7/6 still in draft stage
Response Options
Level 1          Level 2          Level 3

It isn't possible to catalog all the options you have when making a reply post on the discussion board, but the following list might suggest the range available to you as well as the higher value kinds of posts that you should strive for.

The list is divided into three levels, from lower to higher value.   Which is not to say that all or even most of your posts should be at the highest level.  They can't be.  In fact, all the different kinds of responses are necessary within a group to keep normal conversation on the discussion board going.  But thinking about the value of different kinds of posts should help you aim for a higher percentage of your posts at the higher levels.

Since the very existence of a reply post presupposes that you are in conversation, the best way to begin a reply post is with a transition that acknowledges the host and signals how you are keeping the conversation going, how you are adding value.  You'll find real examples
of such transitions from student writing below in many cases.

Now, there's a fine line separating some items on the list -- between "enhancing" and "building," for instance.  And some posts will inevitably be a combination of items.  Not to worry.  The key thing is not categoriziing each and every post, but raising your consciousness about the nature of your responses and attempting to increase the number of higher-level one.
Level 1

You can keep the conversation going in a reply post by:

1) agreeing:  You can add value to the discussion by agreeing with a previous point, but, unless simply building consensus is the goal, such value is limited.  If you agree for essentially the same reason, adding little or no new substance, and your post consists mainly of repetition, summary, cheerleading, or back-slapping, then this kind of post has considerable dead-end potential.

I totally agree with you [the host said pride had Shane and Joe fighting at the bar] , the movie revolved around pride in the fight between Joe Starrett and Shane. 

Joey annoyed me greatly too. I can see where you saw a vague comparison to the sopranos, although I never would have thought of that myself.  Good work!  

[The host had said that throughout the movie it seemed as if the lesson was "you need to be who you are and you can't change that." ]   Yes, you need to be who you are and you can't change that."  This sentence explains Shane's theme. 

2) clarifying:  You can add value to the discussion by clarifying an ambiguous or erroneous statement in a previous post by another, without necessarily agreeing or disagreeing with it.

3) focusing:  You can add value to the discussion by providing a summary sense of "where we are" in a discussion that has grown complex, diffuse, unfocused, off-track, and dead-ended.

4) questioning: You can add value to the discussion by raising a pertinent, provocative question for others to answer.

Was the world really made safe for families by men like Shane? Or is he the kind of hero we imagine in our dreams? And what does that say about us and "reality" if so?  

Jaime, I'm riding right with you up to here.  Just me, or does this climactic part make good sense?  By not turning a cheek he give the message to follow big Joe????  Doesn't compute for me.  How do you figure that?

I'm confused, would someone want to tie up the meaning of the Shane/Joey relationship, especially as it plays out in the teaching scene?  

In a film about our orientation to violence, what kind of model is Shane, and how are Wilson and Tory foils?  More to think about here, eh -- would anybody like to respond?  

5) alerting: You can add value to the discussion by calling attention to some perhaps overlooked fact or connection that would enhance the discussion.

On this "fighting force with force" idea, be sure to see the Slotkin article (in Course Docs) on the docket for wed's class.  

Look at Tareq's post and my responses for stuff on both pride and Joey!  


Level 2

6) contextualizing:  You can add value to the discussion by providing the framework or generalization that governs a specific example or point but was not mentioned.

Yigit touches on two turning points in the film that are characteristic of many westerns .  . . . We see then a point we'll probably be making over and over again -- that the westerns are very often about our orientation to violence, both as a nation and as individuals.  
7) enhancing:  You can add value to the discussion by providing additional evidence or support  for the exact point made in a previous post with which you agree.
Marion, hmmm, yes -- and the point that Warshow makes in the reading for today that the women never seem to understand that a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do also fits your interpretation. 

I also caught on quickly that Marion had a bit of a crush on Shane. But I first realized this when Joe, Joey, Marion, and Shane sit down to dinner upon their initial meeting. . . . . 

I can also see why Marion did not want her son to be like Shane, but be attracted to him at the same time.  It's like this:  . . . .

Alexander, I'd like to support your idea of the film being directed at little boys.  I was 12 or 13 when I saw the film and was profoundly struck. 

8) re-directing (1):  You can add value to the discussion by demonstrating (not just declaring) that previous threads have come to a dead-end and announcing that it is time for somebody to introduce a new direction.

9) answering: You can add value to the discussion by answering a question asked by another, by picking up on someone else's perplexity.
 [What kind of model is Shane?]  Shane is a real difficult character to discuss, but. . . . 

[Are cowboys born or made?]   Hmmm, maybe Joey's pre-shane behavior is meant to be indicative of the fact that everybody has  to come to terms with how to handle violence. 


Level 3


10) building:
You can add value to the discussion by building a new but related point on the foundation of an existing post, by taking a previous point to a new level.
i agree with you that the story was simple, but I believe that made the story more believable. . . .  

I had the same reaction while watching this movie.  A sort of "Where have I seen this before?"  Yeah, the Soprano's, but also almost every action movie made in the 1990s . . . .  

Yes, there's always a kind of nostalgia hovering around many western films -- mourning the passing of a stage in our history.  But maybe it's more complex than that. . . . 

11) broadening:  You can add value to the discussion by offering an alternate but not antagonistic viewpoint to a previous post.

12) disagreeing:  You can add value to the discussion by providing specific evidence or support in opposition to a point raised in a previous post.

Tareq and Kyle both have a tentative response to Joey, and I thought I'd run against that for a bit. 

But against your second point, my inclination is to say that you are applying a realistic standard to what most critics think of as a mythic story here.  

You brought up the point about how Tory or Stonewall has to die because the side he's on has lost and the country is in celebration of union and independence. . . . does Wilson have to win because he's being associated with the union when called a "Yankee"?  If this is the case, how is it Shane defeats him?  As they prepare to draw, Shane too calls Wilson a "Yankee."  

13) weaving:  You can add value to the discussion by synthesizing two or more previous posts, recognizing that something new and not realized by individual posters emerges from the synthesis.

14) re-directing (2):  You can add value to the discussion by making a transition from the current post or dead-end conversation and literally taking the discussion in an entirely new direction.

On a different point, your post reminded me that Tory is an avowed southerner still fighting the war. . . . 

For some reason, Kyle's post got me remembering the opening scene with Joey stalking the deer. 

I like your point, Pam, and it fits with what I wrote about in another post that one track of the film is about a battle over shaping Joey's values.  

15) re-thinking:  You can add value to the discussion by indicating how a post or posts have caused you to re-think a position you have articulated previously, to have a new insight, or to be converted to a new way of thinking -- to show that you have listened and learned from someone(s) else.