Help With Posting

Disclaimer
This may or may not be applied to the SOS E-Support group.  This was intended for use in other groups so some of it may not apply.  I think the main parts and thinking do apply to SOS and in the spirit of SOS it's up to you to decide what to use and what not to use.  
Disclaimer 1

Discussion and Support Board
Introduction
General guidelines for how to be supportive.
Board Rules and Guidelines

1. Always remember that there are other human beings out there and, like you, they are vulnerable.

2. Be kind to everyone regardless of whether or not you like them.

3. State your feelings and thoughts clearly and without blame - use "I" statements.

4. Use strictly feeling statements when talking to or about another person at the board.

5. Check out your assumptions, interpretations, and fears.

6. Be thoughtful and generous when you are angry or upset with someone at the board.

7. Make no discriminatory or prejudicial comments.

8. Do not copy and paste someone else's post and include it in your own post.

9. Do not disclose any information at the board that was shared with you privately.

10. Do not post suicide notes or discuss suicide plans at the forum or in the chat room.

11. Do not post or discuss detailed descriptions of self-injury at the board or in the chat room.

12. The person who begins a thread (topic) is the focus of the thread (topic).

13. The person who begins a thread has the right to focus on their own needs and may or 
may not respond to everyone who responds to them.


Conflict in Cyberspace:

Projections and Transference

Disinhibition Effect

Tips for Resolving Conflict Online

Don’t respond right away

Read the post again later

Discuss the situation with someone who knows you


Choose whether or not you want to respond

Assume that people mean well, unless they have a history or pattern of aggression

Clarify what was meant

Think about what you want to accomplish by your communication

Verbalize what you want to accomplish

Use “I” statements when sharing your feelings or thoughts

Use strictly feeling statements

Choose your words carefully and thoughtfully, particularly when you’re upset

Place yourself in the other person’s shoes

Use emoticons to express your tone

Start and end your post with positive, affirming, and validating statements

The Paradox of Online Communication



Other Links that may be of help in posting 


Discussion and Support Board

 

by Kali Munro, M.Ed., Psychotherapist

http://www.kalimunro.com/discussion_guidelines.html 




Introduction

People who come to the support board (and the chat room) are often having a hard time.

When people are having a hard time, they usually feel sensitive, vulnerable, afraid of not being liked, fearful that others will think badly of them, and are afraid of making mistakes. They may say or do things that we don't understand, and be very sensitive to what others say to them. They may be easily triggered.

Given this, it's really important that everyone does their best to be understanding, supportive, patient, and kind with one another, particularly if you are upset or angry with someone at the board. If you are upset or angry with someone at the board, I ask that you carefully and sensitively think through what you want to say, maybe even wait a day or two before posting.

If that doesn't feel possible, please express your anger in the rant and rave section so everyone knows that you just need to get your anger out and it's not meant for anyone in particular.



General guidelines for how to be supportive.

 

Generally what people want when they share their feelings or problems is to be heard, understood, and supported.

This could mean that you post that you heard them, or that you understand how they feel. You could share a similar experience that you've had, or a time that you felt similarly to how they feel.

Sharing ways that you've coped can be helpful, particularly if you use "I" statements, for example, "What I did that helped me is...".

Since we all cope differently, how you coped with your situation may, or may not work for someone else. It's important to not pressure anyone to do anything.



Board Rules and Guidelines

The following guidelines/rules are meant to help us be a constructive and supportive community. Violations of these rules could result in being banned from the forum. I say could result because some of these rules are guidelines and no one would be banned, for example, for not using "I" statements. :)

 

Most times, I will let someone know when a rule has been broken, explain what the problem is, dialogue with them about it, and ask that they be mindful of the issue. If I think that someone is open to dialogue and making efforts to cooperate, I will do what I can to help them to stay at the board. If you have any questions about this or concerns about someone's behavior at the board or chat room, please feel free to email me. Your email will be kept confidential.

