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Thread: Howl/Were site planning (posts split from Werewhatever thread)

  1. #1
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    Default Howl/Were site planning (posts split from Werewhatever thread)

    "I can't narrow down Werelist's focus to 'weres only' and still fulfill Coyote's original vision of being a greater community hub. The intent is to serve all of the animal identified community, as it exists now. Not just a narrowly focused part of the community, and not just the community as it existed ten years ago. We exist to serve animal identified people of the demographic that we actually have in the here and now. That definitely includes 'weres' but is not limited to 'weres'. "
    I don't think anyone has suggested limiting participation to "weres only."

    As for my "original vision," it was that Werelist should focus more on creating community connections than in being a community all to itself. Having said that, it was supposed to provide a safe and sane environment where the largest number of people could feel comfortable discussing as wide a range of topics as possible.

    Please make no mistake though - it's original purpose was supposed to be to provide a haven, information clearing house, and communications hub _primarily_ for people who had certain shared experiences, while still welcoming everyone else. The intention was never for it to be closed to people who didn't fit one particular mold, but its original intent was to provide a space for people who considered themselves to be in some way partly a non-human animal, in mindset, spirit, outlook, or whatever you want to call it.

    It was never important to me whether someone wanted to interpret this experience through the lense of science, or spirituality. Some people who had extremely similar experiences to me felt it was because they had past lives as that animal. Some thought that they were an animal spirit who was born into a human body for whatever reason. Some thought that it was because they had an unusual neurology either through genetics or early development, that made them _feel_ like they were an animal, or led them to interpret a human experience through the idea of being an animal. And a zillion other things.

    A lot of the core people with whom I felt I had a shared experience, tended to have a few things in common: Altered mental states, where they'd no longer think or react as a regular person would expect to - which they interpreted or believed were a shift into the mindset of a nonhuman animal. Strong feelings of kinship, or identity as an animal or animals. A disconnect or difficulty understanding things that seemed "normal" behavior in other humans, from a young age. And yes, there are quite a few of us with shovel-shaped teeth, and that's a trait that may come from neanderthal genes (which they have found are yes, indeedy, still present in many modern humans).

    And when we meet in person, there's a certain "vibe" that we tend to feel around one another. I don't think it's necessarily psychic or anything. Its that when we let our hair down around one another, and feel like we can relax and not go through all the motions of speaking "human" like it's a second language, we notice it. I don't know why that is.

    Now, not _all_ the people I feel in my gut that sense of kinship with share all these traits, nor do they manifest always the same way. But there's definitely a point where it seems like "these kinds of folks are like one another," and "these others, delightful though they are, are something different."

    Maybe we're fellow spirits. Maybe we're regular old humans with an unusual neurology. Maybe it's something mildly along the autistic spectrum. Who knows? I know there's something I can observe, which is a shared observation by others.

    We can debate why we're different, or what it means, or where it came from all we like.

    That doesn't mean there aren't shared experiences, that can be shared experiences regardless of our interpretation. It doesn't mean they're less valid.

    We'll often have extremely powerful emotions attached to our personal experiences, as well as our ideas of community. That's why I always tried (and sometimes failed) to promote the idea of courtesy. Courtesy does not mean agreeing with the other person, or accepting their beliefs. It doesn't mean _validating_ everyone's beliefs. To begin with, that's their job, not yours.

    It means tolerating different ideas, and being courteous and fair with other people, even if you think they're full of shit.

    Repeatedly disagreeing with someone does not denote a lack of courtesy.

    I will be honest - I haven't read every post on the Werelist where WVZ has been involved, but this thread was pointed out to me as an example of why he should be booted, and how difficult he's being.

    I see someone speaking their mind, being barely snarky (and come on, nobody can avoid snark all the time - I certainly can't), and having people put words in their mouth to make it look like they're a bigoted, zealous speciesist of some kind.

    As for making Werelist "like Coyote's original vision," let's be real here folks - I did things the way I did because I was trying to do the right thing, to help people, and to provide a service. But I'm just as much a fool as anyone else when I work at it. I certainly hope nobody's trying to do things a certain way because I said so - I'm hoping they do things the way they think is right _regardless_ of what I would do. I'm presuming that's the idea. I asked the people (plural) to take over after me not necessarily because they always agreed with me, but because I felt they were people willing to make tough decisions with a mind to doing right by others. That means I was comfortable with them doing things differently than I would.

