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Questions And Concerns

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I just saw the thread, which tells us to post questions, concerns etc here or contact the mods by email.

http://www.aftersilence.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=195

I will do both.

From my experience over the last year there is a limit to questions we can ask and concerns we can raise.

I like others would like to have a more open avenue to express internal concerns. While I understand the potential that these things can get out of control quickly (name calling, pointing fingers), silence just builds frustration.

On one hand I can understand addressing issues with other members privately through a mod however I had a problem with something that happened in chat the other night that while it was annoying as $%&* I am not prepared to take it to a mod for a variety of reasons. So by my choice the possibility exists that this person will offend or upset someone else. If I thought the option was available to address it on the boards I would.

I guess the purpose of this would be to hopefully open dialog. RESPECTFUL dialog.

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:flowers::goodpost2::agree2: Fall, thank you for starting this thread, I couldnt agree more with you. I have been here for nearly 2 years and at times, its been like my second home. I think there should be an easier way(if thats the right term to use) of airing grievances, and respectful dialogue is key to that. Over my time here I have noticed posts get out of hand and remarks made that were hurtful and unnecessary, and that is not fair on anyone. This is our safe place , guys, lets keep it that way, and if we have a problem with anyone, lets deal with it respectfully and discreetly, and let there be no more hurt and pain caused.

Paula :hug: (for everyone)

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Fall did you mean you would like to be able to address problems with other members openly on the message board? - sorry I did not understand what you meant - I am sorry you had a problem in chat - I hope this is not stepping out of turn = but I don't think everything needs to go through a mod - but when an agreement can't be met then perhaps it helps to get another opinion - there are so many people here now - all with different thoughts and opinions - but there should always be support and respect in how we deal with each other.

karen

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I don't think it would be appropriate to single people out on the boards. I think it would cause more hurt and people to take sides.

For anyone who saw the posts the other night there is no avenue for discussion. We cannot discuss the concepts. Anything that perhaps we too had experienced or wanted clarification on.

I have received feedback from mods that was very open, others I felt that I had overstepped some line in asking a question.

I didn't feel safe or comfortable starting this thread. But in light of some of the problems in the last 8 months I felt perhaps someone should.

People talk about needing change yet what does that look like? The atmosphere has changed alot here since I joined. Has a fear of punishment played a part in that? I don't know.

I know I thought more than twice before starting this and I think carefully before contacting a mod.

Is that the way the atmosphere should be? Am I the only one that hesitates?

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We always keep the "door open" so that you may address any issues and concerns you may have at any time. I really don't want anyone to feel that they are unable to talk to a moderator. I think one of the main issues is the fact that we are all conversing and interacting online, where perhaps a tone of voice can be misinterpreted.

My PM box is always open. I may not reply right away but I do reply to everyone.

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Is there a proper way to express concerns when someone has been banned.

Example if the person in their good bye message raised a issue you agree with

or

A way to express sadness at the loss

I will admit that a banning that has happen in the last year has left me feeling like I walk a tight rope. I have never received censure from anyone but I still feel that it could happen to anyone. Perhaps that is my trust issue. I understand that there are limits to what anyone can say about someone else and I respect that. But the silence when someone is banned is deafening.

Edited by fall

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Fall,

I am sorry that you feel like you cant openly talk to the mods here, I know that before I ever became a chat mod I had to go to the mods with several problems that had occurred that I was not able to resolve on my own. I was very pleased with the assistance the mods gave me and I felt very comfortable talking with them.

I to have noticed that things have changed a lot in the past 8 months, I have noticed a huge problem in chat with people not following the rules that are put in place to protect everyone that uses the room. In breaking the rules it causes a huge upset in chat, many arguments, hurt feelings, and a lot of anger. I feel the rules for chat are very basic rules to follow and it is sad to me that people can't just respect each other and show each other the support that we all deserve.

