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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Times & Seasons, Why Do You Suck So Much Lately? » Times & Seasons, Why Do You Suck So Much Lately?

Times & Seasons, Why Do You Suck So Much Lately?

Rusty - February 10, 2005

What happened to you T&S? When I first started reading the blogs in July of last year, I could barely look away from your pasty beige pages. Pouring over Joe Mormon’s insights on the Gospel was a revelation to me. This was the Sunday School class I’d always wanted. You MC’d discussions on all those things I thought, but never said. We talked about R-rated movies, Mormon politics, polygamy, BYU sports, Word of Wisdom, and Zelph for heaven’s sake. I was in ecstacy.

Now you’ve changed. You’ve soooo changed. (This is my favorite insult, by the way. Is there a worse one?)

You’ve gone from number one on my RSS list to near the bottom (right above IntellecXhibitionist, Our Thoughts and Sons of Mosiah… that’s right, those three formerly brilliant, now defunct blogs). I now enjoy reading Waiter Rant more than I enjoy reading you. And all he does is complain about getting stiffed on tips all day.

But at least he sticks to his subject matter.

Your contributors seem to be bored by the “played” Mormon topics, for they rarely ever post on them anymore. I don’t understand what most of the latest posts have to do with the Gospel: “Should We Prefer Avarice to Piety in CEOs?”, “Media Bias”, “Finding God in Chess and the Appellate Brief”, “Unrequitted Love”. What? Sure, I guess if you say a Mormon’s name or talk about God, that’s talking about the Gospel… in a way, though it seems more like self-indulgence to me. I can understand. It would be very enticing for me as well to post my personal reveries (and strain to connect them to the blog’s genre).

Why the change? Is it because they’ve “agreed to disagree” with each other and moved to the periphery for material? Or have they discovered perfect living through what you’ve taught them and are merely writing for OUR “benefit”? Please ask them, I don’t know enough Latin to formulate a question they would understand.

So I guess I’ll be moving on as well. I have other friends, neighbors, and loved ones with whom I’m very happy. I still love you. I will probably check in from time to time to see how things are going. Know that I’m praying for you. Please come back.

Your friend,
Rusty

1 Comment »

  1. Rusty,

    Well put! I too have quit reading T&S. I check again yesterday (1st time in a long while) and there was nothing there…no content of any interest.

    Bye bye T&S.
    Don | Email | Homepage | 02.10.05 – 3:34 pm | #

    Ha! Good stuff, Rusty. I saw your comment over at the Latin post and thought that was funny as well.

    Maybe the question is about the life cycle of a big-box blog in the ‘Nacle… If the contributors have satisfied their appetite for answers to the mainstream Mormon questions and have moved on to more obscure niches or navel gazing maybe that is the beginning of the end. Why would new visitors want to come aboard if the questions they want answered are now passé at T&S? More importantly, will we all be in the same predicament this time next year?
    Geoff Johnston | Email | Homepage | 02.10.05 – 4:13 pm | #

    I’m hesitant to criticize the T&S guys. They work hard to put out a good blog, IMHO. That said, I agree that there has been a change in recent months. I can’t put my finger on it, but it doesn’t have the charm it used to. Maybe it’s too big? I dunno. But it just isn’t as fun.

    I still read it, it’s still interesting to me and I will remain friends with the permabloggers there. But I understand where you’re coming from. That’s why I try to keep Kulturblog and BCC as fun as I can.
    Steve Evans | Email | Homepage | 02.10.05 – 4:55 pm | #

    I’ll echo Steve. It’s a lot of work to put together a quality large group blog (as I know know first hand). I will also admit to having some of the same frustrations as you, Rusty, when I look at the content of the past two weeks at T&S.

    That said, I don’t want to be caught asking “what have you done for me lately?” all the time. Times and Seasons is still the central spot in the LDS blogosphere, and they’re entitled to a few down weeks here and there.

    I also notice that I haven’t been visiting here as much as I used to. I’ll have to make a habit of it again. You guys do good work.
    Bryce I | Email | Homepage | 02.10.05 – 6:37 pm | #

    First, the folks at T&S put up a lot of interesting posts, although we all differ on which and how many qualify as interesting. That’s just natural. And every blogger understands the challenge of saying something interesting on daily basis without saying the same thing over and over. Even group blogs eventually find that most of the interesting topics have been covered in prior discussions.

    That said, one thing I have noticed is that many of the T&S bloggers are not connected to the Bloggernacle — that is, they don’t visit or comment at other blogs in the community. For example, only five of the fifteen listed permabloggers have ever left comments on my site, and I have seen few of the other ten ever comment on any other site in the Bloggernacle. The predictable result is that the forum (T&S) is starting to lose touch with its community (the Bloggernacle).

