Meandering Mouse wrote:
Unlike Arks, I think networking is the centre of the forum.
Even as I write, having a sense of who Arks is, or anyone might be, composes the core of the forum. As Saraf says, it is the reason why we can be vunerable.
There is a power of human connection.
MM, you may think
you have a sense of who I am, but I assure you that you don't. In fact, those few times that you have presumed to "know" what I mean, you've been dead wrong.
Unlike most of you, I'm not particularly "addicted" either to this forum or to SANParks. Yes, I'm an enthusiast and actively support the parks wherever I go, but there's a great deal else of greater importance in my life — SANParks and the forum is not the centre of my world. And while I've enjoyed meeting those forumites I've chosen to meet, there are many other forums/websites/online communities for "networking". Indeed, the excessive chit chat, and the frequency with which threads now get taken over by irrelevant chit chat, has really put me off this forum.
I come here to share information about the parks — not about members' private lives. I also try to share what little knowledge I have, particularly with first-time visitors and those from North America, since often our concerns and challenges in traveling to South Africa are quite different from European or Saffie perspectives/solutions. And while being friendly and welcoming to newbies is important — as well as only polite — the amount of space now taken up on this forum with threads that have little or nothing to do with SANParks and conservation seems to me way out of balance.
Therefore, I no longer bother to look at Chit Chat, Webcams, Quizzes (these were ruined for me by the endless caption competitions), Polls and even Member Activities, since those areas now rarely contain any posts of substance. If SANParks wants the forum to be primarily a social networking site, fine, but that wasn't my impression — and it certainly isn't why over the years I have spent so much time here.