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About helping "neophytes"

post #1 of 179
Thread Starter 
This is a sort of stream-of-consciousness thread. It is not directed towards anyone though I was thinking about it because of some things that have happened recently. I was pondering today: What do we want to accomplish at this board? If our goal is to educate people then we should educate people. Getting upset and accusing others of being trolls or instigators (no matter how likely that may seem to one or more of us) is counter-productive to that goal. When someone comes to us for help there are several things that could be true about them.

1. They came here specifically to learn more with an open mind In this case we need to teach them and usually no issues arise because everyone stays courteous.

2. They came here because they saw the title of the forum and want to know why on earth nobody would circumcise because it's normal to, right? In this case we need to educate them gently. It's not easy to look beyond one's cultural expectations/traditions and see them for what they truly are.

3. They came here accidentally and try to convert us to being pro-circumcision In this case we also need to educate gently. Nobody wants to listen to someone who puts her down. If we want people like this to listen to us then we need to treat them with respect and remember that circumcision is very very very ingrained in American society.

4. They came here intentionally for the sole purpose of riling us up and being a mean nasty troll In this case we need to give the facts. Give links to others threads. Educate gently for the sake of everyone who lurks here. If someone comes here to rile up, then by accusing and putting them down and getting ourselves in trouble we give them what they wanted and potentially lose the opportunity to educate a lurker.

There are many different degrees of these four basic folks who visit here (other than the die-hard intactivists who are always here ) but these are the four that I have specifically noticed.

Number 1 is easy. We can tell almost immediately when someone falls in that catagory. Numbers 2 and 3 however can potentially look to some of us like a number 4. The thing about the number 4 is that we can never really know for certain if a person truly is a 4 or if he/she is just really attached to the cultural conditioning that makes circumcision seem like no big deal. Maybe he was circumcised or he/she circumcised a son or her husband is circumcised. Maybe he/she is convinced that America is so much advanced compared to those other countries that RIC couldn't possibly be bad. Maybe doctors are always right in this person's mind.

What I'm getting at is that the only person who knows for sure what catagory (or between which catagories) a new poster belongs in is the new poster him/herself. We can guess, but there's really no sure way to tell. One of the most important ways of telling whether someone is sincere or not (tone of voice) is not available via the internet. There is no real foolproof way to tell who is here to cause trouble unless the person admits it.

No time spent on a thread is truly wasted UNLESS we decide the person is a troll and start flame wars. Then the thread (usually full of really good info and links) is shut down and lurkers may never decide to de-lurk in fear that we might decide they are trolls too

So... what are your thoughts about this?

love and peace.
post #2 of 179
I think when a newbie posts with the whole "Why shouldn't I" question we should simply point them to the stickies and not answer any more questions until they come back and report they have read them all!!

I know, totally uninforceable, but it sure would save a lot of strife!!
post #3 of 179
I hear you, but I think that if people start dishing out the attitude and nastiness, the gloves come off : (er, within the contraints of the UA...)
post #4 of 179
trmpetplaya : :

I have thought of this many times, when someone comes in I give them the benifit of the doubt until they give themselves away. I also think it is best if they do just ask for a specific thing that is all we should give them. It worries me about what a lurker might think should they come across a thread were everyone seems to be ganging up on a OP. I know how hard it is sometimes to stay quiet when everything inside is screeming tell them how wrong they are. But to get the message out there we must hold back sometimes.

I am thankfull to be part of such a supportive and caring community as this and I want everyone who comes thru to feel as welcome as I do.
post #5 of 179
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by coloradoalice
I think when a newbie posts with the whole "Why shouldn't I" question we should simply point them to the stickies and not answer any more questions until they come back and report they have read them all!!

I know, totally uninforceable, but it sure would save a lot of strife!!
There have been discussions about this very way of handling new people at the vaccination board also. Maybe even having a *you must read this before posting* thread...

love and peace.
post #6 of 179
good post, i nominate this for a sticky.




When I first came here I was pro-circ but wanting to know why people don't do it. I figured it was a choice but had no idea what the ideas backing it were.




I was accused of being a troll and almost flamed off the board because I worded my question wrong. Cornflower and Frank PM'ed me and kept me around.


I wouldn't have the knowledge I have today if I had left because of the flamers. And it was the people with the patience to educate me that got me to stay.



Remember, the next person you flame could have been the next Yoshua.


oh yeah, stroke that ego.

:
post #7 of 179
I could not agree more with the OP. I think that unless we just want to have a happy little preachin' to the choir place, if we want to win the hearts and minds of fence-sitters or pro-circers, we need to assume the best until shown otherwise. I think real trolls reveal themselves soon enough. We can't forget that, although to us it's as clear as day that circ is evil, many people who come here have an entire lifetime of cultural conditioning to overcome and not everyone is going to see the light immediately.

And you're absolutely right, don't forget the lurkers! SO many people read but never post - and our attitude does make a huge difference to our credibility.

