I've been a member of Friends of Poland, an online discussion and information group for people interested in Poland and Polish things for about six years now, and I recommend it as a place where people can talk with others about everything from Polish cuisine to Polish history, from Polish film to Polish politics.
Here's a recent piece by member Robert Strybel describing the group:
Interested in people, places and things Polish history, culture, politics, current events, religion, traditions, food and most anything else? Do you occasionally have a question about your Polish heritage but don't know whom to ask? Are there things about being of Polish background you sometimes would like to discuss with someone? If you have answered affirmatively to any of those questions, Friends of Poland might be worth looking into.
Friends of Poland (FoP for short) is a unique Internet discussion forum devoted to any and all topics relating to things Polish or Polonian. Not knowing Polish is no obstacle, because all discussion is in English. The forum was set up in the 1990s by Polish-born IT expert Marcin Å»mudzki, but most members are US-born Polonians. Other participants hail from Australia, Canada, Poland, Britain, Russia and other countries.
"I joined FoP in 1998, as I was looking for information to assist me in an upcoming trip to Poland," explained Laura Zurowski, a college official from Clintondale, NY, who is now one of the forum's moderators. "This year we have also started a FoP Facebook addressed to a younger audience with moreemphasis on arts and culture. Now that we have two avenues to participate(Facebook and YahooGroups) we have something to offer all those interested in the topic of Poland and Polonia."
Another FoP stalwart is John Radzilowski, a University of Alaska history professor. "I joined because it was and is one of the few places where Poles and Pol-Ams could discuss issues and exchange ideas in areas ranging from politics and religion to cultural matters and even Polish food," he told this reporter. "I've learned a lot from FoP. The great thing about it is that not everyone shares the same point of view. It's a bit like a community center, open to everyone even if some people spend way more time there than others."
FoP participants include Rik Suligowski Fox, one of Polonia's leading historical re-enactors, who regularly promotes the glory of Old Poland's military might on America's Renaissance Faire circuit. One FoP contributor from Michigan is now planning to move to Krakow in a few years, when he and his wife retire.
Another is James Conroyd Martin, the non-Polonian author of Poland-themed historical novels. The forum is an excellent place to announce Polish or Polonian events as well as Polish-related books, projects or services. But aside from people knowledgeable about and/or directly involved in Polish or Polonian affairs, like all such forums the FoP also has its share of lurkers. That is the term applied to participants who prefer to listen to and learn what others are saying rather than to actively contribute. There is no obligation to post messages, but after a time some lurkers decide to join in the discussion.
The only rules are that each post must pertain to some facet of things Polish or Polonian and be in English. If Polish terms or sayings are posted, and English translation must be included. And posters are required to sign each message with their name and location.
Another benefit of FoP is a daily news service dealing with Polish current affairs, compiled by another forum veteran, Professor Roman Solecki. Another of his achievements is his constantly expanding Prominent Poles website. It is a goldmine of information on Poles and Polonians who have made various contributions to the world.
If you feel such a source of information and the lively discussion it often generates may be your cup of tea, contact listowner Marcin Zmudzki for more information and details on how to join: marcin(at)zmudzki.net--substitute @ for (at).