For me if I had a problem with a mod and felt like they were not being fair or listening to my side of things I would write to another mod and ask them to review the situation and talk it over with me. Despite what everyone may think mod's do NOT take there personal relationship into account with any member here when making a decision on an issue that has come up. The decisions that are made on this board are based on facts and facts alone.

I am always happy to talk to anyone who thinks I was unfair on a decision I made or feels like I was out of line in anyway. I have spoken with several members who did not understand why I kicked them from chat or why I pm'd them about something. Once they let me know how they were feeling, I was able to explain why I did what I did and we were able to work it out. In order for any of the mods on this site to know that they have upset someone they have to be told by that member. We are all humans and we all make mistakes, I know I am not perfect by far and I have my off days just like everyone else.

I think the most important thing to remember here is that we are ALL survivors, the mods, the admin, the members, we are all here for the same reason, to heal from all the pain and suffering we have all had to endure because of someone else. If we would all just respect each other and openly talk things out with each other, there would be a lot less upset and a lot less anger going around.

I would encourage anyone who has a problem that they feel they need help with please talk to a mod/admin, if you are upset about something a mod says to you, then talk it out with them. There are ways to communicate your frustrations with out attacking anyone.

AS is a wonderful place with people from all walks of life, with this many members there will always be problems, but if everyone would just stop and think before they say things out of anger, I think things will run a lot more smoothly here.

I am not speaking as a chat mod here and I am not speaking for the mods or admin. I am just speaking as a member of AS who is very thankful that I have this place to come to.

:hug: :hug:

Sad

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Is there a proper way to express concerns when someone has been banned.

Fall,

I am not sure on this but I think the way to handle that would be to contact a Mod or Admin. :flowers:

Sad

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Hi Sadeyes22

Based on my experience there are a couple I would trust to speak too.

I believe that if everyone could respect each other and treat each other as they want to be treated chat could once again be amazing. There are times it is like it was when I started. Others it is like people come into chat like a bull in a china shop and take over and can't see beyond themselves. I know we all need help and support sometimes. I have been known to say alot as well but I don't shut down someone else to do it.

Do mod's have autonomy or are decisions about consequences made by more than one?

I am always happy to talk to anyone who thinks I was unfair on a decision I made or feels like I was out of line in anyway.

I believe that to be true. I was very impressed that you let us talk a little the other night about the situation. I appreciated that it was a first.

If we would all just respect each other and openly talk things out with each other, there would be a lot less upset and a lot less anger going around.

Yes this is true but for me it seems to be contradicted when you post something and it gets pulled.

I think the sad part is that there are some that have tried talking and in not being heard started yelling.

I am thankful for this place too it has been life changing.

Doesn't mean I don't post wondering what I will say that could bring my status into question.

:hug: :hug: :hug:

Pam

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I'd like to open this post on "I agree with Fall" but that's not fair because she may not want to be tarred with the brush I feel I have to wave about a bit now...

I left a few months ago and now I'm back. The difference is huge.

I am seeing certain moderator posts that make my jaw drop in disbelief, slow replying to concearns and generally management it's hard to dare approach. If I get my arse kicked for this so be it, I feel it needs to be said because I feel AS is a resource too precious not to protect.

I also see long-term members either just absent/ missing or actualy leaving in disgust/disgrace because thier concearns were too strong to be addressed or just not addressed doesn't matter which.

I see irritations in chat that aren't under control.

And worst I see fear.

I start any remotely contravertial topic in chat and the "oh now be careful" brigade are right there. When did that happen? When did we loose our bravery? Who are we affraid of? I see contravertial topics on the boards and people aren't replying, if they are it's not with the thought-out answers I used to see.

The only answer that fits is that somehow we became affraid of the moderators. This is not a thought that has been led by someone else's point of view (you know me better by now surely) it's what I really do see. That's not the AS I left.

AS is all of ours, it's a collective space, a collective resource, and even more basically a collection of things I wrote, and you wrote. It is what it is because of every single member who has 1 or more posts, not because of any specific few.

