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I’m still busy not keeping my NaNoWriMo quota (You can use this link to keep track and yell at me), so today’s post is some recent college work for a course on writing. German, for once, which alienates one of my readers, but might please the other (for there are literally only 2). Careful now, on my mark… switch language!
Ähem. Ja, hallo erstmal. Der folgende Text ist eine geforderte Eigeninterpretation von Peter K. Wehrli’s Katalog der 134 wichtigsten Beobachtungen während einer langen Eisenbahnfahrt für die Übung Schreiben und funktioniert genau genommen auch ohne irgendwelche Vorreden.
Die 5 Schritte zur erfolgreichen Bewältigung einer morgendlichen Aufzugsfahrt
1. Zweifel, der
Ob man die Wohnungstür auch wirklich zugesperrt hat. Natürlich hat man, aber lieber nochmal nachsehen während der Lift langsam nach oben rattert.
2. Ekel, der
Angesichts der schwärzlichen Pfütze im linken, hinteren Eck der Kabine. Regenwasser, an Schuhsohlen hereingetragen? Oder vielleicht doch das Produkt einer undichten Nachbarskatze, oder gar eines undichten Nachbarn?
3. Eitelkeit, die
Selbstbetrachtung im Spiegel an der Rückwand. Sitzt die Frisur? Aber sieht sie auch zwanglos ungewollt genug aus, wie das Resultat einer wilden Nacht, so als wäre man gerade aus dem Rausch des Jahrhunderts wiederauferstanden?
4. Ungeduld, die
Induziert durch den völlig unnötigen Zwischenstopp im zweiten Stock, bei dem die Aufzugtür nach quälendem Warten nur einen leeren Gang enthüllt. Es sei denn man zieht gerade selbstverliebt vor dem Spiegel Grimassen, in dem Fall sieht maan sich plötzlich der süßen Nachbarin von schräg unterhalb gegenüber. Versteht sich. Freundlich grüßen, dann peinlich schweigen.
5. Seelenfrieden, der
Das Gefühl einer Reise die ihren natürlichen Höhepunkt erreicht hat. Lebensweisheiten und Metaphern. Die Tür öffnet sich, und man verlässt den Kokon aus Stahl und Draht friedlich, reingewaschen, befreit, wiedergeboren. Hat sich bei mir auch nach mehreren hundert Versuchen noch nicht eingestellt.
A few months ago, before the host Timotei got herself in some sort of situation that resulted in a permanent ban, there was this thing on The Escapist called This Month in Forums, which I enjoyed quite a bit. I limit most of my time on The Escapist to one board and TMIF showed me some intersting posts I would have missed otherwise and while it was far from flawless I can get onboard with a format encouraging quality discussion. Now as I’ve mentioned the thing is now effectively kaput, but I recently decided to try to pick up the torch with a slightly smaller project, a (working title) User Review of the Month type thing. Before I say anything else, I should probably mention that I’m currently still waiting for a response from Spinwhiz, who has promised to bring the thing up in staff meetings (and is presumably very busy dealing with the backlash against the new forum rules right now). They might decide against such a thing and I can see why they would. I’ve been thinking a lot about the details of such a project lately, so I’m going to use today’s post to chronicle my thoughts.
1. Philosophy. URM is not just going to be an award show. I’ve been hesitant to suggest such a thing to The Escapist because of the fact that I might end up creating another one of those self-congratulatory systems of inclusion handing out pats on the back based on the standards of some nebulous judging panel. I’m still afraid that it might be shut down because they perceive it that way. Let’s be honest here, the User Review board is not a contest and there’s nothing to win by doing well there. Most people, including myself, use it as a platform to hone their writing. It boasts a considerable audience, which is good for motivation, and brings the occasional bit of critique, which is good for development. The more I think about it the more I believe that a dedicated User Review meta-platform could do good for both areas. Basically it wouldn’t be about saying “This review is good”, but about saying “This review is good and here’s why”. Now you may think that the actual review thread in question might be a better place to comment on its quality, but think of more general issues like elitism versus populism, conversationalism vs descriptivism, how to deal with inherent subjectivity or the role of amateur critique in the grand scheme of things. I think that dealing with any one of those in a review thread is putting them on to small a platform, but using the review as a prompt allows for a broader scope of discussion while still honouring the review (Imagine, if you will, Niche Appeal‘s anniversary minus the awkward, this-should-sort-of-be-about-me undertone). Hopefully we’ll be able to get the ball rolling and foster some interesting discussion whlie providing our newest members with some material to figure out where they see themselves when it comes to these meta-issues. Oh, and past that it will also be an award show.
2. Execution. You may have noticed that I used the plural pronoun “we” in the past paragraph. I did so because I obviously won’t be able to maintain such a thing on my own. One of the first things I’d do would be creating an open-to-all user group and asking a few people if they’d be willing to help out as trusted hands. While membership to the group would be with limitations, people who want to be part of the (still very open) judging panel would need to register with me through a short private message to avoid abuse. After that any member of the panel is welcome to suggest reviews for the next poll (how exactly we’d decide if they make it on the list is something that will probably change a bit with more experience, but for now the model I have in mind is that a suggestion simply needs a few advocates, say 5 or 10. I could take an active part in the scouting and voting process, but I’d prefer to keep my position exclusively organisatorial to keep priorities nicely unmuddled) and will be asked to vote during that time of the month. After I’m done counting, I will again contact a few people who voted for the winning review trying to get at least three to summarize their thoughts and why they picked it with a short laudatio (to create a bit of food for thought). More than three would be nice, but since it might give away which review you voted for in an otherwise anonymous system it will be entirely voluntarily. If I can’t get three together I’ll ask more people, the inner circle of trusted associates and if push comes to shove I’ll write something myself. And if anybody wants to write something about the user review section in general that would be nice too. There’s probably still a few kinks that need to be ironed out, but I presume that those will quickly become apparent should I actually end up putting this thing into practice.
So there you have it, the idea that has been keeping me busy the last few days. Perhaps I’m once again making grandiose plans that will never come to be. Who knows? If anybody wants to tell me what they think of that idea, go nuts.