These are message boards for mutual support and education.
These boards also give those who use other areas of my site a way to interact with each other and may foster interchange between professionals and the public. In general, I think that's a good thing, but this isn't a perfect world, so I must also remind you:
Don't necessarily believe everything you hear. Just because you see something on the Internet doesn't mean it's true. Consider the quality of the information as you decide whom to trust. The only messages I take responsibility for are my own.
What you say may conceivably be used against you. Professionals, especially, should be careful not to establish unintentional therapist-patient relationships.
A fanciful name. I mean no disrespect to anyone who participates. I also don't intend to overdo the caveat emptor business -- just because you see something on the Internet doesn't mean it's *not* true, either.
That's a hard -- and subjective -- question. Do consider the quality of the information provided. These comments (slightly edited) from others here should give you an idea of different ways this can be approached:
If someone sounds off the wall, you tend to discount it. And often others who have a better knowledge base jump in to point out inaccuracies. My psychiatrist recommended this site. I respect his opinion, so that endorsed this site.
In general, the biggest reason I trust a web site is its "reputation." A site like this is as trustworthy as the people who make it up. The more I read a person's posts, the more I get to know the person, the more I then decide whether I "trust" the person. Given the anonymous nature, I doubt I will ever fully trust a group member the way I might a person in person. But I definitely trust some more than others. Those who put thought into their posts, who respond to every post, who empathize -- these are the "clues" that lead me to trust them more.
I feel the most confident about something when I read a lot of posts that have the same observation.
I can usually tell if a group member knows what she or he is talking about. It's not all that easy to fake it. :-)
I intensely searched anything I could on depression. It provided good information, but it was cold and clinical and didn't seem to touch the suffering I was experiencing. When I stumbled on Psycho-Babble, wow! Here were not just facts, but the struggles of the posters, which made me quickly identify with them and their diseases. Trust? I can't help but trust their advice (even though it may sometimes be off base) because their experiences have made treatment very real and valid to me. Somehow, it's worth more. Believe it or not, I would trust the advice of some posters over that of some of the doctors I have used in the past.
The search for truth reminds me of Hegel: it is neither the "thesis" (the claim by the manufacturer that the medication is some sort of wonder drug) nor the "antithesis" (the claim by someone who blames all their problems on the medication), but rather a "synthesis" (a sober analysis of both positive and negative aspects). Information which is balanced and fair is trustworthy, whereas that which comes from either advocacy viewpoint is suspect.
I have a background that makes it hard for me to trust others -- here on the Internet or in person. So I am going to check it out. It takes time in either realm for me to trust -- people have to prove themselves. The difference with people online is that it takes longer, I think.
If your ability to understand the science of psychopharmacology is as limited as mine is, then the board is still very valuable but only for limited well defined purposes: the sharing of experiences, the gathering of enough information to help you formulate questions for your own physician, etc. The person who hands out incorrect information and passes that off as fact is dangerous and I've seen lots of examples of others trying to bring those people to task. However, misinformation is not going to always be picked up on and unless you want to become an information policeman, the best that you can do may be to make people understand the limitations of the board.
I only recently started taking Effexor XR. I listened carefully to what my doctor had to say and left satisfied that although I might suffer a few side effects in the first week, this was one of the safest drugs I could take. However upon taking my first 75 mg, I felt pretty awful. That's when I turned to the Internet, hoping to find some success stories to help me through the tough days. However all I seemed to be pulling up were horror stories, it literally seemed as though I couldn't find anything positive about Effexor and I admit I was petrified. If I had been reading about a drug I wasn't taking I'm sure that I would have been 99% objective, but Effexor was in my system, this was different! I didn't really care about the source, everything seems valid when you're scared. My rationality seemed to go out the window and my thinking was along the line, "there's no smoke without fire".
This site is policed enough to keep it focused and loose enough for views to be expressed openly. There is a variety of experiences for all different medications, some good and some bad, but they are actual experiences, real world and not some drug company's list of adverse effects from some controlled group study bent to make their drug look good.
I use the same criteria as for pre-Internet sources: who the author is, what if any credentials or biases they have, what constraints they have on what they present (fears of liability), how reasonable their assertions are, and who else vouches for the information. Whether or not I trust the posters mostly depends on their track record but also on whether what they say is consistent with what I already know. The stability of the posters is useful here since it makes it possible to form impressions of their accuracy over time.
I'm fairly new here, but I already know who is pretty well respected by the fact that you find questions specifically directed towards them.
Since people here are part of a community, I think there is more credibility.
It's best to take medication only under the guidance of a knowledgeable medical professional. But that can be easier said than done. These comments (slightly edited) from others here elaborate on this better than I could:
Self-medication is dangerous, as you are not being monitored.
The chance that a medication may not help (or may harm) you is real.
There are so many drug interactions. In any illness one can benefit from the objectivity of a top-notch professional. For example, for two or three years I was in denial about having bipolar disorder. Without my husband and psychiatrist guiding me and being firm, I could have gotten in big trouble trying to treat myself. It is easy to think we are right about ourselves. Yes, I have discovered information that my psychiatrist wasn't aware of. Fortunately, he is gracious and accepts the corrections.
Did you happen to read the big disclaimer? "#1 Drugstore Online assumes no liabilities for the use of any products supplied. It lies on the purchaser to use them under the guidance of a physician."
People who order their own medications are well versed in titration, contraindications, side effects, etc. There are risks and benefits to everything we do. We are at greater risk getting in our cars each day than ordering our own medications. But we get in our cars without even a blip of fear. People who are brave enough to order their own medications have done careful measuring of the risks and benefits.
If you order medications yourself, as I foolishly did reboxetine (I believed the hype), you should let your doctor know what's going on and let them make the call. I stopped it after 2 days because I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest.
