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Author Topic: The Witches' Voice Closing Web Site in Late December 2019  (Read 5006 times)

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The Witches' Voice Closing Web Site in Late December 2019
« on: November 21, 2019, 07:05:52 am »
From The Witches' Voice web site:

Quote
Notice 11/15/2019: The Witches' Voice Inc will be retiring the witchvox.com website in late December of 2019. Its time has come. If you have any articles or poetry posted here please collect/copy them to your computer*. Over the past couple of years site traffic has dwindled down to a few dozen visitors/posters a day. In anticipation of site retirement we stopped taking any sponsorships donations on 7/1/2018. Next month we will pull ALL data offline and safely archive it. The extremely active Witches' Voice facebook page featuring Spirit news and information will remain as an online presence.

We thank those you that supported this site over the years. You have changed the world.

In Your Service,
Wren Walker, Fritz Jung, Peg Aloi and Diotima Mantineia

It sounds like Facebook has killed another major web site. :(
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Re: The Witches' Voice Closing Web Site in Late December 2019
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2019, 12:06:48 pm »
From The Witches' Voice web site:

It sounds like Facebook has killed another major web site. :(

That's a great shame.
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Re: The Witches' Voice Closing Web Site in Late December 2019
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2019, 06:38:50 pm »
From The Witches' Voice web site:

It sounds like Facebook has killed another major web site. :(

You'll never take us alive, Facebook!

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Re: The Witches' Voice Closing Web Site in Late December 2019
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2019, 09:36:24 pm »

It sounds like Facebook has killed another major web site. :(

That stinks. Every pagan space I've seen on FB has been a major cesspit.
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Re: The Witches' Voice Closing Web Site in Late December 2019
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2019, 10:16:54 pm »
You'll never take us alive, Facebook!

I like this place because I'm not forced to feed the Zuckerbot information.

Even when I was just beginning to learn about Paganism, I'd venture onto Witchvox. Gonna miss it. Kinda sad.
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Re: The Witches' Voice Closing Web Site in Late December 2019
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2019, 07:04:40 pm »
That stinks. Every pagan space I've seen on FB has been a major cesspit.

Every space I've seen on FB has been a major cesspit. I do not like the way Facebook operates. It is not conducive to long-form discussion, nor for civility—the combination of the two (which IMO is needed for sensitive topics like religion) is basically impossible there.
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Re: The Witches' Voice Closing Web Site in Late December 2019
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2019, 10:04:28 pm »
Every space I've seen on FB has been a major cesspit. I do not like the way Facebook operates. It is not conducive to long-form discussion, nor for civility—the combination of the two (which IMO is needed for sensitive topics like religion) is basically impossible there.

I'm in a couple of small tightly focused private groups with strong moderation that are fabulous (and a couple of not so small, but with really active moderation) - but those are precisely the ones that random person browsing for options isn't going to find, you know?

And it's particularly structurally awful for 'what events are going on in the next couple of months I might want to go to' or 'what smaller groups are out there doing things that I might want to talk to'

I was at a meeting tonight where we were talking about this, and how to help get the word out about both witchy stuff we're doing, and stuff other people are doing, and we're poking at what it would take to provide that kind of info (on a larger scale than one person already is) for the metro area, but ... even that is a 'how do people find this thing' problem.
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Re: The Witches' Voice Closing Web Site in Late December 2019
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2019, 11:17:17 pm »
I'm in a couple of small tightly focused private groups with strong moderation that are fabulous (and a couple of not so small, but with really active moderation) - but those are precisely the ones that random person browsing for options isn't going to find, you know?

And it's particularly structurally awful for 'what events are going on in the next couple of months I might want to go to' or 'what smaller groups are out there doing things that I might want to talk to'

I was at a meeting tonight where we were talking about this, and how to help get the word out about both witchy stuff we're doing, and stuff other people are doing, and we're poking at what it would take to provide that kind of info (on a larger scale than one person already is) for the metro area, but ... even that is a 'how do people find this thing' problem.