    But for what it's worth - if this is an example of why WVZ should be the bad guy? It's a pretty lousy example.

    Believe it or not, during my 10+ year run as admin, I banned maybe 20 people. In each case, it was because they were a total crazy who claimed they could p-shift and had magic powers, they were completely rude and inflammatory, they were caustic and immature and cussed people out, or they went completely overboard with religious proselytization in a way that was disrespectful to everyone. About half the people that got banned actually got banned for not following the "purple dinosaur" rule, then cussing me out when I gently tried to guide them toward how they could follow it.

    It looks to me like some folks don't like what WVZ says or holds as his opinion, and they're offended by the positions he holds. I see people mocking his position, stretching his words to make them sound worse, and accusing him of saying things I know he didn't actually say.

    Now, as long as he's not being a deliberate jerk, deliberately trying to make a hostile environment, or breaking the rules, I'd say tough titties if you disagree. He probably disagrees with you. I disagree with _him_ on several points.

    The goal of courtesy is not to never offend. It is to try not to be offensive. If someone else chooses to be offended, or is incapable of not being offended unless someone agrees with them, that's not the fault of the one they're offended _by_.

    And sometimes, people are going to get grouchy, or emotional, or cantankerous. Sometimes they'll even get pissed off and light into someone, when if they'd stopped to calm down, they'd have behaved better.

    And I'm really still amazed at this whole were versus therian terminology thing. Boy, was coming up with _that_ word obviously a mistake. Originally, when a bunch of us came up with it, it was so we'd have a word we could use that was general, proper, and without a lot of extra baggage _primarly for using with outsiders to the community or new members_. It was never intended to draw a line between "true weres" and "other kinds of folks that just think they're weres," or indicate whose experience was more valid.

    I use labels and words to hang meaning on, just like I use a hat to cover my head. They're meant to be used to facilitate communication. We shouldn't be assigning meaning to experiences based on words - we should use the words as labels intended to communicate meaning. I fear we often try to use the map as the territory, instead of merely representing the territory.

    One thing I can tell you: The reason I stopped being the admin of the werelist is that I did not have the personal resources and werewithal to do a good job. I'd been doing it for years, and eventually found myself with limited mental faculties, and a need to work a difficult job with half the brains I used to have. I couldn't support myself or my family and devote the resources werelist needed. And, frankly, I was a bit burnt out.

    But the reason I haven't really come back to werelist as a participant is for pretty much the same reason most of the therians/weres/whatever I keep in contact with offline do not. It's because A: I've seen the same conversations ten thousand times, and B: I feel like there are far more people here who do _not_ have a similar experience to me, and _can't_ understand the experiences I have. In short, new folks, with whom I have little in common, are using this space now, and I just don't belong here or feel like I fit in, or like I'm comfortable.

    I'm not sure that's either a bad thing, or a good thing. Maybe it just is. Maybe it's just gotten easy to walk away from a community when it no longer resembles home.

    Maybe we _do_ need some resource external to here, that's intended for a specific subset of the community. Creating that without being isolationist or finicky, or making people feel like they have to pass some sort of test seems like it would be problematic, and I'm not sure it's worth it. Maybe it is. If we did create such a thing, I know that Werelist would probably act as it always has - if we make something good, that's not toxic and crazy, and that helps people, they'll direct people there that they think will fit in and get something out of it.

    Regardless - this post for novelty purposes only. I'm not an admin here. I'm not the one in the trenches, making tough decisions, juggling different people's needs, and dealing with people's he-said-she-said nonsense. It's up to the people who _are_ doing all that to decide the best way to handle things. Their decision will make some people happy, and make other people all pissed off, and ultimately their reward unfortunately may not come in the form of appreciation by others, but by their own self knowledge that they did the best they could.

    Good luck, y'all.

    If anyone does have any ideas of how to do something constructive, let me know. I may or may not have time to devote technical skill, but I'll happily offer advice, time, and whatever help I do have to offer.

