Discussion on Forum Sociology and Interpersonal Dynamics

NeonKaos

Custodian
The rest is left up to the site owner, we can't make up forums on our own, just moderate what's here and follow the policies. If those policies change its up to him. He isn't interested in doing that as its all running along smoothly. If he did and things changed somehow then the mods would adjust or leave and the people who come here would adjust or leave.

You CAN make up forums for free, though. I was just talking about this with someone in PM. Forumotion and Aimoo are just two such sites where you can make your own free forum in minutes, and they look almost identical to this one. You even get a name like "myforumname.forumsmotion.com". Plenty of folks go that route when they can't find an existing forum that suits their needs, and it's easy to promote these because most forums don't mind promoting other forums that fill the needs of another niche of their target audience.
 

jkelly

New member
Specific points of disagreement

There's a lot in this thread, especially as it became a meta-discussion about the forum instead of about Ygirl, that I felt like responding to.

It really stinks of highschool issues from your past or something. I just wonder... Why are you here? Why do you come to a board that you so love to bash.

I was going to write this long analogy about a team project, and how weird it would be to accuse a dissenter of having issues from high school, but I think it's easier to just sum up by saying that I think that Ceoli is offering constructive criticism, and I get that you don't.

What I think is going on in the larger conversation is disagreement on a few specific points:

  1. This forum can reasonably be described as a resource for people to discuss polyamory. -- I think that there's broad agreement with this.
  2. Many people who post on this forum are well served by it. -- I think that there's broad agreement with this.
  3. There exist people who would like to discuss polyamory who are not well served by this forum. -- There may be some disagreement here.
  4. Some of those people would not contribute anything valuable to the forum. -- I think that there's broad agreement with this.
  5. Some other of those people would contribute something valuable to the forum. -- I think that there's significant disagreement with this.
  6. There is a way in which this forum could continue to serve well the people it does but also serve well additional potential contributors if some steps were taken. -- I think that there's significant disagreement with this.
  7. People who are already well-served by the forum are unlikely to be the best people to evaluate those steps. -- I think that there's significant disagreement with this.
 

AutumnalTone

New member
you misunderstand.

OK, got it now.

Yeah, the problem with definition is one poly shares with the Pagan movement. Those who aim for accurate descriptions are chastised by those who want terms that can cover a whole bunch of different things (and thus are wholly useless as they mean nothing).

We knew that at the outset and set things up to welcome disagreement and allow everybody to express their thoughts on the issues.

this is the most unmoderated forum I have ever been on...

Heh. And yet we get criticized for moderating what we do because it's stifling and people are unable to express themselves freely. We frisk for weapons at the door and insist on fair fights and then get told we're too restrictive and that makes some people feel unwelcome.
 

NeonKaos

Custodian
I've asked before for what specific steps should be taken and no one ever says anything. I've talked about this with Ceoli privately and she replied that she is not sure that there is anything that can be done by the moderation staff, that "it's not a moderation issue, it's a culture issue".

Please correct me if I got that wrong, Ceoli. You know we've been beating this particular dead horse for about a year.

I am pleased to see JKelly finally joining this discussion.
 

Ariakas

Bosun
Heh. And yet we get criticized for moderating what we do because it's stifling and people are unable to express themselves freely. We frisk for weapons at the door and insist on fair fights and then get told we're too restrictive and that makes some people feel unwelcome.

I have had to wield the magic hammer in a lock down of a forum of over 100,000 users. The lockdown chased away a group of 50. In that process we gained another 20,000. Sometimes it is needed and other times it isn't. We had many trolls and people who just werent conceding their own ignorance (damn those hipsters and their fixed gear bikes...:p). It was a significantly larger forum in scale than this. That was heavy handed moderation :)

If people think this is heavy moderation than they haven't played on forums with actual moderation. I have only been censored here once, with a lot of swearing and ranting and horrible sexual innuendo ;)...sometimes rants directed against the longer time members. That censorship came because of a youtube add I posted. Something I shouldn't have done. Moderation on this site is virtually non-existent and the site runs well, kudos to the team.

Your rules simply follow the human condition for reasonable interactions.