Information I can only see as helpful, but I don't think anyone should *encourage* people to order their own medication. I've read posts saying, "you should try x" and taken them as encouragement, "forget about what your psychiatrist says, this is okay to do." I would rather be encouraged to bring information to my psychiatrist. Almost a year ago, against my psychiatrist's wishes, I combined phenelzine with adrafinil. There was someone on the board doing that combination with no hypertensive problems. I did have a hypertensive reaction, and although it was not a very serious one, it could have been. I don't blame anyone but myself for putting myself in a dangerous position.
What we choose to do is our own responsibility. Anyone who reads anything anywhere needs to remember that not everything that is written is true. It's common sense and using one's judgment. When I read, I read with caution, checking resources that I know exist. Then I make an informed decision on what to do. If it harms me, then I am to blame. I made the choice. No one put a gun to my head. I took a risk.
I think we must be our own advocates, especially when it comes to mental health. Hopefully, if you have brains enough to get online, you are smart enough to use the information wisely.
No one here knows my medical history, so it would be pretty presumptuous of them to suggest a medication for me. In the same light, I would not be very smart to take anything anyone here says as gospel. The point I think that some people are missing, though, is that a lot of people come to this board in a very difficult place emotionally. There may be times when you find yourself making decisions that you wouldn't make under "normal" circumstances. Out of respect for those situations, Babblers really should qualify the information that they offer as simply their experience, understanding, or opinion because that really is all that it is. And always suggest involving a doctor.
Sometimes we have problems finding a decent, sensible doctor who's willing to work with us. Sometimes we know what we need, but the doctor doesn't trust us or we can't afford to pay for the medications and for the doctor to authorize them. Sometimes no doctor in our area offers psychiatric services. Sometimes situations require taking matters into our own hands -- or suffering for the lack. Sure, it would be wonderful if it wasn't ever necessary and everyone got the care and respect they needed, but this isn't a perfect world.
How much do we really know about the exotic drugs and drug combinations that are sometimes suggested? Are there sufficient numbers of people and years of experience to be confident of their safety? I don't know. I do know that sometimes taking risks is justified. Whenever I post something, I try to take into consideration the probably sizable percentage of people who know very little and have just arrived here. How many of them assume that Psycho-Babble is a source of established medical knowledge and advice? Look at the big words some of us use. It is very understandable how this mistake can be made.
It is important to recognize that it is never a drug or other product that is approved or not approved, but a claim about the use of the drug or product... Neither the FDA nor the Federal government regulate the practice of medicine. Any approved product may be used by a licensed practitioner for uses other than those stated in the product label. Off-label use is not illegal, but means that the data to support that use have not been independently reviewed by the FDA. --US Food and Drug Administration
I hope that gives you an idea of the pros and cons. Please take care.
To quote from below, this is a toughie. I think this is a good discussion of the issues, however:
I think all we can do is be supportive of that person with words. Having been in similar situations in the past, I've found that type of support helps me hang on until I can get real help.
Mixed bag, I'm afraid. Many will actually be crying out for attention while others are crying wolf. It's hard to tell the difference sometimes, and there lies the rub. When do we take it seriously enough to act upon someone's statements? I have seen it go both ways. Personally, I would err on the side of caution, and would reach out to someone with suicidal ideations posted (even in veiled terms) on this board.
I feel like all I *can* say to support someone here who is suicidal is "Go get help." I don't think this board is equipped to do more than that. Mostly, I think people can share their struggles with suicidal feelings and get a lot of support here, but it will never be the kind of support that will keep them safe when they cannot keep themselves safe.
But I think sometimes the crying out process can be very frustrating to others if the person rejects help or returns in a better mood as though nothing happened.
All of which can cause serious compassion fatigue, I think. And I don't necessarily judge anyone who does any of those things as a bad person or anything, and I tend to see this kind of behavior as a symptom of how distressed they really must be, which breaks my heart! But the behavior also does have the potential to anger me, maybe because it seriously pushes my own helplessness buttons. And break my heart though it might, I might have to withdraw from a discussion if this happens because I can't let my own inner resources be depleted.
I guess I've always thought, if not here then where? Obviously if someone is in imminent danger, they should seek real life help. But sometimes maybe they need a bit of a reality check, or validation, or something that they should do that. I know that I would be hesitant to present myself at my emergency room door, no matter what my condition, because I would have this desire not to make a big fuss.
As far as [crying wolf] is concerned, it's part of the illness just as much as suicide attempts are. Just because something feels manipulative doesn't mean the attempt is to manipulate. Or rather, I accept Marsha Linehan's view of suicidal behaviors. It may be the only way a person knows of asking for what they want or need.
My own decision about what to do to protect myself is to realize my limitations. There are only a very few people here who I have any possibility of physically helping. And on a forum like this, suicidal crises will occur from time to time. It's scary because I would hate to say anything that might make matters worse. But I have absolutely no expectations that anything I say could make matters better. I just don't have that power. And not saying anything is an action as well. So, since I wish to participate here, I just have to hope for the best, but remove myself from it a bit emotionally. Accept my impotence. Even find safety in my impotence. Extend a hand, maybe, but feel no responsibility if it isn't taken. That's my own way of making it possible to participate here. Others have their own ways.
Speaking from my own experience of chronic suicidal ideation, and the times I've posted here about wanting to die, what I want back is an acknowledgement that other people feel that way too and have survived, and reminders that it is probably a temporary situation (that it feels so intense). And, some people express caring thoughts and wishes, and that helps too.
As someone else said, one gets a feel on the board for the real deal sometimes. And at that time the only thing I'd say is "go get help in real time."
I also like the term "compassion fatigue" because that is a real phenomenon that makes me look at suicidal messages very cautiously.
This is a toughie. Everyone has weighed in with quite thoughtful responses.
For some this is it. This is their last cry for help and for those posters who are mentally and emotionally up to supporting a suicidal poster then great. But to expect miracles to occur if someone is intent on killing themselves is just draining to the entire community.
