Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tagging, reciprocity and a few other things....

I've come to some rather startling conclusions over the past few days... not just about this site.. but about some things in general.

It's always interesting to me how life gives us lessons in the most peculiar ways. If we stand at the ready, open to receiving, we get it... and it's liberating.

I've made a few commitments here that I can not keep.

The tagging: I explained that the other day... that I've chosen to not remain so dogmatic about it, instead choosing a middle road that will allow me to tag if I feel like it.. and not tag if I don't.

That's certainly easy enough. We all change.. and the reason I changed on that is because I recognized that it was limiting me. It was limiting me from doing something that occasionally feels appropriate. It's also easy to rationalize these things.. when perhaps we are taking a stand more out of self-protection than legitimate logic.

I also promised that I would never change my blogroll, that I would steadfastly hold on to anyone added.

For the most part, that is true.. but I've also come to realize something in that, too.

One of the things I used to dislike so much when I was far more social than I am now is the feeling that I was the one who would faithfully stand by, when others had long since moved on. I made a commitment back then that I want equal relationships in my life, unless it was otherwise agreed upon. You know, there are times when people come along and we want to support them as best as we can ~ and we want to "be there" (I hate that phrase) for them in an exclusive way, not expecting any reciprocity. I've done it in terms of personal energy, money or other things when that seemed like the right thing to do.

My blogroll was a reflection of those old habits, that somehow I didn't have the right to ask for reciprocity ~ or for an equal relationship. I was content to take the leftovers, content to be the last one remembered, content to be always on the fringes. It got to a point where other people's leftovers even started to taste good.

Maybe I've grown up too much to find that appealing anymore.

So my blogroll will change.. as people come and go. Unless I have an equal relationship with people (where it has not been agreed upon otherwise), I'm not going to hang on.. just so that I can feel ever-so-faithful.

I'm not angry.. or upset with anyone. I simply want to be perfectly honest about who I am, even if it is a part of me that some won't like.

I'm not a saint. I'm not some disembodied figure sitting under the Bodhi tree, trying to dispense wisdom. I am an all-too very human woman with the same desires as everyone else. To be a "part of", not "apart from".

I don't think I was willing to accept the fact that in some cases, people simply don't have anything in common. I held firm to the belief that we can always find something, if we try hard enough.

And that is partially true. But not entirely. Everyone has to want the same thing.

The fact can not be altered that I am older. I am eccentric. I do not live a mainstream life. I do not have children. I'm a dreamer with my head in the clouds most of the time. I love books and ideas, thoughts and concepts. I'm an abstract thinker. My attachment to the physical world is really rather minimal. The things that drive most people mean very little to me.

I say all of this because some people are off the blog roll now. It comes from no ill will. It simply comes from the fact that we apparently do not have enough in common to sustain a blogging relationship or it became too lopsided.

I wish the best for those people, although I doubt they'll see this.

Beyond a commitment to remain honest, to have integrity and honor in the things I write here and a legitimate caring and good will toward those I interact with, who can know what might happen in the future?

But I suspect it will be good.



flutter said...

I think the mark of person is the ability to be flexible without losing sense of ones ideals and beliefs.

Don't be hard on yourself about the decisions you need to make for you.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

Chani ~ reciprocation is what makes it a relationship. And I'm glad to have started one with you!

Mary said...

Dear Chani,

You are a much deeper thinker than I am. You posts urge me to think more often about what really matters. I spend my time running around looking for beautiful things and all of this energy is an attempt, I think, to bury my deepest thoughts - things that hurt and bother me - every day.

Yes, there are a few on my blogroll that irritate me or I find I don't have much in common with. They will go, in time. Whenever I have the time.

When I feel reflective and relaxed, I come here. Sometimes I put you off until I have time since your posts are meaty :o) Or, I will check in with you to see what's on your mind and think, "Oh, boy. I need to reflect on the and come back later".

We all need to take charge. Reciprocation helps build a relationship, even if we think on different terms. We respect. That's the key.


thailandchani said...

Flutter, thanks for saying so. :) I am a mugwump. Taking a stand this strong is hard for me... but I think it's for the best. Being open about why I choose to do something is important because it prevents misunderstandings..and those things that are just unsaid and wondered about later.


Wayfarer, you and me both! I will definitely learn from you!

I hope I can offer you something, too.


Mary, I know that about me.. I am a pondering sort of person, questioning everything. That is from largely having had an isolated life.

At the same time, do you realize what you are offering.. and the necessity of it?

