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Posted: February 1st, 2006, 11:42 am
by hugh
just to throw in a little tid-bit here, one of the things I (personally) like about many podcasts is how ... crappy! ... they are. I don't mean the facetiously, I mean that very honestly. I like that people cough and you hear the trucks roll by, and things are messy and badly-produced etc. It is like real life, unlike the polished stuff you get on TV and Radio & movies, which is fantasy.

And this is something I love about LV. It is a bit of a revolutionary act to say: I wish to listen to a book recorded by a bunch of people, only some of whom are good readers! I want to listen to the words, and to the voices of these average joes & janes reading, the same as I remember my mother reading to me as a kid, and the librarian who used to read to us in school. It's a rejection of the need for polish, for perfection, for style; choosing instead the substance of the text, and the reality of a real real flawed person like me doing their best to read something they love.

And I think this notion is not so easy to understand - why would I want to listen to something imperfect? Well, for me, because that perfectiion is a sham, and it's unnecessary and it distracts from the text in a way.

I have a friend here who is a improvisational jazz violinist:

the first time I head him play I thought "what the HELLL is this? It's noise!" But what he's asking you to do is listen to OTHER things, not the melody & harmony and all the easy things we associate with music, but something else, the underpinnings of the sound, the textures of the noises, the surprise, different cadence. And this is tied in with what the world is really like: it is not so ordered, so's very messy and chaotic, but we are trained not to like this aspect of the world, not to like the flaws and imperfection. One reason we are taught to want perfection is that if we don,t like flaws we are easier targets for corporate marketers who sell perfection. Yet there is such beauty in that mess, if you pay attention to it in a different way, there is so much to be learned from chaos and flaws and mistakes. But you have to unlearn how to listen for it.

In the same way, I think (and this is just my personal take) LibriVox is a place that celebrates the flaws, the beauty in chaos, the messiness of life, but interpreted through the great works of literature of the world. we take raw materials and build with our voices something different, but I think something revolutionary, and we say: because it sounds like THAT over there, does not mean it has to sound like that here. We give you something different, and you can give something different too.

Posted: February 1st, 2006, 11:58 am
by Stephan
Voila, you just gave me another idea for a totally different poster, centering on the clean white look, but with the concept of edgyness and dirt and roughness, imperfection.

And your post is a beautifull call for imperfection. I love it. Also another wonderfull train of thought about what librivox is.

Hey, we could be doing a gallery of beautifull posts. I spontanous ?d know some posts that would be in it. Chipdoc, robert and gesine the great harmonizers certainly would be in it. Also hughs and and rev.steves and karas come to mind. (sorry for missing anyone, as said spontaeous). A wonderfull read it would be.
"Revisiting forums"
On second thought: too much padding on our own shoulders. naah.

Posted: February 1st, 2006, 12:22 pm
by Stephan
I wanna throw in that without threads like these, we?d never even get near to get to know each other a small bit. With threads like these at least you have a small chance to get a glimpse at the different characters, we artificially meet online. Still no garantee that the person IS what he is in here, but at least it's something. Else the mental picture would be much much fainter and very likely very wrong.
Its talk, yay, and not just "Hey, i recorded and uploaded chapter X"

(That said, you?d never believe me if i'd tell i am an utterly shy and quiet guy. Compensating here, i admit.)

So thank you all for not having unsubscribed to this.

Posted: February 1st, 2006, 12:42 pm
by Guest
Gesine wrote:As for the nastier things that happen in life, of course you're not responsible, unless you have direct influence over it, or condone it.
I would add, from my own morals, that if I see Something Bad happening, I have an obligation to correct the situation if I can (giving food to a homeless person) or to contact appropriate individuals (call 911 if, God forbid, I come across a lynching).

YMMV of course. :)


Posted: February 1st, 2006, 12:50 pm
by ChipDoc
Stephan wrote:Still no garantee that the person IS what he is in here, but at least it's something.
In my experience, people actually ARE pretty much themselves here online. It's certainly true that there are plenty of folks playing roles out here on the net, but those are generally short-termers rather than long-termers. Stephan, you've got 402 posts in here as I type this; I think we know you pretty well.

