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Troy

Why is discussion board participation down?

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raised an issue about the reduction in participation on the AALBC.com discussion boards in recent years, suggesting that Facebook and social media was the cause.

I have not taken the time to quantify the reduction, but anyone who has been observing our boards in recent years knows participation is lower. The life of a discussion board is a direct function of the level and quality of the conversation so this is an issue that I care about and since AALBC.com is a one man operation I typically have not had enough time to really delve in the causes and take more aggressive action reverse the trend. Over the last 15 years I've collected data on how the site is used as well as anecdotal information from people I've talked to over the years. If I had the time I would create a survey and collection information on user experience in a more meaningful way, host some focus groups, etc. Until that time comes please feel free to share you thoughts.

In the meantime here is what I know:

  1. Participation dropped significantly after the discussion board software was updated in January of 2010.
    For technical reason I had to migrate to more robust software. The old board was prone to crashing and getting rid was spam was very time consuming. This board gets spammed too but it is easier to prevent and get rid of (spammers are very persistent and clever). Many users simply did not migrate over to the new platform. Maybe the learning curve was too high.

  2. Google Search adversely impacted web traffic
    This is a major issue not only effecting these discussion boards but independent websites in general.
    In the old days a query on an author's name would turn up an AALBC.com page on the 1st page. Today I'm doing good if I'm on the second page. Google will now return 10 Amazon pages for an author before retuning an AALBC.com page. Increasingly, Google is even displaying their own content -- eliminating the need for visitors to even visit the underlying websites. Google will also return all the social media sites before independent websites. When I Google my own name Troy Johnson (see my results in the image below) my Facebook page (#2), LinkedIn Profile (#3) and my Twitter pages (#9) are returned. To many this might seem like great results, especially when you condsider how common the name "Troy Johnson" is. But in reality, this is terrible. My own pages which objectively has more complete and better content appears on the 3 page?! this is alarming when you consider that I rarely use Linkedin, 1/2 my twitter updates are dynamically generated, and I dilberately share very little on facebook -- again there is an active and deliberate bias is against smaller sites -- my only saving grace is that I've been around for 15 years and I have a ton of content. But when larger coporate entities are aligned against you -- it is not a fight one can win alone.

  3. Thumper (of Thumper's Corner Fame) has stopped posting
    Thumper's really loves books and was not afraid to express his opinion in a very humorous but non-traditional - no holds barred fashion. It was not schtick, it was his real personality. As a result, Thumper's opinion about books was widely read and respected by readers and industry folks alike. Thumper has not posted here in the better part of two years. In fact I have not heard from him myself in during the same period -- despite reaching out to him. Don't ask me why.
  4. Kola Boof
    Love her, or hate her, Kola Boof has had both a positive and negative impact on these discussion boards. Lurkers (people who read but don't post) often enjoyed her antics, extreme, often outlandish perspectives. On one hand she could be very supportive of AALBC.com then do something so bizarre I would think she was crazy. At the end of the day many posters could not tolerate took her strong, often hostile comebacks. Cynique could take Kola without getting her feeling hurt and this made for some interesting dialog. However many, most notably Thumper, could not. In fact I created a separate discussion board for Kola to give her free reign to be herself. I can't help but think that my unwillingness to shut Kola down is the reason Thumper is not here. I know for a fact Kola has chased off and alienated other posters (I've been told this). Today Kola rarely posts... go figure.
  5. Social Media - Facebook in particular
    I highlight Facebook because the other social media sites Myspace, linkedin, twitter, none of the others are comparable in features and functions to a discussion baord. Facebook however has does have the ability to host conversations between people but there are a few fundamental differences that make it more appealing than a traditional discussion board to most; (1) Facebook only has a "Like" button for the most part people can easily post anything and all others can do is like it. This creates the illusion that people agree with you and really care about what you have to say (this is very intoxicating). Here people will disagree and challenge your opinions and ideas. Most people are not really up for debates or arguments (many people have fragile egos) so Facebook is more appealing on that level. (2) Facebook is echo chamber. Like the "Like" button people ideas are artificially reenforced on every level from the advertisements you see to your newsfeed -- everything you see is tailored to suit what facebook "thinks" you want to see. Again, nothing you will likely disagree with -- I hate that. I have asked some posters who used to be active on here and have engaged me on Facebook to come back and post here again, but they usually don't.