I have a couple questions.

Where do you see this going in the near future? Do you think there will start to be more off FB pagan/witchy type sites that come into existence to fill that need?

I've had a heckuva time trying to locate local stuff due to the FB wall. Interesting to hear about how this occurs in other regions.

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Re: The Witches' Voice Closing Web Site in Late December 2019
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2019, 11:22:50 pm »
Where do you see this going in the near future? Do you think there will start to be more off FB pagan/witchy type sites that come into existence to fill that need?

That was part of what we were chewing over! (The meeting was for launching some in-person discussions, late this coming spring, probably.)

I feel like there's a big gap in general for finding groups and face to face meetings outside of Meetup.com (which does well for some things, but has costs that don't work for tiny groups or those that are things like covens open to new members, but not looking to regularly include strangers.) The problem is, maintaining resources like that is time consuming and difficult and open to abuse in all sorts of ways.

We were all clear that we don't like relying on Facebook as the solution for about ten different reasons, though.
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Re: The Witches' Voice Closing Web Site in Late December 2019
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2019, 01:40:34 pm »
Every space I've seen on FB has been a major cesspit. I do not like the way Facebook operates. It is not conducive to long-form discussion, nor for civility—the combination of the two (which IMO is needed for sensitive topics like religion) is basically impossible there.

Yeah, I agree in part. I have found that 90% of Facebook is junk, but if you search, you can find a good 10%. I have found a few good Pagan Groups that are well moderated and are friendly. It is not conducive to long-form discussion like the Cauldron, but that is alright with me. It is what it is.

I go to Facebook for a bit of friendly fellowship, and it works fine for that. If I have a more thought based idea to post, I can come here and get good responses. So, Facebook and the Cauldron are separate things, but both have their merits.

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Re: The Witches' Voice Closing Web Site in Late December 2019
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2019, 02:31:08 pm »

Where do you see this going in the near future? Do you think there will start to be more off FB pagan/witchy type sites that come into existence to fill that need?

I've had a heckuva time trying to locate local stuff due to the FB wall. Interesting to hear about how this occurs in other regions.

I have mixed views on Facebook.  I got into it, many years ago, to keep in touch with an old rl friend who was going through some medical stuff (she told me she would be sharing more pics/info on Facbook, so I started using it to stay up to date).

I live in a fairly small town, with a slightly bigger town nearish, in the bible belt.  When I moved down here, I met the local Pagans through meet-up (after searching online for local Pagan groups), and they had a Facebook, so I got more active there.

I work pretty hard to keep my Facebook feed upbeat, I have a ton of friends (I pretty much accept all requests, and I've played some games that involved LOTS of friend invites), but have been pretty lucky and only had to block a few people for being creeps (I do screen my friend requests now, but unless your profile is all creepy comments/pics, I'll probably still friend you lol)  I don't interact with a lot of drama/political posts, so most of my feed is stuff I'm into (lots of dice pictures lol) as well as upbeat witchy stuff.

I approach groups kind of the same way.  I'm in a couple of witchy groups that are really fluffy (they amuse me, and sometimes I chime in my point of view, but mostly I just read and sort of giggle to myself), but I have several that are really awesome.  My local group is now split in two, and the town I am in has a great group (the larger group is a bit more splintered, but I still participate there).  I have some very close-knit groups that I love, and they are pretty strict about what can and can not be posted/said.

What I really dislike about Facebook is that I am quite wordy by nature (if you haven't noticed lol), and I love discussions.  I find the majority of Facebook to be quite superficial.  Memes aplenty, but a lack of actual conversation.  I also find it SUPER clunky, like horrible to navigate.  It's really hard to have multiple, good discussions in a group, and even harder to stay up to date on all the stuff you are a part of.

