Member Rara Avis
As PdV said, this isn't the first time this issue has been raised - and I'm sure it won't be the last. To be honest, I almost hesitate to respond again, simply 'cause I don't really have any answers. I don't think there are any answers.
But I do want to say a few quick words about several things mentioned, and then a bit more than a few words about one thing in particular. First, I think it's perfectly legitimate to reply to your own poems. In fact, I would encourage it! We don't get to know each other through monologues, but rather through dialogs. Give and take. If that happens to bump your work up to the top again, I don't really think it's a big deal. It won't stay there long. Those who abuse the reply button, who aren't engaging in dialog but in manipulation, will be found out soon enough. I'm a firm believer that people always get what they deserve eventually.
As far as vanity goes, I doubt there is more than one poet on this whole site who isn't guilty (Craig, you wanna raise your hand now? ) Writers, almost by definition, are arrogant. We think we have something worth saying and the guts (conceit?) to actually stand up and say it. Most of us, fortunately, have learned a few social skills along the way and manage to hide our hubris. Those you complain about, roxanne, will generally fall into two categories: those still learning the social skills or (and I think this is by far the larger of the two) those still learning to be critical of their own work. The only answer to either is to teach by example.
Multiple, back-to-back posting are a problem, have always been a problem, and will likely remain a continuous problem. Again as PdV said, the new software will help alleviate that to some degree. But only for those who actually read the Guidelines we post and send them. I could limit everyone to one poem a day. But, to be honest, I'm a pretty slow writer (I'd like to think meticulous, but I'll settle for slow), and actually feel it would be better if everyone was limited to one a month. I mean, just think how good a poem would be if you spent a whole month working on it! But, of course, it wouldn't hardly be fair to impose my personal limitation on everyone else. And I'm sure I would miss some really fine poetry if I tried.
Finally, and this is the issue I really wanted to address, there's the matter of critiques.
I think we make a serious mistake when we assume that everyone at Passions is here for the same reasons. Shoot, just putting that concept into words sounds really inane! But I submit that is exactly what you are doing when you try to "help" someone become a better poet before they ask for the help. There are as many reasons for writing as there are writers, and darn near as many reasons for posting. And as far as I'm concerned, every single one of those reasons is a valid one. One of the most marvelous things about Passions, I think, is that we have enough people - enough diversity - that every one of those reasons for posting can and will find support from another Member.
Everyone who knows me, everyone who has read even a small fraction of what I've written in these pages, knows that I'm about as pro-learning as is possible. But I'm even more pro-sharing - and feel rather strongly that the two go hand-in-hand. Learning isn't a goal. It's not a destination. Learning is a journey (or, as Brad would say, a process), and every one of us is at different stages in that journey. Yes, I strongly encourage all Members to learn - not just about poetry, but about writing in general and about people in particular. But we shouldn't use learning as a way to discourage sharing. Because I can guarantee you, if someone shares they will learn. It's an inevitable part of that journey.
Critiques are a very, very small part of that learning process. Many of our poets, I would venture, aren't ready for critiques yet. They will learn more readily by reading the work of others, by responding, by comparing their own thoughts and words with those of others (if only subconsciously). They have to learn to be more critical of their own work before they'll be ready for others to be critical of it. Many others, of course, will welcome critiques, and most of those are posting in the CA forum for that reason. Saxoness, you raise a really good point about the Adult Forum and critiques, and I think we can safely steal the solution from the Usenet community - simply attach a C&C Welcome (Comments & Criticisms) tag to any poem when you want to invite a serious critique outside CA. I think there is also a third group, those who have gone beyond amateur critiques and gain little from such discussions. And the true miracle is that most of those will, if they're lucky and continue to grow, turn full circle and become members again of that first group.
Some journeys, after all, never end.
[This message has been edited by Ron (edited 12-04-1999).]