    I could go on all day about Facebook but I will end with the fact that Facebook has the active support of other big business and people freely give Facebook free content and personal data. This is a powerful combination. An AALBC.com can not compete against this or ignore it -- all I can do is post my content and hope enough people are moved to share it with other and visit the site as a result.

I've been running this discussion board almost 15 years and building website for almost 20. It feels like I've lived several online lifetimes :-) SO MUCH has changed in 20 years. When I first started people were using telephone lines and 300 baud modems to access the internet and AOL was the Facebook of the day. What hurt AOL was that they could not be the entire internet (all things to all people). The growth of other websites large and small is what killed AOL as we knew it knew it back then.

Today it is fascinating to see Facebook going down a similar path. Facebook too will meet a similiar fate as AOL and MySpace, it is inevitable. Unfortunately, they will drag down many independent websites before they crash and burn. My job is to not be one of them.

Any help and assistance is great appreciated -- needed. If you find a conversation here use the social media icons or just email your friends.

Thank you active posters posters for sharing your ideas and thoughts!

Thanks you too lurkers -- maybe some of the insight I shared here will encourage you to share your thoughts.

Peace,

Troy

------------

Results of a query of my name Troy Johnson (your results will vary)

troyquery.jpg

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Troy,

The reasons I don't post here are varied.

#1---My ally ABM is no longer here. I was greatly disparaged and disliked and no one wants to be

around people who dislike them. In 2008, I talked about being treated for brain cancer...not a single

person said a single consolatory thing or came to see me at Loma Linda. (*Well Jackie Joice did).

It was almost as though I wasn't a human being. It showed the underlying contempt & hatred for me.

I continue to suffer with health issues (diabetes, heart valve disease) and I don't need the stress of

always fighting things we should all be against (colorism)...or being told that I'm a fraud, don't exist

and that I'm not wanted here.

#2--I feel that everyone made up rumors about me, especially about my "sexuality"...and this has

greatly impaired my ability to trust. I feel that people here did everything they could to keep me from

being published...I believe members here have spread untold lies and half-truths about me throughout

the industry in hopes of destroying me. No matter how I've tried to reach out and be friends with everyone,

there has always been a moment of rejection or disingenuous feedback. I am very open and real and I

don't trust the people here.

I know for a fact that Deesha Philyaw took money in exchange for making up outrageous stories

about me and my family. Claiming to be my friend and lying on me for corporate enemies who paid

her. I know this to be fact. I'll never forget the link she co-signed claiming that I was really a White

Male Racist (that he was writing my books). Tim or Tom something.

I know that ZANE bad mouthed me and tried everything she could to derail my career. For no reason.

She simply turned on me one day (*later I found out it was because I unknowingly slept with her husband

Wayne years back). Which served her fat behind right considering the way she slandered my name.

I could have made ZANE a ton of money writing erotica; I am excellent and imaginative writer; not to mention a

Built-in PUBLICIST...but to this day...no one thinks about utilizing my TALENT & Charisma and exploiting my talents on "Business GP."

NO---only White Jewish people have sense enough to do that.

That's my main problem with Black folks in this industry. They don't even know how to set personal feelings

aside and band together and utilize each other's talents to form something. We should have a MOTOWN of

publishing by now! Shit.

Bookstores are obsolete...publishing is now SHOW BIZ.

Troy ...you said "Kola's antics"....I was serious. It wasn't antics.

#3---Though I will fight and be combative with people over things I believe in....I generally have LOVE for all

people. I don't stay mad long and I love everyone on GP regardless of how they feel about me.

#4---I am busy writing...and take "free moments" to post on Twitter and Facebook where my fans

are many and I can "see" them.

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Here is a comment that an old frequent posted provided:

"Troy, I think you make some good points in your post...Facebook has been a game-changer, and I believe that Thumper's Corner is not the only discussion forum that has been affected by its presence. I think too that the presence of some overpowering commentators on the board may have driven more people off than you may know."

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Thanks for taking the time to weigh in.

I see that you have indeed developed quite a following on facebook and especially twitter (your twitter followed to follower ratio is off the chain!).

I don't enjoy those social platforms nearly as much as I enjoyed these boards -- particularly in the heyday. I find social media to be much more narcissistic (by design).

Consider even the prospect of discovering a good book to read. On facebook we have a bazillion authors telling us how great their books are. No one is there to challenge critique or honestly discuss any given book. if someone tries it they are unfriended or deleted Here people will give their honest opinions. In fact, this is what Thumper was known for and the reason he was so popular.

