A format for discussion (PLEASE READ!)
Okay, kids, I've got my copy of "A Peace to End All Peace", and I hope you have yours in hand or on order already. It looks like a great, informative read, so I'm hoping that the discussion will be likewise.
I'll be serving as discussion leader for this book, which really just means that I'll be cheerleading the conversation when it starts to flag. But I've made a suggestion about the format of the forum, and Chris has okay'd it, so I thought I run through the plan with you here.
Previous quarterly discussions at BookTalk have been organized around the structure of the book in question. Typically, there would be a pre-made thread for each chapter or, when there were too many chapters to make that practical, for clusters of chapters.
For "A Peace to End All Peace", we're planning on being a little more free-form with the structure of conversation. There will be no pre-made threads; it's up to the readers to come up with their own threads.
For this to work, it's best if we all follow a few guidelines. These aren't rules, and you won't be penalized for ignoring them, but in as much as we all want to have a great discussion, I hope that everyone will at least consider the following guidelines when they make their posts.
1) Make the post titles descriptive. The idea is to let others know what the thread is about before they open the post. Since we'll all be reading at our own paces, this will make it easier for people to decide when they're ready to address a particular post, and it will hopefully keep us from having a lot of threads that are essentially about the same topic.
2) Make a note of what part of the book you're discussing. This should be somewhere near the beginning of the thread so that people reading your post will know whether or not you're discussing a passage they've already read. The chapter number should be specific enough, but you can also use the page number if you want to draw attention to specific passages.
3) Move tangents to new threads. That is, if you really start to veer away from the topic of a given thread, put that digression in a new thread so that it doesn't distract from the original topic.
These are pretty basic guidelines, but I think they'll help out discussion in the long term. Otherwise, have fun with it!