[Policy] Brahma Kumari Info: Code of Ethics - Discussion

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Terry

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Re: [Policy] Brahma Kumari Info: Code of Ethics - Draft

Post30 Mar 2009

If people have better things to do, they should do them. It's a free choice. The work of Admin is admirable, but if it was causing personal distress or other problems, they need to look after themselves. It wouldn't hurt for the forum to go on holiday for a short time? Current members can be easily be notified.

I believe the terms agreed to by participants on the forum give Admin enough power already to deal with difficult situations (they have done so already with certain people). Any member who has an issue with harassment or other problems with another member can always notify Admin. Otherwise we are all over 18 here. Where an issue is a grey area, a vote among members can take place.
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desi_exbk

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Re: [Policy] Brahma Kumari Info: Code of Ethics - Draft

Post31 Mar 2009

I share the sentiments expressed by bkti-pit. This website is very valuable 'as it is' - exposing the charade of Brahma Kumaris. I would hate to see this change into anything other than what it is right now - 'Independent thought about life in & after the so-called 'Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University'.

We all come from not just different cultures, but with different personal backgrounds, which adds richness to some of the discussions. It will be less interesting if there is any restrictions on such diversity.

However, I do see Admin's point about the work involved in maintaining this forum. So, what do we do to address that?
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joel

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Re: [Policy] Brahma Kumari Info: Code of Ethics - Draft

Post31 Mar 2009

I am writing this after some private exchanges with Admin. One of the underlying questions to consider here: Is the forum a source for publishable material, or is it the destination, i.e. the "book" that visitors will consult?

The Classic Posts section of this forum, the xBKchat archives and all of the material at xbkinfo are intended to serve as read-only references.

Several approaches to managing the forums have been suggested:

    • Spread the work of moderating and editing among experienced forum members. That would involve moving off-topic posts to an appropriate thread to help in categorizing material. Difficult, because there are hundreds of thread topics to keep in mind. I've spent an hour looking for a particular thread.

    • Allow the forum to go "weedy" with all kinds of off-topic rambling, personal messages, etc., etc., that are important to human interaction, but spurious (i.e. noise) in terms of creating reference material. We could allow this chaos in easier conscience, if the existing material (25,000 posts according to Admin) can be sifted for valuable additions to Classic Posts or secondarily xbkinfo.

    Admin, as I understand, is loathe to let go of keeping the forum tidy, while being overwhelmed by the time commitment that involves. One function of the proposed Code of Ethics would be to help reduce Admin's editing burden in maintaining a high "signal-to-noise ratio," i.e. concentrated juicy stuff with less of the posts that while significant socially, are not as rich in BKWSU related content.

    • Separate the "free-for-all chitchat" function from the "crisis intervention, peer counseling and support" functions. The chitchat function might be moved to a separately run forum.
This discussion leads to a second question: Can the forum be sufficiently warm, welcoming and human if we attempt to separate chitchat from documention, investigation and support functions?

BKtipit has said that this forum has benefitted by moving the BK/PBK believers' activity to a separate forum. Do others agree with this? Or are pro-BK and anti-BK postings somehow symbiotic? Does that determination have any bearing on the current issue? How should the forum be organized and administered to best serve its multiple purposes? What are these multiple purposes? Could spelling them out help with drafting a Code of Ethics, if such is deemed necessary?
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Mr Green

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Re: [Policy] Brahma Kumari Info: Code of Ethics - Draft

Post31 Mar 2009

tom wrote:With all my respect, do you really th ink, for the ones who are running this site, it is only a game to spend time? Do you believe they don't have better things to do in life?

Err, I did not mean that all. I am aware web sites have running costs. What I meant was the members here are not at risk financially from the site :D.

searcher

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Re: [Policy] Brahma Kumari Info: Code of Ethics - Draft

Post31 Mar 2009

Joel wrote:BKtipit has said that this forum has benefitted by moving the BK/PBK believers' activity to a separate forum. Do others agree with this?

Agree with Bktipit. If anyone wants extensive BK sermonising there are many other places it can be found. Don't lose sight of the fact that this website serves a unique purpose. People visit to hear the opposing point of view. Some lively exchange and debate is good but we've all heard plenty of the BK point of view so keeping the bulk of it to a separate section keeps it where it belongs - separate.

