How did Babble change since early times?

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alien
How did Babble change since early times?

Since I already confessed to having been around for a long time (not for a few years though), I might as well comment on how I see Babble changed.

We used to have long discussions about basic-principle ideas (one of the things that attracted me to Babble in the first place) and we had the patience to discuss them fully.

Most of the threads today seem to be primarily about current events and concerns. There also seems to have been more fun and humour back then but I may be wrong about that -- I have not read all the current threads to form an opinion.

Maybe some of us were a lot younger back then?

I wonder what happened to my old Babble-friends whom I don't see any more: WingNut, Sisyphus, Apementus, Markbo, Dr.Conway, Meades, Lance, Clersal, Earthmother, Clockwork, Slick Willy, Grasshopper, SherpaFish, etc., etc.

I would be curious about thoughts of old-timers about how they think Babble changed since the early days.

remind remind's picture

from your own post of yesterday, quoting a historical thread, it appears as if nothing much has changed, other than acknowleging that first principles do not need to be debated and redebated over and over again.

there is a lot of old posters back with new names, much like yourself, not that I am really interested in where they are mind you. Having said that, a few  of the names you mention make an  appearance now and then. While others I have never heard of, and who must have moved on before I  started reading back in 2003.

 

oldgoat

Hi alien.  Of course now I'm really curious who you are.  I think I'll just assume you're media-boy.  How d'ya like that!  Most of those names I can tell you something about as my timeline here is pretty much uninterrupted since I started.  I've actually met Meades, lance, Earthmother, Clockwork and Sherpafish. I like to think Sherpafishy and Dawna Matrix are living a fairy tale existance somewhere out in BC.

 

One huge difference I think involves numbers.  We were a much more intimate group back at the beginning, and as a small community could handle dissidence differently.  Also, what may now be firm written policy we were just figuring out back then.  I often refer to the first summer before 911 as a golden time of innocence on this board.  I fondly remember the parties we had for people's 1000 post mark.  I remember the very first banning, and the surrounding angst about having to jettison one of our members.  He was a lefty, too, just didn't play well with others.

 

Today we're a much bigger beast, and for good or ill, I'd say more attached to rabble.ca which is itself a bigger more high profile entity.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

I recall more lurkers willing to come down from the trees and administer a judicious slap to the head or two. Then they would go back into the forest and do what they do best. Lurk. Perhaps other factors were at play as well.

skdadl

Wingy still drops in very occasionally -- I love Wingy so much; few babblers have ever made me laugh so hard; he definitely belongs in that pantheon you list, alien.

Earthmother is Debra, aka April Reign, who is the creator and Dear Leader of [URL=http://breadnroses.ca/community/index.php]Bread and Roses,[/URL] which began as a refugee site for people who were feeling a bit battered by friction first here and then at EM, many although not all of them women. It's more than that now; fairly early on, we developed more of an outward turn to the blogosphere, so it reads differently from babble. I'm a moderator there, although there is precious little to moderate.

I miss all the other people you list too, although I see Meades occasionally on Facebook.

The summer of '01 was indeed a golden time of innocence -- I will never forget it, and I am grateful to everyone who was here then. Then. and really for a long time afterwards, because we were feeling our way along and building together, we were relatively cohesive. There was a lot of shared understanding and shared history and mutual trust, even when we had arguments. Maybe there's a limit to how long a single community can go on like that as it continues to grow; anyway, we reached ours.

We used to worry a lot that we were too cliquish, and newbies sometimes accused us of that, maybe fairly sometimes. I never thought that was an entirely bad thing, and now for sure I don't think it was a bad thing. We needed to change in some very particular ways, via the anti-oppression forums most obviously, which have been very valuable to a lot of people including lurkers, I suspect. But there was a clearer allegiance to basic principle, too, less need to go back and re-argue first principles, because we'd all grown into those together.

Tommy_Paine

 

 

How did babble change since early times?  

 

What do you really mean by that?

