Jejudo, South Korea
Wow, this has stirred things up more than I thought it would.
1. I think celebrating the posts marginalizes a certain type of poster, not low posters as such.
2. I don't think there's anything we can or should do to change that except rant about it here.
3. I'm not, nor do I think Hush is, trying to criticize the posting practices of other members. We are simply saying that this practice focuses on a certain type of poster, not on another.
I want to avoid 'quality' versus 'quantity' because I think it's too advesarial a distinction. Rather I think the difference is between those who believe in the quantity of posts over and above the quantity of the post. For some of us, the longer the comment the better. It gives us more to work with, think about, and so forth.
That is, we're talking about two different types of quantity, okay?
Believe it or not, that was the best argument so far. Essentially, you're saying that this celebration WORKS. It's extremely difficult to argue against results. I just wonder if we can't create the same situation without the reliance on post numbers.
A kitchen conversation full of smiley faces? I like the goal (if I understand what you mean) but I'm not clear how this emphasis on numbers helps those goals.
"I'm not a person, I'm a number!!!"
Please don't take that seriously, I just couldn't resist. In a way though, you make a valid point. This type of celebration makes you feel good because you have been recognized. But how does it make someone feel if they have spent the same amount of time here as you have but are not recognized because they've spent their energies on long, detailed, involved posts whereas yours have been shorter (I'm not saying that one is better than the other, just that both have value).
Interestingly enough, they do say 'congratulations' in both Korean and Japanese on your birthday. In a Confucian society, this makes a kind of sense because age is a bringer of privilege (and responsibility but that's usually muted). In America, however, unless things have changed pretty dramatically since last I was there, we say 'Happy Birthday.' Now, when you use this term, you may indeed mean certain things that go beyond the literal meaning of the phrase. That's fine.
But "Happy Birthday" cannot mean that someone is 'special' to everyone without seriously damaging the meaning of 'special'.
In a way, everyone is special and unique. I agree with that. But when you say to someone, "You're special to me." You are not saying that "You are the same as everyone else to me." You are practicing a favoritism (and there's nothing wrong with that). That's why people feel good, they are standing apart from the crowd. They count for something more than the 'special' that everyone is.
But this makes no sense when the term has become a social convention, when it is expected in polite conversation. It has to mean something different or it can't be used when you meet a stranger. It can't mean what you say or say what you mean. How could it?
The same goes for Happy Anniversary and Congratulations on a newborn baby (Thanks by the way. Did I ever say thanks?). Neither of these things imply that I am special; they are showing me a form of conventional respect, not because the actions are unique,
not because Lynne is more important than another baby (except to me), not because my marriage is more important than someone else's, but because this is what we say in these situations.
Problems happen when we don't say them. In order to keep the social status quo, we have to say them. Nobody asks, "Why did he say happy birthday on my birthday?" They ask, "Why didn't he say happy birthday on my birthday?"
None of this takes away from sincerity by the way. Why question someone's sincerity if all he or she is really saying is that they hope you have a special day on a day that is, for the listener, special? The only way that sincerity becomes an issue is if it means more than what I have just described. Because by meaning more, you set yourself up for commitment (a commitment impossible to maintain), for expectation, and for disappointment.
By the way, I'm not very good at these social conventions. Probably because I spend more time thinking about them than I do actually practicing them. This is not something I'm proud of as these social conventions are important.
What does this have to do with celebrating posting?
I'll stop here because I have to go meet my wife at the market (social conventions and all that )
PS Wait until I get into social pressure.