Even in your case Kola no matter what people said about you folks KNEW you could write. That was not based what you said about your work, but based upon people seeing how you expressed yourself here and the feedback posters who read your work.

But you have to acknowledge your relationship with Thumper was unnecessarily acrimonious. I believe in letting people express themselves freely, but I often wonder if I should have actively moderated the conflict between the two of you. In reality i did not have the time -- even if I wanted I probably would have still decided to let you work it out yourselves.

Kola you also have to understand that most people do not believe everything you say. For example, when you drop a bomb shell like unknowingly sleeping with Zane's husband, most people would be shocked into outrage or disbelief. You get that right? Most people keep their sex lives to themselves -- especially when it might impact others adversely.

I think we all miss ABM, at least I do. His interactions with the rest of you all were priceless.

"We should have a Motown of publishing" that is SO on point! This failure irks me to no end. I think it is possible.

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Well, the truth is the truth Troy.....ZANE oughta try it sometime.

People like me...dying of brain cancer....are the types who will say any and everything.

Facing death makes you feel as though you might as well just tell all.

I tried to make friends with Thumper. He flatly rejected my attempts and was exceedingly hostile.

In fact, our very last exchanges were about me trying to be friendly towards him.

And for the record, people can look up the ORIGIN of our in-fighting. HE was the one attacking me

and using my "African identity" to do so......in reality, he was JEALOUS of my charisma and the fact

that people were far more entertained and into me. That's not my fault.

I was gracious to Thumper and he was hostile. I gave it right back.

Of course "Snooty black folk" (especially the book reading variety) are put off by bodacious

"unruly" women like me. That take it too seriously and they don't even try to listen to anything

that goes against their Snooty Attire. It's their own insecurity.

Missing ABM is an understatement for me.

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Of course "Snooty black folk" (especially the book reading variety) are put off by bodacious

"unruly" women like me.

Okay now THAT made me laugh - out loud. That's really all I had to say. Didn't feel like playing the lurker role and keeping my giggle to myself.

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Very interesting posts. Kola was in rare form. I have a love/hate relationship with her and this can, indeed, be atributed to her writing skills and intelligence and personableness. But it is her vulnerabliity that endears her to me, because she so often dissolves into a hurt child persona. Where we clashed was the preposturous lengths she would go to in her self-promotion zeal, never hesitating to employ deceptiveness and distortions during her flamboyant ego trips. I wonder if Kola even realizes how conceited she comes across. I guess this goes with the territory of being a diva, and - nobody's perfect.

I also don't think Thumper and I ever really hit it off. We kind of cautiously circled each other, occasionally sparring, sometimes agreeing. Chris Hayden and I frequently clashed because of "his-take-no-prisoners" bluster that reeked with exaggeration and ridicule. Still, I liked the ol boy because he was well-read and a worthy opponent. ABM and I were not exactly members of a mutual admiration society, either, because I found him a tad pompous, and lord only knows what word he would us to decribe me. But there were a lot of regulars, mostly females with the exception of Yukio and Xeon, that I did co-exist with. Why? Because they were intutitive enough to just take me with a grain of salt, - just shrug their shoulders and keep on truckin instead skulking off, licking their wounds or tryring to employ psycho-babbo to anaylyse me. I love people with aplomb.

I have a feeling, Troy, that whoever made the following observation that you quoted had me in mind; to wit: "I think too that the presence of some overpowering commentators on the board may have driven more people off than you may know." What I never understood was when I would have these heated exchanges with people, why no one rarely took sides. Sometimes lurkers would snipe at me, but nobody would ever really step up and defend the people I was "overpowering". I even wondered why you, Troy, never told me to "cool it". My thing was that folks would come here, steeped in ther opinions that were reinforced by their having surrounded themselves with like-minded people who agreed with them. When they encountered someone who challenged them or took them out of their game, they would become unhinged and resentful. This situation was what would drive me to adopt the attitude that "if you can't stand the heat, get out the kitchen". To my curiosity, I have also come to the conclusion that most people. for want of a better word, are "wimpy". They can't stand to deal with dissention and just want everybody stop fussing because it makes them uneasy.

