An Idea: Chapter Of The Week!

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Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld

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Aug 27, 2003, 9:38:07 PM8/27/03
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Fellow AFTers and RABTERS, I've got an idea to promote some regular on-topic
discussion:

<drumroll>

Chapter Of The Week!

Each week, maybe on Monday or Tuesday, we can start a thread dealing
exclusively with a chapter of Tolkien's work. The title of the first post in
the thread would contain the words "Chapter Of The Week" (or just "COTW")
followed by the title of the chapter.

The rate of discussion (a chapter a week) should allow most Tolkien fans,
from movie newbies to long-timers, to keep up at a pace they can manage.
Your posts can be as casual or as in-depth as you like. Of course, the start
of a new chapter does not mean that old threads have to be discontinued
(though they will likely fade of their own accord.)

(Conrad and Steuard, I'm hoping for your endorsement especially. Perhaps you
would even be willing to start the threads? Has this been tried before?)

We could begin a thread discussing the first chapter of The Hobbit next week
on Labour Day (giving everyone out there time to find a copy and start
reading.) If this experiment goes well, we could then start a series of LOTR
threads when we've completed TH. Sound good?

--
Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Lord Pęlluin,) Ph.D., Count of Tolfalas


Bill O'Meally

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Aug 27, 2003, 11:17:54 PM8/27/03
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"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message
news:32d3b.854664$ro6.16...@news2.calgary.shaw.ca...

> Fellow AFTers and RABTERS, I've got an idea to promote some regular
on-topic
> discussion:
>
> <drumroll>
>
> Chapter Of The Week!

It's a neat idea, but too much like a book club for me, which I never
have time to keep up with.
--
Bill

"Wise fool"
Gandalf, THE TWO TOWERS


Steuard Jensen

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Aug 28, 2003, 12:26:36 PM8/28/03
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Quoth "Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> in article
<32d3b.854664$ro6.16...@news2.calgary.shaw.ca>:

> Fellow AFTers and RABTERS, I've got an idea to promote some regular
> on-topic discussion:
> Chapter Of The Week!

> Each week, maybe on Monday or Tuesday, we can start a thread dealing
> exclusively with a chapter of Tolkien's work.

[snip]

> Has this been tried before?

I haven't seen anything of the sort here, but I've certainly seen a
number of other groups do it. I hate to be a party pooper, but I feel
a little bit hesitant to jump on board, for several reasons. (Mind
you, I wouldn't object at all if people started doing it whether I'm
involved or not!) I've got at least one piece of advice on how to
proceed, though, which I'll mention at the end.

First of all, I'm reasonably busy with "real life" work these days,
which means that I sometimes just don't have much time to spend on the
groups. Making a commitment to participate actively at a specific
time each week just might not be feasible. That's just speaking for
myself, of course, but most people will have issues like that at some
point during the project.

Second, I think the project might suffer from a fair bit of
uncertainty about what level to discuss things at. Only a perfect
balance between the poles of "new to the books" and "Middle-earth
expert" could avoid excluding people. Less knowledgeable people would
be scared away from the discussion if it involved lots of esoteric
information from HoMe (or even Silm. and UT), while experts would
quickly lose interest if the discussions rarely raised new questions
or new points of view. But without people of every level of
"experience" involved in the discussion, I think it would quickly
fizzle out.

Third, as I said above, other forums out there have run chapter by
chapter discussions of LotR, at least. What would make ours special?
(Sure, we're all really cool, so that's a positive factor, but I don't
know that it's enough on its own. :) ) Either we'd need a fair number
of people committed enough to raise interesting questions on a regular
basis, or we'd need one or two people to come up with enough questions
to get the discussion started by themselves. Based on my experience
watching the E-text's development, attention spans might not sustain
the first approach as long as they'd need to, and based on my
experience administering that project, it's _hard_ to make a
commitment to run a project for an extended time. :)

That leads to one suggestion I could make, though: you might think
about organizing chapter discussions the same way we organized the
E-text. Namely, get different people to volunteer to start the
discussion on a chapter (either let them choose, or assign chapters to
volunteers yourself based in part on their preferences). That way,
you'd get a range of perspectives and "expertise levels", and no one
person would be overburdened. (Also, calling for volunteers would
quickly give you an idea of how much interest there is in the
project... though some people wouldn't develop interest until they see
how the discussions are going.) I'd be very happy to see the idea
take off, so good luck!

Steuard Jensen

AC

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Aug 28, 2003, 12:39:04 PM8/28/03
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On Thu, 28 Aug 2003 16:26:36 GMT,
Steuard Jensen <sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu> wrote:
>
> That leads to one suggestion I could make, though: you might think
> about organizing chapter discussions the same way we organized the
> E-text. Namely, get different people to volunteer to start the
> discussion on a chapter (either let them choose, or assign chapters to
> volunteers yourself based in part on their preferences). That way,
> you'd get a range of perspectives and "expertise levels", and no one
> person would be overburdened. (Also, calling for volunteers would
> quickly give you an idea of how much interest there is in the
> project... though some people wouldn't develop interest until they see
> how the discussions are going.) I'd be very happy to see the idea
> take off, so good luck!

I've never taken part in such a thing. My time these days is somewhat
limited, but the idea is intriguing. How does it all work?

--
Aaron Clausen

tao...@alberni.net

Alexander Giles

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Aug 28, 2003, 12:43:03 PM8/28/03
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Steuard Jensen <sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu> wrote in article
<03q3b.26$P4....@news.uchicago.edu>...
>
> > Chapter Of The Week!
>

Not a bad idea, but start with LoTR.
Post a question on it, or nominate someone - the replies could be sent in
over the week.
--
Alexander Giles, London
"At the end of the day the king and the pawn go back in the same box"
xande...@hotpop.com

Conrad Dunkerson

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Aug 28, 2003, 12:48:55 PM8/28/03
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"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message news:<32d3b.854664$ro6.16...@news2.calgary.shaw.ca>...

