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And what are the hidden agendas, the implicit value systems, the no go areas?  I get the impression that liberal/social democrat, human rights, environmental ethics and even a bit of anti-capitalism is almost de rigeur - but then I may be doing you all an awful disservice because I haven't been here a wet week (as we say in Ireland) and have read only a tiny sample of diaries and comments.

You've got the right impression, generally.  Someone somewhere has a graph plotting the political spectrum of the members...  Still, I think most people are welcome here so long as you are respectful and your ideas can be intelligently defended.  Even if they are unpopular.  We have a way of getting people to come around ... ;)

Are we all frustrated journalists here, failed academics, or seers whose genius the world just plain refuses to recognize?

Lord help the poor journalist who finds themselves here.  Academics, some.  Failed?  Define "failed."  Seers?  I think you can get banned for any mention of the occult.  Or at least you have to put up with Jerome complaining it.  The world does not refuse to recognize our genius.  They just haven't been properly made aware of it yet.

Or is this just that wonderful human institution, an Irish pub without any beer, but where everybody gabs just for the sheer fun of it?

Yes.

Every newcomer wonders how and where they will "fit in", and whether they would be better off going elsewhere.  Just what is your unique selling point?

Selling?  Has someone asked you for your money?  Ignore them.  They'll just waste it on beer and obscure economics texts.

I don't expect you all to rush off to justify yourselves, particularly to the new kid on the block, but what exactly are your brand values and why should I spend time here rather than elsewhere?

Brand values?  What part of "anti-capitalist" do you not understand?!  ;)  Why should I tell you where to spend your time?  ...

Is it a mutual admiration society, a community learning experience, an opportunity to brag about how much I know on certain topics, a forum to exercise my debating skills or just a nice friendly place to be?

Yes.

In other words, what have YOU gotten out of it, being a participant here, and, given the chance, would you do it all over again?

LOL.  Not only would I do it all over again, but I have!  Several times!  

I can't speak for everyone, but I like that I can come here and let my mad thoughts out and sometimes people even listen to them.  And I enjoy the mad thoughts of others.


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Wed Nov 28th, 2007 at 05:39:15 PM EST

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