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Elanorgold's picture

Elanorgold

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How Usefull is Wondercafe?

RevJohn has made some wise observations about the nature of online communications and Wondercafe in Go_38's thread "Question from a lurker". Perhaps some of you missed it. So here is a thread to discuss the meaning of our online community (and others), it's usefullness, it's detriment, it's very nature.  Has it done us good? Are we kidding ourselves? Are we turning ourselves into hopeless introverts? I'm looking for true honest opinions.

 

People leave this place. There are reasons for that. Will we all still be here in 10 years time?

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GordW's picture

GordW

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WHat does it mean to be "useful"?  THat seems to be a key to this discussion.

 

ANd does something have value even if it can not be proven to be "useful"?  I sometimes think that we have become too focusssed on questions around utilitarian value.

Dcn. Jae's picture

Dcn. Jae

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It's reawakened in me my sense of loving pie. Mmm... pie.

Azdgari's picture

Azdgari

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Useful for what?  The thought is incomplete without an assumed `for-X` tacked onto the word "useful".  One could make an assumption of that nature, Elanorgold, but why not reveal what you meant?

Elanorgold's picture

Elanorgold

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Useful for anything. Let's put it this way: Has it improved your life? But please do pay heed to the other questions I posed.

 

If it is not useful, then I would not think it to be of much value, no, unless I like to put it on the mantlepiece and look at it, which is in itself a use. I have found it useful. But I want to know what others think.

 

 

crazyheart's picture

crazyheart

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Elanorgold wrote:

Useful for anything. Let's put it this way: Has it improved your life?

 

 

Yes, it has improved my life. It has stretched me in my spiritual life and it has stretched me in theology. It has introduced me to witches, evangelicals, atheiists, and a host of other including Jehovah Witness. It has made me more open to the thoughts and religion or non-religion of others. I would never have had the opportunity otherwise.

seeler's picture

seeler

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I can't imagine my life without WonderCafe!

Pinga's picture

Pinga

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Absolutely it is worth it. 

 

I have received input for church specific items from programming to jobdescriptions. 

I have learned about items which are outside of my life experience, from sexuality to loss.

I have experienced the deep sadness and hurt of being manipulated, and learned through that process to trust my gut and processes for actions in future.

I have experienced deeply movng posts about faith.

I have been challenged to articulate my faith and beliefs

I have explored political items, though not as much as I wish, as I do not have the time to write quality posts which politics (I find) requires

 

I have picked up parenting information 

 

I have made and met new friends 

Rev. Steven Davis's picture

Rev. Steven Davis

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I would agree with Gord's comments about utilitarianism, but having agreed, I would say that WC has been useful in providing great opportunity to talk to and learn from people from a wide variety of faith perspectives. It also encourages me that for the most part (with a few inevitable exceptions I suppose) we tend to discuss these things good naturedly and with a minimum of rancour. Has it "improved my life?" That's a fairly significant thing to say. I don't think I would fall into a depression if WC disappeared tomorrow, but it's an enjoyable community to be a part of.

jon71's picture

jon71

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It's very useful and beneficial to me.

Elanorgold's picture

Elanorgold

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Yes, indeed everybody.

 

ANd good to see you RevSteven. I thought maybe you'd disappeared too. Good point about would we get depressed if it disappeared tomorrow. I think I would be quite distraught, and even a bit lost. Which touches on the feeling I had opening this topic. Cause I'm not sure that is a good thing.

 

Maybe it boils down to that all gain involves risk...

 

Kimmio has just left, citing addiction to Wondercafe, and frustration and sorrow over the threads as her reason. I think of the people I got to know here who left and their reasons, overinvolvement, loss of interest, frustration... and I am sad for their loss.

 

I remember at first everyone was a stranger and so was I, and it was quite random, and I didn't remember who was who from one thread to the next, now it's so different.

 

RevJohn's post about it not being real is what's got me thinking. Because so many of you are real to me now.

 

 

Azdgari's picture

Azdgari

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If you meet someone, and then spend a month corresponding online, and then meet them again - were they "real" for that month?

 

Of course they were, right?  So how is it different if you remove the "meeting" part?

