Steve's points are well made - dicussion is an important feature of the community
There are so many things that I enjoy about ActiveRain that when I am doing blogging presentations and I discuss AR, I tend to ramble on about all the tangible benefits. The tangible benefits of Google Juice, Networking, Referral Opportunities and building my knowledge on so many real estate topics are so incredible that I sometimes lose sight of what really makes ActiveRain a special place... the community and our ability to employ conversational blogging in order to take "agreeing to disagree" to a new level.
ActiveRain has grown largely on the premise of conversational blogging. Someone posts an opinion or relays an experience and other members comment on it resulting in an online conversation. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we don't, but in the end there is a an exchange of ideas and usually eberyone walks away with at least a new perspective or a hundred new perspectives on the topic.
This past week there was a great deal of debate, disagreement, flailing of cyber arms and stomping of cyber feet as ActiveRain made some changes. Unless you've been under a rock all week, you know that for many ActiveRainers these changes were not popular.
I watched the debate unfold. I watch the words fly. I even stated my own opinions in response to several people's posts. It was like watching an interesting tennis volley. But through it all, what I liked the most was that the conversational blogging format that I have enjoyed so much for several years now continued to serve ActiveRain so well... and that the AR leadership encouraged the debate even when it some of the opinions being offered were less than favorable to the changes they made!
They get it... the conversation and debate, along with the sense of community that it has created here is what helps make ActiveRain a special place. And it's nice to see that even when it seems contentious, AR leadership encourages this rather than stifle it!