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For the last year or so, I've been pretty heavily involved in Professional and Social Online Networking communities. Prior to that, I'd spent several years on various message board communities, writers' groups and the like.  I'm even an old-hat chatter, from back in the day.

Although every forum (both then and now) has had its own unique agenda (both according to the site's goals and the goals of the individual members), the conflicts I've observed at each of them are almost always the same old thing: Someone "says" something, and someone else takes offense.  I'm sure that while there are occasions where the offense actually has been intentional, I know for certain that that's not always the case.  

How do I know? Because over the years I've been on all sides of this kind of situation.

Perhaps surprisingly, according to my own observations and experiences, it's rarely the original statement or even the offense taken that will generate the conflict and infuse the community with high drama (which, contrary to popular belief, is not always a good thing). More times than not, the conflicts arise in how the involved parties conduct themselves after the fact. Rather than quietly ask "Is this what you meant?" or even "I'm not sure I understand what you're saying," we often assume we know what those words mean.  

And then we react. Sometimes badly.  For example, if we are addressed privately but then react publicly, we are running the risk of just making ourselves look bad, like troublemakers. We're certainly not respecting the person(s) who respected us enough to not call us out in public.  

Before we know it, we've aired our grievances all over the internet, and for what? Only to eventually find out we were wrong to begin with, in some cases.

Yet, if we're passionate enough about the statement(s) made to get angry over them, why can't we be COMpassionate enough to get to the root of the message, and really understand it before reacting? Having hurt feelings and drawing imaginary lines in the sand serves no one, particularly the community in which we are all members.  Be fair, and recognize that suggestions, when offered constructively, should be taken as such.

We're probably all well-served to remember that the written word is a powerful thing. Furthermore, when we choose to share our written words on a public forum, we should prepare ourselves to have those same words read, judged and perhaps railed against, whether rightly or wrongly. That's all part of the 'written picture', so to speak.



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Daphne wrote Nov 14, 2008
    • Well said, Heather.  I, too, have been very socially active on the Internet for many years.  I have come to learn that there are people who find pleasure in “pot-stirring“.  For some, it doesn’t matter how well thought out your post may be, they will manage to pick it apart and find something with which to take exception.  

      The real trick is to not allow yourself to get sucked into this trap.  

      As i’ve said before...you don’t have to be disagreeable in order to disagree.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Nov 14, 2008
    • Great post! Being a ‘veteran’ of the net, been there done that.

      You have to remember to never read between the lines, as you have no idea what those ‘lines’ really say.

      I admit, I have gotten caught up in this issue a few times. It is so hard to ‘see’ the emotion and/or the attitude of the writer.  

      Thanks for this great blog!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Yana Berlin wrote Nov 14, 2008
    • If that’s okay with you Heather, I’m referencing this post anytime there is drama on blogs.

      Very nicely said.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Dana Arcuri wrote Nov 14, 2008
    • Communication is the key to maintaining understanding and clarity.  

      Heather, your post is an excellent topic that brings up many great points!

      Thank you for the awesome post!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Middlesworth wrote Nov 14, 2008
    • Great information and thanks for sharing. This is a keeper for future reference.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Nov 14, 2008
    • Ladies, you‘re all welcome, and I thank you in return for seeing the real intention behind this message. We can have our conflicts (because if it was all roses and sunshine it would be soooooo boring!), but we can also avoid the needless ones.

      And, in case anyone hadn't noticed, this blog ties in beautifully with feathermaye's friday five  I'm just sayin'! ;)


      Feathermaye, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Bobbi Bacha wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • Very true Heather.. I agree, Ive seen so much bullying and tattletailing, lately that its gotten really ridiculous and to the point of being very childish.

      Having said that, Ive also seen others quick to point out others faults, giving lectures on others behaviors, while white-washing thier own, personal faults.

      Im not sure what prompted you to post this, but as an observer, I hope that no one is bullied off this site as Ive noticed the women here like to hear from women of all backgrounds, and cultures.  All points of views not just the few.

      Id like to add that anyone attempting to or actually Silencing anyone else in a Public Forum is also unethical and a form of prejudice, I think everyone should be able to have a voice.

      I like to read everyones thoughts, opinions, recipes, ideas, problems, see pictures of thier kids, family, not just the few that have bullied and hammered away at others to the point of silencing them or running them from the site.