We need to turn this round, it's important. It's important not to just label the outspoken as "troublemakers" but to look for the underlying point too and to fix it, because if we don't do that then the problem doesn't go away, there will always be more "troublemakers". If saying this makes me a "troublemaker" that's fine, I'm a big girl I can take it, but if my "troublemaker" status means my concerns are dismissed then that's not OK because I know I'm not the only one feeling this.

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Is there a proper way to express concerns when someone has been banned.

Fall,

I am not sure on this but I think the way to handle that would be to contact a Mod or Admin. :flowers:

Sad

I tried that I won't quote because I cannot find my PM's but the jist of it was mod's decisions were not to be questioned.

My questions were taken as a challenge and so the conversation was over.

I don't mean to be rude but if I am looking for support because of a decision mod's have made I can't see myself turning to them for that support. Which I guess is why I don't feel there is any. :shrug:

I appreciate your patience

:hug:

Pam

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I'd like to open this post on "I agree with Fall" but that's not fair because she may not want to be tarred with the brush I feel I have to wave about a bit now...

I left a few months ago and now I'm back. The difference is huge.

I am seeing certain moderator posts that make my jaw drop in disbelief, slow replying to concearns and generally management it's hard to dare approach. If I get my arse kicked for this so be it, I feel it needs to be said because I feel AS is a resource too precious not to protect.

I also see long-term members either just absent/ missing or actualy leaving in disgust/disgrace because thier concearns were too strong to be addressed or just not addressed doesn't matter which.

I see irritations in chat that aren't under control.

And worst I see fear.

I start any remotely contravertial topic in chat and the "oh now be careful" brigade are right there. When did that happen? When did we loose our bravery? Who are we affraid of? I see contravertial topics on the boards and people aren't replying, if they are it's not with the thought-out answers I used to see.

The only answer that fits is that somehow we became affraid of the moderators. This is not a thought that has been led by someone else's point of view (you know me better by now surely) it's what I really do see. That's not the AS I left.

AS is all of ours, it's a collective space, a collective resource, and even more basically a collection of things I wrote, and you wrote. It is what it is because of every single member who has 1 or more posts, not because of any specific few.

We need to turn this round, it's important. It's important not to just label the outspoken as "troublemakers" but to look for the underlying point too and to fix it, because if we don't do that then the problem doesn't go away, there will always be more "troublemakers". If saying this makes me a "troublemaker" that's fine, I'm a big girl I can take it, but if my "troublemaker" status means my concerns are dismissed then that's not OK because I know I'm not the only one feeling this.

Can't argue with the painter

You are always so articulate.

:flowers:

Pam

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I am frustrated this morning.

I am disappointed that there are no more responses here.

I am pleased to note that I have received PM's from a mod.

That said I don't understand why those comments, that reassurance is offered in private.

I was deliberate on trying to bring this into the open.

Consciously, respectfully.

Futility is such a frustrating thing.

I guess I was hoping that at some point we could get to

Why were they banned? WAIT - I am not asking, challenging, questioning a decision. What I am doing is trying to understand what it means for me. The reason being. I see nothing, I hear nothing and then they post a very public attack on a mod and poof - gone. Is it just attacking a mod, or attacking anyone? I have no intention of attacking anyone on the boards. Does that mean I am safe here?

Isn't that the question we are always asking as survivors? Am I safe. Right now lots of us feel the answer to that is NO.

I really was hoping that the solution would be trying to help fix, understand what has broken/changed here instead of considering finding another means of support.

I am sad to see the divide widening. :( I know this place will continue as it grows everyday. I just still miss the feeling of "family" that used to exist here. :tear:

You don't have to close it - I won't post to again unless someone else does

Pam

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I am not sure I am really able to comment as I have not been a member that long so maybe don't have a long term perspective. All I will say is that very early on I made the decision not to go back into chat after a particularly harrowing experience when I felt more told off by the mods than supported. That said I get plenty of other support from being on AS and don't really mind not going into chat.