Those that are not up to supporting suicidal posters need to recognize their own needs and take care of themselves. Yes it can bring up feelings of helplessness, anger or resentment but those feelings can be dealt with in another thread or in e-mail or through another avenue of support.
No one is forced to read any threads on this board. And if suicidal posters are too triggering then avoid those posts at all costs.
If one is in the position to offer up support to a suicidal poster then they can only type in information. Many here have been suicidal just once and others have suicidal thoughts daily but just have learned not to act on them. There is a plethora of sympathy and empathy for being in that horrible place where death seems like the correct and only answer. The people who post to suicidal posters are trying to bring a glimmer of light back into the darkness that has closed in on one of us.
For myself, I might just not reply. Especially if I see others who are replying supportively. I just bow myself out of it because that might be what I need to do. But I agree, it would not, IMHO, be appropriate to reply angrily, even if this is how I felt. I have seen people, a couple of times, however, once the crisis seemed over, post frankly, but supportively, with people about the frustration of wanting to help but feeling like they are both asking for help and pushing it away, and that other people weren't sure what to do about that. But that is different than reacting angrily to posts.
We all are entitled to feel as we feel. Some people get angry, some get reminded of previous losses we have endured and get very sad, others still when faced with a truly pained suicidal post are forced to face that darkness within themselves.
Some of us have attempted suicide and when reading about another in that deep dark hopeless crushing place it can be too triggering to one's own memories of their experiences.
I can't guarantee that I'll read every message. The idea here is to support and educate each other. But:
In a crisis, please also get help in person.
If you want to make sure I know about a post, please either post yourself to Psycho-Babble Administration or email me directly (and include "Psycho-Babble" in the subject line).
Adverse events are undesirable and unintended responses to procedures. They're important to report because they may reflect risks to others about which there should be greater awareness. Please use this form to report adverse events that occur to you during your participation in Psycho-Babble.
Your primary role is to support and educate, but you can also do a lot to help this site run smoothly:
You can help orient newer members. Everyone receives some orientation during the registration process, but it can be a lot to process and retain. Some may not realize, for example, that I don't consider it civil to overgeneralize or to call someone else a bully.
You can encourage others to interpret things more charitably and not to address those they can't get along with. Interacting with others may be frustrating, staying civil may be a challenge, and new skills may be required. You can help others develop those skills.
You can address others directly to resolve (or, even better, to avoid) conflicts (as long as you're civil, since being uncivil increases the risk of escalation).
Before others are blocked, you can show them how they might rephrase or suggest they apologize. Posters -- especially newer ones -- tend to prefer friendly reminders from other posters to official notices from me and the deputy administrators. The key to friendly reminders is being friendly, or at least civil.
You can notify me and the deputy administrators of issues you see on the boards. Please don't do that in a post, however, that can lead others to feel accused. Instead, use the "notify administrators" button below the post.
Example for demonstration purposes:
Our time is limited, however, so please limit yourself to 3 notifications -- to posts we consider OK -- per other poster. After that, it will be up to you to deal in some other way with those posts, for example, by not reading them. Others may still notify us about them. And you may still notify us about posts by others.
It's fine to post about the actions we take after we're notified and about the policies here in general.
After others are blocked, you can try to help them turn it into a positive, for example, by replacing shame with mature guilt.
And of course you can volunteer to be a deputy administrator yourself.
I'd appreciate your help, it's another way you can contribute to the community, and it can also be a way for you to develop new skills.
One of the goals here is to help us understand how online communities work and affect the mental health of their members. This site is not currently considered a research study, but research has been conducted here in the past and may again be in the future. Case studies are not considered research, and Dr. Bob may at any time publish case studies on his web site or in a book or an academic journal.
I welcome opportunities to collaborate on research.
Here's an explanation by Shar. But feel free just to ask, too!
Here's how some posters have responded in the past when this has come up:
Keep in mind that the "popular" have learned what behaviors help them achieve this goal and the "unpopular" can learn these skills, too. Another possibility is that your post said all that needed to be said and was well thought out. Maybe no one had any more to add.
For me, this place has gotten really busy and it feels impossible for me to read all the posts, so I generally do a quick scan of topics and respond to a few when I can.
I remember feeling this way when I started here. I would start a thread and no one would answer. But to my knowledge, no one here is so rich in friends that they don't wish to have more. So I don't think lack of caring is the root cause.
The board has cycles. There are times when things seem pretty jumping, then there are dry periods. With very few exceptions, topic is important. Most people have topics that interest them, and others not so much. And then there is the individual mood and other variables. There are days when I'm "on" and I might post a ton. Other days I can barely drag my brain through reading posts. I might flag in my mind posts to come back to, but I might forget to do that. Then there are days when I either have something offline to do, or I've decided I'm online too much. What it amounts to is that there are tons and tons of reasons why posts may or may not be responded to.
So with that in mind, isn't it best to give everyone involved the benefit of the doubt? I'm not great at interpersonal relationships, but I do suspect that the best way to foster them is to make the most positive assumptions about people's motives and people's reactions to myself. Easier said than done, I know. Boy, do I know. So everyone, keep posting and if for some reason, you don't get responses, just post again. Chances are excellent that it's nothing personal.
I do think it's natural for people to be drawn to certain people more than others. People who see the world in the same way, people who are sharing similar experiences, people who remind you of you either now or at some point in the past, or just people that catch your fancy.
Relationships do take time to form. Shared histories form. Short hand communication. So I might talk to Noa about flaming amygdalas, or Judy about SPOW, and that might seem a bit exclusive to others. And that's where bulletin boards come in really handy. If you want to know what on earth flaming amygdalas or SPOW are, the search engine is a click away. And presto, you are "in" on the shared language and history.