There are times when I come to your site to look at those pictures... and they are just so stunningly beautiful!

They are a refuge for me. And I value them very much. If it's okay with you that others may benefit from one of your coping mechanisms, I will continue on. :)

You do offer me your thoughts when you come here.. and I know you've been by.




Sarah said...

That seems eminently reasonable to me! In fact, I cannot imagine doing otherwise. With one exception -- when I had a blogroll (not for very long), I had a couple of blogs on the list for which comments were always closed. I read those for the quality of writing and did not expect to find community there (I wouldn't have been able to anyway!).

meno said...

I like the cream colored background.

Yeah, sometimes people need to come off the blogroll. I am much more careful about putting people on than i was at first. I want it to be a reflection of the blogs that i read, not a list of people who are willing to list me back.

Flexible in good.

Cecilio J. Morales, Jr. said...

I'm a little confused.

1) I still don't understand what this tagging is all about. I don't know how to tag and I don't have the time or inclination to learn.

2) My blogroll (I didn't know it was a blogroll until you guys started using the word) is just a list of blogs I actually read. Not every jot and tittle, but with some periodicity. This is not a statement about my feelings toward the bloggers as people.

3) I have been surprised by what draws response and how little interest is aroused by some things I think are important. I vacillate between pleasing the readership and pleasing myself, but I don't think I've written a comma merely to please.

4) I like many of the things you say. I've been meaning to ask about your five precepts (I'm aiming to develop ten). I've googled around without finding them, but then I'm not a good googler.

5) Integrity R Us is the Chani motto from day one, insofar as I can tell. I admire that.

thailandchani said...

SM, thanks. I just hate to seem like a score-keeper but when something is totally out of balance, something's wrong.

It's a hard one. It really is.


Meno, thanks. :) I like the background, too.. although it shows as pale yellow to me.

My blogroll will definitely become reflective of those I read.. and those who read me.. and that there is some level of interaction.

I don't want to be linking people anymore either.. just to raise their Technorati scores.. unless that is something I agree to openly.

Not saying I won't... but it's not my objective in being here.




Anonymous said...

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."
-- R.W. Emerson

If you don't change your mind, you probably don't have one.
-- Me.

KC said...

I've been feeling torn about my blogroll and its purpose. It seems exclusionary and I don't mean it to be. I'm toying with the idea of getting rid of it entirely. I've taken some off it only because I don't read them anymore, but I'm not sure if this needs to be publicly done. I don't know. Thinking about it.

thailandchani said...

Cecileaux, I know. I am confused about a lot of it, too. :) I will definitely offlist you and explain it ~ as I understand it.

I will do a post about the Five Precepts soon, also.


Emily, amen! :)


KC, I did it, I guess, the way I would want it done if someone was going to remove me.

My blogroll is definitely tied in with my recommendations to others. It's only exclusionary in the same way my recommending a book would be exclusionary. I don't do it for politics or anything like that. They are just people who I would like to see others read.

The reason why I did this publicly is so that there is no question of why I made the decision I did.. or why I implemented it.

I got really hurt by someone removing me without notice.. no reason.. just sudden silent treatment.

I won't do that to anyone else.

So.. while it might actually look a bit tacky for me state publicly why I've removed someone, ethically I still think it's best. That way,I am not creating mysteries.


Additionally, I do see a certain shift.. a group dynamic taking place.. I've been ousted from the herd... and have decided to take back ownership of this site. I've given in to too much peer pressure.. and offered too much loyalty. With the exception of you and the others on my blogroll, it has not been returned.




Snoskred said...

I'm in the process of making positive changes in *one* area of my life at a time. Right now it is getting more organised.

That's because if I want to start this business, I have to be able to spend a bit less time on the things I do now.

So I have been going through my google reader list - where I had 215 subscriptions - and deleting ones I no longer felt a connection with if they have not linked back to me, removing those I no longer read from my blogroll, sorting them into more reasonable groups, putting the blogs about blogging into a different list so people can find them easily. It is a huge, time consuming task - but it is also taking a great weight off my shoulders. It feels fantastic. I can only imagine it felt the same way for you?

Blogging is not a static thing, and you have every right to change your sidebar when you like. If you put it into html, it is a LOT easier to do it than with the blogger links widget. You can open the html code in a text editor, change and move things as you like, then upload your changes once to Blogger. You can also keep a copy of blogs you have deleted in that text file, ready to add back in if you do change your mind later - as sometimes happens.