> We could begin a thread discussing the first chapter of The Hobbit next week
> on Labour Day (giving everyone out there time to find a copy and start
> reading.) If this experiment goes well, we could then start a series of LOTR
> threads when we've completed TH. Sound good?

Overall it sounds like a good idea. I recall various cases where
someone was reading the books and tossing out questions to the group
as they encountered them which generated alot of discussion, and I did
something similar to this with Letters for a while. I might suggest
adding some 'flex factors' into the plan though. For instance, it
might not always be possible for someone to post a new chapter start
on the appointed day... or there could be a huge discussion going on
which would completely drown out a new chapter. In such cases it
should be considered 'ok' to miss the weekly update and do it a few
days later. If there is a fear of having the updates postponed
indefinitely maybe make the procedure that anyone who wants to can
start the new chapter discussion so long as at least seven days have
passed since the last one. If they left something out then others
could mention it in followups. This prevents the burden from being on
any one person.

Taemon

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Aug 28, 2003, 2:41:07 PM8/28/03
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Steuard Jensen:

> That leads to one suggestion I could make, though: you might think
> about organizing chapter discussions the same way we organized the
> E-text. Namely, get different people to volunteer to start the
> discussion on a chapter (either let them choose, or assign chapters to
> volunteers yourself based in part on their preferences).

I think that's a very good idea. It also ensures that the pace is dependent
on the amount of discussion (I think a week is a very short period). Uhm,
I'm in.

Greetings, T.


AC

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Aug 28, 2003, 2:45:11 PM8/28/03
to

Alright, count me in as well. Somebody else start though, 'cause I'm still
sort of hazy on the details.

--
Aaron Clausen

tao...@alberni.net

Steuard Jensen

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Aug 28, 2003, 3:45:56 PM8/28/03
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Quoth "Alexander Giles" <xande...@hotpop.com> in article
<01c36d83$e3d5f860$ede3edc1@biz>:
[Someone else wrote:]
> > > Chapter Of The Week!

> Not a bad idea, but start with LoTR.

Actually, I meant to suggest this in my previous post as well, but as
I was finishing I couldn't quite remember what my other piece of
advice was going to be. :)

I honestly don't know whether doing LotR or _The Hobbit_ first would
be best, but I think there's more depth in LotR and hence more to talk
about. I even wondered if doing _The Silmarillion_ instead would be
more interesting (particularly on these groups, since our average
"expertise" is greater than a fair number of other forums'), but that
might exclude too many people.

So, yeah, I think my vote is to start with LotR, but it's a rather
weak vote. :)
Steuard Jensen

Andi

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Aug 28, 2003, 4:30:34 PM8/28/03
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>Chapter Of The Week!
<snippish>

>We could begin a thread discussing the first
>chapter of The Hobbit next week on Labour >Day (giving everyone out
there time to find a
>copy and start reading.) If this experiment
>goes well, we could then start a series of
>LOTR threads when we've completed TH.
>Sound good?
>--
>Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Lord Pêlluin,) Ph.D.,
>Count of Tolfalas

It sounds like a good idea to me. I will not even pretend to promise
participation, as I'm quite a sporadic poster of late. I'll chime in
with those who suggest starting with LOTR, but add that when TH is on
the agenda, perhaps more than just one chapter per week would be
suitable. Could discussion of TH be done centered around structural
similarities to LOTR? Or is there not much behind that idea, which just
lept to mind?

Windy

~"You may say a cat uses good grammar. Well, a cat does -- but you let a
cat get excited once; you let a cat get to pulling fur with another cat
on a shed, nights, and you'll hear grammar that will give you the
lockjaw. Ignorant people think it's the noise which fighting cats make
that is so aggravating, but it ain't so; it's the sickening grammar they
use."
- Mark Twain, _A Tramp Abroad_

zett

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Aug 28, 2003, 6:46:57 PM8/28/03
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"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message news:<32d3b.854664$ro6.16...@news2.calgary.shaw.ca>...
> Fellow AFTers and RABTERS, I've got an idea to promote some regular on-topic
> discussion:
>
> <drumroll>
>
> Chapter Of The Week!
>
[rest snipped]

This sounds like a good idea to me. I understand some folks' concerns
about not having time to dedicate *every* week, but we can give it a
try and if it fizzles out, it fizzles out. Nothing ventured, nothing
gained, I say. I think too, the good thing about starting with The
Hobbit is that it is Tolkien's 'easiest' book, so that might encourage
newer readers or others who might otherwise be intimidated to jump
into the discussions. But I *personally* don't care which book is used
to start, count me in.

David Flood

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Aug 28, 2003, 9:24:54 PM8/28/03
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"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message news:<32d3b.854664$ro6.16...@news2.calgary.shaw.ca>...
> Fellow AFTers and RABTERS, I've got an idea to promote some regular on-topic
> discussion:
>
> <drumroll>
>
> Chapter Of The Week!

<cough>

Googlegroups for "parasha".

cheers,
Daithí

GdB

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Aug 29, 2003, 2:07:28 AM8/29/03
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Hi,

I am just new in the group, and I like the idea. But would it not be a
better idea to do it in the Tolkien Wiki?

http://www.thetolkienwiki.org/

In a Wiki, quality of all texts can improve in time, and texts will
not just fade out in the past. It is just an idea.

If you do not know what a Wiki is, well just go there and have a look.
It is well explained
(http://www.thetolkienwiki.org/wiki.cgi?GuidedWikiTour). Take a minute
for it, and then decide what to do.

