Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: Pavlova Paradise

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  • BenWilson,

    Margaret, did my harden up suggestion tip you over the edge? :-)

    I know exactly what you mean, it was years before I made my first ever post. And it wasn't too long before I made a fool of myself either. But seriously, who cares if you do? They only way to get qualified to make comments is to make comments. Every blogger I've ever read, indeed every writer of every kind, makes a fool of themselves sometimes. It's not something you try to do, but it's also something you needn't be too scared of. Just acknowledge it when it happens and move on. I can't see how your qualifications make you any less capable of having an opinion or a unique perspective. A bit of creative writing would actually go down very nicely.

    A pseudonym can help, if you're really worried, too. I never bothered, but I'm lucky to have an extremely common name.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10655 posts Report Reply

  • Margaret,

    Ben, I think its more that whenever I want to write a comment on any website I feel a bit like I'm drunk at a party. I'll get excited and say what I mean but not in the way I mean to say it. Then I'll wake up the next morning and be embarrased. Then I'll have to stay at home for at least the next week and avoid certain bars...

    Wellington • Since Sep 2007 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    This is such a fine discussion, so civil and illuminating. I'm reading every post, even if I am too busy in the kitchen making Christmas mince pies to reply to all...

    Ten days before Christmas, and you want women to do MORE voluntary work?

    Are you MAD????

    What was I thinking! I bet the very suggestion made the baby Jesus cry. On his birthday, and everything.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Rest easy Margaret - 22 year old male here, and I tend to think pretty much the same way about this stuff.

    What stops me from commenting here more often than I do is a sense that I've seen less of the world and am less in tune with the issues of the day than other posters, and hence that I'm less qualified to enter the discussion. Most PAS commenters seem to be older than I, more keyed into the media and politics, and much more erudite in their posts. It always seems as though someone else has already said it far better than I could, and I'm deathly afraid of saying something lame which kills off a good discussion. No worse feeling than your first post in a thread being the very last one.

    Of course, sometimes this is just because I'm arriving later than everyone else to a topic, like here, but there's always that nagging sense that I've brought the discussion to an unnatural end rather than simply addressing an empty room (which is embarrassing enough already). But I guess that's life on the intertubes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • anjum rahman,

    just to make sure yours isn't the last on this thread...

    worse still is when you post & everyone ignores what you've said & starts carries on the discussion as if you hadn't commented at all!

    ben, i guess practice makes you better, or at least more comfortable with commenting - but not always so. i'd echo what others are saying about the quality of the debate and wit on these blogs. it means that if you feel you don't measure up, you just keep quiet.

    as for your "harden up", don't you know that women can't do that... ;)

    hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I've met some hard women in my time!

    I guess it depends whether you really want people to hear your voice. If you're not fussed, then it's not a problem really. But if you feel you've got something to add, it's not that bad to not have any responses. You never know how many people will read it. The bigger fear surely is to get into a heated argument, to have someone jump down your throat. But balance that against the chance of getting into a fun discussion about something interesting, or even better, actually changing people's minds on something they are wrong about.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10655 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    No worse feeling than your first post in a thread being the very last one.

    Silence is about the hardest thing to guage on the net. Without any visual clues, you've no idea if no-one is responding because they think you're an idiot, or because they think you've 'said it far better than [they] could', or because you've posted just before System's daily 4:30 knock-off point.

    Ten days before Christmas, and you want women to do MORE voluntary work?

    I looked at the calendar today and had a John McEnroe moment - 'you canNOT be serious!'

    as for your "harden up", don't you know that women can't do that... ;)

    Ha, there've been winter nights you could drill core samples out of pack ice with my nipples.

    And sometimes the silence is because you've said something incredibly tasteless...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Taste is the enemy of art, Emma. :)

    actually changing people's minds on something they are wrong about

    Has this ever actually happened? I imagine it to be something like the internet version of the sasquatch: widely rumoured to exist, but only crazy people have seen it.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    worse still is when you post & everyone ignores what you've said & starts carries on the discussion as if you hadn't commented at all!

    Sing it sister. Bit pathetic after 13 odd years on the worldwide social tool we call the internet, but yes, I still feel a bit miffed when I've said something I think is valid, and it gets ignored. Still, as a woman over 40 in this society, it's something I'm getting used to happening offline more and more often. <sob>. Back to the question at hand though, I feel sometimes on this site the pressure to be witty and learned may stop some from posting. I guess the trick is not to give a toss, and if you have something to say, just say it. Words are fabulous things - you let them out of your brain, your mouth, your soul and you never know where they will land, and who they will strike a chord with.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Has this ever actually happened? I imagine it to be something like the internet version of the sasquatch: widely rumoured to exist, but only crazy people have seen it.