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I don't want to take over falls post and talk just of chat - but chat is the responsibility of myself and the other chat mods - and therefore I understand more of what happens in chat

I would be really sad if people felt they could not talk openly in chat - there are guidelines and as long as they are followed - then I believe that any and all topics can be talked about.- I don't believe we have an 'oh now be careful' brigade' - nor do I think we need to be brave to start a topic that may not be to everyones liking - however I do think we need to be respectful and listen to what everyone is saying - perhaps more so in chat - because it is in real time. No one should ever leave the chat room feeling worse than when they went in - if a topic comes up that is controversal - as long as the majority want to talk about it - those that don't can leave and come back later.

Again I can only talk about chat - but when it comes to banning someone - it is a last resort - unless there has been a major breach of the guidelines - I would contact a member first if they were causing concern in chat - and I would for the most only do that because someone in chat has reported them - sometimes a chat mod - but more often than not another member - so the intial problem is brought to my attention by members here who have been upset - it doesn't have anything to do with a mods opinion until it is brought to a mods attention. Once reported I will then look into it - then I have to make a descision as to what happens next. But I would not do that publically - I would respect the privacy of the person concerned - in the past twice I have been publically embarrassed and humiliated by members who were reported because of their behaviour in chat by other chatters - I contacted these two people in a respectful and sympathetic way but there response was to write posts about me that were truely hurtful. I could have replied to these posts and tell everyone why they had been banned - but I do not believe that is the right way to go. I don't believe anyone is ever banned lightly - or because they upset a mod - or because opinions clashed - it would be an accumalation of things - that members here would not know about .

I am not very good at arguing a cause - and I do not want to take anything away from falls original post - if poeple feel upset about something - then I think you should be able to talk to any mod here and know that you are being listened to - if anyone has a problem in chat = please always feel free to contact my self or becky or any chat mod you feel more comfortable with and we will do our best to help - but also please remember that personally we are survivors too - we recieve no training - we do this voluntarily - we are human!!

Lastly and I absolutely mean no offense here - esepcially to fall for starting this thread - but not all sites are run the same way - some have far more rules/guidelines etc - some far less - and incredialby sadly there are 100s of sites out there - and perhaps if you are not happy here then there are other sites that might fit your way of thinking far more than After Silence (please don't all yell at me for that!!)

karen

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Maddie :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug:

I am sorry you had a bad experience in chat. I am grateful that my first experiences were good ones. It is why I am sad at the turn things had taken. I miss what was.

I am glad you receive support here. :hug: :hug:

Karen

Please feel free to post as much as you want. Your responses to me have always been considerate and supportive.

All I wanted to do was open a door. I know that you are very supportive and good at your job. I welcome your input.

The ability to talk more openly and freely in chat has improved since it has re opened. I had an experience last year where everything I tried to talk about - none of it sa related triggered someone so I was told "don't talk about that" I ended up in a private chat trying to support someone feeling totally in over my head but we kept getting told in the main window to stop talking about it by one member or another. I felt too if they didn't like the subject matter (auto accidents) they should use the opportunity to take a potty break and let us finish our conversation.

I think it helps to know the process. From my own experience I like to know all I can before I go into a situation, not a fan of surprises.

To know it is a process not one mistake and out can be reassuring. Especially when all we see is one temper tantrum. I am not minimizing the pain that causes in any way. Again not justifying the behavior just trying to understand the journey so I know if I am ever on that slippery slope.

I think you get your point across very well and with much compassion.

I won't yell at you. :hug: :hug: I think from my own perspective it is not that this site is not a fit, it is that it is an uncomfortable fit now. I have been here 1 1/2 years in that time the atmosphere has changed. I think we search for answers as to what happened. Where did the camaraderie go? What happened to the feelings of safety, trust, belonging, family? I guess what I am saying is it is not about wanting it to be something different it is wanting it to be what it was.