GdB

Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld

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Aug 29, 2003, 2:13:46 AM8/29/03
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I think Steuard has a great idea, with each interested participant
volunteering to introduce the discussion on their chosen chapter at the
appointed time. So, here is a tentative sign-up sheet, just reply to the
group with your name and chosen chapter. You will have plenty of time to
think of what to say. If for some reason you can't make the post at the
appointed time, just request ahead of time for someone to take over your
duties.

The schedule is also tentative, since I expected we would start The Hobbit
first, but if a clear majority demands LOTR be discussed first within the
next 2 or 3 days, we could still change it. Actually, it might be good to
work out the bugs on The Hobbit first, so that by the time we make it to
LOTR we're all getting good at it (and an impatient crowd is gathering to
join in.)

All you really have to do is start a thread at the appropriate date with the
chapter name in the subject line. For the body of the post, I was thinking
of two paragraphs, the first one being a brief summary of the chapter, the
second paragraph being a list of suggested points for discussion. It's
really up to you, there need not be any formal structure, since this is your
chance to develop your skills as a host/narrator/moderator.

For respondents, it's even simpler. Your comment can be anything from "I
like this chapter" to an essay longer than the chapter itself.

Since it's my idea, maybe I should introduce Chapter 1 of The Hobbit (unless
someone else reeeally wants to do it, speak up now,) and my first post will
probably become a counter-example to everyone on how _not_ to do it. (Heh!)

As you can see, if the project succeeds, it will go on for more than a year.
Thanks for the encouragement, and here's hoping most of us can make it all
the way.

THE HOBBIT
==========
Sep 1, 2003 1. An Unexpected Party
Sep 8, 2003 2. Roast Mutton
Sep 15, 2003 3. A Short Rest
Sep 22, 2003 4. Over Hill and Under Hill
Sep 29, 2003 5. Riddles in the Dark
Oct 6, 2003 6. Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire
Oct 13, 2003 7. Queer Lodgings
Oct 20, 2003 8. Flies and Spiders
Oct 27, 2003 9. Barrels out of Bond
Nov 3, 2003 10. A Warm Welcome
Nov 10, 2003 11. On the Doorstep
Nov 17, 2003 12. Inside Information
Nov 24, 2003 13. Not at Home
Dec 1, 2003 14. Fire and Water
Dec 8, 2003 15. The Gathering of the Clouds
Dec 15, 2003 16. A Thief in the Night
Dec 22, 2003 17. The Clouds Burst
Dec 29, 2003 18. The Return Journey
Jan 5, 2004 19. The Last Stage


LORD OF THE RINGS
=================
Jan 12, 2004 Prologue

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
--------------------------
BOOK ONE

Jan 19, 2004 1-1. A long-Expected Party
Jan 26, 2004 1-2. The Shadow of the Past
Feb 2, 2004 1-3. Three is Company
Feb 9, 2004 1-4. A Short Cut to Mushrooms
Feb 16, 2004 1-5. A Conspiracy Unmasked
Feb 23, 2004 1-6. The Old Forest
Mar 1, 2004 1-7. In the House of Tom Bombadil
Mar 8, 2004 1-8. Fog on the Barrow-Downs
Mar 15, 2004 1-9. At the Sign of the Prancing Pony
Mar 22, 2004 1-10. Strider
Mar 29, 2004 1-11. A Knife in the Dark
Apr 5, 2004 1-12. Flight to the Ford

BOOK TWO

Apr 12, 2004 2-1. Many Meetings
Apr 19, 2004 2-2. The Council of Elrond
Apr 26, 2004 2-3. The Ring Goes South
May 3, 2004 2-4. A Journey in the Dark
May 10, 2004 2-5. The Bridge of Khazad-Dum
May 17, 2004 2-6. Lothlorien
May 24, 2004 2-7. The Mirror of Galadriel
May 31, 2004 2-8. Farewell to Lorien
Jun 7, 2004 2-9. The Great River
Jun 14, 2004 2-10. The Breaking of the Fellowship

THE TWO TOWERS
--------------
BOOK THREE

Jun 21, 2004 3-1. The Departure of Boromir
Jun 28, 2004 3-2. The Riders of Rohan
Jul 5, 2004 3-3. The Uruk-Hai
Jul 12, 2004 3-4. Treebeard
Jul 19, 2004 3-5. The White Rider
Jul 26, 2004 3-6. The King of the Golden Hill
Aug 2, 2004 3-7. Helm's Deep
Aug 9, 2004 3-8. The Road to Isengard
Aug 16, 2004 3-9. Flotsam and Jetsam
Aug 23, 2004 3-10. The Voice of Saruman
Aug 30, 2004 3-11. The Palantir

BOOK FOUR

Sep 6, 2004 4-1. The Taming of Smeagol
Sep 13, 2004 4-2. The Passage of the Marshes
Sep 20, 2004 4-3. The Black Gate is Closed
Sep 27, 2004 4-4. Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Oct 4, 2004 4-5. The Window on the West
Oct 11, 2004 4-6. The Forbidden Pool
Oct 18, 2004 4-7. Journey to the Cross-Roads
Oct 25, 2004 4-8. The Stairs of Cirith Ungol
Nov 1, 2004 4-9. Shelob's Lair
Nov 8, 2004 4-10. The Choices of Master Samwise

THE RETURN OF THE KING
----------------------
BOOK FIVE

Nov 15, 2004 5-1. Minas Tirith
Nov 22, 2004 5-2. The Passing of the Grey Company
Nov 29, 2004 5-3. The Muster of Rohan
Dec 6, 2004 5-4. The Siege of Gondor
Dec 13, 2004 5-5. The Ride of the Rohirrim
Dec 20, 2004 5-6. The Battle of the Pelennor Fields
Dec 27, 2004 5-7. The Pyre of Denethor
Jan 3, 2005 5-8. The Houses of Healing
Jan 10, 2005 5-9. The Last Debate
Jan 17, 2005 5-10. The Black Gate Opens

BOOK SIX

Jan 24, 2005 6-1. The Tower of Cirith Ungol
Jan 31, 2005 6-2. The Land of Shadow
Feb 7, 2005 6-3. Mount Doom
Feb 14, 2005 6-4. The Field of Cormallen
Feb 21, 2005 6-5. The Steward and the King
Feb 28, 2005 6-6. Many Partings
Mar 7, 2005 6-7. Homeward Bound
Mar 14, 2005 6-8. The Scouring of the Shire
Mar 21, 2005 6-9. The Grey Havens

(APPENDICES?)

