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Location: California, United States

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The future of the dotCommonweal commenters

As I wrote the other day, Commonweal has closed its dotCommonweal blog to comments and many of those who did comment are wondering if some new venue for a continuation of their discussions might be found. I don't know if anything will come of that, but it made me think of my own online interactive history.

When I first started using the internet, about the late 90s, I was trying to write a novel. I had never written one before and I didn't really know what I was doing but being online helped a lot. One of those helps was a writer's BBS. It was a large online community composed of a few writers who had published books, many more who had published articles, and those who wanted to learn. There were forums for every topic and genre and also what were called challenges. A challenge was a contest one could enter in which a genre, topic, and word length was chosen and everyone wrote a short story to compete for winning. We had to read each story and critique it too. I still have some of the short stories I wrote for the challenges in a blog here.

I was there for a few years and one of my fellow writers, a Quaker, asked me to join his bible blog in 2004. I had never blogged before but I gave it a try. We would all read the passage chosen and write a post about it. Then we'd usually comment on the other people's posts. It was pretty fun and I learned much more about the New Testament that way. Some of those old posts still exist. You can read one of mine here - Crystal on the temple cleansing

Many of us eventually dispersed to create out own blogs and that's what I did, starting this one in order to concentrate more on Catholic stuff. This was kind of the heyday of blogging and before long I fell in with a group of other Catholic bloggers. It was a lot of fun to post on various topics and visit other people's blogs to discuss it all. I learned a million times more about Christianity in general and the Catholic church in particular by investigating issues to post about. And I got exposed to many different points of view via the other bloggers. A blog that was very helpful academically ... the NT Blog hosted by Duke NT professor Mark Goodacre.

Sadly, blogging waned as FaceBook and Twitter appeared and now I only have a few blogging buddies left. I guess that's when I began spending more time at religious sites where one could comment .... America magazine, National Catholic Reporter, The Tablet, and dotCommonweal. I didn't really fit in anywhere but I sort of settled down at dotCommonweal and endured despite the many times my comments got deleted ;)

Don't know what's coming up in the future for me or for the other commenters at dorCommonweal, but I will stick to blogging here if only for my mental health ... they say it's good for you to journal, even if no one else ever reads what you've written. What I post about has changed somewhat and I don't ever get many comments these days, but thanks to SiteMeter, at least I know people are visiting :) ...


Anonymous Dyan said...

Hi Crystal! Just wanted you to know I still visit regularly - I just don't comment much because I'm an introvert ;) I sure appreciate you though!

9:57 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Dyan. It's good to know you're around! I still remember your parakeets :)

10:08 PM  

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