This is a publicly visible forum for fans of the Seth material as dictated by Jane Roberts and transcribed by Robert F. Butts, and for constructive discourse on the ideas presented therein.
In early 2008 I set about joining a Facebook group for the Seth material, to surprisingly discover none existed. A few were related, but too broad in scope or zealous in title, and with few members. So I created and named Fans of the Seth Material in an effort to capture our interest and enthusiasm without the implication of strict adherence or devotion, as those do not reflect the spirit of the material.
A few months later an unrelated collaboration began between two well known technical bloggers to improve the internet as a whole with the creation of the world’s best question and answer platform, Stack Exchange. From then unto the present day I became a student of community growth, diligently absorbing the lessons within their weekly podcasts and articles.
One lesson is clear, smaller focused communities grow out of larger (even unrelated) ones, and must reach a critical mass before they can survive on their own. Even though Facebook’s tools were never ideally suited for discussion, as the largest social network in the world it was the ideal setting for the formation of the most active online Seth discussion to date.
Years later, in the wake of the success of Stack Exchange, one of the aforementioned collaborators split and set on a quest to revolutionize discussion forum software as they did with Q&A, and Discourse was born.
Q & A
Q: Why not stick with Facebook?
A: Originally because Facebook’s tools for moderation and spam prevention were inadequate for growth. (Their tools have since improved.) Now for the reasons below.
Q: This is public?
A: Every post here is visible to Google and many visitors arrive directly from a web search. We are breaking new ground.
A: You are welcome to go by your first, full, or a nickname. Your forum profile will not link to your Facebook, Google+, or similar, regardless of how you login.
Q: How does discussion compare to Facebook?
A: Centralized and deeper. Here it’s easy to find a topic, keep track of who is speaking to whom, quote multiple people (try selecting their text) and long posts are more readable.
Q: In content?
A: The prominence of search encourages long running conversations on a subject, unlike Facebook where the same topic is often repeated with no reference to its predecessors.
Q: In length?
A: Facebook is geared toward a long initial post followed by shorter comments that quickly become lost. Here it’s not uncommon for a reply to be longer than the initial post.
Q: In ownership?
A: Our content falls under a Creative Commons attribution, non-commercial, share-alike license. Facebook owns all content posted to it.
Q: How about spam prevention?
A: This Discourse forum software allows a grass roots participation and consensus based moderation system, among other modern features.
Q: Will administrators be similarly hands-off?
A: Yes. Civility is a group effort here, and communities around this material tend to be quite civil, tolerant, and constructive already. This software is only our current platform, we are the community.
Q: Where can we discuss this forum itself?
A: The topic category “meta” is for discussion of the forum itself.