I don't always respond on every thread for a variety of reasons. Sometimes I don't have time. Sometimes I don't feel like I have anything to add. Sometimes, it's just not grabbing me, for whatever reason. There are also times when I just don't understand a post, so I might not respond to it directly.
I had the same feelings at the beginning. I thought I was an outsider. But it changed the more I posted. It took a few months, I believe.
I definitely look at the thread subjects and read based on that. Some boards I don't even check due to my inability to contribute anything meaningful. I have to say that all the boards are interesting, but I can't relate to them all the time.
I wouldn't take it personally because PB is only a part of what makes me, me. We don't really know each other that well. I would be uncomfortable to think that someone had based an opinion of my values and judgment just on my posts here.
Some posts sound as if they have a final ring to them and don't require a response. Others seem like a comment that also aren't inviting further comment. So if you want to increase the chance of getting a reply maybe it's a good idea to include a question in your post. Either a question to the individual you are responding to or a general question.
I think that to each of us, our posts are our babies. We put a piece of ourselves in them and send them off into cyberspace, hoping for the best. Hoping they'll find acceptance. My solution has been to just send so many of the little dickens out there so that I know some will fall flat and some will find a comfortable welcome. And enough that I rarely even remember the individual posts, so I'm not overly concerned about their futures. I try not to get too attached to my posts.
I jump around often. I don't mean to. I'm easily distracted. I can't help that. I read most posts. But, I don't respond to every post. If I did, I would spend even more time than I do at Babble (if that's even possible). It doesn't mean that I care any less for the particular poster. I just means that I jump around often. And I don't expect each and every person to respond to me. I often feel bad when people do respond to me, as I can't always get back to them. Which is why I try not to start too many threads any more.
When I first started posting, I was concerned with the same thing. However, you soon realize you shouldn't be. It's not a matter of people not liking each other. I like everyone here. I don't purposely not post to anyone. Sometimes I just don't have anything to say about something. I wish sometimes I could pull something insightful out of my butt, however it doesn't always come to me. And again, if it did, I'd be here all the time.
It's all part of my social phobia. It's so much easier for me to just talk to those I know, than put myself wide open and post to someone I don't know. When I do [post] it tends to be on PB 2000, where I know the guys very well -- but even then, I am so often unable to find words, I simply don't post. Just because I've been here 5 years or so, doesn't mean I'm still not terrified to jump in into conversations. So, I don't post to be mean. I don't post simply as I'm scared or feeling unsafe!
It could be that people who will know what to say are not on when you post and other posters have posted since so your post gets stuck up the top.
I have heard the same thing said many times by new posters. It's unfortunate. We try to make everyone feel welcome, but there seems to be this kind of "breaking in" period that is hard for new posters to get through. I wish it didn't happen that way.
It happens. Take a busy board, put it with an insecure person, and there is a recipe for feelings of rejection.
The good news is you can keep butting in all you want and no one can look at you funny. Not like real life.
Sometimes it can feel better to just answer other people's threads, then you don't have that feeling of putting yourself out there so much.
I think people just get involved with a lot of threads, and the new name just doesn't stand out somehow. I do know I always read the posts from people I know first. Maybe that's it. Also, I for one tend to get consumed by my own problems, and then I only post and don't read anything else.
Fairly early on I discovered a way of increasing my response rate (not each and every time, but the law of averages).
The more time and energy I put into responding to other peoples posts... Especially if I was careful to make it about them rather than about me... Especially if I could say something that showed them that I'd really been reading and thinking about their stuff...
The more they would respond to me.
Usually from my iSight, but sometimes they're contributed by posters. The current one is from 10derheart. (Thanks!)
Please see my biosketch for a summary.
Almost. Just don't pick one that another poster uses (or could easily be confused with one that another poster uses), isn't civil, or, if you're not a doctor, implies that you are.
Please don't post under more than one name at the same time. If for any reason you feel you need to change your posting name, follow these steps:
Almost. Just don't pick one that another poster uses. Sorry, but I can't think of a reliable way to differentiate between two people using one computer and one person using two names.
Please share this site with others by not starting more than 3 consecutive threads on the same board or posting more than 3 consecutive follow-ups in the same thread. More than that may discourage less confident posters from joining in. Giving them more of a chance makes it easier for them also to help -- and to feel good about doing so.
There are exceptions to every rule, and those to this one may include:
The server may in the future be able to enforce this limit automatically, but it can't right now, sorry.
Please don't use this site to exchange information that could be used to import into the US:
Both activities appear to be illegal. It's fine to discuss here the pros and cons of the medications, just not how to obtain them in those ways. In fact, please don't use this site to facilitate any illegal activities.
US Customs and Border Protection
In virtually all instances, individual citizens are prohibited from importing prescription drugs into the United States.
Importation of Prescription Medicines/Drugs
US Food and Drug Administration
Buying Medicines Over the Internet
US Food and Drug Administration
Medical Board of California
Please also do not request medication, money, etc., directly from or offer it directly to others here. Or ask, or explain, how to produce medication yourself.
Whenever you're online, your browser probably keeps track (on your own computer) of which web pages you visit. Also, your Internet service provider (and hackers) may be able to monitor what you do.
When you register, it's with a secure connection, so your computer should encrypt information you enter before sending it. Hackers might be able to intercept it, but they shouldn't be able to understand it.
If you're curious, check the security of your browser here. In general, you can tell if a web page is secure if:
The password cookie on your computer is encrypted, so others shouldn't be able to tell what your password is even if they have access to your computer.
When you post a message, it, your posting name, and the time of your submission become public information. Being public means:
If you don't want anyone to know your real name, don't register with your real name.
If you don't want anyone to connect what you post here with what you've posted elsewhere, don't register with a posting name you've used elsewhere. Otherwise, this could be you:
My user name on your web site has been the same user name that I've used for many other web sites that I've used to interact with friends. As well as my email and instant message screen name. I decided to type [xxx] into Google to see what would come up and it was all of my posts on Psycho-Babble talking about my mental illness. I've done everything I could to hide my mental illness from people. But because of my mistake of making [xxx] my user name there, it will be easy for anyone to see my embarrassing situation.
