Sunday, July 01, 2007

June 2007 - A Good Month for Conversations

I also love reading the stuff written by others whom I consider to be friends-via-the-blogosphere. I don’t know how they came across my blog, but I’m glad that they did. Sometimes I think it was through comments that I put on other people’s blogs. When people comment here, and I generally follow them back to their blog, and that’s how the network builds up. Anyway, guys, I’m glad that you got here, and I’m glad that I got to know you
This quote comes from a rather nice post by Legal Eagle on the reasons why she began blogging. My congratulations on her appointment to Club Troppo’s editorial committee for their missing link segment.

My congratulations also to Thomas on climbing up towards the 700 visitor mark over June. Well deserved.
While I do not have final traffic figures for June yet, it seems clear that the total number of visitors to this blog will be down from the month before. On the other hand, the number of return visitors is well up, while June has been a good month for conversations with 54 comments including my responses.

I thought therefore that I might report on the comments and in so doing thank those who participated.
Bank in April, I wrote an introductory post on Australia’s water wars. This drew a response from anon, in fact I think Judith M. Melville from the A Clarence River Protest blog challenging some of my thinking in regard to the linkages within New England. This led to a discussion in part on the question of regional identity.

On 24 May I carried a post about blogging and the sense of community which led Marcel Proust in early June to slip me via a comment a link about the court case involving the Hinton Collection, something that it still on my list to write about.

On 6 June, I wrote a story expressing surprise at the involvement, inappropriate I thought, of ICAC in investigating the risks of cheating in the NSW Higher School Certificate. This drew supporting comments from Neil (ninglun) and Marcel.

On 11 June, my post on Prisoners and the Right to vote drew supporting comments from Neil (ninglun) and from Stephen Clark. I had not had contact with Stephen before, so welcome and my thanks. Lexcen, on the other hand, took the counter view, arguing that it was appropriate that prisoners should have their voting rights limited.

My 13 June post, a Chat with Friends, drew supporting comments from Neil (ninglun) and Lexcen,, while my follow up post A Chat with Friends 2 drew a very nice comment from Adrian. Marcel Proust took the opportunity to ask about the story I had yet to write on the Hinton Collection case.

On 15 June in Drat you Neil, I feel obliged to respond, I allowed myself to be dragged into a meme started by Kanani on ten obscure or little known facts about myself. Neil (ninglun) and Thomas responded, linking back to a discussion we had had about blog layouts. Kananii, too, joined in, wanting to know more about poker machines and India.

In my post of 17 June, Talk Among Yourselves – a note, I made the mistake of suggesting that while I was working on another project, I would post some short gossip posts. This led David Anderson to comment "gossip, juicy gossip, dirty gossip... I will be interested to see how this develops considering the international nature of our readership."

I fear I have let David down. I have neither completed the project nor provided gossip, juicy gossip, all swept away by Mr Howard and Mr Brough.

My post of 21 June on NSW HSC and Kitchen Conversations, the last before the deluge broke, drew a long and very thoughtful response from Thomas on his experiences with the HSC, one that he has agreed that I can run as a full guest post on this blog.

On 22 June Mr Howard and Mr Brough made their dramatic announcement on Commonwealth Government intervention in Northern territory Aboriginal Affairs. I commented on this first in my post of 23 June, Mr Howard, Mr Brough and Australia’s Aborigines -1

Tiwidownlands responded with several very helpful comments pointing to some of the complexities involved, These were welcomed by both Neil (ninglun) and myself, with Neil later posting a long extract. In responding, I got a bit into lecturing mode. To compensate, and because I believe that it is very much worthy of support, I am going to do a full post on the Tiwi Downlands project. Who knows, some other members of our blogging community may be willing to help.

This first post also brought a rather nice compliment from Will Owen of Aboriginal Art and Culture: an American Eye. As I have already said, I had not seen this high class blog before. All those interested in Aboriginal art and culture will find it fascinating indeed.

My post of 24 June, Mr Howard, Mr Brough and Australia’s Aborigines -2, brought a compliment from Legal Eagle as well as comment from Daniel. It also brought a very good long comment from Jane. I cannot give a link here because although Jane is obviously a blogger, I cannot trace her back because her profile is private.

The Howard/Brough stories were picked up by Jonathan at Family Life who asked people to read the comments as well. This got me thinking.

How do I encourage/reward people who take the time to really comment?

I really value the comments even when, as sometimes happens, I do not agree. Some of my blogging friends have very different views from mine.

I need to find some way of featuring thoughtful comments. Perhaps the answer is to run them as special posts as I propose to do with Thomas's HSC comments.


Hey, who says blogging isn't fun!

Earlier in this post I referred to Jane's comment, saying that I could not give a link. In return, Jane said "Who could resist outing themselves after such a compliment?" Jane, or Jane Simpson to give her her full title if I interpret the site correctly, is one of the bloggers on an academic blog, Transient Life & Cultures. Jane is, to quote from her bio:
I teach linguistics in the Linguistics Department, and work on the Australian languages Warumungu and Kaurna. I'm also a long-term fan of the documenting and archiving work of PARADISEC and the Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity.
No wonder she seemed to know what she was talking about! I felt as pleased as punch since this fills in another gap, the linguistic one.

To explain for Jane's sake.

Perhaps the best overview of all the posts I have written on the Australian Aborigines is here, although the post is written from a New England perspective. Just because I have tried to be careful in my writing on indigenous issues does not mean that I do not have my own perspective. It's a bit different, though, from much commentary because it combines my regional biases with my public policy experience.

We have discussed across blogs in this small community of ours the role that blogging plays in forming opinions. This normally does not come from immediate impact, although the role of blogs in circulating information and opinions should not be underestimated. Rather, it comes from the exchange of views over time among people with many different skills, values and ideas, forming and circulating views that then percolate.

Jane fills a gap. So welcome, and do continue to contribute!


Jane said...

Who could resist outing themselves after such a compliment? I am one of the Transient Languages and Cultures bloggers. I didn't intend to be anonymous - somehow I stuffed up the identity choice...

Jim Belshaw said...

Hi Jane and thanks. I have added a postscript to the original post. Jim

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jim, for your lovely comments. Of course, I consider you one of my blog-pals! And I really like reading your stuff, always interesting, thoughtful and compassionate.


Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks LE. I think that positive feedback is both nice and important because it keeps us motivated to maintain the conversations.