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Values of the forum

Discussion in 'About This Site' started by Forest, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi everyone,

    I hope everyone is doing well (in the most outcome independent way possible!)

    I find it helpful to periodically draw attention to our values and forum policies. You can find them from any page by clicking on the "Help" link near the top.

    Here they are:
    We try to keep things casual, supportive and friendly here, but there are a couple rules that you should follow. Most people find the rules to be common sense for public supportive discussion about personal and contentious topics. However, I have written them out in some detail here so that when conflicts come up (as they inevitably will), the moderators have guidelines to point back to.
    • When you create a new thread, please give it a descriptive title. (Some terminology: Individual messages are called "posts." Posts by different people are "threaded" together to make a "thread." Each thread has a "title," at the very top, given to it by the person who made the first post in the thread.)
    • Please keep threads on topic. If you come up with a new topic in the middle of a thread, just create a new thread and link to it from the old thread. A moderator can help you move posts over to the new thread.
    • Please be respectful of other people's opinions. When discussing topics that are contentious or when there is a disagreement in the thread, make a special effort to be polite and state your opinion as your opinion rather than fact. If someone is saying something in a thread that you think they shouldn't say and you've already exhausted the process of respectful dialogue, just read another thread. There is space here for everyone.
    • Do not promote conflict. When conflicts arise within a thread, discuss ideas rather than criticizing people. If you have a problem with a forum member, feel free to link to these rules (see below for a short link to these rules) or to contact a moderator. Avoid repetitive or mean-spirited attacks of people in the mindbody community, including authors. Avoid discussing topics, such as politics or religion, that are both contentious and off topic for the forum.
    • Please keep things polite. Choose a respectful style rather than an inflammatory one. If you see someone making a personal attack or an inflammatory post, just ignore it, or, if it is egregious, click the "report" link.
    • The forum is not for advertising. If your intent in making a post is to advertise, before you make a post, you should get in touch with Forest to find out if the post is appropriate. In addition, excess links in posts may be removed because all links in posts by non-staff members are "nofollowed" and cause PageRank to be destroyed. (In other words, excess off-site links hurt everyone.)
    • Work with the moderators. If a moderator gives you an instruction in a thread, follow it. Use common sense and follow the spirit and not just the letter of these rules. Posts that violate the letter or spirit of the rules here may be moved, locked, deleted or edited. Do not attempt to create public drama if you have a concern with how your posts have been moderated. Moderators generously volunteer their time for the benefit of the community, so contact the mods privately (i.e. not in public) with any concerns.
    • Short link to these rules: http://go.tmswiki.org/rules
    • Additional guidance can be found by clicking here.
    In interpreting these rules, I often find it helpful to use the word “inflammatory.” Before I explain what I mean, let me give a little background.

    When I was setting up the wiki, I studied how to set up a nonprofit. In particular, I got some help from a really excellent group called SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives). They are a group of successful, retired executives who provide free consultations to nonprofits as a form of public service.

    Before my SCORE consultant would even discuss the group with me, they instructed me to make a strategic plan. I didn't realize why this was so important, but I chose to follow the advice anyway, and I'm very glad I did. For the last 8 years, I can't tell you how frequently I have returned back to the values and identity of the wiki to help in making decisions for the wiki.

    Here's the most recent version of the Strategic Plan if you'd like to take a look:

    One of the most important parts of the strategic plan is the values section. These are important because they are the glue that hold all of the individual policies together. For the forum, one attempt to summarize the values that guide major decisions here are as follows:
    • everyone can believe what they want
    • everyone is responsible for not being inflammatory (I'm using "inflammatory" here to mean "likely to arouse angry or violent feelings")
    • we are pragmatic
    • we can’t help everyone
    • we work hard to promote a positive and supportive culture
    I'd like to spend some time on the first two of the values. Together, they basically imply that people are free to express whatever opinions they want about TMS. However, with pain being such an emotional topic, we do require that people express those opinions in a polite and noninflammatory way.

    Let's go through the first two again, but with a bit more detail.
    • everyone can believe what they want
      • Discussions can become boring and stultified if there is no interchange of ideas. The policy of this forum is that everyone can believe what they want. This value shows up in our "Be respectful" forum rule as follows: "If someone is saying something in a thread that you think they shouldn't say and you've already exhausted the process of respectful dialogue, just read another thread. There is space here for everyone." It also shows up in the "additional guidance" post as "Don't make repetitive posts to attempt to control opinion on the forum. Everyone has the right to have their own opinion, so just let it drop. Do not attempt to make people feel unwelcome based on the opinions they express."
    • everyone is responsible for not being inflammatory
      • So if anyone can believe whatever they want, how do we prevent flame wars from breaking out? Online communications are legendary for being prone to flame wars, and when flame wars break out, they can do serious damage to the fabric of the community. Harsh words, once said, sometimes are forgiven but are seldom completely forgotten. The forum rules on being respectful of others' opinions, not promoting conflict, and keeping things polite are meant to avoid these flame wars.

      • Summarizing the aforementioned three forum rules is straightforward - people must express themselves in a non-inflammatory manner. When I look at posts, I use a practical definition of inflammatory. I simply ask whether the poster is doing what they can to decrease the possibility of a conflict escalating. If they are, then they are fine.

    Summarizing the first two points: on the subject of TMS, we are committed to free expression, but we require civility so that the community isn't disrupted by conflict.

    I believe strongly that forums are best when there is a lively exchange of ideas. However, especially with a subject matter as emotional as pain, conflicts can easily arise. To prevent this, we follow basic rules of civility here. Most people follow these rules automatically, and the rules just formalize this and provide guidance for moderation.
  2. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Forest and All!

    Thank you Forest for the kind of foundation here which has kept this place remarkable in the "online" world.

    So many have come here and felt safe, heard, have allowed themselves to express their feelings and perceptions after/during so much stress and pain. Many people have remarked at the support and graciousness they've felt here, as they've arrived over the years.

    And also thanks to all posting here for the sincere, loving expression I have read during the years here. Many times I have felt closer to my heart in participating, which is very valuable to me.


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