I ask for demographic information so that I can characterize the Psycho-Babble community. My policy is not to delete it. I ask for email addresses (and the server logs IP addresses) so that if there's abuse or serious danger, I can notify the person's Internet service provider (or other authorities). With those exceptions, I won't release any identifying information to anyone else. Unless ordered to by a court or something like that.
If someone else has posted information (including previous posting names) that identifies or private communications from you and you object, or if you did so yourself and have changed your mind, please contact me. I can edit out information like that, but my policy is not to delete entire posts.
If you receive an abusive email or babblemail from someone here, please forward it directly to me (with all its headers, if you know how to do that). FWIW, I can then block any Psycho-Babble or associated Yahoo Group registrations using that email address.
Registration information and connection logs are stored on the web server. The logs are used to generate usage statistics, but no individuals are identified. The web server has a security-hardened operating system and hacking alerts. It is in a modern data center and is monitored "24/7". Besides myself, only the computer support people should have direct access to it. Hackers or even burglars might, however, be able to break in.
You may want to think twice about what you post. It's easy to feel safe online and therefore to be open about yourself. That's one of the advantages of online message boards, but don't forget:
What you post is public, as public as if you put it up on an old-fashioned bulletin board in a supermarket. Maybe even more so, since there aren't supermarket bulletin board search engines.
Under certain circumstances, being linked to a post could jeopardize your job or lead to your criminal prosecution. To repeat, what you say could be used against you.
The only way to be completely safe from these risks is to abstain from this activity.
My understanding is that when you write something, you (usually) get the copyright to it. It doesn't even have to include a copyright statement. There's a process by which you can register that copyright, but that's a somewhat separate issue. However, I want to be able to use these posts elsewhere. For example, on my Book Ideas page or in articles.
You may therefore submit a message only if you agree to allow me unrestricted use of it. Submitting a message constitutes acceptance of that condition. But you retain the copyright.
At the same time, nobody should post anything they don't have the right to. When exactly one has that right, however, can be complicated. Even if the issue is the reposting here, without explicit permission, of the full text of an article copyrighted by someone else:
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001 17:56:37 -0700
From: Lawrence Lessig
This turns out to be a hard question. In my view, it is or should be fair use, but there is some authority to the contrary. Is there a reason you can't simply publish links?
Acceptable options include summarizing or paraphrasing, simply posting a link, as suggested above, fair use of a portion, or, of course, obtaining permission. If material you hold the copyright to has been reproduced here and you object, please contact me.
Please don't post passwords that are intended for only your use.
The dictionary definition is something like "conducive to civic harmony and welfare", but remember also the mission of this site, support and education, and the golden rule.
Please respect the views of others even if you think they're wrong. Please be sensitive to their feelings even if yours are hurt. Different points of view are fine, and in fact encouraged, but your freedom of speech is limited here. It can be therapeutic to express yourself, but this isn't necessarily the place.
Please don't be sarcastic, treat injury or death lightly, suggest that others harm (or use this site to exchange information that could be used to harm) themselves or others, jump to conclusions about others, post anything that could lead others to feel accused or put down, harass or pressure others, use language that could offend others, disclose without permission information (including previous posting names) that identifies or private communications from another poster, post information that you know to be false, exaggerate or overgeneralize -- etc. Even if you're quoting someone else.
Information that could be used to harm oneself includes both how much it takes to overdose and how one can find out how much it takes to overdose. Please don't post information like that even if your intent is to warn others.
What exactly do I mean by "language that could offend others"? It depends, but will probably include words and phrases considered often or usually disparaging, obscene, offensive, or vulgar by Merriam-Webster OnLine. If you have automatic asterisking turned on (and don't bypass it), the server takes care of potentially offensive language, but some unnecessary asterisking may occur. If you turn off automatic asterisking, you have more freedom to express yourself, but you're also responsible for your language.
It's fine to give others feedback as long as it's constructive. It tends to be more constructive if you put things in terms of what the other person might do better rather than what they did "wrong". And it tends to be more conducive to harmony to talk about how you feel than what someone else did, for example, to use an I-statement like "I feel put down by what you said" instead of a you-statement like "you're so arrogant". But don't just word the latter as the former, as in "I feel Dr. Bob has gone overboard". :-)
If you're thinking about posting about the views of others, one way to get a sense of whether doing so would be respectful is to substitute your own views.
It may be helpful to take a look at this article on how to resolve conflict online or these virtual pamphlets on dealing with anger or stress. You can also ask another poster to be your civility buddy. Or count to 10. Give it overnight. Choose something like a star. It's also an option just to keep your reaction to yourself:
To be blocked is to be a counterfeit, for he is but the counterfeit of a poster who hath not the life of a poster; but to forgo incivility, when a poster thereby posteth, is to be no counterfeit, but the true and perfect image of posting indeed. The better part of valor is discretion, in the which better part he has sav'd his posting.
Be aware that there may be posters who try to start arguments and upset people ("troll"). Of course, not everyone who starts an argument or upsets someone *intends* to do so. What can be done about those who do? It may be best just not to respond. If you do, please be civil. One possible response is to encourage others not to respond, and one civil way to do that is to post something like:
Different points of view are fine, but sometimes discussions just lead to discord and it may be best just not to respond.
Also, please don't post the same information in more than one place at the same time.
Also, please don't post the same information in more than one place at the same time.
I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it --Potter Stewart, Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184, 1964
To elaborate on the above a little, I do *not* mean that I have any special gift for discerning the "true" degree of civility of anyone's comments. I just can't spell it out any better. Maybe more precise than "I know it when I see it" would be "not until I see it can I know it". Also, it's subjective. Others may know it when they see it, too, and we may disagree. So maybe even more precise would be "not until I see it can I form an opinion about it".
