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Old 12-31-2012, 12:29 PM   #1
Chris Li
 
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Online Decline?

A number of people have pointed to the ongoing IP debates as a cause of the decline in participation in AikiWeb. There's probably some truth to that - but I wonder if much of it isn't just part of the continuing trend?

There's been rancor in the past - many years ago on one of the old mailing lists it got so bad that a well known Aikido instructor got on a plane to go confront his tormentor - who turned out to be a high school kid yanking his chain.

But people still kept talking, so rancor alone wasn't enough to actually squelch discussion.

Speaking of mailing lists, anybody remember Aikido-L? It was a rich and dynamic discussion mailing list that, in many ways, was the progenitor of AikiWeb.

Where is it today?

It, along with most of those types of lists, died away, victims of changes in internet usage patterns.

My daughter doesn't even use email anymore, she barely even uses her phone (the voice part) - everything is text and messaging.

Times and usage patterns change.

Most website discussion forums are pretty dead these days - here's an interesting article that I've found to be mostly true:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com...t/?ref=opinion

And another one:

http://www.cmcandrew.com/robocolumn/archives/3391

Rest in peace..?

Best,

Chris

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Old 12-31-2012, 01:21 PM   #2
ChrisMoses
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Re: Online Decline?

It's funny you bring this up. I was just over at another forum I used to frequent regularly and there haven't hardly been any posts there in almost nine months. Sad to think of the forums going away. I don't want all of you people hounding me on Facebook...

Chris Moses
TNBBC, "Putting the ME in MEdiocre!"
Shinto Ryu Iai Battojutsu
TNBBC Blog
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:31 PM   #3
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Online Decline?

Happy New Year!

I have also been thinking about this recently. Everything seems to have moved on to either closed private forums or facebook. The two German MA forums I used to frequent have been pretty dead for some months in terms of my interests, and the third one has gone private. And I use the www for MA information much less anyway, dont know whether that is just me.
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:33 PM   #4
Don_Modesto
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Re: Online Decline?

There's some good stuff here; hope it's archived. (Is the stuff that was on e-budo; there was some GREAT stuff there.)

Don J. Modesto
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:36 PM   #5
Cady Goldfield
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Re: Online Decline?

Well, if it's any indication of the veracity of Chris Li's theory, E-Budo has been down for a long time, and I wonder whether it's down for the count. Before it vanished, that site had an inactive membership of over 15,000 but only a tiny membership of active posters. Over the years, the attrition just kept up with people simply not coming back.

Looking at some of the other once-popular martial arts-themed websites, participation is sluggish.

Martial arts is a relatively small and specialized interest, with an even smaller population interested enough in the subject to want to yak about it online. The number of martial artists worldwide who particiapte on an English-language site is likely smaller still. Maybe there just aren't enough of them to sustain sites with fresh material and conversations forever. Like a marriage, keeping a web forum lively and fresh takes a lot of work and creativity. Maybe there just isn't enough of anything "new" to do that. IP/aiki may be the last frontier of controversy that keeps some level of "conversation" going.

But I don't think that the Internet overall is on the way out. It is still a great way to share a sense of "community" that individual texting can't achieve. There are plenty of online forums that attract thousands of participants who share a similar interest. For example, check out "Backyard Chickens": http://www.backyardchickens.com/f/

On any given day, that site has over 1,000 people yakking about their pet chickens, ducks, etc. and swapping egg recipes and what-have-you. It's a huge community, with thousands of active participants. No one cares if the same topic is brought up again and again, because there are so many people there that someone will be happy to chime in with advice. The members come from all walks of life and have many other interests besides pet livestock and backyard poultry, so there is constant chit-chat on any manner of subjects. There are no specific agendas.

Forums like that are global substitutes for the old general store or other social gathering spot where a housewife, retiree, young mother, veterinarian on his/her day off, or 4-H kid can hang out. The one thing they have in common that brought them there is chickens, but they are open to lots of other kinds of discussion.

But maybe martial arts forums are too specialized in both subject matter and participant type to sustain that kind of communality. Maybe by nature we're all just too introverted.

