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2006.03.20

[Call_&_Response_#_12: Whither_These_Chains?]

Well, kids, now that the proverbial cat's out of the bag, there's some question, here at WTC Headquarters, and by that I mean MY BRAIN, about where to take this website, so I was wondering: what do you think?

As has been noted, the satirical purpose of this site hit its peak a long time ago, and it has, since then, become more of an alternative to some of the more stultifyingly retarded and often ridiculously fascistic destinations on the NINternet, as well as a lovely little community of people who love the collected works of Trent Reznor, and aren't terribly worried about going ahead and being a little bit weird about it. I like that. I certainly wouldn't want us to get too sane around here.

So, my question is this: What would you miss most if it were gone? Do we still have takers for the book club? Knowing that Dierdre is a fictional character, would you still like to read an occasional distinctly off-kilter missive of tortured love addressed to notre amour? Do you have any ideas for things we need around here, but don't have? Would you be interested in making guest contributions on occasion?

In short, dear readers, whither these chains?  I await your thoughts with baited breath!

Posted by Dierdre ~ in call_&_response / with_questions | Permalink

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Comments

Wow, there's a lot to chew on here.

First of all, my workday would be shot to hell if I couldn't engage in ridiculous, obsessive banter about Trent Reznor with other like-minded people. So even though Dierdre and Gabriel have taken off their masks to reveal themselves as Old Farmer McGrady, who would have gotten away with it if it weren't for us pesky kids, we must carry on. The photo essays, the haikus, the hysterical online battles, the snark...I love them all dearly.

I definitely would still keep up with the book club, since I just finished this huge-ass novel I was reading and am not sure where to go from here. I'm thinking that we might want something a little less ponderous and slow-paced. I mean, I liked Left Hand of Darkness and all, but I think we lost some people on that one.

I suspect, Dierdre, that you're kind of itching to write more as "Dierdre," and I say that when the mood strikes you, you should go for it. And when you feel like writing more as yourself, then do that. In other words, despite what your parents and teachers and religious authority figures have always told you, do what feels good. I can't get enough of Dierdre's overwrought passion, myself. People can still become engaged with a fictional character and enjoy suspending disbelief and what they know about the so-called reality and truth. Besides, there will always be those flamers with poor reading comprehension skills who will pop by to pour derision and scorn upon us all, so that's always fun.

What we totally need around here but don't have is horrible, cringe-inducing fan art. I would be happy to submit shitty artwork to the cause, but I guess that would mean actually hooking up the scanner we bought like 700 years ago that we don't really have room for in our little computer area. It would be even better if one or more of us could, unlike me, actually draw.

And, of course, I will be happy to make guest contributions! I hope that others would want to as well, so that keeping this site going isn't too burdensome for one person. I think we regulars would all be really supportive of one another...well, except for Dom, and I would be broken-hearted if he were actually supportive of something...so I don't think anyone should feel shy.

I know that I'm not going to stop being a total, raging dork about NIN any time soon, so I'm happy to do my part!

Posted by: maise | Mar 20, 2006 9:08:39 AM

"...and it has, since then, become more of an alternative to some of the more stultifyingly retarded and often ridiculously fascistic destinations on the NINternet, as well as a lovely little community of people who love the collected works of Trent Reznor, and aren't terribly worried about going ahead and being a little bit weird about it. I like that."

Seconded. And Dierdre? Now that I don't have to worry about you being a nutball in real life, I find your letters to TR very cute and entertaining. :D

Posted by: C | Mar 20, 2006 9:36:54 AM

This is the first online community where I have actually felt like a real part of the community. I love you guys, even if your not the fictional characters you so brilliantly created. The photo essays are a blast, and the guest contributions are pretty great, the regulars here seem a bit more intelligent and rational than the typical ninternet member. I would like to eventually write a concert review or something, when I'm not suffocated with school work. The next two shows in this area (portland and boston) are after the semester ends, so that very well could happen.

Most importantly; life without haiku is just fucking boring.

It sounds kind of like your thinking about going away.

Don't you fucking dare.

Posted by: Nicole | Mar 20, 2006 9:37:29 AM

don't leave me. i agree with maise and nicole- if i can watch degrassi, vote in american elections, and go to a major university, i clearly have the concept of suspending disbelief down.

Posted by: Jane C. | Mar 20, 2006 9:59:17 AM

Don't close up shop yet, I haven't been around long enough to be tired of it. I love being able to have a laugh with other people at this ridiculous obsession with all things Trent Reznor/NIN. To be honest it has probably saved my marriage since I have others to express my dork side to. Husbands are great and all but they will only listen to so much before they cut you off. Okay so the saving my marriage thing may have been a bit overdramatic but I don’t think this has ever been the place when being overdramatic was a bad thing.