I know I'm not perfect, and this isn't always easy:
Language sets everyone the same traps; it is an immense network of easily accessible wrong turnings. And so we watch one man after another walking down the same paths and we know in advance where he will branch off, where walk straight on without noticing the side turning, etc. What I have to do then is erect signposts at all the junctions where there are wrong turnings so as to help people past the danger points. --Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, 1931, translated by Peter Winch, 1980.
Such signposts are all that philosophy can offer and there is no certainty that they will be noticed or followed correctly. --Duncan J. Richter
I want to be open to feedback, but if you could also please try to accept what I decide and to trust that I'm doing my best to be fair and to do what I think will be good for this community as a whole, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.
Please remember how others may respond:
When my brain is subconsciously looking to feel hurt or insulted or shamed, it will find it *anywhere*.
My past childhood experiences leave me open to being triggered by hostility, controversy, obscenity...
I want people to understand about safety and try to think of ways to make this board a safer place.
Other comments from posters:
So much of what's said is jumped upon and torn apart when I see no reason for it. I've simply refrained from posting.
In searching for an older post, I ran across another post I'd made around the same time. I'm astounded that I thought it was OK. It's not that what I said was incorrect, but that the confrontive, blunt style I used simply *does not work* in this environment. But apparently I had to learn the hard way, over and over again. I hope I've finally gotten it.
I would love to see new posters introduce themselves, as some have, take some time to lurk to get to know the environment and understand they can make mistakes while getting used to it.
There have been many times I've sat down and written a post but didn't send it. I just knew in my mind that no matter how I worded it, someone would take offense. Don't get me wrong, I'm not afraid of a good fight, but more importantly I don't want to be part of this problem.
Part of learning how to deal with others might just be for people to be uncivil, have that pointed out by Dr. Bob and other members, and then work on appropriate alternate behaviors, and then keep posting. I have seen that happen many times here. There is the possibility for growth in this setting, kind of like group therapy, and I think people should take advantage of that. Sort of like practice here, before going to the "outside world" and dealing with the humans in our family and work lives. I would encourage people to ignore posters who press their buttons.
I have to learn to avoid posts by folks who push my buttons, and graciously so, not bringing attention to it.
I like your straightforward approach: just posting, making mistakes sometimes and being called for it, then continuing to post and trying to do better. I think perhaps some, including myself, need to give Dr. Bob more room and not question how he handles every "uncivil" remark.
If you consistently find someone's posts offensive, don't even say a word. When I, very recently, had someone calling me names in a very harsh way, I HAD to bite my tongue (fingers?) to not reply. It was very hard to do but this poster was so angry that it went beyond anything that I said. In other words, the poster was probably having a very hard time with life in general and I began to feel more empathy than anger. But I was still wanting to set the person straight! You know? Just shred the poster with sarcasm, etc. It would not have accomplished anything. We can stop at least 50% of the anger flareups by just ignoring those we disagree with. I haven't always done that but I learned a lesson with this poster and it was this: Let it go. I personally know one person on this board. If anyone other than her attacks me personally, I know that it has very little to do with me and a whole lot to do with them. We will never ignore everyone that attacks us and that's a shame because it is the only thing that works. It doesn't show that you lost the argument. In real life, say you're walking down an unfamiliar street in a less than safe neighborhood. Some guys are yelling, calling you every name in the book. You walk calmly, look down, don't reply, and hope like hell they go away.
I know it's tempting to see PBCs and blocks as public humiliation and punishment by an impersonal authority figure, but it can also be seen as a learning experience. I've grown to appreciate the strict civility standards here. Bob advocates a sort of radically non-violent communication style. I like the idea that you can't attack someone, even if you're convinced that they deserve it, or that doing so will make you feel better, or will make someone else feel better, or will force the "offender" to become a better person. We *are* allowed to state our hurt or angry feelings toward another in a conflict, but without going into judging and labeling them. I think those are good rules, even though they've not always been easy for me to follow.
This amounts to a form of enforced Gandhi-like Golden Rule: Thou shalt not accuse nor put down others.
The truth is like any other powerful tool: it can be used as a weapon. A civil poster must be discrete.
This emphasizes the email-it-to-Dr. Bob option: Anything that needs to be said that crosses the "civil" line, or might even get close, I'll just email Dr. Bob.
Variations in enforcement may appear as unfairness, but turn out to be, many times anyway, appropriate to the situation and the poster.
Civility buddies are posters who volunteer to be available to you if you're uncertain how the civility guidelines might apply to a post of yours. There are at least two ways a civility buddy can help:
A civility buddy can be someone you use to review your posts if you're not sure you understand the civility guidelines, or if you think maybe you're too angry, or if you feel Dr. Bob is scrutinizing your posts.
A civility buddy can listen to things you really oughtn't post. A person of like enough mind that you're able to vent your feelings to them without fear of repercussions. After you feel better, you might be able to post more thoughtfully and sensitively. It might not be useful if talking with a civility buddy just stirs up feelings of outrage.
The current civility buddies are:
I urge everyone who feels the need, and would benefit, to make use of a civility buddy.
Dinah manages the civility buddy system. Those who believe they have a decent understanding of the civility guidelines can volunteer to make themselves available to those who feel they don't. It's a pragmatic way to support other posters and to reduce blocks.
First, I'm sorry if this happens. I try to keep the atmosphere supportive, but unfortunately it isn't always. To help, please be civil even if you feel harassed.
I'd rather lines of communication stayed open, but if that's not possible, you can, as a last resort, ask that another poster be asked not to post to you anymore. If you think you need to do that, follow these steps:
Identify a post by them to you that makes you feel harassed. Use the "notify administrators" button below that post to let me and the deputy administrators know why it makes you feel harassed and, since this should be a last resort, what steps you've already taken to address the situation.