P.S. Oh lordy, Chris, I remember that incident with the "well-known Aikido teacher" (and well-liked!)...he wrote about it as a cautionary tale. I joined the Aikido-L listserv (and Jujutsu-L) in 1995. Does anyone here still remember listserves? They actually still exist. A couple of years ago I found out that Aikido-L was revived by a few folks, and also Jujutsu-L was never de-activated. It just lives in the ethers, waiting for someone to post. Kind of sad, like the space-ship greenhouse in Silent Running.

Last edited by Cady Goldfield : 12-31-2012 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:40 PM   #6
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Online Decline?

I remember Aikido-L and going to some dungeon in the university to read the digests... 1997 I think it was? There was this guy Dan Harden there, he really got on my nerves, used to skip all his stuff... :-)
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:55 PM   #7
DH
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Re: Online Decline?

Quote:
Nicholas Eschenbruch wrote: View Post
I remember Aikido-L and going to some dungeon in the university to read the digests... 1997 I think it was? There was this guy Dan Harden there, he really got on my nerves, used to skip all his stuff... :-)
Yup
Almost 18 years later, saying much the same stuff: someone sent me some archived stuff; DR being soft like taichi, central pivot, intent training, dynamic balance, power to neutralize.....on and on.

I never was proven wrong, but a lot of teachers sure got upset. Today...many are friends of mine.
The net has just as many positive things going for it as negative. When you mention people being u[set over the IP/aiki debate, it is ridiculous NOT TO MENTION the fact that it has brought more people together from an incredible variety of arts then all of the Aikido Journal get togethers. It also brought to light what many teachers are calling the finest work they have seen in their lives. Many have said it changes their lives.

Word of mouth was the age old way for Budo people to find good teachers. The Web is just an enhanced version of that.
Dan

Last edited by DH : 12-31-2012 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:33 PM   #8
bkedelen
 
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Re: Online Decline?

I am trying so hard to never miss an opportunity to keep my mouth shut.
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:52 PM   #9
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Online Decline?

Quote:
Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
I am trying so hard to never miss an opportunity to keep my mouth shut.
You missed it - what are you trying to say exactly? :-)
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:02 PM   #10
Janet Rosen
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Re: Online Decline?

Aikido-L never went away. It goes quiet for days or even weeks at a time but almost any
query post or link will generate some chatter so folks are still there, myself included.

Janet Rosen
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:02 PM   #11
akiy
 
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Re: Online Decline?

Hi Chris,

There certainly may be a change in the way that people use online discussion forums and such. That said, the number one complaint I have heard from people in why they no longer come to AikiWeb is the degradation in tone that people employ in their discussions -- namely, the lack of respect, aggressiveness (active and passive), and argumentative rhetoric.

In any case, no matter whether the tides are shifting and no matter how many people continue to use AikiWeb, I agree with the above sentiment (that the tone has degraded) and will be more active in addressing such here in the new year.

-- Jun

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Old 12-31-2012, 07:46 PM   #12
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Re: Online Decline?

Well, the reason I have avoided posting lately is that the threads that interest me usually have more experienced people in them expressing better points than I ever could.
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:53 AM   #13
danielajames
 
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Re: Online Decline?

Its an interesting question to ponder and assuming for a moment its more than just seasonal variation there are a number for factors at play, here are some I can think of

- Paper based media is effectively dead (I think i read that internet advertising has passed print media now in revenue), thus the news cycles and the way people read and adsorb information is radically changing, so perhaps like aikido-l (long time lurker in the 90's) aikiweb isn't quite in the niche it once was.

- Moving from mail based (listserv) to forum based to web 2.0 seems to be a progression in general?

- Internet usage by portable devices has overtaken desktop devices. Portable devices seem to be used more 'on the go' and favour shorter exchanges and less verbose communications. Hit 'like' if you agree and put some vapid slogan that tugs at a heart string in an image file and watch it go viral

- Online forums/ communities are reflections of real community, if damage is done to the community its reflected in the online version (whats interesting is the aikiweb is one and the same for many)

- People in general seem to be conflict averse, so apart from actual combatants most others will leave the battlefield given half a chance. I've seen this at work in some local aikido online communities in the past. I think no-one likes to watch, pick a side, stand up and be counted or put in the position where they might have to. Where something polarises a community you potentially lose 50% overnight.