I will stop stroking the egos now...back to you usual programming of ... well poly foruming haha
 

jkelly

New member
I've asked before for what specific steps should be taken and no one ever says anything. I've talked about this with Ceoli privately and she replied that she is not sure that there is anything that can be done by the moderation staff, that "it's not a moderation issue, it's a culture issue".

Sure. I mean, I imagine that really heavy-handed moderation would change the culture a lot, but I don't have any reason to believe it would be for the better, and at that point we're sort of talking about some entirely different hypothetical forum instead of this one.

That said, I don't think it's a "dead horse". Having it pointed out that some people are not well-served can be useful in and of itself, because it can serve as a reminder to check ourselves when it comes to how we treat people who aren't fitting in well. Not to harp on Ilove2, but note that Ceoli is first described as a valuable contributor, but her feedback on the culture of the forum is then described as pathological because her experience of it is different than the majority's.

I think that the general impression here about that is, "Well, if someone can't stand being pathologised, get out of the kitchen." I think that's problematic.

I am pleased to see JKelly finally joining this discussion.

The conversation has sort of moved on, hasn't it? I'm not sure if it makes sense to derail the tangent, which I think is more interesting and important than my specific complaint about your comment on the HMA thread. Or did you mean something else by that?
 

redpepper

New member
Having it pointed out that some people are not well-served can be useful in and of itself, because it can serve as a reminder to check ourselves when it comes to how we treat people who aren't fitting in well.

Yes it can for the reason you described. I'm just not sure what saying it over and over again is meant to produce. Change? I would assume, but we can only change ourselves then and that takes time or doesn't happen at all if we decide not to. Sometimes we think that we are doing all we can and until a light goes off in ones head, that is just where we are at. That should be respected I think. Or we should move on.

I work in a company that has a main office with two flights of stairs. Its meant to serve my clients, people with disabilities. The director wanted that office because it is high enough to see the ocean from his window. He didn't think about my clients and how we now can't go there easily because of the stairs. He really didn't think about it and has found ways to help us negotiate the stairs. The fact of the matter is that it is awkward and a pain in the ass so we don't go there. We go elsewhere and get our needs met quite nicely.

The world works like that. I think we just need to learn how to deal and get on with it. I make it work for my clients and when he asks me why we don't go there I just say matter-of-factly, "because of the stairs."

I see this forum the same way. It has some stairs. That's just how it is. I chose to shrug it off and make the best of it. If asked then I would say I don't talk about that there "because of the stairs," I go elsewhere. No emotion attached, its just how it is and I don't have a need to be stressed about that as there are other things to be stressed about.

In my job I have a bigger need to make sure my clients are having fun and see they are well taken care of. The stairs are not an issue. They don't even know I struggled because I don't take them there.
 

Ilove2men

New member
If you read what I wrote I spoke of how she picks apart peoples words to serve her agenda. I didn't say what that agenda is because when she gets on one of these kicks it could be about anything and I also said that it wasn't about this posts. I just see a pattern of what made me uncomfortable about this forum when I was a newbie. Spcifically when she would zero in on someone I was afraid to speak my mind because I am not skilled in that type of debate. I thought that bit of info would be helpful to this topic because as Ari said that is something that has changed and I find this place to be less intimidating.

This forum is made by the idividuals on it. This is a senerio showing the effect that a specific individual had on another's outlook on the forum as a whole. Also you will see where I stated I gravitate to those who are different than I. I'm not saying anything negative about Ceoli because she is not one of the mass. Her knowledge and insight are valuable because she has a way of disecting things that I actually really like. I just think it could be put to better use on the issue at hand not how people explain their own point of view. Maybe there would be an answer to this year long debate. But this is just me stating how one thing she does makes me feel. It's really just a statement I don't expect her to change who she is or anything. She is she and I accept that. Just felt like throwing it out there.
 

NeonKaos

Custodian
The conversation has sort of moved on, hasn't it? I'm not sure if it makes sense to derail the tangent, which I think is more interesting and important than my specific complaint about your comment on the HMA thread. Or did you mean something else by that?

I meant this discussion in particular, not this thread in general. That is why I used the word "discussion" instead of the word "thread". I did use the latter initially and revised it to the former, in order to say what I really meant to say.