1. Always remember that there are other human beings out there and, like you, they are vulnerable.

 

Sometimes when people are communicating online they forget that real people are receiving their messages - all we see is a computer in front of us. A good rule to follow is to ask yourself whether you would say it to the person's face. Also, ask yourself how you would feel if someone said it to you.

2. Be kind to everyone regardless of whether or not you like them.

 

You don't have to like everyone - that's okay - and you don't have to respond to everyone if you don't want to. If you are feeling irritated with or angry at someone, it might not be a good time to post a response to them. Maybe leave it a day or two to give yourself some time to cool down and get some perspective.

3. State your feelings and thoughts clearly and without blame - use "I" statements.


For example write, "I feel..." instead of "You or they make me feel..."

If you feel uncomfortable with what someone wrote and you feel you need to say something about it, you could write, "I feel uncomfortable with the statement..." You could do this on the board or it might be received better if you wrote it to the person privately off-list.

4. Use strictly feeling statements when talking to or about another person at the board.

 

Feeling statements include saying you felt hurt, sad, scared, angry, happy, guilty, remorseful, etc. In everyday conversations, we describe our feelings differently than this. For example, we say that we felt “attacked”, “threatened”, “unsafe”, or “punched in the stomach”. When the person we’re upset with is not present, or able to read our words, this is an understandable way to express the full depth of our feelings and experience.

Generally though, these statements are not simply feeling statements because they contain within them unexpressed beliefs. For example, you most likely believe that you were attacked by the person, not that it just felt that way. It is best to stick to simple feeling statements when speaking to or about another person at the board, otherwise they will hear you as accusing them of something and feel hurt, angry, or otherwise upset with you, and communication may break down.

5. Check out your assumptions, interpretations, and fears.

 

Often people assume that other people are thinking things (usually negative) about them and they respond with that assumption in mind - often defensively. If you think that someone else is doing or saying something that you feel critical about or uncomfortable with, it can help to check out your assumptions or concerns first, for example you could say, "I heard you say...is that that what you meant?" or "When you said...did you mean...?" or "When you said...I felt..." or "Are you saying that I am...?" or "What did you mean by...?" This way you give the other person the chance to clarify what they meant. They may not have meant what you heard, nor realize that their words could be interpreted in that way.

It may be good feedback for them to hear, and you might find that what you think they're thinking isn't even close to what they're thinking. :) So, check it out first!

6. Be thoughtful and generous when you are angry or upset with someone at the board.

 

Sometimes, you'll want to write whatever you want about yourself uncensored and that's okay. Free-style writing can be very freeing and healing. I encourage you to write freely about yourself.

If you are upset or angry with someone at the board, I ask that you take lots of time to think about how and why you feel what you feel, what your intentions are, what you want to say, and how to say it with kindness and sensitivity. Remember, the other person cannot see you, nor know your positive intentions unless you state them. Everyone is vulnerable here and deserves to be treated with kindness and care even if you are angry at them.

Please read my article, Conflict in Cyberspace: How To Resolve Conflict Online, for tips on writing posts when you're angry and/or triggered.

If you feel unable to express yourself in this manner, please write your post in the rant and rave section so everyone will know that is where you are at.

If you are angry toward a group of people who may be represented at the board, please be thoughtful about what you say as well. Making assumptions and generalizations about other people on the basis of shared characteristics is not fair nor received kindly.

7. Make no discriminatory or prejudicial comments.

 

We are all raised in a world that is sexist, racist, homophobic, ablest, lookist, ageist, classiest and the like. We internalize stereotypes about different groups of people without even realizing it.

I ask that we all be conscious of these prejudices and not make discriminatory comments about any group of people on the basis of their gender, sexual orientation, race, size, age, class, etc.

8. Do not copy and paste someone else's post and include it in your own post.

Disclaimer--- I don't think this will work with the SOS E-Support List.   The way the group is set up and with different threads it can become very confusing if you don't have something in your post that has reference to what your replying to.  Your post may lose its meaning and intent standing on it's own.

