The Rules of Engagement, for lack of a better phrase
In the last few months, I've received too many private notes about the tenor of the site. There have been requests to delete members and requests to remove topics and posts. I have done none of this, but I have been forced to limit responses on two threads when the topics were abandoned and the personal sniping became incessant. It might be time to address a few basic niceties again.
Today, after being terribly precoccupied with a personal project the past few weeks, I took a deep breath and responded to two members who wrote me this morning. Both had concerns about the deterioration, and nature, of the website and both had opposite opinions on what should be done. I responded to both of them with almost the same words. Here, with a bit of judicious editing, is my response:
I have lived my entire life trying to walk in someone else's shoes, imagining how others will feel and respond before I speak or act, so when I get to the point of putting things in absolute terms, it means I have finally hit a point of zero tolerance.
Yes, I would really like it if people would 'get well together' and would 'lift each other up no matter what'. Please don't mistake my addressing unproductive posts or bad behaviors for being against the topic that was being discussed. I have no issues with the topic and have encouraged it. I have also planned with Dylan to establish a page for natural medicine (regarding eradicating cpni). Everyone has a right to post their viewpoints, so long as they're able to substantiate their rationale as well as maintain respect for those whose views differ.
What must not continue, however, is the sniping and the juvenile behaviors. Being strident and insistent that one's own choice must be everyone's sole choice is not acceptable. Dominating the site and taking the site off-track is more than impolite.
The grating and the stress resulting from the recent tone of the discussion boards has driven at least three long-time members from the site and has caused others not to post anymore. As you all know, stress exacerbates our disease, no matter which manifestation we have. No one wants to come here and find pettiness or snarking.
This site is a refuge for the sickest of the sick and for those who have no other source of information on cpn or its treatment. Historically, it has been a place for conversation and support. In the last few months, it's become contentious and sometimes it's been little more than a place to bicker and jab at each other. When addressing this I am trying to be mindful of understanding for everyone, as well as maintain the long-term integrity of the site.
When I sent a British educator to the site a month ago, she wrote me and said she couldn't wade through all the personal nonsense that was going on, so the site was off-putting to her. And, therefore, she didn't get the information she needed to address her infection. Getting that information out is the goal here, not elbowing each other in the schoolyard at recess.
Everyone needs to realize they are not on Facebook, where you can say anything you want to anyone, in any manner you choose to say it.
So, please be kind to one another in your responses. Ask yourself, would you address your mother/father/spouse/boss/sister in the manner you're using now?
Please understand we really are all in the same little canoe here, together, instead of swatting each other with our oars. Those who are asked for clarification or direction should give that information or direction without getting defensive about it.
Respect one another. Your opinion is not the only 'right' opinion. If you are espousing a theory, label it as theory. If you have a personal opinion, say it's an opinion. If you are stating fact, be prepared to direct others to the source, or a resource, or some clarification or information relating to it.
We're not in a contest here. Please be mindful of that.
And, please, though it sounds trite, this site is not Facebook, or a casual social site. It is a serious website to address serious issues and provide information for those who have nowhere else to find it on the entire internet.