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wundayatta's avatar

How important is shared history to us jellies?

Asked by wundayatta (58349 points ) December 30th, 2012

At this point, fluther is over five years old, I think. There are a number of people who have been interacting for more than four years and even more for more than a year. In this time, we’ve had arguments over and over, and shared specific seminal events, like frizzer and the split of the question sections, etc.

From time to time I see questions asking about relationships with other jellies. They are hard to have when you can’t mention another person’s name (a policy that I think is a good one). Still, we are building a shared history, even if we can’t talk about it.

Since we can’t talk about it, I don’t know if there’s much point in asking, but my sense is that our history is coming to matter more. We know things about each other, even if it isn’t really written down anywhere. We have private communications. Past flirtations in public and, presumably, in private. Relationships that have begun and ended or begun and go on.

How do you think this shared history informs our current conversation? How does it change that conversation? Please use examples to the extent that you can.

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30 Answers

JenniferP's avatar

I’m still new here and in the process of getting to know everyone. But I am gradually beginning to feel a part of things.

gailcalled's avatar

Officially launched in Oct. 2006.

Fred931's avatar

Well all you gotta do is peek under the frizzer. That’s where they keep all of that. Janets and the boy keep the place clean and dry, make sure the pool doesn’t leak in. You know.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’ve been here since early 2009, hard to believe. I am not sure the history is important to me. There are certain people that I am now friends with, on FB. And I suppose this website has shifted its use for me, over the years. I feel less connected to it now, a lot less.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Fluther has a community that I trust in many ways. I know if I have a conundrum, I can come here and get guidance. It’s reassuring to know the same people will be here helping. I like that.

Judi's avatar

You guys have helped modify my world view. If that’s not an important relationship
I don’t know what is.

dxs's avatar

I was just looking at the first questions the other day and saw who the most ancient Flutherers were. I didn’t see anybody I’ve seen today other than the founders and their family @gailcalled. Most were just passers by.

AshLeigh's avatar

Fluther played a significant roll in the grieving process when Asher died.
I sure as hell don’t like everyone here, but you all have a special place in my heart. :)

augustlan's avatar

For me, it’s important in some ways for sure. It’s part of what makes us a community rather than just a collection of strangers. Aside from site-wide shared history, many of us have more personal shared histories with each other, too. I’ve made some incredible friends and connections here, and those relationships continue to grow even beyond Fluther.

Mariah's avatar

Guys, maybe I’m just feeling cheesy tonight. But. I spent an entire year getting surgeries and it was pretty awful and my friends were all college freshmen and were far away and busy. I had my parents and I had Fluther. I leaned SO HARD on y’all and you really made a very big difference in my quality of life for those months. You haven’t felt like strangers for a long, long time. Lurve ya jellies.

ucme's avatar

Some folks are going to pigeon hole others with what little information they have to go on because it suits them to do so, regardless of the facts, that’s okay though, so long as they’re happy.

harple's avatar

It matters to me, certainly… I feel connected to a cross-section of people on here, even though it’s predominantly all publicly in the q&a process. When I describe Fluther to people, I usually say that it has a core user-base of about 50 regulars that I recognise by name/avatar. I have never actually tried to count up the people I feel make up that base, it’s just an estimate, but it’s how I feel. And I feel that it’s a special place for have such stalwarts; being on here feels like home.

Shippy's avatar

There are certain people that have crept into my heart. For all different reasons, some are kind, some are funny, some give an unemotional view point. It’s a great mix. I never forget the response I got to my Biploar question. People had actually researched my country to try and find help for me here. For me it signified a turn around. Because at that point, I cannot tell you or explain my view point on people and on life.

I deleted my profile here twice, once when I was upset and once because I felt the net was too much a part of my life. That it was time to get on with real life. But ugh! I realize for me both are real life.

gailcalled's avatar

MIlo here: I really shudder to think what my life would have been like, particularly in the early days (2008), without the Fluther feline support staff to aid, abet and educate Gail.

hearkat's avatar

I was also going to point out that it’s now over 6 years, but Gail beat me to it.

I have been here over 5 years, off and on, and in another social community for about the same time – both sites I found when the original iPhone first came out. I have been in other communities since then, also. I have pondered the sociology of these communities, and how the earlier members develop a history, so when newer people sign up, it seems like they have a hard time integrating into the group; and when a wave of new members join, it feels like an invasion to the existing members. I wonder if any academics are studying this online community phenomenon and how it relates to the schoolyard socialization tactics of children.

I am not a person who does much communication via private message or chat room. I’ve kept most of my input in the public posts. Here, and on the other site, I have noticed that some folks seem to buddy-up and cliques get formed; although that is less apparent to me here than on the social network. I have befriended many folks from these sites on Facebook (many of whom I haven’t figured out or have forgotten who they are/were on here), so I do know a little more about their lives outside of Fluther, but I have a hard time keeping track of who lives where, who has kids, who is married, who said what to me in 2008, etc. I sometimes wonder why I am not included in those side conversations, but I guess it’s for the best since I really do have a hard time keeping track of it all, so I’m not a good person to tell gossip to. It all gets too complicated for me.

So I don’t feel a strong sense of shared history here, and I guess the fact that my activity here occurs in bursts and I am sometimes not around for the bonding experiences (like when someone has a crisis and everyone offers comfort) is another factor. I have poured my heart out in some posts at times, and after a while I felt like I was saying the same things over and over, and it occurred to me that not everyone has read everything so we do not all share the same points of reference with each other. Coming back, there is some comfort in seeing the familiar global ass, flower vase, penguin, dog, “A”, and Cate Blanchett picture from before – but others have come and gone, and many changed their avatars or names, so I get confused about who is whom and what shared history we might have.