Something else, I have been discerning from my experiences in the social media community, is that my words are worse than my intent. I come across as much more hostile than I am in person. I'm also devilish; I like to tease and taunt. Why? because I can get away with it and this amuses me. I guess you could also say I'm crazy. If I had never discovered the internet, I would just be a bored old lady, sitting around reading and watching TV and doting on my 8 grandchildren as long as their visitis weren't too long, and wishing my 5 kids would stop bugging me about my salt intake. :P

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Wow. This thread is interesting to me as a newbie to the industry & to this message board (well, not so much anymore, I suppose). Looking back at the snippet of the thread from 8 years ago gave me an idea of the diverse ppl/opinions that must have shown up here. And Kola describing herself as "unruly" made me laugh bc I've read one of her books and so I can only imagine what some of her posts used to entail. Man I hate I missed it. (I mean that in a good way. I really enjoyed the book I read of hers.)

Hopefully some of the members that went away will come back or either be replaced by new members willing to share ideas. Then again, maybe people in general are getting tired of communicating on message boards. Maybe Facebook has wiped out people's desires to interact in this way. Maybe people have discovered that you can't just SAY anything on the Internet and expect to be seen as GREAT. Maybe feelings have gotten hurt and people realize that anonymity doesn't protect one from that. Perhaps it is a movement back to the "real" world. Although, to me, this is just as much the real world as sending letters. So I don't know.

Cynique I think you are right when you say that most people prefer that there is no fussing and that we all "just get along." It's always harder to get points across online than in person bc of the lack of visual cues. I guess a person could put a smiley after every single sentence to say "I mean no harm" but that would just be ridiculous.

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Writegirl you may have found the quote of Kola's you shared funny

Of course "Snooty black folk" (especially the book reading variety) are put off by bodacious "unruly women like me.
but I agree with it. Indeed, it is much of the reason there is a rift between self -published authors and those "validated" by the academy or urban authors and literary authors. But Kola can say some very funny stuff, especially when she is tearing into someone defending herself. Just run this google query for 1,000's of examples.

Cynique, I would never try to reign you in any more that I would Kola Boof, or even Thumper for that matter. Thumper broke every freaking rule of book review writing (except being honest), but I published his reviews and he made a real name for himself -- because he was brutally honest. I took as much heat for the stuff that Thumper wrote as I have for Kola. The last thing I was is a discussion forum where everybody agrees with everybody else -- that is uninteresting, and you can't learn anything that way. If I wanted that I'd spend all my time on Facebook.

Very few have given me grief for anything you have written Cynique. I've never deleted any of your comments, nor Thumpers and less than a handful of Kola's. I'm sorry you did not get along with ABM. Both of you are great contributors.

I liked Chris Hayden too. He and I were often at opposite sides of an issue. Which forced me to examine my opinions -- though I suspect at times he gave me grief for the sake of giving me grief, like always assuming I applied my NY City sensibilities to every situation.

There are always new people signing up -- but still lurking....

As I always say, this discussion board is useless without contributors thanks everyone for sharing.

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@ Troy...I'm looking at a few of the 1000's of examples...

*blank stare*

(I edited what I wrote earlier. Felt it best not to rekindle that old fire. Hopefully the ladies figured it out. I only read a small sampling of the conversations - er um, fights. One of Kola's own phrases kept resounding in my head throughout me reading the thread - "all black people hate each other"...I think I quoted that accurately, just from memory. It's from SPB. It's kind of sad, when I think about it...how the women went at each other, regardless of who was at fault...the name calling was extraordinary IMO. So sad.)

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Yes, writergirl gets most of what's going on here. And her input is always thoughtful and well-expressed. I hope she sticks around. She's an asset to this board. :)

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Different people see things differently. Everybody views the world through a set of eyes that are uniquely their own.

Some may be more observant than others and perspective may be influenced by personal experiences. Or -sometimes an optical illusion just lives up to its name

396092_327703113992365_135357049_n.jpg.

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Cynique, indeed there is some conjecture that people actual experience different realities. So seeing things different not surprising but expected :o

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Below is a list of the top contributor to our discussion boards prior to January 2010. Click here for a complete ranking of every you posted 10 times or more. I come in at #15. Thumper, who one of the boards was named for, comes in at #24. If I ranked folks prior to Kola Boof's (who I need a board for too) participation. Thumper would have been number #1.

