Weekly Update: 11/24/2003|
Author: Witchvox Central
Posted: November 24th. 2003
Times Viewed: 2,965
No Turkey, But Lots of Trimmings.
(Witchvox Networking v8.0 due out next week)
by Wren Walker
Last week, I wrote a piece about building bridges between the past and the future. This week, I am pleased to say that our hard-working webweaver has been very busy doing just that. In addition to working his regular 50-plus hour high-stress job and making sure that the weekly TWV updates go on as scheduled, Fritz has been coding his fingers to the bone on a new and greatly enhanced version of the networking section. And the good news is, it is almost ready. In fact, it should be up and running by next weekend.
The TWV Networking section has been viewed over 48-million times* since we initiated the first contact pages back in late January of 1997. Today, it accounts for over 48% percent of our total site traffic. The super-geeks in the Pagan/Heathen communities will undoubtedly find all of the stats and figures and analysis details fascinating -- and we here at TWV are constantly looking at these data mines in order to better serve you up the information that you want and/or need -- but that is not what I am going to talk about here. (So all of my fellow computer-challenged brethren can breath that sigh of relief now!) The gory code writing details, the hours of research and development, the occasional outbursts of profanity and the innumerable brain-storming 'porch chats' in the end really come down to this one very important element: It's all about YOU.
Technology is a wonderful thing and from the beginning, the Pagan communities flocked to the Internet like those proverbial ducks to water. And for good reason. In that magical dimension known as cyberspace, we can swiftly exchange information, calibrate actions and collaborate on cases. What we have come to call 'The Pagan Net' now consists of tens-of-thousands of community sites, Pagan shops and service organizations, message boards and perhaps millions of individual Pagans and Heathens. And it is that human dimension that has always been of the most interest to us.
TWV has often been criticized for not taking an active role in steering or leading the Pagan communities. Certainly, given the popularity -- and some would say, the 'power' -- of The Witches' Voice web presence such a role is one that many -- especially if they were in a similar position! -- would find appealing, if not downright irresistible. But our vision remains -- as it always has been -- fixed upon one thing and one thing only. You. And to providing you -- as Pagans or Heathens, as coveners or solitaries, as activists or news junkies or backyard herbalists -- the news, information and networking contacts that you need and/or want in order to help you do whatever it is that you choose to do.
And so, this newest and updated version of the networking sections is another step in that process. It will be very user-friendly. You will be able to update, edit and remove your own listings. Your information will be posted immediately (with the exception of photos & notices). The categories will be better defined and expanded. You will be able to upload and attach a picture of yourself along with your personal profile. And that is just the beginning...
We have had many requests for more specialized areas -- such as a poetry corner and an artists' section -- and after this networking conversion is up and stabilized, the same hand-coded technology will be utilized to make these a reality. For while we could have put things such as these into place a long time ago if we had used some pre-fab utilities available, we wanted to customize these features. One size -- or pre-fab code -- does not fit all and perhaps no where does this philosophy hold more true than in the Pagan communities.
Pagans and Heathens are smart. They are creative. They are expressive. And they are constantly changing the present and challenging the future. We trust that we here at TWV will continue to share and celebrate this experience with you for many years to come. You are our inspiration, our hope and our people.
And it is we who are following you...
* Based on Full Page requests of 48,449,160 [as of 11/21/2003 AM]
** Projected launch of wotwV8: 12/1/2003 -
Submission Forms will be turned off this week starting 12/23 PM
New Tradition Profile...
Composed by: St. Hugh, KSC, KNS
"If religion is the opiate of the masses, then Discordianism is the alcohol, caffeine, and something-or-other of the lunatic fringe."
-Somebody Important at Some Point
Anyone familiar with the Discordians knows the difficulties inherent in describing a vibrant aspect of Paganism that claims to "have no definition." With one of the major trends of Discordianism being one of decentralization and disagreement, is there a way to adequately describe it? To be true to Discordia (the Latin name of our primary Goddess, Eris), I would have to say 'yes, no, and maybe'.