Pinga's picture

Pinga

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one of the challenges is not to presume that you understand why one person leaves or another one stays.     We have seen individuals whose pattern of behaviour shifted over the course of their time with us...and that was a signal of other stuff occurring in their life.  Rarely do we know what that is....or even whether the person would say the same thing a year later.

crazyheart's picture

crazyheart

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I agree, Pinga. And then one day they pop back. That has happened  more times than I can count,

Pinga's picture

Pinga

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I don't want to sound dismissive, for i am not, i am reminded of Luke 15.   I worry when someone leaves....just as we do when someone leaves the church, and I think  that we suck on exit interviews...and followup.  Someone came to a church for a reason, and they didn't find it, or somehow we couldn't connect...maybe they came in a hurting situation or a time of new opportunity...yet we are unable to connect.  

 

so, i am sad at the lost sheep, and am glad when they check inwith us..though that isn't the responsibilty of the sheep.

Neo's picture

Neo

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I think the WCafe is very useful if just for hearing other people's point of view. This is a forum where a lot of diverse opinions meet on the same subject. Rarely in real life would you find an opportunity for discussion like this with such an eclectic group all in one room.

 

Variety's the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor

- William Cowper,

 

somegalfromcan's picture

somegalfromcan

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I was already a hopeless introvert - have been all of my life and nothing is going to change that! If anything, forums like the Cafe are helpful for folks like myself - I can talk to lots of people without having to be in a room with everyone at the same time. Don't get me wrong - I like being with people, but being with a lot of people at the same time really sucks up all of my energy!

 

I think that the Cafe has enriched my life in the 10 or so months since I have joined. I have learned a lot about different perspectives on life and met some really interesting people. I have even been able to meet some of these wonderful people in real life - which has been amazing! 

 

The Cafe has helped to realize my desire to reconnect with and give back to the wider United Church. I have always been involved, on some level, with my local congregation but it had been about 15 years since I had done anything beyond that. A few months after joining this site, I was approached to take part in a special project at the presbytery level. Since I showed enthusiasm for that, I was then asked by my board to join presbytery. I felt comfortable asking lots of questions here during my period of discernment - and without that I am not sure that I would have felt comfortable joining presbytery if it were not for this site. I have only been able to make it to one meeting thus far, but I think this may be the connection that I was really looking for.

 

So, in short, for me this is a good place to be!

 

 

revjohn's picture

revjohn

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Hi Elanorgold,

 

Elanorgold wrote:

RevJohn has made some wise observations about the nature of online communications and Wondercafe in Go_38's thread "Question from a lurker".

 

Those comments were just reminders that I am more than a devastatingly handsome face.  So that my fabulous humility is not taken for granted I occasionally do something slightly worthy of notice.

 

Elanorgold wrote:

it's usefullness,

 

I suspect usefulness varies from person to person.  Personally speaking I find WonderCafe.ca useful in that it gives me access to a broad range of thinking outside of my usual personal range.  This in tern affords me various perspectives from which to view any one thing or event.

 

And then there is the dialogue.  Since my vocation/profession relies on my ability to communicate ideas being able to wrestle with various ideas and viewpoints here sharpens my ability to perform the communicative functions of my office on my pastoral charge to better effect.

 

The dialogue here removes some of the strictures of the pastoral relationship allowing me to challenge or be challenged with more vigour than may happen within the confines of a pastoral relationship and to practice how I may be more vigourous while still being somewhat gentle before screwing up in that endeavour within the pastoral relationship.

 

The blend of clergy and laity also helps me to experiment with communication methods that speak well to both.

 

And then there are the moments when I can just boggle and vent.

 

Elanorgold wrote:

it's detriment,

 

The biggest detriment has to be the membership.  I mean the guidelines are what the guidelines are and Admin, for the most part, is hands off.  The biggest problems here are the ones that we cause either by design, accident or neglect.

 

Caught up within the membership are the expectations that each of us bring to the table, as well as our particular worldviews, and how rigid and inflexible those expectations and worldviews are when confronted with opposing expectations and worldviews.

 

More often than not I think that poor communication skills are responsible for most of the strife here at WonderCafe.ca and the biggest pains are those members who are not here to learn but rather to teach those they are certain are unlearned.

 

Then there is the security of anonymity which contributes to some of the disrespect between members almost as much as possible developmental delays in the maturity department.

 

There is also the fact that fart based jokes utterly fail in a text-based medium.

