This is topic A Call for Intelligence in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by JonnyNotSoBravo (Member # 5715) on :
There was a point made in the emoticon/kitten killing thread that the ratio of intelligent threads to Silly (to borrow Icky's term) threads has been seriously out of whack, in favor of the latter. There seemed to be a good number of people in favor of more intelligent threads. Rather than post about it in the now very long emoticon thread and eventually get my point lost among all the bickering, kitten killing and name calling, I decided to post a new thread about it.

It seems to me that most necessary things happen because of impetus. Something needs to be done. Somebody recognizes that need and does it, or has waited 'til they can't stand it anymore and no one else has done anything about it, so they do it.

The impetus in this particular case is the lack of intelligent threads, made noticeable by the considerable influx of Silly ones. In order to keep the ratio more balanced, we need to increase the concentration of more intelligent threads. This is tougher than it is to make Silly threads because intelligent threads require more thought and time, There is no way you can dramatically increase the rate of your post count with intelligent posts for any extended period of time without devoting your life to Hatrack. However, we have a need and we have no lack of intelligentsia who can add to the number of intelligent threads. What I propose is simple - every intelligent person who has complained of the lack of intelligent threads needs to start at least one or more. Just step up and help fulfill your own and lots of others' needs.

Why do we need more intelligent threads? Well, I think of it this way. Imagine life if all we ever talked about with each other was news. About the weather, about who won, who lost, what fires were where, what wars had broken out - all without ever expressing opinion, or viewpoints but just spreading undebatable facts like how many runs/goals/points were scored or how many inches of rain fell where. No one would ever be wrong. We'd all be happy happy joy joy. Tons of hugs and smiles and celebrations because everything would be worthy of celebration. All artists, writers, movies, books and shows would be equally good and therefore equally supported (we'd have to show support or there'd be self-esteem problems). But there would also be no new ideas, because ideas are debatable. There would be no growth. There would be no constructive feedback to help you figure out what you were doing wrong, or knowledge that what you were doing could be considered wrong or could be done better. And it would be incredibly boring! To me, this is what the Silly threads are. They are fun for a bit, but they get old fast. Sure people need support sometimes, but they also need honesty and reality checks. Can't we give a good balance of both? I'm pretty sure the people who post mostly in the Silly threads don't mind the intelligent threads, so increasing the number of intelligent threads doesn't hurt anyone.

Note: I'm not saying use less smilies. I believe this would be a form of censorship, and we already have an 8 smilie limit (I believe) for technical reasons. I'm not saying less Silly threads. This is also a form of censorship. An increase in intelligent threads may lead to less Silly posts because people are spending more time in the available intelligent threads and thinking, but this is just a side effect and would be voluntary on the part of the normal Silly posters.

Personally, I've never started my own thread until today. Hopefully, more people become aware of the balance between the two kinds of threads and create more intelligent threads as well.
Posted by Bob_Scopatz (Member # 1227) on :
Now, you see...I think that there's an issue of what people come to Hatrack for. If you come here for intelligent discourse, then sure, the place is going to be vexing at times because you can't find the serious stuff admidst all the fluff.

But, if you come here to escape and unwind, then there can never be ENOUGH fluff. The serious stuff is there when one is in the mood, but in the meantime, you can enjoy being silly and just relaxing a bit.

I get enough of the serious during my average day.

I like fluff. There. I've said it! I'm a fluff addict!