If we're going to support your request, we'll post a response to their post. If not, we'll let you know why not. We may also decide their post isn't civil, but that's a separate issue.
If we ask them not to post to you, but they do, use the "notify administrators" button below their new post to inform us.
If you post to them, it's OK for them to post to you in response. Your request stays in effect unless you change your mind, which you may do at any time (and are encouraged to do at some time to reopen lines of communication).
Posting to someone means directing either the subject line or the body of a post to them. Replying to a post by someone isn't necessarily posting to them.
If I see a problem with something someone posts, I usually try to explain what it is I see as the problem. If it's the first time for them, I usually just ask them please to be more careful. If I've already done that, I may block them from posting for some time. The block is the result of one uncivil post, but its length is the result of the pattern of uncivil posts. If it's their first block, or their first block for a particular type of incivility, it's usually for 1 week. If they've been blocked before, it's usually determined by a formula that takes into account how long the previous block was, how long it's been since the previous block, and how uncivil the current post is:
B = 1 + (SD - 1) * exp(-P/r)B = block length
S = severity
D = duration of previous block
P = period of time since end of previous block (in weeks)
r = 24 / ln 2 ~ 35
If someone's blocked, they can still read what others post, since what's posted is public. If they try to get around being blocked by posting as someone else or having someone else post for them, I block the other posting name, too, and extend the duration of the block. In the case of abusive posts, I may notify their Internet service provider (or, in the case of threats, other authorities).
I may delete posts I see as particularly inappropriate, but in general, it's my policy not to do that. When I do delete posts, I usually delete replies to them as well, because not doing so could lead to confusion.
If you're upset by something someone posts, you're welcome to respond to them yourself, but if you do, please be civil. If you want to make sure I know about a post, please either use the "notify administrators" button below the post or email me directly (and include "Psycho-Babble" in the subject line). Please remember, however, that posts can be upsetting without being uncivil.
If you're upset by something a deputy administrator does, you're welcome to email me. Please do *not* respond to them directly or use the notification button.
They may not actually be surefire, but I do recommend these tips on how to avoid getting blocked.
I can't *always* be online, so I ask other members of this community to volunteer to help out as "deputy administrators". Their main function in that role is to try to maintain an atmosphere of civility -- keeping an eye on what's going on and, if necessary:
They use their best judgment as far as when to intervene, but it isn't easy. They don't want to act too soon, but they don't want to act too late, either.
They do not have access to registration information such as email addresses.
Interest in helping out. Not necessarily a lot of time or interest in every board, every little bit helps. An email address that can be made public here. Being able to stay cool -- and to take some heat. Regarding the last, Dinah says:
You should be warned of the emotional beating you might get. Some people extend their anger at Dr. Bob (and possibly others in their lives) to the deputies as well. People can get upset when they're blocked or PBCed. Sometimes you might wish your skin were a bit thicker. And it can be hard to wade into the fray, or even to decide when to wade into the fray. It can be nerve wracking.
More specifically, to "apply", candidates currently need to have been registered for 1 year, to have posted 300 times, and not to have been blocked for longer than 4 weeks at one time or within the last 3 months.
No. They're supposed to be civil to them. If they're not, they can be referred to me. They can *always* be referred to me. And complaints about them, even if civil, should be emailed to me directly and neither posted nor submitted using the notification button.
Not necessarily. They may not be familiar enough with the workings of the site -- or have the time -- to respond to technical questions. But others at Psycho-Babble Administration may be able to help you out, so try posting there. If the server malfunctions, probably all the deputy administrators will be able to do is turn off posting.
They used to, but now they post with "Deputy" in front of the usual names when in their deputy roles.
They never have to intervene. They can always defer to me.
Their actions are subject to review by me, and I should be able to be reverse them if necessary.
The current deputy administrators are:
babbler 39 at excite
You can contact the deputy administrators and me at Psycho-Babble Administration, by using this contact form, or by email. Please of course be civil to us.
Go to the registration page, scroll down to the "confirm registration" section, enter the posting name and password you chose and the confirmation code you received by email, and click the button.
Go to the password reset page and follow the instructions there.
This site offers you news feeds of threads and posts. The news feeds provide abbreviated versions of recent posts and links to them. You can bookmark them individually to view using your browser or you can view a number of them together using a news aggregator.
|New threads||All posts|
This site lets you append a "signature" to your posts. It's an optional setting. It can include links. It's limited to about 200 characters.
Example for demonstration purposes:
The post goes up here.
And the signature goes down here.
You can hide signatures by default or individually. To hide them all by default, click on "change to hide". To hide them individually, click the button. If you hide them all by default, you can show them individually by clicking the button and you can show them all by default again by clicking "change to show".
Hiding them all by default requires the "babblesigs" cookie.
With these buttons:
this site can (and by default does) make it easy to share posts on Facebook and to tweet them on Twitter. People on Facebook and Twitter can also benefit from support and education. Sharing and tweeting might lead them to the many thoughtful and intelligent posts here, and then they might join Babble and contribute new perspectives and energy. This is a setting posters can change.
This site can (and by default does) automatically asterisk language that could offend others. And it's a setting you can change.
This site flags with the first posts by new members. This way, it should be easier to welcome them. :-)
This site lets you display all the messages in a thread.
This site lets you check your spelling. There's a box, under the "submit your post" button, where you can type (or paste in) a word and have it checked by Merriam-Webster OnLine.
Example for demonstration purposes:
Sorry, it won't do a whole post all at once. Or languages other than English.
This site lets you calculate the readability of posts.
This site lets you link book, movie, and music titles to Amazon.com and thereby help others find them (and support online education and self-help by buying them). Just put a title in double double quotes, and the server will automatically search Amazon.com and link to the first match. When you confirm your post, you have the option of linking to a different title (or not linking at all). If you get too many matches double-double-quoting just the title, you can also include the author or artist to narrow down the search. So, for example, you can turn ""E-Therapy"" into "E-Therapy" or ""E-Therapy (Hsiung)"" into "E-Therapy (Hsiung)". :-) Sorry, but this only works with double quotes (not underscores or anything else) and Amazon.com (not Amazon.co.uk, etc.). FYI, this is an application of Amazon.com Web Services.
