I don't think that is eavesdropping at all, this is an open forum and members know that anything written can be seen by others, I guess if they want a more private conversation they could do it via the email attached to this site. Personally I am sometimes intrigued by something I might read, and then follow it backwards to the source to what it was all about, and have felt able to add my sixpence worth if I felt like it. I don't think anyone would mind that? One only makes new friends/or aquaintances by putting yourself out there or responding when someone makes a comment that has meaning for you.
This is more or less a public forum, in my opinion. At least, we all belong to the same group. I say, if you're interested in a conversation introduct yourself and add your comments.
Regarding the lurkers idea, I have never much liked knowing that people are reading but not participating. I often take the extra time to make a comment here and there because I know what it feels like to post a comment or photo or question and have little or no response but know people are reading! I've participated in other forums where this was the case.
Ah, it's an old story about a woman during wartime who has nothing, but invites her neighbors over for button soup. They are in disbelief that she can make soup with only a button but are impressed with her generosity of spirit. Each neighbor has their own meager stash of provisions that don't add up to much alone, but, one by one, each person brings something to put into the soup pot...a potato, a carrot, an onion...and with everyone participating the woman and her neighbors discover they have, magically, made button soup.
In other words, we all contribute something and are each a part of making this community a success and a fun place to be. Why not add what you have to offer?
Delurking here. The story probably originated in the very old traditional tale of Stone Soup where the traveller knocked on the door and asked if he could share a meal and that he would make Stone Soup. He took a stone from his pocket and put it in a pot of water. He asked his host if he had any onions as that would make the soup taste better. Onions went in, followed in turn by carrots, ham bone, celery etc etc. The soup was,of course delicious and the traveller gave the stone to the host as a thank you as host had been so impressed by the soup made from the stone.
The story is available in several picture book versions.
I just found this Wiki page - it was a Brothers Grimm story apparently.
I note with sadness that one of the modern inferences is to beware of people who offer you nothing in return for a little something. It seems to contradict the intent of the original.
Sorry for my little digression here - I used to be a children's librarian and read and told the story many times.
My comment here I think illustrates how serendipity can come from butting in to other's conversations. It brought back many memories for me
A very charming story. I have heard the Stone Soup story before, but as Gillian notes, it is not always viewed as positive. This version is much more generous. Besides, as stitchers we would all relate better to using a button!
As for the original question - I view this forum as circulating during a cocktail party. You will hear bits and snatches of conversations as you move through the room. Sometimes you will stop and listen for awhile and join in. Other times you move on. As we are all "friends" no one minds if you interject something interesting. If they do, they move out of the room!
In any group of quilters I feel quite comfortable jumping into conversations if I have something to say (which is most of the time) and would hope that people feel comfortable jump into conversations I am having, here on stitchin fingers or in real life meetings. To me it is not eavesdropping as what I have to say is said openly even when directed at a particular person on their page, and you are welcome to butt into any conversation I am having anytime.
Like that story !!! Thanks for the explanation. I always regard the forums as any other conversation, you can join in if it is held in company, and if it is private then it is usual to separate yourself from "company" (Private message). Peoples comments are what add to the richness of the forum. And sometimes finding a comment on a person's page brings something to people's attention - like being able to admire their work, or learning something new. It is a way of getting to know each other better.
That story about Button soup is delightful! I agree with what you have already said here about participating in forum discussions. It's one big family on this website, and I just love it. I pop up all over the place I'm afraid, as I'll read something, and get all excited about the topic and just have to jump in!