Give me more fluff. I need fluff like I need air and water, and chocolate.
Posted by Julie (Member # 5580) on :
Hear hear! (Or is that here here? I always thought hear here made the most sense. Ah well, that's for another time in another thread.)
Posted by saxon75 (Member # 4589) on :
I don't think very many of the people involved in the recent anti-smiley campaigns are actually against fluff. They just want higher-quality fluff.
Posted by Julie (Member # 5580) on :
higher-quality fluff.
[Confused] [Dont Know]
Posted by Zalmoxis (Member # 2327) on :
Me. I like my fluff stale.
Posted by Youth ap Orem (Member # 5582) on :
I enjoy a pepper jack fluff,
oh and sharp fluff with a tart post.
and ummm gouda fluff is nice, not to mention some asiago. yum yum yum
Posted by fugu13 (Member # 2859) on :
I posted what I think was at the very least a non-fluffy post, and got few responses. I'm going to revive it in a bit with some more content, but even so. If you like serious threads you have to post in serious threads, or they go away.
Posted by JonnyNotSoBravo (Member # 5715) on :
Fluff can be intelligent. Bob's God thread was fairly intelligent fluff. It had creativity and involved way more than hugs and smilies. If anything could qualify as higher quality fluff, that thread could.
Posted by Nick (Member # 4311) on :
Agreed. That thread had some offensive things in it, but all-in-all it was a well balanced thread between our religious and non-religious members. [Smile] That was a great thread Bob. As was the ice cream personality thread. [Smile]
Posted by Maethoriell (Member # 3805) on :
Give me more fluff. I need fluff like I need air and water, and chocolate.
Yes indeed!!
Posted by T_Smith (Member # 3734) on :
I once made a thread about creating quality fluff, for those of you who want that high-quality fluff.

That said, I like fluff, AND the "intelligent" threads.
Posted by Nick (Member # 4311) on :
One of the things I found amusing was that all the people whined about having too much fluff, and now they have created threads for that purpose, and now there are too many serious threads.
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
. . . without devoting your life to Hatrack.
You say this like it's a bad thing. [Big Grin] Other than that, I agree with you. I think the best way to get Hatrack (or anywhere) closer to your vision is by demonstrating what you want to see.

. . .now there are too many serious threads.
[Confused] While I love fluff -- both "high-quality" and "generic" -- I am a big fan of intelligent conversation. Do you mean that with so many high-intensity competing threads, the number of posts in each will suffer?

[ November 25, 2003, 08:59 PM: Message edited by: rivka ]
Posted by Eruve Nandiriel (Member # 5677) on :
T_Smith said:
That said, I like fluff, AND the "intelligent" threads.
Hear! Hear! [Hail] T
Posted by T_Smith (Member # 3734) on :
Bah, quit worshipping me... it's tuesday. No T worshipping on tuesday. [Wink]
Posted by Eruve Nandiriel (Member # 5677) on :
Ok. Tomorrow then. [Wink]
*still thinks T is Feyd Baron*
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
If you posted a schedule, we would know these things.
Posted by T_Smith (Member # 3734) on :
No derailling a thread.

-5 points for Rivka.

I definately suggest a fair balance between fluff and intelligent conversation, however, what some people don't get is that intelligent conversation can be found in fluff. And following these easy guidelines, one can have that good fluff...

<insert link here>
Posted by pooka (Member # 5003) on :
A lot of folks are in mid terms, finals, grading for elem teachers, or getting ready for the hols. lighten up!

I, on the other hand, am always up for some skull bashing. I come to hatrack so I don't melt my brain in the ongoing debate over whether my kids should watch Barney or Veggietales.
Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
Let me put in a vote for intelligent fluff. The fact that it seems impossible to imagine only indicates how far, in fact, our fluff has fallen.
Posted by rivka (Member # 4859) on :
Hey! I just followed YOUR derailment, T. If I get -5, you get -10. [Razz]

*sulks* Anyway, I contributed an on-topic post first.
Posted by Eruve Nandiriel (Member # 5677) on :
I have actually learned a lot about people in "fluff". Some of the most fun fluff is the RPing, too. But I also think "intelligent" threads are just as, if not more, important. Basically, what T said. ( [Hail] T )

*votes for Veggietales*
Posted by sndrake (Member # 4941) on :
Bob_Scopatz saith:

But, if you come here to escape and unwind, then there can never be ENOUGH fluff. The serious stuff is there when one is in the mood, but in the meantime, you can enjoy being silly and just relaxing a bit.