I was taking you at your word when you said you wanted to know in good faith how people could tell me that I am making an ass out of myself. Yes, the conversation has moved on, but I don't see that as being counter-productive to the original reason why I started this thread.

I don't think talking about the forum is "beating a dead horse" but I do think the question "what would you have us DO" is some kind of a rhetorical mobius-strip.
 

FormerUnicorn

New member
I'd just like to see a bit more diversity of views. Apparently making my views about that is "brow-beating". So be it. I have views and I post them. That's why I'm here. I really don't care if I'm liked or even listened to. But I do care about what other people who may come here seeking information see and read.

I'm a little late to the party, but I wanted to point out that the concept of a "welcoming atmosphere" is rather subjective. I think inclusivity is important too, and I understand what you're saying about marginalization, but I have a confession to make:

Your posts made me feel unwelcome. Judged. Like why should I even find this place good and constructive when it has so many obvious flaws.

It's just one of many, but here's the first post of yours that I read (Edited for brevity, not content):

I have generally abandoned this forum for a variety of reasons, but this thread was pointed back to me by a fellow sex educator. This right here is a huge sticking point with those who promote sex positivity.

The thinking HMA was describing as dead wrong is indeed dead wrong and here's why:

It is making a blanket statement that is full of assumptions about the motivations of other people. It is basically saying that those who engage in casual sex must have something wrong with them and that those who don't must be more reliable for relationships. This is an attempt to disguise something that is presented as fact (as erroneous and assumed as the fact may be) and trying to pass it off as opinion. It is exactly like saying "I feel polyamorous people are greedy, so I know poly relationships aren't right FOR ME" Or, "Bisexual people can't really make up their minds, so FOR ME it's not going to meet my needs to date them". For some reason, adding the "for me" is supposed to allow the person to claim that nobody can correct their erroneous and wrong way of thinking because it's their opinion and their feelings.

And quite frankly this overprotectiveness and need to protect such erroneous ways of thinking about the motivations of others is part of the culture that I decided to leave here.

Not sure if I'll be back to the forum, but I've done my bit for the sex educators.

I'm not challenging the validity of the points that you made here, but the tone in which you couch your distaste for the forum was one of the biggest turnoffs I have had to date from this site. Your overwhelming disgust for the forum that comes through here made me really wonder why you were even bothering to post--other than for the stated sex education reasons, which could have been accomplished with more credibility without all the ominous references to you leaving the forums.

I agree with whomever said you sounded bitter. This might not be the case, but it really does seem like you were burned by some experiences here. You might be happy to hear that your forum-negative viewpoint did make me look at this community very closely, holding it up to the accusations you put forward, and I think I'm even happier with the site because of that examination. I find that I feel good here, and safe, and that there is a lot of good that comes from this place not only for me but for many other people.
 

jkelly

New member
I think it's an interesting question when someone asks me how they should speak to me in order for their words to achieve the desired effect.

I do this IRL somtimes; it's like asking "Is there anything I can say that would make you change your mind?" in a disagreement. Sometimes it's helpful, because you might get around the idea that someone has to win the argument, and instead try to re-focus on moving things forward. Sometimes it isn't.

I was taking you at your word when you said you wanted to know in good faith how people could tell me that I am making an ass out of myself.

I appreciate that! I think starting a thread devoted to it was an interesting idea.

I don't think talking about the forum is "beating a dead horse" but I do think the question "what would you have us DO" is some kind of a rhetorical mobius-strip.

Nice analogy -- it looks like a tangle, but you only ever see one side. In this case, we (pretty much) only ever hear from people who are well-served by the forum (see the above), so the other side of the question doesn't really exist in the conversation. I still think it's worth trying to untangle the knot.

I don't like this "people" and "some people" parrying. I would like to see naming of names and quoting from messages with examples of "how such things play out". I am probably guilty of this too, without even realizing it, so please do me this courtesy. Please be specific, even if it means "embarrassing" me.

This can be really challenging. For one thing, as you mention, it often can feel like one is randomly picking on someone to call them out when it's really a larger pattern that's problematic, although I appreciate that you're offering here that people can do that with you. For another, as you noted in the childfree thread, it doesn't make a lot of sense to set oneself up as an "expert" on a marginalised group who should get the last word, even when you're a member of that group.
 
