Use your disillusionment part 2

Do you remember the good old days? Do you recall that golden age when the World of WordPress had an ‘off-topic’ section? Ah, memories! I was a regular visitor there, as were many other bloggers. It gave us the chance to advertise our most recent posts in the hope of getting more traffic and, in turn, we would click on links to posts by others that caught our interest. These articles might have passed us by, had it not been for the off-topic page. It was a kind of one-stop shop for bloggers which I felt gave this site a greater sense of community. A while back, the powers-that-be decided, in their infinite wisdom, to get rid of the OT forum, so that we are now left only with technical support. These days, the nearest thing to a preview is Freshly Pressed which, I admit, does have some great blogs showcased thereon. It also has some average and some truly dire ones. I don’t know what the criteria are for entering the legendary kingdom of Freshly Pressed and nor do I care, because there are talented and insightful bloggers elsewhere. I only wish I could find more of them without having to type in a specific word in the search engine.

Where are the good internet fora these days? Where do all the movers and shakers go to discuss, chat, argue and invoke Godwin’s Law? There are certain sites which I visit regularly, but I find myself dissatisfied with the range of topics on offer. I’d like to draw your attention to a few websites:

Yahoo! Answers

http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/

If you have any questions on any subject, you can submit them here and some random stranger will answer. The answer, however, may not be one you wish to hear. There’s a ‘polls and surveys’ section which is a giant ball of randomness, but there’s also opportunity for debate in the ‘news & events’ area. The trouble is, 90% of it consists of forum members complaining about Islam. Honestly, the way they carry on over there, you’d think Muslims eat dead babies. I like Yahoo! Answers for its broad range of subject matter, but for current affairs discussions, it doesn’t cut the mustard.

Personality Café

http://personalitycafe.com/forum/

I joined this in August and am glad I did so. It gave me a chance to share my experiences with fellow INTJs, to understand more about other personality types and to throw in a few witticisms while I’m there. There is a ‘current events’ section, but most of the news topics covered relate to US politics, of which I know little. Nevertheless, I strongly recommend visiting PerC, because there some very interesting folks over there and you may learn something about yourself.

YouTube

I love YouTube. It’s my TV, my radio, an entertainer, an educator and a bedtime storyteller. It is not, however, a suitable news forum. At best, the comments section is a chance for members to express their appreciation for a video; at worst, it’s the battleground for a lengthy flame-war in which trolls from all walks of life pour their venom on each other. Not a pretty sight.

Topix

http://www.topix.com/

I don’t actually use this site and only stumbled upon it the other day. Indeed, I wouldn’t waste my time here as it is a haven for the lowest sort of internet troll and you won’t get much out of it. The posts there remind me of the kind of obscenities one finds on the walls of public toilets. However, I really like the ratings system. Rather than just ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’, various options are available, such as ‘funny’, ‘nuts’ or ‘brilliant’. That’s the sort of system I’d like to see in other fora.

BBC Have Your Say

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/have_your_say/

There are some great topics on offer, but only for a limited period, so you can’t really argue with anyone and there’s no reply function. The BBC, moreover, harbours a communist element within its ranks, so Anglophobia (one of my pet hates) is tolerated, whereas any right to reply is ruthlessly clamped down upon by the moderators. A pity, as Auntie is usually praised for her impartiality, unlike those scurrilous knaves next door….

Channel 4

The forum here was shut down a few years ago and I was not sorry to witness its demise. It is my logical assumption that many of its regular contributors sought refuge at the Guardian, where they continue to whine about the glass ceiling, the plight of Palestinians and Britain’s imperial legacy. See for yourself, if you wish (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/uk-edition), but be sure to bring a sick bag.

Which news forum, if any, do you use? Would you recommend it? Is the internet the last bastion of free speech? Make your voice heard and spread the word. Spideron out.

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