I get enough of the serious during my average day.

That's kind of where I'm at. Like Bob, my day is way serious - sometimes 12 hours a day and 7 days a week. I do serious stuff for a living.

For the most part, getting into intellectual discussions is not relaxation for me.

I'm thinking, though, that there's an awfully big range covered under the word "fluff."

When I think of fluff, I think of threads that consisted of little but a series of puns, or Rivka's current thread with the smilies - I've posted on both. I like them as "invitations to play."

But there are other nonserious topics out there too - what we're eating, what we're cooking, what our hobbies are, what kind of movies we're watching, etc. (Or, as in Bob's case, what kind of furniture he bought.)

In those threads, people end up sharing a quite a bit about themselves. We learn about what kinds of things we like to do, what our interests are, and yeah - what makes us laugh.

I'm kinda new here, but I guess I see a lot of nonserious communication here as actually useful in getting to know others here. I feel more comfortable getting serious after I know people a little.

Not sure if I'm actually going anywhere here - I definitely am NOT proposing a system of subcategories for fluff. Maybe it's that I've been getting the feeling from some messages that to many "fluff=useless." It isn't. To me, anyway.
Posted by Eruve Nandiriel (Member # 5677) on :
Yeah, I think there's "fluff", "serious", and "somewhere in between".
sndrake put it very nicely.
Posted by Maccabeus (Member # 3051) on :
I hardly ever post in anything but serious threads. But I don't have something to say in every serious thread. I'm not an expert in everything. I can't explain the details of asteroid deflection, and while I have political opinions people have been known to get tired of hearing me repeat myself. And while I would hardly classify "personal tragedy" threads as fluff, I'm not a good comforter.

I'm sure I'm not alone. So the inevitable result is that we can't all support every intelligent thread we see, and some of them will go unnoticed.
Posted by Lalo (Member # 3772) on :
Actually, I'm with Bob and Tom on this one. I enjoy reading about relatively unimportant issues as leisure. Even and especially technology news, which I have only the barest grasp on.

I like fluff-esque threads. I'm not going to campaign against their existence. But the stupidity of some of the more recent fluff gets intolerably obnoxious.

Then again, a when it's "my time of the month," so am I. Go figure.
Posted by Wussy Actor (Member # 5937) on :
As a newbie who hasn't contributed much to any threads yet, I would say that sometimes its easier to post in a "serious" thread simply because they tend to be less personal and do not neccesarily require the poster to have any knowledge of the people with whom he or she is conversing. Jumping into some of the fluff threads is kind of like trying to involve yourself in the conversation at a dinner party where you know noone and everyone there insists on making inside jokes. It can be a little intimidating.
Posted by Wendybird (Member # 84) on :
I don't melt my brain in the ongoing debate over whether my kids should watch Barney or Veggietales.
At my house its Sponge Bob and Fairly Oddparents. Both of which weren't bad until they watched them a zillion times and got the 21 mo old hooked. I'm so tired of hearing "Spon Bob" every time we go to the store. Boy is there a lot of SB merchandise [Roll Eyes]
Posted by HollowEarth (Member # 2586) on :
Does anyone else find this discussion of how we should have an serious discussion of something really amusing?

Come now its like talking about doing something, lets go ahead and do it already.
Posted by Frisco (Member # 3765) on :
What an inciteful post.


I, too, vote for higher quality fluff.

Preferably something that has at least some potential to make someone laugh.

I'd like it if that someone was me.