 

Elanorgold wrote:

it's very nature. 

 

I'm guessing at the foundation WonderCafe is an electronic bulletin board.  We have discussions yet those discussions are not real-time.  One would think that an asset because it gives everyone the chance to think before they respond.  I'm reasonably confident that there are sometimes when forethought was skimped on.

 

Elanorgold wrote:

Has it done us good?

 

The corporate answer is difficult as I don't rightly know who should be thought of as "us."  I mean it is The United Church of Canada who is responsible for putting WonderCafe.ca together and it is The United Church of Canada who ran the marketing for and pays the bills of so investment wise it is probably The United Church of Canada who has the biggest stake in WonderCafe.ca.

 

Institutionally I think that the jury is still out.  The Emerging Spirit Program (of which WonderCafe.ca was a component) was applauded by some but not valued by all which is why the experiment was discontinued by GC 40.  Though to be fair that was more an issue of funding than effectiveness.  GC 40 was simply unwilling to foot the bill for the Emerging Spirit campaign to continue.

 

GC 40 did make certain that WonderCafe.ca would become an ongoing part of The United Church of Canada's web presence.  The dollars and cents needed for upkeep was considered acceptable though my understanding is that our original Admin team was reduced and repurposed.

 

Personally, I think that WonderCafe.ca has been a good thing in that it allows the participants to continue to see that Chrisianity is not a monolith and that among Christians, as well as Christian denominations there is nuance.

 

I find it somewhat amusing that criticism of that nuance comes from both our extreme Christians and some of our moderate atheists. 

 

Elanorgold wrote:

Are we kidding ourselves?

 

Kidding ourselves about what?

 

Elanorgold wrote:

Are we turning ourselves into hopeless introverts?

 

Speaking as an introvert I take offense with the "hopeless" qualifier while recognizing that there is some warrant for its use.

 

Again, from my personal perspective an electronic bulletin board such as this one plays into my wheel-house.  There is no confusing (or even helpful) secondary communication here.  Just words on a screen.  I have to guess at the tone unless there are obvious hints.  Which means that for me the information is emotionally and morally neutral most of the time.

 

Insults obviously not so much yet even there I have to supply the tone for the post and that makes it all about me and not all about who posted it.  Because the conversation does not take place, normally, in real-time I can use the break as much as I feel that I need to.

 

I think that practicing using the break means that we are more comfortable using it and if we become more comfortable using the break here that may translate into our ability to use the break more effectively in real-time and real-space communication.

 

That may just be me suffering from a debilitating attack of optimism.

 

Elanorgold wrote:

People leave this place. There are reasons for that. Will we all still be here in 10 years time?

 

In ten years time WonderCafe will be 13 going on 14.  I'm not familiar with the lifespan of bulletin boards.  Already there is a noticeable decline in the roster of posting members, whether that is because there is an actual decline or just a perceived decline I am not certain.  On the whole I would not be surprised to find that the exodus of members outpaces the influx of members.

 

Still, I see no real reason why WonderCafe.ca cannot still be functioning as it does today in ten years time.

 

Grace and peace to you.

John

Elanorgold's picture

Elanorgold

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Thank you everybody for your replies. SO much to agree with.

 

RevJohn, Thank you for your, as always, thoughtful and detailed reply. I was hoping for it. You make me chuckle.  I was just well into my reply a few moments ago, when I pressed something on my keyboard and poof! My page was gone. This ties into the reality of WC for me. It's electronic nature. As far as I was concerned I was most way through saying something, then it was all taken back, and now it doesn't exist at all.

 

(I had my curser at the bottom of a paragraph and hit enter enter to start a new paragragh, but the curser was now at the top and had made a space at the top, so I hit backspace, backspace, and it back spaced me right back to Google!! I'm sure this has something to do with the latest comment box upgrade.) Which brings me to:

 

The thought that WC belongs to the UC is a good one, and one I tend to forget, and to be greatful for. I have however a much greater respect for the UC than I did before. Well actually, I knew nothing about the UC before coming here.

 

SO what was I saying...