 

 

alien

Tommy_Paine wrote:

How did babble change since early times?  

What do you really mean by that?

change  Show Spelled [cheynj]  Show IPA verb, changed, chang·ing,  noun 

-verb (used with object)

1. to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone: to change one's name; to change one's opinion; to change the course of history.
2. to transform or convert (usually fol. by into ): The witch changed the prince into a toad.
3. to substitute another or others for; exchange for something else, usually of the same kind: She changed her shoes when she got home from the office.
4. to give and take reciprocally; interchange: to change places with someone.
5. to transfer from one (conveyance) to another: You'll have to change planes in Chicago.
6. to give or get smaller money in exchange for: to change a five-dollar bill.
7. to give or get foreign money in exchange for: to change dollars into francs.
8. to remove and replace the covering or coverings of: to change a bed; to change a baby.

-verb (used without object)

9. to become different: Overnight the nation's mood changed.
10. to become altered or modified: Colors change if they are exposed to the sun.
11. to become transformed or converted (usually fol. by into ): The toad changed into a prince again.
12. to pass gradually into (usually fol. by to  or into ): Summer changed to autumn.
13. to make a change or an exchange: If you want to sit next to the window, I'll change with you.
14. to transfer between trains or other conveyances: We can take the local and change to an express at the next stop.
15. to change one's clothes: She changed into jeans.
16. (of the moon) to pass from one phase to another.
17. (of the voice) to become deeper in tone; come to have a lower register: The boy's voice began to change when he was thirteen.

Wink

Tommy_Paine

 

 

I liked the earlier times better.     I was more argumentative.  Less laconic.

 

 

Bookish Agrarian

but always iconic

alien

Tommy, maybe if you take some time off like I did, you would be less laconic and more argumentative again.

Right now, I am having a marvellous time!

I missed Babble!

Tommy_Paine

 

I do do that from time to time, though not to the extent you have done.   

 

I don't mind boring everyone else, but I surely know when it's time to take a hiatus, and that's when I start boring myself.  It means I need to get out and learn some new things.   

 

But lately, I don't think it's that.   I think it's because I've become chickenshit, here.

 

 

skdadl

Oh, and I should have said ... Tommy_Paine always used to flirt with me, and he still does, and I tells ya, that is one thing that hasn't changed that keeps me going. Even al-Q on a good day has always done a good flirt. I missed them both a lot while I was gone.

alien

The secret of my current happiness on Babble is that I am not trying to convince anyone about anything. I used to take it very seriously, making long, point-form logical constructs and got mad when my logic (or what I thought was logic) was ignored. Now I am here for the company, poking good-natured fun at anything I disagree with, not taking anything personally, enjoying other poster's wit and cleverness, whenever it shows up. During the last 10 years I have made my peace with the world, accepted the inevitable and hope that our good fortune here in Canada will last in my lifetime. Utterly selfish attitude, I know, but I am too old to worry about it. And I am too old to lie.

al-Qa'bong

I've written this elswhere, but missing Tommy Paine was a big factor behind my returning to babble from EnMasse.

I agree with Tommy that babble used to be more argumentative and more fun in the early days.  For some reason people were more interested in talking than in being offended in those days.

Quote:
WingNut, Sisyphus, Apementus, Markbo, Dr.Conway, Meades, Lance, Clersal, Earthmother, Clockwork, Slick Willy, Grasshopper, SherpaFish, etc., etc

 

Sisyphus was great. I don't know what happened to him. I think Dr. Conway and Clockwork found us too nasty (or maybe it was just me). clersal still pops by once in a while, but I think she finds babble a little too self-important. Slick Willy and my buddy grasshopper were banned. I still miss his Basqueness around here.

alien

Here is an example of the kind of fun we used to have.

Anyone remember a thread called “Spaceship Babble”?

This is how the thread started:

"Imagine that all of Babble (all 2840 members) went on a ‘galactic cruise’ in a giant spaceship. Suppose the spaceship crash-landed on a far away uninhabited planet, beyond the hope of rescue from, and even communication with, Earth. There is no hope that the spaceship can ever be repaired and take off again.