- Just a few years ago most dojo didn't have a website, now there is a blog, facebook page and twitter for many. These local communities and blogs are attractive, and less contentious perhaps than something with a more global focus.

- I note many contributors to aikiweb are writing content on their own blogs and reflecting to aikiweb. (self included), and why wouldn't you it builds brand and identity etc. for something more likely to affect the bottom line.

It'd be interesting to see some of the aikiweb stats on engagement, timeline it with some big events in the forums history, global events or just the passage of time to see if anything jumps out.

Last edited by danielajames : 01-01-2013 at 05:55 AM.

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Old 01-01-2013, 09:56 AM   #14
lbb
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Re: Online Decline?

I think it's a combination of all of the above, plus...people move on. What drives the need to discuss? It's different for different people, the new student eager to gobble it all up as fast as possible and the experienced practitioner who wants to talk to the relative few who are at his/her level, and everyone in between. We move on. We see things differently. Discussion serves us for a time, then it doesn't serve, and one day it may serve us again.
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:17 PM   #15
Mark Mueller
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Re: Online Decline?

Redundancy.......I have been on Aikiweb since it's inception......98% of the topics have been brought up before. Combine that with the issues that Jun mentions and it is not the same place that Jun originally established. Interestingly I saw Aikido Today Magazine go through a similar transition....
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:43 PM   #16
Chris Li
 
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Re: Online Decline?

Quote:
Mark Mueller wrote: View Post
Redundancy.......I have been on Aikiweb since it's inception......98% of the topics have been brought up before. Combine that with the issues that Jun mentions and it is not the same place that Jun originally established. Interestingly I saw Aikido Today Magazine go through a similar transition....
And we see where Aikido Today is...today

The proliferation of search engines has really changed the need to collect information, even information from a small niche activity, into a single location.

For example, the dojo search function on AikiWeb, which has to be updated manually, is usually beat out these days by local search on the major search engines, IME.

Most of the stuff on AikiWeb isn't new. Most of the places right now that are hosting successful online conversations are ones that are either fed continously by new content, or are places where people are looking for specific advice for new situations (ie, the chicken site that Cady mentioned). Even the advice based sites tend to go stagnant once most of the major issues get covered (you can see that happening as a site ages).

Another part of that is that there really isn't much new information coming out on Aikido in general these days. If you look around the internet, search on blogs, etc. - most of it is rehashing things that have already come up over the years.

Even most of Stan Pranin's stuff (which I love, don't get me wrong) is mostly recycled information interspersed with a few opinion pieces.

There's nothing wrong with that, I guess, leaves more time for training...

Best,

Chris

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Old 01-01-2013, 06:43 PM   #17
Mark Mueller
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Re: Online Decline?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
And we see where Aikido Today is...today

The proliferation of search engines has really changed the need to collect information, even information from a small niche activity, into a single location.

For example, the dojo search function on AikiWeb, which has to be updated manually, is usually beat out these days by local search on the major search engines, IME.

Most of the stuff on AikiWeb isn't new. Most of the places right now that are hosting successful online conversations are ones that are either fed continously by new content, or are places where people are looking for specific advice for new situations (ie, the chicken site that Cady mentioned). Even the advice based sites tend to go stagnant once most of the major issues get covered (you can see that happening as a site ages).

Another part of that is that there really isn't much new information coming out on Aikido in general these days. If you look around the internet, search on blogs, etc. - most of it is rehashing things that have already come up over the years.

Even most of Stan Pranin's stuff (which I love, don't get me wrong) is mostly recycled information interspersed with a few opinion pieces.

There's nothing wrong with that, I guess, leaves more time for training...

Best,

Chris
Like I said..."Redundancy" Although I have enjoyed some of the things you have added to the IP discussions....well thought out and devoid of emotional/personal attachment. Thanks.
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:47 PM   #18
Mark Mueller
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Re: Online Decline?

Actually to paste one more thing on to that.....I think Dan Harden has done a HUGE service to the Aikido community by encouraging folks to get off their dogma and get out and feel stuff rather than write about it....which once again encourages "more time for training".
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:14 PM   #19
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Online Decline?