Rank - Name - # of Posts

  1. cynique 13,784
  2. abm 10,259
  3. chrishayden 8,455
  4. tonya 6,391
  5. mzuri 5,471
  6. kola_boof 4,952
  7. yvettep 3,756
  8. ntfs_encryption 3,705
  9. a_womon 2,545
  10. renata 2,541

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Thnx guys! I see myself sticking around, especially now that I spend more time on my laptop in general. If I suddenly go MIA it would be bc I have writer's block and am out flitting around in the "real" world to get myself out of it. Troy, looking at the stats you posted from years back, I see that this board is much more quiet than it used to be. Nevertheless, I enjoy the interaction with those who do participate, and this is actually the only social site that I bother to comment on or be more than just a passing visitor.

p.s. I like the look of the new layout for the Discussion page.

............................................or maybe it's just my computer?

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writegirl, the discussion board software is much better, from my perspective, that the old boards. There is more functionality. It is even optimized for a cell phone access. It has more functionality that Facebook in terms of sharing (Authors could actually take a page out of Hickson's playbook and learn something).

I occasional have conversations on Facebook, but this software is so much better for that purpose. Here you can post pretty much anything you want with a copy and paste video, photos, links in your posts. On Facebook all you can post is text. Finding a conversation is very tedious and as a result fleeting, so you have little incentive to write a lot because it will effectively disappear in a few days. You are also at the whim of whoever wall you are on.

Here I make every attempt to preserve everything. To this day I will reference posts or conversation from 5, 10 years ago. Will your content on Facebook have that kind of longevity?

Facebook's main advantage is that users can control who will interacts with you.

If you are an author you will get people singing your praises. Here you are just as likely to get people singing your praises as you are to get people trashing/critiquing your work. The same can happen to anyone who shares their ideas or opinions here.

In my mind this is a disadvantage. This is why you have people posting the minutiae from their daily lives on Facebook -- because there is no one there to tell them it is uninteresting.

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I think more importantly -- even despite the ALL CAPS -- Hickson knows how do self-promote his use of these boards illustrates that.

And yes if you been here more than 5 minutes you've heard of HICKSON B) .

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I'm sure it's just a problem for me, Troy, but what happens is that I often miss exchanges because when I click on the link to the last comment posted, this takes me directly to it and I have to remember to scroll backwards to see if any conversation preceded that last comment if whoever wrote it doesn't make reference to it, or quote directly from it. :wacko: And I still haven't figured out how to include just a small segment of a quote from a post when responding to it. :blink:

FaceBook is frustrating because you can't correct errors or edit comments after you've entered a post. You have to copy the original post before deleting it and then paste and correct it before reposting it. I'm really beginning to have a love/hate affair with FaceBook because of being bombarded with a bunch of sappy "inspirational" graphics and praises to the lord and cheer leading for Obama. And, of course, there are those people to whom it has become a daily journal and picture album, not to mention the deejays posting links to YouTube. Come to think of it, one of the few things I actually like, not even love about FaceBook, is injecting a dissonate note into a thread where people with a herd mentality are all chiming in, agreeing with what has been said by the original poster. :P

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Cynique, when I come here I go to http://aalbc.com/tc then I click the "View New Content" button. When I click on the links returned (if any), I'm taken to the top of the conversation. Give that try.

I just approved an account for an old school poster. Hopefully they will surprise us with a contribution. :)

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Dang, I didn't make the top 10 (I fell to 11th place).

But in reference to the original question of "why", I believe Thumper's absence holds huge weight. He was engaged, funny, original, unpretentious and honest. You always knew he would be there. If one wanted to talk about a book, he probably read it and was ready and willing to talk back. Did things get nasty between him a Kola? Yes, very ugly. Below the belt and low blow to say the least. It got brutally ugly. I tried to stay in the middle of that one. I was cool with both of them. But that was not always the case. Who remembers that "series" Kola had? Kola painted me as a ugly pig. :D However, I believe I was cool with everyone -- except -- you know who :unsure:

Now, do I believe some folks were upset at some posters, and thus took their ball and ran home? Most certainly. But I never understood that mindset. I mean, take the good and leave the rest behind. I believe it's that simple.

Did I have beefs with some posters. Yelp! Could my style of "confrontation"/ debate led to some not posting? Could be.