C

Ceoli

Guest
I'm a little late to the party, but I wanted to point out that the concept of a "welcoming atmosphere" is rather subjective. I think inclusivity is important too, and I understand what you're saying about marginalization, but I have a confession to make:

Your posts made me feel unwelcome. Judged. Like why should I even find this place good and constructive when it has so many obvious flaws.

It's just one of many, but here's the first post of yours that I read (Edited for brevity, not content):



I'm not challenging the validity of the points that you made here, but the tone in which you couch your distaste for the forum was one of the biggest turnoffs I have had to date from this site. Your overwhelming disgust for the forum that comes through here made me really wonder why you were even bothering to post--other than for the stated sex education reasons, which could have been accomplished with more credibility without all the ominous references to you leaving the forums.

I agree with whomever said you sounded bitter. This might not be the case, but it really does seem like you were burned by some experiences here. You might be happy to hear that your forum-negative viewpoint did make me look at this community very closely, holding it up to the accusations you put forward, and I think I'm even happier with the site because of that examination. I find that I feel good here, and safe, and that there is a lot of good that comes from this place not only for me but for many other people.

It's fair enough not to like my tone or the way I post. That's not the issue.

And it's great that you find that this forum fits and meets your needs and fits and meets the needs of other people. That's not the issue either.

I've said that this forum is a fantastic place for a subset of the poly community. I'm merely pointing out that when this place is stated to be a haven, that it isn't always a haven and people do leave because of their experiences here. It seems reasonable to me to examine why such things might be happening. Other people disagree. I think jkelly summed it up very well.

No forum is ever going to be perfect. I think we can all agree on that. However, I find it interesting that by stating my thoughts and feelings about the culture of this forum it has engendered a kind of "digging the heels in" reaction. Fair enough. It seems people are becoming very protective of what is here and not wanting to adjust, change or grow it to be more inclusive. In community organizing, if people want to grow a community, you often have to look at who isn't at the table and why. I would think that an internet resource that would *like* to be a resource for people (as this forum seeks to be) would also look at who is being served and who isn't being served and why. It seems that it would be easier to just paint me as bitter and hateful as a reason to dismiss the concerns than to examine how to be more inclusive.
 

NeonKaos

Custodian
Nice analogy -- it looks like a tangle, but you only ever see one side. In this case, we (pretty much) only ever hear from people who are well-served by the forum (see the above), so the other side of the question doesn't really exist in the conversation. I still think it's worth trying to untangle the knot.

Let's start with this. I would like someone to explain to me how the following is not a paradox:

"Something should be done to make this forum more welcoming. People should be allowed to express themselves however they want."


I'm merely pointing out that when this place is stated to be a haven, that it isn't always a haven and people do leave because of their experiences here. It seems reasonable to me to examine why such things might be happening. Other people disagree. I think jkelly summed it up very well.


Are these "people who leave" expecting a "haven" when they come here? Perhaps this is too high of an expectation. I certainly don't consider this forum to be my haven, yet I have stayed here. I also do not fit with the stereotypical case-scenarios (couples opening their relationships, poly-mono relationships, etc.) of any of the groups that were described as "best served by this forum". I haven't been scared off by people putting down casual sex. Etc. It is just that I have thicker skin than the "people who leave"? I am not debating with you; you said it seems reasonable to examine this, so I'm trying to examine it.

I am still waiting for suggestions on what can be DONE about it. I can think of a few things that COULD be done, but the cure would be worse than the disease.
 

redpepper

New member
I would like to know exactly what the jist of the complaints is.

From what I gather its that there are people on here that are:

-firmly comfortable in their belief that poly-fi relationships are working for them,
-that struggling through mono/poly relationships is worth it to them,
-that being married or in a long term relationship is a reality for them and they consider that primary,
-or people that are not into casual sex and like to talk about their journey as to why and how they came to that realization.

Anything else I missed?

What is it about these people that is so offensive to some that they feel they can't bare talking to them? Is it that we are suppose to be in someway sorry? That we should in some way admit we are privileged and step aside? I don't get it.

