Wednesday, March 29, 2006

faq|about

An extension of BotF, a bulletin board based community.

What’s the point of the blog?

The heart and soul of our community, what makes it worthwhile are its individuals. The community originally grew up around a column in Slate Magazine. That column was discontinued years ago, but the community stayed on. Once essentially isolated, the community became self-sustaining and even managed to grown. We are, in essence, an accident, an unforeseen byproduct. This blog is our replacement column. Our way of filling the gap Slate created when it abandoned the column. We’re not going anywhere, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t use new blood, and hopefully this blog will let those people who will find value in our forum know we exist, what we offer, and where to find us.

Why should I post on BotF when I could start a blog or already have one?

Well, there is nothing that says you can’t do both. I once equated setting up a blog to setting up shop in the depths of space. Unless you’re willing to promote the hell out of it, there is no guarantee anyone is going to read it. By simply top posting in BotF, you’re guaranteed that between 10 and upwards of 100 people will read your post. There is also the sense of obligation that comes with running a blog. Even if you manage to gain readers, there is the concern that you will lose them if you don’t post regularly. That’s not a concern in BotF. It’s the equivalent of a team blog. Everyone is working to keep everyone interested, so BotF is always current even though many of its contributors only post once or twice a week, if not less. Blogs can also seem impersonal, even with comments. The structure and nature of BotF is such that not only are you more likely to receive comments to your posts, but those comments and ensuing discussions are more direct and honest in nature. Lastly, even if you are content with your blog, some of our posters have gone on to start their own rather successful blogs. Despite that, they often repost their blog entries in BotF. Apparently, whatever they’re getting out of BotF remains of value regardless of the success of their blogs.

How do you decide which posts to feature in the blog?

We use a simple calculation. Those top posts in BotF which receive a dozen or more responses are considered. Otherwise, very good posts are considered.

Anything else I should know about BotF?

BotF is but one of Slate Magazine’s many bulletin boards, collectively referred to as “the fray”. Most articles in Slate have reader’s comment links at the bottom to one of these boards. The Slate article that originally supported BotF is no longer active. Many of the posters who post in BotF still post on the other boards in response to Slate articles. Slate does not allow google or any other search engine to crawl the fray, so it could be said that what’s said in the fray stays in the fray. But that’s not exactly true. Your posts may be featured in this blog, or in fraywatch, or as an appends (see bottom of article).