I envisioned Hang With Friends including wide ranging discussion, public as well as private topics. But I've set a bad example by sticking mostly to news and opinion. It's past time I set an example of opening up.
I've been obsessive compulsive this past week. Lots of stress, eye operations, my new cat is still scared of me after two months, and we just paid $6,500 to get mold assessment and the first stages of mold remediation. I'd hired incompetent roofers, and leaks created a serious mold problem. For three days a crew of four tore out the walls of our sunroom and the back wall of our master bedroom. I spent those three days escaping into my hobby, playing with fonts.
I enjoy making animated gifs to welcome new members to Atheist Nexus. Although I have well over a thousand free fonts, many of the most interesting ones are expensive. So I've used Snaggit to capture a sample of those, saying "Welcome" at MyFonts.com, to use as raw material. For three days I snagged font images in jpg format.
Many forums have "off topic" areas, which can be more interesting than the principal theme of the forum. An example is automotive forums, where enthusiasts gather to discuss how to maintain their cars, how to modify them for more performance, and so forth. When a new forum begins, it's strictly business. But eventually it generalizes. Internet buddies eventually meet face to face, in local gatherings. They post their experiences, with photos of the event. That leads to subforums discussing current events, culture, relationship issues, advice for succeeding in college, getting a job and on and on. A real community is never strictly on-topic.
The atheist theme is very broad. How does one interpret one's personal struggles and desires, motivations, conceptualization of right and wrong, role in society and so forth, when one rejects a dogmatic mythology? Where do religious/anti-religious discussions end, and "off topic" discussions begin? In a forum dedicated to repairing old Chevys, it's easy to get off-topic discussing garages, tools, the culture of do-it-yourself repair, how spouses react when their spouse spends evenings in the garage instead of in the living-room. And that's for a narrowly-focused, enthusiast-based forum. And this forum is far broader. So it's pointless to segregate topics into those strictly adhering to our intended theme, vs. those that appear to be spurious.
I like a little comic relief, light conversation and thoughtful discussion with people whom I know share at least some things in common with me and who won't suddenly go apeshit when they find out that I'm an atheist. That's why I joined AN. There's something for everyone, and we all have at least one thing in common.
How I wish it were so that everyone here enjoyed lambasting god-belief. That is not the case.
I've been told to STOP posting about Christianity because I'm 'preaching to the choir'. I took offense to such a posting because for some wonderful reason I do not feel everyone on AN-Friends 'knows it all'.
Certain folks also will post within a thread, 'I'm outta here - nothing going on'...when in fact the subjects were varied daily and there was LOTS of participation.
The thing I'm attempting to say here is: 'If you don't want to participate in any single thread subject, don't, BUT, do NOT knock those that do - and never knock those that refuse to participate. Just move to the next thread and see if it fits your brain.
Steven, I don't agree with those who try to stop posting or change the subject or say your preaching to the choir. If you contribute to a string and someone doesn't like it, they can either not read your postings or leave the string. I don't read a lot of individuals' posts because they are too sweet or too sour or too timid or too strong for my taste. I have no right to tell them to change their style; it is my responsibility to choose what I want or need to read.
Ruth, sorry to learn of your stressors and encouraged to learn of your coping strategy that not only helps to get your mind and attention on something else but gives us benefits as well. I like your designs and have tried to learn how to use them on my computer, and with your instructions and Richard ∑wald's help, it is clearing up for me.
I hope your eye surgery went well. Do you have a lot of eye fatigue while on-line? I have to limit myself to just a limited amount of time and then download videos and radio programs to listen while I do other things ... it helps a little, but the aging process is doing its thing. It is what it is and I have many things that interest me.
Your roof and mold problems is enough to send one to the Batty Room.
I fully understand when certain stresses overwhelm you - you'd like some support from your 'community'. I also fine with that and wish you forward progress and calmness.
I'm going to pay more attention to all the 'new' subjects posted to see if I can somehow contribute. If I cannot because I'm either not interested nor do I know a darn thing about that suject - I will read and learn only. Cheers....
These photos and messages leave a real impression, I think perhaps even on the Deniers. I am so impressed with your presentation, is it difficult to learn how to do it? Just think of the creativity that can be unleashed using such techniques. Excellent photo choices, and commentary.
I use Photoshop CS5, which makes it fairly easy. Most of the commentary is a quote from somebody else, that I found impressive enough to put in time to illustrate. Not my words. The paraphrase below is from George Lakoff.
This is my most ambitious project yet. Do you think the file is too big? It's hard to illustrate complicated ideas with just a few frames.
I was really really disappointed that animated gifs (and other gifs too) don't support tags. So my work won't be searchable, excepting for tags from the discussion.