When I personally don't want to debate who I am I just step away from a thread. If enough people do that, the discussion doesn't continue, end of story. How is that wrong or keeping people from coming here because of the atmosphere?

Its human nature to feel comfortable. Why would one out aside their comfort in the form of debating who they are to make someone else feel comfortable who is challenging them. Especially if that debate is uninvited. Its only natural to shut down and not engage at some point and I see nothing wrong with that survival tactic.
 

jkelly

New member
Let's start with this. I would like someone to explain to me how the following is not a paradox:

"Something should be done to make this forum more welcoming. People should be allowed to express themselves however they want."

I don't think that's quite as paradoxical as it might seem. Maybe nobody ever wants to express themselves in a way that pushes back against someone else's unwelcoming expression. If that's the case, then the problem you're pointing at is really hard to solve. But I suspect that there's a way in which some people might want to push back, but don't feel like they'd be supported, or would wind up in a useless back-and-forth.

Let me use an example. Over here I make a bunch of kind-of dumb, prejudicial statements about couples opening up a previously mono- relationship. So... I think I get to express that (although I wish I'd done a better job of thinking that one through now). This is not a great example, because I doubt anyone thinks that previously mono- couples who want to try being poly- are poorly served or marginalised here. Nevertheless, what I think probably should have happened is for someone to say "Hey, Jkelly, you're making a bunch of dumb, prejudicial statements. We shouldn't do that, because we don't want people who you are judging like that to feel unwelcome here." So that person is also expressing themselves however they want, but they're doing it in a way that supports being more welcoming.

Now, as I said, if there really isn't anyone who felt at all inspired to call me out on that, there's nothing much to be done. But... if that's not the case, and someone did want to say something to me but didn't, then I think we can look at why they felt like they shouldn't.
 

NeonKaos

Custodian
Let me use an example. Over here I make a bunch of kind-of dumb, prejudicial statements about couples opening up a previously mono- relationship. So... I think I get to express that (although I wish I'd done a better job of thinking that one through now). This is not a great example, because I doubt anyone thinks that previously mono- couples who want to try being poly- are poorly served or marginalised here. Nevertheless, what I think probably should have happened is for someone to say "Hey, Jkelly, you're making a bunch of dumb, prejudicial statements. We shouldn't do that, because we don't want people who you are judging like that to feel unwelcome here." So that person is also expressing themselves however they want, but they're doing it in a way that supports being more welcoming.

I believe this is what "we" (the forum mod staff) have been asking for, as it says, too, in the forum guidelines, and it is being interpreted as trying to limit the way people express themselves. The way I have understood the criticism(s) is that it ought to be acceptable to say "Fuck you, JKelly, and the high horse you rode in on", and that is still supposed to foster a "welcoming" and "inclusive" atmosphere.

Now, as I said, if there really isn't anyone who felt at all inspired to call me out on that, there's nothing much to be done. But... if that's not the case, and someone did want to say something to me but didn't, then I think we can look at why they felt like they shouldn't.

How do we know they wanted to say something but felt like they shouldn't? I can only speak for myself - I am not a mind-reader. Please explain to me how the part in quotes above is also not a paradox. I'll re-phrase it in generic terms:

"People should speak up so that we know there is a problem. If no one speaks up, there must be a problem".

Again, I am hard pressed to understand why you, Ceoli, myself, and others are able to manage this just fine when it comes to our interactions on here, yet these "people who leave" only send their disenchantment over here by proxy. Why can't the "people who leave" state their case first hand? Or not? The "people who leave" is such a nebulous concept. Do they all leave for the same reason? How are we supposed to know if they don't say something? People are allowed to lurk, and they do not NEED to have a "good" reason for "leaving".


Remember, a Mobius Strip does not have TWO sides. It has ONE CONTINUOUS side.
 

Ariakas

Bosun
Again, I am hard pressed to understand why you, Ceoli, myself, and others are able to manage this just fine when it comes to our interactions on here, yet these "people who leave" only send their disenchantment over here by proxy. Why can't the "people who leave" state their case first hand? Or not? The "people who leave" is such a nebulous concept. Do they all leave for the same reason? How are we supposed to know if they don't say something? People are allowed to lurk, and they do not NEED to have a "good" reason for "leaving".