 

the detriment/nature:

I think we are all writers here, otherwise we wouldn't enjoy it. I enjoy the extra time to compose replies, but sometimes I reply as quickly as possible to get the most real and spontanious responce, to make WC more real. I noticed though at the Wondermeet, we all waited attentively and silently for each person to say their bit and I thought that was neet. I think I have learned to listen better and to respect others views more. There's another niggleding thing about it's electronic nature, the new spellcheck. I make an error and I have to either wait for the spellcheck box to come up, or try to correct it with my mouse, which sometimes works and sometimes deletes the wrong thing, very slow and frustrating. So my speling is even worse now, caus eit's such a pain to correct typos! We are a virtual community, and the community part has many wonderful aspects, but the virtual part means that if my house were on fire, you all wouldn't be able to help, or if I needed someone to take my cat for the weekend, or any number of real life community issues. I value all our realtions very much, and being able to share. It's an important part f my life. Kidding ourselves that the community is real, is what I meant.

 

 

My thoughts are getting all crumpled up now. and a little flustered with this machineI've.  been here for a while in this comment box. I'm going to have to go and come back later.

 

Thank you everyone, this community means a lot to me too.

lastpointe's picture

lastpointe

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I somehow doubt the longevity of the cafe.

 

While there are many who participate, it feels like fewer this year.  A new agressive aetheist or fundamentalist posting causes an uptick in posts but those are short lived fights.

 

After my couple of years I do find it a bit repetitive and have lessened my posts.

 

I appreciate it for the opportunity to listen to sides of issues that I might not have before. 

 

Would I miss it?  Yes but only briefly

revjohn's picture

revjohn

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Hi Elanorgold,

 

Elanorgold wrote:

I was just well into my reply a few moments ago, when I pressed something on my keyboard and poof! My page was gone.

 

My post was the fifth attempt to respond and my only success.

 

So yeah WonderCafe.ca is helping me to improve my patience.  It is also increasing my word power as such losses only can.

 

Grace and peace to you.

John

GordW's picture

GordW

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10 years is an eternity in the online world.  I would be surprised WC is still an active place by then.

Pinga's picture

Pinga

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no kidding, 3 years is an eternity in an online or electronic program.

 

Summer has, if i remember correctly, always had low participation.

 

When we see an upswing is when there are lots of people off or news items or media blitzes   Christmas, I think, seems to always have a higher volume of posters.

GO_3838's picture

GO_3838

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I've found the Wondercafe useful.

I've been enriched by hearing different viewpoints from different people.

I'd never blogged or dialogued on-line before, and Wondercafe was a good, safe introduction to it.

I've felt frustrated at times, though, especially when I've had a need for naswers or input and then get none.

The Wondercafe is not a substitute for the guidance of a church or a minister.

I guess it's important not to have too high expectations. I've felt very isolated from the church I belong to, and that's been worse since our minister moved on and we have no minister right now.

I've had no doctor for years and  no minister for a year. Then my cleaning lady retired, and I was sure my life was over. (Thank God I found another cleaning lady right away in a matter of weeks.)

It would be nice to get some kind of one-on-one spiritual guidance from the wondercafe, but that's not possible in this kind of forum.

myst's picture

myst

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There are many reasons why I value wondercafe -- people upthread have already listed many of my thoughts.

 

I particularly value the community I feel a part of here. I had a shift in my life a few years back and found myself at home with some health challenges. As someone who thrived on being with people, working in a school system and coming home to continue my active, busy life with my family -- I suddenly found myself at home alone much of the time, in an unfamiliar world. I have appreciated being able to quietly connect with others here, to 'listen', to learn, to stretch myself, to smile, to laugh, to share, to support,  to encourage, to challenge, to disagree, to care, to receive .... all with limited energy and on days when I don't even get out of bed. wondercafe works for me.

Pilgrims Progress's picture

Pilgrims Progress

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Has Wondercafe done us good?

 

Is the Pope a Catholic???

 

Wondercafe has, and will continue to do good.

 

In my case, so much so, that I wrote a thread on Wondercafe gratitude.

 

It helped me in the early days of grief. There were days when I wouldn't have gotten out of bed, but for Wondercafe.  There seemed to come a time in the day when I would think, "I wonder what's been happening in Canada?"

 

I doubt if I would have ever visited Canada, but for Wondercafe.

 

It has been the gateway to a new country.

It played a big part in me attempting to travel as a widow on my own overseas. Wondercafinators have rung and met me on my travels - giving me the kind of support that a woman alone overseas needs.