:hug: :hug: :hug: :hug:

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well, i don't use chat too much, and i pretty much never know what's going on; just change your avatar and i'm lost for several days. but it's a little unsettling to check in one morning and see posts with dashes that have been removed, and members banned, with no explanation. it feels like some third world country where people are taken away in the night and you don't dare speak of them again.

it's hard not to wonder and question just what happened that so-and-so is gone and is presumably banned. and yes, it gets me second-guessing my own behavior, wondering where the line is and hoping i don't cross it with foul language and crass jokes that push the envelope for the sake of a laugh.

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Wow, I go away for a few days and all hell breaks loose!!!

This is a great post fall and I think a much needed one.

My theory on what is going on here is the same thing that happens on all web sites of all kinds from time to time and in my opinion it is the issue of political correctness and social sensitivity.(which I fail at constantly) Plus, the fact that a lot gets lost in translation. We can't see body language or hear voice inflection. It can make things seem so much the oposite of what is really meant.

Some people may feel that when someone doesn't agree with them, it is disrespect when it isn't.

I think what we forget here is that there is no absolute right and wrong. We are all so different in our wants and needs that our perceptions and answers will differ, and that doesn't mean anyone is wrong or right.

I was so happy to find this site and yet at the same time was scared to post but only because I saw how sensitive some people are. I don't mean that as a jab or anything negative at all, I was always just afraid that saying anything other than, 'oh, I am so sorry you are going thru that', I would hurt someone in some way. I don't think that is the answer in most cases, but sometimes that IS what someone needs to hear. The reality of this world is painful and sometimes the pain is necessary and if support on this forum means only saying that you understand someones pain, and not offer anything else, it isn't helping anyone at all.

I also see here a power struggle of sorts. Not questioning authority is dangerous for everyone. There is a definite difference between questioning and disrespecting and when a moderator holds themselves above anyone else here there is already a problem. I don't see how there could be harm in a mod publicly expressing their opinion or explaining their actions unless they have no reason other than to show their power.

If we were to carefully, literally follow each guideline for each part of this forum, we really wouldn't be able to say anything other then, "I was hurt". Deciding which guidelines to strictly follow creates a problem also. In 1 thread, we can't say that we fear men because it is sexist, yet in another thread we can say that we fear black men. Personally, I think all opinions should be allowed to be expressed if this is indeed a forum to let people finally speak their truths. We all may not agree, but that is the beauty of freedom, we are allowed to have our own opinions and expressing them peacefully is what is respectful. Not agreeing with someone doesn't mean that someone is wrong, and that, I think, is a part of the problem. It isn't wrong, just maybe, wrong for ME. See?

What I am sad to see is that people stop coming on their own, in response to someone disagreeing with them. I know it can be frustrating, but it is still healthier(I think) to get those feelings out there, and keep talking even if no one agrees with you.

I have had issues with people attacking me personally and not just on this forum, on painting forums too, but I am a grown up and can handle it myself. I don't need to 'tell on them', but that is just me. I know some people need support, but just removing a post because a few people don't like what it says is making things worse for everyone, not just the person who was offended.

I think we (specially) need to be able to say what we need to say, even if it is unsavory for some others. Most of us have always lived our lives that way and in that we discovered how poisonous it is. To continue that here, on this forum would be counterproductive to the intention of this forum.

I have backed off the last few days to be there for my family at home and for me it has been good. I think about all of you every day and what is going on here and I am sad to see what has happened, but at the same time, glad to see it being discussed!!

We all have the ability to agree to disagree and in that I know there can be peace here don't you think?

Peace

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well, i don't use chat too much, and i pretty much never know what's going on; just change your avatar and i'm lost for several days. but it's a little unsettling to check in one morning and see posts with dashes that have been removed, and members banned, with no explanation. it feels like some third world country where people are taken away in the night and you don't dare speak of them again.

it's hard not to wonder and question just what happened that so-and-so is gone and is presumably banned. and yes, it gets me second-guessing my own behavior, wondering where the line is and hoping i don't cross it with foul language and crass jokes that push the envelope for the sake of a laugh.

