Agnostic.com

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What is happening to our Community?
I hope this doesn't turn into a rant... I just want to express my concern with some of the things I've seen happening on this site as of late. What spurred this on today was finding out about a new group that was created listing and talking about people that you blocked and that have blocked you and naming names. I can't see anything good coming from this.

I've been here a long time since last November and the "feel" of the community is changing. Perhaps because it has grown quite a bit and the increased numbers reflect a more representative profile of the general public. I don't know.

When I first came to the site (before there were groups) if someone was out of line or disrespectful they would be called out on it by the members but the discussion was always respectful and intelligent. But today there seems to be more and more divisiveness and arguments and disrespect.

So some of you know me and that I tend to be a positive and optimistic kind of person. Maybe that skews my perspective on this. Maybe that's not reality, again, I don't know. I have to be honest, I've had my doubts about whether I should stay on this site. I'm not sure that I am getting any benefit from the site like I use to.

I would like to get some feedback from you, the community and especially those that have been here long enough to see the changes.

Am I being unrealistic in how people should interact with each other? Are we changing for the good? Have we lost respect for each other's individual opinions and for each other? I would really like to hear your opinions, even those of you who may not agree. I'm open to listening to all points of view.
Thanks smile001.gif

By BeeHappy9
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35 comments

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16

I have blocked several. I'm here for community; not here to argue, ridicule, demean, or in any way participate in rancor-its not my style. I will discuss and may disagree with another's pov, but am not into belittling or name-calling; unless the other person starts something. Then, I'll say my piece and either quit the conversation, or block that person. As far as I'm concerned, this site should be a positive experience. I'm not here to change anybody's mind about anything, either. My postings and comments represent my pov, and are there for any comment anyone wants to make; but if you attack me, directly or indirectly, you disappear from my content. Just the way it is.

With the growth of the site, a wider array of individuals will appear; some for positive reasons, some for negative. It seems to be how social media works. You can be sure there will be those who will come here intent on disruption, perhaps even destruction, of this site. I hope to stay on here for sometime to come, but I will not take abuse of any kind. I was on here close to the inception of this site, and because of personal attacks, left for several months. A couple of those individuals are still on this site, one I simply blocked, the other is now in my following, and vice versa. It's funny how things evolve.

Condor5 Level 8 July 19, 2018

I appreciate your feedback. Thanks.

@AMGT I'm sure you could have, but I appreciate the nod.

13

Hi
I think when you joined, the site had a certain feel about it. Perhaps the Zeitgeist was of a community that was literally akin to a village community..where everyone got to know everyone and everybody new and respected the rules of polite and intelligent discourse in a spirit of goodwill. Blocking was withheld for rare threats like incoming Trolls or pests.

Now that village has been annexed into an evolving city..with a less friendly atmosphere..people are hostile and more aggressive.. others have become suspicious and defensive..a lot of trigger happy blocking happening like it's a trophy sport to be celebrated and bragged about..not realising that blocking is a good example of a failure to communicate by both parties.

This site is evolving while a political storm rages outside..this phenomenon I believe is polarizing beliefs and attitudes too..making all of us jittery and we discourse with one hand on our block holster..that is unfortunate.

Bee...you are one of the great ameliorating calming pillars of this community..members have love for you..they trust you..they listen to you..they are listening now. It would be a terrible loss not just to me..but those who choose to remain to keep the backbone of this community grounded in what we are supposed to stand for...which is each other is it not?

These nuances of change..may be unavoidable..but..the pendulum may swing the other way as those that don't fit in to the community take their badass attitudes and leave for greener pastures.

But when gentle kind intelligent humorous members leave it so diminishes the balance so as to only make things worse.

In short..PLEASE DON'T GO!

Hitchens Level 8 July 20, 2018

Wow! You're not suppose to make me cry! Hitch, what kind and tender things to say, thank you! And I agree with your assessment of the community. I'm not going anywhere in the foreseeable future. ?

@BeeHappy

It's not as if they weren't true..I had to impart these points to you because I can't afford to give you a raise.?.and besides you make me want to be a better Human/Athiest..anybody who can inspire that is a keeper.

I'm so so glad that you are staying.. I can exhale now..?

????

@Hitchens Dammit! I needed that raise! ?

