1. Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.
    PLEASE HELP

Drugs-Forum Staff Interview with Gradient

Rating:
5/5,
  1. Phungushead
    avatar50050_1.gif

    Gradient

    Member since 2007
    Staff member since 2010

    This is the sixth of a series of interviews with members of the Drugs-Forum Staff.

    You can find a listing of all of them here:
    Exclusive Staff Interviews - Your Questions Answered!

    Stay tuned, new ones will be posted regularly!


    View attachment 42623 Alfa asked...

    View attachment 42637 What attracted you to DF?

    Gradient:

    I’d been largely relying on Erowid’s experience reports to learn about the variety of effects mushrooms and LSD can yield, and DF would occasionally hit my radar. I found Erowid’s reports had (have) a distinct tendency to be overly effusive, over romanticizing the effects, while there was a certain pragmatic tone to those on this site. As drug-related discussion became a source of bonding with friends in college, we’d turn to DF every now and then to enrich our conversations. I decided to join when I had a question to which I could find no answer regarding the viability and potency of ‘aborted’ mushrooms.


    View attachment 42636 Phungushead asked...

    View attachment 42637 How long have you been a staff member?


    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    I believe I joined the staff in November of 2010, and it feels like much less time has gone by than actually has.


    View attachment 42635 Nosferatus asked...

    View attachment 42637 How exactly did you become a staff member?


    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    I suppose the real reason is probably rather simple. Alfa’d asked me to compile some of the more aberrant and perverse side-effects members were reporting from mephedrone with startling regularity - among the strangest being extremities, and particularly knees, turning blue. As the drug made an enormous splash when it hit wide circulation, the page received quite a bit of attention in a short period. To give a chronological context: this was before these novel stimulants were even being called ‘bath salts’, and just a blink of an eye before they’d been called ‘plant food’. Soon thereafter, Alfa sent the message that I’m sure most of the more recently added staff have received.


    View attachment 42626 Beenthere2Hippie asked...

    View attachment 42637 Does becoming a Mod involve changing your DF posting style at all?

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    There’s probably a ‘no one likes to see how the sausage is made’ thing at play here, but the honest answer is yes. I was probably a bit more aggressive and argumentative before attempting to cultivate some diplomacy once I joined the staff.


    View attachment 42636 Phungushead asked...

    View attachment 42637 What is your favorite part about being a member of DF staff?

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge a more effectively quenched interest in seeing how the gears on the inside turn.


    View attachment 42636 Phungushead asked...

    View attachment 42637 What is your least favorite part of being a member of DF staff?

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    Reputation moderation. Thankfully, I’ve been able to largely avoid it thanks to the willingness of other staff members to confront it.


    View attachment 42623 Alfa asked...

    View attachment 42637 What do you like most about DF?

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    I like the perspective it/we take towards drug use: pragmatism. I also like what I think is in DF’s future: effectively communicate and disseminate that pragmatism to legislators world wide.


    View attachment 42635 Nosferatus asked...

    View attachment 42637 What motivates you to do this?


    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    I think the puritanical perspective on drug use that the vast majority of countries have suffered through has been among the most pernicious that have survived modernization. I also think it’s a very soluble problem, and places like DF are where that archaic puritanism clashes with modernity. In other words, I think it’s a worthy effort, and the internet’s probably where the fruits of that effort will reach the most minds.


    View attachment 42632 LuLu81 asked...

    View attachment 42637 What is the one question that people ask, that makes you scream, no not again UTFSE!!!!??

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    No questions really upset me very much, but the one that baffles me is the ‘I just took this and that, what should I expect?’ It’s just a strange sequence of choices. Particularly the diphenhydramine ones. It makes me wonder what the true motivations behind the drug consumption really are.


    View attachment 42631 Joe-(5-HTP) asked...

    View attachment 42637 How many times per day are you in danger of losing your temper?

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    For some reason, considerably more before I joined staff than now.


    View attachment 42636 Phungushead asked...

    View attachment 42637 How long do you see yourself sticking with DF, whether as staff or a regular poster?

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    My activity, like most staff members (excluding Phen & Phung...I’m pretty sure they're cyborgs), waxes and wanes according to demands elsewhere. So long as Alfa’s comfortable with that, and doesn’t consider my participation to be a waste of bandwidth, I hope to continue indefinitely.


    View attachment 42634 Nickelass asked...

    View attachment 42637 Is it hard to balance being a mod on this site while dealing with other non-DF aspects of your life?

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    In short, it’s not easy. I’m at a stage in my career where my participation in this kind of discussion and community might be held against me by a superior with that obsolete puritanical perspective on drugs. Also, my time is spread thinly at this stage, so my activity has suffered. I certainly don’t foresee this being a permanent state of affairs, however.


    View attachment 42628 DeepGreenSea asked...

    View attachment 42637 What have YOU learned from being a mod/advisor?