I think the quality of the post have gone up over the years. I read Aikiweb as much as I always have. However, comment less. Back in the days we had lots of discussion over ki wars and so forth...today, less of that stuff and more stuff of substance.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:26 AM   #20
Rob Watson
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Re: Online Decline?

Pretty much just keeping tabs on seminars and who has died ...

Anything substantive has been covered long ago.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:12 AM   #21
Cliff Judge
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Re: Online Decline?

Forums are a means to organize communication among multiple participants; it is a way to have a conversation. Someone will have a topic for discussion and post a thread. Forums allow for people to follow on to that or to clearly address each other's points.

In general, the internet has become a place for a higher volume of shallower communication. People tweet or update their facebook status...neither of these apps are good for sidebar discussions. There is probably a tendency for people to start looking at forums as though they are a communications medium more like twitter or facebook.

Another thought is that people have taken more to tablets and smartphones for their communications needs....typing lengthy posts on a touchscreen might not be slower or more frustrating for a teenager than typing on a physical keyboard but for those of us who got used to PCs and laptops it certainly is.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:33 AM   #22
jonreading
 
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Re: Online Decline?

First, Chris needs to stop posting vital information on facebook. I do not have a personal facebook account.

Second, I think the rhetoric is difficult to understand. Aikiweb users can be unclear as to whether they are arguing a point, inviting a discussing, or requesting feedback or information.

Third, anonymity is a problem. Poor posts, bad attitudes and silly comments are searchable and will come back to haunt. I cringe at what I will see [of myself] in 10 years. Forums are requiring much more information to establish a personal identity. As Dan said, word of mouth...

Forth, the Internet if for porn.

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Old 01-02-2013, 11:57 AM   #23
Conrad Gus
 
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Re: Online Decline?

For the record, I find interesting things on aikiweb all the time. It's one of the ways I feel connected to aikido practitioners around the world.

Conrad
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:46 PM   #24
akiy
 
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Re: Online Decline?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
The proliferation of search engines has really changed the need to collect information, even information from a small niche activity, into a single location.
[snip]
Another part of that is that there really isn't much new information coming out on Aikido in general these days.
I guess that's one place where we differ, Chris. I don't see the primary "value" in a website like AikiWeb being a place to house or exchange information but to have meaningful interactions with others in the world of aikido. These interactions will, of course, include the exchange of information, but the value that I see (and wish to continue to cultivate) is in being a part of a diverse, worldwide community of aikido practitioners.

That's why I've been very vocal here about conducting ourselves with respect within our discussions. If you (a generic you, not aimed at you, Chris, or anyone in particular) feel like you want to just disseminate information without thinking about and caring about the community, I'd suggest finding a different venue than AikiWeb to express your ideas. I would rather have a rich, diverse, and respectful discussion forum than one with rich information without such qualities of civil interactions.

Creating a community takes care.

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Old 01-02-2013, 02:54 PM   #25
Chris Li
 
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Re: Online Decline?

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote: View Post
I guess that's one place where we differ, Chris. I don't see the primary "value" in a website like AikiWeb being a place to house or exchange information but to have meaningful interactions with others in the world of aikido. These interactions will, of course, include the exchange of information, but the value that I see (and wish to continue to cultivate) is in being a part of a diverse, worldwide community of aikido practitioners.

That's why I've been very vocal here about conducting ourselves with respect within our discussions. If you (a generic you, not aimed at you, Chris, or anyone in particular) feel like you want to just disseminate information without thinking about and caring about the community, I'd suggest finding a different venue than AikiWeb to express your ideas. I would rather have a rich, diverse, and respectful discussion forum than one with rich information without such qualities of civil interactions.

Creating a community takes care.

-- Jun
Hey Jun,

My point was that it's the new information that tends to fuel community discussion - and therefore, interaction. Since old information is archived and available through search new discussion tends to wither after a time, I've seen that on a number of other message board type sites.

Of course, a constant influx of new people tends to ameliorate that, but it appears that the trend is towards newer people using other forms of interaction.

Best,

Chris

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