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 Post subject: Re: Suggestion - The Elvish Section
PostPosted: February 6th, 2012, 12:02 am 
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As someone who has used the Elvish namelists--albeit not for a translation of my own name, but for an RP character--I must say I never thought of the namelists as scholarly. I really thought it was just for fun, and I think that's what most people use them for. Fun. When I named my character Indilwen (which is given in the namelist as the equivalent of 'Lily', I chose it because I liked the name and because it fit my character. I am one of the people who was drawn to the forum because of the Elvish website and I think that accurate or inaccurate, Arwen's work should be praised because she took the time to do it when she didn't have to. At the end of the day, it is a fictional language and I for one use it to have fun.

In regards to the IPA--is it really needed--speaking specifically about the Elvish lines from the movies? I feel as if the pronounciation guidelines on the movie Elvish is already as clear as it can possibly be--and accurate, too, unless someone wishes to correct me on that front. Even with the IPA, I think we should include the pronounciation as it already exists for those who do not know it. IPA is incredibly useful, but the only reason I even know it is because I am an actress and I learned it in a college-level theatre class. We can't expect everyone to know the International Phonetic Alphabet, or to teach it to themselves just to learn how to pronounce "Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima."

Just throwing in my two cents.

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 Post subject: Re: Suggestion - The Elvish Section
PostPosted: February 6th, 2012, 9:06 am 
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dreamingfifi wrote:
That's why I wrote a page explaining what the symbols stand for. What would a "layman's IPA" look like, anyways?

The sound clips are a good idea though. Time-consuming, but a good idea.

Yay, it makes the website popular! But that doesn't change the fact that it is absolutely atrocious translation work and shouldn't be available to people. It doesn't matter that it was done 'for fun'. It's being taken as real, honest, scholarly work by people who don't know any better or how to read the fine lines. It's insanely annoying that people keep bringing their "Elvish names" to me that are no better than smashing your forehead on your keyboard. It's sad that I keep having to say, "No, read the block of text at the top! It's all pure *beep*, and the author knew it was!"

I could put together a small list of good translations that are steady and likely to age well - no reconstructions and only boring English names - no surnames and try to keep as many of them genderless as possible (Too many names can be used by either sex), and what language would we choose and which dialect? But you'd have to wait a while. I have way too much on my plate to whip this up at the moment.

In the meanwhile, the namelists should be taken down.


Like we've said before, Arweb built this entire website on her own when she was about 15 years old, and she did the best she could with the Elvish section. No one's EVER claimed that this is scholarly work. Frankly I think you're being rather rude about this, and while I understand that for you, who knows a lot about this, it's frustrating, but most of the people who come here, don't know as much as you and so they don't care if it's a bit wrong.
It's like Arabella said, she chose the name because it sounded pretty. That's what people are looking for, and that's what we should let them have.

I don't care that you think the Elvish section is atrocious, unless/until you or someone else can put together something better, what we have right now stays. JF's idea of clearly labeling what is old, "amateur" stuff and what is new and up to date, is a good one. And until we can get the entire section updated, I think that's what we should do.

Sorry I'm being bossy, but someone needs to be

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 Post subject: Re: Suggestion - The Elvish Section
PostPosted: February 6th, 2012, 3:53 pm 
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After the Revival A-U went from being.. what did we call it.. benevolent dictatorship, was it? And to something closer to a democratic rule where things were talked over as long as it took and then finally decided upon in somewhat peaceful consensus.

This is clearly one of those moments where too many parties are of different viewpoints and therefore not all can be right and have their way entirely as they wish for. But we must solve this somehow - and in the friendly spirit that A-U is known for.

So the options I see now are some more discussion until we reach a solution that we all can live with - even though it's not perfect. Or we could have a vote: have the parties present their views and arguments and have the members vote on either one.
I'd prefer if we could find a common solution though. :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Suggestion - The Elvish Section
PostPosted: February 6th, 2012, 4:18 pm 
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I think if we all had a discussion we could come up with a compromise. We're all friends here, after all. A-U is a forum/community first and a place to learn Elvish second, IMO. Or to put it in a slogan: "Come for the Elvish. Stay for the friendship." :)

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 Post subject: Re: Suggestion - The Elvish Section
PostPosted: February 6th, 2012, 4:23 pm 
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I'm all for peaceful discussion, but this one doesn't seem to be getting us anywhere. And if we're looking for a compromise, JF suggested a very good one, but it was shot down in flames.

