Are You Interested in Why I'm a Lurker on The Hive?

I am a lurker. I started reading TPM when Tom Delay was redistricting Texas (again) and found Josh to be the best if not only source of information as things were unfolding. I used to post and comment regularly with the old iteration of TPM Cafe. Life happens. For a while I couldn't be as actively involved. Once I returned to more regular reading, I found enough change that I couldn't find a place to fit in as before. I finally joined The Hive to get rid of the ads (and because I now had the money to support Josh).

So I've been around for a while. These days I give a few likes, but rarely comment. Why? I used to find TPM to be a place with a decent quality of discussion, little adversarial argument, and frequent bits of sound analysis or new information in the comments. Now I am uncomfortable with the discussions. I particularly don't care for the name calling. I myself cannot bear to use the words "president" and "trump" as a phrase, but I feel that with him and with any other person or group that we label in a derogatory manner, we are dehumanizing them, making them objects of hate or disgust. I don't find that a productive way to approach solutions. Frankly, once the name calling starts--whether the object is George Bush, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or anyone else--I stop reading the comments.

Thanks for asking.


So we should "flat line" our comments? Show no emotion on matters we care about? Pay more attention to how our expressiveness might be received than expressing ourselves?

No one here is trying to crowd out others, my experience of over ten years is that all thoughts are welcome, aside from trolling.

I guess I'm not getting the point of your kumbaya.


Yes, I'm interested. And curious how others experience this process. I've been through several phases in The Hive. At first, I joined to support TPM overall. I wandered into The Hive a few times but mainly stuck with Marshall. That's my bread and butter at TPM. I feel like I get a lot out of reading the main page, or I wouldn't be a member.

In any case, my most active phase in The Hive was last spring. Got caught up in the campaigns and started posting. But I always end up wandering off. It's a matter of finding the right balance. There have been times when I know I hung out here as a way to procrastinate other things I should have been working on.

Lately, I've been checking in when I have the time and energy. If a thread looks promising, I open it. And I only comment if I'm in the mood.

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I'm taking jabbot's point to be an invitation.....rather than a wholesale guide on posting ....

And, if so, I agree --- It would be nice to hear more from members who's motivation behind not taking part is because they are ' shy ' ---
However ....

Other reasons quite possibly exist for some to choose to limit their posting .... and as far as that is concerned ... it needs also to be respected .... The individual alone knows what type of participation works best for them ....

Thanks for the post @jabbot --- (and the invite ! )


Well, most of us aren’t even in the same league as someone like @doremus_jessup, who has over 26,000 likes. But that usually happens by being one of the witty and sharp-tongued posters on the public boards. I don’t even lurk out there anymore... you folks behind the paywall give me all the mental work-out I can handle these days.



POSTS .....not likes ....

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Ah, I’ll blame that on @whiteboar who threw me off the scent. :wink:


Maybe it doesn't make any sense, @sooner. I've been known to say things on rare occasions that are only about half right at best. :confused:

This topic is about lurking versus participating actively. I was responding to a comment by @salbls, to the effect that it can be daunting to jump into a conversation with people who are as knowledgeable (and passionate, I will add) as so many Hive members are. S/he used the word "intimidating."

All I'm saying is that maybe it's possible for us to pause from time to time in the course of our mounting arguments, citing statistics, adducing historical parallels etc., and take a moment to (1) grant the possible validity of another point of view, (2) join another commenter in thinking through the implications of his or her opinion, (3) ask a follow-up question that invites further dialogue, (4) offer encouragement when someone has obviously taken an emotional stand on an issue of apparent significance to him or her, (5) praise a well-crafted comment or especially insightful point, (6) acknowledge another commenter's success in (partly) changing our own opinions, and (7) honestly examine our own tone and choice of words, always asking ourselves whether we can do an even better job of keeping debate vigorous and productive, but not so "adversarial," as @cwr puts it, that otherwise interested, well-meaning, well-informed people are deterred from actively participating.

The Hive has certainly conversed about this topic before. For all organizations, in my view, it can be worthwhile to revisit from time to time the unwritten rules and prevailing ethos.

As I tried to indicate in my original post, I have been greatly enjoying my experience here on The Hive. Moreover, I recognize that those handful of you who have been here for many, many years have a feeling of pride and even ownership over what happens here. It's a great place — so great that it's worth sharing and being shared by as many people as it can reach.

After all, "kum ba yah" just means, "Come by here."


If anyone is lurking, and has something to say about my (often rambling, partially incomprehensible) posts, please say! Even if you disagree, I have no worries about being dog piled. I like dog piles ...

Especially when they look like this (the cutest one I saw on pinterest, not mine, image watermarked!).


I agree. Ive been a TPM reader since Josh first started the blog in 2000, but It seems that those of us who are infrequent posters can't make our voices heard very easily. It's difficult to break into a conversation if you are not known to the group.


Starting a thread is a fine introduction. Not all topics succeed (most of mine die young), but there is no risk, only reward. Be welcome, thanks for joining.


Is it something that people say, or a general attitude that makes you feel unwelcome or uninvited? How have you experienced this kind of difficulty?

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It is true that familiarity with people makes access easier. When you know the personalities and have history with them half the work is already done; you have a fair idea of where they are coming from and don't have to mutually re-invent the wheel every time. But we are all here to build relationships, no?

My experience with the growing membership is that if I have not bitten within the first day, in some cases the first hour, there is so much to read that I don't bother and go elsewhere. It is very difficult to join a conversation when a dozen people have already posted 30 times.


It is the sense of familiarity demonstrated by the responses. Just like a greeting between sisters is different than between strangers.

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Not difficult, just time consuming because of the catch-up. But if you have not commented or even read the posts yet even though you have seen the thread before, you probably are not interested in the subject anyway.

For some of us, difficult and time-consuming can mean the same thing.

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Thanks for participating in this thread. I've just started a new topic on favorite political films and books. I hope you'll consider posting a comment there!


I'm late to the topic but it gives me a chance to comment. In the past I've contributed, started topics (134 the counter says) and generally been more active. Over the past year or so two things in particular have changed my entire MO. I moved from NJ to MN (not news to many of you). More important recently has been two trips back to be with my mom. In November I was away for a month and in March I was away for two weeks. During those total six weeks I was without internet access unless I drove a mile or so to the public library.

After I've been away from the internet and particularly TPM I find it very difficult to return to commenting. I recognize plenty of Primates and notice a few new ones. But the topics have generally moved on and some (Russians everywhere) are difficult to grasp to the point of my being unable to do much more than learn from others. I'm taking the long way round to explaining both why I'm not as active while also suggesting why lurking is sometimes necessary. Time limitations and current topics combine in difficult ways.

The Hive is now quite large and others are carrying the topics. I'm learning a great deal and hope to find ways to contribute again beyond "liking" posts or putting up something from Twitter.


Hell, I was gone just 3 days or a week and I felt left behind. What I do is watch the "new" threads and jump on the ones that look interesting. It is futile to try and follow all the active threads after being gone for even a few days.



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