Author Topic: Getting Along - A Guide to Forum Communication  (Read 18176 times)

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Offline Julie Marie

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Getting Along - A Guide to Forum Communication
« on: October 15, 2009, 09:26:16 pm »

There seems to be a lot of disagreement and hypersensitivity within our community.  Hell, we can’t even agree on an umbrella term to identify the community.

“I’m not transgender, I am a woman so I don’t identify as transgender and I am offended by referring to me in that way”

“Okay.  So why are you here?  Family, friend, SO?”

“And why did you think that reference included you?”

YIKES!  It’s a hotbed of controversy.  It’s enough to make anyone nuts.

And then there’s “stealth”.  Talk about throwing reason out the window!  Post a thread on stealth and watch the phone lines light up.  It’s worse than politics and religion.  Imagine what the visitor, hoping to understand us, thinks when they peek inside.  “They’re all crazy!”  And we want to remove GID from the DSM?

Whenever we enter into a discussion or sharing of opinions we have a responsibility to the group and to ourselves to act reasonably.  Don’t make assumptions.  Avoid bringing your own stuff into a discussion and project it where it doesn’t belong.  Unless you are singled out, if you’re taking something personally, it’s probably you pointing the finger at you, not them.

If you don’t like the way a discussion is going and your emotions are boiling, walk away.  Unless you’re the boss, ripping someone’s head off won’t get people to listen to you but it will probably tick a lot of people off.  And if you don’t respect the people in the discussion, ask yourself why you are even there.  Being in a group of people you don’t respect serves no useful purpose.  Go find people you do respect and interact with them.

When in doubt, ask.  Trying to understand the life, the perspective and the intent of someone simply through the written word is extremely difficult, even if you think you know them.  Few messages written are stated so clearly there’s no way it can be misinterpreted.  Accept this and give the person you are responding to the benefit of a doubt.

There are people here from all over the world.  There are people here from every walk of life.  There is a wide range in age and an even wider range of life experiences.  No one has all the answers but collectively we can get close.  Don’t discount what someone says because you can’t understand his or her perspective.  Open your mind and accept or reject it but don’t criticize it.  “When you’re green you’re growin’, when you’re not you rot.”

Everyone here has a chance to benefit from the collective experience, knowledge and wisdom we offer as a group.  How you benefit is up to you.

Julie
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 07:14:33 am by Julie Marie »
When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself.

Offline findingreason

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Re: Getting Along - Please Read
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2009, 09:41:00 pm »
Thank you Julie Marie, it was necessary to say. This is a support community, not an argument board, and it's our responsibility to help each other out, not hurt each other's feelings. Especially when we have new members coming here for support, many are just beginning their journeys and need this support. I know I did when I first came here. So let us try to get along well here and make a positive environment for other members.



Offline Silver

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Re: Getting Along - Please Read
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2009, 09:45:03 pm »
Much needed post. It's so easy to offend people here, it's ridiculous. (This is not meant as offensive or targeting anyone in specific.)

Janet_Girl

Re: Getting Along - Please Read
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2009, 09:46:02 pm »
That is my thoughts exactly.  We are here FOR each other, not AGAINST.

And the new ones will leave like rats from a sinking ship.  And that helps no one.


Janet

thestory

Re: Getting Along - Please Read
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2009, 09:51:23 pm »
I'm glad you said it. Opinions are fine but bickering isn't necessary. It has been said many times before, these are support boards. Even not taking that into consideration, why would anyone enjoy arguing?

Offline juliekins

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Re: Getting Along - Please Read
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2009, 10:38:09 pm »
Julie,

A very well timed and needed post. Too often we are splitting words and arguing over "what is, is".

As you told me to write,
"honey you are so darn smart- no wonder I married you"!     :D
"I don't need your acceptance, just your love"

finewine

Re: Getting Along - Please Read
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2009, 11:13:44 pm »
Ahem...while I align completely with the sentiment, my only comment (other than this prelude) is:

You cannot reason with the unreasonable.

Suzy

Re: Getting Along - Please Read
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2009, 11:54:00 pm »
Thank you, Julie.  It seems every so often we need a post like this one.

Kristi

Offline Kaitlyn

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Re: Getting Along - Please Read
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2009, 12:05:22 am »
Thanks, Julie.  It's reassuring to see this - I've been spending a lot less time here due to all the nastiness I've seen.
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."
— Plutarch

Alex_C

Re: Getting Along - Please Read
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2009, 01:36:49 am »
All exactly how I feel. The hate I've seen recently has shocked me. And you don't want to shock the trained, we don't run off.

Now of course its a bunch, no actually a few, keyboard cowboys trying to stir up divisiveness because for some reason they feel bad about themselves. They're normally as limp as noodles and as harmless away from their modems, but sadly I can see 'em on another Internet site coming up with, or egging on, anti T sentiments, or out on the street or in a bar, in a group where they feel safe, egging on taunts or worst toward a T individual.

And I'm the kind of person who doesn't put up with that, and it gets me hated but I don't care. I will stand with the person being picked on, here, on other sites, or on the street. I have always been the person to do that, it goes way back to grade school.

This site has to be open and welcoming to everyone, friendly to those who need help and community and UNFRIENDLY to jerks.

Chrissty

Re: Getting Along - Please Read
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2009, 04:03:25 am »
Thank you for the post Julie, :icon_flower:

Like others have said, I can only hope a few of the people who need to read it..do... ;)

..but like others here, I also tend to think the anarchists will look the other way.. ::)

To support the moderators here, it is down to the whole community to make the extra effort not rise to the taunting, and post with care and consideration at these times. We also as a community need to show support for those under attack without engaging in or fuelling the argument. ;)

With time those who make themselves feel better by degrading others will get bored and leave...