      Yana your right this is a good post to read if drama breaks out, but I think what I wrote above should also be realized, that if you allow only a few to shine while extinguishing the rest,others will leave the site and it will be left with boring and uninteresting bloviators.

      What makes this site wonderful is the variety of women and thier different lives, talents, interests, politics, religions, thoughts, family, careers, and recipies.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Michelle Rowe wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • Airing your dirty laundry in public is uncalled for. Try to work it out with the person privately. If they are not open to it - move on and don’t give them any further energy!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Bobbi Bacha wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • Exactly Vigirl.. I agree totally.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Bobbi, thanks for your response. And furthering a couple of points you made...

      I can honestly say I’ve never seen any bullying take place on this forum. Some might have perceived such, but oft times perceptions and reality are quite different. I’m sure that’s come up quite often in your business, too.

      But that's part of the problem with some people not "getting it" in a public forum. If you think you're getting bullied, try to get to the root of it. If someone is being abusive, then they need to be dealt with, as that sort of behavior it typically against the TOS or TOU. If they're simply being misunderstood, they deserve a chance to correct the misconception.

      In my opinion, though, what’s worse than bullying is when someone else, not even involved in a particular situation, takes it upon themselves to make the judgment call that someone is being bullied. Again, if you‘re observing it “on screen” and there is no doubt of malicious behavior, that’s one thing. But when a member announces “in PRIVATE I was told [xxx]“, and other members draw conclusions from that and react to that, that’s just drama.  

      Like vigirl said, when it is started privately, it should be handled privately. Deliberately airing select pieces of private conversations is inflammatory on purpose, and (in my experience) is typically seeking to draw sides. DRAMA.

      In recent weeks, we've seen that exact same thing happen here several times. That was my whole motivation for writing this piece. People have chosen to bring private information public, but only pieces, without giving the whole story or situation. They have inflamed situations that didn't deserve all of the energy contributed, and totally missed the whole point of their private suggestions in the first place. So what was accomplished, other than drama?

      I agree we all have a voice and we all have something to contribute, but we have to respect ourselves, each other and the platform we’ve been given to do so. How successful would any public forum be if all it did was deteriorate into cat fights and she said/she said games?

      As far as being a tattle tale... Well, there are Terms of Use in place for a reason. If everyone is aware of those terms and acts accordingly, then there’s nothing to worry about. When someone steps outside of those terms, however, and infringes upon someone else’s rights, then it needs to be addressed. I don’t consider that to be a “tattle tale” at all. I consider that to be protecting the forum we are all entitled to enjoy.

      Thanks so much for the thoughtful comments!

      Annie, thank you, and you‘re welcome. :)



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Middlesworth wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Feathermaye, your words are always so inspiring. Being kind of new to this, it is very important to me to understand and learn the ropes. Thank you so much for being a great teacher!
      Greeneyedlady, like you, I enjoy talking to and meeting other women from so many different places and walks of life. That is what makes the site so very unique.
      One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch girl, if you let them.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Bobbi Bacha wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Lcmiddlesworth, your correct, one bad apple does spoil the whole bunch.  

      Annie, thank you.

      Heather, Ive seen bullying on many blogs on this site, but as you said quote, “often times perceptions and reality are quite different“.  I believe those doing the bullying dont see themselves that way at all and in fact white-wash thier actions, or find justification for thier actions in some way, so that thier perceptions of themselves are distorted. Im fine with that as long as they allow others the same consideration.

      I myself have not felt bullied, but have observed it on this forum.  I dont think that silencing any voice is fair, and I also think is prejudice and discriminating.  

      I think that if anyone feels abused by other members, or is or feels abused or bullied, that other members observing type of behavior or abuse, involved or not, I only, think its only fair to point it out.  As I believe, Everyone has a voice and a opinion.  Reporting someone because you dont like what they say, or because they cant write as well as others, or because they have a different since of humor on a subject, just to silence them, is prejudice.  I hope those that tend to bully are “GETTING IT” as you put it, in a public forum.  I do “GET IT” and understand the point is that it is a PUBLIC forum for all, not just the few.

