On March 31st, 2004, the liberal radio network Air America Radio began broadcasting to the world. I was listening that first day as were many others out there. To me, the whole event was very exciting. At last the left was going to get a voice!
Someone started a channel on IRC and posted the channel name and location on the www.majorityreportradio.com
blog. When I saw the link I joined up. During those early days there were just a few of us in the channel, people like leftnut and EmeliusBrowne and fancypantselitist and myself. But we believed in the AAR show and the channel, and soon more and more people started to show up.
The channel grew and eventually we put up a few blogs like this one, and the overall experience has been very good. Many people have come to the channel and the blogs over the past 17 months and have had fun, learned things, and had a few laughs. This channel only exists because of the hard work and dedication of a number of people and I would like to thank those people now.
To all of you who have visited our channel, who have chatted and/or listened, to those of you who have read our blogs and/or added to them, I would like to offer my profound thanks.
The heaviest work for this channel has been done by our channel operators. They have learned the commands of the channel, they have learned how to keep the channel safe, and they have made newcomers feel welcome. In addition many of them have spent countless hours working on blogs for the channel and for that I am also very grateful.
While our channel operators have been the foundation of this channel, the channel itself would have been quite barren without our channel regulars. These are the people who gather regularly in our channel and interact with everyone else. They bring in news stories that they hear about and discuss many different ideas. You channel regulars are the lifeblood of our channel. Thank you every one for sharing your ideas and fun with us.
Finally, we have the occasional and new visitors. You also add greatly to our channel. Some people are very busy with life and can only stop by from time to time, but when they do, they certainly add welcome input. I salute these occasional visitors. Thanks for squeezing us in when you can. To the new visitors, I say that we were all new here once, and I hope that you find the channel as interesting, fun and rewarding as I have since it opened.
I want everyone to know that I read every article that is posted on our blog. I read them slowly and I really think about them. In addition, I read quite a lot of what is said in the channel. I don't read everything, because unlike the old days where I could leave my nick in the channel for a week at a time, these days undernet seems to love to boot me off, so I don't read it all, but I read enough to get a feel for what is going on and to help me get to know people better.
I am telling you these things for two reasons. First, I know that when you post a message to a blog or say something in channel, you are from time to time going to wonder just how much people care about what you say, and you will wonder if the words you say will stick to someone and have meaning, or whether tomorrow they will be thoroughly forgotten. Just to make it clear, I will always do my best to read everything posted to our blog, and I will always do my best to pay attention in channel when I am there. Now some things will come up. My phone might ring or I might run and put a pizza in the oven, but I will do my best.
If my nickname is in the channel and it has AFK at the end, which means I am "Away From Keyboard" I have that there because I am either away right now, but want to be able to read what is said later, or I am being pulled away from the keyboard so often that I cannot be sure I will be able to pay close attention to what is being said. It is my way of saying "I'm not ignoring you, I'm not really able to pay much attention right now"
But I like to leave my nick in the channel whenever I can so that even if I am busy at the moment I can catch up later on what is being said. Also, when I am running around, I like to be able to glance at the channel from time to time to make sure noone is screwing with it.
So, going forward, where should the channel and the blog go from here? Well, I would like to share my vision for them with you. If you disagree with it, feel free to comment on it or post your own response. Just message me if you need help with that.
Anyway, while I have learned tons from our channel and blog, the thing that I found most valuable about it was the camaraderie that I got from it. I loved getting to know other people and to have them learn a little about me. I have loved sharing a laugh with other people.
So while our channel is aimed at political discussions, my goal is to allow people to be able to talk about anything. I don't want to limit what we discuss in the channel, other than the sensible limits in our channel rules. In other words, it is still not ok to bash other people in the channel over and over. And remember if you want to talk about yourself, awesome, but be aware that this channel is built for discussions, not monologues. That means, if you are going to talk about yourself, or go on about any other subject, you should also be prepared to listen. This channel should be about sharing, meaning sharing ideas, laughs, war stories, or whatever. But the channel is not here for someone to try and browbeat other people into their way of thinking.
You want to have an argument with someone--that's fine, but be prepared for them to fight back.
This channel is about freedom--Everyone's freedom. You have freedom to talk, but also the freedom to listen, and thanks for listening now.