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Nightshadebooks
Posted on Monday, September 04, 2006 - 10:33 pm:   

Hi all,

It's looking to us like the era of the message board may be coming to a close. With everyone on earth having blogs and whatnot, it seems that a healthy dialog can be held without a central clearing house. It also seems that traffic is a fraction of what it was in the first couple of years, and that there's really a very small number of regular users left at this point.

We're working on developing a new site (I'm sure any number of you have noticed that our site is clunky and doesn't work half the time), and we're deciding whether or not to keep the boards going. You're welcome to add your input in this thread.

Jason Williams
Night Shade Books
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Chris Dodson
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 12:03 am:   

I'd hate to see you shut it down. I kind of like the smallness of the board -- aside from having a better ratio of wheat to chaff than other message boards, it helps keep my Internet time-wasting to a minimum.
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John William Thiel
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 07:04 am:   

I don't know if it's difficult or expensive to maintain it, but if it is not there is no reason to close it down. There are some of us still using it and considering it interesting and worthwhile. Perhaps it can be maintained for those who use it, with the hope that spammers will leave and more will show up. It may be the non-sf topics and whatnot are driving potential users away.
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Kelly Christopher Shaw
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 07:52 am:   

I hope you don't shut it down. I regularly enjoy Ellen Datlow's and Lucius Shepard's boards. Of course, they're probably two of the more active participants on this board.
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Mary Robinette Kowal
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 08:48 am:   

I lurk more than I contribute, but I stop by daily.
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Ed Sinkovits
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 10:10 am:   

I'm going to have to agree with the original comments. There has been an explosive growth in blogs and there is no sign this is slowing down. I don't know what the cost is or the time required to maintain these boards but there seems to be less and less value here. If a decision is made to shut this down then I would support it.

*cough* I would rather see Night Shade putting the time and money into better communicating with it's customers. There has been no word on what is happening for over a month now. *cough*
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Dflewis
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 10:14 am:   

Please keep them open ... if at all possible.

But if you don't or can't ... please accept my enormous gratitude for doing them in the first place.


des
(with the thread that was the first thread here in 2003)
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Dflewis
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 10:17 am:   

Also, many of us haven't the power or provenance to attract interested parties to our individual blogs - whilst dedicated threads here are still important to a number of protagonists in the various markets.
des
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 10:54 am:   

I'd rather you not close us down. I don't have a blog and have no intention of having a blog. These boards are utterly different from blogs as we can ALL participate (if we use to) --a blog is often "one person" specific. If you close down I guess I'll just have to become more active on my TTA BB.
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Jamie Rosen
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 11:35 am:   

I agree with Ellen in that a message board is a very different beast from a blog -- blogs seem more one-sided, no matter how much give-and-take there may be in the comments section (and sometimes there isn't much.)

Besides, I can access NSB from work -- not so with most blogs. :-)
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MarcL
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 11:55 am:   

I know that closing down the boards would make it easier for me to get more work done, as then I wouldn't have to exercise any self-control in how often I check them, but please don't close them down on my account.
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M.K. Hobson
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 12:17 pm:   

I am so glad to hear that you-all are redesigning the Website -- your book covers are so beautiful, it's about time you had a Website that lived up to them! ;-)

I read the boards regularly, though I almost never post. I hope you don't shut them down.

M
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 12:51 pm:   

Please keep the boards active. I enjoy Jeff Ford's blog among several others, but the way they're typically structured ensures interesting topics get sent to oblivion quickly; not so with the way this board is laid out. Lucius Shepard and Ellen Datlow surely have the most popular boards though there are others always worth a look; Jeff Vandermeer's, Andrew Fox's, John Picacio's and many others.

[Off topic: whatever happened to Zoran Zivkovic's board btw?]
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 01:32 pm:   

If you close up shop, where else shall I lurk? At a blog? Never! The blog is the pimple of the internet world, in desperate need of being popped before it grows to gargantuan sizes, into full grown blackheads named for the mood they put you in and the size they attain. Are you really going to run from a zit?

And if you quit, I hereby declare victory by default for the Asimov's Forum forumites in the rivalry that some perceive between the two forums. Na na na na na!
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Nathan Ballingrud
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 02:12 pm:   

I see your point, but speaking as one of the people who makes this place a daily stop, I'd vote against it.
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Matt Hughes
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 04:56 pm:   

I'd hate to see the boards go, especially F&SF's and mine, and just when I'm about to make my big splash with Majestrum.

