Member Rara Avis
I look around and see poems with an already large number of replies bumped to the top, burying postings with a lesser number. Threads long replied to are being brought back up like sunken monsters to walk all over weaker ones.
Let me see if I've got this right: Temptress complains poetry is being buried too quickly, so Elizabeth essentially stops posting and replying, relying on email instead. Is something wrong with this picture, guys, or is it just me? We could accomplish even more, perhaps, by turning off the ability to post - then the poems would be frozen for all time.
I can remember when I first moved from Southern California to rural Michigan about two years ago. It felt like I had walked from inside a very crowded elevator into the middle of an open field. No more traffic jams. Rarely did I have to stand in line. People would actually take the time to talk to you. I even learned the names of everyone at my local restaurant. I had gone from being one individual fighting for a place in a mass of millions, to being a person in a small community. And for several months, I really enjoyed the change.
Then one night, about two in the morning, I got hungry. Except there are few enough restaurants and stores in this area, and none open so late. And that made me start noticing other things I missed. Like the computer stores. And while I had finally found a good bookstore, I had to drive 45 miles to get to it. That was about how far I used to drive, to Wiltshire in LA, to go to the theatre. Now it would have to be Detroit or Chicago, a few hundred miles in either direction. Museums? Galleries? Those quaint little shops that comprise every California beach community? At best they were hundreds of miles away, waiting in the nearest big city. At worst they were a part of the megalopolis found only on one of our Coasts.
I still think there are too many people in Southern California. But I've since come to realize that all the other things that make big-city life so wonderful can no longer exist when you take away the concentration of population. The all-night restaurants, seven-story malls, and all the cultural events exist because there's a whole lot of people to support them. And seemingly like everything else in life, there are costs associated with all those good things. Traffic jams, standing in line, neighbors who remain strangers for years. Advantages and disadvantages.
Open Poetry is Southern California. Lots and lots of people, with growth that just seems to never slow. Your poetry will receive a lot of attention in OP, but it'll also see a lot of competition. Advantages and disadvantages. I don't think you can ever have one without the other. I opened the Corner Pub, on the other hand, because I thought we needed a touch of rural Michigan. Post in there and your poem will remain on the first page for hours, even days. You'll get fewer replies, of course, because there's fewer people. Advantages and disadvantages.
Temptress, instead of discouraging people from posting, maybe we would all be better served by encouraging them to post more. The only real problem I see is that too many people seem to think of that first page of OP as some kind of Mecca, as the end-all and be-all of the forums. If your poem falls off that first page it is defined as buried? Because it takes a few more clicks to get to? Give me a break! If you want your poetry to be visible, do it by encouraging everyone to make those extra few clicks. Not by lessening the competition.
Others complain because they can no longer read every poem that is posted, let alone respond to each one. So? When I walk into the bookstore it's not because I expect or even hope to walk out with every book on the shelf. My greatest single regret in life is that I'll never live long enough to read every book I'd like to read. But that certainly doesn't mean I expect the New York publishers to slow down to my pace. On the contrary, I welcome the plethora of choices I have. And in the end, that's exactly what it comes down to - choices.
Michael is absolutely right about why many of the Members here make the choices they do. They can't read everything. So they first and inevitably read the works of those they call friend. I know there are a handful of people who spend a lot of time in the forums. But the proverbial average forum visitor reads less poetry per visit than does the average visitor to the main site. That rather suggests most people don't come here just to read poetry, but rather come to interact with other poets. (Further, it suggests a lot of people stop in just long enough to see if they have any responses, then immediately leave.) Maybe if your poem is being knocked off that Mecca called the first page by one of those "popular" Members, it's because that Member became popular as much by offering their support as by being good poets. Maybe, if someone isn't happy with the response their work is receiving, they should try to understand why. And, remember - those "popular" Members are facing the same competition as everyone else.
There are never going to be any simple answers to a complaint that seems only slightly less regular than the phases of the moon. Yes, we could make more rules, make the boards more difficult to use, make the forums less popular - but at what cost?
Advantages and disadvantages…