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forum directions and meaningless drivel

 
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I saw a post in MD (meaningless drivel) where somebody pointed out that it wasn't meaningless.  So true. 

I wish to make a feeble attempt at explaining what that is all about.

I made two diagrams.  The first diagram shows a simplified version of what is in my head.  "s.h.i.b." is "stoned hippies in the basement pontificating about the way things ought to be."

In the second diagram:  this is what I think most people think of when they hear the world "permaculture. "

In the first diagram, there is a textured area.  I think that the textured area represents what I want these forums to be about.  Everything else probably really belongs in another forum somewhere else.  But I understand that folks might wanna share some of that with THIS group of people.  So the MD forum facilitates that ....  in a sort of discouraging way.

Granted, folks interested in that textured area might be one in a thousand.  These forums are dedicated to that one in a thousand.  I am trying really hard to find a lot of those one in a thousand people and let them know that these forums exist.  It's really hard!

I think the activism stuff is important.  I just want these forums to focus on building and growing instead of telling people to stop being bad.  I think folks have the right to do the shibbie thing, I just feel like I make more progress with my feet on the ground in the here and now. 

I also want to impress upon folks that diagram 2 does not reflect reality.  It's hard to get folks to change their mind on that one.



venn_shib_small.gif
[Thumbnail for venn_shib_small.gif]
shib_venn_worry_small.gif
[Thumbnail for shib_venn_worry_small.gif]
 
paul wheaton
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My spidey sense tells me that some people might look at this and think "your one in a thousand is more like one in a billion.  You're a dumbass to restrict these forums that much!"  To help persuade folks that think I might be on a less than optimal path, I would appreciate it if folks that think I'm on a good path show a bit of support in this thread

Thanks!


 
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I have not been a SHIB since my days in college.  Back then we were more interested in chicks and beer than anything else.  Nowadays its chickens and wishing I had time for beer.

My interest in permaculture stems from how I developed over the years.  Out of necessity I've learned and developed a strong personal demand for self-sufficiency.  I'm also naturally inquisitive and have tinkered with all sorts of projects.  I fell into this site around Christmas to find a vast array of subjects being discussed with which I connected, and this vast array of subjects collectively fell under the label Permaculture.  I'm not a bleeding heart liberal protesting hippie.  It seems I have strong Permie leanings, although I still cling to the notion that, given the right equipment, an operating budget, and a team of red-shirted henchmen, I would make an excellent Mad Scientist.

Permaculture principles have been around for generations.  The progress over the last few decades has been putting together the puzzle with pieces scattered across every corner of the globe.  Ideas have been tested, old methods studied.  To me, it is the putting together of these methods and ideas which has evolved into what we refer to as Permaculture.  Permaculture as a stand alone subject is still in its infancy, but its not on the lunatic fringe. 

Because of its infancy, there is no clear line which defines a Permie.  Are you a Permie because you have solar panels on your roof, grow all natural tomatoes or live in a log cabin?  Do you qualify to be labelled a Permie if you attend a PDC and hove something framed on your I-Love-Me wall?  Must you be able to name all the weeds in your yard?  I know a guy who can, but I would not call him a Permie. 

I think for most people in the developed world with a fairly standard upbringing it is a gradual change in lifestyle, beliefs, and ways of doing the things which can steer you towards permieness.  A great many of the threads on here are discussions among a few people with an interest in a particular area, talking about and exploring that idea, then taking what they have gained and applying it in the back yard, with whatever tweaks are needed for their particular situation.

Most of the folks around here are pretty normal, doing their thing, living their lives the best way they know how and looking for ways to enrich it, even if its just a little here and there.  We are not looking to change the world, just our tiny corner of it.
 
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Just an observation: For instance with your topic "Greenhouse Suck Factor" I think it set up some extreme views. It was a lively discourse but the phrasing encouraged opposing views. Maybe that is why you phrased it that way.
Perhaps rather than "Meaningless Drivel" maybe "Off Topic Discussions" would suggest a topic might be worth a view but not within the textured zone. The Meaningless though accurate in some cases is not without harshness.
I'm blown away by how most people are respectful and your efforts with maintaining the board and its flow
Doomers just put a damper on me and even though I am not a doomer the fact that they see a need to follow a permaculture path to some degree pleases me. Certainly peak oil, Mosanto, safe foods, self reliance and huge monoculture farms are things that have pushed many of us to seek a better way but in the end the journey is still the same.
I'd much rather see more conversations in the textured zone on ideas, successes and failures that people have encountered or have come up with. But can easily be sucked into a meaningless conversation that is off topic but interests me.

 
paul wheaton
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I think "greenhouse suck factor" is something that fits well in the textured area.  And, I think, any discussion about monsanto, is outside of the textured space.  And I would put the monsanto stuff into the "meaningless drivel" forum. 