Matt Hughes
www.archonate.com/majestrum
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Elizabeth Thomas
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 05:05 pm:   

I've been meaning to register for months, and then I arrive to find out that it's being shut down? Not to take this personally... ;)

For me, I would most miss the F & SF board, Ellen Datlow's board, and Adam Troy-Castro's board, although I would hope they would all find another board venue. I also think blogs and message boards are two completely different things and environments for discussion. (I didn't include you in my list, Matt, 'cause we see you over at Asimov's a lot.)

On the other hand, if it is a huge expense or waste of time for you, I would obviously understand if you guys had to shut it down.
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Arnie Hamilton
Posted on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 - 08:29 pm:   

Hey guys -

I'm an owner of quite a large number of Night Shade titles, and I spend a good deal of time lurking around here, with the occasional fanboy post thrown in for good measure.

I find the boards quite useful, and would prefer that you leave the boards up as message boards in general are easier to read and are more conducive to general conversation than blogs. Traffic is a bit low right now, though, but I wouldn't let that be the dagger that kills the boards. Traffic is a cyclical thing and I imagine it'll pick up as the winter months approach and people start spending more time in front of the computer.

my two cents...
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Mary Robinette Kowal
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 02:02 am:   

It also occurred to me to add that there is a cross-pollenation here that wouldn't happen in blogs. I only go to the blogs of people that I'm already aware of whereas with the forum I learn about new people

As far as traffic, don't forget that a huge number of people left during the great spam attack. I think numbers will go up again.
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anna tambour
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 02:08 am:   

Warning: This is gassy.
This board does what blogs don't. It allows disparates--people and ideas--to meet, collide, influence, surprise, and share information and enthusiasms. Around the world, ghettoisation of opinion, 'news', contacts is becoming the way we live; and we're putting ourselves in the ghettos, nothing to encourage. At a time when we need to understand more, the pressure to limit our exposure to information and online time, if blog-oriented, will only increase simplistic partisanship, outrage over intelligence, opinion over thoughtfulness, faith over reason, and the joy of condemnation (and damn the evidence). The only way to fight this trend and to stretch ourselves beyond comfort is to expose ourselves to the unfamiliar and other-opinioned. Nightshade is in its own way, a place that does this. Blogs tend to be congregations of those who agree with the blogger, which makes community spaces more important than ever, as otherwise we each spout our wisdoms separately on our sites, and are confirmed (even if it's only one response) as being ohsorightallthetime.
(Switching metaphors)There's no yeast in that. I prefer what this board is trying to do, gas and all. As for less participation, perhaps less is more?
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Mary Robinette Kowal
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 02:25 am:   

By the way, I only recently figured out that a perk of becoming a registered member is that I can set my profile to send me updates on any thread I've responded to. That's a handy feature and I only discovered it because I was procrastinating from something else.
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Paul Witcover
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 04:43 am:   

I visit these boards at least once a day, even if I don't always post. I would hate to lose them. I've been contacted on a number of occasions through my own board, so there's the efficacy of that, plus the enjoyment I derive from the boards of Lucius, Ellen, JeffV, Liz Hand, and others. This is really a unique resource!
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AliceB
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 07:54 am:   

I visit the boards regularly and would miss them. I'm much more of a lurker now since the massive spam attacks. But this offers something blogs don't. It reminds me of a good cafe, or bar, or pub: it's a place you drop in, see people you know, can act like a jackass in sometimes, and still have interesting conversations. I do understand that expense is a real issue--but if you close down, the place will be missed.
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Daniel Ausema
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 08:04 am:   

I visit the threads often. I just joined basically to cast my vote for keeping them, but even before I was regularly stopping by to visit, especially for the F&SF threads. And through that, I've discovered other magazines and writers that appeal to me, so it's a very valuable thing to have them here together.