The Planet is very much like Earth: benign climate, plenty of wildlife and natural resources.

In the community of 2840, every skill necessary for comfortable survival is represented. There is no one in position of authority because the crew died in the crash and the others are all equal. The credit cards and whatever small bills we have in our pockets are meaningless. There are lots of tools and basic raw material piled up in the spaceship (miraculously intact) and some generators to get us started. But nobody owns any of it.

Now imagine: we gather together in a big circle and try to figure out what to do next, how to organize ourselves. Any suggestions about how it would go? (Now I realize that the topic lends itself to a lot of fun, banter and hilarity, and I am looking forward to it. But I also hope there will be an interesting and meaningful discussion on possible options and outcomes. Let’s have some fun!)"

Fidel

Boy the way Glen Miller played
Songs that made the hit parade.
Guys like us we had it made,
Those were the days.

And you knew who you were then,
Girls were girls and men were men,
Mister we could use a man
Like Herbert Hoover again.

Didn't need no welfare state,
Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee our old LaSalle ran great.
Those were the days.

al-Qa'bong

Quote:
Anyone remember a thread called "Spaceship Babble"?

 

I do, and while trying to find it read through lots of fun old threads, including this early "Guy Stuff" thread.

 

This thread is a classic. We never get silly like that any more.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Quote:
Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes — a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.

And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning ——

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

I didn't join babble until 2003, I think. Once the golden age was already in wane and the new old guard were pitching their beachheads, scheming on how to ruin everybody's fun. (That's a joke of course.) I can't really comment on the tenor of the board has changed--I suspect that skdadl and oldgoat have a pretty good grasp of the situation. I agree that the size of both babble and the news site affects the kind of discussion we can have here. I still think babble is fun (although it was more fun before I became a moderator--that's joke #2), and I think we have all sorts of frivolous, entertaining conversations.

But I've thought for a long while that the discussion-board format is actually a dying breed on the internet, and as a cultural materialist, that's what interests me most. Blogs, twittering, social networking--this seems to me to be the way political discussions like the one we have (have had?) on babble are going. Certainly, when the best rabble can do is pick me for a mod, there is a death knell sounding somewhere. Too many pale shadows to live up to, I think. Kind of like Brian Clough and Leeds United. Inheriting a champion team is about the worst thing that can happen to your career. That is to say that in terms of my future, moderating HuffPo is definitely not in the cards.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

hah. I'd completely forgotten that. babble shoulda handed out merit badges or something.

Fidel

alien wrote:
Markbo, with whom I had a friendly rivalry (we disagreed about almost everything -- he still believed in Sadam's WMD!

I'll bet he's changed his handle and now supports the Can-Am disinformation campaign to re-write history since 9.11.01.

al-Qa'bong

All About Meat

Some things haven't changed much.  

Where is that "insults" thread we had going here a couple of months ago, where oldgoat linked to Shakespearean putdowns?  In that meat thread I called someone a "cream-faced loon." I have no idea how I'd have remembered that zinger from Macbeth.  That was over eight years ago, mind you.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Catchfire wrote:

But I've thought for a long while that the discussion-board format is actually a dying breed on the internet, and as a cultural materialist, that's what interests me most. Blogs, twittering, social networking--this seems to me to be the way political discussions like the one we have (have had?) on babble are going. Certainly, when the best rabble can do is pick me for a mod, there is a death knell sounding somewhere. Too many pale shadows to live up to, I think. Kind of like Brian Clough and Leeds United. Inheriting a champion team is about the worst thing that can happen to your career. That is to say that in terms of my future, moderating HuffPo is definitely not in the cards.

