At 4:33am on May 26th, 2007, Tom Cain said...
Can I just ask a question here people? Call me an old fart who's completely in touch with modern technology, but is friendship on here a two-way street? By which I mean, if I accept someone as a friend of mine, do I become a friend of theirs, too? Or do I have to go down on bended knee and plead to be put on their dance-card?

It's kind of an interesting philosophical point, too ... can you have a one-way friendship? (It's the emotional equivalent of one hand clapping, maybe ...)

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Since I was one of the first people on here, perhaps my philosophy was different. At the beginning, I saw the friend invites as just a way to say, "Nice to see you here, welcome." After all, who wants to join a forum and have nobody acknowledge them or talk to them? So the first few days I tried to hit the invite when I saw new people coming on, particularly if I knew them in some fashion.

But the busier it got, I couldn't keep up with it. And I know I don't always follow up with notes or anything, because there aren't enough hours in the day. I was trying (as requested, and happy to do so) to help spread the word about the site and it was a pretty time-consuming venture.

Unfortunately, I think Ning has some ridiculous procedures in place - or should I say lack of procedures? This is no fault of Daniel's - I've taken it up directly with Ning, with no great success. When you send messages through the private message system, if the recipient has it set up to get it as email they automatically get your email address. Your Ning membership is available to all Ning networks, and I've had friendship requests from people not on Crimespace. I find that completely unacceptable. We already have advertisements on the pages, but now that I know people can get my email via the message system I'm pissed. My philosophy is sort of give everyone a chance until they stab you in the back, but because I didn't realize responding to some annoying messages meant the people were getting my email address some people just went ahead and added me to mailers...

And if you want to piss me off, spam me. You go on my "WILL NEVER READ" list in a hurry. I hate spam.

I don't usually check the person's page when accepting, precisely because of the people who were on here just to sell something. I figure there's no reason to be rude and just accept. Unfortunately, some people have abused the contact lists by sending repeated invites to join alternate networks etc.

So now I'm officially... leery. I almost wish the friend thing wasn't there at all. I try very hard to make personal contact if I can. I hope it doesn't make me seem antisocial, but, well, what can you do? I can't even keep up with reading all the threads on here.
One of the features in the Ning pipeline is a setting to block friend requests from networks that the member is not part of. Hopefully this feature will turn up soon. Until then, you can always check which networks a member is part of by clicking on their friend request. I routinely reject these requests and block them if they try again.
Well, here's one thing I do know ... it's really bad e-tiquette to start a conversation on a forum and then just disappear, so that no one who bothers to reply gets a proper acknowledgement. So the first thing I'd better do is say sorry to all you kind folks ... and thanks for trying to answer my question.
My excuse is that it wasn't actually 4.30 am where I live - don't worry Jordan, I'm not THAT sad and lonely! - but pretty much bedtime, so I just threw my message-in-a-bottle out there, wondering what would have washed up in the morning. My feelings about friendhsip (in this context) are pretty unformed and confused at this point. On the one hand, I take a childish pleasure in people saying they want to be my friend. On the other hand, I have an equally childish fear of asking someone else to be my friend and them saying no - mummy, I'm shy! But also I'm intrigued by the mixture of intimacy and anonymity that comes with life on a forum. I've spent the past four years as a regular - oh God, you have no idea how regular - poster on a forum for my favourite football (soccer to you American heathens!) team West Ham United, which is one of those clubs that attracts insanely disporportionate amounts of attention, drama, chaos, tragedy, farce and general soap-opera madness, relative to its near-total lack of success. Anyway, 3,000-odd posts in, I've got to know pretty much all the other regular posters, in terms of their online opinions, but because there's no 'friendship' mechanism I have no idea of them as people. And I just can't decide ... do I prefer it that way? Or is it nice to get some genuine connection, too? I think my feeling is that I'd rather get to know international crime-writers than English football fans. And if you know anything about English football fans - and their assorted homicidal outbursts around the cities of Europe, you'll know why that is!
"I have an equally childish fear of asking someone else to be my friend and them saying no"

Oh, me too! It took me an age to pluck up the courage - and there are still people whose writing I love that I haven't asked in case they think I'm some sort of cyber-stalker. I tend to ask folk I natter to on the forum, although I don't keep in touch with people as often as I should. Mostly, I do like Donna (see comment above). Never a bad thing, I reckon, she's a fine role model!
This CS forum is unique for its 'mixture of intimacy and anonymity' as you so aptly put it. I find the social aspects and discussions not only fun but interesting as well. And it sometimes gives me an opportunity to cut loose with a group I feel comfortable with. For a new writer like me, I'm learning AND having a blast doing it. But most importantly, I think at the next writers conference, I'll know some folks that'll hoist a cold brew. Priceless!
Picking up Julie's point, can I just say to one and all that if I've accepted you, please feel free to accept me back, even if it hasn't happened automatically ... and Jordan, I completely agree. I really like the thought of turning up at harrogate, or next years CrimeFest and knowing that there will be at least some people there to whom I'm not a total stranger ... Cold brews, of course, are always welcome - and so much better when not drunk alone!
Well, I guess the problem with doing a book about homicidal English football fans is that you'd have 30,000 suspects for any particular murder, which is kind of tough for even the most brilliant detective! Actually, I'm doing my fellow-supporters an injustice. We've cleaned up our act a lot over the past decade and the english are much, much better behaved than they used to be ... with a couple of exceptions ... which I won't go into in case there are any Liverpool fans on this forum! (Sorry, to everyone else, that's an in-joke/insult/whatever for my fellow football-obsessives). Going back to the book idea, I figure the fact that Thomas Harris switched from sport to cannibalism as the MacGuffin in his thrillers tells us something ... though I'm not entirel sure what ...
I think when you post on your blog you have the option of moderating the comments by approving them first, or just letting them post unmoderated. It's somewhere below the posting interface.
Huh. I send a friend request to people I know from other lists and such. I do the same when I begin to feel I know someone through this forum. I have also picked on people who I don't know personally but whose books I've read and enjoyed. When accepting friend invitations I don't typically go to people's walls and say "thanks for being my friend" because that just seemed odd and a little spammish. So if I didn't thank you and you think I'm a jerk ... uh, thanks for being my friend!

Jim, it's possible to restrict viewing access of your blog, photos and videos to 'friend's only'. Otherwise, I see it mostly as a bookmark for people you find interesting or know in some form.
Hi Tom.

I, too, believe friendship should be reciprocal. Fortunately, so does Crimespace. If I invite you to become my friend and you accept, I automatically become your friend in kind. Would that life were the same.

If someone invites me to be their friend, I always accept. One can never have too many friends.

Hello, if some one asks to be my friend I always accept. I agree with LJ's sentiments.
Having said that I haven't been as vocal as I would like on the discussions - a mixture of time and shyness.
Tom - I'm pleased to see a Hammers fan at the bar. Untill I was 11 I lived near Upton park and used to be able to hear the cheers (or groans) from the stadium.


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