:icon_hug:

Chrissty

Offline jesse

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Re: Getting Along - Please Read
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2009, 04:14:10 am »
weel said julie
like a knife that cuts you the wound heals but them scars those scars remain

Offline Miniar

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Re: Getting Along - Please Read
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2009, 09:43:19 am »
Hostility and negativity aren't conducive to a supportive environment. It happens that you have to practice a touch of tough love with people, but that doesn't mean you get to be rude about it.

Well said hon.



"Everyone who has ever built anywhere a new heaven first found the power thereto in his own hell" - Nietzsche

Offline Chloe

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Re: Getting Along - Please Read
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2009, 05:06:40 am »

There seems to be a lot of disagreement and hypersensitivity within our community.  Hell, we can’t even agree on an umbrella term to identify the community.


We AGREE to disagree, only in diversity do ALL learn acceptance, lol why should I think myself any different than anybody else when *stealth* is the only really effective way to indeed disassociate myself and thus openly contribute to a more general sense of tolerance!

Savvy?
"But it's no use now," thought poor Alice, "to pretend be two people!
"Why, there's hardly enough of me left to make one respectable person!"


Offline Naturally Blonde

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Re: Getting Along - Please Read
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2009, 09:45:59 am »
We AGREE to disagree, only in diversity do ALL learn acceptance, lol why should I think myself any different than anybody else when *stealth* is the only really effective way to indeed disassociate myself and thus openly contribute to a more general sense of tolerance!

Savvy?

I Agree. 
Living in the real world, not a fantasy

rejennyrated

Re: Getting Along - A Guide to Forum Communication
« Reply #15 on: November 29, 2009, 10:35:42 am »
I've only just read this but I sooo agree with all of this.

I love it when someone shows me a new way of looking at things and as I often say to people I'll answer to anything that anyone chooses to call me as long as it isn't rude.

Life is simply too short to worry about or get offended by other peoples experiences and perceptions. Better to agree to disagree and walk away as friends.

Oh - and if I ever do accidentally upset any of you please don't ignore me - just tell me and I will willingly apologise because your friendship is worth more to me than winning an arguement.

Janet_Girl

Re: Getting Along - A Guide to Forum Communication
« Reply #16 on: November 29, 2009, 11:39:36 am »
I so agree with you, Jenny.  Call me what you want, as long as you don't call me late to a BBQ.


Janet

Offline Alexmakenoise

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Re: Getting Along - Please Read
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2010, 12:35:41 pm »
Great to have a thread like this one because we do come from a variety of backgrounds, and therefore, not everyone knows how to conduct themselves on the 'net in a way that tends to come across as respectful to others.

I'm going to add a little by bringing in specific guidelines used in online (graduate level) courses I've taken.  The idea is to explain specifically how to express oneself professionally, with consideration to that fact that students aren't expected to know these things in advance because they come from different backgrounds.

1) The difference between debate (which is productive) and bickering (which is counter-productive) basically rests on whether you criticize the statement being made or the person making it.  Try to avoid singling anyone out or saying anything that could be interpreted as a personal criticism.  Instead, it's best to reply to a statement you disagree with with something along the lines of, "I disagree with this.  My personal experiences and / or what I have read indicate otherwise," and elaborate with facts gleaned from your own life, not assumptions about their life.

2) In keeping with the above, I think it's often best to avoid use of the second person and generalizations in any context where it would be equally effective to simply speak for yourself.  For example, "In a similar situation, I did ____ because this is my take on the subject . . . " instead of, "You should ____ !" or "People in that kind of situation are ____ , so they should ____ ."

3) Whenever you have the time or energy to find articles or similar resources to back up what you're saying in a debate, do so.  This helps others to educate themselves and it shows that you are simply making a statement based on information that you find useful, not attacking or criticizing anyone.

Not from my online classes but just from my experience with forums in general:

- If one finds a particular member's posts to be bothersome in any way, it is possible to simply make a habit of choosing not to read them.  I've noticed that sometimes, people forget this and may, as a result, make enemies when this could have been avoided.

- It is possible to be supportive and disagree with someone at the same time.  One can always say, "I, personally, wouldn't ____ because of _____ , but I recognize that it's a challenging situation and I wish you the best of luck with it."

I think polite debate is a good thing because it often causes people to think about things they wouldn't have otherwise, and hence make better-informed decisions.  But I think it's important to think of a response to a debate-type topic as "offering a different perspective", as opposed to "promoting your own beliefs".

Offline K8

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Re: Getting Along - A Guide to Forum Communication
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2010, 04:25:48 pm »
Thanks for posting this Julie.  And thanks for the addendum, Alex.

Like Jenny, if I offend anyone please tell me so that I may learn not to do that again. 

The other moderators here run a pretty fair place where I always feel safe.  (And I try to do my part, too.)  There were times, especially early on, when I would get insulted and back away.  But we have a lot to offer each other.  Being trans - or whatever you want to call it - or dealing with a trans significant other is tough and is a lot tougher if we can't rely on each other.  If you find a post out of line, report it to the moderators.

- Kate
Life is a pilgrimage.

Offline trnsboi

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Re: Getting Along - Please Read
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2011, 05:18:26 pm »

1) The difference between debate (which is productive) and bickering (which is counter-productive) basically rests on whether you criticize the statement being made or the person making it.  Try to avoid singling anyone out or saying anything that could be interpreted as a personal criticism.  Instead, it's best to reply to a statement you disagree with with something along the lines of, "I disagree with this.  My personal experiences and / or what I have read indicate otherwise," and elaborate with facts gleaned from your own life, not assumptions about their life.


Well put. It reminds me of the Oscar Wilde quote, "If you cannot prove a man wrong, don't panic. You can always call him names."



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