Just wondering what people's opinions are of this forum, what are the pro's and con's of being associated with it.
I joined this forum for the first time under a completely different name, madmerlin33, years and years and years ago...so many that when I took a break from the place, I forgot my password.
Back when I first joined, the forum had an AAG section, almost anything goes. The other places in the forum were pretty much the same, but the AAG took the heat. It was where the rules were not forgotten, but slackened up a bit? I suppose it was sort of an outlet for the more aggressive posters, the one's who liked to poke a little at various religions or philosophies, and it was expected.
Back then, I took a break from the place. People regularly got bent out of shape, and it seemed to me like nobody wanted to give anyone else the benefit of the doubt, and nobody was teaching or learning but rather ranting in a very disorderly fashion.
It was several years of a break for me. One thing and then another, lots of tough breaks in life, a distinct lack of technological access with ease, that added up to years. I came back and wondered what I would find. Would Democratus AChE still be railing, would Dave still be the semi sane voice of reason, would Cool still be up in arms? Remember, there were years in between there, and I am not certain about the facts of anyone's post content, sorry. But the long and short is I get back and there is NO AAG section. That was kind of a shocker, but not totally unexpected really. Like I said, that place was becoming bad.
But the rest of the forum? When I first rejoined a while back, it seemed like anyone complained about the slightest perceived insult and it was answered quickly. There was some sharing of ideas, but it was guarded, you know? That kind of posting that seemed to me to be holding back for fear of hurting someone's feelings and getting warned or suspended as a result...kind of uneasy. That was my impression at the time. Through the time that has passed, things have evolved, or devolved...I don't know which really. It seems like ideas can be shared easier, with less fear of being reported...but on the other hand there are a lot more attacks too. Reminiscent of the AAG section, but not quite that far gone(although to be honest Gnostic Bishop was coming very close).
But then I see a post from LeopardBoy about thinking about leaving this forum because of the Atheist/Christian tensions...something I can understand. About being afraid to post about his particular beliefs, ideas, or whatever(I have a lousy memory to be honest, at least short term memory, so I am paraphrasing and apologize if I am doing it poorly). I think when I see that post that I can relate, you know? Not completely, I have never been so afraid of an online forum that I wouldn't post for fear of attack...that kind of strikes me as cowardly, personally. But to each their own. But he chooses to pick a topic I want to learn about, talk about hypocritical, and gripe about some misphrasing? And what did he add to the discussion of the human soul? Look it up if you like, he added nothing, all he did was complain that I hurt his feelings, or that he's sick of seeing the typical Atheist/Christian bash and lumping all things in one, or whatever...
It strikes a familiar chord, though. I have been misunderstood a lot on here, both under the name madmerlin33 and cuchulain. I have seen many people be misunderstood, and I HAVE MISUNDERSTOOD others numerous times to the point where I was agitated, and I realized later it wasn't their fault. And then I see Brother Kaman post a comment(or maybe a couple) about the drama being on here and nobody really learning or teaching...
So it got me to thinking about the benefits of being on here. The benefits for me have been numerous, throughout various times. Number one is socializing for me, these days I don't get out as much as I would like. Yep, you lot are my most active social group, feel the sadness.... Number two, education. Both ways, really. I like to distribute what I know to others, or at least what I think I know. I have questioned what I know many times, mostly thanks to mererdog. And that's a good thing, I think. I like to hear others' ideas and opinions, as well. It's a learning experience, that's for sure. Remember Mammonism? That wasn't that long ago...Three, I get to sharpen my mind a little bit with something that's sometimes intellectual and sometimes nothing more than drama, but I get to debate. I am one of those people who in the real non internet world is very non confrontational. Yep, that could be called cowardly I suppose. Mostly I just don't have the energy for a debate in a setting where someone might take offense and physically strike out. Online is one thing, I can understand that posting leaves me completely safe from physical abuse as a result of what I think. Can you imagine me chatting with ULCNeo in real life, and the wonderful ending that might have?(that was sarcasm, btw...something that doesn't always translate well online).
Those are the benefits for me. The cons? When I first came back, the cons weren't that many. It was relatively civil. There was a lot stronger mod presence, I think, though I may be mistaken in the cause. People seemed to try to be respectful of one another, or at the least fake it. Posting wasn't that hard, for me at least. Sure, sometimes mistakes were made. But usually it seemed like once it was pointed out it went away, apologies were made and things went on. Slowly this site degenerated. I think the mod presence lessened, either that or the person who kept complaining stopped, or went away or whatever. But now? The cons are starting to get on my mind. There are people who are entirely to stuck on themselves, it seems to me. They aren't here to learn or to teach, but to spout out their agenda and why they are right...and have someone try to prove them wrong. Or they whine when they get insulted the slightest bit, because that's the worst offense that can happen to a person in life, now isn't it?(again with the sarcasm). It strikes me that some people here have it easy in real life if their biggest complaint is oh the mean atheist made me feel bad , you know? I post a topic about the soul, and I can appreciate a lot of the responses. I was looking for opinion on the subject, because I don't think there is much in the way of hard evidence. In one of my responses, I lumped all religions under one umbrella. I get it, it wasn't right. It's stereotyping, which I try to avoid but obviously fail at often. As I said, I have a lousy memory, lousy enough that I sometimes forget to turn into my own driveway when I am going home. Sorry, it's just who I am, one of my failings.
Or maybe there are the hypocrites, the ones who will argue a point on and on in a semi hostile manner, flat out declaring the other person wrong and being blatantly disrespectful of the other persons views while promoting their own, or those who ask about ministerial alliance issues and then whine when they get a response from someone they don't like, but have no problem responding to other people's topics in a negative manner...there are those who insist other people's religions are bad, horrible things, and I used to be one of those. I'd like to think I have gotten better, but I don't know if I have or not. All a person can do is try to be better, eh? The personal vendetta's, those play out a lot. One person really just doesn't like another, or just can't stand their message, or whatever...so every post that person makes basically gets attacked in the form of harassment until that person goes away, quits posting, or gets angry and says something stupid in the heat of the moment and gets suspended when reported. People that just flat out call each other fool, stupid, whatever...then backpedal and swear they didn't really call someone a fool, just their holy book did. Excuses, in the end. People who like to start on one point, then shift. It's a dance for some, from one position to another, as if by switching their position they can honestly say they weren't wrong and win some kind of freaking door prize, you know? "and the award for never having been pegged down as wrong goes to..."...ugh. I guess you can tell what I view as the cons.
I really look at this place today, at the drama and lack of understanding or learning on a lot of ends, including my own...and I am reminded of the AAG. I am happy in a way to have a place to share ideas, to share opinions, and to socialize. But I wonder often just as I did when I was madmerlin33, is it worth it?
So I ask...what makes it worthwhile for others here, and what really makes you want to leave? And I apologize for the long winded post as well