Everyone has the right to edit or delete their posts at the forum. Sometimes, people change their minds about what they want to say, or they no longer want their words public. They need to be able to delete their words. If anyone copies their words and posts it in their own post, they are not able to do this. This is why I ask that you not copy and paste someone else's post into your own.

There may be times when you will want to quote small portions of someone else's post in your response to them and that is fine. However, if the other person is not comfortable with it, they may ask you or me to take their words out of your post. We need to respect that choice.

9. Do not disclose any information at the board that was shared with you privately.

 

Please respect other people's confidentiality whether the information was shared with you via private messages, emails, instant messaging, phone calls, or any other way.

10. Do not post suicide notes or discuss suicide plans at the forum or in the chat room.

 

If you are in immediate danger, do not post at the forum or enter the chat room, instead call for help - you can call "911" in Canada and the US.

If you are feeling suicidal, have not implemented a suicide plan, and are reaching out for support, that is a good thing to do. Please remember, however, that at the board, responses will not come immediately; you may not get a response for hours or even days. If that is not soon enough for you, please seek other support.

There are no trained peer or professional helpers in the chat room. If you are seriously considering suicide, please realize that you need professional help, and that other people in the chat room are having a hard time too. You can find a suicide crisis line in your area in the front of the phone book, or you can find one here: Suicide Crisis Centre - When No Hope Is In Sight. Please respect this rule - it's for everyone's safety.

If you are in the chat room, and someone begins to discuss suicide plans, please remind them that discussion of suicide plans is not permitted in the chat room, and that they should seek professional help.

11. Do not post or discuss detailed descriptions of self-injury at the board or in the chat room.


If you are feeling like hurting yourself, and are reaching out for support, that is a good thing to do, and you are encouraged to do that. If you would like to talk about your self-injurious behavior(s) to reduce your feelings of secrecy and shame, receive other people's understanding and support, or share strategies for not hurting yourself, that is a good use of our support forum and I encourage you to do that.

12. The person who begins a thread (topic) is the focus of the thread (topic).

 

When people begin a thread, they want to be heard, understood, and supported. They may even ask for something specific. When responding in a thread, it is generally a good idea to keep your response focused on that person. Try not to make the discussion about you.

Sometimes, people share of themselves when responding to someone else and that's fine, but please keep in mind that the focus of the thread is on the person who began the thread.

Sometimes threads become discussions and are not focused on supporting one person. The theme-based discussion forum is a good place to have these discussions. Sometimes, discussions will begin in other forums and that's okay. When this happens, it's a good idea to check in with the person who started the thread to see that they are okay with it so they don't feel like their thread has been taken away from them.

13. The person who begins a thread has the right to focus on their own needs and may or may not respond to everyone who responds to them.

 

People have different needs, and those needs may be different at different times and with different subjects. Sometimes people post a topic to sort something out for themselves, to understand themselves better, or to understand an issue better. Sometimes they want to ask other people some questions and simply read the answers. Some people like to think out loud, receive feedback, continue to think out loud, and so on. Others like to say how they feel and receive support and validation for their feelings. The important thing to remember is that the person who starts the thread can do what they want with their thread, and this means that they may or may not respond to you. This is not a personal rejection of you or your contributions - in fact they may have heard and even assimilated your thoughts - it is a reflection of different needs and ways of processing.

If it starts to feel personal to you when someone doesn't comment on your response, you might want to check it out with the person (see guideline #5) by asking about it.


I hope you have a positive experience at the Support Board and in the chat room. If you have any suggestions for what could make it better for you, please email me. I want to know.

