Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Stepping back from the Knife Fight

I-would-knife-fight-a-man has been going about a month, and I'm already pulling back from it, for a few reasons.

Firstly, I was busy last week, and then there was Easter, and I didn't check it for a while. It has threaded discussions, 30 threads to the page, and when I tuned in again today the last thread that I'd read that hadn't been subsequently posted to was on page 6, of 12.

Partly this is because Vincent (the moderator) has introduced a two-tier system of membership, and the criterion for becoming a "full" member is to start a thread about "a time you felt human", so that he can weed out people who won't fit. And this is the second reason; like some others on the forum, I kind of resent being made to jump through a hoop like that, though of course it's his forum and he can do what he likes. I just don't find the discussion as it is at the moment pulls me in enough to make jumping through that hoop worth my while.

And this is the third reason. I started posting there because there were some interesting religious discussions there, slopping over from Vincent's blog, which was why he started the forum in the first place (the blog wasn't serving the discussions well). At the moment, people are talking about a great many other things, some of which I have opinions on but none of which are nearly as interesting to me as the religion topics. If I had more time or motivation or something I would probably start my own forum (and, ironically, would almost certainly steal Vincent's method of weeding out the participants, despite my irrational resentment of it). But I don't.

(As far as I know there's no comparable forum in the interfaith realm, which surprises me a bit. No - actually, when you Google, there's http://www.interfaithforums.com/. It's using vBulletin forum software, which looks ugly and clunky after the nice clean Vanilla of the Knife Fight, but... maybe I'll check it out.)

And, finally, I agree with some of the other Knife Fight members that the tone of the discussions tends to assume a set of political views that I don't necessarily possess, largely because the core members of the community are a particular group of friends who hold these views. In part, I don't possess them because of lack of recent reflection upon the issues, so hanging out with people who do possess them has been good stimulus for such reflection. But given that I don't have my disagreement well-articulated, in the cases where I disagree, I just feel a little bit alienated and a little bit lacking in anything to contribute and a little bit uncomfortable.

Actually, they're pretty much the same kinds of views that I find slightly uncomfortable (and that Erin finds very uncomfortable) at Cityside. Maybe the problem is that people who think alike in many ways and are in a tiny, fringe minority tend to assume that anyone who agrees with anything they say buys into the whole package. When it's pointed out to them they do, of course, acknowledge that this isn't the case, but the assumption still tends to be there. At least, the older ones understand and acknowledge it; I remember having a discussion with a young guy at Cityside who was puzzled about why we didn't talk a lot more about politics, and who, I think, was still puzzled when I explained to him that there were diverse and incompatible political views within the congregation and this wouldn't necessarily be a good idea, community-harmony-wise.

So - currently not knife-fighting, and feeling basically OK about that. This isn't a final decision; I'll check back now and again, see what's on the front page, and if it's something important enough to me will jump through Vincent's damn hoop.


Anonymous said...

I would love to see some discussions at Knife Fight in regards to those differences that are driving you away, because I think there are a number of people who DO feel the way you do (I am interested, for example, in your views of religion as opposed to liberal U.S.A. government.) And yes, jumping through the Turing hoop was obnoxious, but not difficult.

Mike Reeves-McMillan said...

Thanks, Anonymous (hey, I really dig some of your stuff, by the way, especially the medieval poetry).

At the moment I don't really have the time to post much either - there are other things I should be getting on with (he says, procrastinating them by fooling with his blog). So I'm leaving it for now. Nice to know, though, that someone is interested in hearing from me.