It's not just the witchy world that is struggling (imo) with social media.  I like playing MMO's and recently had a really weird experience with a guild that was trying to run all their organization through discord...it was horrible.  We even made them a forum, but it was like pulling teeth to get them to use it, they just couldn't understand that trying to track multiple conversations (and worse, keep tactical information handy) in Discord just didn't work (especially when there might be over 100 new messages every day).

I do think the world is changing, and some people just don't want the kind of deep discussion that I (and most of us here) like.  There is a focus on pictures and (short) video, just little snaps of life, and no substance.  And when you do put forth content, people can't take the time to consume it.

I know of at least one app for spiritual (in person) meetups, but it's woman-centric (it's designed to help women set up women's circles).  I think something like that might be good for witchy groups as well, but then there are many people who are really uncomfortable giving any personal information online (for good reason, we have many in our area who have real concerns about being found out and how that would drastically impact their life).

I don't think forums are dead, but I do think it takes the right people to make them go.  And I think it's okay to have spaces for all kinds of people, so the ones who just want to share pretty pics can go to social media and have all the likes and shares.  And people who want discussions will find the forums and talk things out.  And people who like both, can do both!
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Re: The Witches' Voice Closing Web Site in Late December 2019
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2019, 04:21:29 pm »
What I really dislike about Facebook is that I am quite wordy by nature (if you haven't noticed lol), and I love discussions.  I find the majority of Facebook to be quite superficial.  Memes aplenty, but a lack of actual conversation.  I also find it SUPER clunky, like horrible to navigate.  It's really hard to have multiple, good discussions in a group, and even harder to stay up to date on all the stuff you are a part of.

So, I agree that some things are more about style preference.

But there's two particular issues that Facebook combines that make it a particularly lousy solution for Pagan networking.

1) Facebook's real name policies and data collection make it a horrible choice in specific

There's several categories here. First, anyone who needs to stay in the closet (for family reasons, professional reasons, etc.), participating in anything may get more showing up in your feeds and on your screen. Joining private groups isn't going to be obvious to other people, but Facebook will collect that data (which may affect ads served, suggested groups, etc.) that someone who happens to glance at your screen could easily see.

And obviously, anything in a public group, or a group where membership is externally visible, will be obvious to other people.

It basically keeps anyone who has significant privacy issues from participating - someone with a stalker, who's been dealing with doxxing or harassment, etc. That includes some varieties of nasty custody fights, employment fights. In some cases, Facebook activity has been used as evidence in denying disability claims, etc. People in public facing jobs (teachers, doctors, lawyers, social workers) may need and want to keep a wall between their professional work and their personal lives for a variety of reasons including direct personal safety issues.

And really, any community that has marginalized people (never mind in the number the Pagan community does) is going to be leaving those people out (and more) by relying on something with a real name policy.

Beyond that, it's also often confusing to have to remember that this real name account goes with this person's Craft name or other name their use in their personal life, but that isn't the one on their legal docs. Especially if the context you know them in is entirely in their personal or religious life.

That kind of mental drain can be especially hard on people with cognitive impairments (whether that's a long-term thing, a thing relating to a medical condition like brain fog, or the fact they've got tiny kids at home and never get enough sleep.)

2) Facebook deliberately mucks with what they show you, in what order, and whether they show you something at all.

It's not just that people will miss stuff.

This makes it ... well, I suppose, people find it okay for casual social conversation.

But it makes it a really lousy choice for event announcements with updated information, making sure people see updates in a reasonable manner, reliably building a community who interact with each other, and all sorts of other things.

It also usually means someone has to invest ongoing labour in bumping posts with important info, moderating posts, or nudging people to the right resources (and usually in ways that take a moderate amount of time, rather than just being able to say something like "Our current events list is at link." or "Events are linked in the sidebar" or whatever.)

Reddit is also often a swamp, but the set up makes it a lot easier to make sure you've reliably seen things, and to have quick and easy pointers to key information in more than one kind of structure. (i.e. sidebar with rules and basic links, pinned post with linked posts with a lot more detail.)