With reference to the chit-chat, most of it is better kept in the 'Chat' section. Nothing wrong with a couple of exchanges and humorous asides etc but if it goes on too long down the page it is then mostly of interest to just the couple of people actually chatting and the tone of the thread is lost and it can get a bit tedious.

Congratulations to Admin, you do a remarkable job of organising the site with limited resources.
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rayoflight

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Re: [Policy] Brahma Kumari Info: Code of Ethics - Draft

Post01 Apr 2009

It seems like a lot of presumptions are made when a person signs up here. Like, we need to be saved, we're vulnerable and might turn an ex-BK maverick into our new guru, or God forbid, fall in love with you, or transfer our BK disillusionment onto you, maybe even use the forum to express all our repressed sexuality via some shameless flirtations. Am I reading this right? It's like Steven Spielberg explaining every little nuance in his films because he thinks his audience is too dumb to understand. I think we can handle it people.
joel wrote:Can the forum be sufficiently warm, welcoming and human if we attempt to separate chitchat from documention, investigation and support functions? (note to Admin: did I do it right?)

Would this fall into the "separation of head and heart" principle?

As a relative newcomer to the forum, it is the warmth and humanity behind the words on my screen, a computer that is otherwise lifeless, that helped me feel welcome and gave me the ability to open up so that I could begin my healing. Each personality that got involved in my posts was a very important contribution to my initial healing. Let us not forget the lessons we learned from the cold and "detached" BKs.
Is the forum a source for publishable material, or is it the destination, i.e. the "book" that visitors will consult?

Can it be both?
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joel

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Re: [Policy] Brahma Kumari Info: Code of Ethics - Draft

Post01 Apr 2009

searcher wrote:With reference to the chit-chat, most of it is better kept in the 'Chat' section. Nothing wrong with a couple of exchanges and humorous asides etc but if it goes on too long down the page it is then mostly of interest to just the couple of people actually chatting and the tone of the thread is lost and it can get a bit tedious.

Is avoiding the prospect of talk getting "a bit tedious" and the "tone of the thread" being diluted so important? Is it more important than people feeling free to post their minds? As members of the BKs, we learned to avoid speaking our minds, missed many opportunities because of time lost "filtering with the intellect" ... many of us lost our spontaneity. We learned not to trust ourselves, to always double-check.

As this site represents a change from the BK mindset, and from the point of view of community, people here should feel free to ramble, and joke, and even criticize the way the forum is run without fearing that a hachet will fall, and they will be cut off from their newfound friends.

If we are to be a supportive community, I believe people deserve a degree of due process before being banned, at the very least a review by several of their peers. A bigger list of reasons to criticize, threaten and ban people is not my idea of due process. This site is a community as well as an information service. Community should not be sacrificed for the sake of making this site a better information service. If the site needs to be improved, any improvements should address all of our goals.

I'd like to add that live chat, in which no record remains, (if Searcher is referring to that) is a very different medium from the forum, where other people can read and respond hours, days, even months later. People writing here will not spontaneously change to another medium, and it is naive to expect them to do so.

I think it also important to mention that this site is not only BK.info, it is also the continuity of the community that began on XbkChat. It belongs to all of us. Admin has a responsibility to the community he is hosting, which is why his offering this thread and our contributing to it is an important step prior to significant changes in site policy.
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ex-l

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Re: [Policy] Brahma Kumari Info: Code of Ethics - Draft

Post01 Apr 2009

I entirely agree with searcher.

What interests me is why some people seem to think that all of their 'off topic' or 'off forum', or even 'out of reality' posts are somehow so important that they need to be somehow copyedited, documented and stored in public on the internet forever?

Beyond which ... it is someone else's unpaid obligation to do so, and maintain it. Its incredible.

Why don't those individuals just start their own blog? Why does it have to be here? This site has a pretty specific remit. If you don't like it, or think you can run it better, take a copy and start you own ... or go somewhere else.
joel wrote:It belongs to all of us.

Does it? As in, "Demand the right to have someone else look after us?" Check out the copyleft link at the bottom of each page.