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 Post subject: Re: Suggestion - The Elvish Section
PostPosted: February 6th, 2012, 5:30 pm 
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Yeah, I have to say so far there has been no other suggestion apart from the one I gave, that will keep everyone happy. Happy in as much as "what I would like to see on AU, will be on AU".

The fact that something will still exist on AU, that you might not like, should not really be too much of a problem if you have the thing you do like. If that makes sense. :P

Personally, I don't care about Elvish being on AU full stop, but it would be selfish of me to suggest we remove it, just because I would rather it wasn't there.

I think voting would take too much time, and would only further the debate. It seems quite clear to me, that we have a new and improved Elvish section, which will also keep certain pages of the old Elvish section, for old times sakes and for the benefit of people who want to smush some words together.

Then people have a choice. They can choose to delve into the proper Elvish, or they can laugh and ridicule the "old" pages or actually have a jolly good time choosing a nice name for their cat/racoon/pigeon.

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 Post subject: Re: Suggestion - The Elvish Section
PostPosted: February 6th, 2012, 5:35 pm 
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Arabella Baggins wrote:
In regards to the IPA--is it really needed--speaking specifically about the Elvish lines from the movies? I feel as if the pronounciation guidelines on the movie Elvish is already as clear as it can possibly be--and accurate, too, unless someone wishes to correct me on that front. Even with the IPA, I think we should include the pronounciation as it already exists for those who do not know it. IPA is incredibly useful, but the only reason I even know it is because I am an actress and I learned it in a college-level theatre class. We can't expect everyone to know the International Phonetic Alphabet, or to teach it to themselves just to learn how to pronounce "Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima."


I very much agree with Arabella here. When I said "layman's IPA," I meant something like what is currently up on the site, revised to the correct pronunciation. Yes, dreamingfifi, you explained what the symbols meant but so many people can't be bothered to reference the pronunciation and then try to apply it. They see gibberish symbols and immediately say to themselves, "Nevermind, I'll find somewhere else where it's more clear."
Now, I'm not saying IPA isn't extremely valuable and shouldn't be up on the site at all, I just want it to be as accessible as possible; I really can't stress it enough. I think the difference between us is I and much of the rest of us are looking at the site on a macro-level, while you're looking at the site on a micro-level, specifically regarding the elvish section. Speaking for myself, I definitely want the elvish to be as accurate as possible and for A-U to be a reliable source for it, because I have enormous respect and love for Tolkien's work. And in this regard I can't tell you how valuable and indispensable your expertise is! But, I also don't think it's popularity is something to be scoffed at. Our main goal is to bring people to the A-U community, and to make it a prosperous and wonderful website, and the elvish section is a means to that end. With the links you're adding to much more in-depth elvish sites, people will have a path to explore elvish more if they want to. And I think A-U's biggest contribution to the Elvish world could be as an entrance point for people interested in learning elvish, since it is a popular site for elvish.

Would that be a possible compromise? To make A-U a starting point for people wanting to learn elvish?

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 Post subject: Re: Suggestion - The Elvish Section
PostPosted: February 6th, 2012, 8:41 pm 
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Just going to add my 2p in here...

I found this website purely because of the Elvish section. (And that was many years before I joined the forum.. The website was using layout 3.1 when I first found it; I have no idea what the date was though. ) I love it. The names lists are amazing. I can read, I do have a brain. I knew straight from the start that they weren't "proper" Elvish as I read the paragraph at the top. At no time was Arweb trying to pass her work off as being correct. It's clearly stated at the top of the page!
Regardless, I'm always using the name list. Pretty much all my character names come from there.
(Actually, if there's a possibility that the names lists are going, would it be OK if I saved copies of them for future reference? Nobody actually reads my stories because I refuse to let anybody read them. I just like writing even though I'm rubbish at it. :teehee: )

I'm not really sure what I'm trying to say... I actually think I've forgotten...