While in the MD forum, people can express their position on things in a way that is well within my comfort zone.  And stuff in MD is fair game to be deleted:  after all, if somebody cares that their stuff was deleted, then it must not be "meaningless" and therefore it was proper to delete it. 

 
Robert Ray
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I absolutely agree the Suck Factor thread fit into the textured area. But (I know you hate that seperation use of the word) "Suck Factor" and "Meaningless Drivel" leads one to place that has that less than perfect feel on most conversations that occur.
I'm with you Monsanto and teotwawki should be in that meaningless or off topic section.
Please don't be offended it is only my personal observation, I think that you do a perfect job. I can't imagine how much time and effort it takes.
 
paul wheaton
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I'm not offended.  Not even a little.

Thanks for the "perfect" medal.  I'll hang it on my wall! 

 
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Wow, that diagram is a visual that helps a lot. I think the s.h.i.b. circle might also include some from the anarchist groups that are drawn to permaculture.

In my attempts to expand the thinking of non-permie folks, it helps to have permaculture viewed as more of a scientific environmental movement and design system than a radical, fringe activist movement. The former will attract much, much more interested people than the latter.

Thanks Paul for keeping the focus here so clearly defined!
 
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you do what you do, paul wheaton.  you've got your reasons.  some folks will agree with you, some won't.  soliciting validation for your arrangement of the forums doesn't strike me as particularly constructive but others might disagree with me.  soliciting general feedback on that arrangement seems potentially more useful if you're open to implementing others' ideas.

that you've created a very active space for constructive discussion ought to have earned you at least a pat on the back.  you should be proud of that accomplishment.

Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
I think the s.h.i.b. circle might also include some from the anarchist groups that are drawn to permaculture.



though I can't speak for that entire crowd, I'll cop to having anarchist tendencies.  for a lot of folks, myself included, it's easy to assume that because we have this one thing in common (permaculture) we're going to have a lot of other things in common (political alignment, social ideas, socioeconomic strata, dietary practices, et cetera).  I think this may stem from being part of marginalized groups.

permaculturists are not taken seriously by Western Culture at large, so when we encounter folks who share that particular interest, it's exciting.  in that excitement, it's tempting to hope and expect that some of the other parts of ourselves that have met with rejection elsewhere might also be embraced.  when this doesn't prove to be the case, it's a bit of a shock.  I think folks can be forgiven for reacting badly to that.

I'm glad this forum exists.  it's an outlet for, and stimulus to, ideas that are important to me but aren't given much value elsewhere.  if I need somebody to tell me I'm not crazy for desiring the end of civilization, I'll look elsewhere.

for the record: I'm not stoned and I'm not a hippie.  I do sleep in my grandmother's basement from time to time.

Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
In my attempts to expand the thinking of non-permie folks, it helps to have permaculture viewed as more of a scientific environmental movement and design system than a radical, fringe activist movement. The former will attract much, much more interested people than the latter.



I think that's really a function of the crowd you run with, Jocelyn.  I know plenty of people who have been completely alienated by the scientific community and pseudo-scientific cranks as well as the mainstream environmental movement.  presenting permaculture as an extension of any of those wouldn't get me much traction.
 
paul wheaton
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Although i sometimes go fishing for validation, this isn't one of those expeditions.    This is an attempt to make folks aware of why their stuff ends up in "meaningless drivel".

 
tel jetson
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fair enough.  since we're enjoying Venn diagrams, how about another?

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Your Venn diagram made me laugh, tel!

tel wrote:
though I can't speak for that entire crowd, I'll cop to having anarchist tendencies.  for a lot of folks, myself included, it's easy to assume that because we have this one thing in common (permaculture) we're going to have a lot of other things in common (political alignment, social ideas, socioeconomic strata, dietary practices, et cetera).  I think this may stem from being part of marginalized groups.



Excellent point. Taking this one step further, I think some marginalized groups develop a sort of "reverse-snobbery" if you will. You know, you're not cool unless you do things my way, because the normal way is "bad!" In my view, that's something to watch for, and keep in check when possible, as were my comments, perhaps, about anarchists! 

tel wrote:
I think that's really a function of the crowd you run with, Jocelyn.  I know plenty of people who have been completely alienated by the scientific community and pseudo-scientific cranks as well as the mainstream environmental movement.  presenting permaculture as an extension of any of those wouldn't get me much traction.



I suppose I've talked in places on here, or at the WA Permaculture Convergences, about working and living in more traditional, suburban or even corporate crowds. That's not who I run with.

