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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
The "Favourite Chapters" project


Feb 24, 3:17pm

Post #1 of 6 (750 views)
The "Favourite Chapters" project Can't Post

We don't have a Favourite Chapters discussion this week, nor one scheduled for any future week. Since I've invited people ad nauseum to put themselves on the schedule if they want to, most likely this means that everyone who wants a turn has now had one. That in turn would mean that the project is finished.

Three cheers for all the contributors! I think you (we) should be congratulated on an excellent series of discussions. Doing the chapters out of order also felt different to the read-throughs we've done in the past - it seemed to allow new links and themes to emerge. Perhaps the format is worth doing again some time.

On the other hand, one of the things I hoped to encourage was wider participation beyond the stalwarts who contribute regularly anyway, and the project hasn't been successful at that. This in turn explains it's relatively short life -- we have achieved 11 weeks, compared with maybe roughly 100 (?) chapters of {LOTR+Hobbit+Sil} to chose from. Some of the maybe 90% left is quite good, I would have thought Smile.

I don't know whether there is some other sort of project that would excite a wider range of people, and therefore be able to carry on for longer, or be more fun or whatever. When asked why they don't post to the board, people tend to reply most often in three ways: that they don't feel they have anything to say, or time to say it in, or they worry that they won't like the response to what they post. But it's a small 'data sample'. When I asked in preliminary discussions before starting 'Favourite Chapters' what the board wanted or might be willing to contribute to, I got few answers. So I've found it hard to get a very coherent picture of what (if anything) might have worked better.

I see that many of the project threads attracted a lot of 'views'. That's a statistic that could mean almost anything - enthusiastic lurkers reading everything avidly; frustrated lurkers dipping in repeatedly in the vain hope that somebody will finally post something interesting; robots indexing the site; robots or people or looking for places to promote some internet enterprise they are up to; "psychic spies from China trying to steal you mind's elation", etc. etc.. Anyway it's a bit moot from the project's point of view -- 'views' don't help keep the discussions going: posts and replies are needed if that is to happen. If nobody writes anything, there's nothing for lurkers to read, robots to index (or try and attach clickbait to), and no elation for psychic spies to steal.

Of course whether such projects as 'Favourite Chapters' matter at all is also something that we might not all agree about. We've usually had a project going on in the time I've been here (since January 2013, anyway) and I've enjoyed them. It's also my hunch is that they keep people visiting regularly, which is good for sustaining other, one-off discussions or questions. But that might not be right, and anyway no matter how right it might be, we can't run such projects if too few people get involved to sustain them.

In any case, after seven years of contributing to and organizing such projects, I plan to take a sabbatical. I don't plan to vanish completely or permanently - "Look out for me, especially at unlikely times!" But I'm not minded to organize anything new now. If anyone else wishes to do that or to take over the Favourite Chapters project and run it under new management, then they have my blessing.

Could I leave as an Admins matter when it would be best to 'un-sticky' the project's schedule thread, so that it casts off and flows away Boromir-like down the river of Reading Room history?

"Yes, I am half-elven. No, it does not mean that I 'have one pointy ear' "
Sven Elven, proprietor of the Rivendell convenience store.


Feb 24, 3:26pm

Post #2 of 6 (721 views)
Let's make it an even dozen [In reply to] Can't Post

Sorry for the short notice, but it took me a while to decide on a favorite chapter.

Hêlâ Auriwandil, angilô berhtost,
oƀar Middangard mannum gisandid!


Feb 24, 4:36pm

Post #3 of 6 (708 views)
Thanks for organizing this project, Wiz [In reply to] Can't Post

I believe the Reading Room has always owed its existence to the films, and with both LOTR and TH trilogies passing down the Anduin like Boromir, I think we'll have to wait for the Amazon Middle-earth project to attract participants--bringing back past TORN members as well as attracting new ones. An entire world fandom built up around the TV series Game of Thrones, and if Amazon mimics that phenomenon, they could create a Second Age of Tolkien fandom. So I am in wait & see mode.

uncle Iorlas

Mar 1, 5:30am

Post #4 of 6 (482 views)
no elation for psychic spies to steal [In reply to] Can't Post

I've enjoyed the random-access structure of these discussions and the serendipitous connections it sometimes affords, so many thanks for making it happen. I personally don't worry too much about some ebb and flow in the board's overall activity, and anyway my own availability is certainly subject to some vicissitudes. That said, I'm also not too proud to exhume old posts of themes at times, and I haven't ruled out coming back round to do another chapter at some point, since I most certainly have more than one favorite. I can't induce any less prolific posters to do so, alas.

All in all I'd call it a solid success.


Mar 18, 2:55am

Post #5 of 6 (120 views)
Still time for another chapter? [In reply to] Can't Post

So if there's still time for me to sneak in, I'd love to do "Shelob's Lair". I did it for a read-thru, and since then it's really become one of my favorites. I'd be ready to give it a go on March 23rd...


Mar 18, 2:37pm

Post #6 of 6 (105 views)
That would be great - go right ahead [In reply to] Can't Post

If you'd put yourself on the schedule please, then you're officially taking a turn. Not that there is anything at all 'official' about this project really - I'd be delighted for it to be a sort of constructive anarchy in which people do a chapter when they feel they can.

"Yes, I am half-elven. No, it does not mean that I 'have one pointy ear' "
Sven Elven, proprietor of the Rivendell convenience store.


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