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  1. #1
    Member Roshanna's Avatar
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    Default Is this how it ends?

    So, is this how it ends? Not with a bang, but with word games? Have we hardy few remaining forum users run out of anything dance-related to talk about? Are there just too few of us here now to have good discussions and debates like the old days?

    Meanwhile over on Bhuz, first there was a massive onslaught of spam last week that was never cleaned up by the mods despite being reported by the remaining users, and now the site is down and has been for at least a day...

  2. #2
    Member Roshanna's Avatar
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    Update - I just checked out the Bhuz facebook page, and there is a post saying they are taking the site down for a 'revamp' for a few weeks... But I don't think it was announced on the forum, and the Bhuz facebook page seems to almost entirely be advertising Hannan Sultan's classes/studio now. So who knows if the forum will return... Or if all the old posts, which were such a useful archive, will be lost... I hope not!

  3. #3
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Roshanna, the same has occurred to me re: the games, as if we are just keeping time before the end. I've been around for a long, long time (earlier than the posted date which marks the time we were hacked) and this is the slowest the forums on OD have been.

    The popularity of belly dance is in a trough, just as it has been before, but with some differences. Many, many people have branched off into frankly self-indulgent fantasy performances while insisting on retaining the name "belly dance" for what they do and I firmly believe this has had a deleterious effect on the dance as a whole.

    Yep, I'm talking about everything from goth belly dance to tribal fusion to Shakira. Some folks firmly believed that these were good ways for people to be introduced to the real thing but what it did was get people interested in fantasy dance done in wildly romantic costumes to ridiculously inappropriate music. The market was flooded with festivals, workshops, dvds, YouTube videos, and online instruction too often provided by venders with no more notion of middle eastern dance than I have of black hole physics. Belly dance has been watered down, adulterated, simplified, and devalued, becoming in too many instances nothing more than the latest exercise fad for fitness fiends bored with step classes and Zumba. Truly, when someone enthusiastically tells me belly dance is great exercise, I want to hit them. Would the same person say that playing the flute is great breath control?

    The popularity of Facebook has contributed to the demise of forums across the boards and not just in belly dance.

    A number of years ago, war broke out on OD over cultural differences. A number of long time members called the rest of us racists and took their marbles off to another site where perhaps they were regarded as cultural icons and not mere equals. At the same time, we lost members who were fed up with being called names by what they viewed as reverse racists and took their own marbles elsewhere. It was a bitter time and I half expected Salome to say the hell with the lot of us and close the site down then, but bless her heart, she didn't. It did mark a huge change in interactions on the forum; many of these people were well-educated, talented dancers and dance historians and though I deplored their politics and accusations, I appreciated their knowledge and missed their presence here. Other long time dancers simply aged out of belly dance, mentally or physically, and quietly retired, leaving OD behind, often without a good-bye.

    There are so few of us left and we have been over the same topics many, many times and have little more to say on the subjects. Newbies trickle in but rarely stay. It makes me sad but I, too, feel like not just the OD forums but genuine belly dance in general is close to flat lining. We can't ignore the impact the events of 9-11 and more recent attacks have had on the way that things Middle Eastern are viewed in the western world, including belly dance. I sometimes wonder if all the fantasy crap is a reaction to wanting to belly dance but being reluctant to be in any way connected with its middle eastern origins.

    I don't know. I'm spilling the contents of my head right now and might reconsider later, but in the almost forty years I've been involved in belly dance, I have never experienced the kind of lapses and bastardizations of the dance that I am seeing now. It bothers me hugely to see what is now called belly dance and realize that new dancers think what they see on Idol shows and YouTube are the real thing.
    Last edited by Shanazel; 02-24-2016 at 07:43 PM.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  4. #4
    Moderator Farasha Hanem's Avatar
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    I come here almost every day (missing a day here and there), but rarely see anything new to help moderate. I have a hard time myself coming up with any new question to ask, or topic to discuss, certainly NOT because I'm the "repository of all things bellydance," but simply because I've been too stressed out since late August of last year to really think of anything but trying to keep from going out of my mind. I'm doing my best to get back into the swing of things, though, but yeah, the forum isn't as active as it once was.

  5. #5
    Moderator Zorba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roshanna View Post
    So, is this how it ends? Not with a bang, but with word games? Have we hardy few remaining forum users run out of anything dance-related to talk about? Are there just too few of us here now to have good discussions and debates like the old days?

    Meanwhile over on Bhuz, first there was a massive onslaught of spam last week that was never cleaned up by the mods despite being reported by the remaining users, and now the site is down and has been for at least a day...
    I guess. I sure do miss good conversations about dance - and remember when bhuz was so "fast" that I needed to check it every hour or so or there was a hopeless number of unread posts.

    I put it down to BD in one of its waning cycle coupled with "that most hated website". *shrug*

  6. #6
    Member Jeanne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zorba View Post
    I sure do miss good conversations about dance - and remember when bhuz was so "fast" that I needed to check it every hour or so or there was a hopeless number of unread posts.
    Boy, I miss all that, too. At one time I felt like I really learned a lot from the conversations in the forums, and despite whatever conflicts may have occurred at times, I also felt like there was a genuine community of people who liked communicating with one another. Sad to see it disappear.