If there is a fault to your line of thought, joel, it is that this forum is somehow a clubhouse for the first 50 people who turned up to do what they like forever. If those 50 people think it is ... and they are either going off forum or contradicting its advertised purpose ... then they all should be booted out on a regular basis.

I don't exactly see a queue of people lining up to volunteer their services ...
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joel

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Re: [Policy] Brahma Kumari Info: Code of Ethics - Draft

Post01 Apr 2009

Who is demanding anything, ex-l? Who, other than you and Searcher, are upset by people going "off thread"?

I have proposed that members of this forum take a more active role in selecting posts for the Classic Posts section, that the forum be treated as a forum for exchange among people, and that the Classic Posts or other sections of the site serve as the publishing arm of BK.info.

I have written that I believe it is impractical to discipline members of the forum to ... I'll restate it in another way ... follow the Admin's vision of that particular thread. The only way that I can conceive of realizing the aim of keeping all posts on topic would be to have a moderated forum, where posts are approved before posting. Many forums and mailing lists are run this way.

I agree with you that few will want the job of policing others. I agree that few will want to review and copyedit others' posts ... essentially to rewrite the history of the forum. The effort of policing and editing every post is certainly exhausting, and for a forum of this size, probably impossible for a single person to sustain. Which is why I have raised the question of whether the forum is a source for material, or a final publishing destination.

We might also make a distinction between 'soft' moderation, i.e. "could you please take your conversation elsewhere", versus 'hard' moderation, i.e. "do what I say, now, or begone!". I think few members here would be comfortable enforcing forum guidlines or editing their friends' posts, simply because in general, we prefer the relationship to be of peers.

Regards,
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paulkershaw

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Re: [Policy] Brahma Kumari Info: Code of Ethics - Draft

Post01 Apr 2009

ex-l wrote: Beyond which ... it is someone else's unpaid obligation to do so, and maintain it. Its incredible ... Why don't those individuals just start their own blog? Why does it have to be here? This site has a pretty specific remit. If you don't like it, or think you can run it better, take a copy and start you own ... or go somewhere else.
joel wrote:It belongs to all of us"
ex-l wrote:Does it? As in, "Demand the right to have someone else look after us?" Check out the copyleft link at the bottom of each page ...

Geez ex-l - thats a bit much. If 'someone' has set up a cyber-space forum such as this one and has been maintaining it as such, the expectation of such a person is that people will join the forum and use it for what it is.

An 'energetic contract' is formed between the creator of the forum and the 'member's who join it, in whatever capacity they deem they wish to be part of it. As to the 'unpaid obligation' you charge, sure I agree, these processes must cost time and money, but I'll also remind you that an aspect of this 'unpaid' and free membership was legally termed and used when the forum was under legal attack last year and it benefitted the case. Or not? ... So what gives with that? Has something changed to bring that comment out. Please advise if so.

If feeling otherwise nowadays (and all of a sudden), then in all openness 'Admin' should then comment about their willingness to continue with the forum but if help and on-line assistance is needed why are moderators not being used and appointed to assist with the process ... ?? There seemed to be a few available last year but this year where are they and what happened to them? Why were there services truly terminated?

Perhaps we can ask for a list to be posted on-forum of what is required of a moderator, energy, time and content etc and see if anyone then agrees to it? What restrictions and what ideals are required of an moderator, who 'controls' them and who administers them? Most people, I would guess, have no idea or even an inclination of how to run a forum and sure, are certainly gaining from it's presence on the www. I guess, ex forum member and moderator Bansy was asking this in her post " Who are you posting to on this forum" in some way?

As to the comment you make about, "Demand the right to have someone else look after us?" - can you try be more specific about who and what you're referring to here? I do agree that some people may need careful handling due to their 'healing crisis" they're in - but for the majority of people on this forum I'd say we're all big enough to look after ourselves and the majority are intelligent enough to 'add' to the forum and not detract from it. (Idiot posters [to use a phrase othes have used] - are generally quite quickly removed by the majority of forum members over time anyway)- I'd guess though you could/can say otherwise and I am inviting you to do so.

I am with Joel in his comment about the forum belonging to all of us, but I do add that 'belonging' and 'ownership' may not be the same ideal here ... OK, fine we can all run off and start our own 'blog' - to what end and what will that prove? Then we'll have disjointed and mixed array of processes, non factual and emotional bag of potpourri cr*p all NOT PROVING anything at all. Ray Of Light is correct, we may be being presumptious indeed and I agree that I myself just assume that the forum is 'here' every day and put little thought into the running of it, but that's how I arrived here.