Anyhoo, on to my next point. Please, please, please, pretty please can some other form of pronunciation guide be used as well as that IPA thing? Pretty please? One of the reasons I kept using this site was because I could get pretty sounding names with a pronunciation guide I could use.
And I just know some people will probably be thinking that I'm lazy and/or stupid because I can't understand IPA. I've tried to learn it but it makes no sense. Not to mention the fact that all the courses I've found teaching it wanted money and I can't afford that just so I can figure out the pronunciation of a few names. I've tried learning it by reading it but it's impossible to know what sound a funny symbol is supposed to represent when you only have a written guide on how to pronounce it. It's like going around in circles! Plus, add my dyslexia and dyspraxia to the mix and it's a recipe for disaster!
That's one of the things I love about the Elvish section on here, it was accessible. Yes, I do use CoE but I struggle with their guides. (They have IPA and then some strange thing with apostrophes that make no sense. ) AU is the only site I've found with a pronunciation guide that I understand.

Feel like I need to justify myself again because reading this thread has just made me feel inadequate. For pronunciation from Tolkien's actual works I have the LotR audiobooks, the Silmarillion audiobook and The Tolkien Audio Collection. The later is a collection of recordings of Tolkien himself reciting his work (some from the Hobbit, some from LotR and some from the Adventures of Tom Bombadil) and also Christopher Tolkien reading sections from the Silmarillion. They're my go-to reference guide for pronunciation in the books. Also, using them I'm actually writing my own pronunciation guide that I can understand (but it's only for material from the books.. Mainly character names).

Anyway, basically what I'm asking, as somebody who struggles a lot with this sort of thing, can we please not make AU inaccessible? One of the things I love about this place is that is so accessible and friendly, and, most importantly not intimidating. There are plenty of brilliant language resources on the internet but a lot of them have the downside of feeling very intimidating and sort of elitist.

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Last edited by Seren on February 7th, 2012, 3:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Suggestion - The Elvish Section
PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 1:47 am 
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Frack, this exploded while I was off dealing with RL.

To those who think I'm being mean: I'm not. I'm being matter-of-fact and definitely using strong language, but I'm not being mean.

Wording my criticisms strongly doesn't make my criticisms of the existing Elvish sections any less valid. Trust me.

What is wrong with you guys????? It's like you worship Arweb; like I'm witnessing some sort of personality cult here.

I don't care if you worship "Arweb". I really don't care how old she was when she started this, because I was 14 when I started investigating Tolkien's languages and diving into linguistics. Age, to me, DOESN'T MATTER. It's the quality of the work that matters. Just because she was young when she wrote it doesn't mean that it isn't amateurish crap. My first attempt at translation was amateurish crap, but the difference is that I accepted criticism and strove to better my understanding of the languages and my translation-skills. Arweb clearly didn't. She slapped it together, then left it to mold.

What bothers me even more about all this is that you guys are treating Tolkien's lifelong obsession with language as a cheap gimmick, a hook to reel people in. I realize that most LotR fans don't care that Tolkien wrote the story just so he could have a character say, "Elen síla lúmenn’ omentielvo." If you guys want to treat it like a gimmick, then fine. Let's have it be respectful to his work, and as correct as scholarly possible. That's what I'm trying to achieve here. Let you have your little gimmick that you don't care about, let the Tolkien-language community not have this place as a thorn in their side, misleading people about the way Tolkien's languages work.

The way that Arweb did the phonetic transcriptions is utterly useless. Let me show you. We'll do the first phrase in the phrasebook.

Mae govannen
My go-VAH-nen

Why is the M capitalized?
Is the Y pronounced like the Y in "sylvan", "easily", or "type"?
Is the O pronounced like the O in "lone", "row", or "long"?
Is the A pronounced like the A in "ache", "spat", or "father"?
Is the H pronounced like the H in "happy" or "challah"?
Is the E pronounced like the E in "geology", "eight", or "red"?

Now, a few errors in the transcription:
The AE diphthong has a different sound that the /aj/ in English. Sindarin has both diphthongs, actually.
The Sindarin O is a mid-back-lax-rounded vowel, a sound that many English speakers lack (West American dialects, to be precise).
Why is the H replacing the N? Sindarin has doubled consonants between vowels, unlike English.
"Mae" is also missing stress-marking.

