I've been an infrequent Shetlink dipper into-er over recent weeks due to commitments in the 'real' world, but on a recent sojourn through the forums one discussion in particular enticed my attention, entitled "The need for Shetlink"
The inaugural salvo from the malcontent individual who initiated the discussion was "As far as I am concerned this Shetlink is a complete and utter waste of time and space."
Contrariously circular logic I reflected; why would someone use a medium of expression to voice ones opinion on how the medium is itself a waste of time?
But the disgruntee elucidated that if people didn't have the "guts" to post commentary using their real name then their remarks are "not worth reading"
Fair enough, I thought, as many folk choose to use pseudonyms rather than their real names on the Shetlink website, and the pros and cons of anonymity are raised regularly. But do we need to know a persons identity for their opinion to be valid?
I've had many a yarn with people who I don't know from Adam (they may well have been Adam) who have espoused countless cogent convictions. Similarly, I've read many a veridical article by scriveners who offer their name and address but remain unidentifiable to me.
Perhaps it's a Shetlandic "whaa biggit dee" compulsion where name, rank, number, place of birth and parentage are compulsory before credible communication can commence?
In my opinion (the credence of which may depend on how many of my particulars you profess) being able to exchange opinion with others without the baggage of prior interpersonal prepossession can be a more valuable interchange, allowing focus on the subject in hand rather than on prejudgements based on perceived knowledge of participants; phatic emancipation indeed in a community as close-knit as Shetland.
On to a less weighty subject
Is Shetland a colony of chubbers? A recent report suggested that Shetland is the "fattest area of the UK" with 16% of our portly population classed as obese. This rattled the cage of many of the more rotund Shetlink users who are of mixed opinion regarding the validity of these findings, and the definition of obesity. Tavish himself countered these claims by stating "it is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that Shetland is an obesity hotspot". An "obesity hotspot" sounds quite unappetising….
One Shetlink user decided to test this theory against their own dieticianary research. During a recent visit to Solotti's, their visual straw poll indicated that 30% of patrons were obese. That's good enough proof for me.
But while I'm not so sure about the academic stringency of these results, it has to be said that Solotti's BLTs with mayonnaise are the business and they do a mean line of fancies.
So how to tackle this problem? Maybe we need to build more leisure centres in which our corpulent community can work off their surfeit fat?
If your chubby digits can fit between the keys, head over to www.shetlink.com to comment on any of the articles in this months Shetland Life
Article for Shetland Life magazine - September 2008