I also suspect that you're a lot more "utterly shy and quiet" among people you don't know well, but that among good friends you're pretty much the same person we see here in your posts. I'm a shy and quiet guy myself - but that's the last impression you'd have of me if you met me in real life, since I have long since learned to compensate for it with my speaking voice. We all figure out our own way of getting along in the world.

What we have here in LibriVox is a community of people who are utterly different, but who come together around the project of creating these audiobooks. It's a worthwhile work, and I think it sets this community apart from pretty much every other such community I've ever been associated with. Of course I don't really have all that much experience in communities like this; I've only been doing it since 1972... ;)

Posted: February 1st, 2006, 1:05 pm
by Stephan
*looking at yours* How the hell did you catch up with my post-ratio. :D

I experienced a computer gaming clan for 4-5 years, in form of a forum just like this. It was very similar. It was also an international one, stressed on a mature and polite behaviour (no kiddies) and was just as nice. In such a clan you?ve also got a common goal and you work for it. Beeing at the top of the ladder in this case. You discuss the future and the workings of the clan, you work on the strategies and gameplay, work on headset communication and teamplay, and in the sparetime talk about life the universe and everything. It's sports.

//thats why i miss my forum avatar so badly// :cry:

Posted: February 1st, 2006, 3:33 pm
by hugh
i've noticed that in all these controversial threads that something important gets clarified in the end. It can be a pretty painful process, but there's value in that too - if we didn't all get worked up about these things it would mean we don't care. so what follows is a more sublte and nuanced vision (in my mind anyway) of what LibriVox "is" and how that ought to be articulated better. Of course LibriVox is a moving target necessarily, and different people will have different visions of it. But I still think there's a collective consciousness at work with all of us here, and as we think through and negotiate these things something better comes of it.

also - a "best of librivox posts" would be a cool idea: we could even record them in audio & put them on the net for free!

Posted: February 1st, 2006, 8:18 pm
by RobertG
Today I have been reflecting on Gesine's and Chip's thoughts about community and the role of the individual within it. It's something I have given thought to for many years, well decades even. And I was contrasting my reflection with the sour and pessimistic note of hopelessness in my last posting on this thread.

I operate in the micro and not the macro when it comes to life. My view is that humanity (as a whole) has little if anything to distinguish it as worthwhile or noble. As a species, we are destructive and basically trash up the place we live in. And we're pretty good at wiping out all competition.

The paradox is that this whole thing changes when you come down to the individual level. In other words, I can find nothing good to say about the human race as a whole and I can almost always find something good to say about any individual person.

The closest bonds are (and should be) with family. After this is community. What is community? Well it could be many things. LibriVox is a community of sorts. But my sense of community is where you have physical contact. We have had some good discussions here and I also feel as if I have made a few new friends. But it can never really be a true community to me without being able to look into another's eyes, see their expressions or gain a sense of them by observation and direct interaction.

One of the northwester's here mentioned something about those of us in Washington state getting together sometime in person. And I think that would be a very good thing. Once something like that happened, there would be a real sense of community.

I am involved with a climbing community in the northwest. So there is another example. We are all quite close though we don't always get along. It is like an extended family. The same applies with some of the people I work with. West Seattle, where I live, is a neighborhood in every sense and not a sprawling suburb where people don't know their own neighbors. So I have that type of community sense also. I walk through the neighborhood, greet people I meet along the way, stop and talk, chat with shopkeepers and restaurant owners. We share ideas, hopes and sometimes dreams.

So there are many kinds of communities that we attach ourselves to over time and within these communities are many opportunities for growth and understanding.

As the ripples of interaction extend outward, these opportunities and this level of interaction become diluted and eventually disappear. Community boundaries I think are mostly very local. Beyond them, you simply have the State. The State is not community and (often, very often) is antagonistic to community.