 

Apart from the social benefits, Wondercafe has assisted in my faith journey. Through Wondercafe I've become acquainted with Process Theology - and Wondercafinator Richard Bott will wondermail me some articles which are more suited to my level of education.

 

 

I've become aware that Wondercafe plays a vital role in a lot of people's lives.

 

It's a fact of life that there are many, for various reasons, that lead lives of comparative isolation. Myst has mentioned illness, but there are also many other reasons for social isolation.

 

There are many retired/unemployed folk who benefit from an online community.

 

There are those, like me, who enjoy writing - but can't devote a lot of time to it. Wondercafe, like Goldilock's porridge, is "just right".

 

 

The only problem I see is devoting too much time to online, particularly if you are young.

 

So, self discipline is in order, and I restrict myself to two sessions a day. Like a lot of oldies, I don't sleep as much as I once did, so I get up before breakfast.

I return for an hour in late afternoon.

 

All this means is that I'm conscientious about not letting Wondercafe interfere with my "real" life.

 

Having said that, real life to me is about making connections. I've found that one can equally connect online as in "real" life - so I don't tend to make the distinction between online and real life that I know others do.

 

I would much rather tap away to someone I connect with overseas than spend a boring afternoon with a least favourite relative in "real" life!

 

Besides, connecting and communicating is so important in my life that I'm more than happy to travel and convert my favourite online friends to "real" friends.

 

As regards Wondercafe, I've made two very long plane trips and benefited heaps by meeting some warm wonderful Wondercafe folks.

 

 

How long will Wondercafe last?

 

That depends on commitment.

 

Out of a sense of gratitude I'm personally comitted to contribute to Wondercafe as long as I can. If enough others feel the same way Wondercafe will be around for many more years.

naman's picture

naman

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How Useful is WonderCafe? This is rather like asking me how useful my imagination is. So far for me WonderCafe is only in my computer. I have yet to meet my first WonderCafer face to face.

 

Loosing WonderCafe would be a dreadful experience for me.

Rowan's picture

Rowan

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I don't know how useful the site is to me, except as a place where I mainly discuss a couple of my favorite TV shows, and I suppose I could get that elsewhere.  I tend to stay off the more 'serious' threads for the most part.   I do find it interesting to watch some of the other threads, I find it interesting to see what the rest of you think / say on various topics.  It's fun and entertaining so I guess that could qualify as 'useful' in a way.

 

As for detriment, well we've all recently seen what happens when a forum member chooses to take his online pique with someone into real life, now haven't we?

 

I don't think I am 'turning into a hopeless introvert'.  Which is not to say I wasn't already an introvert... I like my books, plants and privacy and would much rather spend an afternoon knitting than visiting.  But I don't think that participation in an online forum will turn an normally extroverted social person into an introvert.

Tabitha's picture

Tabitha

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Yes wondercafe is useful

The acomments of others helped me with lenght and content of my first service, reassured a departing minister that gifts to his children were appropraite, helped with Presbytery rep role, (ongoing), has given me info about the 2 churches in the town I am moving to, provided hymn number for me etc.

It has also made me aware of others thoughts on a variety of issues and makes me feel connected to the wider church.

As for being an introvert-I never was and never will be! I'm a very strong extrovert!

chansen's picture

chansen

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Depends who it's supposed to be "useful" for, and why.

 

The United Church of Canada?  I don't think the reach is that great - it's mostly a relatively small group that make up 90% of the posts here.  Web stats may show a large number of lurkers, but I doubt it.

 

Christianity?  Allowing multiple viewpoints, and even debate and disagreement on this forum, both helps and hurts the defense of Christianity.  We've seen very few conversions here, and the only ones that immediately come to mind, apparently left Christianity.  That's a very small sample set. but it basically mirrors society, where people are renouncing faith at a faster rate than they are adopting religious beliefs.

 

Understanding?  This is one area where WC shines.  I know I've learned things here, and I know I'm not alone.

 

Entertainment?  I've shared more than a few laughs here.  I am a fan of this format.  What it lacks in personal interaction, it makes up for by allowing people to connect from anywhere in the world.

 

Housework?  WC has never helped me do housework.