Interesting observation. I can't speak for the babble experience but I definitely noticed a peak in the political discussion-board forum that I used to moderate at, its height being between 2001 and 2003. That board was similar to this one but connected to Alternet. At some point, Alternet decided to introduce direct commentary to the articles they posted, similar to what most bloggers and media outlets use today, and decided to disband the Alternet discussion forums. This happened around 2005 and arrangements were made to absorb the online community under Cafe Utne boards. Soon after Cafe Utne, as a formal board attached to Utne Magazine, was let go and all their groups and sub-groups were carried over to a new server. By that time, membership for both Cafe Utne and Alternet's original forums had dropped significantly.

The sad thing about it all is that you miss the online friendships you made. The quality of interaction also changed but I still think the loss of relationships you enjoyed is what I missed most. In the online world, you just don't have enough time to back channel and foster one-on-one relationships with everyone let alone maintain them, but having a robust online community to check in regularly assured you of a connection with people you really grew to appreciate and admire. I really miss that and it seems that this thread is more or less about that.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Some babblers, such as Cueball, have remedied these sorts of problems by meeting all sorts of fellow babblers in a cross-country tour. Perhaps in hindsight more of this should have been done during babble's past history. And I don't mean that rabble had to be responsible for organizing that. Just that it oughta have been done.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

al-Qa'bong wrote:

I've written this elswhere, but missing Tommy Paine was a big factor behind my returning to babble from EnMasse.

I agree with Tommy that babble used to be more argumentative and more fun in the early days.  For some reason people were more interested in talking than in being offended in those days.

Quote:
WingNut, Sisyphus, Apementus, Markbo, Dr.Conway, Meades, Lance, Clersal, Earthmother, Clockwork, Slick Willy, Grasshopper, SherpaFish, etc., etc

 

Sisyphus was great. I don't know what happened to him. I think Dr. Conway and Clockwork found us too nasty (or maybe it was just me). clersal still pops by once in a while, but I think she finds babble a little too self-important. Slick Willy and my buddy grasshopper were banned. I still miss his Basqueness around here.

Sisyphus was terrific.  I had dinner with him and his lovely wife many moons ago when I was in their city.  I miss both of them on the board, among others listed.

I missed skdadl's golden summer of '01, signing up in mid-September.  It seemed like a safe haven.  I remember there being more diversity of opinion and less tendency to construe posts to have the worst possible meaning, but I could be wearing rose-coloured glasses. 

jrootham

skdadl was a major contributor to the high quality of the tone of early Babble.  The volume and quality of her posts were outstanding.

One other thing about early Babble was that there was a real political project involved.  Actually two, the NPI was happening then and the World Social Forum was seeding a number of local Social Forums.  I think especially the Toronto Social Forum.  Both of those projects used Babble for discussions that were expected to have real political impact.  This gave the board a weight that evaporated along with the NPI and the Social Forums.

 

alien

oldgoat wrote:
Hi alien. ....I fondly remember the parties we had for people's 1000 post mark. 

Hi oldgoat! I remember that too -- Markbo, with whom I had a friendly rivalry (we disagreed about almost everything -- he still believed in Sadam's WMD!) got his 1000-post party ahead of me, so I started posting furiously to catch up with him -- it was a real riot!

skdadl wrote:
The summer of '01 was indeed a golden time of innocence -- I will never forget it, and I am grateful to everyone who was here then. Then. and really for a long time afterwards, because we were feeling our way along and building together, we were relatively cohesive. There was a lot of shared understanding and shared history and mutual trust, even when we had arguments.

Yes, skdadl, it was. Once I started a thread about how depressed I was and everybody gathered around with advice and encouragement -- it was a very warm, friendly circle of friends (in between fights and arguments, of course)

Sorry for becoming so nostalgic in this thread, maybe it is the relative youth and innocence I am mourning now. I am sure I will be better tomorrow and keep poking fun at today.

Well, good night, all (and of course: live long and prosper!)

 

Tommy_Paine

 

I came here already a veteran of some years on different types of message boards, so I came with a thick skin.   I mean, there's no inflection on a message board, no furrowed brow, no thining of the lips.  So it's up to you, in many cases, how you want to recieve something.   And, if something seems to hit a nerve, well, maybe that's telling you something about what you wrote or what your opinion is on the subject someone is being snarky about.

