing so, though, it's multiple people, which is why we always address the community as a whole, rather than try to point fingers at specific people because they're not being active.

 

I guess I have a few reasons, some of which are echoed here, but for me its mainly:

 

1. The post takes my interest but I don't feel like I have something to say that will contribute to the discussion.

2. The post takes my interest and I have a contribution but my brain is mush after work and I can't formulate it into a coherent reply.

3. The post takes my interest and I have a contribution and I fully type that contribution out...and then I second guess the value of that contribution, delete it all and close the tab. Which probably says more about my social awkwardness than anything else!

4. I think I'm also just a bit weird about sharing stuff pertaining to my writing. I'm excited about my characters and world, but sometimes I just don't feel ready to share new developments until I'm 100% happy with them, which once again, is probably more of a self-confidence thing than anything to do with the forum.

 

I know that I'm talking to a group of like-minded people and there's no judgement, so a lot of my lack of posting issues just need to be addressed by me pushing my own comfort zone and just posting on impulse.

 

I totally understand the whole "type a contribution and then second guess it" thing, although I don't do it so much on forums, really (though I suppose it depends on the forum. Sometimes I'll go into the fantasy Reddit community and I'll start to write a reply to a post and then I'll decide...meh, why bother. Most of the time, though, I do this in non-writing community context.

 

I totally understand your 4th point, too, and it's totally fair.

 

Lots of great points here, it is really multifaceted why people don't post.

 

For me, I would phrase it as 'people don't always RESPOND'. We may answer a topic, but it ends up being a list of responses rather than an actual discussion about the topic, we aren't reading and responding to the post immediately above us, we just respond to the original poster. This is not an accusation, I am 100% guilty of this, like in the religion thread. I went on a big whole spiel about my gods but didn't comment on anyone else's religions.

 

I think as writers we are really fond of our own ideas and get excited, we want to share. But we don't always have that same connection to other people's ideas and so don't bother asking for more details. This doesn't happen with all posts, but I have seen it lots.

 

We can improve that situation by trying to be more involved with each person in the thread, or at least the last responder.  Get involved, brain storm with each other, spread the love :)

 

I think you nailed this 1,000% on the head.

 

Regarding long posts, since kherezae[/member] brought this up, I am totally guilty of doing so (I mean, just look at the feedback thread. It has three pages, and I was the last one to respond, which was pretty long). I think I'm just used to writing/reading longer posts in different ways (role playing and just...for general writing discussion and such?) so it doesn't really bother me. But I can see how it can be intimidating to others. Maybe I'm just the weirdo who doesn't really mind long posts (as long as it's, like, formatted correctly with spaces between paragraphs and the like (exactly like how Mynoris[/member] wrote the OP). :P

 

kherezae[/member]

I'm the sort of person who avoids necroed threads, if only because often a really old thread includes or was started by someone who's not really around anymore and thus can't really reply to new responses. So I actually like it when someone starts a new topic even if an old version of it is sitting around somewhere. However, if someone else reanimates a necroed thread, I won't hesitate to join in, so... maybe I'm not that picky?

 

I was actually going to bring this up as a point if I'd gotten to reply before you did- this is something I realized is the downside to not having a necroposting rule. So maybe instead of having a rule we should have guidelines, although now I realize that we may not really need them because we're archiving a bunch of posts. But something I'd say would definitely go with it would be "if you see a writing related topic in the archive that you'd like to be able to give your input on, or a game that you want to revive, you're welcome to go ahead and do so by starting a new topic," and then something about how even though it's already been discussed before, it's fine because it allows others to give opinions/perspectives that weren't given when the discussion was first started.

 

I definitely like your suggestions for ways to tackle some of the issues being addressed!

 

I will definitely try to work on condensing my responses more (...even though I'm not currently doing so with this response XD) so that it's a little less overwhelming when people read back on them.

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I know one of my hang-ups about posting is being... kind of shy? Especially on big, everyone can interact places. It's something I'm trying to work on myself, but that is one reason I don't post much, if at all! 

The second is time/fatigue. I get tired very easily lately, and don't have a lot of energy to do things, to the point that even typing a quick response is difficult, lol. Or I get busy/distracted and leave the response half drafted, and when I return, I'm too tired to finish or no longer sure of what exactly I was trying to communicate. 

Long posts are also a factor, though I adore seeing people ramble. Sometimes I don't have the energy to give the post the attention it requires--or as mentioned, I'm on mobile! 

Anyway, I could keep going but a lot of what I have to say echoes the other thoughts in this thread! 

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55 minutes ago, LivvyMoore said:

I know one of my hang-ups about posting is being... kind of shy? Especially on big, everyone can interact places. It's something I'm trying to work on myself, but that is one reason I don't post much, if at all! 

The second is time/fatigue. I get tired very easily lately, and don't have a lot of energy to do things, to the point that even typing a quick response is difficult, lol. Or I get busy/distracted and leave the response half drafted, and when I return, I'm too tired to finish or no longer sure of what exactly I was trying to communicate. 

Long posts are also a factor, though I adore seeing people ramble. Sometimes I don't have the energy to give the post the attention it requires--or as mentioned, I'm on mobile! 

Anyway, I could keep going but a lot of what I have to say echoes the other thoughts in this thread! 

This is one reason that it's good to have reaction emoji things.  People can see that their posts are read and appreciated by others, even those who are shy or feel that everything has been said.  🙂

Online I'm not really shy at all, but I can be easily intimidated in person.

I just hope that you'll feel comfortable enough to post when you really want to.  And if it's a short post, I don't think anyone here will be upset.