And the people here are great, the ones posting at least. Maise never ceases to crack me up with almost every one of her posts. I still laugh loudly at the best caption in the world with “…Alessandro must have pressed the wrong button … because an enormous burst or radiation vaporized everyone on stage. It was so unbelievably tragic.” That shit is priceless! The way Dierdre is written taps into your inner raving fangirl (that under the light of day you deny, deny, deny) and makes you ache for the same stuff she does. You can’t help but feel for the girl. Brilliant. And Gabriel (the one I’ve seen in my short time here) was the one to bring all our heads back out of the clouds and make us feel a little guilty for gushing so much. But what’s a guilty pleasure without the guilt? And I love all the others who put in their two cents to it all. I realize some of that part can’t be anymore but there are still other reasons to stick around.

I like that it’s a small community and it seems that anyone who wants their own say in something, can. And will usually get a response to it with being buried under a million other posts like on some of the larger boards.

I hold this place as an easily accessible source of knowledge. There's no earthly way that I could keep track of all the boards and websites for tidbits.

Although I didn’t contribute to it, the book club was a good idea. It was just bad timing for me but I’m reaching the point that I will have time again and would love to try again.

If it’s guest contributions that it takes to keep this place up and running then I’m game. Hang in their D!

Posted by: | Mar 20, 2006 10:40:58 AM

Oh and that's me right about BTW...forgot to add my name. **DOH**

Posted by: Iris | Mar 20, 2006 10:42:11 AM

Make it a full-on messageboard. It's definitely become it's own community, and is deserving of it's own ecosystem as such.

I would nominate Maise to be a mod, with new Dierdre articles posted as threads when the muse strikes her.

At this point, WTC feels like the place you go to when The Spiral is too dumb, and ETS makes you feel like the kid with glasses in fourth grade. I think in a real messageboard context, it would have more room to grow, and find a newer, more communal voice.

At least that's my vote.

Posted by: Gabriel | Mar 20, 2006 11:26:02 AM

Holy crap, this has got to be at least the second time I've agreed with Gabe. I know you guys tried doing the Myspace thing, but we all know Myspace is a blight. Forums could be a lot of fun.

I also like the idea of more reader contributions. I can't draw for the life of me, but I can write crappy fanfiction (as D. and Maise have seen; by the way, I took your advice and turned that particular story away from the dark side--fanfiction--and turned it into honest, original short fiction). I can also do concert reviews; I'm a journalism student, after all. I'd be interested in the book club as well, but not for another month or so because of my grueling school and work schedules.

WTC banzai!

Posted by: emerald527 | Mar 20, 2006 1:04:08 PM

Didn't you guys talk tonsa shit bout the new tour cause Trent was "taking requests" or some shit? kinda funny dontcha think?

Posted by: meatfan | Mar 20, 2006 1:07:32 PM

I think this site already operates as a messageboard, for the most part, but without the rules, little tin-god mods (not that I think anyone here would ever be guilty of the level of hatefulness available elsewhere...), and without 500 retards per day posting new threads about the latest bullshit to be posted on NIN.com.

I think this format strikes the right balance between being invitingly unpretentious and friendly, and clearly being an existing community, into which entre presupposes some sense of the lay of the land. Personally, I am against a straight ahead message board, and think that one look at ANY currently existing example the NINternet over should be a sufficient cautionary tale.

Posted by: Jane | Mar 20, 2006 1:14:10 PM

What the fuck are you talking about "meatfan"? Taking requests? Tonsa?

Jesus. See what I mean?

In this format, the clutter can be kept to a minimum. A full bore messageboard? Please God, NO.

Posted by: Jane | Mar 20, 2006 1:18:00 PM

Meatfan, what *are* you talking about? Of all the things we have disparaged, I don't remember "taking requests" as being on the list.

If anything, I would like Trent to start taking requests. My requests. If he did a cover of "Under the Milky Way" by The Church, I'd sleep with him on the spot. Oops, did I just say that aloud?

Posted by: maise | Mar 20, 2006 1:23:06 PM

Yeah, Jane...I'm with you. No need to drastically change the format and a tried and true formula: Someone posts something wacky --> people react with praise or outrage or confusion.

Posted by: maise | Mar 20, 2006 1:24:53 PM

I think as Dierdre's always pointed out Jane, places like ETS, etc, all come down to the character of the people running them.

The Spiral is retarded because Rob Sheridan and his picked goons run it. ETS is a nazi war camp because judgemental pricks run it. Which is why the notion of a WTC board is such a strong concept in the first place, I think -- the inherent values of it's origin (the original WTC site), and it's current curator (Dierdre) would determine the attitude thereof.

It seems to me the readers would love a chance to stretch their legs more, and as this site has become such a haven for unheard voices to express themselves, I can't think of a better -- or more fitting -- evolution of the site.