@BeeHappy

Well we will see..its productivity related..so you are gonna have to remain active princess. ?

@Hitchens LMAO! ????

@BeeHappy

You see I made you laugh and I made you cry practically at the same time, that would cost you $100 on Broadway! On A.G its free! How could you walk away? ?

@Akfishlady I was called a troll yesterday. Methinks some people have redefined what a troll is.

@Akfishlady

Hi..
To qualify as a Troll you would need to demonstrate malicious intent etc..disagreeing with someone in the course of a thread hardly merits being labled a Troll..looks like you were the victim of a trigger happy thin skin. It would be different if there was an exchange of expletives that led to the other party losing their cool...?

@BlueWave

Are people labelling members Trolls because of party affiliations or disagreements on religious dogma or how to properly cook a fillet steak..unless the person is a total malicious fruitcake..can we really call them a Troll?

13

Somewhere....there are people saying that "The Facebook" was better when it only had students from Ivy League schools as members....

Communities change and grow.

I think of blocking this way --- on Facebook -- with 1 BILLION profiles, I am friends with 185 people.
On Facebook, we get to choose our friends/tribe/community.

Here? Well we automatically have 42,318 "friends" when we join and we have to NARROW it down from there. Blocking is the tool by which we trim out the ones with whom we have no desire to interact ever again.

HOWEVER, that doesn't mean we should publically try to "shame and name" the people we block (exception: perverts and scammers) nor should we start groups to talk about the people we have blocked (how dull and boorish are those conversations?).

Just because people all share agnosticism/atheism does NOT mean that they will get along in all aspects or even be able to summon up respect for each other's differences and opinions (do you respect someone's blind support of a politician you don't like?).

Let it go.

Find a few groups with people who you like, in general, and participate as much or a little as you like overall. But, this group is not real life and shouldn't be the be all, end all of your existence.

I'm of the opinion that if the site wanted blocks to be public they would have done so.

Yes in the case of people who prey on others we might post. Usually in an upper level group to help mods. until the person is removed from the site.

But publicly posting this. Just no.

I don't know why they can't just PM with each other if they are so intent on knowing who has and hasn't blocked them?

Seems like points mining.

And every time someone joins your group you get points. SMH.

12

I think that just because this is an agostic site, there is the unrealistic assumption that the people here are incapable of stupidity, pettiness, "opposing" ideas, and having ridiculous beliefs or opinions outside of said atheism or agnosticism: that assumption is incorrect.

Yes we now have a flat earther. That blew my mind!

@RavenCT Who, who, who? I need more laughter in my life! ??

@KevinTwining I'll PM you later!

@RavenCT ta muchly! Xx

@RavenCT The guy/gal/whatever is seriously disturbed. That’s not a troll, that is serious insanity and delusion writ large and walking amongst us! Yikes! Got my laugh though - quite a few in fact. Ta. XX

@KevinTwining Yup it's for real.

12

Iv'e only joined about a month ago ish. But I have found this community that Iv'e ever been involved with. Sure there are some negative posts here and there. But mostly I have had the pleasure to get to know have been very kind towards me and my opinions, and I have of theirs.

To me, (with the exeption of one or two people) the people that Iv'e met here, even if we dissagree on something, we both are civil about our comments rather than get into a flame troll war.

I've been a member of many blog sites, some were good, some bad. But the time Iv'e i've spent here has given some of the best conversations I've ever had on a blog site.

TristanNuvo Level 8 July 19, 2018

I am so happy that that is your experience here. I've had the same in the past. Thanks for your comment.

12

Yes I confronted them and was told it was my nasty mind that had a problem with them listing who they blocked and who had blocked them.

They're both blocked now. I reported them as well.

These are not community people.

And one is directly responsible for a young member leaving and proudly puts the name on the list.

Really fried my cookies.

RavenCT Level 9 July 19, 2018

ha fried my cookies thats great smile001.gif

@irascible Thank you.

@sarahjustme You trolled a member so hard that they left.

The member had Aspberger's and most of us looked out for her. She was not Hi IQ.

I can't believe you'd publicly post her name.

@RavenCT that is interesting. No response from @sarahjustme. She is one of the people involved in this group? Do you have the g: # as I have not encountered it or its aims.

@sarahjustme And yet you posted her name? What is the point if she's left?