:goodpost2:

I really agree with the never speak of them again.

It feels to me like we need to keep our feelings a secret. Secrets drive me nuts. That we cross some line or betray someone or something by mentioning them. It is a creepy feeling.

There is no sense of closure. If I was to lose a friend I would mourn for lack of a better word with those who also feel that loss. So what do I do? They are people I have met here. My husband and T don't understand. How can anyone understand the bonds we make here? When my sister was part of an online grief group I thought she was crazy when she talked of her online friends. But my own experience has changed that. We share so much and then to have that door slammed it is not easy.

Life is not simple. I can hold them accountable for getting themselves in trouble but still miss them and be concerned. One doesn't negate the other. :hug: :hug: :hug:

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I'm going to make this ultra short for many excellant and interesting points have already been made.

I too find a huge difference in the site from when I first joined 4 yrs ago and now.

BUT...I am member no.1225 whilst the membership now stands at 12 289...huge difference and one which I think totally shifts the balance.

The more people you put in one room the more disagreement and differering opinions you are going to get.I know this isn't the complete essence of this thread but I think it's an important point.

:hug: Lene x

Edited by Lene

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:flowers: With all due respect to everyone on this board, I need to add to my original reply here. I had an incident in chat some time ago, where a member PMd me and asked me to come in there, someone was in trouble, So of course i went in, after downloading java to let me go in there. When I got there, only one person talked to me and I thought, why was I asked? ANyway, thankfully all concerned were okay, I just left like a "spare part" as we say here .

I deliberately stay away from chat since then, on one hand I can see why its needed but on the other hand, it seems to me a lot of the problems here are happening in there, am I wrong?

I am also wary of voicing my opinions here to be honest, there have been several threads that I personally found triggering and to be honest a little offensive and should have been placed in the private forums, but thats not for me to decide. I didnt complain as i dont want anyone to be in trouble. But it made me think, as Fall said, Am I safe here any more? I love AS so much, I have made the dearest friends in the world here, but lately I dont know, I dont feel as at home any more and that saddens me.

On the issue of people being banned, I feel we should be able to talk about it, just express our grief and upset, but of course, not for it to get aggressive and offensive, thats not the way. I would like to be able to say............" I am sad and upset because "whoever" was banned", thats all. Several of my friends here have been banned since I joined and I felt I could never express my feelings about it. Anyway...............................thats just how I feel :unsure:

There is enough conflict and pain in this world, we have all gone through so much in our lives, lets not turn on each other too, because , if we lose each other, who have we? :( And I for one, dont want to lose any of you, you are all too valuable in my life :(

Paula

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Is it just attacking a mod, or attacking anyone? I have no intention of attacking anyone on the boards. Does that mean I am safe here?

Posts attacking members or anyone here are removed- this includes moderators. This rule is in place in order to provide a safe and respectful environment for everyone.

No one has mentioned that in the past year, our membership has increased tremendously, we have over 12,000 people registered at the moment! It takes a lot of time and energy to maintain a site like this and enable it to continue to be a nurturing, supportive environment. I think with growth, changes do occur.

I completely understand the hurt that is felt when friends are banned. I do know that this decision is carefully made and collaborated on. It is never an impulsive, thoughtless decision. I have to wonder how you would really feel if moderators posted the real reasons behind a member being banned. I think it should be between that member and the moderating staff. Personally, if I were banned, I would not want that on public display. On the other hand, it is unfortunate that members can't see both sides of the situation in order to make a fair judgement call.

Even before I joined the staff, I felt that the moderators were fair. I'm sorry, but I simply cannot agree that they are on some kind of power trip, that just hasn't been my experience. I even had a small issue once and disagreed with something..I wrote to the mod, and was met with honesty and openess, it was very easily talked through and my problem was resolved to my satisfaction. There was none of that - "my way or the highway" attitude. By nature, I am very much a rebel...so, I don't just go along with things or have such an easy going personality that nothing bothers me.