The one-sidedness of Blog Entry W/ Comments worked fantastically when we were a satire site and a soap opera with a specific mission, and a Storyteller/Audience relationship; now it's much more about a community, Jane, don't you think? Not embracing that seems somewhat anathema to the values being prized so highly here.

Plus, this format just plain ain't conducive to long-term discussions. Thinks like the bookclub can't thrive on their own, and people won't really discover the discussions of them on their own, because the typepad system is still based around the Blog Entry as it's prime method of categorization.

There's no way of knowing, for example, when such-and-such reader did such-and-such haiku abotu such-and-such topic. Or a way to track down old discussions, because the wonderful tangents people go on often stray dramatically from the intial posts that spark them.

I mean, I know I don't write for the site anymore, so it's totally Dierdre's call, but the discussions -- led by D -- are what make WTC so special now, and it seems the format should be one that supports and nurtures that, not fights against it.

Posted by: Gabriel | Mar 20, 2006 1:26:16 PM

So, am I to suppose, Maise, that Trent singing one of his own songs, say, "The Becoming", "Reptile", "Right Where It Belongs", "the Great Below", or "Suck" would be insufficiently enticing?

Please.

Posted by: Dierdre | Mar 20, 2006 1:28:06 PM

I think the community aspect of this website can be fully embraced without turning it into a messageboard free-for-all. Also, I think TOO PERMISSIVE an environment for this particular discussion is equally repugnant to too restrictive an environment, and that no messageboard can be run fairly without rules and regulations, which aside from Dierdre's ban on any discussion of Trent's lovelife, really don't throw their ugly shadows across these pages.

Personally, one of my favorite things about this website is the way discussions often veer from the topics that initiated them. You never know what you're going to get, and that's the pleasure of it. Yet another fucking NIN messageboard is too boring a concept for me to want to contemplate it, frankly...

But, don't just listen to me rattle on. What does everyone else think?

Posted by: Jane | Mar 20, 2006 1:38:23 PM

Well, Dierdre, I was being facetious.

But Christ, not "Reptile." I could pretty much go my whole life without hearing "Reptile" again and be okay with that.

Gabe, I hear your impassioned plea, and honestly, I'm fine with whatever format you guys come up with. I'm torn because I think there's a lot of potential for a message board, but on the other hand, I'd hate to have a bunch of repetitive crap all over the site, and if I were appointed moderator, I'd hate to be in a position where I'd spend hours trying to deal with assholes in a diplomatic fashion. Granted, *some* sites lock threads for the sake of locking them, but in a lot of cases, there's justification for it.

I think there's still a place for editorial control, even if there isn't a "storyline." Because people's first impression of the site will be based upon what they see, and if what they see is a "tonsa" threads created by people like Meatfan, well...you'll lose a bit of the mountain-fresh aroma of WTC...

Posted by: maise | Mar 20, 2006 1:41:35 PM

Why the hate for "Reptile", Maise? Is it the part where he intones, with dead seriousness "She spreads herself wide open/to let the insects in..." I mean, I agree. That is a totally revolting mental image. I still like how he writhes and humps the microphone whenever he sings it, though.

He is so impure!

Posted by: Dierdre | Mar 20, 2006 1:46:30 PM

God, everything about "Reptile!" The virgin/whore complex; the repellant imagery--I'm also not fond of "Seeds from a thousand others drip down from within"; the whiny way that he sings the word "honey"; the borderline-pretentious use of the word "manifest"; the rank hypocrisy, as if he was a member of the Vienna Boys' Choir til this *scarlet woman* came along...

All I'm saying is he's not going to seduce me by singing about some whorish ex and the "disease, infection, impurity, and taintedness" he has acquired therefrom.

Any other song, you know, and I'm good to go.

Posted by: maise | Mar 20, 2006 2:04:00 PM

I think we're more on the same page than you think, Maise. And make no mistake -- this is totally Dierdre's call, and I will support what she decides to do in the end. But as she's opened a public forum, I kinda just need to stick my two cents in... you know, because I'm me and I never know when to shut up.

To me, the important questions to ask are


1) What is the new focus of the site, and
2) What is the best way to foreground that?

D really nailed it several months ago when she mentioned that the readers had become the real show here at WTC. And she was totally right. For months now, whether it was me posting an Understanding Teeth, or her posting a Dear Trent, we'd get some comments in reaction to the piece, and then the dynamic would shift as you guys, the readers, took over. Like what just happened with you and Dierdre; she asks for site suggestions; and you guys start having a side discussion about "Reptile".

That's what makes this site interesting and fresh; it's you guys.

Now the site is at a transitional phase. Nobody knows exactly where it's going to go; the original tenants under which it was started have been cast aside for something less exclusioary and more communal, and so now one more look at Question Two: What's the best way to foreground this?