      Chinadoll, I noticed you removed your post on this blog.. did you feel you could not speak ?  Dont be silenced.  Your opinions do matter to many on the site. Many also like your humor and energy, Yana did well to ask for your help with the site as your very devoted, keep up the good work.  Dont let the few silence you.

      Vigirl.. that song by Don Henley “Dirty Laundry” is in my head now... Love it.

      NYC “measure twice, cut once”  is a great saying, your husband is so wise.

      Gods Glamourgirl, Communication is the key to clarity.

      Mztracy, your right, “You have to remember to never read between the lines, as you have no idea what those 'lines' really say.”  

      Daphne, your right about traps.  

      Mrslorid, I concur with Ralph Waldo Emerson....“Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions.  Your conformity explains nothing.  The force of character is cumulative"    

      Again, Heather, nice post and Im glad you agree we all have a voice and we all have something to contribute.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Bobbi, the beauty of things is that we can always agree to disagree.  

      [comment edited at member request]

      I am the farthest thing from a bully than you could probably imagine, but in the context you’ve chosen to get to know me, you can only rely on the perceptions you’ve established and the words of others (with whom I’m probably not very popular). While I have to allow for the fact that those sorts of misconceptions exist, I don’t have to stand idle under false accusations. And I didn’t, in that situation. It was addressed and corrected. [comment edited at member request]

      But now I’m curious, Bobbi, when a site owner bans members because they are in violation of the terms set out on a public forum, do you find that to be prejudiced, as you put it? Very recently two very outspoken members were silenced, but I haven’t heard you speak out against those situations at all, or the site owner for maintaining control.

      Just because a website is open to the public does not mean it’s a free for all. There are rules and regulations and guidelines in place. I’m a rules hound; I admit it. I completely respect why rules have to be put in place, even if I don’t always agree with them.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Teeky, I appreciate your reminder to keep it light. That’s probably better than any of the advice I gave.

      Annie, no worries about blog-jacking. We all do it. :)



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Bobbi Bacha wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Feather, concerning your public onscreen accusation of me you wrote, quote “It's not a secret that you have openly accused me and others of bullying in these blogs. On-screen. Publicly”

      My answer to this accusation is that, “Ive never in public accussed anyone of being a bully, If I see someone pushed around or ganged up on ANYWHERE, I will point out, with out naming names, I leave it to those involved to determine if they are doing it or not.  Its not my judgement call.    

      I find your accusation stating that I accussed you of being a bully, very contradictory to your original post.  Where you wrote, “Someone "says" something, and someone else takes offense.  I'm sure that while there are occasions where the offense actually has been intentional, I know for certain that that's not always the case.”

      And you also wrote “We're probably all well-served to remember that the written word is a powerful thing. Furthermore, when we choose to share our written words on a public forum, we should prepare ourselves to have those same words read, judged and perhaps railed against, whether rightly or wrongly. That's all part of the 'written picture', so to speak. ”  

      Since I know that Ive never said anything about you Feather / Heather and in fact thought that you were a nice and delightful lady on this site, my opinion has not changed.  No need to sell yourself as you did above.

      I do think perhaps you should refer back to your original post and realize that.. in your own words.. that you must remember that Words are a Powerful thing and when we choose to share our written words on a PUBLIC FORUM, we should prepare ourselves to have those same words read, jusdged and perhaps railed against, whether rightly or Wrongly.  

      Heather, I wont appologize for that which that I am not guilty of, but I do finally, understand why you posted this blog in the first place as you feel like you may have been accussed somehow thought of negatively, and wanted to justify, your actions and teach others by example by posting this blog, which I and all of us have agreed that it was a very good lesson.  

      To answer your question, I believe the site administrator has the right to determine site violations.

      I do believe that complaints concerning other members posts and responses, on the basis of personality, or language difficulties, cultural differences, humor, ethnicity, religion, politics, writing skills, etc.  are predjudice period.  I dont agree that site members that dont own or moderate the site, have the right to dictate and interpret the site rules to others.

      Annie and Teeky.. you are the balance of the scales.  Libras and your right Annie.. I think its perception.  

      Heather, Drama Alert ?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • [comment edited at member request]

      I actually agree with you that complaints made based on the specific criteria you listed are improper. But I have to ask what exactly you are referencing?