I think I'm trying to do what you described over in the Cascadia forum:

tel wrote:
<snip>
that said, we need folks with strong background in more mainstream small-scale agriculture for these positions.  I'm hoping to nudge things toward permaculture over time, but that's a goal, not a starting point.
<snip>



My point about using more main stream or science based methods is also about gradually nudging folks away from the farce of green-washing toward more real, more sustainable choices. Too much radicalism, too soon, would drive most folks away. I really think we're largely in agreement here, which is cool.
 
tel jetson
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
I suppose I've talked in places on here, or at the WA Permaculture Convergences, about working and living in more traditional, suburban or even corporate crowds. That's not who I run with.



let me revise my statement: it's a function of the crowd one runs with.  more accurately, it's a function of the particular person or people being spoken to about permaculture.  I'm a little uncomfortable tailoring the message to fit the person, because that gets a little to close to politicking and marketing for my taste, but there's no arguing with its effectiveness.

Jocelyn Campbell wrote:I really think we're largely in agreement here, which is cool.



I've got to run to a bus without really finishing my thoughts here, but chances are good you're right.
 
                                      
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you do what you do, paul wheaton.  you've got your reasons.  some folks will agree with you, some won't.


yeah, like tel said, you have your ways and intentions, and for how you want to run this forum you do a proper job.

when moving a topic to  more appropriate place mod's of other fora im on usually just implement a modbreak (a smal textbox) in that post, but i dont know if that is easier then starting a new topic.

that being said i do wonder sometimes.

as i liked your 'be nice' guideline so much, the sentence that you would be uncomfortable with anybody here remotely implying that someone else here might be any less that perfect (or something like that), comes to mind sometimes.

because when moving people's posts to that section people will feel uncomfortable, cos of the use of the words 'meaningless drivel', which then takes you (some) explaining to what you mean with moving stuff to that subsection.

with the suggested title ('off topic') for that subsection you'd probably evade all that and a simple post (or modbreak) stating that this kind of discussion is more on its place in the off topic section would be enough.
 
                                  
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Came upon an interesting quote from a discussion of compatible plants and those that repel each other, e.g., black walnuts and a lot else. For the latter, you need an intermediary plant that gets along with both of the others you want to plant.  Then, the repellent plants will thrive even in close proximity (in theory).

"After all, in the absence of tigers, Hindus need Muslims to eat cows; they may also need a Christian businessman in between them to effect the transaction.  The interdependence of the mosaics of belief are called for as much as mosaics of plants.  The stupidity principle may here be stated in a different way:  Stupidity is an attempt to iron out all differences, and not to use or value them creatively."  --  Designer's Manual, p. 80.

Take from that what you will.

 
                              
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Just sayin I like "meaningless drivel"--nice reminder that we often/sometimes/kinda/maybe err on the side of taking ourselves WAY too seriously and need to laugh more.

Also, Paul I think you do a great job keeping things civil, really, best I've seen around! You're the Obi Wan of your board, you can move things around as you see fit.
 
                                  
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paul wheaton wrote:
In the second diagram:  this is what I think most people think of when they hear the world "permaculture.



From what I can glean from secondary sources, one of the reasons the founders attempted (unsuccessfully) to copyright the term 'permaculture,' is that they recognized the difference between perception and reality and the tendency for perception to overtake reality without 'controls.'  What happens is the notion of 'concept stretching,' whereby something starts out meaning one thing and winds up meaning something quite different.  This is usually not as much a process of evolution as one of corruption -- a concept being co-opted by those who seek to use it to promote an agenda or who use it out of ignorance until it becomes a meaningless bromide; a trite cliche.  Consider the concept of "democracy" as a good example.  Countries from Burma to North Korea to Cuba each identify themselves thusly in obvious corruption of the original meaning.  Arguably, even the US distorted it from the original ancient Greek meaning; i.e., the concept becomes unhinged from its meaning.  It becomes a one-size-fits-all fashion term.  Now I haven't seen in this forum anyone using the term 'permaculture' to describe the clear-cutting of tropical rain forest or the like (yet), but I have seen some practices identified as permaculture and not permaculture that sure make me wonder if the poster has any clue about the meaning.  If permaculture can mean anything then it means nothing.  ("If ether is everywhere then it's nowhere," to use the famous philosophical dictum.)  Therefore, as stated in another thread that somehow now is considered "meaningless drivel," I think there should be some recommended readings for people coming into the forum to get their feet wet.  If that's meaningless then I'd sure like to know what you consider meaningful.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:
http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/455_0/permaculture/list-of-best-permaculture-readings



Don't you think it deserves an article or an introduction to the site?  Why bury that (and also this in "meaningless drivel?")  Is it an embarrassment?  Why not a list up front in an introduction to the site along with the other articles?  If you have a counter-view of the subject it might be informative to state it logically.
 
paul wheaton
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So now I'm confused.  You quote something that appears in the permaculture forum and then you talk about meaningless drivel.  Then you talk about burying stuff. 

