RARA-AVIS: Bouchercon Panel Questions for the Rara Avis Readership

From: Brian Thornton ( tieresias@worldnet.att.net)
Date: 20 Aug 2006

Hi Bill and the gang-

OK, so I'm going to Bouchercon again this year, after a one year lay-off (damned Labor Day scheduling last year anyway), and for the first time, I've applied to be placed on a panel. The good news is that I got placed on one. The other news is that it's one called "Online Readers' Groups", and I've been drafted by the Madison Bouchercon Committee to represent Rara Avis in a discussion between representatives of the following groups:

Rara Avis

Lord Peter (I assume this is a forum for fans of Lord Peter Whimsey)



4M (I have no idea what this group represents)

Now, let me just say that I feel very honored and a bit intimidated to be "representing" Rara Avis on a panel. I can think of any number of Rara Avians whom I would have chosen to represent the group before I would have chosen myself. People like Bill Denton, John Lau, Jim Doherty, Al Guthrie, Bill Crider, Miker, Karin Montin, Kerry Schooley, Jack Bludis, Jeff Vorzimmer, Joy, and a host of others spring to mind as truly viable candidates to fill this slot before I'd think of myself.

That said, I'm thrilled to be on my first panel at Bouchercon, and I'd like to do this fabulous list justice. Most of you know me as that guy who mostly lurks but occasionally pipes up with something about Chandler, Hammett, MacDonald, et. al., if he thinks he's got something to add. Others know me as that guy whose posts you delete unread (especially if they're about certain authors whose initials are M.S. or G. P. P.).

Either way, I'd like your input. Since it is the membership of this list that defines it by its presence and by its interaction, I'm going to copy a list of questions that we'll be asked by the moderator for our panel, and solicit your responses. I'd like to be able to at least try to give an answer that represents the diverse membership of this list, than just give my own canned responses.

So if you're interested in taking part in this very informal poll, please feel free to respond to the following questions offlist (don't want to clog the list up with this sort of discussion).


1."Let's find out more about each of the groups represented on this panel. Tell us when your group was formed, how many members it has and what the mission of your group is."

(obviously, I can get most of this information myself, but if Bill Denton were to chime in on it, it wouldn't hurt my feelings. I've only been a member for the past four years or so).

2."Brian, your group is devoted to one aspect of the genre, noir. Even before Yahoo, your group was in place for many years. Again, how have you been able to maintain interest over a long period of time?"

3. "How is your group run? Do you have someone who directs things? To what degree is the group moderated?"

4. "Do you have many authors on your list? How does their presence impact the ebb and flow of the list?"

5. "What do you, as a participant, get out of participating in these online readers' forums?"

6. "What is the trade-off such as time spent reading/responding to posts, involvement in discussions, etc., that you invest for what you get out of it?"

7. "Do you think the members of your group have a 'sense of community'? Are you aware of any relationships that the members have formed outside of the group, either online or off?"

8. "What do you think is the main appeal of your group for your members?"

Also, FYI, aside from the audience question and answer period allotted in this sort of panel format, there will be a further scheduled opportunity for people who participate in these lists to stand and give a brief response about what they like about a part of them, etc., so if your schedule is open on Saturday at 1:00 PM, I'd love to see a bunch of our Rare Birds there.

All the Best-


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