Take care, Kali

Thank you  Kali Munro, M.Ed., Psychotherapist for letting us use your web page.  

http://www.kalimunro.com/discussion_guidelines.html 

 


 


Conflict in Cyberspace:

How to Resolve Conflict Online

by Kali Munro, M.Ed., Psychotherapist, 2002.

http://www.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/conflict.html 

Have you ever noticed how conflict can get blown out of proportion online? What may begin as a small difference of opinion, or misunderstanding, becomes a major issue very quickly. Conflict can be difficult at the best of times, but what is it about online communication that seems to ignite “flaming” and make conflicts more difficult to resolve?

There are a number of reasons to explain why conflict may be heightened online. One is the absence of visual and auditory cues. When we talk to someone in person, we see their facial expressions, their body language, and hear their tone of voice. Someone can say the exact same thing in a number of different ways, and that usually effects how we respond.

For example, someone could shout and shake their finger at you, or they could speak gently and with kindness. They could stand up and tower over you, or they could sit down beside you. How you feel, interpret, and respond to someone’s message often depends on how they speak to you, even when it’s a difficult message to hear.

In online communications, we have no visual or auditory cues to help us to decipher the intent, meaning, and tone of the messenger. All we have are the words on a computer screen, and how we hear those words in our head. While people who know each other have a better chance at accurately understanding each others’ meaning and intentions, even they can have arguments online that they would not have in-person.



Projections and Transference

While many people are convinced that how they read an email is the only way it can be read, the truth is, how we read a text, or view a work of art, often says more about ourselves than it does about the message or the messenger.

All of our communications, online and in real-time, are filled with projections. We perceive the world through our expectations, needs, desires, fantasies, and feelings, and we project those onto other people. For example, if we expect people to be critical of us, we perceive other people’s communication as being critical - it sounds critical to us even though it may not be. We do the same thing online; in fact we are more likely to project when we are online precisely because we don’t have the visual or auditory cues to guide us in our interpretations. How we “hear” an email or post is how we hear it in our own heads, which may or may not reflect the tone or attitude of the sender.

We usually can’t know from an email or post alone whether someone is shouting, using a criticizing tone, or speaking kindly. Unless the tone is clearly and carefully communicated by the messenger, and/or we are very skilled at understanding text and human communication, we most likely hear the voice we hear, or create in our head and react to that. This is one of the reasons why controversial or potentially conflictual issues are best dealt with by using great care and explicit expressions of our tone, meaning, and intent.

Where do projections come from? They come from our life experiences - how we’ve been treated, how important figures in our lives have behaved, how we felt growing up, how we responded and coped, etc. All of us project or transfer our feelings and views of important figures in our lives onto other people.

To take a look at your own projections or transference with people online, think back to the last time you felt angry at someone online. What was it about them or their email that made you so angry? What did you believe that they were doing to you or someone else? How did you react internally and externally? Was your reaction to this person (whether spoken or not) influenced by someone or something from your past? While it certainly happens that people are treated with disrespect and anger online, if there are any parallels between this experience and any of your past experiences, it’s likely that how you felt and responded was colored by your past. When our past is involved, particularly when we are unaware of it happening, we invariably project and transfer old feelings onto the present situation.



Disinhibition Effect

Conflict can be heightened online by what is known as the “disinhibition effect”, a phenomenon that psychologist, Dr. John Suler, has written extensively about. Suler (2002) writes,

 

“It's well known that people say and do things in cyberspace that they wouldn't ordinarily say or do in the face-to-face world. They loosen up, feel more uninhibited, express themselves more openly. Researchers call this the "disinhibition effect." It's a double-edged sword. Sometimes people share very personal things about themselves. They reveal secret emotions, fears, wishes. Or they show unusual acts of kindness and generosity. On the other hand, the disinhibition effect may not be so benign. Out spills rude language and harsh criticisms, anger, hatred, even threats.” (Suler, 2002)

 

Suler (2002) explains that the disinihibition effect is caused by or heightened by the following features of online communication:

a) anonymity - no one knows who you are on the net, and so you are free to say whatever you want without anyone knowing it’s you who said it.