    Who knows? Not everyone who's proven wrong is willing to say so on the Internet, especially if they're afraid it's going to be construed as admitting defeat.

    Sometimes, the less you expect about argument on the Internet, the better. But I think it's valuable at least because it forces you to set out your own words on the screen, which can help clarify your own position. Sometimes you realise faults in your reasoning because others point it out - and sometimes it can just jump out at you from your own writing. Anyway, this might seem like a narcissistic way to approach the issue, but if you do it honestly you might just make someone see something in a different way, like Jackie says. It's up to them. And it's up to you too, when the boot's on the other foot.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Ben, I think its more that whenever I want to write a comment on any website I feel a bit like I'm drunk at a party. I'll get excited and say what I mean but not in the way I mean to say it. Then I'll wake up the next morning and be embarrased. Then I'll have to stay at home for at least the next week and avoid certain bars...

    Margaret, when you can roll out a simile like, you have nothing to be afraid of. Please, post more: you write really well.

    I've had the odd in-real-life comment about the intimidating degree of erudition in System -- and there are discussions where I feel out of my depth.

    But like Sam says, don't fret. Post what you think, with clarity.

    Also like Sam says, posting is a way to work out for yourself what you think. I do that all the time with the blog.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Darlington,

    Yes, and sometimes you only figure out your own view has gaping holes in it once you start trying to explain it in writing. Well, OK, maybe that's just me...

    Since Nov 2006 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Yes, and sometimes you only figure out your own view has gaping holes in it once you start trying to explain it in writing. Well, OK, maybe that's just me...

    Believe me bro, it isn't ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    But like Sam says, don't fret. Post what you think, with clarity.

    And blunders don't seem to be taken to seriously, I'v e never had any negative press over mine... yet.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    And blunders don't seem to be taken to seriously, I'v e never had any negative press over mine... yet.

    Man. What internet did you hook up to? I need some of that.

    And, why does firefox underline 'internet' in red? since when did internet need capitals? And if internet does, why does it not indicate that the start of a sentence needs capitals?

    Any why is firefox underlined? OK, I know that needs a capital, but pretentious a little? "umm, excuse me, I'm capitalised. Thank you." It doesn't even suggest it with a capital. It suggests 'firebox' and 'fire fox'. But the title of the browser itself says 'Firefox'. The browser that doesn't know its own name?

    Umm. Regularly scheduled programme... returning... etc.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    since when did internet need capitals?

    The argument is that "the Internet" needs a capital to distinguish it from "an internet". But since when does anyone talk about having an internet?

    Perhaps internets exists in computer science circles, but in everyday life there is only one internet and I don't think it needs an initial capital.

    Wired magazine made the decision in 2004 to drop the caps.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    Also like Sam says, posting is a way to work out for yourself what you think. I do that all the time with the blog.

    absolutely. blogging and arguing in comments has actually improved my ability to write and argue subjects in my day-job.

    something that a lot of education did not...

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    But since when does anyone talk about having an internet?

    I don't know about an internet. But there's been allot said about 'My'
    Internet and your Internet. And 'what' Internet.

    absolutely. blogging and arguing in comments has actually improved my ability to write and argue subjects in my day-job.

    Blogging has given me something the NZ education system robed me of. The confidence to write. Grrer the dumb education system that thinks in weird strait lines.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    My opinion on getting more people posting/commenting outside the liberal white middle classed straight male demographic is that they all need to harden up and post or comment more.

    Okay... I'll bite.

    Here's the thing. You can set up some rules so that they appear to apply to everyone, and hey, that's fair, isn't it, but they can be skewed so that in practice, some, or even many, people are excluded.

    By analogy, think about suffrage. As we all know (or bloody well ought to know!), NZ was the first country in the world to extend suffrage to women. But as it turns out, various other polities granted votes to women earlier, provided they held property. So they had what looked to be a 'fair' rule for granting suffrage - all property holders could vote. Leaving aside the complexities of disenfranchising the unmonied part of the population, the effect of this rule, which seemed to apply equally everyone, was to exclude the overwhelming majority of women from voting.

    So, if we set up rules of discourse in such a way that they look fair - everyone gets to be tough - but in effect a large number of people feel that they can't participate, then we have an effective exclusion of those people. Of course, they can participate, if they choose to adopt the get tough ethos, but that could well mean that they have to, as it were, leave themselves behind, and adopt a different persona for the purpose of participating in the discussion. "That's fine, dearie. You can participate, as long as you don't mind becoming exactly like everyone else around here, instead of participating as yourself."

    Kapai?