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6 hours ago, Mynoris said:

I just hope that you'll feel comfortable enough to post when you really want to.  And if it's a short post, I don't think anyone here will be upset.

This. And definitely not- we don't mind if you have to give short responses! This isn't like a lot of role playing sites where (and I'm totally guilty of this, as a (former) role player) a lot of people want long posts and such and there's a word count minimum and all that. We definitely don't mind if you can only give a few sentences in response to a post. 🙂

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14 hours ago, Mynoris said:

This is one reason that it's good to have reaction emoji things.  People can see that their posts are read and appreciated by others, even those who are shy or feel that everything has been said.  🙂

Online I'm not really shy at all, but I can be easily intimidated in person.

I just hope that you'll feel comfortable enough to post when you really want to.  And if it's a short post, I don't think anyone here will be upset.

 

8 hours ago, Jedi Knight Muse said:

This. And definitely not- we don't mind if you have to give short responses! This isn't like a lot of role playing sites where (and I'm totally guilty of this, as a (former) role player) a lot of people want long posts and such and there's a word count minimum and all that. We definitely don't mind if you can only give a few sentences in response to a post. 🙂

Thank you both ❤️

I'm glad this community is so welcoming! It definitely helps me feel welcome. 

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On 11/14/2018 at 9:46 AM, Penguinball said:

 

For me, I would phrase it as 'people don't always RESPOND'. We may answer a topic, but it ends up being a list of responses rather than an actual discussion about the topic, we aren't reading and responding to the post immediately above us, we just respond to the original poster. This is not an accusation, I am 100% guilty of this, like in the religion thread. I went on a big whole spiel about my gods but didn't comment on anyone else's religions.

 

I think as writers we are really fond of our own ideas and get excited, we want to share. But we don't always have that same connection to other people's ideas and so don't bother asking for more details. This doesn't happen with all posts, but I have seen it lots.

 

We can improve that situation by trying to be more involved with each person in the thread, or at least the last responder.  Get involved, brain storm with each other, spread the love 🙂

 

 

I agree with this in particular.  I don't know the other members very well so it seems like we're all posting in isolation.  There doesn't seem to be any real connection between us. 

I find this a big issue in many forums, especially large ones where I'm not a frequent poster.  I don't tend to do well in large communities.  Unless you're in the popular crowd, or someone who posts pretty much every day, you tend to get skipped over and ignored.  I don't want to come over like an attention-seeker,  but when no-one ever responds, I begin to think that maybe what I have to say isn't that interesting for others.  Thus I don't bother.  The last thing I want to do is make a nuisance of myself and butt in where I' m not welcome.

Also, as others have said, where I come into a thread late, it seems like everything has already been said. and I don't want to repeat what has gone before.

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1 hour ago, Xanxa said:

I agree with this in particular.  I don't know the other members very well so it seems like we're all posting in isolation.  There doesn't seem to be any real connection between us. 

I find this a big issue in many forums, especially large ones where I'm not a frequent poster.  I don't tend to do well in large communities.  Unless you're in the popular crowd, or someone who posts pretty much every day, you tend to get skipped over and ignored.  I don't want to come over like an attention-seeker,  but when no-one ever responds, I begin to think that maybe what I have to say isn't that interesting for others.  Thus I don't bother.  The last thing I want to do is make a nuisance of myself and butt in where I' m not welcome.

Also, as others have said, where I come into a thread late, it seems like everything has already been said. and I don't want to repeat what has gone before.

I understand what you mean. I gravitate toward smaller communities because you can feel lost in the shuffle in big ones. It's interesting as "staff" of a website because it means I don't really want it to get too big. And I think we all know what it feels like to get to a thread late and feel like everything has been said already. But I think people in general like hearing confirmation of their thoughts and feelings, and people reflecting off of them and sharing how they identify and differ. You might not engage every person who has posted on a thread before you, but that doesn't mean it's not worth posting your thoughts!

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12 hours ago, Xanxa said:

 I don't want to come over like an attention-seeker,  but when no-one ever responds, I begin to think that maybe what I have to say isn't that interesting for others.  Thus I don't bother.  The last thing I want to do is make a nuisance of myself and butt in where I' m not welcome.

 

If it helps, from what I remember of your posts @Xanxa they were always really good 🙂 I was a little sad when you didn't come back for a while cause I remember enjoying your posts

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I think the features of the new site are already making it easier to track new posts and threads!  I love that there's both a section for responses to us specifically (quotes, mentions, reactions) and for anything we haven't read.

It gives everyone a better chance to see and be seen.  Hopefully threads will stay alive longer. 

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Thanks everyone for taking the time to address my issues.  And yes, I like the notifications section too.  It does make it much easier to pick up threads, especially for people like me who don't post every day.

 

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A bit late to the conversation here, but I find it intimidating to post new stuff in Foundations & Getting the Words out because the Writer Discussion Archive has a lot of really interesting topics about general writing that most of the regulars seem to have talked about already (and sadly, there isn't the option of adding new replies there anymore). That's probably the major reason for me right now.

Usually I'm pretty post-happy and like an active forum. Other than that, I agree with many of the others here, that if the topic isn't grabbing me at that particular time, or I just don't have any new insight or ideas, I don't post. Like someone mentioned above, too long posts can also be a hurdle. A long synopsis of a new story-world, complete with character names and stuff, is hard to get a feel for in order to give a good reply. There's also the fear for newbies of being too active too soon, and ending up annoying people, lol! 

 

I think it's awesome that the feel of the community is discussed, and it feels like a site with a lot of good stuff and people with good writing insights though. I hope it keeps growing. :) 

 

 

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