Times and Seasons has historically hosted an open thread for comments on each session of conference as that session was being broadcast. We’re trying something new this year.
I’m posting this as a bit of notice to our readers, and in an unofficial attempt to explain.
I say unofficial, because we haven’t quite finished discussing this issue. But I did bring it up yesterday to make sure that as a group of bloggers we weren’t stepping on each other’s toes. To my surprise, we didn’t see much enthusiasm for these threads.
Let me give an example that think might explain why.
In one ward I attended, I sat behind a very nice couple who had a somewhat odd habit — they talked during the sacrament meeting. They weren’t loud, or necesarily rude, but if you sat in the bench immediately in front of them, or immediately behind them, it was distracting. You heard every little thinkg they said about the meeting and how it related to their lives.
Given Sister Lifferth’s talk today in the morning session of conference, you’d have to say that their practice is irreverent.
Now, I don’t want to say that Sacrament Meeting is the same as General Conference. I’m not one of those who think that I need to get in my Sunday best for General Conference. Nor do I think its a bad idea to do other activities while listening to Conference, so long as those activities don’t distract.
Personally, I can’t do some activities and actually listen. When my six-year-old asks me questions, its easy to loose the thread of the talk I’m supposed to be listening to. I can’t do some computer tasks, including reading hundreds of comments, and listen as carefully as I would like. So I’d rather not monitor a comment thread while conference is going on.
Others of my co-bloggers have said that they don’t care for the types of comments that sometimes show up, and I agree that they sometimes seem off-topic and pedestrian — after this morning’s session I read comments that talked about someone’s combover, and how another person who happened to be on camera was licking his fingers. Amusing? yes. Anything wrong with the comment itself? not necessarily. Helpful to me as a consumer of General Conference? NO.
I don’t want to make too much of the content of comments — obviously what is worthwhile to some isn’t useful to others. For me, its distracting when I’m trying to get something out of the talks.
I’m also wondering more and more if the immediacy of blogging during the sessions is worth it! What do we gain by making comments during the session that we miss by waiting until afterward? I do think that the comments say a lot about the commentors and the way that they react immediately to what is being said. But do the timely nature of the comments add something to our understanding?
I don’t want to make it seem like the above viewpoint is universal or final. We are certainly open to suggestions and reasoning that might make us, as the bloggers here on Times and Seasons, change what we do. If my reasoning above is wrong, please tell us. We’d love to get your opinions and feedback.