It doesn’t seem that long ago that the OCC was an offshoot of the Level 20 forum. We started as a group of individuals who enjoyed spending online time with each other and having meaningful, intelligent, well thought out conversations (with punctuation.) We survived the switch to our own thread, where we grew in numbers, adding people like @crofteria and @FLYbarger, and much like The Borg, we have added their distinction to our own. We then survived the movement between servers which, by all counts, should have pretty much destroyed our little community here. And yet, we have thrived and as of recent months seen a great explosion in active participation. We, the signed OCC Counsel, are exceptionally proud of the conversations that take place here on a day to day basis. We war with ideas, we challenge thoughts, and we grow to understand differing viewpoints and perspectives. This is, without hyperbole, the best community on the internet. As such, we need to be pro-active to address issues when they arise.
We are all human beings, and as such the opinions that we hold and the way we talk about them are sometimes…messy. Our passions, our politics, and our convictions can create friction and it can become easy to step on each other’s metaphorical toes. We need to understand that the opinions that are expressed won’t always be popular and sometimes be controversial and even offensive. We’re not going to agree on everything, and honestly, we’re not always going to respect the opinions each other have. But I implore you to respect the person themselves. No one should be made to feel unwelcome, unwanted, or like they shouldn’t post in the community.
That being said, I’d like to ask members of the OCC to think about this. While I’m not going to expand our list of things we need to adhere to, I’d like this to be a consideration that we all voluntarily take each time we post.
- Think about your delivery. Opinions will differ, however conflict can be avoided by considering the way opinions are presented. Being mindful of how you state your position shows people you disagree with that you value them and care enough to phrase your position considering them as well.
- Consider letting some things go. Sometimes things can’t help but be controversial. If you know something you hold to really bothers another person, consider if the cost for discussing your position outweighs the reward from having other people read it. This does NOT mean don’t be controversial or state that you hold an opinion that differs from others, but rather weigh the cost. Sometimes it’s not worth it.
- Remember we are a Community of people, not a Chess Board. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t like a little fight now and then; but not every conversation has to be something that causes conflict. Choose wisely when to have those interactions, taking into consideration that there are always other things to talk about.
- If you have a problem, ask a Consular. There may be times when someone has written something inappropriate. We have discussed this, and while we completely respect the right to go to the person that offended you, we ask that you reach out and talk to a Consular before you do. First, we know how uncomfortable conflict can be, but we also want to be able to provide perspective to an issue. If someone is posting things on the form that shouldn’t be posted, or is being inappropriate, please let us help. We can help mediate any issues privately and respectfully. The last thing we want is embarrassment and hurt feelings.
At the end of the day, we want everyone to feel comfortable posting. We have struggled how precisely to deal with this, and honestly, we may not be getting it right still; but we are doing what we feel is right by writing this open letter to the group. At the end of the day, we want to strengthen the OCC to make sure it continues to be a fun place to be.
Thanks, you beautiful people;
@priest81; @crofteria; @FLYbarger; @Desayjin