I'm in a Facebook group which has a linked doc with links to relevant high quality posts: they have so many links it has to be in a Google Doc so it's a two click process to get to it, because Facebook doesn't like things with that many links. And they still have moderators actively deleting or closing posts with a "the answer to this is here."

Now, that's a huge group, but it's probably reasonable to assume that an openish networking group is going to get a bunch of people who are sort of clueless about or oblivious to how things work well, and that's going to take people (or a well-designed system) to manage. And it's going to get even more people who join the group to hit on people they think might be attractive, get laid, or gather up people for their own personal fiefdom. If postings aren't managed and moderated, that's going to be a problem sooner or later and the resource either turns into a tool for predators or becomes unusable.

(And that's before we get into some of the backend issues with moderation options for Facebook group mods, which I know bits about from stories, but haven't done directly myself - but there are not, shall we say, highly robust tools that work well for long-term community management and institutional knowledge.)
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Re: The Witches' Voice Closing Web Site in Late December 2019
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2019, 06:13:31 pm »
(And that's before we get into some of the backend issues with moderation options for Facebook group mods, which I know bits about from stories, but haven't done directly myself - but there are not, shall we say, highly robust tools that work well for long-term community management and institutional knowledge.)

LyricFox runs a large animal rescue networking page on Facebook (TSSRA -- Texas Senior Shelter and Rescue Animals)  While Facebooks page moderation tools have gotten much better since she started the page around 2010, they are still very limited and awkward compared to those on ANY of the forum platforms TC has used (Delphiforums, Beehive, SMF 1.x, vBulletin 4, SMF 2.0).
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Re: The Witches' Voice Closing Web Site in Late December 2019
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2019, 02:17:30 pm »
So, I agree that some things are more about style preference.

But there's two particular issues that Facebook combines that make it a particularly lousy solution for Pagan networking.

1) Facebook's real name policies and data collection make it a horrible choice in specific


2) Facebook deliberately mucks with what they show you, in what order, and whether they show you something at all.

(And that's before we get into some of the backend issues with moderation options for Facebook group mods, which I know bits about from stories, but haven't done directly myself - but there are not, shall we say, highly robust tools that work well for long-term community management and institutional knowledge.)

I absolutely agree with your points. I am lucky that I can use my legal name and still be in all my groups, but I do know people who either need or prefer not to.  I know a fair amount of people who use multiple or alternative names on Facebook (they do tend to go through phases in how diligent they are at policing their policies...sadly, for the most part, it feels like they simply rely on Facebook users to report stuff, and they blindly ban people based on reports or some crazy algorithm that says the person did something bad).  I have a few friends who have multiple accounts, and I do have to remember which one to message/talk to (also applies to people with business pages).  That can definitely complicate things a lot!

Facebook hiding stuff is also horrid!  Honestly it's one of the most user-unfriendly sites I use (Instagram is worse for me, especially on the computer, it's pretty much unusable on a desktop).  There are some tools on Facebook, but they change often and with little reason, and even when they are 'working'...they really aren't.  Finding anything is a pain, and keeping up to date on groups is way harder than it should be.

And you are also correct, that it is amplified if you have any personal (mental/physical) struggles.  Again, I am blessed enough that I don't normally have to worry about that, but I definitely spend way more time scrolling facebook trying to see if I'm missing stuff than I need to.  Which I think is part of the point of addictive social media...it forces you to constantly check and see if there is new stuff, and makes it hard to find it quickly so you are forced to spend more time on their site (with their ads...)

I mod some groups on Facebook...but I'm horrible at it, I barely know how to approve people/posts and pretty much don't do anything beyond that.
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Re: The Witches' Voice Closing Web Site in Late December 2019
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2019, 04:22:57 pm »
LyricFox runs a large animal rescue networking page on Facebook (TSSRA -- Texas Senior Shelter and Rescue Animals) 

We adopted our third kitty from an animal rescue following his appeal for his new forever home via their Facebook page.

But I understand the concerns about Facebook generally.
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