To start with, there are scores of Discordian cabals across the world and, thanks to the Internet, Discordian writings and ideas are proliferating. The two most famous Discordian groups are POEE and the Erisian Liberation Front. Even though many people look at the plethora of humorous writings and dismiss it as a religion, Discordians take their humorous traditions very seriously...to a point... [Full Article]
Witchcraft in Real Time
by John S. Madziarczyk
I remember a particularly impressive incident in an ethics class I took. It was at a small community college in a conservative town in Northern Florida, and the class had just gotten onto the topic of gay rights. The professor put forward a little thought experiment to the members of the class who were conservative on the issue: if you had as neighbors a gay couple, but you could be assured that they weren't actually having sex or engaging in any other sort of forbidden acts, would you still have a problem with them being there and living together?
It was a very good question, and it illustrates the difference between and the problems of rights and perceptions very clearly. Perceptions in ones favor are easier to get than are recognitions of rights; in the example above all the perceptions may have been in the favor of anti-gay conservatives, but still the fundamental right to have such a... [Full Article]
Where Do We Stand? Rights and Perceptions of Pagans
I had to look pretty hard at both the words "rights" and "perceptions" to decide what it is about this question that makes me want to comment. The answer I've come up with is surprisingly straightforward to me, and it all has to do with the concept of community. But first I want to define these words: rights and perceptions.
If one can reasonably define rights as "that to which one is entitled," the next question in my mind becomes: Who has the authority to entitle? If one can define perceptions as "an idea, a notion, cognition, or discernment," one must then ask what factors contribute to the perception? Both of these concepts being highly subjective, it would be difficult to quantify how much progress has been made towards the rights of Pagans and the perceptions of us in the world at large. And yet so many of us revisit this many times over the... [Full Article]
Do We Really Have Religious Rights?
by Carol Bridwell
I remember what it was like in the early 90's to be Pagan. Especially living in the heart of the Southern Baptist Bible Belt. It was absolutely horrible. I was constantly told that I was a devil worshipper and that I was going to burn in hell for not believing in Jesus Christ. Well, I don't believe in the devil, so how can I be a devil worshipper? And I do believe in Jesus Christ, I just do not believe that he is all that Christians make him out to be. After leaving the state of Georgia where I was raised and moving to Alabama I had high hopes that life for me, as a Pagan, would be easier. It was to a degree. Not just because of the change in area, but time had moved forward a bit and tolerance of religions other than Christianity was becoming more and more common. I found myself in the... [Full Article]
The Red Book of Appin
by Dawn Jackson
From Campbell's "Tales of the West Highlands"
"ONCE upon a time, there lived a man at Appin, Argyllshire, and he took to his house an orphan boy. When the boy was grown up, he was sent to herd; and upon a day of days, and him herding, there came a fine gentleman where he was, who asked him to become his servant, and that he would give him plenty to eat and drink, clothes, and great wages. The boy told him that he would like very much to get a good suit of clothes, but that he would not engage till he would see his master; but the fine gentleman would have him engaged without any delay; this the boy would not do upon any terms till he would see his master. "Well," says the gentleman, "in the meantime write your name in this book." Saying this, he puts his hand into his oxter pocket, and pulling out... [Full Article]
Be Nice or I'll Punch Your Lights Out
by Dawn Jackson
Once upon a time - okay, about six months ago - I was sitting outside a local music club with the club owner and a few of her friends, enjoying the evening air, as the booked gig played inside. The conversation turned to my singing and music writing, and how I missed it, since I had become so ill with a congenital syndrome. My club owner friend commented on a time when a guitarist I was working with - who had worked with Robert Plant, at several of those days-long charity shows, in England - had sent one of our band's tapes to Mr. Plant, and he had responded with a number of suggestions. One was that my voice should be more central, because there was a Kate Bush quality to it that he liked. And yes, at the time it happened, I was insufferably, godawfully smug about it, deeply needed to be slapped, and my friend and I... [Full Article]
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