@FrayedBear "Getting blocked for fun and profit."

@RavenCT thanks

@sarahjustme A piece of work really, aren’t you?

11

I think your comments are interesting and I'm going to reflect on them and about how the site is evolving. But for now, I'm going to say two things which might not be popular:

I don't think the groups function has been a great success, with the best of intentions. I think they have fractured the community. I remember back in 2017 when it was just one communal discussion place. I know that omelette can't be unscrambled now, but it's how I feel.

The blocking function, which I think was meant as a last resort, has become too much of a focus, when ignoring in most cases would suffice. Some thickening of skins around here wouldn't go astray.

Also, it feels less like a truly global non religious community than it seemed back then.

These are some initial impressions anyway.

David1955 Level 8 July 20, 2018

I tend to agree!

I could not agree with you more about the groups aspect. I think overall, as you said, it has fractured the entire community. There are hundreds of groups and many duplicitous ones.

In this thread, it was said that it is in groups, private messages and the chat rooms where one will find connections, as opposed to before the groups, connections and friendships were easily made in the big room.

I also agree that the blocking function, which is valuable to many, has become a favorite topic. I believe it is personal for each person and I don’t see the benefit in constantly analyzing who blocks whom, how many people each person has blocked, and why. I believe it should remain personal and private.

@BlueWave "In this thread, it was said that it is in groups, private messages and the chat rooms where one will find connections, as opposed to before the groups, connections and friendships were easily made in the big room."

I understand where you're coming from. I think the chats and PMs enrich a community which has grown exponentially in the last couple of months. The "big room" is huge now, with 10's of thousands of members. Just like any large city, there are going to be smaller social groups within it. This is a natural progression.

Most members are here to meet someone. It's only natural when they don't become as active because they've started to spend more time communicating privately with possible love interests. There will always be a flux, and we will lose active members because they found what they came here for. smile001.gif

11

Most of the people we encounter in our lives are assholes. Just ignore them, and treasure the ones who aren’t. XX

Sound advice.

Thank you Kevin! smile001.gif

Most of the people I have met and meet now are pretty great. Maybe it's you?

This is what I try to do. Where there are people there are problems.
All sites morph. It was never any different, just had fewer people to be held accountable. Now there are thousands upon thousands and the vibe will of course change.
I'll block with abandon as I see fit, not that I would join a group over it, but too many worthwhile people to be stressing out over those who are perpetually curmudgeonly and butthurt.

@Tompain1 I stated ‘people you encounter’, not those you meet. We encounter many, but meet few.

10

No you are not unrealistic at all. But when the leader from the free world acts like a complete psychopath, unfortunately people think it's all right to do the same.

Jolanta Level 8 July 19, 2018

Thanks!

10

I think it was better prior to the formation of groups. I also think that in the early times no one knew each other, and that fostered a different environment that what is seen today. Now, members have had a chance to overcome that situation, even though new members are still filing in. Absolutely, it is different, but at least I’ve never said dangerdave is a dick.

You just have.

@FrayedBear oops

I like the site much better now that there are groups. Keep in mind that I joined the site for community, not dating, so my opinion is colored by that. I joined agnostic.com for a short time in late 2017, and my experience then was that there were a significant number of members who were all about scientific proof and evidence, and if you did not have data to back up your views, they were invalid. I had no interest in submitting my life and opinions to peer review, so I left. When I returned, groups had been created, and I personally found that much better, because now I could reach out to people that I shared an interest or viewpoint with, and avoid the rest.

I have used the block function on occasion, and don't feel at all guilty for doing so. Life is too short to put up with what I perceive as other people''s bull, so I just block someone if they have been nasty to me or to someone else. I once asked how many people have joined the site, and I think the figure was 30,000. So if I decide there are fifteen people I don't want to deal with, I don't think that's a big deal. If there is a group talking about who they blocked, and who blocked then, that seems to me to be symptomatic of WHY they got blocked in the first place. @Admin, is there any way to block ALL of them from all of US? That way all the folks in that group would have only each other to interact with.

I don't know what to do about group proliferation; I guess as long as there are people willing to moderate, and there is interest on the part of members, just let it ride. Maybe a rule that says a group has to have some arbitrary number of members (ten? fifteen?) in order for Admin to continue to support it. But please don't take AWAY the groups, because for me at least they are a safe haven from the people who want to control discourse.