As I write this I now have 179 subscriptions and I still have some huge folders I haven't looked at yet. There are some blogs I am just *itching* to delete. Some bloggers I linked to because I was reading them but I did not necessarily enjoy their blogs as much as other people did and they had a lot of links to them.

One thing that amazed me as I went through the list is how many of these people were linking to the same people, all A list bloggers. Who wants to be a sheep like that? I've never linked to some of those blogs, nor have I ever read them, though I have heard much about them.

I want to also create a new, smaller section of blogroll for up and coming new reads of mine, bloggers who have just begun the journey. I've been giving out a lot of link love, and some of those new bloggers deserve it a lot more than blogs linked to by every man and his dog. I used to have a new blogs I am reading section, but I took it down and just put them into the main google reader list. How can anyone find them there?

When I add a blog to the list, I always mention it in my weekly wrap up - so regular readers can check out that new blog if they want to, and it gives an extra link to the blog from my blog, which helps the blogger out with raising their backlinks. *I* feel that is only fair - sort of as repayment for the enjoyment I get from their blog. Whether they link back to me is not the point, I'm doing it because I enjoy their work. But on all things with blogging, to each their own. ;)

A couple of things about your sidebar while on the topic - you don't have a section for posts that explain the five precepts (actually I never read a *post* where you did that though you have done it many times in the comments, it might have been in the two months before I started reading? If you didn't do it, you should do it and maybe one post for each precept, a week of precepts, perhaps?) and a bit more about you so that people coming here for the first time, if they are intrigued, can do a little bit of deeper reading to understand you better.

I think that is a good thing especially for someone who is not "mainstream" like yourself, to be able to give new readers a reference guide to understanding you better. 5-10 posts is a good number for that kind of thing, but to each their own, as usual. ;)

At the same time, like I said the other day, we bloggers on blogger need to be backlinking to more of our older posts so the spiders don't miss them. How long is it since you've read through your archives yourself? I'm in the process of doing it as a part of getting more organised, which I want to write about today if I have time.. It certainly is a trip back in time, very enlightening and easy to see how far I have walked down this blogging road.


mitzh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aliki2006 said...

I admire your principles--and how you so clearly and eloquently state things...

I like the space your blog offers, I always feel relaxed and soothed when I stop by! But it's your blog and yours alone. I'm glad you're reclaiming your space!

Snoskred said...

I forgot to mention - well done on the changes to the blog! ;) The header graphic fits like a glove now. Much better! ;)

Do you know what it reminds me of, reading it today?

There was a Seinfeld episode where Kramer adopted a section of road, and he decided to make the lanes wider, so it was more "luxurious" to drive on.

Reading your widened main box, it feels luxurious to have the words stretch out a little more, more words on a line than before..

Does that sound crazy, or does anyone else feel the same?


mitzh said...

Being honest and taking a stand to what you believe is truly remarkable.

You may hurt other people and not a lot can say I do understand you. But at the end of the day when we look ourselves in the mirror and be able to say I'm happy, I think that is truly what matters.

I've deleted my first comment just because I see some errors and I feel uncomfortable reading it. I'm sorry...

Girlplustwo said...

as blogging is an extension of our hearts its necessary to do what we need to do be authentic.

i know for me there are a few on my blogroll that don't know i exist but i have them b/c i like their spots. many others are reciprocal. but as i've moved to google reader i find myself using that all the time.

thailandchani said...

Snos, I especially like your idea of introducing the new bloggers. That really feels "right".. ethically and otherwise.

Are you a fast typist? :)


Aliki, thanks. It is my space.. but it is a space I create for the enjoyment of those who come by, if that makes any sense.

I had to reclaim it though.. definitely. I was spending far too much time feeling bad about certain things.. and the only way to fix that is to do exactly what I advise others to do: locate the problem and solve it.


Mitzh, thanks for your support, too. I can't say I'm "happy" about it.. but I've accepted what is. What "is" may not always be what I want.. but I have to deal with it.

Either I can step up to the plate.. or I can mope around forever because things started going south.


Jen, yes.. that's very true. Authenticity is sometimes won the hard way.

I use GoogleReader, too. The blogroll is mainly to recommend blogs to others.




heartinsanfrancisco said...

We all have to change our minds as our circumstances and awareness change.

My blogroll is mainly for my own convenience -- it's easier to click on somebody's site when the link is right in front of me.

I list people who don't list me on theirs, and sometimes I get a first comment from someone and when I follow their link home, I see that I am listed on their sidebar. It's always a surprise, but since I have no traffic counter, it's possible they've lurked for awhile before commenting.