As far as chat goes- I want to add my offer, along with Karen, and Sad, for anyone having an issue, to contact me. I promise, we will work to resolve the problem. You will be heard!

No situation, or person is perfect and there is always room for improvement. Personally, I greatly respect everyone here and admire you all so much! I also appreciate your honesty in discussing your feelings in this post.

Gentle hugs to all who want them :hug::hug::hug::hug::hug::hug:

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Lene :flowers:

It is a very good point. I think the more people the more patience and tolerance required.

Angelic

I am sorry your experience in chat was not a pleasant one. :hug: :hug: :hug:

On the issue of people being banned, I feel we should be able to talk about it, just express our grief and upset, but of course, not for it to get aggressive and offensive, thats not the way. I would like to be able to say............" I am sad and upset because "whoever" was banned", thats all. Several of my friends here have been banned since I joined and I felt I could never express my feelings about it. Anyway...............................thats just how I feel unsure.gif

I have to give kudo's to Sadeyes the other night when she returned to chat I said "Can I say this sucks?" after receiving an okay I said just that "this sucks"

I meant it then and I mean it now. The situation. Not one person or group of persons but the situation. It is not about right or wrong for me that is not my place. I don't like conflict it leaves me feeling unsure and I HATE that. I guess for me it is a no win. For those people who feel they have not be heard, not been understood, to have them feel like they have been backed into a corner, to have them come out fighting, for someone else to be the target of their pain and frustration, for those who need to take action, for those who are left scratching their heads wondering what to h*ll happened, those who may later regret their outburst none of us are winners in this. No one gains.

:hug: :hug:

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I too find a huge difference in the site from when I first joined 4 yrs ago and now.

BUT...I am member no.1332 whilst the membership now stands at 12 289...huge difference and one which I think totally shifts the balance.

The more people you put in one room the more disagreement and differering opinions you are going to get.I know this isn't the complete essence of this thread but I think it's an important point.

Lene-

I totally agree, good point. I must have been in the process of writing when you posted this. Sorry, I didn't see it. :hug:

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I personally have had no issues here, if someone is triggerng off the walls i don't take them personally. THe thing with finding people banned is that it triggers the old feelings of abandonment and secrets. Just keep your mouth shut and your head down sort of thing. With most of us coming from that kind of environemnt i think it's easy for us to recreate it again, where maybe it doesn't really exist. I think talking out someone leaving can help us dispell that particular kind of memory.

As for the place changing I can't really speak to that. I agree with azazo, the standard "i'm sorry you're hurting" which was so prevalent when I first got here just seemed empty and impotent. So I took a few chances, thought a few lighter side of things might help. It seems to have. I know it helps me to clown my ass through the day, if you laugh I laugh. I may push things a bit far but I do try to remember the trigger warnings. Having said that I've also noticed that if I post one of those "sad please help me" posts, no one responds. No editorial comment there just an observation.

But when someone seems to truly be in crisis, even if it's only in their living room, I do try to offer some useful advice, and hand to grab onto, rather than a pat on the back, 'sorry you hurt.' To me it is more empowering to say 'take a second and try to ground yourself, you'll get through this.'

When it comes to newcomers and their stories, that's just not my strong suit, I have nothing useful to offer, so I stay away until they get a feel for the place and then if they like what I bring to the place they'll play with me and if they don't I guess they just stare at their screens and wonder just how nuts I really am.

Anyway, I like the diversity that seems to be showing itself. The strengths of different people and different types, from the so very self-aware teens to the tough and wise older women to the nuns to the prostitutes to the multiples who are so very unique to the moms to the leather dykes to the researchers to the poets to the gay men and the straight guys and the secondaries. I hope it continues.

Now does anyone know anything about JaquilynBart and if she is ok?

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