There have been times when I've wanted to comment on something but haven't felt like bothering with registering...but this is worth registering for.
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Scott Benenati
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 09:01 am:   

I'm also a lurker, rarely commenting, but I check the threads at least a few times a week, sometimes every day. I agree with the others above about the blog-limits and the vital importance of the (world) community discussions. Blogs are like dinner parties hosted by politicians. These discussion boards are more like roundtables. Where else can we get opinions, feelings, beliefs, obscure facts and pictures, bad metaphors, criticism, encouragement, humor, and varied passions to mull over and laugh at/with...all while getting updates of forthcoming works from some of our favorite authors and magazines? I even check the Nightshade catalogue more often since I'm already here. I agree with Daniel above, this is worth registering for.
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Jamie Rosen
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 10:02 am:   

Just thought I'd quote this in case it gets lost in the tumult:

[Off topic: whatever happened to Zoran Zivkovic's board btw?]
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 10:13 am:   

I agree with what others have said about blogs. They are usually one person talking, and others praising. Message boards allow more actual communication.

I'd like to see the boards continue, although I'm not fond of this message board format.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 10:34 am:   

Yeah, keep the boards.

My own board is mostly updates on publications and such, and I don't think I would bother with having a blog as I try to channel my creative energy into works of fiction. But I do like to sometimes comment on various things and there is a sense of community here that can't be found on most blogs, since blogs seem to attract only the most die-hard fans, groupees, friends and the like. Here on the other hand there is a bit of cross polination. From the Nightshade point of view, it seems like a definate asset to, as more people are attracted to the sight. I would imagine that some copies of Nightshade books have been sold due to the draw of these boards - meaning that someone otherwise unfamiliar with Nightshade was attracted by an author or editor or zine on these boards.
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 11:00 am:   

Jason---

The very fact that everyone on Earth has a blog is exactly why a central clearing house is needed. I check this board almost every day. There's no way I'm going to check all my friends' blogs half that often. (I'm really not that interested in what their moods are or what they're listening to.)

If a lack of traffic is your main concern, don't worry. I suspect traffic will pick up as the 2008 election approaches.

While you're considering factors, you should also ask yourself how much it's worth to Nightshade to host one of the central nodes of the field. Personally, I've found out a lot about your books that I wouldn't otherwise have learned if it weren't for these boards.

It seems to me you've got a great thing going here and I hope you won't drop it. But if you do, let me thank you now for hosting the board for these past years. I appreciate it personally and I appreciate your letting F&SF have a home here.
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Holly Gustafson
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 02:07 pm:   

Hey, I just registered today! The first thing I see is that this might be shut down? NO! Don't do it. First, there are many people who like to read and not post, so don't be discouraged by small interactions. Blogs? I don't care who of the world wants to meet and what their friends did for fun last night, but I do like to read about common interests like SF&F on this message board. Please keep this message board up!
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Nightshadebooks
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 05:57 pm:   

FYI, Zoran's board was taken down at his own request.
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 06:34 pm:   

Thanks for letting us know about Zoran's message board; sorry he didn't want it archived.
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 - 09:41 pm:   

I also lurk more than post these days, but it's still a groovy place, so I vote to keep it around.
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anna tambour
Posted on Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 01:40 am:   

Also, as soon as I pressed the send button, I thought of so many more people I wanted to say I really get a lot from. Mahesh, you're top of the list. And I love Ellen's "What's everyone reading lately" thread.
Thank you to those of you who have put the board on and are making it usable.
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anna tambour
Posted on Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 02:26 am:   

I forgot to say that I've been inspired by this board to write stories that I wouldn't have otherwise. "The Cat Story" was written because of a discussion about cat stories in "What editors DON'T want" on Ellen's board.
http://www.nightshadebooks.com/discus/messages/233/1556.html?1129909370 And Lucius in this great posting of his titled "True love and fiction"
http://www.nightshadebooks.com/discus/messages/32/5264.html?1137027241
wrote "All stories, in one way or another, are love stories."
Well, my first reaction was that I disagreed, so I had to write something that agreed with him. Thus "The Slime: A Love Story". It's not Anna Karenina but it was great fun to write.
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Neal Asher
Posted on Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 02:52 am:   

Putting aside whether or not a message board is beneficial to those visiting it - I can see how those who go cruising about the Internet will gain more here than from a blog - is it beneficial to Jeremy and Jason? They're running a business, afterall, and if that suffers because they're spending time dealing with spam attacks and paying out money for upgrades... I wonder how it can possibly be quantified?
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Scott Benenati
Posted on Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 08:36 am:   

I don't know how much it costs to keep up the board, but as Gordon points out, the board is one of the central nodes of the field. What better marketing could they have?
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Matt Hughes
Posted on Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 10:54 am:   

They're running a business, afterall, and if that suffers because they're spending time dealing with spam attacks and paying out money for upgrades... I wonder how it can possibly be quantified?