And that is where I begin to lose interest. There is no solution to that difficulty. You are now simply caught up in a numbers game.

Just a few reflections on a dreary Wednesday winter's eve.


Posted: February 2nd, 2006, 1:01 am
by hugh
when I reflect on my experience with librivox over the past 6 months, i can say for certain that i have made many more firends here - who I would trust with whatever one calls an important trust - than i have in the same time period outside of LV. that,s not to discount the value of flesh&blood friendships - but certainly my experience here has been a quite extraordinatry quantity of solid friendships. and i think the reason is that we are not just hanging out in the forum, but we are DOING something, and the people I would would consider the closest are the people who I have collaborated with on particular projects here at librivox.

there is something interesting in that: while niceness & politeness etc are all very good and well, the thing that helps me -- over the internet, with no physical knowledge of a person -- trust a person is that they DO something of relevance to me: And that,s an interesting thing about online life for me, that everything melts down to the importance of delivering, whateverb it may be, because there is nothing else to judge on except the typed words, and that deeds themselves...

Posted: February 2nd, 2006, 3:32 am
by ChipDoc
Amen to that, hugh! Though I have participated in many internet forums over the years, the few which stand out are those in which the participants gathered in order to collaborate on some piece of work. I have quickly learned to trust those upon whose work my own work depends - and this has given my own efforts an impetus, since I know that others are depending on the work that I do.

The mutual trust and mutual disappointments (we're all going to fail occasionally) are what really build the community.

Posted: February 2nd, 2006, 7:42 am
by RobertG

You are right, of course-- working together does foster a sense of community, too. And I have to admit that there is something about LibriVox that gives me a sense of belonging and contributing. These are important feelings to have.

In most forums, community connections are strictly formed through the ability to effectively communicate through writing who we are. It is also a growing phenomena to communicate who we are through visual pictures (the avatars that Stephan has keenly missed). The avatar then reflects who we are or who we wish to be.

One of the unique things about LibriVox is that we also get to know each other through our readings. Hearing a voice helps form the bonds, too. All that is lacking is the intimacy of looking into someone's eyes when we speak.

I guess I am fairly well grounded in the physical. If I weren't, I wouldn't still be climbing mountains in my fifties. I crave that and often strike up relations with people that I have only just met, thrusting aside the long introduction in favor of cutting to the chase.

It is probably why I reveal so much of myself here on this board.

Well, got to go-- other work is calling me from afar.

Posted: February 2nd, 2006, 10:35 am
by Stephan
robert wrote:It is probably why I reveal so much of myself here on this board.
i think internet generally makes you reveal more about yourself:
first there's the safety of anonymity
secondly you?d fear to be misunderstood, because so much is missing.

resulting in, i think, so many people getting addicted to chatting. feeling so close to someone so fast, you don?t get that in reallife. feels like faster friendship, because in reallife its way harder to have that same closeness to somebody.
there are safety mechanism in reallife and they are missing in the internet. A space of 2 square meters around yourself is your zone - armslength. There are other safety mechanisms in time, in emotions and in behaviour i guess which we have develloped for reality but not for virtuality.

Christane Zschirnt compared civilisation with entering a lift. You step into a lift full of people then there is civilisation. A delicate behavioral protocol starts running, like an algorithm. Where you look, where you find your place, how people shove and move, where you rest your hands, is all hardwired into our brains.
We don?t have such delicatly develloped protocol for beeing in the internet yet. It's still too new for us.
What you say, when you say it, how you say it in the internet, takes a lot advanced civilisation and some are further than others.
I am behind, for instance. :lol:

Posted: February 2nd, 2006, 1:39 pm
by RobertG
Stephan wrote:i think internet generally makes you reveal more about yourself:
first there's the safety of anonymity
secondly you?d fear to be misunderstood, because so much is missing.
I think it's a matter of degree. Take the painfully shy person for instance. Thrust them into that crowded elevator and they will move to the back or a corner and stare at their toes or watch the floor numbers ticking off. But stick them in an IRC room and they become the life of the party.