      But I’m still confused over your allegations themselves... you agree that the site administrator has the right to determine violations, but you “...think that silencing any voice is unfair.” I don’t understand how you can believe both, although I’m really trying to.

      edited to add: “Drama“, as referenced in my original article, would be akin to taking this issue to the front page and imploring other members to support whatever statements I’ve made that someone else might not like or agree with. I’ve done nothing of the sort. If a congenial discussion is considered to be drama, then we‘re all in a lot of trouble



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Well then perhaps I misunderstand, but as I recall it, you made very strong statements against the directions the post had taken...

      [comment edited at member request]

      Do you remember those details?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Bobbi Bacha wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Heather, again, that is totally incorrect and false.  No complaints were lodged against me on that blog and I removed my words because my fictional character was a religious one from Muslim faith that I thought may have offended some religions... NEVER did I accuse anyone on that blog about being a bully.

      I removed it myself not to upset any religion thats all.  And If a complaint was lodged I was not contacted or told at all..so if a complaint was lodged only the one that complained would know.  Since I didnt accuse anyone of being a bully on that or any other blog.. I dont see where a valid complaint would come from.  

      It seems Heather, you are violating all you wrote above ?  

      I dont understand your attack on me as Ive been very kind to you on all posts as I am with others.

      I guess its Drama time !  I actually agreed with you on all you wrote above and you still attacked me ?

      Interesting..



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • My comment got flip-flopped with yours, Bobbi... I hate when that happens!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • If I’m mistaken, I have no problems being corrected. But I’d like to talk it out rather than turn it into something else.

      And I’ve been kind, too. I’m not sure how you can derive an ‘attack’ from direct responses to statements you made. Is this or is it not a conversation?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Bobbi Bacha wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • An attack is when someone accuses you falsely and if you read above at all my posts I agreed with you on all you wrote and added to it.

      By falsely accussing me, you attacked me.  I have never accussed you.

      NYCMOM, I was asking a question to one of the Fertile members on a different blog as I was trying to understand where she was comming from. From her standpoint.  It was a question not a statement.  And the question was a political question you posted not anything to do with bullying and in fact I dont even recall a question about bullying on this site.  Although I does exist, obviously.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Ok, may I ask why this turned into the kind of thread this original post is trying to stop??

      Bobbi was speaking in generalities and not about any specific person or anything. No names mentioned or anything.  

      Isn’t this they type of thing that should have been im‘ed?
      Just curious!

      Thanks.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Bobbi Bacha wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • NYCMOM, again, I said your question if I recall was about politics If I recall, you asked why McCain’s camp used scare tactics.  If I recall one of the Fertile group answered the question, and I was asking her more information based upon her answer, in order to fully understand her answer. My question was about marriage not race or religion. So I still dont understand the interjection.  

      I like your new Thanksgiving Picture.. NYCMOM.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Bobbi Bacha wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Thanks Mz Tracy, my thoughts exactly.  Anyone with any accusations against me, as Feather wrote above should do it privately not public, Feather, If you would remove your accusations against me, It would be justified.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Feathermaye wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Because I am a fair person, I have edited the comments that you refute, as you’ve requested.

      It really doesn’t matter whether the comments are here or not, because the post in question remains, although it has been heavily edited (not by me) as well. Enough of it remains, though, for the truth to be evident.

      I did not make false allegations, but with this comment I am letting it go.  

      Yes, these comments attempted to deteriorate in much the same manner as was cautioned above. I did mention that none of us are immune to it.

      I know what’s true and what’s speculation on my part. Those that were involved and matter, know too. And that’s good enough for me.

      There are still a couple of clarifying questions I asked that have not yet been answered, but I imagine I’m wasting my time hoping that will change. Enough misdirection has taken place to lose most of the original points anyway.

      Gotta love the internet!

      Peace!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Well, in a way this does prove your orignal post.  

      It is so hard to see emotion and or feeling in postings. Many times when I write things that may sound harsh, I am actually in a good mood. Not writing out of anger or anything, just point blank. Does that make sense?



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Bobbi Bacha wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Thanks again MzTracy, my postings had no accusations in them and did not address anyone specifically, It baffles me as to why or how anyone especially Feather you read so much into them I was agreeing with her original post.. I think Feather herself just proved her own point of her post by perfect case example.

      I digress from this post. As I wont feed negative.  Thanks to those that understood my good intentions.



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