Well, I started this entry with a head full of anger over a misunderstanding that is causing a newer member to want to leave, but further information has come to light which caused me to re-think, and then delete, my entire post and start over. I still feel that the member in question has some valid points, but these particular areas sort of "come with the territory" when you are posting in an on-line forum. This particular member had complained of receiving neg rep on a post that was months old (I must add that this complaint was done in private and not on the forum) and made when he first got here, and he felt that it was undeserved. He actually has a point, I also think that a person shouldn't be neg repped for mistakes they made in the past and have learned from. It's a real easy fix, people! Check the dates on the posts!
I also understand that it happens. It has happened to me and it happens to all of us. It is something that you just have to accept. I told this individual that rep means nothing, as long as the quality of your posts are high, the rep will follow. He sees rep as a scoreboard of your progress here, just as I did in the beginning. Just as many, if not most of us did. In the beginning. I hope that this person will stay here long enough to realize that we are about much more that seeing who can rack up the highest point totals, but for some, rep points, friend requests and suchlike are what seems to validate us here. That's OK, we have room for them too, but their experience here will not be as rich as it could be. And yes, I will admit that the "friends requests" comment was a dig at Joe, but we love him anyway!
This person also had complaints about posts being deleted or moved, threads started and not receiving replies, issues with the moderators, etc. The same things that many of us have complained about time and time again! However, what many members here don't realize is that, quite often, administration does move or delete posts for many reasons, and it is never personal. Posts are moved because they are in the wrong category or belong in a different area or they get deleted because they violate forum rules (flaming, rudeness, etc.). Sometimes, posts get deleted as a preventive measure, in order to keep shit from getting stirred up on a particular subject or between two or more members.
As far as threads getting started and getting no reply on, I can't count the number of threads that I have started and have received little or no reply! Threads that I was convinced would bring in truckloads of pos rep, and nothing ever comes from it. It happens! You put in work on a thread and post it and wait anxiously for the replies to roll in, and.......nothing. Sometimes, that's just the way it goes. You can re-word the question and hope for a better response, you can bump the thread to bring it back up to the top, or I guess you can get mad and use it as an excuse to leave. I recommended the first two to this person, and I hope that they don't choose the last one, but it is their choice.
Issues with moderators? Hell, we all have issues with moderators (the unfair, cheating, sons a bitches!). But the undeniable fact is that our moderators work hard and catch 99% of the stuff they are supposed to, while being fair and open in what they do. Nothing is hidden and every decision they make is explained fully and in a manner that is understandable. In addition, if you do not agree with the decision made, the option to appeal it is always available. It actually works too, because I have done it! If you can show a valid reason for your comments or cite/produce evidence that you are correct, decisions can be and are reversed. Our moderators work their asses off to be fair, and even though I have been on the receiving end of their displeasure more than once, they were right and I was wrong. Plus, they do all of this for free! They listen to shit every day, they have to spend substantial amounts of their own time to watch our dumb asses, so we don't end up like so many other sites of this nature-closed down because of lack of moderation, and they pour their hearts and souls into this site (well, we all know they have no hearts and they have sold their souls to Alfa, but that's beside the point!).....FOR FREE! Raise a glass to our mods here, people.
This person also brought up a point which I found most disturbing and had to step on right away. The idea was that donating members get more attention than non-donating members do. I don't mean the extra privileges that come as a donating member, I mean that members who donate somehow get extra attention paid to their posts, while members who do not donate, or have donated in the past but haven't been able to do so on a regular basis, get pushed to the side or put on the back burner, so to speak. I showed him that the vast majority of members here either do not donate or do so on an infrequent basis, and their donation status has no effect on their value or worth to this site, nor does it have an effect on people replying to their posts. I never check a members donation status, because I don't care! Sure, I want everyone to help support this site, but I also realize that it isn't possible. Your donation status has no effect on my replies or ratings of posts!
All in all, I found that this person has some gripes that are common to us all ( and are certainly deserving of being looked into), but that are, in all likelihood, of their own making. This does not mean that they should leave, however! Nor does this mean that they should be immediately written off as a troublemaker or a failure. Perhaps we failed because, to paraphrase The Docta, we couldn't explain it simply enough. Perhaps the failure is on this persons part, because they chose not to understand. Either way, there was a failure, and it affects us all. Perhaps we shouldn't point fingers so much, or "he said, she said". Lets not cast blame, lets fix the problem! If the problem can be fixed. Sometimes, that isn't possible. Sometimes, it is best for all if the person does leave. If questions can't be asked or answered in a manner consistent with our rules or if an issue is repeatedly brought up with no acceptable resolution, then perhaps this forum is not the best venue for that individuals needs.
This member is my friend. They have helped me by answering my questions and giving me information, and I am highly appreciative. I do not want to see this person leave. I have to admit that my view of this situation is somewhat colored by the above relationship and that there are many other details that I have not mentioned here or that are not general knowledge, but the fact remains....we are losing a member who (in my opinion) could grow into a valuable asset to this forum over misunderstandings. Whether they are his or ours shouldn't matter (again, in my opinion!).
Now, however, comes the next point. Exactly how hard should we try? When does the point come in which you tell yourself that you have to wash your hands and walk away from this one? How far should you be willing to go when someone just doesn't get it? As members, it's easy for us-we just go to a different thread! The Moderators, however, don't have it so easy. They have to sit here and listen to the same old shit, day after day. They have to explain the same things.....day after day. I often suspect that Alfa is the Buddha, with all of the mods being his avatars, because of the patience that these people must have! Seriously, can you imagine Potter as a moderator (or me, for that matter. I'm not known for my patience and reserved demeanor when someone attacks the forum!)? After all, we all love Potter to death, but she can be somewhat....intense at times. Anyway, I digress. The point is (and one I myself would do well to remember) that we can't be everything to everybody, even though we should try.
Sometimes, whether you are "just a member" or part of the Admin team, you just have to walk away. It happens. We here are not, and can never be, an answer for everyone. All we can do is try to further our mission-which is harm reduction, not being the most popular or having the most points-in the best possible manner that is consistent with our rules and our over-all goal.
I hope my friend chooses not to leave, but I will understand if he does. Mistakes were made, perhaps on both sides, but that really doesn't matter at this point.
At least not to me. I'm selfish. My circle of friends never was very big, and now I may have lost one.