    Perhaps some T&S bloggers actually define their community differently, as Mormon academics or as the LDS-law list crowd or as their own proprietary group of readers and commenters. They certainly get plenty of traffic and attract first-class guest bloggers and interviewees.
    Dave | Email | Homepage | 02.10.05 – 6:37 pm | #

    It’s equally possible that the T&S bloggers aren’t putting out a product for our consumption — they’re exchanging their ideas as they see fit. If their blog doesn’t ‘satisfy’ us, well, that’s our problem, isn’t it? What exactly are we entitled to?
    Steve Evans | Email | Homepage | 02.10.05 – 7:09 pm | #

    By no means am I making any suggestions that the contributors are anything less than amazing people. I’ve met a few of them and they are wonderful and those that I haven’t met seem equally pleasant.

    Dave, Steve and Bryce, you’re right. Of course I can’t expect them to tailor their discussions around what’s interesting to me. It just seems like there used to be a lot more that was interesting to me. And yes, they are entitled to some on weeks and some off weeks. My grief is that I don’t feel like I can engage in the conversations anymore. But again, that’s my problem, not theirs. I’ve just lost interest with them. That’s all.
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 02.10.05 – 10:29 pm | #

    What’s wrong with having a little fun in Latin?
    Jordan | Email | Homepage | 02.10.05 – 10:32 pm | #

    Coming from someone who’s only blogging is on this very blog, I can see that happening. I just hope we do the same to not let ourselves get off subject and such herea and to critique our work and its quality.
    Speaking of that very thing, the only problem I have here is we seem to do more complaining then anything else. Valid and interesting complaints, yes, but maybe we could try and discuss the topics in a more conversational way then griping.
    Having said that, I know I have little to stand on considering how few a post I personally have posted.
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 02.11.05 – 1:42 am | #

    I too no longer visit T&S. Nothing there interests me anymore. They are in a world all by themselves.

    They owe nothing to me. They are under no obligation to provide content that interests me. Blogs are not meant to satisfy the reader.

    Nevertheless, I do not visit there anymore. I haven’t for a long time. FWIW.
    Kim Siever | Email | Homepage | 02.11.05 – 1:13 pm | #

    I think Dave makes a great point about bloggernacle involvement. I remember when he once kicked a few blogs off his top twelve because they didn’t meet his criteria of being engaged with the bloggernacle. Given that one of the draws of the nacle is the community, I think Dave’s on to something in expecting engagement among those who would seem to be the most visible members.

    On the other hand, they do a very valuable service in promoting community, in other ways. For example, Kaimi used to do tremendous work in drawing attention to the good stuff going on in other blogs. He’s since slowed down quite a bit, but the sidebar notes still point out good new blogs and good posts quite frequently. This service alone constitutes a very large part of what makes the bloggernacle cohesive.

    Still, Rusty, your lament rings true for me as well. Maybe the “big box” blogs really do have a life cycle. I guess we’ll see what happens to BCC and M*. Although I still don’t see BCC as a big-box blog for some reason. It has all the contributors and all the traffic, but there’s an intimacy there that feels more like a personal blog with 12 members. Steve, how do you see it?
    Ryan Bell | Email | Homepage | 02.11.05 – 1:56 pm | #

    Ryan, I think you’re right about BCC, we’re all pretty tight-knit and we genuinely care about each others’ thoughts. It’s rare that we entirely agree with each other, mind you, but we’re pretty good at being good bloggernacle citizens and supporting each other.
    Steve Evans | Email | Homepage | 02.11.05 – 2:22 pm | #

    Yeah Dave, it’s quite ironic that none of them at T&S will even know that all of us have these feelings about T&S.
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 02.13.05 – 10:55 pm | #

    I was never a big T&S participant, but I could lose hours reading through the posts and discussions there when I did sit down and dig in. Not so much anymore. Reading T&S these days reminds me why I didn’t become a lawyer.
    Chris Williams | Email | Homepage | 02.14.05 – 4:47 pm | #

    Reading this has been a lot of fun, and kinda enlightening.

    One thing: keeping up T&S and all the comments is a ton of work. It’s hard to follow it and the whole bloggernacle. Maybe dropping T&S is what lets you do it, I don’t know. Anyway, if there’s something in the bloggernacle you think we could call attention to, email me at mrmandias@yahoo.com
    Adam Greenwood | Email | Homepage | 02.14.05 – 8:01 pm | #

    “One thing I have noticed is that many of the T&S bloggers are not connected to the Bloggernacle — that is, they don’t visit or comment at other blogs in the community.”

    Very true, Dave. However, it is worth noting that, for several of us (particularly the original 6-8 permabloggers), the Bloggernacle didn’t exist in any robust form when we joined T&S. As it grew up around us, some found a lot of interest and satisfaction in engaging it, while others, whose interest in blogging about Mormonism was adequate to T&S’s requirements and not much more, became and/or continued to be engaged elsewhere. So, while many of the T&S permabloggers are active in the Bloggernacle, and see T&S as their contribution to such, others (like myself, I must admit) see the Bloggernacle as one of several internet communities we are part of, and not necessarily even the one we spend the most time on (though that participation goes up and down as well).