As far as sending people to the stickies...I don't think that would really work. Everyone has her own questions and concerns and wants to feel personally addressed. If you don't want to answer the newbie question, then don't, or make up a saved post you can cut and paste. But I think it would come across as too patronizing to just tell people we don't have time for them until they read the stickies.

Even the attitude that some posters project may not necessarily be trollishness...again, we've got a lifetime of brainwashing and cultural conditioning to deal with here. Just as in the Vincent Bach vulnerability of men article, we're telling people that their partners' penises are not all they could be, or that their doctors are not telling them the truth, or that they've made a horrible mistake in circing previous children, or that their partners are jerks for insisting on circing. People get naturally defensive of those they know in person and aren't just going to believe some random people online unless we establish our credibility as nice, well-meaning, honest people.
post #8 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quirky
we need to assume the best until shown otherwise.

.

I think roughly 100 posts of us trying to be nice (well, most of you) and getting the "you don't know what you're talking about" crap shows us otherwise.

You think we're tough? Have you ever ventured over into the vax forum or even the cloth diapering forum? If you don't immediately know what you're talking about, or ask any sort of questions to clarify things in your own mind, they eat you alive. We're pushovers in comparison!

You can't win 'em all. YOU JUST CAN'T WIN 'EM ALL. That's our problem--we think that we can. We shouldn't allow this to be turned into a debate board, because it isn't.

The, "I'll only accept this kind of post from you people of whom I'm taking time and expertise" type-demand really chaps my hide.

I don't think we have to go so far as to say, "Read the stickies first" but if we haven't convinced somebody in, say, the first fifty posts, we should then insist that they read the stickies before we say anything more.
post #9 of 179
PS. We should have a "welcome to the board" sticky. It could say something to the effect of, "We're so happy to have you here; we hope you stick around; if you regret circumcising your son previously, there's this thread........(regret thread)...... if you have basic questions, please read this article (the Fleiss article), then if you have any additional questions, please frame them in a respectful way, and we'd be happy to address them for you. Please remember that this is not a debate board; we will engage in healthy discussion but will refrain from debating. There are no benefits to circumcision; if you continue to insist that there are, the moderator may choose to remove your posts." Etc.


Then that "welcome" sticky would be the first thing we'd send them to.
post #10 of 179
I like things the way they are. I like people coming in here and asking questions, and most of the time it turns out well. I think as Quirky said, people like to be addressed personally. It is such a personal topic, and these moms feel so alone, like they're the only crazy ones in their whole circle who don't want to circumcise. They need personal backup, support, not just a sticky. I don't think it usually turns out badly.

I guess it would be OK to have a welcome sticky, I just fear it would lead to fewer threads and questions. Less conversation, if you will. I visit the vax forum but I barely post there- A&A is right, they are far tougher! They do NOT appreciate answering the same newbie questions over and over, but I do. I think it's nice to talk to people about this. It's not just about facts, it's about support.
post #11 of 179
I circ'd my boy because it was "the normal thing to do". I wondered and wondered about that for years. My mommy-feelings were telling me different.


I stumble to MDC for the vax forum and make my way over here to the CAC.
I read.
I read some more.
And some more.
Come to the conclusion that my "mommy feelings" were right and circ isn't necessary and dare I say a barbaric practice. After an awkward apology to my ds (nearly 14 now) I have forgiven myself for allowing a crucial part of his antaomy to be cut off.

I didn't come on to ask a ton of questions about "Why didn't you?"....I did the same thing I did in the vax forum.... I read.

I think a sticky is a great idea for this forum...I don't hardly ever post over here...but I send tons of people here. I encourage them to READ first , post later if necessary.

I'd also like to see a sticky thread in the vax forum for newbies.

The key to not being eaten alive in a forum like this is reading beforehand to find out the vibe of the forum.
post #12 of 179
I can not fathom someone who is truely looking for answers reacting the way I have seen people react sometimes. I will use myeslf as an example. I knew I was having a boy, I spoke to my mother, shes says whatever, I asked if the neighbor boy was since I had no brothers, I dont even know if she answered me. I went to a debate board out there, I looked around. Now, had I wanted to do it gung ho and do it, I would never have searched things out, its that lingering doubt that makes you reach out. I looked at the debate board with a pro circ stance, it did not take long for the truth to come out. I dont think I am some big non conformist, some crunchy go against the grain personality type, but the hint of questioning lead me to see the obvious truths. I WANTED to believe the UTI thing, I wanted to find reasons TO DO IT. The only reason someone reacts the way as we have seen lately is that their mind is made up and they get angry when there are facts that dont support the circ movement shown to them. They ignore it and get angry.
I believe this is why the reaction we saw today is rare, and the reaction we find from Yoshua happens more. I was a Yoshua too once, and it does not take long to see the light if truely are looking for it.