LBmuskoka's picture

LBmuskoka

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chansen wrote:

Housework?  WC has never helped me do housework.

Truth (and that's Truth with a capital T) be told,  WC has definitely been a detriment to mine.

 

I believe the Cafe will be what it will be to the individual.  Although there is a consistent thread and the thread is of people seeking connection.  For me it is the possibility and surprise of connection that is wonderful, magical even.

 

Would Pilgrims Progress have grown and travelled without the Cafe?  Having connected with her I would say yes, I believe she possessed that spark within her but it was the Cafe that she found when she needed it.

 

We all come here carrying our own bags and we will all leave carrying them.  What we put in those bags now is a reflection of individual wants, needs and choices and not the group as a whole.

 

Would I miss the Cafe if it weren't here?  Today I can say unequivocally - yes! 

 

I'm home from work sick.  I've been unable to do anything, including WC, but watch TV for a week.  Oh it wasn't bad when the Torchwood three day marathon was on but after that it became a descent into daytime TV hell - how can there be so many channels repeating the same thing over and over again!  Between the fever and over exposure to Corner Gas and The Big Bang Theory I was pushed to the edge.  Today I forced myself to the computer, and  while still physically unwell and slightly mad (some things will never change), I'm back from the edge.

 

Like anything in life Wonder Cafe will give or take what each of us gives or takes back.  I didn't come here looking to be changed or to change others, but I did hope for the magic of connection and I can say that the connections made have been wonderful.

 

 

and if anyone solves my ear problem I will be eternally grateful.

 

 

LB

-------------------------------------------------

The average life is full of near misses and absolute hits. Of great love and small disasters. It's made up of banana milkshakes, loft insulation and random shoes. It's dead ordinary and truly, truly amazing. What you've got to realize is, it's all here, now. So breathe deep and swallow it whole. Because take it from me: life just whizzes by, and then, all of a sudden, it's—
    Torchwood, Random Shoes

Elanorgold's picture

Elanorgold

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John, Oh wow. I thank you especially much for your post, the fifth try. You have more patience than me. Makes me feel rather impatient! I'm sorry. But I guess we all have fuses sometimes eh. Besides, I could hear my husband tapping his fingers in the background!

 

SOmetimes, (I didn't do these past two times) I jot down notes on paper, of what I wish to discuss at the bottom of the thread. Or I start typing before I finish reading, as I'm doing this time. Sometimes, I also, as I just did, paste a copy of my post into an email and save that, just in case!!

 

I would very much like to know how many active posters are on WC at present, and how many visitors we have in a day. I tried to ask admin but I don't think my message sent... perhaps I'll try again.

 

Lastpointe: I have also noticed the repetition. Sometimes it's good, as it gives me a chance to discuss something again, like with SOmegal, who wasn't here when we discussed it before. But yeah, the old afterlife question, bin der done dat. Still I think there's lots to talk about though.

 

So many of us can envision our own departure from the cafe, and even it's tomb stone. SOme of us will stay to the bitter end. I will stay so long as it serves my purpose: people to discuss issues with, share and learn with, and as a place to connect with my friends and make new friends.

 

Expectations, I also wanted to say: it's important that we keep a handle on our expectations. And keep it in perspective what WC is, and it's limits.

 

Go_38: One on one guidance. I have seen it had here. A single person offering assistance within a thread, and by wondermail and sometimes by phone and even in the flesh. It is not a given, it is offered freely. All you can do is ask and hope. SOmetimes, someone steps in and is of great comfort. SOmetimes a whole swathe of people. Once I was in quite a bad way, and a lot of people stepped in right away to sooth me. I still get choked up thinkign about it. There's a lot of people here in this thread too, showing their presence and offering assistance. It means so much to me to see all their faces. For me, spiritualy, I don't follow any one person's guidance. I collect information and form my own decisions, charting my own path through the rough and still seas of life. But for your sake, if you need one person to guide you, I hope you get a new minister soon.

 

Pilgrim: WOndercafe has been a "godsend" to me as well, also living in my own isolation, as I have moved regions often, and especially in ALberta, I had only one person to talk to, once a week, briefly. I was so thirsty for communication and mental stimulation. Now still, I work at home, and the majority of my communication happens here.

 

Pilgrim said:

"I would much rather tap away to someone I connect with overseas than spend a boring afternoon with a least favourite relative in "real" life!"