However, I believe long open discussions has become an outdated custom - period. Even at large black movie sites, conversation is hard to come by. If the conversation is not about Tyler Perry or some racial issue or something anti-Hollywood, comments are hard to come by. And lately, one site has noticed their "hits" have taken a severe beating b/c he was using Facebook as a means to inform his readers of new content. Well, Facebook has begun charging for services that were once free. Say for instance the editor/host of the site posted 12 different items ( i.e. a new movie review, actor interview, film festival update, new tv program, etc) each item will now require a payment, At least that's what I got from his post. I am not a Facebook kind of guy. I guess the core of his readers were accessing his site through Facebook.

Okay, that's my 2 cents.

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Hummm I agree with many of your statement Carey (let me check myself for a fever).

I saw a post by Thumper on Facebook about a book he read, something along the lines of what he would post here. Only Cynique and I replied. Thumper did not engage. His profile page looks like it is not being used very much.

I don't believe "long open discussions has become an outdated custom", sure there are a small percentage of people willing and able to do it, but they are out there. I think the impact of individual niche sites best able to provide the platforms has been diluted by social media.

On facebook all of the groups I'm a member of that are designed to talk about book or facilitate the communication between authors are ghost towns, or just dumping ground for people self promoting -- they post an advertisement for something and leave. Actually Facebook make this very easy to do -- I do it myself.

I have yet to come across a good discussion about a book.on Facebook. They may exist, I just have not seen one and I'm on facebook more than most people. And I'm not talking about a conversation where an author writes, "Hey I have a new book out", and all the authors fans heap praise and and congratulatory messages.

People also edit too much on Facebook. They delete messages, entire conversations or complete ban people they don't like. It would never occur to me to ban someone who disagreed with me personally.

Facebook will implode eventually. Honestly I'm already tired of it, but I appreciate I used it a lot more than most. But I've met as many old classmates I think I'm going to meet. I communicate with my actually friends the old fashioned way, and I think discussion broads like these are much better suited for conversation.

Another thing I hate about Facebook is that when I do have a long conversation with someone it is very hard to retrieve if -- even after a few days. Here I'm committed to persevering all of our conversations and have done for for over a decade.

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Troy, there's absolutely no doubt that discussion boards like you have here are much better suited for conversation. In fact, the movie site I mentioned has a terrible format. One cannot edit (ever) and there's now way to respond to a particular comment. And check this, every response is listed first. For instance, the comment that I am now writing, it would appear right after the title of the tread (last in, first listed). Also, there's no paragraph breaks. In short, it's not suited for conversation, however, several long debates do ensue. One such debate--> Zoe Saldana Is Apparently Taking Over For Mary J. Blige To Play Nina Simone, drew 165 comments. Many folks thought it was an act of blasphemy to allow a light-skin "mixed" black woman portray Ms Simone.

But again, I thought the old board was better (or easier to navigate) but you have a nice... A VERY NICE setup.

Btw, stop checking your temperature, you don't have a fever. You're agreeing because you're getting older and wiser. ;)

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Anyone but a dark skinned woman play Nina is a travesty. But that is hollyweird for you.

I hope I'm getting older and wiser; but correlation is not causation. Give us time :)

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Good grief! Shame on Hollywood. Isn't Zoe Hispanic? Nina Simone, herself, must be turning over in her grave.

Yeah, we know. By making a character her own, a good actress can pull off any role. Forget the audience, who might very well be distracted by someone playing a real life person to whom she bears absolutely no resemblance! Are the producers tryng to save money, or going for star power??? The could've gotten Jennifer Hudson cheap and she's reasonably famous and even looks a little like Nina. And back in the day, I thought Sidney Poiter playing Thurgood Marshall was a bad call. But at least they were both "black". Jeeze

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Well they have white actors playing Cleopatra and Jesus Christ; so hey they gonna go what they wanna do anyway. Like the trained dogs we are we will gladly lap it up. :angry:

Seems even Spike Lee has stopped bitchin' and moaning. His last film Red Hook Summer came and went and the majority of people I asked about the film didn't even know Spike had a new film out. Sure the reviews were bad but that is not the point.

In fact I just ran a query to fine my review: http://aalbc.com/reviews/red-hook-summer.html and I was unable to do it. I seriously believe there is more going on, to crush us, than we are aware.

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Good point Cynique, although I don't believe it's about going for "cheap", it is about star power or at least "bank-ability" and likability, to a large degree.