I do think a stick with all the links and perhaps an explanation for them in better order than just the "here are the links" thread would be helpful. If anything, we can answer other posts like the one we saw lately with that link and then see if that person chooses to maturely disguss any of the things they did read in those links. I think if we are expected to give the personal touch and reach out on that level, they should be required to actually look at that stuff in some length and somewhat prove it. That did not happen with our recent situation at all.
post #13 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by trmpetplaya
This is a sort of stream-of-consciousness thread...
4. They came here intentionally for the sole purpose of riling us up and being a mean nasty troll In this case we need to give the facts. Give links to others threads. Educate gently for the sake of everyone who lurks here. If someone comes here to rile up, then by accusing and putting them down and getting ourselves in trouble we give them what they wanted and potentially lose the opportunity to educate a lurker.


So... what are your thoughts about this?

love and peace.
I think that even if we are completely convinced someone is trolling we should take the time to answer their questions, just as we would do for anyone else. Taking the high road is always the more noble choice Also, I've read more than one post by moms who only circumcised because they got angry at some intactivists way of becoming hostile at being asked what seemed like troll questions. Though I think it's pretty dumb to have surgery done on a newborn out of what is, essentially, spite I can also understand why they would feel that doing further research just wasn't worth their time. :

~Nay
post #14 of 179

my 2 cents

I consider myself to be a polite and civilized individual until I am provoked. Personally, I will not let someone antagonize me and still try to "make nice" with them. It's just not my style. If someone is really on the fence about circ yet behaves in a sassy and cynical way, i really don't have the time or patience for it.

My gut tells me that if someone is genuinely interested in information about the detriments of circ, they wont bring an attitude to the table.
post #15 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by AntoninBeGonin
Also, I've read more than one post by moms who only circumcised because they got angry at some intactivists way of becoming hostile at being asked what seemed like troll questions.

~Nay

Who ONLY circ'd for that reason? Give me a break. They were looking for a reason to do it in the first place, and with us they just found their scapegoat.
post #16 of 179
Quote:
My gut tells me that if someone is genuinely interested in information about the detriments of circ, they wont bring an attitude to the table.
that is what my paragraph was trying to say. I was honestly pro circ for a few (totally ignorant) days of my life but really being open to things is the difference of being able to be educated and just being uncalled for. especially on a forum that doesnt support debate and is the CASE AGAINST.
post #17 of 179
Quote:
Who ONLY circ'd for that reason? Give me a break. They were looking for a reason to do it in the first place, and with us they just found their scapegoat.
I've seen people say this before too, dont know if I belive that. That the anti circ movement made them out of spite, if it is true, there are issues far deeper than we can hope to touch.
post #18 of 179
Quote:
Who ONLY circ'd for that reason? Give me a break. They were looking for a reason to do it in the first place, and with us they just found their scapegoat.
My thoughts exactly. People who truly want an education (even with fear in their hearts) will be the people that we reach. But we can't reach everyone. That's just reality.

If a sassy girl wants to believe that we are the reason that she finally decided to circ her child...she can fool herself, but she can't fool me. At the most i may have just been a final excuse to do it, but without a doubt, in a very long line of other lame excuses.
post #19 of 179
First, about me...

I have only posted in this forum once and have not even lurked here much (I had already chosen not to circ when I came to MDC). I have been thinking about circumcision more lately though, because I do a fair amount of advocacy around other children's issues, and have been wondering about how I could do better sharing info with people about circumcision.

About the issue of whether it's okay to get negative with people...

I think it is important to be strategic. There are some advocacy situations where I think it is approptiate to "pull the gloves off," and take a harsh approach to achieve the outcome you want. I think there are very, very few situations where such an approach is most effective on a board of this nature though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A
Who ONLY circ'd for that reason? Give me a break. They were looking for a reason to do it in the first place, and with us they just found their scapegoat.
I think there are some people out there who think circumcision is a routine, no-big-deal thing to do that's only a shade more invasive than getting your fingernails clipped, who at the same time don't have a strong emotional committment to having the procedure done. If they unintentionally come off bad here and their only experience with folks who choose to not circ is exremely negative, they can just write off the choice to not circ as something only crazy extremists do, and not bother with gathering more information.

While getting negative with pro-circing posters on this board might make us feel better (there was a recent thread where I admit to appreciating some posts like that and sharing the opinions those members expressed), I think the possible risks of such an approach are too great. So I agree with the OP, and think it's best to assume the best of people and stay postive.
post #20 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeldasMom

I think there are some people out there who think circumcision is a routine, no-big-deal thing to do that's only a shade more invasive than getting your fingernails clipped, who at the same time don't have a strong emotional committment to having the procedure done. If they unintentionally come off bad here and their only experience with folks who choose to not circ is exremely negative, they can just write off the choice to not circ as something only crazy extremists do, and not bother with gathering more information.
I think you hit the nail on the head!
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