I believe, but stand corrected if I am wrong, that Catharine and James named this site SURVIVE France Network somewhat tongue in cheek. I believe we would all hope that nobody literally needs to survive this country. However, it strikes me that it is suffering the malaise other sites suffer.
There are various groups of people using SFN. Firstly there are those who like to engage by exchanging views and occasionally debating. On the latter point it seems to be a natural human ‘sport’. Watch any parliamentary session anywhere and one sees that there is much of this in the cut and thrust of debating chamber politics. There are even the less than polite exchanges. Those of us who have been part of debating societies are perhaps accustomed to that and rise to the occasion. We should either know when to stop or be able to do so when asked to stop. One step beyond is fine, but continue and somebody has to throw in the ‘yellow or red card’.
What is problematic, I think (which means me and not anybody else’s opinion) is that like other sites we are now getting people with positions that do not help. We have those who are so pro-French and pro-European that the pro-British get angry with them. Why? If you are in France perhaps it helps to quietly see all sides of any question. But that goes for the other side too. The UK haters really put a nasty nest of hornets in sometimes. There are those who live here but appear to reject French values, language, culture and all else. Sorry folk, this is not where cricket on village greens and tea and cakes is found normally so perhaps wake up and see where you are. Even those of us who appear very pro-France also have enough of our other country past within us to carry a pleasant drop of nostalgia and loyalty but without showing it in anger about what we cannot get because French people do not speak English (or other languages too)! Then we have a few people who seem to be anywhere in the world but here and probably just like chat sites and sometimes miss key points… I am not sure why they use SFN and what they actually contribute.
There are conspiracy theorists, those who are predicting wars, Armageddon and who knows what else who go right off the topic to make their point. Perhaps they are on the wrong site. Certainly much of what they add does not belong in the places they introduce it. They put people who have something to say right off. Then, but of course and to be expected , there are the whingers and whiners. All sites have them and I shall admit to have having left sites because they eventually outnumbered people who wanted to discuss and sometimes debate issues. Too many of them lack humour and when others retort in a ‘funny’ manner get very cross.
Of course, this is only some of it. The Higginsons are clearly not in this for entirely altruistic reasons but want to beat the same economic malaise as the rest of us by earning a bob or two. Fair enough, don’t we all? However, they are usually tolerant beyond what sometimes seems reasonable to some people and James acts when lines are crossed too often and too far very consequently. Sure, I cross the line and get cross, so perhaps this is the pot calling the kettle black, but when asked I pull back. I suspect many of us wish others could do the same instead of persisting against clear opinion and gentle warnings. It takes those of us who blog to make and break sites, please let this one continue by not destroying it with what too often comes across as anger, insult, fantasy or whatever else is perhaps not best placed here. My pontificating ends here and now you may return to whatever gives you greater pleasure, unless you are intolerably grumpy or busy watching invading aliens that is!