And, I always believed the late Carl Sagan when he said that you have to separate your ego from your ideas.   And, I believe Carl Sagan when he said that is a very difficult thing to do.   Even Carl could be rather persnickety at times.

 

I think in the old days I kind of hoped everyone would develop a thick skin, learn the cut and thrust of debate.   But then, it was sort of consensus that we should be kinder and gentler to allow voices that might find that intimidating to join in.    I can see the value in that, and I don't dissagree.    It's a good idea.

 

But I think it's a good idea run amok.   A long time babbler in another thread revealed that they had used a "flag as offensive" on another long time babbler.

 

Jesus Christ, I long for the days when I could be offended by someone here.

I always give everyone credit for being able to read the stuff I can read.  My referee is my ability to write, to communicate and if there's a bad call by the referee, I only have to look to my own fingers.   And, if someone is being an asshole towards me, I trust that most everyone else can see it too.

Hence there only being one instance where I drew something to the attention of a moderator.   Something left by a Troll that I thought was hurtfull.

And, we do need to ban people that zoom in during elections or other times with innane ad hominem commentary, and stuff that is obviously racist, sexist, etc.

But I wish we could be more in house about the rest of the stuff, and not go running for mommy, sorry, the moderators so much.

 

I think it might get us back to debating ideas more and the "j'cuse" stuff less.

 

Slumberjack

I found Rabble.ca while browsing for information on the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City back in 2001.  More than anything else, I believe it was frustration with mainstream reporting and analysis of that event which led me to the website and to Babble back then.  My first impression after having spent practically all of my adult life in the military at that point was that some of my opinions would be ill suited to the discourse already well underway when I joined the board that year.  On the balance more things resonated, then as it does now, although to this day I have still have issues with political partisanship.  Nine years have passed, including a year and a half hiatus around the time of the schism, with a name change upon return, and as a result of the site content and participant analysis, other assumptions have fallen by the wayside.  The first assumption from 2001 to be trampled under was that leftists would have little to argue about amongst themselves.  Beyond any tactical differences which have arisen, I continue to find inspiration in the participation from both the old guard and newer board members.

Slumberjack

Tommy_Paine wrote:
 Jesus Christ, I long for the days when I could be offended by someone here.

I'll see what I can do in his stead.

Fidel

Yes I also remember the end of the long summer of '01. That was when Viv Leigh went to the ball park and blurted out, Oh Rett! It's the Yanquis! Anyone got 'NY good month of September jokes?

Slumberjack

Just to add, I do believe it is high time the moratorium on 9/11 threads be lifted.

Fidel

It's either that or give us the green light for deep water drilling again.

Unionist

I only joined in December 2005, so can't speak to the early days. Also, I'm a fairly unsubtle and maybe unobservant kind of person. I haven't noticed any significant changes in babble, whatsoever, since I signed on - except perhaps less name-calling (yeah, that's not a typo), thanks to timely and surgical intervention by mods and fellow babblers.

I'm heartened and confirmed in my opinion by reading [url=http://archive.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=15&t=0007... fascinating thread opened by Slumberjack[/url] about one month before I joined, entitled: "Are regulars given more leeway?" I've read almost the whole thread.

If anyone can detect a difference between that thread and something that could be posted in rabble reactions today (other than the turnover in posters), please let me know.

 

KenS

For the record, I've never thought regulars, per se, are the problem.

And certainly not that there is a problem in differential leeway given by the mods.

Slumberjack

Unionist wrote:
  I'm heartened and confirmed in my opinion by reading [url=http://archive.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=15&t=0007... fascinating thread opened by Slumberjack[/url] about one month before I joined, entitled: "Are regulars given more leeway?" I've read almost the whole thread.

I can't even begin to address the irony of that thread without being banned for good.

Unionist

I'd rather be banned for good than for evil.

 

Tommy_Paine

 

 

You waited until exactly eleven minutes after nine to post that, didn't you?