Many times I have stepped into an elevator full of strangers and struck up a meaningful conversation with someone I didn't know (meaningful = something other than the weather). Reactions vary. I'm 6'-4" tall and have a very direct look about me. I haven't been shy since puberty. Sometimes people retreat. But I smile and pull them back in with a variety of conversational techniques.

But when I go wandering on the Internet, I tend to hold back. If there is no chance of personal engagement, I don't want to delve too deeply. Ten years ago, I met the great love of my life in a chat room on the Internet. I was in Seattle and she was in Detroit. We connected very strongly through our common skill in writing and especially emotional expression.

I physically met her about 3 months after this all began. It is extremely disconcerting to build a relationship in this reverse fashion. Typically, we are attracted to mates by physical response and visual cue. Later on, we find that we have nothing intellectually in common! :D

After an initial couple of stutter-steps, we connected also on a deeply physical level. But the emotional connections were not the same in reality as they had been through email or chat. We burned brightly for five years and then died.

Since then, I tend to be skeptical of ethereal relationships. On the other hand, I do reveal personal things about myself on my own web site and I have also done it here, including this post.

That is not because I am somehow changing my view of things. For my own web site, I have complete control of content. But for LibriVox, I have been coming to trust and need the interaction here. That also is part of developing a sense of community.



Posted: February 2nd, 2006, 2:20 pm
by DSayers
[see title of message above] ... in computer-mediated cross-cultural collaborations.

Credentials: In 1985, about a decade before the Internet even became widely available to the public and eventually appeared in schools, I and several colleagues helped start a collaboration among teachers and their classes in a dozen countries (we called it ORILLAS which in Spanish means "Shores" and by extension "Frontiers") using desktop computer-based bulletin boards. These BBS's dialed telephone calls one to another -in the middle of the night- passing messages in the middle of the night so that students could experience what it's like to build knowledge across cultures.

You should have seen our collective phone bills ... yikes! We swallowed the debts and ambitiously called that effort a "global learning network" ... but quickly (!?!) moved to the Internet when there finally was one!

Amazingly, there's a book we titled "Brave New Schools" that remains available and chronicles this still-surviving effort.

My point: 21 years later and a dozen more countries' schools in the mix, I believe it's been WELL worth the intercultural struggle that it took to make it happen.

I think I can say from experience that any effort at cross-cultural communication, of necessity and by definition, involves conflict and struggle before reaching its full potential (this is well-documented in academic research).

I think that LibriVox is a project that will also expand the horizons of international collaboration, and that is why I spend an hour everyday (since discovering it recording for listeners --and fellow recorders-- I'll never, EVER get to meet) mustering as much of my histrionic nature as I can to make the words of important authors like Daniel Defoe come to LIFE.

I enjoyed feeling welcomed into this community of literature lovers who helped to get me going. And I am definitely going ...

The slightly uneasy part but equally important -since grace and elegance tag along after honesty and frankness- is that we could all learn a great deal as we raise cross-cultural issues.


Posted: February 2nd, 2006, 3:16 pm
by Stephan
So lets get physical! :P

No, really if any of you librivoxers needs a stay in the german area of cologne/duesseldorf for some days - Just say hello. We can clear either my or my girlfriends work-room for you to sleep in - no biggie. You?d be very welcome, i'd take care of you. If you?d have time, we could record a chapter, do a small hike in the hillsides (beautifull forresty hills! they call it mountains here in germany, you?d laugh), and off you go to wherever you were traveling.

Did i say i met a huge part of my old clan? It was GREAT FUN! Two of them i visited on a 3 day bike ride to the neighboring country belgium. Boy, did they make eyes. We partyd and mountain-biked in the ardennes. (yep, those ardennes). On another occasion they came over and we drove to a 3 day music festival in germany. Found us a charming hidden lake nobody of the other festivale crowd knew of - Unforgetable sunshiny barbeque day. Missed half of that days concerts. :lol: