I've been here for a bit longer than a month. Without a doubt, the best thing about the site is the vast trove of genuinely excellent information to be found on this site. I have never signed onto DF without learning something substantial. The site has led me to pursue knowledge about all sorts of things that I never thought about much before joining DF. And all of this new knowledge has been incredibly useful to me, and to those around me.
At first, I was inclined to view a lot of the site's lighter features (some forums, social groups, chat, etc.) as mere window dressing. But several weeks of being on here have demonstrated to me that there is a lot more to these things than I first thought. Even in some of the more inane threads on here, there always seem to be people jumping into the conversation who have important insights to offer-- offhand, I can think of several threads that started off on a flippant note, but eventually evolved into a serious conversation about serious things. There seem to be some very wise people on DF who have a real talent for redirecting people's attention to serious issues that lurk beneath the surface of even the most childish conversations on here.
I suppose that it is the nature of the beast, but the chat feature on DF is sometimes too superficial for my taste. I know that chat is for light conversation, but most of the chat on here is almost unbearably light, from my point of view. Good light conversation should not, in my opinion, be entirely devoid of substance, style, wit, or grace. But frequently this is the case with chat on DF-- there are times on chat when the overall tone resembles nothing so much as a grammar school playground. Maybe I am a bit of a snob about somethings; maybe some people need a place where they can regress to a childish level; maybe chat on DF offers some people a necessary place where they can vent and take their minds off more pressing issues in their life.
When I first arrived on DF, I was puzzled by the mix of people on here. There are not many places in the world where people in recovery interact with active drug users as they do here. But after a while I began to understand the value of this-- everybody's complacency is challenged; everybody is impelled to maintain a measure of humility; everybody is given an opportunity to identify or understand the experiences of others; everybody is forced to confront the massive complexities of life and the unique experiences of each individual.
From what I've seen so far, nobody on DF is offering any "one size fits all" advice.
The nature of the community on here means that a lot of people are mere transients. I have had excellent connections with people on here who simple disappeared suddenly, with no warning or explanations. I fully understand why this happens, but it is still sort of unsettling to me when it happens. Also, it tends to make me wary of getting too close to anybody on here, for fear that they too might suddenly vanish some day. In some ways, this wariness may be a good thing-- it certainly encourages me to maintain very good boundaries with people on DF. But, I wonder if it also prevents me from drawing close to people who might potentially have much to offer to me, or keep me away from those that I might nurture in some way.
I wonder sometimes about whether people in recovery are ever inspired to relapse because of DF. I suppose that people who are not strong can be tempted by almost anything. And I suppose that it is ultimately the responsibility of the individual to only frequent places that do not offer temptations. But anybody looking a justification to take drugs can find an endless array of them on here-- some of these are pretty stupid; others are much more solid, sophisticated, and well-presented on this site.
In my experience, sex and drugs sort of naturally go together. I am pleased to see that DF does a pretty good job of keeping in check trolls, predators, flagrantly manipulative people, and excessively skeevy guys. On a site like this, there will inevitably be lots of fragile, insecure, immature, and/or naive people. And DF does a much better job of keeping these members safe and secure than I would have thought possible. I know a very little bit about the history of DF in relation to these sorts of issues, and I think that the administrators of this site have learned how to handle such situations before they get out of hand. From what I can tell, the primary reason why DF handles these things so well is the quality and character of the administrators and moderators.
For whatever it may be worth, I think that DF is being managed by some truly top-shelf people!
Yes, there are some members (and even one moderator that I am aware of) who are assholes-- arrogant, brusque, rude, self-righteous, etc. But you find people like that everywhere, so I don't think about it much or worry about it at all.
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