Online civility, recency vs relevancy, and the most amazing Offbeat Home comment thread of all time?!

December 20 | offbeatbride

ariel-karaokeAt 9pm last night, I was doing ill-advised Tokyo-karaoke with an astrology columnist and an event planner, and Megan sent me an email: "Is your shoe post for tomorrow morning done?!" My response was, "Fuuuuuuuu ck. Drink at karaoke. It will be done!" Then I finished up my rendition of Pearl Jam's Black, giggled through a completely failed attempt at "Just Give Me A Reason," and stumbled home to write this post, which is not about shoes at all. Welcome to the Offbeat Empire. Let's talk about our favorite comments this week!

Offbeat Bride

Let's start with some nice warm fuzzies from Sarah. The discussion on the "Very, very gay wedding" post were odd to watch — there was an initial flurry of comments, then complete silence for the rest of the day, then a late-night avalanche of misunderstandings and queer theory. Through it all, however, there was civility and honest questions, respect and curiosity. It was really quite a thing to witness, and as Sarah summed up the next morning:

I was actually reflecting last night on how much I appreciate the comment policy here. I know personally, It really forces me to work at keeping my tone in check and making sure that I am responding in a way that honours the intention of the person I am talking to, even if I disagree with what they are saying.

When I see the quality of discussion that creates here around controversial topics of identity or experience, versus, say, tumblr… It is easy to snark, but it takes a lot more work to have a reasonable conversation where you keep your feelings in check. And it is ultimately more productive.

*Deep exhale* Fuck, you guys. This makes it all feel worth it. I actually really love it when there are disagreements and debates in our comments, because when people can manage to do it respectfully and reasonably, the capacity for learning and growth is SO HUGE. It's hard and I totally get that it's not always something that any of us have the patience for, but when it works… it's pretty awesome.

Offbeat Empire

You know I could talk about RSS and social media and recency vs relevancy for DAYS, so this comment from Shannon C. was my favorite comment on the Offbeat Empire blorg this week:

I love (love) having the new posts only via RSS, and it would really bug me if old posts suddenly appeared in my reader, however I follow OBB on pinterest and it's been fun to see old posts pop up there. If one is particularly appealing I click through and it's like re-reading a book from a long time ago- you realize you've read it before but it's still five minutes very well-spent!

Offbeat Home

Certainly, the most heavily commented post this week was our post about the mini-reader survey we did last week. Emotions ran high, and it was a little hard to stomach at times (so much fear…), but the big moral of the story for me was basically what I said here:

I'm honored that you guys have such strong feelings about the Offbeat Empire websites. It's a great privilege to have such invested readers, and a responsibility I take pretty seriously. I hope you can trust that I'm doing my best to make as many of you feel great about the sites that I can — but also know that I empower each of you to make your own decisions about what's working for you.

But wait wait, I'm not picking my OWN comment as my favorite comment of the week. For that, I think I have to turn to today's post about offbeat hobbies, which is turning into the most amazing thread EVER. A few of my favorite suggestions:

GEOCACHING! It's basically a worldwide treasure hunt where people hide little (or big) containers and you have to find them. You can get the app on any smart phone for like 12$ and it's well worth it. You'll be banging down your own front door going out to find these fantastic little treasures. It routinely get my and my husbands fat asses out and moving around, staying out much longer than we would have otherwise. We've discover so many amazing places we didn't know existed, including the park where we got engaged and married!
Costuming. It takes mental work to figure out how to replicate something (especially on the cheap), then the physical work of actually making the thing. It's easier said than done, especially when you're working on something that was done by top-end Hollywood costume designers or that was animated/computer-generated and never actually existed in the real world. Then at the end you have a little escapism from the normal hum-drum of life.
ErinSue, you said, "And I think it'll take something really amazing and different for us to pluck up the courage to leave our hidey-hole."

Life is really short when you think about it. Please pluck up your courage to do something that isn't really amazing and different – do something that is a little different or a little amazing. There are riches of experiences just outside the door if you just step outside to experience them.

AND THAT'S JUST THE BEGINNING. Seriously, I predict that thread is going to be the gift that keeps on giving. Who's with me on starting at least five new obsessive hobbies for 2014?! Hobbies that are probably better than drunken karaoke crawling around on all fours when I should be working?


Since next week is a pretty busy holiday time for lots of y'all, you'll notice a few less posts on the blogs, but OH! There will still be PUHLENTY of posts to help entertain/distract you from any family holiday dramaz. Remember, you can't spell family without FML… so rest assured that we're not going to leave you hanging during the holidays. 🙂

    • Oh, it's absolutely a hobby… More than that, I consider it a form of therapy. Breath work, emotional expression… It means a lot to me, in ways I can't even articulate.

      5 agree
      • Gah, you just summed up why I love — no — HAVE to sing in the car. Aaron was griping about it on our 24 hour road trip (of course). "Why do you 'HAVE' to sing?" My response of, "because I like to, and it makes the drive go faster" didn't even touch the super-deep reasoning. "Because it's a form of therapy, and emotional expression" is so spot on!

        7 agree
        • Nursing my sore throat from our 15 hour road trip, during which I sang pretty much the entire way. It's therapy, it's creative expression, it's exercising joy… All kinds of good things!

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          • On super-long car trips sometimes I turn to a spanish language radio station so I can enjoy listening to music without singing along…otherwise I'll end up with laryngitis by the time I get to my destination!

            2 agree
        • before I left my crappy, draining job, most mornings the only way I could get there without throwing up was screaming to a specific song while driving. about 3 or 4 times, and my voice would tone down, until I actually sang it, and then just mumbled it. Instant therapy, really.

          1 agrees
    • I joined a competitive karaoke league this season. Drunken karaoke is my sport.

  1. Intellectually, I know that I should have been focusing on the message of healthy debate and personal growth. But it was completely lost on me the moment I read this part: "… is SO HUGE. It's hard and I… "
    It has become apparent to me that I will never grow up.

    10 agree
    • This may be the ONLY unintentional sexual innuendo that I have ever made! I'm always the one who's like, "Sure, I'll have some toast for breakfast…. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? TOAST!?!? FOR BREAKFAST!?!??!" *waggles eyebrows*

      *Insert confused and uncomfortable Offbeat Empire staff members looking around like, "toast? is that a vagina thing, or….?"*

      18 agree
  2. Best comment thread ever, indeed! I have three hobbies I am going to try, including amateur choir, DANCE WALK and writing submissions for OBH&L!

    4 agree
    • Uh, dance walk?? I MUST know more about this!! I'm imagining something similar to when Michael Jackson's "Beat It" comes on my playlist while I'm out running. Yeah, I have motions…

      1 agrees

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