  7. #7
    Moderator Farasha Hanem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zorba View Post
    I guess. I sure do miss good conversations about dance - and remember when bhuz was so "fast" that I needed to check it every hour or so or there was a hopeless number of unread posts.

    I put it down to BD in one of its waning cycle coupled with "that most hated website". *shrug*
    "Hated"?

  8. #8
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    I miss the old days too.

    I blame Facebook, it's the default place for people to go on line and blether on about whatever - how many will look for forums if they can get their BD fix in any of the probably hundreds of groups on there? But on FB it feels like today's (or is it this afternoon's?) heated debate is tomorrow's heap of Internet blah, and as far as I can see there is no sense of community like you get built up in forums. No way can I be bothered to get into a heated debate with that many people I don't have any interest in, and not with my real name on it. I can't even be bothered to comment. A lot of the time I can't be bothered to read it.

    IRL I don't think it is getting any worse here just at the moment; people go to classes and I see new groups at haflas. Beginners classes still happen. I just hope that there is enough community activity to keep a few of the new beginners interested enough to join in.

    Posting-wise I feel I have so much less to say because there's not much going on IRL to spark it off. I go to haflas, they are what they are and to be honest I am grateful they are still there even with meh or WTH performances. I go to a lot fewer festivals because i have a better feel for what will be a waste of time and money. Topics i am not bothered about with teachers i never heard of, or anything with megaworkshops in unsuitable venues... not any more thanks. My belly dance world has shrunk.

  9. #9
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    FB and the changed ways in which people interact online is more of a culprit than lack of interest in the dance, I believe. I know there is a lot of discussion on FB but I'm not in many groups because I don't want to be posting using my real name, in a forum where my non-dance friends can see. It's not interesting to them and it's not positive for me, since my real name is also tied to work and it's going to be a lot easier for my employer (or anybody's) to read what I have to say and perhaps make value judgments about them. Ergo you have to be a lot more careful. Others have far more sinister reasons to avoid real-name connections. If you friend a BDer on FB you often find out stuff you don't care for, like they're a gun nut, or they post diet supplement promos or ten thousand photos of their cat every day. My FB policy is to friend only people I have actually met - there are a small few who don't meet those criteria but they are all people I have some kind of relationship with beyond just being a random with a shared interest.

    I don't think FB is good for storing knowledge. But FB offers people the opportunity to blather on about their mucus plugs or other OT subjects, and bellydance, and whatever else they're into, in one handy spot. They can do it all from their desk or their tablet or their phone. And it's a fairly addictive site.

  10. #10
    Member Roshanna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zumarrad View Post
    FB and the changed ways in which people interact online is more of a culprit than lack of interest in the dance, I believe. I know there is a lot of discussion on FB but I'm not in many groups because I don't want to be posting using my real name, in a forum where my non-dance friends can see. It's not interesting to them and it's not positive for me, since my real name is also tied to work and it's going to be a lot easier for my employer (or anybody's) to read what I have to say and perhaps make value judgments about them. Ergo you have to be a lot more careful. Others have far more sinister reasons to avoid real-name connections. If you friend a BDer on FB you often find out stuff you don't care for, like they're a gun nut, or they post diet supplement promos or ten thousand photos of their cat every day. My FB policy is to friend only people I have actually met - there are a small few who don't meet those criteria but they are all people I have some kind of relationship with beyond just being a random with a shared interest.

    I don't think FB is good for storing knowledge. But FB offers people the opportunity to blather on about their mucus plugs or other OT subjects, and bellydance, and whatever else they're into, in one handy spot. They can do it all from their desk or their tablet or their phone. And it's a fairly addictive site.

    I think you are right.

    There came a point where I could post the same business question in the 'biz' section on Bhuz and in the 'Biz of Bellydance' group on facebook, and a few hours or days later I'd have lots of useful replies on facebook, and tumbleweed on Bhuz. Likewise, when I've shared stuff I've written on OD, Bhuz and fb, these days only fb tends to get any level of engagement or interest - the forums, maybe 1-2 clicks and one comment, or something.

    I felt a bit guilty and like I was admitting defeat when I set up my own fb discussion group a year and a bit ago (Bellydancers' Music Discussion Group), although in my defence, it was originally intended to be for a small group of my real-life friends to chat about music, and somehow grew into a quite large thing quite unexpectedly. I do enjoy participating in some of the facebook groups (especially the ones where non-members can't see the posts so I know I'm not accidentally spamming my uninterested friends - this is the case for Biz of Bellydance and also the aforementioned music group, but not for Belly Dance Matters, much as I enjoy the conversations there), but I feel like there is far less community cohesion now, because there is no one central place where everyone goes, and it's easy to end up out of the loop with things if you don't follow the right people or aren't in the right groups. And many badly-moderated groups are just wastelands of spam. The Raqs vs Tribal divide also seems more entrenched now, because there are few shared spaces now (though the forums have also always fallen more to the raqs side of things).

    I wish the forums would revive. The storage of information on facebook is a real problem. The search function isn't great, and if you can't remember which group you saw something in, you don't have a chance of finding it again. I know various group moderators have ways of trying to mitigate the problem (e.g. maintaining group documents with categorised links in), but it's not all that effective, and is time consuming, to keep on top of stuff and not just have interesting things scroll down into oblivion.

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