Default answer - "they feel this won't be a safe and inclusive environment to express their concerns"

How do we fix that will be the other default response.

And really...you CAN'T be all inclusive to everyone. Fact of life. BBS's try and it just can't and will not happen. Once people realize that the better off everyone will be. I hit up other poly forums and feel excluded by default because I am not like the others. Their poly feels so totally different to mine (think political left and political right...), I don't feel like I can be included. It is the selfishness of having opinion, since none of this can be based on actual fact. People on that side see themselves as inclusive and loving and they aren't. How can THEY fix that...

set aside your attachment to poly as a pagan thing only, take out the religion and preaching and everything that makes it as much as religious movement as it is a relationship style. Attaching it, as a pre-requisite, to a religious movement makes me go all icky inside. Look at that, I am excluded by a group believed to be inclusive and warm.

I use this example because of the extreme of it. What can we do as a board to be more inclusive. I haven't seen anywhere where people have been exclusive, so I just don't know. I can only relate what Ceoli is saying to what I feel on other sites. They likely don't even know they are being exclusive to me. Automatically making me run for the hills. I know there are people here who have those religious beliefs, and I respect them, they don't voice their poly as religious movements. They are both pagan and poly. Thats awesome. Am I excluding someone by pointing that out?...

ok...now, I didn't bother posting saying I wasn't coming back. Why you ask, it was a meh moment. I didn't care enough to bother. Maybe thats what happened here.

So thats my take on what ceoli is saying. I can understand it, but can't figure out where this site is exclusive. Considering my overall differences with people here, I find it inviting and warm...
 

redsirenn

New member
It's fair enough not to like my tone or the way I post. That's not the issue.

And it's great that you find that this forum fits and meets your needs and fits and meets the needs of other people. That's not the issue either.

How is it not the issue? It seems to me, that it is the exact issue that you bring up again and again.

I think it is a waste of time to argue this issue in rebuttal after rebuttal without a clear list of suggestions in the form of actions that all people on this forum could take.

If I were to offer up my own, it would look something like this:

- take care to not hyjack posts
- read around and learn where to post and what is already posted
- respect differences in posters on the forum (differences of religion, opinions, ways to do poly, etc) even if you disagree
- offer constructive feedback or support
- refrain from obvious slander (in the codes of conduct)

I feel this forum does, for the most part fulfill this list. If anyone else could add clear, succinct, non-repetitive suggestions maybe that would be a constructive and respectful way to continue a discussion about this?

Again - the hyjacking of this thread is, I feel, a bit disrespectful. The repetition about this topic is not efficient and personally gives me a headache. It also makes me feel like what is the fucking point of pointing something out - thus feeling a bit unwelcome myself.

So - can I suggest to the mods to move this under the thread for forum suggestions ONLY if we can all attempt to do this in a clearer, more efficient way? Please?

That I feel would be progress.

RS
 

NeonKaos

Custodian
Default answer - "they feel this won't be a safe and inclusive environment to express their concerns"

How do we fix that will be the other default response.

This is the Rhetorical Mobius Strip™. I decree that from now on it must be referred to as such :cool:

And really...you CAN'T be all inclusive to everyone. Fact of life. BBS's try and People on that side see themselves as inclusive and loving and they aren't. How can THEY fix that...

I'll tell you how *I* fix it. I dislike everyone equally. :p

ok...now, I didn't bother posting saying I wasn't coming back. Why you ask, it was a meh moment. I didn't care enough to bother. Maybe thats what happened here.

So thats my take on what ceoli is saying. I can understand it, but can't figure out where this site is exclusive.

My "take" on it is that the "People Who Leave" are friends or acquaintances of Ceoli, either in real life, on other online venues, or both. For some reason, They would rather not use their own voices to speak Their minds, but instead are content to have Ceoli be Their mouthpiece. I believe in speaking up for those who CANNOT speak for themselves (such as abused children and animals), not those who CHOOSE not to speak for themselves (such as grown, presumably literate, humans with access to the internet).
 
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