    That’s not a defense, obviously; just a factor worth considering in any diagnosis of T&S.
    Russell Arben Fox | Email | Homepage | 02.14.05 – 8:21 pm | #

    Ouch. As one of the new bloggers added to T&S in the last few months–about the time the unfortunate change occurred–and as one of the bloggers whose posts earned special disdain, I can only conclude… T&S sucks so much because of me!

    Rusty, I’m sorry that you and others aren’t finding what you’re looking for at T&S. On the other hand, it’s sort of thrilling to have been officially panned by the critics… My first flop! (in the bloggernacle, at least!)
    Rosalynde Welch | Email | Homepage | 02.14.05 – 9:43 pm | #

    It’s funny y’all are using the term Bloggernacle. That term originated, of course, over at T&S. Doesn’t that count for something?

    But I will agree that T&S has changed. I don’t comment very much over there, (although this week I did get to have my own thread, sort of.)but I have made a habit of reading it regularly. One of the biggest changes is that I don’t recognize all of the poster’s names anymore, and neither does my husband. It used to be that I could pinpoint exactly who was saying what, just by the style of their writing, but that is impossible now, because of the number of different people posting. It definitely has lost some of it’s intimate appeal, but I don’t think it was set up to be an intimate blog anyway. And I think that’s one of the reasons that it continues to work, that it continues to grow (the traffic stats on that site are pretty amazing, actually.) I think the relative boring material of late is just, as has been mentioned here, a down time. That’s one reason Nate broke protocol a little bit and let a non perma-blogger (me) post something. Things were just a little stale, but I don’t think that’s a permanent state. Just chalk it up to February blahs.
    Heather Oman | Email | Homepage | 02.14.05 – 10:29 pm | #

    I don’t know about the lawyers, but for academics, Heather is on to something. This is a pretty busy time in the school year. It may not be a coincidence if you remember “July” so fondly.

    Mostly, though, I am talking about _other_ academics. I will continue to post a small trickle of boring posts from now until I quit T&S!
    Frank McIntyre | Email | Homepage | 02.15.05 – 7:59 am | #

    Way back when I was running my own blog, I’d visit T&S faithfully (because I liked it so much) but was a little disappointed at how little the posters there would comment at my blog. Then again, I reasoned that maybe my posts weren’t sufficiently intellectual or of interest to them.

    I still like T&S and I actually thought the Latin post was pretty cool. But it’s interesting to see how many people are disappointed or bored with T&S. It is certainly something to think about.
    danithew | Email | Homepage | 02.15.05 – 9:42 am | #

    Rusty,

    I’ve felt exactly the same way. Wierd. We are brothers from another mother for sure.
    Davis Bell | Email | Homepage | 02.15.05 – 9:58 am | #

    I remember we had a similar discussion last year at Sons of Mosiah.

    That was back when Bob and I were some of the main T&S participants. We got squeezed out some time ago, and by now we hardly participate there at all. Whether intentionally or not, as T&S continues to grow it seems to continually alienate portions of its constituency. That’s all right, I suppose, if those phenomenal growth stats are what they’re looking for. It’s just a bit sad for some of the rest of us from time to time.
    Logan | Email | Homepage | 02.15.05 – 10:13 am | #

    Ah, young Bloggernacle, my how you’ve grown.

    ::sheds tear::

    1. You know a Web community has matured when people start posting posts about the community (as has happened the past month or so).

    2. The influx of newbies to a Web community always causes some ‘old-timers’ to retreat to more selective spheres while others stick around and engage with the newcomers.

    3. There’s always a bit of a hierarchy in Web communities (as well as many sub-groups/sympathies), and those on the second-level of such hierarchies always grouse about the aloofness of those on the top level. Newbies, meanwhile, are often oblivious to the dynamics of the community — which is often a mixed blessing.

    I bring all this up not to make any grand point or prescriptions. I see these trends as somewhat inevitable. But I do want to say that so far the Bloggernacle has done very well at maintaining a sense of community — we’ve done well in our first year (yes, I know it goes back farther than that for some — but I’d say Feb. – March is when it really started to take off — with May – June being the huge leap in growth). Hats off to all involved.
    William Morris | Email | Homepage | 02.15.05 – 11:58 am | #

    First, I’d like to disagree for the record with Rosalynde’s self-assessment. The addition of new permabloggers at T&S was a good thing, it brought some new ideas and topics to that forum. Her posts, in particular, I find to be clever and insightful (which is really all that most bloggers aspire to be).

    Some of the complaints here are simply a reflection of growth, too many blogs to visit regularly or even ever. But we should note that the LDS blogging community is still remarkable (compared to other blogging communities) for the high degree of cross-involvement and the friendly sense of community one finds. T&S, for example, still has open commenting, a rarity for such a busy and elevated group blog. T&S is still a friendly place, if a bit crowded at times.
    Dave | Email | Homepage | 02.15.05 – 9:50 pm | #

    What I can say of this is small. I found T&S yesterday and today is the first day that I am able to explore the bloggernacle properly. I see all of your point. At least Times got me started.
    watkinator | Email | Homepage | 02.16.05 – 4:26 pm | #

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