I think that of all people, you are most invested in honor. I'm glad you've decided to insist on reciprocity as you deserve far better than leftovers, no matter how tasty.

crazymumma said...

ah Chani. Its the thought in you I always enjoy. The ability to separate the wheat from the chaff.

do what you need. whichever way it goes you will know it is honest to you.

Anonymous said...

As with Heart, I have my blogroll for my convenience. Names have come and gone and I've never felt bad about it. As I read this, it seems you were very conflicted doing so. Part of the blog world and its anonimity allow for changes. I read certain blogs that rarely if ever read my blog. What they write captures me, what I write isn't for them. I'm okay with that because I'm still getting something out of it. There are only the obligations we put on ourselves here.

No matter how you look at it, you are asserting your intent. That is never a bad thing.

Liv said...

Whew! Well, I'm just glad that I'm still on after this crucial first round of blogroll cuts. You know how tenderhearted I am about NOT being on someone's blogroll. It makes me feel unloved. Unloved makes me feel sad. Sad makes me depressed. Depressed makes me lonely. Lonely makes me blog. Blogging makes me.....

oh, hell, I'm just funnin' with you, girl!

thailandchani said...

Liv, I just glanced at the computer as I was walking by.

You've captured my attention.

Blogging makes you....

what? :)



(I'll answer the rest of the comments in the morning. I've been on this site so much today, it's makes me want to .. um...


blog... um...

arrrrgh! :)

River said...

Been on all day?? Get some rest!!!

thailandchani said...

Susan, thanks for the confidence. I use Google Reader and Technorati favorites. The latter is horrible because the page loads take long enough for me to take a 2-mile walk.. but Google Reader is fast. I can glide through the sites I read.

The blogroll is a list of recommendations, people who really write well and have interesting things to say.

I don't expect reciprocity by linking.. but if I make the effort to interact, I prefer the same effort be made on my behalf. There is an implied connection there.

There are some sites where I lurk.. but I just lurk. There is no link.


CM, thanks. That is what I try to do.. even when the wheat is something I'd rather not see. :)


Reflecting, yes, I was very conflicted. I'm not a person who takes much of anything lightly.. nd having recommended someone for nearly a year.. well, it means something to me. I've never been very good at letting go, I guess. There comes a point though.. when it's just obvious, blatant, glaring.. and I'm an idiot for *not* letting it go.

Attachment can be a destructive thing. :)




Snoskred said...

90 words a minute. ;) It's a talent, what can I say? ;) hehe I don't actually touch type exactly as they teach you to do it though, I don't believe I use the right fingers for the right letters. It's just because I've been typing so much for so long, I got real quick at it.


Liv said...

happy? neurotic? exhausted?

thailandchani said...

Liv, I think it makes me all of those things. Just when I think I have a handle on it, some curve ball comes along and I realize I don't know sh*t! LOL

Blogging. Yeah. The curse of this generation. Should it be a forum or a journal? Should it be in bold print or italics? Form over substance?

Who knows? (and sometimes who cares?)



Julie Pippert said...

I don't have a blogroll per se any longer. I have my favorites plugged in to my reader. I wait for my reader to poke me and say, hey one of the blogs you like has NEW CONTENT.

I am just selfish enough to feel upset that some of my faves do not ping LOL.

I learned a lesson after being hit over the head with a ton of bricks a few times and that is that sometimes, it's just not a fit.

A is not wrong or bad, B is not wrong or bad, and possible A and B once went together, but things changed and they no longer do...but that's doesn't mean there is a right, a wrong or a fault or a blame. Things can stop fitting without a bad. KWIM?

Glad you got your insight and are moving on to a better comfort level.

Ravin' Picture Maven

Anonymous said...

Greetings Chani,

I don't have anything for a blogroll, nor did I realize it was such an important thing, but as I see from your bulky yet thoughtful post and all such replies that followed, I now see more value in it. I hope you don't mind me adding your blog's link to my amateur blog's blogroll--no obligation to add me to yours--at least not until I've earned it. he he he. btw thanks for your giving me my first comment!

Jao in Samut Songkhram

blooming desertpea said...

Our lives are in constant change and progress. In the present we travel on this specific road and every day we encounter crossings where we meet people. Some of them will decide to travel with us, others will just pass. We all change but we don't all change in the same way and at a certain point, we might need to part to persue other needs - it's natural thing.

Therefore, as it is natural that circumstances change, one needs to adapt to those changes. Look at the plants - they need to be trimmed to be able to blossom in the next season. That's what you have done - you have trimmed your blogroll to be able to move on to the next chapter of your life. It's natural.

