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A suggestions and an offer 
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The Pope of Literature


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Post A suggestions and an offer
First, the offer. I pushed to get this book considered, so I'll volunteer to serve as discussion leader. If anyone else would like to help out, I'll be glad to share the responsibility.

Second, the suggestion. There were some complaints with the last book that the chapter threads ended up being so long that people hesitated to log teir own thoughts there. So rather than have threads for each chapter, or for clusters of chapters, how about we let this discussion be a little more free-form. People can start threads on any topic they come across in the book. That may allow us to specialize a little more, and with less to say about each individual thread, the threads themselves will hopefully be less daunting. Does that sound reasonable?




Sun Jun 25, 2006 5:01 pm
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Post Re: A suggestions and an offer
I second the suggestion. I think it is a good idea.


Mr. P.




The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"

I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper




Sun Jun 25, 2006 9:47 pm
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Post Re: A suggestions and an offer
Actually, I liked the discussion topics grouped by chapter. My SOP was to read the relevant chapter(s), read the postings on that portion of the book, and write my own opinions while they were still fresh in my mind.

The long discussions generally arose because people started talking about tangential issues. We could start separate discussions about those issues, while keeping the per-chapter discussions.

Anyway, since I don't plan to reread Peace, it's fine with me if you we follow Mad's suggestion here. After all, Mad was gracious enough to volunteer to moderate, and that gives him the privilege to choose the ground rules.




Mon Jun 26, 2006 12:38 am
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Post Re: A suggestions and an offer
considering there are 61 chapters and the 12 "parts" might be too over broad for discussion threads, i think this is a really good idea. perhaps we should try it once to see how it works? the chapter thing works well when a book is broken down nicely into seven consice chapters, but this book would not fit well into that format. with this many pages, it might benefit the discussion to address topics without reference to chapters as i am sure this reading is going to spread out a long time based on different reading rates.

thank you for the volunteer on the discussion leader.




Mon Jun 26, 2006 6:16 am
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Post Re: A Different Format for Postings
Sounds like a good idea, considering the number of chapters on this book. Otherwise, discussions started by chapter could be retained, and as soon as a tangent discussion is detected, a new thead could branch out as a subheading to that chapter. In effect, you click on chaper discussion, and a list of topics or discussions under that chaper pop up. So rather than a long string of conversation on one chapter, you get instead a subgroup of 10 or more discussions going under that one chapter as people diverge on their inquiries.

What do ya think?

Monty Vonn




Mon Jun 26, 2006 10:09 am
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Post Re: A Different Format for Postings
Since it is sectioned into 'parts', why not format our discussion that way? The chapters themselves (at least in the beginning) are rather short, but they are grouped by theme/history...and discussion topics?

But Mad, I trust you. :)

"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."

Loricat's Book Nook
Celebrating the Absurd




Mon Jun 26, 2006 11:22 am
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Post Re: A Different Format for Postings
Well, if it's left totally up to me, I plan on leaving it totally up to everyone else. So if you want to comment on everything in a particular section, then I have no objection to your starting a thread about that section.

Having looked over the last few quarterly discussions, though, I've seen (and contributed) to two trends. One trend, particularly in the "Virtue and Value" discussion, was commenting on everything in a given section at once, which leads to long posts, with long replies. That puts us in a situation that several people have complained about, and I can totally understand how it might be daunting to someone to drop into a thread and see even three or four really long posts. And at the same time, I can see not wanting to really get involved in a thread that covers 50-100 pages without first reading all of those pages -- you don't want to reply to comments about a section until you've read that section yourself. So it's fairly natural to want to comment on everything in a section at once. One solution would be to deal with smaller sections, and we could certainly do that here, but having 60-something pre-made threads is likely to lead to chaos. So I think the simplest solution is to just let the units be determined by our interest. If I have comment about an entire chapter, I can certainly start a thread about that chapter. If I have a comment about a single passage within a much larger chapter, then the fact that I've found something of interest there is an indication that others might be attracted to the same topic.

The other trend, more common in "The End of Faith" discussion, was that we diverged pretty quickly from the content of the chapter itself and veered off on tangents that we found more interesting. Which is great, but when a person is catching up with the rest of the group and they scan the end of a 4-page thread to see what the comments are like, they may find themselves wondering what the hell our discussion had to do with what they read. Those kind of tangents are inevitable, and best handled if we're encouraged to start new threads as we please. And I think the really flexible treatment that I'm suggesting is more likely to encourage that; having pre-made threads seems to suggest coloring within the lines, even when we're coloring in incongruent shapes.

If we go that route, though, I do think it would be courteous to everyone else if each person that started a thread began the first post with a tiny note pointing out what passage in the book inspired the thread. For instance, I might start a thread with a question about Saudi Arabia, and preface that question with something like, "Chapter 16 got me thinking..." That kind of thing would make it easier for people to know whether or not the thread they're reading is likely to pertain to anything they've read in the book so far, or whether they should hold off until later. And we should be careful to give the threads titles that indicate their content; a title like "British policy in the Middle East" will be easier to size up then a title like "What a bunch of crap!" I'm not suggesting any kind of rules, but considerations like these ought to make the discussion simpler to follow.




Mon Jun 26, 2006 6:49 pm
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Post Re: A Different Format for Postings
i suspect mad's proposal may actually increase the post count as well. the more i think about it, the more i really like the idea.




Tue Jun 27, 2006 5:23 am
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Post Re: A Different Format for Postings
I've read this thread in its entirety and think Mad has a great system in mind. If we can get people to follow his lead then we're bound to have an incredible discussion.

Mad, thank you for volunteering as discussion leader for "A Peace to End All Peace." In the next day or so I'll edit the forum descriptions so that we see an image of the book and author and then a note about you being the discussion leader.

This is a big book folks, so attempting to restrict discussions into chapter threads is never going to work. None of us will be posting enough to support such a system. With 60 chapters who here will participate in all or even most of those chapter threads? I agree with you all and think this book needs to flow in whatever direction the conversation wants to flow. No reason to force it this way or that.

Mad, I think we really want people to read your above ground rules post, but most will never do so if they exist within this long thread. How about you put together a relatively brief post about how this book discussion will be conducted and how each participant should title and structure their posts. I'll add a note so that every member sees that you re indeed the discussion leader and that I'm endorsing the plan. Then that thread will be stuck up top as a sticky thread.

Most important, in my opinion, is that participants create descriptive thread titles. We need to be able to look at the subject of a thread and determine what it is about BEFORE clicking and reading a few posts. So people need to attempt to word their subject lines properly.

Mad, I'll help in any way I can so run with this. I have already contacted David Fromkin's assistant and will try to set up an author interview.




Tue Jun 27, 2006 11:10 am
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Post Re: A Different Format for Postings
Hello All. I just registered, and this looks like as good a place as any for my first post.

I bought Fromkin's A Peace to End All Peace yesterday and started reading it. Looks like a good book for a discussion. I'm looking forward to it.

Edited by: J Seabolt at: 6/27/06 11:14 pm



Tue Jun 27, 2006 9:55 pm
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Post Re: A Different Format for Postings
I started the book and read the intro. So far I am interested by Fromkins style and care in explaining his plan...if he continues this careful and responsible way of explanation, we should get alot out of this book!

Welcome J Seabolt!

Mr. P.




The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"

I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper




Tue Jun 27, 2006 10:46 pm
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