@citronella Once someone gets a bunch of blocks, they go on our watch list and we delete them.

9

I often wonder if its really worth the time to remain. This doesn't seem like the same site I joined last November. I don't think the atmosphere is as pleasant or friendly as it once was, and a lot of the people I looked forward to hearing from, have left the site, curtailed their activity here, or hang it in groups that I didn't join.

It's discouraging, but if you look at my profile, it says I'm here for community, and I am beginning to wonder if that is still possible here.

JimG Level 8 July 19, 2018

@Akfishlady thank you.

@Akfishlady I have stuck around because there are a few people with whom I enjoy interacting. However many of them seem to be like me in that they aren't actively participating as much as in the past.

You are among the few.

I'm with Grace, I would also miss you. There is a lot of community taking place behind the scenes --- in group chat rooms, and PMs. That's where you can really get to know one another, and form friendships.

@VictoriaNotes, @Akfishlady Thanks to both of you. I appreciate the kind words.

@Akfishlady, @VictoriaNotes I'll see what I can do to block members who are getting out of hand. I'm thinking of creating a "ban for X days" so that we can use it more than full-on member deletion.

Oh, no! Don't go!

@JimG Akfishlady I have always enjoyed your comments and noticed that you were not posting as often as you used to. You are one of the ones that made me stop for a while because of your limited responses along with some others that have disappeared.

9

Our community has definitely grown, but I think that the positive far outweighs the negative and most members here engage in civil discourse, which may sometimes get intense, but that's the nature of discourse. I'm not one to block. With that said, I have no interest in joining a group that talks about other members publicly. If a member won't behave, they don't belong here, and that's Admin's/Site Support's job to sort that out.

I hope you stick around Bee, but I understand if you need to part ways. You'd be missed.

Thank you Victoria!

Victoria and Beehappy both of you have been pleasent to converse with. and I have enjoy your comments.

@Marine --- You are so thoughtful, Bob. Thank you. The feeling is mutual. smile001.gif

8

Seek and ye shall find...if you want to see/find the bad, well...you will. If you want to see/find the good...you will. There is plenty of good here...seek and ye shall find. (sorry for the biblical reference).

Seeker55 Level 8 July 19, 2018

Thanks for your comments.

8

Don't worry...

(sorry, couldn't resist)

CallMeDave Level 8 July 19, 2018

Good one! Lol

8

Well the group here where people get social credit for getting others to block them seems like nothing more than a troll factory to me. Has @Admin had a look at what they're encouraging? I've seen multiple members of that group starting fights with people. I suspect they're playing a not very pleasant game at the expense of the community.

I didn't notify @Admin but I believe someone else has. I don't know anything about those participating in the group. I just wanted to use it as an example of some of the negative activity on the site.

7

I think it IS the growth in size of the community. I was attacked personally for my opinion for the first time on this site earlier this week.

I hope you reported it.

We've all been learning about screen shots and sending those on to Admin or SiteSupport.

7

I wouldn't say that all of us have lost respect for the opinions of others, but some have. I have blocked one man, but there are several to whom I just do not respond any longer.

@irascible It is useless to try to have a dialog with them--the ones of whom I speak are fundie atheists. Some are racists; the one whom I blocked is an ardent Trump supporter.

@Gwendolyn2018 Fundie atheists? Oh nooo!!! Gees.

@Gwendolyn2018, @irascible You do not believe in the ancient advice of "Keep your friends close but your enemies even closer".

@RavenCT Shocking, I know.

@FrayedBear These people are not my "enemies: they are just annoying as hell. I work from home for several reasons, but one is because if I am going to spend time interacting with an idiot, it will be me. I enjoy debating, but not arguing. There has to be give and take, and these individuals do not know the meaning of the phrase.

6

Sounds like an issue for the community senate.

Hermit Level 7 July 19, 2018

@sarahjustme Yes, a top secret meeting.

5

I'm fairly new here and have been enjoying the site. It's easy to discover the folks with whom I want to interact and I just ignore the others. As far as the groups, they're probably necessary due to the growth of the sites population. I like having specific groups to join for various interests of mine (books and a local group). I hope those of you who are concerned will stay and help keep the site positive.

idoubtit Level 7 July 20, 2018

Thanks for the feedback and I'm glad you are enjoying the site!