    Some final notes:

    Telling someone that they think they're different and distinct from whatever you are does _not_ mean they're saying they are better, or that what you are isn't valid. It just gets very frustrating when ten thousand people with little in common describe themselves using the word you've always used to describe yourself.

    Trust me: I'm NOT like most of you. I don't think the way you think. I don't find the same things important. I don't _understand_ certain things that are second nature to you. My experiences and personal identity do not resemble most of you. Before I met other weres/therians/whatever the hell we are now, I thought for years that I was some kind of fluke or mutant and that _nobody was like me_.

    It was very comforting when I discovered that I _wasn't_ completely alone. There were others with the same sorts of feelings, difference, or experiences or similar enough, that I could actually feel a sense of belonging, have a shared experience, with people who "got it" on a visceral level, even if our interpretations sometimes differed. There _are_ other people like me. Just most of you aren't. That doesn't mean I don't like you or you aren't special. It just means you aren't whatever it is that I am. If I thought making up some new word for "the kind of therian I am" would do any good, and wouldn't devolve into inane rants about people being discriminatory, or trying to be better than anyone else, I'd suggest that.

    By the way - one of the things that makes me suspect that someone _isn't_ whatever I am, is when they get mad at me for telling them that there's a word for people like me, and it's not the same as the word for people like them. You see - I really don't give two shits what word we pick, as long as we agree on whatever and whoever it means, and people _don't_ get their panties all in a twist about it. You can call me Shirley - I really don't care.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Savage View Post
    3. A leadership assistance team who can work with WVZ and help make it happen.
    I can fully commit to this and would love to help WVZ with this, I believe Soma would as well, we had a very nice long talk about some of all this around the campfire at this years SE Howl, I think the new forum for Weres or if nothing else for those that have been around for years and need a new home is perfect.
    ~~Our power can be replicated, but not our beginings~~

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashen View Post
    I can fully commit to this and would love to help WVZ with this, I believe Soma would as well, we had a very nice long talk about some of all this around the campfire at this years SE Howl, I think the new forum for Weres or if nothing else for those that have been around for years and need a new home is perfect.
    Dev thread over here: http://www.werelist.net/forums/showthread.php?t=31383

    And, don't feel it has to be anything like what I'm envisioning - the whole point is that we help get the resources together to raise the barn, but what you do with the barn is not going to be in our hands after it is built.

    Also note that while I am happy to help with the basic building as much as I can, I will be very carefully and respectfully **staying the fuck out** of anything to do with its administration and running, specifically because it would be counterproductive for other sites intended to serve different parts of the community to have the same culture or administration style as Werelist.

    And, I may not be around much for a week or so due to a family emergency. But I trust folks to come up with some great things that I'll be doing my best to keep up with from where I'm at.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by WolfVanZandt View Post
    There are obviously serious personality conflicts between me and a considerable number of people here so that I can't open my yap without half a dozen members mobbing me. It gets really old. And I really think Savage should have banned me. I most certainly don't belong here.
    I personally don't think that you're a bad person. I think the problem with what others have had in the past is not necessarily about the subject matter you post about, but rather how things are worded. Of course I'm not speaking for any other person, this is just from my own observation of some of the posts/threads, etc that I've seen. I do think you have a lot to give to the community so it would be shame to see you leave. I think it's pretty clear now that you're not going to get banned so I hope you continue to post things in the Howls for real life meet ups and other things.

  5. #5

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    But please, PLEASE, try to be careful when you post on discussion threads here, if you choose to do so at all in the future. Which I'm going to suggest you not, since you will be busy with your own nice shiny new forum that we will help build for you.
    Keep in mind that Ashen wanted this deal, so she's the primary, not me.....which is the right way to go since I'm so doggone technologically backward. I'll be available for whatever you need from me.

    I think it's pretty clear now that you're not going to get banned so I hope you continue to post things in the Howls for real life meet ups and other things.
    I intend to continue to support any real life Were activity that I can. My age is beginning to cut down on what travel I choose to do but I still do as much as I can. And 7 years from now, I will need someone to really, really, really want to take over the SEHowl because my last day at work (before I retire) will possibly be my last day in the Southeast. But even if I stay in the Southeast (I have options) - heck folks, I'm getting old and I'm going to want to shift to a more sedate lifestyle sometime in the future.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by WolfVanZandt View Post
    Keep in mind that Ashen wanted this deal, so she's the primary, not me.....which is the right way to go since I'm so doggone technologically backward. I'll be available for whatever you need from me.
    But you can help guide the site's content and philosophy to be congruent with the vision you have stated about a welcoming home for the segment of the Were community that can not get its needs met here, yes?