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    This has actually come up recently. The ability to appreciate someone else’s perspective isn’t as intuitive as one might think it is, and I think any staff member that’s dealt with interpersonal conflicts, or conflicts of opinion, must learn to do this effectively. Also, perhaps excluding these verbose answers, brevity is a requirement, not just preferable, if I want people to hear me out. This is certainly true on the internet, but it’s a very generalizable skill. I definitely had (perhaps still have) the narcissistic tendency to write on and on with little consideration of the suffering it inflicts on readers.


    View attachment 42624 beentheredonethatagain and - View attachment 42625 Booty love asked...

    View attachment 42637 How many smoke cannabis and how often?

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    I used to be a truly devout smoker, consuming a prodigious (maybe offensive) amount daily. After college, my use dwindled to once in a blue moon – and I again experience those psychedelic effects from cannabis that a tolerance tends to forbid. Without a tolerance, though, it’s not as enjoyable for me.


    View attachment 42634 Nickelass asked...

    View attachment 42637 PC or Mac? And why?

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    Both, but I used to say Mac to elicit Alfa’s rage. I like interacting with Macs’ operating system more, but I like the ability to easily swap hardware in PCs. I use a Mac at home, PCs at work.


    View attachment 42626 Beenthere2Hippie asked...

    View attachment 42637 By nature, do people consider you an outgoing person or a reserved one?

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    I think people probably consider me outgoing, but in reality I’m an introvert wearing an extrovert’s costume.


    View attachment 42632 LuLu81 asked...

    View attachment 42637 If you could choose only one drug to be legalized, what would it be?

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    Assuming cannabis continues to benefit more and more from reduced prohibition, it’d be a tough choice between DMT and its derivatives and a strong opiate. I think the benefits of DMT & Co. on the mind are considerable and greater than those of opiates, but the prohibition of opiates is probably more damaging and imposes greater suffering – let alone the boon it’s been to nihilistic fundamentalists where the poppies tend to grow.


    View attachment 42630 hookedonhelping asked...

    View attachment 42637 If Alfa was a Muppet, which one would he be?!

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    Beaker.


    View attachment 42626 Beenthere2Hippie asked...

    View attachment 42637 How do you get along with all the other Mods? Which of the DF staff inspires you the most? Is it difficult to bury your humor when wearing your Mod hat; and if so, how do you keep from calling tried and true idiots, idiots?

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    I think I get along quite well with all other staff members, though maybe that thought isn’t reciprocal. There was undoubtedly a bit of friction with former members, but I think we’re all ‘on the same page’. I never really brought much humor to DF’s table; it’s not really why I’m here, I guess. I only really play around directly with other members with whom I’m better acquainted, and in social groups where everyone’s very unlikely to be offended by more volatile conversation and sarcasm.


    View attachment 42635 Nosferatus asked...

    View attachment 42637 Who generally makes the best staff member? An active heavy drug user? Someone who’s drug experience is in the past? Or someone who’s knowledge of drugs is largely or entirely academic? Does one have to be a current or former drug user to be a staff member?

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    Interesting question, and I’m probably an inept answerer. I think the staff is much more effective if its members reflect a diversity of answers to those questions. In other words, I think the competence of a moderator for R&A would probably comprise different skills and lifestyles than that of the fora I moderate, for example


    View attachment 42595 Dankitydankness asked...

    View attachment 42637 Are there any special benefits to being a mod (other than the enjoyment of doing it)… Like do you guys get paid, or is there some form of benefit?

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    Aside from seeing the inner gears at work and (marginally, in my case) participating in the process of DF adapting to the availability of better software and wider readership, I think the most tangible benefit to which I can point is occasionally being aware of trends in the more clandestine corners of drug culture before they hit media outlets.


    View attachment 42623 Alfa asked...

    View attachment 42637 Where do you see DF in 5 years?

    View attachment 42756 Gradient:

    Considerably larger readership split among distinct, though administratively associated, websites. To be more specific: I imagine that R&A will evolve into something a bit more clinical, perhaps allying with brick-and-mortar clinics. I hope to see the Chemistry Forum and Pharmacology sub-forum evolve into more effective educational resources, with coherent lesson plans or even curricula that can bring a newbie from complete ignorance to proficiency. I also hope to see DF form healthy relationships with sincere academicians interested in conducting research without the bias of some anti-drug agenda.


    Thanks man, for the time you take out of your already busy schedule to do (even more!) work on here. You are a true scholar.

    ___________________________________________________
    All Interviews:
    PhungusheadCaptainTrippsKittsMersannPhenoxideGradientShampooNeuroChiSmegMrGAlfa

Comments

  1. Joe-(5-HTP)
    Imagine if DF could even fund studies! Obviously it cant right now but we're speaking of the future right?

    I suspect your point about feeling anger less since becoming a mod and your points about being less oppositional and about how being a mod helps "The ability to appreciate someone else’s perspective" may be connected.
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!