5

I agree with your point of view. I come here for the positivity and great advice that I can’t get from any other site. It’s also great to communicate with people that are like minded. I just “came back” from a few months of not logging on (just haven’t had time). I don’t know how the groups work yet, so I haven’t really seen this, and I’m still getting to know people. But I truly hope it doesn’t become negative on here as all other social sites. Stick around, it’ll help those that are positive like you have kind people to talk to. ?

Mariv357 Level 5 July 20, 2018

Thank you! ?

5

I don't remember when I joined, but I have been haunting this site for a little while. I have also noticed more aggressive and better-than-thou types showing up. I simply do not respond to them. If enough do that, the ones with the attitude will start to get bored with a 'site where no one types to me'. It has become so easy to scroll past comments from people that are only concerned with how sophisticated they are, and enjoy comments from people who are here for community.

Holysocks Level 7 July 20, 2018

Thanks for your feedback!

@BeeHappy
Any time!

5

I don't know how it used to be because iv'e only been here for about two months.
But with the exception of one person, every one I've met here has been kind and respectful.
Even if we disagree we still are civil in our discussions. And sometimes I've even learned things from others, I try to keep an open mind.

Even though i've only been here a short while I feel like I've made some new friends already.
I am really happy I found this site, it's the first place I've really felt welcomed in a long time.

5

Hmmm. A week or so ago I received a very sharp rude response from you to something I had written in reply to your comment or post. I thought "this is weird, BeeHappy has not been like this in the six months that we have interacted". Perhaps you had been under attack all day and at the end of your tether. Then yesterday I gave my opinion on a post that was asking for site change to allow for rewarding members for doing similar to what you are now mentioning. I ran a poll months ago with my group's members and there was virtually no interest in what yesterday's proposal was wanting to be rewarded for. It eventually was claimed by the 'Bear' baiters that I had deleted replies or edited some that they had complained about - I hadn't. However it started me wondering if in fact we have a troll who has hacked the site and is writing comments and replies to actually create friction or was it simply my baiters now trying to gaslight me having deleted their posts to thus remove mine but then are so guilty at their dishonest behaviour are now projecting their behaviour on to me? Perhaps I should have enquired as to their medication regime and its efficacy?
To a certain degree @BeeHappy I agree with you that the site is not what it was six months ago. My first conclusion would be to say the godbotherers are taking notice and like little children and the American government are being ugly around the world to anyone they do not agree with or perceive to be the slightest threat to their power base.
Some of us outside of the USA look on in amazement at how many of our American fellow non believers waste their lives discussing something that they claim to have eschewed or simply are refusing to look as to how to fill the other half of their glass in order to make their own and everyone else's lives more fulfilling.
No, I don't think that you are ranting. You are simply rationally identifying some current site problems and member's stupidity.
I have thoroughly enjoyed some of your posts that you have shared and yet again thank you for them. Only you can decide when your satisfaction level falls below acceptable. I can only point out that in more than 20 years of broadcasting music that is not only actively discouraged by godbotherers, ruling classes and embarassed governments I have always applied the Never Ending Story rule - so long as there is one person still believing and listening I will continue to broadcast.

FrayedBear Level 9 July 19, 2018

@FrayedBear, thank you for you comments, I appreciate them. I don't remember the details but do remember the interaction we had. I wondered later what it was that set me off and couldn't really identify anything specific. Perhaps it was as simple as misunderstanding the written word and your intent. I don't know. Please accept my apology.

@BeeHappy No worries. I was probably bluntly cynical. Diplomacy is not my forté. ?

5

I think as it grows it is as you say... I may have gotten here as it was changing? Change is going to happen anyplace we go. I think it’s better to state your concerns and be selective about what posts you engage in. I have seen the occasional friction and sometimes been the target and I can be terse on a topic I’m passionate about... I’ll try and do better. If everyone increase the kindness a little it will drown out the hate allotsmile001.gif

Thanks AA, I appreciate your opinion.

5

societies change grow for better or worse im very new so don't know what it was like 6 mths ago but it seems a fairly well balanced group with very few dick heads

weeman Level 7 July 19, 2018

also there is the option of blocking people so far i have blocked 2 people but i don't imagine they will be the last

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