    One of the many good things about PAS is that the rules of discourse around here are far more civilised than on other political blogs around NZ. If I want to be shouted at and abused, just for having a different opinion, I can go over to No Minister any old time, or the threads at Kiwiblog. No thank you!

    PAS has a different set of rules, defined through its practice, and through its explicit ideal of encouraging and supporting diversity. Here's what Russell said in November last year, when PAS was launched:

    I’m keen to expand the pool of people engaged in online discussion and I think an atmosphere of respect is vital to that aim.

    Having said all that, it is worth just having a go, especially around here, where the atmosphere is for the most part, tolerant. People will tell you if they think you are wrong, but it tends to be people saying, "I don't agree with your argument and here's why" (__pace__ my arguments above, I hope) rather than "You stupid lefty lickspittle tool of the Hulun Klark commie gummint - you're so stupid you can't even pick your own nose."

    I think that's why people can get more upset over being yelled at here, which does happen occasionally, than they would over at some other blogs. It's simply becuase the ideal here is not a rugged free for all where the loudest voice can win, but an ideal of genuine exchange of ideas. So being yelled at here (a very rare ocurrence) can feel rather worse than being yelled at elsewhere.

    Russell said something the other day which is reassuring - I can't recall whether he said it upstream on this thread, or somewhere else on PAS, or onmy blog or Che's - it's somewhere where this distributed discussion is taking place. Remember that it's just a discussion thread, and there will be another one along tomorrow. It's good advice that I will be taking to heart.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    OK, I disagree with some aspects of Deborah said. I don't agree that women are disadvantaged as analogized by pre suffrage. The rules of
    'discourse' don't extend beyond the written word to the realms of physical gesture.

    this is my true self speaking. I think the real rules of PAS discourse are academic.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • Psycho Milt,

    "If I want to be shouted at and abused, just for having a different opinion, I can go over to No Minister any old time..."

    Having written a post at No Minister disagreeing with your view, and reaped a bumper crop of abusive trolls as a result, I can fully understand any reluctance you might feel to drop by and argue the point. It doesn't change my view that the blogosphere has to be shared with its mutier participants, but I can appreciate why you also wouldn't change yours.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2007 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I took a look. Yeeuuuch.

    It doesn't change my view that the blogosphere has to be shared with its mutier participants

    Mutier? So we need to find a way to encourage people to speak up some more?

    'Tho I do agree about the blogsophere being open to all, including the munts.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Psycho Milt,

    Sorry, I was absent-mindedly using old in-group slang - should pay more attention to what I'm writing. "Mutie" as in "crazed mutants," a regular feature of lurid SF comics in my now-distant childhood.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2007 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    Have peoples minds been changed by a well reasoned argument on the intarwebby?

    I know mine has.

    180 degree turns are admittedly infrequent.. but by being exposed to the actual logic/explanation of opposing thoughts (as opposed to just the yes/no right/wrong headlines)... it allows me, and I presume others, to inform my own decisions. And frequently the degree or etrememty of my view, and/or or the distaste/abhorance of those with opposing views is often modified.

    I frequently keep quiet if I see my point has been made by another... but If I think I have a point, even if a week one, its worth posting.... Someone else may back it up, or show you why its wrong.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 893 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Deborah, thanks for your bite. I was hoping someone would because it partially goes to hardening up ;-)

    I feel you misunderstood me a little. I didn't mean that the lurkers need to 'post tough'. I meant they need to 'get tough, and post'. They shouldn't change their style towards the blog median, unless they want to.

    I think Woman's Suffrage is an absolutely perfect example of what I'm talking about. The Suffragettes didn't sit around silently waiting for men to politely let them vote. They loudly demanded the right and when they got it they used it.

    I agree that some can be scared off by fighting, as happens to almost every woman on Kiwiblog. I can't hold myself blameless, having given at least one woman a good, hard serve on there once. In my defense, she started it, and I'm not the kind to patronize a woman by going soft on her in fight that she wishes to stake her claim as my equal/better in.

    I further agree that the generally polite tone of PAS does mean the idea of a serve is simply recalibrated, and a blow as soft as "I disagree with you" carries about the same weight as 5 personal attacks from a Kiwiblog troll. But recalibration is always going to happen, and so is disagreement. It's in the nature of expressing your opinion. This is not an aggressive white middle class male fact, it's just a fact. When you post anything of substance, some people are going to disagree with you.

    If anything, this is the strength of blog/comments. They're feedback. Sure, it can be intimidating to be cut down by witty intelligent people. But if there's any truth in what you say, you'll also get witty intelligent people supporting you, cutting down the cutdowns, and you'll have grown just that little bit as a writer. You learned something by doing it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10655 posts Report Reply

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