    I intend to continue to support any real life Were activity that I can. My age is beginning to cut down on what travel I choose to do but I still do as much as I can. And 7 years from now, I will need someone to really, really, really want to take over the SEHowl because my last day at work (before I retire) will possibly be my last day in the Southeast. But even if I stay in the Southeast (I have options) - heck folks, I'm getting old and I'm going to want to shift to a more sedate lifestyle sometime in the future.
    That would be one of the goals of creating and maintaining this site - to keep the discussions and friendships going that started in real life, and to have a transparently accessible management interface so more people can learn how to run the structures that work when us old farts can't do it any more.

    S'what I'm doing here. The cold hard fact is that we're all going have to retire, cope with diminished capacity, or take the long dirt nap sooner or later. I hope it's later for all of us, but life happens and you never can tell. Continuity of support in the community should never be too dependent on any one person for that reason.

    But it can end up that way if you don't actively recruit and show people how it's done so they can pick up the torch behind you. The Internet is a goddamn good repository for this, and well worth taking advantage of for your purposes.

  7. #7

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    But you can help guide the site's content and philosophy to be congruent with the vision you have stated about a welcoming home for the segment of the Were community that can not get its needs met here, yes?
    I can be an active worker on par with everyone else on the project. For me to be "making the site in my own image" would be a mistake. The Werelist was originally for Weres, by Weres, to Weres. We don't need a site according to my vision (My vision is simply for the establishment of the Were community as a real world community valued by the world for its own sake.)

    A major distinctive of the Weres I associate with is that they are chaotic, disorganised but with a common directiveness. Once they focus on an issue, they just get together and get it done. It's synchrony and if we're working according to my vision then it could never be my vision. As paradoxical as that may sound, as soon as it starts being my vision, it stops being the Were community's vision and it's no longer my vision.

    And the site needs to be an extension of the offline community (not a community in itself) - a cyberimage of the Weres that live and interact in real life as a (pardon the hyperboly) Were Nation, so that when Isolated Weres come onto the site, they become part of the offline reality.

    That's not my vision but the communal vision of the Weres that have been expressing a desire for such a site.

    Continuity of support in the community should never be too dependent on any one person for that reason.
    And that's, of course, why the focus must be squarely on the community. If it's the community that's the prime objective - to build a strong and established society of Weres in the world - then long after the individual has died, the community will continue.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by WolfVanZandt View Post
    And the site needs to be an extension of the offline community (not a community in itself) - a cyberimage of the Weres that live and interact in real life as a (pardon the hyperboly) Were Nation, so that when Isolated Weres come onto the site, they become part of the offline reality.

    That's not my vision but the communal vision of the Weres that have been expressing a desire for such a site.

    And that's, of course, why the focus must be squarely on the community. If it's the community that's the prime objective - to build a strong and established society of Weres in the world - then long after the individual has died, the community will continue.
    Exactly... my desktop is littered with notes I'm collecting.. I feel good about this.
    ~~Our power can be replicated, but not our beginings~~

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by WolfVanZandt View Post
    That's not my vision but the communal vision of the Weres that have been expressing a desire for such a site.
    All that matters is that you can clearly see and identify that need in a large enough subset of the community, and that you are willing to work to make it happen.

    Ego and making it about individual people and their personalities is probably the single most counterproductive force we could bring on board. We can make the conscious choice not to put any of that stuff on our table. We can choose to 'give away' all of those petty personal things as our willing gift to the community, and transform that kind of negative energy into something a lot more positive that has a chance to be a lasting force for good.

    No egos, no 'me, me' stuff. That crap just gets in the way. The idea is to clearly identify actual unmet needs in the community, then put your shoulder to the wheel where it will do the most good and where you can exert the most leverage.

    Where can you be the best leverage?

  10. #10

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    Aye, and I think we're one huge step closer to Heart's Desire.

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