So I take it all as being like the proverbial river that we can not step in twice… I take each user on a post-by-post basis, at “face-value” as it were.

glacial's avatar

Following this other question makes me wonder about this question. There are so many negative references to very specific people, and those who have been here for nearly five years must know exactly who each of them are. Yet those of us who have been here for only a year or two have no clue. What can be the purpose of calling out specific people on past behaviour to a partial audience? Those who were here are already aware of the events. Those who weren’t have to wonder who’s being gossiped about. And the objects of derision must be angry or hurt. What does that serve? I don’t get it.

augustlan's avatar

@glacial Excellent point. If I recognized anyone in those descriptions, I would remove the comments. So far, they’ve been vague enough that even I am not sure who people are talking about there. Sure hope it stays that way!

janbb's avatar

Couldn’t figure them out either.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@augustlan I figured out which one was talking about me. Doesn’t matter though, the question should stay, it doesn’t actually bother me.

Judi's avatar

running to try and figure out which one is @Simone_De_Beauvoir

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Judi :) What I can tell you is that I’ve never asked anyone to not respond to my questions anymore.

gailcalled's avatar

there is some comfort in seeing the familiar global ass, flower vase, penguin, dog, “A”, and Cate Blanchett

Don’t forget the starfish on the sand, the sweet little mouse in his handknit sweater, the daisy quadrant and the thornbush.

wundayatta's avatar

Ahem. That was a different question with a very different focus.

@hearkat, @Shippy and @Mariah—Your answers really spoke to me because you did offer specific examples of what the history of the community has meant to you either at specific times or over time (my apologies for leaving out anyone else who did the same thing—I just read those answers right now).

I’m not sure I can think of such specific things, although I know that the community supported me when I was in trouble. I also remember us coming together to be supportive of others, particularly one who was quite forthcoming about her struggles with cancer.

There are a few people I have had more personal correspondences with. People who live all over the world, but oddly, no one who lives in my home community. But those relationships seem to be very different from the fluther world. Once you know someone personally, they seem separate from fluther, somehow.

So fluther seems to exist like a moon somewhere. A populated moon. Things on that moon are different from things on earth, and when you know someone separately from knowing them on the moon, they become an earth person, which is just different.

But I don’t know what to think about the shared history we may or may not have. How it works with people who have been around together for a while, as compared to people I haven’t known for very long because they haven’t been here long. I don’t know why some people immediately appeal to me and others never do, even when they might share the same points of view. But I guess this is no different from any subgroup one might join. They are all mysterious in many ways.

jonsblond's avatar

@Judi I ran and looked too and I couldn’t find any clues that would point towards @Simone_De_Beauvoir. In fact, like @augustlan, I’m not sure who is being talked about in any of the references.

cookieman's avatar

I agree that there is comfort in seeing familiar names and avatars. I actually get worried when someone disappears. I also really like when someone new comes onboard with a distinct personality, and just blends right in.

I really cherish the shared history (silly questions, illness, drunk fluthering, weddings, lurve parties, memes and jokes) – to me, we’re a gang of friends. Pals as it were.

The Q&A thing is just the structure of Fluther, but our misfit gang of amazing jellies has always been the heart to me.

Bellatrix's avatar

@janbb asked a question the other day about Fluther being like a microcosm of society and while it may not be exactly that, it shares some similarities. I think Fluther is a bit like an online neighbourhood. People move in and move out and some return. We like some of our neighbours and others we really don’t take to at all.

After being here a while you do get a sense, and a strong sense in some cases, of who is behind the name and the avatar. I do wonder how people are going healthwise or after relationship break-ups or troubles they have had and talked about here. I do think about whether so and so got that new job or that jelly’s son has settled down. We are building memories. Which is quite strange when you think we have not met in person and probably never will. Yet some of the memories we have created here will probably be with me for life.

Nice question @wundayatta.

hearkat's avatar

@gailcalledI wasn’t trying to make a comprehensive list, just representative. I don’t know what thornbush you’re referring to. The starfish changed her name, so I wasn’t totally sure that it was the same person; especially since I remembered her as always saying what I was going to say first, but I haven’t found that to be the case since I’ve been more active again.

gailcalled's avatar

Neither was I, but wanted to mention some folks who have been here for a long time. There is also that Captain Picard guy…does he count as one person? This is simply end-of-the-year blithering. Pay no attention. And see PM for thorninmud in a previous incarnation.

JLeslie's avatar

The shared history matters, because the jellies I have known for a while, I have a sense of their humor, sarcasm, and the complexity of their minds. Fluther has reinforced to me that we can never assume how someone thinks on a particular topic just because of how they have answered other topics. I find this to be more true here than out in the real world where some topics are taboo or risky to talk about. I find it very comforting, refreshing and interesting. Discovering a whole group of people who like to argue topics, willing to learn, admit they were mistaken. A place that is safe. A place people know me. A place where we can disagree and then “kiss” and make-up without a thought. Like family, almost better than family, because generally most jellies do not hold onto any sort of grudge after a difficult debate; we just start fresh with the next Q. This is even easier with those of us who have been around a long time, because we know how hard we can push, whether we have to be careful to not offend, or we can just write write write without having to sensor too much, because the other jellies generally know where we come from because if our history.

It’s annoying to have to walk on egg shells when discussing a controversial topic, and with the jellies I have known the longest I worry about it the least.

Having said all that, I like new jellies. Many times they just fit right in and it is nice to get some new perspectives, because over time the jellies who have been around for years have talked about a lot of the same topics over and over again.

zensky's avatar

I am but one, small being with many personas.

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