If we were starting the site today, but with this audience and dynamic built in, a blog is the last thing I'd propose. Just content-wise, there's no strong argument for this type of system, save for the fact that it flushes old conversations along and allows an easier form of control than a messageboard would.

This is a total valid point; nobody has hours on end to lock shit down, and I firmly believe the HateNazi aspects of ETS and the like often come from people that start with good intetions, but get so sick and tired of the nonsense that they just become bullies.

However, it seems to me here that WTC is a pretty tight community -- and haters don't stay long. It's no fun for them, when they troll, mainly because it's so much fun for the likes of us. I mean, if dreck like meatfuck minion #4,482 is the worst we'd have to deal with, I'd say no problem. I think if we were going to have chaos and spam posts here at WTC, we'd be having them already, and we don't really. People that are on board stick around. People that aren't leave.

The important thing is to maintain Dierdre's output -- which could be done individually, via stickied threads, or many other options that folks more creative than I can come up with -- and at the same time, it's also providing a real home for people, one where they can really express themselves about different things, and not be ashamed about it.

I'm sure lots of our readers have interests that Dierdre nor I would ever share -- not probably even fathom -- that other readers might want to talk about. Things that we could all learn from. People expressing themselves is never a bad thing, and if I could be part of something that led to that kind of experience for people -- if I helped create a place where people could connect with one another, feel less alone,and have conversations about all manner of things silly and serious, then I think our time had been pretty damn well spent.

Not that an element of that isn't here already... but it's just an element. Fully realizing such a thing... well that seems something to really aspire to.

Posted by: Gabriel | Mar 20, 2006 2:18:03 PM

maise, the vienna boys choir comment made me fall over. thank god im alone.

Posted by: Jane C. | Mar 20, 2006 2:19:26 PM

Yeah. I guess you're right, Maise. That song IS revolting from the standpoint of bodily fluids.

I have to say, though, that I'd have to give him the high hat if he tried to romance me via "Starfuckers, Inc." or "Happiness in Slavery". Reptile has its place in the narrative on TDS, so I'm going to let the rank hypocrisy slide, ignore the seeds from a thousand others, and just enjoy picturing wholly untainted little monkey Trent in the Vienna Boys' Choir.

Oh, and PS: I'll weigh in on all these discussions once more people have had their say...

PPS: There's pretty much no song Trent could sing that would induce me to give him the high hat. Just coming clean.

Posted by: Dierdre | Mar 20, 2006 2:20:19 PM

Well, like I said, I'm happy with whatever you guys decide. And I agree with you on a lot of points, Gabe, especially re: fostering creativity and expression.

I would like to point out, however, that with the current format, it's kind of nice because we have a sort of Topic of the Day to generate a sort of roundtable discussion, but we're currently free to go off on all sorts of tangents. If we created a messageboard with a bunch of different threads started by all sorts of people, would we all have the time and energy to respond to them all in a timely fashion? I'd hate to be the first-time thread-starter who's kind of ignored for a while because there's a lot of activity going on elsewhere. We do have a much smaller core group of people, and if our energy is dispersed over a wide group of threads, I would think that there might be a lot less actual *discussion*. But I could be wrong on that.

Ultimately, I think it should be decided based on whatever makes Dierdre's life easier. If she doesn't mind having people send her guest contributions and she can post them at her leisure, that's cool. If it would save her a lot of time to just give everybody free reign to post whatever they want, that's cool too. But if she feels that she would spend a lot of time moderating, I can see why she'd be happy with the status quo...

I'm fine either way, la la la...

Posted by: maise | Mar 20, 2006 2:33:39 PM

I like the idea of the stickied threads for Dierdre (and if Gabriel decides to make an appearance). That matched with the possibility of the other regulars being able to open their own threads would be cool. But I think that it opens the site up to more haters. Maybe part of the reason that they don’t stay long, aside from the ridicule they get for spelling errors and worthless points, is the format of the site allows the regulars to just post right on past them. There’s no real convenient way for them to come back and check the “damage” a few days later because they’re usually buried. And they’re not invested enough to want to go digging.

Regarding the potential time spent moderating…well if it becomes to overwhelming, I’m sure some of us could volunteer to help. I know I check in on this site way more than I should at work, but it’s time that I’m already here, so volunteering wouldn’t be that much of a problem.

I think that since we are a smaller group that the attention wouldn’t be divided too much between threads. Occasionally there are times that I still want to discuss a topic but the conversation has veered away to another place. And there’s always the option to merge threads if a couple become to close to remain separate topics. But any which way it goes as long as this place is still here. We’ll work through the minor details.

Posted by: Iris | Mar 20, 2006 2:49:46 PM

Personally, I think What Makes The Best Site should win -- sorta thought that was the point of asking for suggestions.

But I guess Keeping It Exactly The Same Because That's Easier has some sort of merit, too.

Posted by: Gabriel | Mar 20, 2006 2:54:33 PM

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