Conrad Dunkerson

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Aug 29, 2003, 7:16:05 AM8/29/03
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sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu (Steuard Jensen) wrote in message news:<UZs3b.31$P4.1...@news.uchicago.edu>...

> I even wondered if doing _The Silmarillion_ instead would be more
> interesting

Heh... I was thinking HoME even, but figured it was best to wait and
see how it goes first. Don't really have a preference on TH vs LotR
to start with.

Conrad Dunkerson

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Aug 29, 2003, 7:24:28 AM8/29/03
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sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu (Steuard Jensen) wrote in message news:<03q3b.26$P4....@news.uchicago.edu>...

> Namely, get different people to volunteer to start the discussion on
> a chapter (either let them choose, or assign chapters to volunteers
> yourself based in part on their preferences).

The problem with this is that it requires someone to do the organizing
and remind people when it is there turn and be responsible throughout
to keep things moving along, et cetera. There is also the issue that
someone may no longer be available when their turn comes up... or
really really want to do a chapter that someone else 'called first'.

On the other hand it is better than my 'just let whoever wants to do
so start the discussion each week' in that it guarantees a diversity
of ideas and styles and encourages a more formal/dedicated analysis as
each person tries to do 'their' chapter well.

Overall I'd probably prefer the 'cooperatve anarchy' to the
'centralized organizer', but I'm game for whichever... so long as I
don't have to be the organizer. :]

Pradera

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Aug 29, 2003, 7:40:19 AM8/29/03
to
On 29 sie 2003, conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net (Conrad Dunkerson)
scribbled loosely:

>> I even wondered if doing _The Silmarillion_ instead would be more
>> interesting
>
> Heh... I was thinking HoME even, but figured it was best to wait and
> see how it goes first.

Let's start with Letter of the Week ;)

--
Pradera
---
'Ronald Reagan once said that a great leader is simply an
average man who surrounds himself with the best.
That's why I never vote Republican'
Scott Summers, 'Cyclops'

http://www.pradera-castle.prv.pl/
http://www.tolkien-gen.prv.pl/

Andi

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Aug 29, 2003, 8:17:42 AM8/29/03
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sir.b...@bluewin.ch (GdB) scrawls:

>In a Wiki, quality of all texts can improve in
>time, and texts will not just fade out in the
>past. It is just an idea.

>GdB

I've not had a problem with fading text, mostly it's the paper itself
darkening with age that causes the problems. Well, that and inferior
glue letting pages fall away from the spine.

Oh, wait. You weren't talking about fading of physical texts were you?

Stan Brown

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Aug 29, 2003, 11:20:40 AM8/29/03
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In article <UZs3b.31$P4.1...@news.uchicago.edu> in
rec.arts.books.tolkien, Steuard Jensen
<sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu> wrote:
>I even wondered if doing _The Silmarillion_ instead would be
>more interesting (particularly on these groups, since our average
>"expertise" is greater than a fair number of other forums'), but that
>might exclude too many people.

On the other hand, it might be a great opportunity for people who
have been meaning to read Silm but find it intimidating.

Maybe a chapter every two weeks rather than every week, to allow
people to read unfamiliar material.

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Cortland County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com
Tolkien FAQs: http://Tolkien.slimy.com (Steuard Jensen's site)
Tolkien letters FAQ:
http://users.telerama.com/~taliesen/tolkien/lettersfaq.html
FAQ of the Rings: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/ringfaq.htm
Encyclopedia of Arda: http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm
more FAQs: http://oakroadsystems.com/tech/faqget.htm

g.skinner

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Aug 29, 2003, 11:21:04 AM8/29/03
to
<SNIP>

> May 10, 2004 2-5. The Bridge of Khazad-Dum
Well I'll lay claim to this one then, it'll be far enough into the future
that I'll be able to see what everyone else puts down for their chapters.


--
Graeme
gp.sk...@NOSPAMtalk21.com


AC

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Aug 29, 2003, 12:25:14 PM8/29/03
to
On Fri, 29 Aug 2003 06:13:46 GMT,
Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote:
> Sep 15, 2003 3. A Short Rest

I'll take this one. Still not sure what I'm doing, but hopefully the two
people that come before me will point the way.

--
Aaron Clausen

tao...@alberni.net

Steuard Jensen

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Aug 29, 2003, 12:54:31 PM8/29/03
to
Quoth conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net (Conrad Dunkerson) in article
<1178b6d1.03082...@posting.google.com>:
> sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu (Steuard Jensen) wrote:

> > Namely, get different people to volunteer to start the discussion
> > on a chapter (either let them choose, or assign chapters to
> > volunteers yourself based in part on their preferences).

> The problem with this is that it requires someone to do the

> organizing...

Yup... and that _ain't_ gonna be me! Not this time. :)

> ...and remind people when it is there turn and be responsible


> throughout to keep things moving along, et cetera.

That was certainly a challenge with the E-text. (Come to think of it,
it still is! :) ) Since this is more "familiar" material, though, I
think it would be easier to find people who could act as last minute
replacements.

> There is also the issue that someone may no longer be available when
> their turn comes up... or really really want to do a chapter that
> someone else 'called first'.

