Adrian Cirstei just made one of the proposals discussed in two previous posts (here and here) come true. He opened the forum:
Will it work? It depends on us. I think we all miss a (physical or virtual) place where we could discuss. Mailing lists are great, but due to their very form, they are rather meant for different purposes (e.g., announcements about conferences or publications, people looking for articles,…). A forum has the advantage of having many different threads, remaining there (whereas mailing lists are in themselves in perpetual flux…who has ever answered to an email of the month before?), being open to interlocutors who are all on the same level (in this sense, it is even better than a blog…although I'm still open to the possibility of a multi-authored blog).
Which are the advantages of the present trial?
- Adrian Cirstei is an excellent IT manager (I hope he doesn't mind…I really admire his ability to make vague proposals become solid realities)
- We are a little bit older and maybe we learnt out of previous mistakes/failures
- All the South Asian scholars I am aware of, keep on lamenting the absence of contacts among us
- All the South Asian scholars I am aware of, keep on writing emails to their friends when they do not know how to solve a problem. However, they do not always have a friend who is competent about any problem they might have. And friends are always busy. A forum might solve the problem and bridge offer and demand
- Mailing lists often run the risk to be most of all a chance for "showing off". Hence, younger scholars (or even just shy people) may prefer not to participate to such a show. On the other hand, one browses a forum because one wants to read about a specific subject. A forum is not meant to be read by all, hence, it is read by interested people
I'm sorry to keep on writing so to say "metaposts" about what we should discuss in a blog, why there are no Indological forums and so on. What do you think? Are you still sceptic about the idea of a community of South Asian scholars?