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End of my one-month commitment

Posted By: Timothy Chow
Date: Tuesday, 29 April 2014, at 12:42 a.m.

On March 27, I committed to re-engage with BGO for at least a month. That month is now up. I have decided that I will continue to engage with BGO, but on a more limited basis.

The signal-to-noise ratio on BGO this past month hasn't been bad, but there's still too much noise for my taste. I've avoided much of it by avoiding certain threads entirely, but unfortunately (what I consider to be) the noise sometimes intrudes on otherwise interesting threads. By contrast, the noise on rec.games.backgammon has been essentially nonexistent since the only surviving troll, Murat, has gone dormant. As I've found that posting positions regularly to two different sites is more work than I care to do, I am going to direct most of my posting of positions and analysis to rec.games.backgammon. For those are interested in visiting r.g.b but who want something more satisfactory than Google Groups (which admittedly sucks since to view the diagrams you must either click on "show original" or copy and paste the content elsewhere), badgolferman has offered to help people with setting up the Xananews reader. For the iPhone/iPad, I've heard that NewsTap is an option, but I've never tried it so I can't vouch for it.

I still expect to post positions to BGO occasionally, and similarly to respond to others' posts occasionally, but more selectively than I have this past month. I will keep an eye out for posted positions that receive few if any responses, because I know it is discouraging to post a backgammon position and receive no feedback. By the way, let me take this opportunity to encourage everyone to take a shot at responding to such posts as well. I suspect that many BGO readers think something like this: "I have no clue what's right here, and I'm such a weak player compared to the Giants here that there's no point in posting my thoughts." I would push back against this attitude, for a couple of reasons:

1. The Giants don't always have the time or inclination to respond to every post. So a lot of posts get little or no response, and this is discouraging to the poster, who is less inclined to post again. By posting your thoughts, you help promote an encouraging atmosphere on the forum.

2. By posting, you force yourself to organize your thoughts about the position. This is an extremely valuable learning exercise. It doesn't matter if you're wrong; in fact, it's probably better if you're wrong because then you'll have explicitly articulated a weakness in your game that you can address. On the other hand, if you're right, then you will have reinforced your understanding of a part of the game.

3. If you're still not convinced, and are worried about embarrassing yourself by saying something stupid, remember that the vast majority of positions posted here are positions that the poster got wrong, so there's really no shame in getting it wrong as well. Stick's Donkey Corner is a perfect example; there's really no reason why you shouldn't take a crack at one of those problems.

The last thing I want to mention in this post is that I realize that I've been delinquent on working on Nack's retro puzzle. I will spend some time on it this week for sure, and encourage others to try it out too.

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