Member Rara Avis
I don't have a lot of time, but I would like to add a few points.
Those who frequent the Philosophy forums will know that I am a strong proponent of "natural" systems, and believe we interfere with them at great risk. Capitalism, as just one example, works because it's based on natural "laws" like supply and demand, laws which can be quickly destroyed when governments start meddling (i.e., fixing prices). On the other hand, we need strong antitrust laws against monopolies, else Capitalism will inevitably plunge into injustice. Okay, enough economics. My point is that I believe we sometimes need to intervene in a process, while still trying very hard not to interfere. Unbump was my attempt to intervene in a process that was becoming increasingly unfair to many.
When you reply to another person's post, you are essentially saying "This is a good poem." The post shoots to the top of the page, to get a fresh start at being read. The more people who respond to that poem, the more people will get a chance to read it. In theory, the best poems get the most exposure. It's a fair, very "natural" system, and every Member here is on exactly the same footing. And, yea, I know a response isn't "always" motivated by the quality of the work. It's often motivated by the popularity of the Member, but that's just another way of saying the poet has spent their time replying to others - something we ALL want to encourage. A response can also be motivated by theme, title, time of day, and I guess whether there's a full moon or not. But, again, we're all on the same footing where those are concerned.
Bumping your own post has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the work. Neither pro nor con. I wouldn't even have a problem with that, if everyone still remained on the same footing. But the perception of politeness prevents us from all being equal in this regard. Some refuse to bump their own post, preferring to email their thanks or offer none at all. Some withhold their thanks as long as possible. And some, because they have the perception nothing is wrong with bumping their own posts, will reply to every second or third post.
NONE of those reactions are inherently wrong! But neither are they equal, and they certainly don't have anything to do with the quality of the poetry. Those who are either too meek or too polite are being punished by a system that should instead be centered around the poem and not the personality of the poet.
Sadly, there will never be a perfectly equitable system. There are people here who write poetry with meanings on several different levels, much more difficult to read, much more difficult to understand, and they typically receive fewer responses even though their very depth adds to the quality of the poetry. There are some who pursue sensationalistic, ego-enhancing themes that garner more responses than quality should dictate. But while the system is, and will likely always remain, imperfect, I do think it's pretty fair. I also think it rather closely mimics real world publishing, where buying your own book probably isn't the best way to establish high sales.
Personally, I would hate to see these forums turn into little more than a popularity contest. I'd like to think we are here to share poetry that is meaningful to us and, perhaps, to learn to do it better. We all want to be read, else we wouldn't be here. But posting at Passions is almost a guarantee you will be read, and probably appreciated, often by many more people than you realize, certainly by more than take the time to respond. Those who are seeking higher number, who are seeking popularity, have a very simple solution, one that is on an equal footing with every other Member - you need but write better, more popular poetry.
In closing, let me tell you first what I won't do, and then what I will do. I won't make an unfair system more unfair by letting some bump and other choose to not bump. People shouldn't be put at a disadvantage because they want to be polite. Nor will I add a whole bunch of rules about how many poems you can post, or how many thank you's you can extend, or whether a post on page three should be automatically brought forward because it has too few replies, or whether the third thank-you on an alternate Tuesday should be allowed to bump the thread. One of the things that has made me the most proud of our family is that our Members care as much about people as they do poetry - new people never fail to get responses and everyone watches for those occasional zero-reply posts to insure they don't get ignored. Courtesy, in my estimation, goes a whole lot farther than rules.
What I will do, however, is continue to listen. I'm under the gun right now and don't have time to respond to every argument, but I assure you I'm reading them. I honestly haven't heard one person yet tell me why they should control the destiny of their post, rather than leave it to the majority, nor has anyone suggested why their thank you is more valid than the poem it MUST replace at the top of page. But the Unbump isn't carved in stone. When everyone has had more time to accustom themselves to it, and when I am under a little less pressure, I'll try to come up with a fair way for everyone to vote on the issue. All I really want, after all, is a system that's fair to everyone.