Both of these were also issues with the E-text. I think the first
issue could be addressed by only assigning chapters three or four in
advance (maybe get volunteers for the next block of three chapters
right after the final "starter" post of the previous block came out).

The second is trickier, but I think there's _more_ room for fairness
when someone is overseeing the process than when people just jump in
when the mood strikes them.

> On the other hand it is better than my 'just let whoever wants to do
> so start the discussion each week' in that it guarantees a diversity
> of ideas and styles and encourages a more formal/dedicated analysis
> as each person tries to do 'their' chapter well.

That's what I like most about the idea. It makes sure that a few
assertive people don't end up dominating the whole thing, and it would
presumably make it easy to get a mix of "experience" levels initiating
the discussions. Also, it would avoid the possible problem (?) of two
people startig "this week's thread" at the same time because of
message propagation delays.

> Overall I'd probably prefer the 'cooperatve anarchy' to the
> 'centralized organizer', but I'm game for whichever... so long as I
> don't have to be the organizer. :]

I'd be okay with either, but I do think the "loose organization" idea
has some important benefits.
Steuard Jensen

Russ

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Aug 29, 2003, 2:01:40 PM8/29/03
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In article <slrnbkuvj9...@whop-paC-006c.alberni.net>, AC
<tao...@alberni.net> writes:

>On Fri, 29 Aug 2003 06:13:46 GMT,
>Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote:
>> Sep 15, 2003 3. A Short Rest
>
>I'll take this one. Still not sure what I'm doing, but hopefully the two
>people that come before me will point the way.
>

Whoever is in charge can just assign me a chapter.

Russ

Steuard Jensen

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Aug 29, 2003, 2:39:32 PM8/29/03
to
Quoth "Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> in article
<uaC3b.867607$3C2.19...@news3.calgary.shaw.ca>:

> I think Steuard has a great idea, with each interested participant
> volunteering to introduce the discussion on their chosen chapter at
> the appointed time. So, here is a tentative sign-up sheet...

At the risk of throwing a wrench into your carefully constructed
plans, I figure I should put in one more plug for assigning just a
handful of chapters at a time. The E-text ran into serious trouble
several times when people volunteered for a chapter and then (months
later) weren't able to follow through (sometimes they weren't even
reachable!).

In fact, one idea that occurred to me for this project would be to
have a list of volunteers with assigned chapters (as you've already
started constructing) AND a rotating list of volunteers willing to be
last minute replacements. (People could be on both lists, of course,
and could add or remove themselves from the "replacement" list at any
time.) If someone fell through or you just didn't get a volunteer for
some slot, you would then assign the chapter to the first person on
the "replacement" list (who would then move to the back of that list).
It's another layer of complication, but something similar eventually
arose in a sort of de-facto way with the E-text, and I think having a
vaguely official structure for it would end up being more fair. (Gah,
I seem to be awfully fond of complicated "rules". Maybe Conrad is
right...)

Along similar lines, I'm reasonably confident that you'll eventually
get a sort of "core" of dedicated "chapter hosts" and then a
smattering of people who contribute just once or twice. Unless you're
willing to let people claim a dozen chapters at a time right now, you
may have trouble filling the first few weeks at all! Again, assigning
just a few chapters at a time would make this a non-issue: people
would be happy to volunteer now, knowing that they would still have
the chance to lead their "favorite" chapter later. (Of course, people
who have already "hosted" many chapters should probably have slightly
lower "priority" than people who haven't, just to encourage newcomers
and spread out the "hosting styles" a little.)

And just one other issue: if you accept "reservations" now for
chapters far in the future, you will be more or less locking yourself
in to whatever chapter-distribution mechanism you've started with.
That is, it would be very difficult to change the assignment method if
you'd already promised key chapters. (I learned a related lesson in a
rather painful way during the E-text project.)

On a side note, I hadn't really contemplated just how long this whole
process would take! If we _do_ want to try something similar for _The
Silmarillion_ (or UT or...), we'll either have a very long wait or
we'll have to start it up in parallel. I don't know if that means
anything, but it's worth being aware of it.

> Actually, it might be good to work out the bugs on The Hobbit first,
> so that by the time we make it to LOTR we're all getting good at it
> (and an impatient crowd is gathering to join in.)

I'm fine either way, despite my stated weak preference for starting
with LotR. (One thing to keep in mind: if the project fizzles early,
we won't get around to the later parts at all. That would be an
argument for starting with a choice that's likely to produce the most
enjoyable discussion, whatever that means... but which choice that is,
I don't know.)
Steuard Jensen

the softrat

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Aug 29, 2003, 5:03:05 PM8/29/03
to
On Fri, 29 Aug 2003 06:13:46 GMT, "Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld"
<eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote:

>Mar 21, 2005 6-9. The Grey Havens
>
>(APPENDICES?)

GEEZ! Who's planning to LIVE that long?


the softrat ==> Careful!
I have a hug and I know how to use it!
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--
If at first you DO succeed, try not to look astonished!

the softrat

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Aug 29, 2003, 5:20:14 PM8/29/03
to
On 29 Aug 2003 04:24:28 -0700, conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net

(Conrad Dunkerson) wrote:
>
>Overall I'd probably prefer the 'cooperatve anarchy' to the
>'centralized organizer', but I'm game for whichever... so long as I
>don't have to be the organizer. :]

I think that we already have 'cooperative anarchy'. Look what the
trolls have done to AFT. Looks anarchic to me!

Actually I guess that it's more like 'uncooperative anarchy' or
'hostile and disorganized anarchy', but that's tautological.


the softrat ==> Careful!
I have a hug and I know how to use it!
mailto:sof...@pobox.com
--

People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because
it's safer to pick on rich women than biker gangs.

Taemon

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Aug 29, 2003, 5:33:33 PM8/29/03
to
Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld:

> I think Steuard has a great idea, with each interested participant
> volunteering to introduce the discussion on their chosen chapter at the
> appointed time. So, here is a tentative sign-up sheet, just reply to the
> group with your name and chosen chapter.

