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Old 06-02-2012, 05:44 PM
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ImaginaryIllusion ImaginaryIllusion is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 2,015

Originally Posted by kdt26417 View Post

I come from a relatively gentle forum, Polyamory Percolations, which has a fairly tight set of user guidelines. I knew, when I read the User Guidelines, that I was in for a rougher ride if I started posting here (and reading the responses to my posts). I took that into account when I started posting. When I got the "tough love" treatment (from several posters), I accepted it. I knew the risks I had taken. I accepted the distress I experienced as part of the experience I'd asked for. I was responsible for whatever effect it had on me. So I got over it and moved on (pretty much).

But since forthright-versus-solicitous is being debated with respect to what kind of locution is appropriate for which threads, I'll cast my vote for a more gentle tone (and choice of words) in threads in general (not singling out any thread in particular, as some threads arguably do merit some tough talk). It always strikes me as sad that the physical distance across internet forums separates us psychologically as well. If we could just get along, I often say to myself.

I know the User Guidelines don't support my position, but we shouldn't have to be "forced to be nice" anyway. It's something that should come from the heart.

I believe we're all beginners when it comes to communication. We can all learn to do better. When I post, even if it's about something mundane I've "heard a thousand times," I try to remember that what I am posting is going to be out there for all the world to see. No matter what the Guidelines say, I want to contribute to a gentler online community. It's just my personal opinion, my personal goal, and I wouldn't presume to act as if I have some right to tell others what to do. If you're posting within the Guidelines, you're in the clear.
I appreciate you sharing both your views and your experience here. Your vote for a kinder gentler forum is noted, and I both agree that it'd be great if people were nicer to each other, and like the fact that you take responsibility to handle the less kind responses that sometimes happen here. I don't think the guidelines wouldn't support your position, but they just don't enforce your preference.

This particular forum has always been a bit of a tradeoff. We want it to be a place for people to share their experiences and get advice, discuss issues etc. Our approach is generally hands off as much as possible and in my viewpoint that's been for a few key reasons.

We want people to be able to express themselves with minimal fear of censorship, even when what they have to say may be controversial. I used to enjoy a good debate at home IRL years ago, but it requires that people to respect each others opinions, but also take responsibility for the debates, discussions, and conflicts that may arise from their own actions.

But also, like real life, or the dinner party example, there aren't referee's sitting around to constantly police their guests to be nice and gentle with each other. So unless there's a serious issue where we get complaints, we leave it to members of this community to practice all the classic poly skills, as well as the more universal set of everyday interpersonal communications. Whether tough love, or gentle touchy feely, or something in between, each person comes from a place of what works for them.

The community is mostly self regulating on it's own...which is where threads like this are awesome. Not necessarily to badger each other into changing the way we conduct ourselves, but at least communicate about what affect certain communication styles have on others, and raise awareness of how our behavior can affect others, both where it helps, and where it can hinder. And that can apply equally to the kinder gentler styles, and the tough love styles.

It's not up to the mods to make everyone be kind, nor to insist that people aren't coddled, or to sooth them when they don't like the way a dose of reality was reflected to them. It's up to the members of the community to figure out how much of each is the right balance, both in general and for the individuals that we're trying to help. At the end of the day, regardless of the method being employed, I think everyone here has a sincere desire to help their fellows on this forum.

Ok...I'll stop interrupting again.
“People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.” - Chinese Proverb

-Imaginary Illusion

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