The reason that you can't use English orthography is that a lot of Sindarin phonemes (sounds used to tell the difference between words) are different from English ones. I actually made a chart comparing the two. You can see it in the textbook I wrote: http://your-sindarin-textbook.realelvis ... .php?id=11
The boxes with blue backgrounds are the sounds that occur only in Sindarin.

Now, the pronunciation section I wrote for you is just the description of IPA, and in fact, a good deal more than the original section. I can see building some sort of interactive pronunciation guide for Sindarin and Quenya. I've actually always wanted to build one for my own website, but I've never had the time or recording equipment. A really good pronunciation guide would actually be something that could draw a lot of people to this place. It could be a real contribution to the Tolk-Lang community!

It would be a lot better draw to A-U than a website that makes Tolkien-language enthusiasts cringe. People could actually link to this place when referencing a useful tool, not "You won't believe this *beep*! They're trying to use the word 'wide expanse' as a name suffix! It's like they're calling anyone with the name 'Raphael' fat.
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And check that out: Lúthien would be shocked if her name was supposed to be masculine! And look, it's like someone put Sindarin and Quenya into a grinder, fed it to a herd of ducks, and collected the droppings."

Now THAT was an insult.

I have a small mountain of linguistics homework to do, so I'm off. I'll check back later to see if your delicate sensibilities have been so offended by my audacity to not worship your most holey queen. You know, YOU asked ME to remake your elvish section. If you won't take my advice, don't use the material that I made for you, and I'll count the time I put into bettering it wasted.

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 Post subject: Re: Suggestion - The Elvish Section
PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 2:46 am 
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Phew.

I'm not a Mod, so I guess I can leave them to the Moddy stuff, which will no doubt be happening sometime soon.

I will just say this though - I have been a member of this community for over 7 years. We've been through a lot together and we've worked together on many things. Not one of us has ever not had to compromise on something. Be it we've held our tongues over a debate, or a surrendered our ideas in favour of someone else's, or had to compromise on our ideas.

We are grateful that someone such as yourself has the knowledge and the time to help us re-do the Elvish section, but on AU, we compromise if too many people want different things. And I'm sorry if this offends you, but that is how it works around here because we're a community and we care about the opinions of our fellow members, whether we like the opinions or not.

We had a coder on here who wanted to revamp our entire coding system. He was quite adament about doing that, and was no doubt as skilled in his field as you are in yours. We talked about the pros and cons of doing this, and he conceded that at the moment, his plan would not be sustainable. In other words we compromised.

Now I could understand your arguments if we were trying to rip apart the work you have done for us - but all we are asking is that we keep some of our stuff on AU, and because it offends you and goes against your own feelings of what should and shouldn't exist in cyberspace, all this bad feeling has started.

Slagging off the creator of Arwen-Undomiel.com, really isn't a cool thing to do just because some of us happen to like a part of the site she created.

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 Post subject: Re: Suggestion - The Elvish Section
PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 4:07 am 
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I'm already compromising a lot.

I took time away from rewriting the Exilic namelists on my own website - a project already half a year in its development, and so time consuming that I can't hope to have it done by summer - and my very heavy load of coursework and rewriting Chapter 8 of my textbook. When I came here, I came to have fun discussing lore and keeping my translation-skills sharp and fast. I wasn't expecting to be given this immense task on top of it all.

I worked hard to fix the original content, which added nothing more than nonsensical pronunciation guides to the texts. I did nothing but fix that for a week, and I have the Unicode for IPA symbols I used memorized now.

When you guys pointed out that some people can't read IPA, and wanted sound-clips, I agreed. I even offered to help coach whoever ended up being our voice actor/actress.

When you guys whined about loosing the phrasebook, I gave you a fun little phrasebook that I built for people who want to post Elvish on their websites. I even modified the IPA transcriptions to match the transcriptions I did for you.

As far as compromises go, I've been quite generous. I point out that the namelists and wordlists are beyond saving, and you guys kick up a fuss, going on about how much you love your *beep* names and how perfect and wonderful your "Arweb" is, AND I OFFERED TO BUILD YOU A NEW SET OF NAMELISTS.

For that, I get called rude. I may say things matter-of-factly, but perhaps it is you guys who are being rude.