 

So true!!

 

Yes, Rowan, the detriment of it's danger. False posters, stalkers. These are big fears for me, and real dangers, and why I reckoned, "all gains involve risk". There is a risk in being a member here. What if I say too much in a moment of not seeing the bigger picture and hurt someone I love, who I didn't expect to read it? That could even happen years down the line. What if I attract unwanted attention? I suppose all these can happen in real life as well, but it does sometimes seem foolhardy. Then I think of famous people, who put their opinions and their faces to some pretty gutsy statements. They can have enormous impact on the world for the better, they evolve the culture, and they occasionally pay for it with their lives. That scares me.

 

Chansen, Useful to us, the users. (like yer new avatar) Yes, anywhere in the world, Isn't that great! The only person I can think of outside the US/Canada is Pilgrim though. Have we had any other countries involved?

 

LB, Good thought about the baggage. I think I've taken some stuff out and put other stuff in. Glad you're back from the edge, sorry to hear you're sick. I hope it wasn't serious. Good closing thoughts too. I look at life that way. I go out and grab it, and that includes being here.

 

Azdgari: Sorry it took so long, yes they are real, but a few have proven not to be, as I said to Rowan. But yes, most of us are quite real to me, even if I haven't seen their picture. It's amazing that. We are ghosts in the machine.

 

Pinga: When people leave, I have a few times found out from them their reason, though true, they may not be telling, or even understanding the whole reason. I miss people when they leave.

 

Thank you again everybody. Very useful conversation! ; )

AaronMcGallegos's picture

AaronMcGallegos

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Thanks for interesting thread folks! WonderCafe will be 5 years old in November, which, as others have said, is a very long time in the on-line world -- especially the last five years with the rise of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. The Internet has changed dramatically since WonderCafe was launched and there are a lot more people participating in on-line discussions in a greater variety of ways. I think time will tell what this might mean for the future of WonderCafe. But I am certainly thrilled to hear that people are still finding it useful! :-)

 

Elanorgold, WonderCafe's average monthly traffic this year has been about 41,000 visits by 26,000 individual visitors. So obviously there are a lot more people visiting the site than posting comments, but the number of visitors has gone down by about half since we ended paid advertising after the last General Council meeting in 2009. I think WonderCafe's vitality depends on continuing to bring new participants to the site. A lot of WonderCafe's traffic now comes from Facebook and Twitter, so those of you who use these social media sites might want to post a WonderCafe link there every so often (you can do this easily using the "Share/Save" tab at the bottom of every opening post in a thread). You might also share a link from the WonderCafe page on Facebook or retweet a WonderCafe Twitter message. All of these things would help a lot to get the word out about WonderCafe and bring more people from different places into the conversation. 

 

I personally feel honoured to have been part of this community and am very thankful for the participation of everybody who have made the conversations on WonderCafe so deep, rich, and fun. Thank you! 

 

Aaron

crazyheart's picture

crazyheart

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And, just a little thought, something doesn't have to be "useful" to be meaningful. ( with the roofer in mind. heart

Neo's picture

Neo

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AaronMcGallegos wrote:

...

I personally feel honoured to have been part of this community and am very thankful for the participation of everybody who have made the conversations on WonderCafe so deep, rich, and fun. Thank you! 

 

Aaron

 

And thank you for administrating this site Aaron, I think you've been here from the beginning haven't you?

 

Here's a show of hands for you:

 

Image of A Show of Hands EP

naman's picture

naman

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5 years old in November, a very long time in the on-line world. I thank Aaron for helping us survive in the on-line world. 

John Wilson's picture

John Wilson

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There are those, like me, who enjoy writing - but can't devote a lot of time to it. Wondercafe, like Goldilock's porridge, is "just right".

[/quote]

 I think (being 83, I'd have to shake some sleepy neurons awake to be sure...)

I am in love with you.

 

 

 

Elanorgold's picture

Elanorgold

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Thanks Aaron, Holy Crumbs! 26,000 people!?! In a month!?! And that's half what it used to be! WOw, that's a lot of people. I expect many of those are one time visitors who find this and check it out a little, then check out something else tomorrow, as opposed to dedicated return readers. To think, I'm part of an elite few who actually post!

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