I just deleted two posts that contained pictures/memes that I don't consider meeting basic quality standards. I don't really want to regulate content, but at some point a line has to be drawn or else this is going to become another slippery slope. Ideally, I'd prefer if you could get your point across without posting any pictures or memes at all since those just clutter up threads and then overall quality of discussion takes a hit. But in case you think you really must post a picture or meme then please, before you post it, consider if what you are going to post is commonly socially acceptable and doesn't go against any rules of common decency. What some of you may consider perfectly acceptable at home is not necessarily acceptable in public. And a picture is more powerful than a thousand words. Some discernment is required here.
I’m going to enforce the no giraffe rule and the no crusade rule a bit more rigorously now. Discussion has become more and more toxic recently and we are on this slippery slope again. So before it gets too toxic, I want you all to consider a couple of points:
Generally speaking, I don't mind giraffing until a statement has been sufficiently clarified and the giraffe been debunked. That's a natural process. That's normal. What is not normal though is continuing with that giraffe after it has already been debunked, or even parading the same old debunked giraffes from years ago, again and again. That's crossing the line into mean-spiritedness. And that has to stop.
Some members here (well, actually just one) have this habit of re-posting text wall after text wall with old quotes from almost a decade ago, again and again in order to make a point, and it is getting out of hand. It clutters up threads. So I would prefer it if you always have your quotes ready (which you think will support your point), but only post them when requested. Or alternatively, just post a link. That's easier on the eyes and the flow of discussion and less intrusive to all those other members who have no interest in your food fights but have to scroll thru hundreds of such post day after day.
The main focus here is meaningful discussion, not debate with definite winners and losers. Challenging others and their ideas has its place, of course. But when challenging others becomes the main or sole focus of someone’s forum activity, then it’s all too easy to slide into crusade mode without even noticing it. So keep that in mind. Try to keep it fair and balanced. We all get carried away at times. That's normal. But if this goes on unabated for weeks or months, then this is sufficient reason for an intervention. If you are unsure about how you are doing, then occasionally take a look into your own post dumpster and check what’s going on there.
As you all know, one or two members here have made it their hobby to follow other members around and demand answers to the same old questions again and again despite the fact that those questions either have been answered already, and/or that it has been made clear by the other party that there’s no interest in answering them or in continuing the conversation. So I’ve been asked to create an additional rule in order to prevent this kind of dead-horse-beating, or stalking. The idea is that if member A indicates that s/he is not interested in further communicating with member B, that member B respects that wish and moves on instead of continuing to harass member A.
No new rules:
Now, I gave this some thought and here’s my decision: creating a ‘no-dead-horse-beating’ rule doesn’t seem appropriate for the following reasons: 1) it would require hands-on moderating 2) the no-giraffes and no-crusades rules already cover that 3) it only concerns one or two members; and most importantly, 4) I think we’ve got too many rules already. And the more rules a forum has, the more game playing this usually invites.
One basic rule:
So instead of creating another rule, I’d like to point out again that I really have only one basic rule here and that is common decency. All other rules go back to this one simple rule. And in case someone still doesn’t know what that means, here’s a definition:
common, everyday courtesy, respect, and politeness that is expected and assumed by social convention
Obviously, the vast majority here intuitively understands what common decency means and implies, and already acts accordingly. So from my perspective, we don’t really need a no-giraffes rule, a no-crusades rule or a no-dead-horse-beating rule because the rules of common decency already demand that this kind of behavior is a no-go.
Occasional vs. systematic abuse:
Now, I don’t really mind occasional transgressions as the result of a heated argument. That’s just part of the dynamics here. What I do mind though is when these transgressions become a habit, part of an MO, especially when the abusiveness takes on the form of passive aggressiveness. Because in terms of toxicity level, I don’t see much of a difference between overt aggressiveness and passive aggressiveness. Both are highly toxic after a while, passive aggressiveness probably even more so because it’s a lot more difficult to point out since it usually doesn’t involve any offensive words per se, but the reply/context is constructed in such a way that the entire post as a whole is actually very offensive. And this is a serious issue on this forum (always has been). Unfortunately, peeps that usually got and still get banned here are only those that are overtly aggressive (because it's so easy to point out). But the passive aggressive folks tend to get away unscathed. So we have a situation here where we let the passive aggressive folks do as they please, and as a result the toxicity level stays at rather high level, no matter how many overt aggressive folks have been banned. That is going to change.
