April 28, 2002

Finally ... the sun is here, and it must be warm The cat is on the balcony stretched out in the light and looking pretty damned content. Now to the point of this post ...

Last week I experienced a pleasant kind of deja-vu. I stopped by a couple of the sites I drop in on fairly regularly, the Canadian DVD Users Group and USS Clueless. One, as the name suggests, is about DVDs, the focus being on Canada (which is nice since that’s where I am). The other is mix of politics, technology, and pretty much everything under the sun, since it’s a personal blog.

But last week, I went into the forums on these sites. It’s been a while since I went into things of this sort. Years ago, pre-Web, I was a regular Fidonet user. But things then went Web and there you go.

What I liked about Fidonet was the communication. The dialogue. For me, communication is really the only thing about the Internet I care about. Communication and information (it’s hard to have the former without the latter). What made the Fidonet echoes I went to especially appealing was the fact that they were relatively small and focused. Things like newsgroups or whatever they’re called are, for me, a waste of time because of the noise level. The difference was the same as trying to have a conversation in a large, loud crowd and talking in a small intimate cafĂ©.

Anyway … What I liked about the forums last week was the smaller size and focus. Also, the writing. While varied, it seems much more intelligent, respectful and, particularly in the case of Clueless, literate. They write well, for the most part, and that’s a fairly rare thing on the Web. (The downside is that I’m much more aware of my own writing and its sloppiness.)

The upshot is that it was nice to come across this kind of conversation on the Internet again. Not that it ever went away, or that these forums are rare. They're not; they're everywhere. But I suspect I simply lost contact with this sort of dialogue (due to changing technology and the movement of people on the Internet).

Although I made the odd posting last week, I was largely a lurker. I basically monitor and read what people have to say. And that’s okay since any worthwhile conversation begins with listening.

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