b) invisibility - you don't have to worry about how you physically look or sound to other people when you say something. You don't have to worry about how others look or sound when you say something to them. “Seeing a frown, a shaking head, a sigh, a bored expression, and many other subtle and not so subtle signs of disapproval or indifference can slam the breaks on what people are willing to express.” (Suler, 2002)

c) delayed reactions - you can say anything you think and feel without censorship at any time, including in the middle of the night when you’re most tired and upset, leave immediately without waiting for a response, and possibly never return - in the extreme this can feel to someone like an emotional “hit and run”.

d) the perception that the interaction is happening in your head - with the absence of visual and auditory cues you may feel as though the interaction is occurring in your head. Everyone thinks all kinds of things about other people in their minds that they would never say to someone’s face - online, you can say things you’d otherwise only think.

e) neutralizing of status - in face-to-face interactions, you may be intimidated to say something to someone because of their job, authority, gender, or race. Because this is not visible to you online, you feel freer to say what ever you want to anyone.

f) your own personality style may be heightened online - for example, if your communication style tends to be reactive or angry, you may be more reactive or angry online.


Tips for Resolving Conflict Online

What can be done to prevent unnecessary conflict in cyberspace? The following are tips for handling conflict online with respect, sensitivity, and care:


Don’t respond right away

When you feel hurt or angry about an email or

 post, it’s best not to respond right away. You may want to write a response immediately, to get it off your chest, but don't hit send! Suler recommends waiting 24 hours before responding - sleep on it and then reread and rewrite your response the next day.


Read the post again later

Sometimes, your first reaction to a post is a lot about how you're feeling at the time. Reading it later, and sometimes a few times, can bring a new perspective. You might even experiment by reading it with different tones (matter-of-fact, gentle, non-critical) to see if it could have been written with a different tone in mind than the one you initially heard.


Discuss the situation with someone who knows you

Ask them what they think about the post and the response you plan to send. Having input from others who are hopefully more objective can help you to step back from the situation and look at it differently. Suler recommends getting out of the medium in which the conflict occurred - in this case talking to someone in person - to gain a better perspective.


Choose whether or not you want to respond

You do have a choice, and you don’t have to respond. You may be too upset to respond in the way that you would like, or it may not be worthy of a response. If the post is accusatory or inflammatory and the person’s style tends to be aggressive or bullying, the best strategy is to ignore them.


Assume that people mean well, unless they have a history or pattern of aggression

Everyone has their bad days, gets triggered, reacts insensitively, and writes an email without thinking it through completely. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have good intentions.

On the other hand, some people pick fights no matter how kind and patient you are with them. They distort what you say, quote you out of context, and make all sorts of accusations all to vilify and antagonize you. Don't take the "bait" by engaging in a struggle with them - they'll never stop. Sometimes, the best strategy is to have nothing more to do with someone.


Clarify what was meant

We all misinterpret what we hear and read, particularly when we feel hurt or upset. It’s a good idea to check out that you understood them correctly. For example, you could ask, “When you said...did you mean...or, what did you mean by...?” Or, “when you said...I heard...is that what you meant?” Often times, what we think someone said is not even close to what they meant to say. Give them the benefit of the doubt and the chance to be clear about what they meant.


Think about what you want to accomplish by your communication

Are you trying to connect with this person? Are you trying to understand them and be understood? What is the message you hope to convey? What is the tone you want to communicate? Consider how you can convey that.


Verbalize what you want to accomplish

Here are some examples, “I want to understand what you’re saying.” “I feel hurt by some stuff that you said. I want to talk about it in a way that we both feel heard and understood.” “I want to find a way to work this out. I know we don’t agree about everything and that’s okay. I’d like to talk with you about how I felt reading your post.” “I hope we can talk this through because I really like you. I don’t want to be argumentative or blaming.”



Use “I” statements when sharing your feelings or thoughts

For example, “I feel...” versus “You made me feel...”