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 Post subject: Re: Suggestion - The Elvish Section
PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 4:33 am 
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I'm just going to say this once.

Everybody involves in the revival is a volunteer. You are not given tasks to do. Nobody has held you at knife-point demanding that you do all this work. You've chosen to do it, you volunteered. You cannot be having at go at us because something you've chosen to do is impacting elsewhere on your life. If we're such horrible people and you don't want to do the elvish sections anymore then there is nothing forcing you to carry on doing it.

I am NOT trying to get you to stop doing it. That's not what I'm saying. Just that I'm objecting to you implying that you've somehow been coerced into doing this.
"I wasn't expecting to be given this immense task on top of it all." You weren't given it. You volunteered to do it. I think somebody asked you if you wanted to help out and you said yes. You're making it sound like it's been demanded that you do it when it really hasn't.

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 Post subject: Re: Suggestion - The Elvish Section
PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 6:36 am 
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Your friendly neighborhood insomniac here to say I think everyone needs to take 10,000 deep breaths and calm down. We'll never come to a solution if we fight,and its not what the forum needs. As Boromir told Aragorn, "We are here for a common purpose." We all want to improve the website, and strengthen the community. We can only do that by working together, not by fighting against each other.

*goes off to try to manage three more hours of sleep*

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 Post subject: Re: Suggestion - The Elvish Section
PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 6:38 am 
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Hravan wrote:
I'm just going to say this once.

Everybody involves in the revival is a volunteer. You are not given tasks to do. Nobody has held you at knife-point demanding that you do all this work. You've chosen to do it, you volunteered. You cannot be having at go at us because something you've chosen to do is impacting elsewhere on your life. If we're such horrible people and you don't want to do the elvish sections anymore then there is nothing forcing you to carry on doing it.

I am NOT trying to get you to stop doing it. That's not what I'm saying. Just that I'm objecting to you implying that you've somehow been coerced into doing this.
"I wasn't expecting to be given this immense task on top of it all." You weren't given it. You volunteered to do it. I think somebody asked you if you wanted to help out and you said yes. You're making it sound like it's been demanded that you do it when it really hasn't.


Even more than choosing to do it, you've DEMANDED that the Elvish section be rewritten, and you've clearly decided you're the only one skilled enough to do it. Since day one, you've been rude (yes, rude!) about everything concerning the Elvish section, and you've treated Arweb and all the rest of us like inferior children who have to be given their way sometimes to be appeased.

I have yet to see you agree to a compromise. When I asked that the namelists be kept, or if that is so impossible, that new ones be written when someone has the time, you moaned about how that will take such a long time and it's such arduous work. Well, then, how about we do what JF suggested and keep the old ones in a clearly labeled section, where there will be no mistake about how this is the work of an amateur! I really don't see why this is such a big problem!

Basically, what I want to say is, I really do think it's wonderful that you want to help with the Elvish section, but I wish you would be nicer about it, and respect what has been done in the past. I'm not asking you to pretend like it's great work, I'm asking you to understand that not everyone is a linguist, not everyone has the time or the will to study Elvish like you have, and the Elvish section on this website is fan-made, and no one has ever claimed anything else.

EDIT: @Arabella: Playing nice doesn't work if only one part cares to do so. I'm tired of trying to be nice to someone who has no interest in doing the same to me.

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 Post subject: Re: Suggestion - The Elvish Section
PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 7:40 am 
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Nevertheless, play nice we must.

As a moderator, I want to remind everyone that not only do we strive to respect our fellow members, it's in the rules to do so. Therefore, any insults or degradation will not be tolerated.

This is an official warning. Further argument will result in the locking of this thread and temporary bannings.

Sound clips seem to be a good idea that we all agree on. Can we start from a point of agreement and work on that? Would anyone volunteer to give a try? I would-- I know my laptop has a microphone on it-- but I can't roll r's.

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 Post subject: Re: Suggestion - The Elvish Section
PostPosted: February 7th, 2012, 1:56 pm 
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I appreciate everyone's contribution here because the reason we all bother to post here is that we care for the site and the A-U community. But Like Taur said, we can not tolerate a heated argument. When many people can have a say and no one is a formal leader the process does take time - and we will all have to compromise. Those are the rules we accepted when we agreed to change the game.

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