Perhaps I need to change that but are you asking us to be more appreciative and if so how do we do that? Surely, those that are posting and being part of the forum are 'appreciating' it as a whole? and another question? does the forum serve its purpose or is it's purpose changing too and if so, who created that change? It's members or Admin or its creator's intentions or all?

At the end of the day even the creator/Admin of the website has need for this forum, or would not have set it up in the first place/and its members too, have need of it , or would not be part of it. Surely the best way forward is to find a way to make a) the forum creator and if not the same person/s b)Admin and of course c) its members to synch it together for mutual benefit.

I do also say though that I agree that such a forum should grow organically and how to do that at this point seems to be frustrating many. Change is not easy.
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john

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Re: [Policy] Brahma Kumari Info: Code of Ethics - Draft

Post01 Apr 2009

Why all the change now?

It seems to me we were driving along all together on some journey, all of a sudden the bus stops, a voice over the tannoy speaks out' "Right, you, you, you and you out, from now on the forum is this, this and not that, if you don't agree get out". Well, what do the other people do? Speak out or bow to peer pressure, knowing they could also be thrown off.

Well, if that is what the forum was/is why was it not stressed at the beginning? Why were people strung along?

The truth is that this forum was a community and was built up as such. In a way it had become the mothership for many who have had some connection with the BKSWU, be it ex-BKs, fringe -BKs and friends and family. What is the agenda now and how has it changed from the original agenda?
ex-l wrote:If there is a fault to your line of thought, joel, it is that this forum is somehow a clubhouse for the first 50 people who turned up to do what they like forever. If those 50 people think it is ... and they are either going off forum or contradicting its advertised purpose ... then they all should be booted out on a regular basis.

Your sense of detachment would be admirable to the BKSWU

I thought the BKwatch was going to be the more information part, whatever happened to it, does anyone know?
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ex-l

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Re: [Policy] Brahma Kumari Info: Code of Ethics - Draft

Post01 Apr 2009

BKWSUwatch.com still exists, here. It looks healthy and is run independently.
paulkershaw wrote:As to the comment you make about, "Demand the right to have someone else look after us?" - can you try be more specific about who and what you're referring to here?

Technical support, web hosting etc.

If folks want free, supported blogs or forum to voice their personal issues and create purely social networks, there are lot of big companies with full-time, employed support teams out there to allow you to do so.

Why cant we have some focus here?

It strikes me that the "conflict of vision" is between those that want to do what the forum says it is for ... and those that want someone else to support their chosen little social clique.
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joel

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Re: [Policy] Brahma Kumari Info: Code of Ethics - Draft

Post01 Apr 2009

Changing direction slightly, I'd like to ask about structure. Many opinions have been given, some replied to, and some left hanging. Should there be a process to summarize at some point, or will we just continue until exhaustion sets in?
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tom

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Re: [Policy] Brahma Kumari Info: Code of Ethics - Draft

Post01 Apr 2009

I agree with the content of the Admin's draft.

However I am asking Admin kindly to prepare another draft with a more simpler English to make it easy for the members who are not native English speakers, so that they can also join the discussions.
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john

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Re: [Policy] Brahma Kumari Info: Code of Ethics - Draft

Post01 Apr 2009

ex-l wrote:It strikes me that the "conflict of vision" is between those that want to do what the forum says it is for ... and those that want someone else to support their chosen little social clique.

But the 'clique', if it exists wasn't chosen, everyone was free to post. It evolved like all forums generally do.

Some may want to pass this part off as a 'clique' but really they were all valuable contributers to the forum, because really a forum is about what is being posted and the members that post, that is it's strength (or weakness) and character. Yes, it is also about the technical aspects and the running, but with no members the technical side of running is pointless and the forum will close.

Why wasn't ...
what the forum says it is for

imposed in the beginning or earlier, why years later? What has changed that now there is confidence to treat older members as surplus to requirements? Were they just tolerated in the past, with the view that once the forum gathers speed, the goal posts can be changed or enforced to see them off.
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