Use strictly feeling statements

Feeling statements include saying you felt hurt, sad, scared, angry, happy, guilty, remorseful, etc. In everyday conversations, we describe our feelings differently than this. For example, we say that we felt “attacked”, “threatened”, “unsafe”, or “punched in the stomach”. When the person we’re upset with is not present, or able to read our words, this is an understandable way to express the full depth of our feelings and experience. Generally though, these statements are not simply feeling statements because they contain within them unexpressed beliefs. For example, you believe that you were attacked by the person, not that it just felt that way. If you want to communicate with the person involved (or they can read your words), it is best to stick to simple feeling statements otherwise they will hear you as accusing them of attacking them and be angry or upset with you. Some people get confused why other people get upset with them when they think they are only expressing their feelings; usually in these cases there were unstated beliefs expressed which the person reacted to.


Choose your words carefully and thoughtfully, particularly when you’re upset

Do your best to keep in mind that the person will read your post alone. You are not physically or virtually present with them to clarify what you meant, and they can’t see the kindness in your eyes. They must rely entirely on your words to interpret your meaning, intent, and tone. This is why it’s important to choose your words carefully and thoughtfully. You can still be real and honest while being selective.


Place yourself in the other person’s shoes

How might they hear your message? To avoid unnecessary conflict or a lot of hurt feelings, it helps to take into account who you’re writing to. One person might be able to hear you say it exactly how you think it, and another person would be threatened by that style of communication. Think about the other person when writing your email or post. Do your best to communicate in a way that is respectful, sensitive, and clear to them. People often say, to do that feels like they’re being controlled and why shouldn’t they just write it the way they want to. Of course you can write it any way you want, especially online, but if you want to communicate with this person and have them hear and understand what you’re saying, it helps to think about how they will hear it.


Use emoticons to express your tone

In online communication, visual and auditory cues are replaced by emoticons, for example, smiles, winks, and laughter. It helps to use emoticons to convey your tone. Additionally, if you like the person, tell them! Having a conflict or misunderstanding doesn’t mean you don’t like the person any more, but people often forget that reality, or don’t think to say it. It may be most needed during a tense interaction.


Start and end your post with positive, affirming, and validating statements

Say what you agree with, what you understand about how they feel, and any other positive statements at the beginning of your email. This helps set a positive tone. End on a positive note as well.


The Paradox of Online Communication

Handling conflict constructively is hard at the best times, and it can be even harder online. It can take a great deal of effort, care, and thoughtfulness to address differences, tensions, and conflicts online. Paradoxically, some of the same things that contribute to heightened conflict online can contribute to peaceful resolutions as well. The internet is an ideal place to practice communication and conflict resolution skills. Just as the absence of visual and auditory cues, the anonymity, invisibility, delayed reactions, and neutralizing of status free us to say what ever negative thing we want, they can also free us to try new, and more positive communication styles and to take all the time we need to do that. As with any new technology, the internet can be used to enhance our personal growth and relationships, or to alienate us from each other. It’s our choice.



References:
Suler, J. (2002). The Online Disinhibition Effect. In The Psychology of Cyberspace (orig. pub. 1996), www.rider.edu/users/suler/psycyber/disinhibit.html (article orig. pub. 1996)

Thank you to Dr. John Suler for his valuable feedback on May 21, 2002.

Kali Munro, © 2002
All rights reserved.


Kali Munro, M.Ed., Psychotherapist       416 929-4612
email@KaliMunro.com         www.KaliMunro.com

Thank you  Kali Munro, M.Ed., Psychotherapist for letting us use your web page.  

http://www.rider.edu/~suler/psycyber/conflict.html 


Other Links that may be of help in posting 


http://www.albion.com/netiquette/corerules.html 


http://www.albion.com/netiquette/book/0963702513p71.html 


http://www.onlinenetiquette.com/courtesy1.html 


http://www.geocities.com/SouthBeach/Breakers/5257/Chatet.htm 


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