I volunteer, and just assign me the chapter that is coming next and no one
has taken yet. I also vote for The Silmarillion or Unfinished Tales after
The Hobbit since we've discussed Lord of the Rings so often already.

Greetings, T.


David Flood

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Aug 29, 2003, 5:45:14 PM8/29/03
to
"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message news:<uaC3b.867607$3C2.19...@news3.calgary.shaw.ca>...

> I think Steuard has a great idea, with each interested participant
> volunteering to introduce the discussion on their chosen chapter at the
> appointed time. So, here is a tentative sign-up sheet, just reply to the
> group with your name and chosen chapter. You will have plenty of time to
> think of what to say. If for some reason you can't make the post at the
> appointed time, just request ahead of time for someone to take over your
> duties.
<snippage>

The Parasha (which I mentioned here about a month ago,
http://hem3.passagen.se/kjnoren/jordan/parasha.html) used to be an
organised re-read over on the Robert Jordan groups.

It fell apart as far as I could see because of (a) people drifting off
Usenet back into RL and (b) people strated doing their own thing under
the "PARASHA" label. I strongly suggest you get these things agreed on
and nailed down first!

D.

TradeSurplus

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Aug 29, 2003, 6:54:53 PM8/29/03
to
Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld wrote in message ...

>I think Steuard has a great idea, with each interested participant
>volunteering to introduce the discussion on their chosen chapter at the
>appointed time. So, here is a tentative sign-up sheet, just reply to the
>group with your name and chosen chapter.

I'll volunteer for one. I don't really mind which one but let's say this
one, unless someone else wants it.

>Oct 6, 2003 6. Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire

I also volunteer for the back-up list, as per Steuard's suggestion.

Trade.


zett

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Aug 29, 2003, 7:10:38 PM8/29/03
to
"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message news:<uaC3b.867607$3C2.19...@news3.calgary.shaw.ca>...
> I think Steuard has a great idea, with each interested participant
> volunteering to introduce the discussion on their chosen chapter at the
> appointed time. So, here is a tentative sign-up sheet,[rest snipped]

I call _Riddles In The Dark!_ :) I will wait and see if we make it to
a LoTR discussion before I volunteer for a chapter there. Well, if we
do LoTR first, I would like _The Shadow of the Past_, if someone else
hasn't taken it. However, if either of my choices causes anyone grief,
I am flexible- I will take whatever chapter is assigned to me. I am
just stating my preferences.

Donald Shepherd

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Aug 29, 2003, 9:04:17 PM8/29/03
to
On Fri, 29 Aug 2003 06:13:46 GMT, Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld
<eblo...@SPECTRE.org> alleged...

> Sep 1, 2003 1. An Unexpected Party

Do we count the on-going discussion of Bilbo's cooking habits in this
thread as this chapter's contribution?
--
Donald Shepherd
<donald_shepherd @ hotmail . com>

"Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open
sewer and die." - Mel Brooks

Steuard Jensen

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Aug 29, 2003, 10:24:25 PM8/29/03
to
Quoth sir.b...@bluewin.ch (GdB) in article
<ea51034b.03082...@posting.google.com>:

> I am just new in the group, and I like the idea. But would it not be
> a better idea to do it in the Tolkien Wiki?

> In a Wiki, quality of all texts can improve in time, and texts will


> not just fade out in the past. It is just an idea.

I hadn't actually heard of a Wiki before; it's an interesting concept.
(For those who are still in the dark, the idea seems to be a sort of
"group edited" website where everyone can change everything.
Surprisingly, it sounds like it works pretty well: people don't
typically try to deliberately break the site, for example, and I guess
they must have a friendly enough community going for major arguments
to be settled "peacefully".)

The thing is, the project that we're planning here seems less than
ideally suited to the Wiki model. We're looking to have an
interesting discussion, in which people exchange ideas back and forth.
It's the full "history" of the discussion that is interesting in this
case, with all its twist and turns and sidetracks. As far as I know,
we _aren't_ looking to produce any sort of "end product", so I
wouldn't expect any "texts" to emerge at all (nothing of a nature that
would "improve in time", anyway).

I could see something of the sort being pretty spiffy for a project
like our parody E-text (now pretty much finished, alas):
inconsistencies missed by one contributor could be fixed by another.
On the other hand, I feel like that would have the potential for
serious hurt feelings... which is a concern that I have about the Wiki
concept in general, to be honest. Would I really want to go in and
throw away someone else's work to replace it with my own? Wouldn't
some sort of discussion be helpful? (That is, a discussion that
wasn't always phrased as a "final product"... something where you
could directly ask questions of the other people involved, for
example.)

The Wiki model might also work well for a FAQ, but even there I have
concerns. For example, FAQs tend to focus on the most contentious
debates, and based on my experience here at times in the past I think
that things could get _really_ nasty when the differences of opinion
got heated. Still, it could be a good technique as long as most of
the people involved were fond of compromise. :) Having said that, I
feel that a good FAQ really does benefit from a decent "editor": some
questions really don't deserve to be in a FAQ (is "Are the events of
LotR pure fiction?" really a serious question?), and it can be helpful
for all of the entries to be written in more or less the same style.

All in all, I very much enjoy our discussions here for the sake of the
discussions themselves. When I want to write "presentable" documents
like essays or FAQs, I do. :)
Steuard Jensen

David Flood

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Aug 30, 2003, 4:03:41 AM8/30/03
to
sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu (Steuard Jensen) wrote in message news:<tVT3b.63$P4.1...@news.uchicago.edu>...