As was the case with Samuel Jackson's participation in Pulp Fiction ( and I believe Bruce Willis), sometimes an actor will take a part for reasons unrelated to their huge salaries. The Simone biopic's budget is around 10 million. That's VERY low by today's standards. Consequently, from the producer's perspective, we can deduce that this is about star power. Going deeper, this film is intended for an overseas audience, which "supposedly" is more "art" minded and more "understanding" and forgiving in respect to racial issues (i.e, skin color, the actor's racial background, mixed race, etc.).

However, in reference to an actor's lack of resemblance to the subject in question, it has been done quite successfully on numerous occasions. Now, real quick, off the top of my head, I'd say Denzel in "Hurricane" would be a good example (their height, age and looks were all different). Also, Lawrence Fishburne won several awards for his portrayal of Thurgood Marshall ( if you guys have not seen that brilliant performance, I'd recommend you do so).

And really, one can make a great argument that there is no resemblance between Forest Whitaker and Idi Amin, nor Jamie Foxx and Ray Charles, or Angela Evelyn Bassett and Tina Turner. Granted, each gave great performances and makeup added to their transformations (which pulled us in), however, if we're being open and honest, in the raw the actors had little resemblance to their subjects. Hey, I'd even go as far to say Denzel looks nothing like Malcolm X. But being the professional actor that he is, and thus his excellent ability to capture all of Malcolm's small nuances, added to our ability to suspend belief, moving us to see Malcolm and not Denzel.

Now Troy, what was your point of mentioning Spike Lee? And what's this bitchin' and moanin' that you let fall from your lips!? Boy oh boy, you need to stop or support your gossip with a few SUBSTANTIAL FACTS. But listen, don't talk about Spike b/c that's my boy.

Did I tell you I made a trip to Chicago so I could get an autographed copy (from the man in person) of his 359p coffee table book "Do The Right Thing"? Yep, unlike the days up in here when I begged authors for free books and autographs :blink: Spike gave me an autograph and a smile. That reminds me, out of all the authors that I begged during the period when Thumper held chat night, the only author who turned me down was......... **drum roll**......... Bernice L. McFadden. Wait, I believe there was one more, but I can't remember his name. His book was on an old school boxer? Huummmm... why does the name "Cooper" come to mind? I know that's not the name of the author, but maybe someone who joined in the conversation? Dang it, that is going to bug the mess out of me :(

The following pictures from the book are just a few of the over 140 pages of photos taken during the filming of the movie Do The Right Thing. Btw, the entire hand written script is also included.

The cover of the book

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Eddie Murphy just hanging out on the set

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I had to show you guys a picture of one of the best black actors of all time, Ossie Davis, whose wife was also in the film.

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That last picture is not in the book :rolleyes:, That's Gérard Depardieu's son, Harvey Keitel and me. I believe I can safely say all of you know of Keitel and some may remember the French actor and film-maker who won a number of honors including a nomination for an Academy Award for the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac and the Golden Globe award for Best Actor in Green Card.

Well, since this is a book site and I was doing research to write my own book, I'll share a little short story with you guys. Well, as I said, the above actor is Gérard Depardieu's son. He was an experience and a story ALL itself, to-say-the-least. Do I have stories! I could tell y'all about a party in Abel Ferrara's hotel room. "Carey, who is Abel Ferrara?" WHAT!? He is an American film screenwriter and director. He is best known as an independent filmmaker of such films as The Driller Killer, Ms. 45, King of New York, Bad Lieutenant and The Funeral. Now, if you guys ever saw the film "Bad Lieutenant" you have a peek into the party. Yep, art imitating life. Anyway.... I'd better move on :ph34r: **hit my e-mail if you want specifics (about anything in this comment... careydarnell@yahoo.com **

Guillaume Depardieu later went on to gain popularity - in not a very respectable way. Well, Guillaume never fully recovered from a life of drug addiction, a road crash and a hospital infection which forced the amputation of his right leg. He also had been a male prostitute and gigolo as part of a teenage revolt against his father's famous name. He also served two jail sentences for theft and drugs offences.

Shortly after this picture (shaking hands) was taken at a film festival in Colorado, he boarded a plane and later was arrested in Paris - for Heroin possession. In 1992, he received the Cesar award for the most promising actor. At the age of 37, he died of pneumonia.

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I seriously believe there is more going on, to crush us, than we are aware.

I think you're right. But group-think is so prevalent in our community (pick your angle / religion, politics, music, etc...etc) that we can't see it.

