October 24th, 2006
Posted By:

When participating in an online mailing list or forum there are few guidelines that I believe are important in order to get the most of the participation.

When you enter into a discussion with another person or group of people, opinions unlike your own may be expressed. Everyone has a right to his/her own opinion and people are more likely to listen when it is expressed respectfully. It is important to voice your thoughts and ideas in a non confrontational manner and to respond to other opinions with respect. You may want to consider not immediately responding to a post or an email. You may want to consider writing a response but waiting to hit the send button, return to your response later, and re read it before you send it.

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If a disagreement breaks out, tempers can get hot. If this happens, think about how you would react if the person you disagree with were standing in front of you. Treat others with respect. If you can’t agree, don’t rehash everything hoping to convince everyone that you are right. You may want to take the disagreement to corresponding via private email or simply agree to disagree and move on.

There have been several instances that I have witnessed on a variety of mailing lists that turn into a flame war. This is when the correspondence turns into intentional personal attacks. They can include, but are not limited to harassing, vulgar, abusive, obscene, and hurtful or hateful attacks that are aimed at a particular individual. On most, but not all mailing lists and forums, if you are a participant in a flame war you will be placed on moderated status or removed from the mailing list or forum. If you would be a victim of a flame war the best thing to do is ignore the attacker, do not speak about the attacker with other members, and contact the owner of the mailing list or forum. In most cases, they will assist you in any way they can.

There are individuals in the adoption community whose focus is to enter a chat room, forum, or mailing list with the intention of stirring the pot. Usually these people cause a lot of hurtful feelings and misuse of the community area. These types of individuals usually but not always post anonymously or assume another’s identity or use multiple identities. When you witness or are a victim of these type of attacks from this type of poster, the best course of action is to contact the list or forum owner, or moderator and ignore the poster. Basically if everyone stays united in ignoring the poster, they will find no enjoyment in harassing people and they will probably leave.

If a flame war or something negative does happen with a random person it effects everyone in the community. It may be difficult to bounce back but it is important to try and move on from the incident by starting up new topics or posting a poll or ideas.

Most of the online adoption search and reunion communities are happy, and have a supportive atmosphere. They are a wonderful resource and a place that can provide search assistance and advice.

5 Responses to “Respecting Others Online”

  1. Peanut says:

    Good topic & great advice!

  2. Thanks…I appreciate the feed back. It seems that there is a lot of rumblings going on in the adoption community that is taking away from what the focus is. By folks following my suggestions, I think that eventually the waters will be calmer. People in general are never going to agree 100% of the time but the personally attacking, threatening, manipuating and whatever other tactics have been used is now the environment to keep the focus on where we want it to be.

  3. caly says:

    This comment has been removed as it violates the adoption.com Terms of Service. To view these terms please visit http://www.adoption.com/legal.ph

  4. caly says:

    Portions of this comment have been removed as it violates the adoption.com Terms of Service. To view these terms please visit http://www.adoption.com/legal.php

    You say: There are individuals in the adoption community whose focus is to enter a chat room, forum, or mailing list with the intention of stirring the pot. Usually these people cause a lot of hurtful feelings and misuse of the community area.

    I feel pretty sure you will accuse me of entering here to stir the pot as you state above. I have no interest in stirring any pots on adoption lists where there are sincere and honest people expressing their opinions and allowing people to agree to disagree.

    But I am here for a different reason.

    Was I naive to think that while adoption reformers are trying to convince legislators about the importance of openness and honesty in adoption, that we should be demonstrating the highest sense of ethics ourselves? Weren’t most of us lied to enough? Isn’t that why were’re desperately trying to learn and understand? Sometimes people need to be called on their XXXX (word removed as it violates the terms of service for adoption.com at http://www.adoption.com/legal.php

    This was one pot that needed stirring.

    Jan, you are too classy of a lady to share this blog with the person you are. In the future, maybe you should try to accept that where there is smoke, there is usually FIRE.

    Portions of this comment have been removed as it violates the adoption.com Terms of Service. To view these terms please visit http://www.adoption.com/legal.php

  5. caly says:

    I’m not sure why my posts above were deleted.

    Portions of this comment have been removed as it violates the adoption.com Terms of Service. To view these terms please visit http://www.adoption.com/legal.php

    I repeat – weren’t most of us involved in the loss of our children or adopted into the closed, secretive adoption system lied to enough?
    why continue to protect this person and enable her behaviors. Don’t shoot the messenger. Research the claims being made here and you will see that where there is smoke, in this case there is definately FIRE.

    Will you delete this too? Why perpetuate dishonesty?

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