> Quoth sir.b...@bluewin.ch (GdB) in article
> <ea51034b.03082...@posting.google.com>:
> > I am just new in the group, and I like the idea. But would it not be
> > a better idea to do it in the Tolkien Wiki?
>
> > In a Wiki, quality of all texts can improve in time, and texts will
> > not just fade out in the past. It is just an idea.
>
> I hadn't actually heard of a Wiki before; it's an interesting concept.
> (For those who are still in the dark, the idea seems to be a sort of
> "group edited" website where everyone can change everything.
> Surprisingly, it sounds like it works pretty well: people don't
> typically try to deliberately break the site, for example, and I guess
> they must have a friendly enough community going for major arguments
> to be settled "peacefully".)

LOL. And you're seriously entertaining the thought of one for *us*,
even for a second?

(Does anyone else shudder at the thought of the Swords page, or the
Ring page etcetc.?)

D.

David Flood

unread,
Aug 30, 2003, 4:06:47 AM8/30/03
to
sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu (Steuard Jensen) wrote in message news:<tVT3b.63$P4.1...@news.uchicago.edu>...
> Quoth sir.b...@bluewin.ch (GdB) in article
> <ea51034b.03082...@posting.google.com>:
> > I am just new in the group, and I like the idea. But would it not be
> > a better idea to do it in the Tolkien Wiki?
>
> > In a Wiki, quality of all texts can improve in time, and texts will
> > not just fade out in the past. It is just an idea.
>
> I hadn't actually heard of a Wiki before; it's an interesting concept.
> (For those who are still in the dark, the idea seems to be a sort of
> "group edited" website where everyone can change everything.
> Surprisingly, it sounds like it works pretty well: people don't
> typically try to deliberately break the site, for example, and I guess
> they must have a friendly enough community going for major arguments
> to be settled "peacefully".)

p.s. There are differing implementations of Wikis; some allow changes
to be undone, others changes to be reviewed before adding to the page.

(Don't have time to hustle up URL's, unfortunately; off home for the
-rare- sunny weekend now! ;-)

D.

Pradera

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Aug 30, 2003, 4:53:44 AM8/30/03
to
On 30 sie 2003, redi...@dublin.ie (David Flood) scribbled loosely:

> (Don't have time to hustle up URL's, unfortunately; off home for the
> -rare- sunny weekend now! ;-)
>

Ah, so it was YOU who stole our sun! Thief, Floodsss!

Taemon

unread,
Aug 30, 2003, 8:57:45 AM8/30/03
to
Donald Shepherd:

> Do we count the on-going discussion of Bilbo's cooking habits in this
> thread as this chapter's contribution?

Of course! Which means that the Softrat is down the list now :-)

Greetings, T.


Donald Shepherd

unread,
Aug 30, 2003, 9:58:32 AM8/30/03
to
On Sat, 30 Aug 2003 14:57:45 +0200, Taemon <Tae...@zonnet.nl> alleged...

Damn it, I was trying to claim credit for the actual topic, rather than
his minimalistic "Chapter One: There is a party."

Ah well, back to looking for a different chapter...

Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld

unread,
Aug 30, 2003, 1:43:32 PM8/30/03
to
"David Flood" <redi...@dublin.ie> wrote in message:

> <snippage>
>
> The Parasha (which I mentioned here about a month ago,
> http://hem3.passagen.se/kjnoren/jordan/parasha.html) used to be an
> organised re-read over on the Robert Jordan groups.
>
> It fell apart as far as I could see because of (a) people drifting off
> Usenet back into RL and (b) people strated doing their own thing under
> the "PARASHA" label. I strongly suggest you get these things agreed on
> and nailed down first!

I appreciate your concerns, David, but I'm sure we'll repeat most of the
same mistakes even if we try to learn from them. Actually, I'll be
pleasantly surprised if this project survives the first month. If it does
fizzle out, no great loss.

We may get a lot of interested newbies joining in as they discover AFT and
RABT on their school networks. I've noticed how the start of the Hobbit
discussion conveniently coincides with the start of the September term, and
LOTR coincides with the January term. By then, they will be hooked on
Tolkien for life (if they aren't already by the time they see the ROTK
movie!) <nirglive>

It would probably be good if someone with some spare webspace could
volunteer to post up the tentative schedule and the basic idea, so that we
can refer newbies to that link instead of these posts.

Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld

unread,
Aug 30, 2003, 1:51:00 PM8/30/03
to
"Donald Shepherd" <donald_...@yahoo.com> wrote in message:

> Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> alleged...
> > Sep 1, 2003 1. An Unexpected Party
>
> Do we count the on-going discussion of Bilbo's cooking habits in this
> thread as this chapter's contribution?

Good question. I'm inclined to think so, and I take this jump-start on the
discussion as a good sign of future continuing interest. A lot of the
discussion is looking good too. I should still make the introduction post on
Sep. 1 that I was planning to make, in order to attract newbie attention and
put a "rubber stamp" of officialdom on the proceedings. I just hope the
wording of my post doesn't constrict the diversity we now see.

Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld

unread,
Aug 30, 2003, 2:17:31 PM8/30/03
to
"Steuard Jensen" <sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu> wrote in message:
> Quoth conrad.d...@worldnet.att.net (Conrad Dunkerson) in article:

<pins>

> > On the other hand it is better than my 'just let whoever wants to do
> > so start the discussion each week' in that it guarantees a diversity
> > of ideas and styles and encourages a more formal/dedicated analysis
> > as each person tries to do 'their' chapter well.
>
> That's what I like most about the idea. It makes sure that a few
> assertive people don't end up dominating the whole thing, and it would
> presumably make it easy to get a mix of "experience" levels initiating
> the discussions. Also, it would avoid the possible problem (?) of two
> people startig "this week's thread" at the same time because of
> message propagation delays.

I don't see a problem. It might be a good thing to have multiple
introduction posts, as they could start discussions at different depth
levels and on different topics the other posts omit. (Notice how my Chapter
1 has already started without me.)