In return, I promise to try and amuse someone besides myself, Icarus, Stormy, or Ralphie.
Posted by Icarus (Member # 3162) on :
You mean "in addition to," right? Because if you decide to stop amusing me, then you're not worth much anymore . . .
Posted by Christy (Member # 4397) on :
What I find amusing about discussions like these is that there's really no need. If you want more intelligent discussions, create more discussion threads and if no one posts in them, then I guess you have your answer -- no one shares your interest (which is rare). There will always be fluff for people who just want a chance to socialize and small-talk. Read and post what you will. That's what's great about being in an active community. There is always an ebb and flow of threads depending on the people who post.
Posted by Icarus (Member # 3162) on :
I think it's worth noticing, though, that some people equate small talk and the Silly, and call them both fluff. People on both extremes do this, both those decrying the existence of landmarks and such because they push good stuff off the front page (I know it's hard to believe, but there have been posters who've said just this), and people who post in the smilie threads and think the only alternative is threads about homosexuality. I think it is worth distinguishing between three categories of post, instead of two.
Posted by Scythrop (Member # 5731) on :
"Right! This calls for immediate...discussion!"
-M.Python, Life of Brian.

Seriously, though, as a newbie in every sense of the word (both to Hatrack and to the whole online forum/community thing) One of the reasons I've found myself becoming more and more involved in Hatrack is that, as I see it, it does have a good balance between intelligent (or at least serious) threads, intelligent fluff, and just plain old fluff. It's this combination, together with a solid sense of community, which makes Hatrack so appealing to an online naif like myself.

I'll admit, I tend to post more in the fluff categories, but at the moment I'm still finding my feet and learning who's who, (for example, I recently discovered that basically everyone seems to have been Trogodor at some point or another). I think it's worth making the point, though, that for all the comments about the lack of serious threads in the short time I've been here, I've found myself thinking about issues I'd have otherwise never considered - inspired by all manner of threads, serious and otherwise.

What impresses me the most, however, is the sense of community. The immediate feeling that you are coming into something not only special. but also important and substantial. I guess that's something you can lose sight of the longer you are involved, but trust me, it's still there; a lot of people have made me feel very welcome to post here, and I appreciate that.

I'm glad I've found Hatrack. Fluff, Intelligence, and everything in the middle.

And now, for something completely different...

[ November 26, 2003, 09:06 AM: Message edited by: Scythrop ]
Posted by JonnyNotSoBravo (Member # 5715) on :
Hmmmm. Well, the point of this thread was not to "discuss" posting intelligent threads, but to encourage/inspire everyone who hadn't started an intelligent thread to start doing so, and if you have before, create more. Some minor subpoints were:
-explain why intelligent threads are better than Silly threads.
-explain why making more intelligent threads will solve the Silly thread problem.

and hopefully,
-subtly point out that "intelligent" threads can be serious, fluffy, or both.

So stop laughing at this thread! [Big Grin] [Wink]
Posted by Eruve Nandiriel (Member # 5677) on :
[Laugh] this thread
Posted by Frisco (Member # 3765) on :
That's what we refer to as "unfunny fluff". Some may even call it "annoying" or "unnecessary".

Funny fluff: What's black on the outside, white on the outside, and comes in small cans?
Posted by Ethics Gradient (Member # 878) on :
I was going to say that you amuse me, Frisco, but then realised that you left my off your list. So I won't say it.
Posted by Frisco (Member # 3765) on :
Well, if you wouldn't have disappeared as of late, perhaps I'd remember you more easily when I compile my lists. Consider yourself added. In all caps. And italics.
Posted by Ethics Gradient (Member # 878) on :
*sniff* It's not my fault. I only post when I work. Two days a week.
Posted by Frisco (Member # 3765) on :
Lazy Australians. Why don't you work an extra day a week so you can buy a home PC? I'm worth it, I tell ya. I even have a money-back guarantee.
Posted by Ethics Gradient (Member # 878) on :
I have a computer at home. And cable internet access. I just don't have time.

Although, this is my last day at my desk job so I will now be home a lot more. Sweeeet.
Posted by Frisco (Member # 3765) on : work two days a week, yet don't have time to post...

Are you moonlighting as a gigolo?
Posted by Ethics Gradient (Member # 878) on :
Close. Production technician, uni student and campus theatre sucker.

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