 

 

Unionist

LOL!!!

 

Slumberjack

Momentum is building here.  I now count three in favour of repealing the anti-9/11 thread act.  Others may have elected to maintain their blissful disassociation, but they'll come around I'm sure of it.  And I'm not taking up with this cause simply to keep Fidel occupied elsewhere, as there are certainly far more important possibilities to explore.

al-Qa'bong

I don't understand why the 9-11 moratorium was imposed.  They seemed harmless enough.  The three participants weren't being too abusive toward each other, although reading those discussions was like watching a dog chase its tail.

Slumberjack

With too many truthers left to their own devices in the same room, you just know they'll start calling each other liars eventually.

Unionist

I haven't looked at the 9/11 threads for a long time. I figured one of the participants (or someone) must have complained about abuse. I can't see the mods taking a decision like that just out of the blue. But I must say I share Fidel and other's opposition to a moratorium. If an individual is misbehaving, they should be taken to task - not the entire topic.

 

alien

Forgive me my silly question: how is the 9/11 thread ban relate to the question of how Babble changed? It may, I don't know, I am only curious. Smile

skdadl

I read that meat thread over again, and man, do I ever sound like a twit. I had an argument there with Dr Conway that even I can't understand any longer. WTH was I thinking?

So many lovely names going by, though -- wonderful to remember them.

jrootham

Tolerating 9/11 threads damages the credibility of the entire board.

I posit the theory that there are a modest number of people who find babble, take one look at the 9/11 threads and say "I'm outta here".

OK, this is a silent majority argument.  Which I have criticized in the past.  I have some evidence that I will require permission to post.

 

Slumberjack

alien wrote:
Forgive me my silly question: how is the 9/11 thread ban relate to the question of how Babble changed? It may, I don't know, I am only curious. Smile 

Because it works best when no one expects it.  You've heard of the Spanish Inquisition?

skdadl

Fidel wrote:

alien wrote:
Markbo, with whom I had a friendly rivalry (we disagreed about almost everything -- he still believed in Sadam's WMD!

I'll bet he's changed his handle and now supports the Can-Am disinformation campaign to re-write history since 9.11.01.

Didn't Markbo have a bet on with rasmus about the coming economic collapse in the U.S.? As in, Markbo didn't believe there was one coming, and rasmus was explaining to him how it was?

jrootham

Further:  Seen the movie about the Florida recount?  The scene with the Brooks Brothers riot?  Where the rioter is kicking the guard and loudly yelling "Stop kicking me"?  

That's the kind of abuse going on in the 9/11 thread.  It is painful beyond words.

 

alien

Slumberjack wrote:

alien wrote:
Forgive me my silly question: how is the 9/11 thread ban relate to the question of how Babble changed? It may, I don't know, I am only curious. Smile 

Because it works best when no one expects it.  You've heard of the Spanish Inquisition?

I see...it's a raid!!! -- everyone, run for cover!!!

Unionist

alien wrote:

Forgive me my silly question: how is the 9/11 thread ban relate to the question of how Babble changed? It may, I don't know, I am only curious. Smile

I think it's because there were no 9/11 threads allowed in the first few months of babble's existence. :)

To jrootham's point, I sympathize - but maybe a compromise would be in order, like restricting thread proliferation?

Anyway, that's thread drift. I apologize to Tommy, and everyone, for having posted at 9:11 am. Mind you, anyone interested in conspiracies could google the following:

site:rabble.ca/babble "9:11am"

and

site:rabble.ca/babble "9:11pm"

and see who posted what at those times. Let me know what you come up with.

al-Qa'bong

skdadl wrote:

I read that meat thread over again, and man, do I ever sound like a twit. I had an argument there with Dr Conway that even I can't understand any longer. WTH was I thinking?

So many lovely names going by, though -- wonderful to remember them.

Remember how we used to post recipes instead of claiming to be offended by someone and running to the moderator?  It was anarchy in action.

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