It might be good to have a "48 hours notice" list of backup posters willing
to make an emergency chapter introduction post if the assigned poster fails
to post and fails to give advance notice. The assigned posters can still
make their "official" posts later.

RoRowe

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Aug 30, 2003, 3:50:06 PM8/30/03
to
"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message news:<uaC3b.867607$3C2.19...@news3.calgary.shaw.ca>...


I'll take Ch. 4 -- Over Hill and Under Hill. I'll also volunteer to be
on the backup list if needed.

Also, thanks for organizing this. I think it can work if we give it a
chance.

RoRowe

Michelle J. Haines

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Aug 30, 2003, 4:18:59 PM8/30/03
to
In article <32d3b.854664$ro6.16...@news2.calgary.shaw.ca>,
eblo...@SPECTRE.org says...
> Fellow AFTers and RABTERS, I've got an idea to promote some regular on-topic
> discussion:
>
> <drumroll>
>
> Chapter Of The Week!

rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan did the PARASHA thing for a while,
but it faded out after a couple months. I think it's more likely to
have a long-lasting effect here, but we'll see.

But I'm a newbie here, so what do I know?

Michelle
Flutist

--
In my heart. By my side.
Never apart. AP with Pride!
Katrina Marie (10/19/96)
Xander Ryan (09/22/98 - 02/23/99)
Gareth Xander (07/17/00) Zachary Mitchell
Theona Alexis (06/03/03) (01/12/94, fostered 09/05/01 - 07/23/03)

Steuard Jensen

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Aug 31, 2003, 3:30:56 PM8/31/03
to
Quoth "Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> in article
<8u54b.60989$la.13...@news1.calgary.shaw.ca>:

> "Donald Shepherd" <donald_...@yahoo.com> wrote in message:
> > Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> alleged...
> > > Sep 1, 2003 1. An Unexpected Party

> > Do we count the on-going discussion of Bilbo's cooking habits in this
> > thread as this chapter's contribution?

> Good question. I'm inclined to think so...

Just for the record, that branch of the thread wasn't crossposted to
r.a.b.t, so those who don't actively follow a.f.t (which all too often
includes me these days) have missed it entirely (so far, at least).
You might want to mention that discussion in your introductory post,
or even summarize a bit of it, or, well, something. :)

Steuard Jensen

David Flood

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Aug 31, 2003, 7:37:38 PM8/31/03
to
Pradera <pra...@pradera.prv.pl> wrote in message news:<Xns93E76ED073105p...@130.133.1.4>...

> On 30 sie 2003, redi...@dublin.ie (David Flood) scribbled loosely:
>
> > (Don't have time to hustle up URL's, unfortunately; off home for the
> > -rare- sunny weekend now! ;-)
> >
>
> Ah, so it was YOU who stole our sun! Thief, Floodsss!

Hah! - and your wimmin as well! (you can't turn around in Dublin
without running into some sweet Polish girl over here ;-)

David

Hasdrubal Hamilcar

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Aug 31, 2003, 7:41:03 PM8/31/03
to

My neighbour was a polish girl. She was as sweet as sweet can be.
Unfortunately we went to different schools, so I never got to know her.
Her father was nice though.

Hasan

David Flood

unread,
Aug 31, 2003, 7:45:10 PM8/31/03
to
"Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> wrote in message news:<8n54b.865779$ro6.17...@news2.calgary.shaw.ca>...

> "David Flood" <redi...@dublin.ie> wrote in message:
> > <snippage>
> >
> > The Parasha (which I mentioned here about a month ago,
> > http://hem3.passagen.se/kjnoren/jordan/parasha.html) used to be an
> > organised re-read over on the Robert Jordan groups.
> >
> > It fell apart as far as I could see because of (a) people drifting off
> > Usenet back into RL and (b) people strated doing their own thing under
> > the "PARASHA" label. I strongly suggest you get these things agreed on
> > and nailed down first!
>
> I appreciate your concerns, David, but I'm sure we'll repeat most of the
> same mistakes even if we try to learn from them. Actually, I'll be
> pleasantly surprised if this project survives the first month. If it does
> fizzle out, no great loss.

If it's stiil around next year I'll take on some chapter from, say,
Book Three.

(Back to college next month :-( All going well, I intend to take a
month or two off after exams next year to travel - either in Europe,
or the US. I should be back home in July or August).

> We may get a lot of interested newbies joining in as they discover AFT and
> RABT on their school networks. I've noticed how the start of the Hobbit
> discussion conveniently coincides with the start of the September term, and
> LOTR coincides with the January term. By then, they will be hooked on
> Tolkien for life (if they aren't already by the time they see the ROTK
> movie!) <nirglive>
>
> It would probably be good if someone with some spare webspace could
> volunteer to post up the tentative schedule and the basic idea, so that we
> can refer newbies to that link instead of these posts.

Can do, easily. What were you thinking of?

David

Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld

unread,
Aug 31, 2003, 9:07:11 PM8/31/03
to
"Steuard Jensen" <sbje...@midway.uchicago.edu> wrote in message:
> Quoth "Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld" <eblo...@SPECTRE.org> in article:

> > "Donald Shepherd" <donald_...@yahoo.com> wrote in message:
>
> > > Do we count the on-going discussion of Bilbo's cooking habits in this
> > > thread as this chapter's contribution?
>
> > Good question. I'm inclined to think so...
>
> Just for the record, that branch of the thread wasn't crossposted to
> r.a.b.t, so those who don't actively follow a.f.t (which all too often
> includes me these days) have missed it entirely (so far, at least).

Got it, Stu. I'll be posting the "introduction" after 06:00 GMT tonight.

Dr. Ernst Stavro Blofeld

unread,
Aug 31, 2003, 9:17:46 PM8/31/03