Resolving long lasting food fights:
From a moderator perspective, a food fight fight is just a couple of members wallowing in their own toxicity. And the longer this goes on, the more irrelevant the question “Who started it?” becomes. Because at some point, everyone involved becomes part of the toxicity. As the saying goes, don’t fight with a pig, you will only get dirty. So keep that in mind when you get into long food fights. Instead of scrolling thru hundreds or thousands of posts trying to find out who threw the first punch, I am more inclined to just ban all parties involved if no one is interested in deescalating the situation. If you’ve already decided to walk away but someone repeatedly wants to drag you into a food fight, then indicate that you are not interested. If the harassment continues, then report that member.
And one last thing: I don't have much time right now for posting or even reading. So I have to rely on you to report serious transgressions. But please don't just report every minor incident. Only report it when it becomes systematic, when there's a history and no intention to deescalate. Also, if you do think something needs reporting, then actually do report it, don't just post statements like "This needs reporting" or "It seems the mods are asleep again" or something to that effect. Whenever possible, try to deescalate. If nothing works, report it. Don't threaten to report it. Just report it.
I see the food-fighting has become the main attraction again. A handful of people (the usual subjects) got stuck in their positions and are now locked into each other again with no way out. Before I’m going to help them get unstuck, a few more points about the direction of this forum:
The direction of this forum:
The purpose of this forum is to provide a space where spiritual teachers and spiritual teachings can be discussed freely. Spiritual here means spiritual in the largest sense of the word. Freely means whatever teaching/tradition you want to discuss you can discuss. This isn’t supposed to be a ‘non-duality only’ forum, even though it has been like that for a while.
Now, spirituality and psychology are naturally tied together. So it’s only reasonable to assume that whatever we discuss here will always have a tinge of psychology added to it. And that’s okay. What is not okay though is when this ratio is turned upside down, when discussions here become mainly psychology with only a tinge of spirituality. Said more bluntly: the purpose of this forum is not to help some members here practice their armchair psychiatry under the guise of ‘spiritual work’ or ‘WIBIGO’ or ‘challenging views (for the sake of challenging views)’ etc. When this happens, quality of discussion suffers greatly. So keep the armchair psychiatry to a bare minimum and don’t use spirituality as a cover that allows you to freely abuse others for the sake of ‘clarity’. Always keep that proper spirituality/psychology ratio in mind.
Most of all, this forum is about spiritual teachers, not for spiritual teachers as some here may erroneously be assuming. So if you think you have something to teach and are looking for an audience or following, that’s great, but then this is probably not the right place for you. You may want to create your own place instead. So don’t expect others to just accept you as a teacher or authority on anything. And don’t get mad if no one here actually does accept you. There's no need to try to convince someone of your supreme wisdom at all costs. The focus here is on quality, not quantity. So if you feel that some people just don't get you, even after thousands of posts of explaining yourself, then it may be better to just accept that they just might not get you ever (or don't want to) and leave it at that, instead of kicking your persuasion work into even higher gear. That's just common sense.
The pettifoggery thread:
The purpose of the pettifoggery thread is to provide a temporary outlet for these notorious tit-for-tat and he-said-she-said dialogs that tend to flare up now and then and would otherwise only pollute regular threads. That's why this tread is moderated much more loosely. However, in no way was this thread intended to provide a safe space for food-fighters, trolls and drama queens. This thread isn't supposed to be a mini version of the old unmoderated section. Ideally, you'll move out (or get moved out) of a regular on topic thread to have your short (!) tit-for-tat/he-said-she-said episode and then after a page or two (or a day or two) you either resolved the issue or realize that it can't be resolved and agree to disagree and then go back to an on topic thread.
Unfortunately, some members here regularly get stuck in toxic behavior patterns when food-fighting is allowed. It has reached critical mass again. That’s why I decided to close the pettifoggery thread temporarily, to help them get unstuck without having to ban them (warnings don’t seem to work, as usual).
As already mentioned in my previous announcement, if you have a genuine complaint and think someone is crossing a line and needs to be reported, just report it. Don't threaten to report someone, just report the post(s) in question. Or else it will look like you are using the report button as the ultimate tool to win a food-fight. Someone just recently got banned for that kind of report button abuse. The same will happen to anyone who is continuously prodding/baiting someone into behavior that will cause them to cross a line in order to either prove a point or to get them banned. So, play fair.