Anonymous said...

I don't know where, or even if, I "fit" anywhere in the blogo-sphere. I'm drawn to discussions about a variety of issues, I enjoy philosophy and psychology, but i often feel out of my depth because a) I don't always have a well formed, or well informed opinion, and b) I (feel I) don't have much on my own blog to offer in return.

Of course, there are mommy blogs, where I can offer some practical expertise, but hell, I live that 24/7 and I don't need a lot more of it. I have come to care about the moms and kids, but honestly, I feel most alive when I am NOT WITH MY CHILDREN. I most decidedly do not go all gooey over them.

Then there are the emotional, depressed, struggling souls with whom I totally relate, but are not healthy for me to read.

When new bloggers show up in the same places I frequent, I feel insecure. Or I feel pressured to start reading them so I won't miss anything good, even though it's impossible to read everything good that's out there.

It's hard to find a balance.

thailandchani said...

Snos, that is amazing! I type around 70WPM ~ and also in a non-standard manner. I type with three fingers on each hand. Especially now that my left side is weaker than my right, that affects the typing as well.

Still, it does amaze me that you can type so fast and really condense a lot of information in a reasonably compact way. Have you ever considered doing technical writing?

You'd be bloody good at it!


Julie, how do you get Google Reader to notify you? I have to go to it.. It never tells me when there's something new unless I log in to it.

And of course you're correct. None of this is about finger pointing or blame. It's just an explanation of my process on this topic lately.


Jao, you're welcome. :) I will leave more comments.

A blogroll is kind of what you make of it. It can be an indication of your blogging community. It can be recommendations from you to other readers. It can be anything you want it to be, I guess.

Do you have your posts filtering into Thailand Voice yet? I came to you through Matt's blog.

It would be a good way to let people know you're there. :)

Seeing your signoff.. "in Samut Songkhram" is making me so homesick! I want to be signing off "in Khon Kaen"

I know. I'm such a melting, sloppy girly-girl when it comes to that place. LOL


DesertPea, I know that intellectually and totally get it. I'll admit that I have some trouble letting go. It's hard for me.. and I need to work on that.


De, I could tell you.. really... It is hard to find a place to "fit", especially when we don't "fit" in any mainstream demographic.

Sometimes when I read about people's family lives and so on, I feel completely alienated. I have to look at other people's comments to get a frame for my own. I simply don't relate. At the same time, I want to honor everyone's writing. You know, I want them to know I was listening.

It's hard. Honestly. Hard.

In that regard, I can understand how you would feel about being most alive when you're not with your children.. or having trouble finding a place where you fit exactly.

What I wish though is that you could see the value you bring to these forums. Maybe we can never see our own.

What I see is some mom sitting at home in front of her computer, feeling ashamed and alone because there are times when she wishes she could just be herself again.. exclusively.. without having to take care of children 24/7.

She sees your blog.. sees this comment... and realizes she's not alone after all.. and she doesn't need to be ashamed.

Can you tell me.. honestly.. that there's no value in that?

I think we would disagree if you don't see that .. because anything that brings us together is always better than the things that divide us. Anything that keeps people from being isolated can only be positive.




QT said...

Chani - I appreciate your honesty, but I really don't think you should have to explain why you change "the roll". I just feel like whatever the reasons are, if they are good enough for you, that is the ONLY person they need to be good enough for. :)

Anvilcloud said...

I think I've said it before, but I have given up on keeping a blogroll -- for now.

thailandchani said...

QT, it's not that I feel like I have to.. .just that I did make a commitment here. In that regard, I feel like it's necessary to explain the change. Doesn't mean I won't *make* changes though. :)


Anvil, I know a lot of people are going in that direction now. It does eliminate the appearance of being political.. that's for sure. :)




Hel said...

You are wise.

And wonderful.

And I learn a lot from you.

thailandchani said...

Hel, ... likewise. :)



Susanne said...

Like snorkskred wrote, blogging and blogs are always in flux. I have this feeling that Americans worry a little too excessively about excluding people. Not that I find exclusion to be of any moral value, but I think being human we can't help it. One can't include everyone.

I like blogrolls because when I started reading blogs I was desperately seeking for interesting blogs to read. The blogrolls on blogs that I liked helped me find those.

My list actually is my bloglines list. That's what I read. There are other blogs that I read occasionally and they are not on the list. There are a lot of wonderful blogs out there but I can't read them all, and I can't link to all of them. Nor should I. Or you.