I don't get it.  What is buried? 
 
Robert Ray
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When waxing philosophically are we talking about basic concepts IE: truth? reality? existence?
Are we talking about the doctrine of permaculture? Two entirely differing tracks/definitions.
I make the argument that if it is everywhere than it is everywhere.
When you referred to Wittgenstein's box I have no way of entirely knowing what one feels/experiences as far as pain, love, truth etc. But I can see what one does with personal successes and failures as far as that type of experience. Both experiences but different definitions.
  To corrupt the premise by attaching the ephemeral philosophy of Wittgenstein's box contents to a working mechanical doctrine to the discussion is in my humble opinion non productive to my reason for being here.
I am of the opinion that ephemeral philosophies of those beetle boxed experiences not known or verifiable belong in meanigless drivel and hands on experiences don't.
 
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bruc33ef wrote:
From what I can glean from secondary sources, one of the reasons the founders attempted (unsuccessfully) to copyright the term 'permaculture,' is that they recognized the difference between perception and reality and the tendency for perception to overtake reality without 'controls.'  What happens is the notion of 'concept stretching,' whereby something starts out meaning one thing and winds up meaning something quite different.  This is usually not as much a process of evolution as one of corruption -- a concept being co-opted by those who seek to use it to promote an agenda or who use it out of ignorance until it becomes a meaningless bromide; a trite cliche.  Consider the concept of "democracy" as a good example.  Countries from Burma to North Korea to Cuba each identify themselves thusly in obvious corruption of the original meaning.  Arguably, even the US distorted it from the original ancient Greek meaning; i.e., the concept becomes unhinged from its meaning.  It becomes a one-size-fits-all fashion term.  Now I haven't seen in this forum anyone using the term 'permaculture' to describe the clear-cutting of tropical rain forest or the like (yet), but I have seen some practices identified as permaculture and not permaculture that sure make me wonder if the poster has any clue about the meaning.  If permaculture can mean anything then it means nothing.  ("If ether is everywhere then it's nowhere," to use the famous philosophical dictum.)  Therefore, as stated in another thread that somehow now is considered "meaningless drivel," I think there should be some recommended readings for people coming into the forum to get their feet wet.  If that's meaningless then I'd sure like to know what you consider meaningful.


Sorry but evolution won't allow us to make Permaculture the end solution.  All our discussion, experimentation and wisdom along with the passing of time will make it better and probably called something different in the future.
 
                                  
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paul wheaton wrote:
So now I'm confused.  You quote something that appears in the permaculture forum and then you talk about meaningless drivel.  Then you talk about burying stuff. 
I don't get it.  What is buried? 



Let's try to clear this up:  This thread concerns tinkering with the site. So, I made a suggestion based on your first post in the thread, which I quoted in part.  In doing so, I referred to the thread about "reading the texts," which started out in the "permaculture" forum under a different title, but which then you moved to "meaningless drivel" forum under the present title.  You then posted a link to a similar thread that it seems has been dormant for awhile.  So there certainly is confusion.  I'm sorry if I exacerbated it.

Anyway, my 'tinkering' suggestion, in order to reduce the confusion for newbies and those who would like a better grounding in permaculture through the literature, is to maybe put a suggested reading list in an article up front on the homepage and/or, maybe, in the form of a link that appears when someone registers at the site.  The remainder of my post was an effort to provide a basis for my suggestion.

Hope that helps.  Would like to hear your response to the idea as an improvement to the site.
 
paul wheaton
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If you click on the thing at the bottom of every page, you will see an interim solution to exactly what you are suggesting.  I intend to beef that out soon.
 
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Thanks for the bump, Leila. I don't remember seeing this before.
From reading the forums it seems like there is a circle missing on the first diagram. Call it WIB -- wingnuts in bunkers with caches of arms and food. I admit I'm more on the hippie side of things, though I don't get mind-altered or live in a basement. I read everybody's posts in the general forums, and I'm glad to have a place where our differences are set aside in favor of discussions of permie things. I mostly skip the meaningless drivel because it might be SHIB or WIB.
Tel is a braver person than I am. I am usually extremely happy in the garden, but I like clothes between me and the mulch.
 
Uh oh, we're definitely being carded. Here, show him this tiny ad:
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