Think about how we react even in the simplest of discussions. We love to talk about the things we are passionate about (like street lit and hip hop --- hey, may as well tie that in what this discussion). We talk and talk and love to hear ourselves speak and see our words come together on these message boards. We like to be heard.

But the minute someone offers a different viewpoint than our own, we get all up in arms. Take Nah'Sun, for example. He seems to believe so strongly in his love for hip hop that he looks down (or at least appears to look down) on people like me who have only a little bit of knowledge of the history of hip hop. Am I wrong for having a different type of experience with hip hop than him? Is it so terrible to never have been die-hard enough to seek out the music beyond what was popular on the radio and music videos? Of course not. But there are others who would turn their noses up and roll their eyes at that and then tell me I have no right to ask questions or to join in a discussion about hip hop. Knock it off.

We are black people. Yes. But that doesn't mean we have to have the same experiences all the damn time. But for some reason, we seem to feel as though we should. I'm loving Cynique's comment from the other thread more and more: "live and let live"...

We'll likely never know everything that's "really" going on behind the scenes of world government or whatever the latest conspiracy theorists say. I doubt it's worth the stress of digging. But it is an odd feeling to realize that there probably IS "something" going on. Odder still is the realization that you are just one person...you are powerless to enduce sweeping changes...this is the world you born into...almost like accepting a type of slavery...think too much on it and you'll feel like you're in the making of The Matrix. Sigh...so again, live and let live. That's all we can do.

Then again...where would we be if the slaves (or Waterstar would say that I should say "African people who were enslaved" - hey Waterstar! ;) ) had my mentality?

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Writegirl, "We talk and talk and love to hear ourselves speak and see our words come together on these message boards. We like to be heard." this is why Facebook is so popular for some and a complete turn off for others.

In fact on Facebook when, "...someone offers a different viewpoint than our own, we get all up in arms" all you have to do is block them and they are silenced. As a result Facebook is a big echo chamber of the same opinions, memes, religious messages and so forth.

That is what I like about forums like this people can disagree. I would rather have a Nah'Sun come through and make a case that some just say Oh I agree with everything you say -- that is boring and you can learn anything if you are never challenged...

Carey, seriously, I don't blame Bernice for not giving you a book. I have never asked an authors for a free book in over 15 years (today may actually be the 15 anniversary of me sitting down to start AALBC.com it was this month I'm just not sure of the day). If I a request a book from an authors it is because I'm publishing a review of it.

The other example of actors in roles were fine with me. First they were all in the same ball park of appearance and Jamie is a great mimic and had Ray Charles down, Denzil is a terrific actor and could probably pull off a great Carey.

If you wanna go for miscasting try the 60+ year old Samuel L Jackson playing a 39 year old Martin Luther King in Mountain Top. Zoe Saldana does not have any of Nina's characteristics. I'm not even sure Zoe self identifies as Black...

What were you doing in the presence of Harvey and the others Carey. Were y'all working on a movie.

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Troy, I thought Samuel got great reviews for his portrayal of Martin Luther King in Mountain Top? Did you go?

Yes, on several occasions Zoe has identified her self as black. It's been a topic of major discussions. In fact, on one site her exact words (a quote) has been posted.

In reference to begging for books, don't get me wrong, I was not mad at the authors one bit. It was more of a hobby and a self-challenge than anything else. It was like a challenge to see if my "selling skills" and voice of persuasion were still there.

re: Talking and talking, and "group-think". It's been said that most humans do not welcome opinions that's different from their own. WHY? Well, the hardest things for humans to say are..

1) I was wrong

2) I don't know

3) I am sorry

4) I love you

Well, when differing opinions hit the floor, those that we disagree with might make us do a little soul-searching. If when doing so, we find something that requires us to admit (if only to ourselves) that we were "wrong" or in need of change, it makes us uncomfortable. And humans have a tendency to run from discomfort (in all it's forms of pain). Consequently, we tend to gravitate to those we agree with. Or those who do not challenge us or question our opinions.

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ZZZZZZZZZZZZ What an unoriginal thought that last paragraph was, carey. Pulleeze. That's what me and Troy and writer-girl have been saying all along, dufus. All you do is read a thread and then re-cycle everything others have said, in an attempt to sound like you have some sense. (With no success, I might add.) :wacko:

Expressing those sentiments is in direct contrast to your post on the other forum where you had the gall to lecture me because I challenged Nah'Sun on his entrenched views. But it figures. You always did blubber out of both sides of your big mouth. :blink:

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