But they're not just about the bottom line, or they would have invested their time and effort in some other line of business that makes a better return, like a lube shop or a liquor store. Some values don't appear on a balance sheet.

And, to put my money where my mouth is: Jason and Jeremy, if it will help keep this alive, take fifty bucks of my next royalty check.

Matt Hughes
www.archonate.com/majestrum
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Byron Bailey
Posted on Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 01:27 pm:   

Take fifty bucks off my royalty check, too. Hell, keep it all.
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anna tambour
Posted on Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 06:48 pm:   

I'd be happy to contribute to keep this going, too.
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Carole Hall
Posted on Friday, September 08, 2006 - 04:22 am:   

Yes, please don't shut the board down (pretty please) - still lurking. This board has that je ne sais quoi that other boards lack (I don't know what that is though).
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Steve Forstner
Posted on Friday, September 08, 2006 - 09:12 am:   

I lurk mostly and post only occasionally. I seem to gain more out of it that way. I hope you keep your board open. Even if I don't post much.

The spam attack was something to see. Really amazing, and many of us who administer other boards learned a hard lesson from watching it.
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Jetse
Posted on Friday, September 08, 2006 - 02:15 pm:   

Hey Jason and Jeremy--

(Great meeting you guys at WorldCon, BTW!)

Here's my vote to keeping it open. I lurk much, and post once in a while (hope to post more in the future), and I agree with Gordon that you need discussion boards like these as a counterweight to the whole blogosphere.

Also, at the TTA boards we had similar problems with the spam attacks, and we eventually decided to upgrade the software (which wasn't *that* expensive, something like 75 dollars) so that spam was blocked, and still everybody could post without registering.

I really hope you keep this going, as I highly prefer a discussion board above visiting a gazillion blogs.

Also, you might open a virtual bar, with virtually unlimited beer, and I'd virtually never leave...

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Mike Munsil
Posted on Friday, September 08, 2006 - 02:36 pm:   

Please do not close them down. Reducing communications to a one-way format is always a mistake.
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ben peek
Posted on Saturday, September 09, 2006 - 04:55 am:   

i like the boards, so i'm all for keeping them up. i suspect that the traffic dropped off because of the spam over the last year. once people start drifting back because of a lack of spam, i think things'll start picking up a bit more.
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Mahesh Raj Mohan
Posted on Saturday, September 09, 2006 - 12:32 pm:   

Hey, thanks, Anna. Ditto! :-)

J&J: I'd certainly contribute to keep it open, as well.
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Liam Rands
Posted on Sunday, September 10, 2006 - 03:11 pm:   

This board and Speculations are on my daily list of places to visit. I would like to see this board continue...
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Jason Sizemore
Posted on Tuesday, September 12, 2006 - 03:46 pm:   

Jetse is serious. I saw the man imbibe beer at a serious rate during DragonCon.

Hi Jetse!
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Jetse
Posted on Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - 03:53 am:   

Hi Jason!

I'm slowly catching up with my post-World and Dragon Con emails, so I'll get in touch with you sometime soon.

But thanks for the great help at Dragon*Con!
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yarrow dale
Posted on Sunday, September 17, 2006 - 09:12 pm:   

Hi, as a newcomer, and a serious writer, I was devastated to read you might close down this brilliant conection point. Please don't! Watering places like this are incredibly valuable and important.
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PM
Posted on Thursday, September 21, 2006 - 12:25 am:   

Just discovered this thread...hope that the board will continue.
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John William Thiel
Posted on Thursday, September 21, 2006 - 06:27 am:   

You an archaeologist?
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Minz
Posted on Thursday, September 21, 2006 - 06:57 am:   

Yeah, what they said.

Though if it's just not practical, so long and thanks for all the fish.
You are a couple of the menschenist Mensches in the biz, and we'll always be your Posse, board or no board.
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PM
Posted on Thursday, September 21, 2006 - 08:24 am:   

"You an archaeologist?"

I hope not.

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