Example for demonstration purposes:
This site lets you translate messages. At the very top of the page with the post, just click the language you want it translated to. The current and original languages are bold.
Example for demonstration purposes:
[ English |Deutsch |Français |Italiano |Português |Español ] by Babel Fish
The translations are done by a computer program rather than by an actual person who knows the languages, however, so please be extra careful when interpreting that information.
This site lets you preview (and edit) your post before submitting it. After it's actually posted, however, it's generally not possible to edit it.
This site lets you redirect a follow-up to another board. When you enter your post, just select a different board to direct your follow-up to.
Example for demonstration purposes:
This site offers you two versions of each board. If you use two frames in one window, the main pages, with the links to the messages, go in one frame, the messages themselves go in the other, and both stay visible. That way, it's easier (IMO) to go back and forth between the message listings and the individual messages.
|Two frames in one window||Two separate windows|
This site saves posts in archives. The current system is to start a new archive whenever the current archive gets larger than 800 (or fewer, depending on the board) posts.
If you post a message to a thread, this site can notify you if other messages are added later. When you enter your post, just click the "notify you" box. That way, you don't have to (although of course you may) keep checking the site to see if there's been more activity there. If you change your mind later, you can cancel them, and if you go on vacation, you can suspend them temporarily.
Example for demonstration purposes:
This site offers you background music:
Example for demonstration purposes:
This site gives you the ability to search the posts. Just indicate what you're looking for by typing words or phrases into the box and click the "Google Search" button (or hit return). Leave "dr-bob.org" selected to limit your search to this site. See the options and examples for tips on searching.
This site tries to save, by default, the posting name and password you register with, to save you the trouble of re-entering them each time you post. This is optional, however, and you can re-enter them yourself each time you post instead. The password cookie is encrypted and may for that reason be longer (or shorter) than your actual password.
This site requires users to register with a password in order to post so (1) people can't pass themselves off as others and (2) it's easier for me (a) to block problematic users from posting and (b) to collect demographic data. A valid email address is required to register, but whether to make it public when you post is up to you. The registration process takes place on a secure web server, so information you submit is encrypted before it's sent, so you don't have to worry about it being intercepted. Registration is *not* required just to read what others have posted.
Example for demonstration purposes:
This site lets members send messages ("babblemail") directly to each other using just posting names. The messages are sent as email, but by the server, so the sender doesn't need to know the recipient's (and the recipient doesn't find out the sender's) email address. To give it a try, go to the babblemail form. If you want, test it out by sending a message to yourself. Babblemail is turned off by default. To turn it on (or off again), change your babblemail setting.
If someone abuses this feature, they'll be blocked from using it (and from posting). Likewise, if someone's blocked from posting, they'll be blocked from using babblemail. I don't monitor babblemail directly, but ask recipients to contact me if they feel it's been abused. If it comes to that, the usual civility guidelines will apply. To be able to verify that specific babblemails were sent, I keep a log of who babblemails whom when and "fingerprints", but not actual copies, of messages.
This web site is designed to let you change the text size through standard browser settings. So as not to reinvent the wheel, please see these instructions from the Web Accessibility Initiative.
On a Macintosh, "»" is shift-option-backslash. In Windows, I think it's alt-175.
If you submit a post without entering anything in the message box, the server usually assumes you made a mistake. If you *want* to post just a subject, without a message, then click the "no message, just post above subject" box when you enter your post. The subject will then have "(nm)", which stands for "no message", automatically added to it. Don't type it in yourself.
If you click that box by mistake, any message you enter will be ignored. This isn't an option when starting a new thread.
So as not to reinvent the wheel, please see these instructions from the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. Some of the information there applies only to that site.
If you submit a message from the main page, and you use the version of the site with two separate windows, then the response appears in the second window, which you may need to look around for a little.
Also, the main page doesn't automatically update when you submit a message. If you want the very most current main page, you need to reload.
Also, your message may have been archived. Only the newest messages are listed on the main pages. To find older ones, click on "Archives", near the top.
Also, your message may have been posted to a different board than you intended. Try the other ones.
A web server bug occasionally causes web pages (main pages or individual posts) to come up blank (all white). If it's a board, you can probably fix it yourself by redirecting a follow-up to a post on another board to that board. We need to fix posts ourselves, so please contact us to let us know about those.
Some versions of Internet Explorer aren't as good as Firefox at working with frames (or at least don't do so in the same way). Try upgrading to version 5 or later or starting a new thread here instead.
What's automatically entered in the "password" box isn't your actual password, but, for security reasons, an encrypted version, which may be longer (or shorter).
You can post with either the encrypted version or your actual password.
You may be receiving it, but it may be going into a "spam folder".
Or there may be a problem with your email account. Some email account problems cause the notifications to be returned. If that happens, this site may not even try to send you future notifications. If you think this may have happened to you, let me know.
To cancel them:
Go to that URL, making sure to enter it in one piece.
Complete the cancellation request. You are asked for your name and password. After you identify yourself, that thread won't email you any more notifications.
Instead of canceling them, you can also suspend them while you're on vacation (and resume them when you're back).
This may be a cookie or cache problem. You can try:
Firefox, thanks to zero:
Netscape, older versions
Internet Explorer 6, thanks to Larry Hoover:
Internet Explorer, older versions
Windows 98, thanks to mars:
Then cross your fingers!
Posts are archived by date, and a thread can span multiple archives. If a reply to a post is redirected to a different board, that reply starts a new thread on the new board.
If a post is "in reply to" a previous post, the previous post will be listed as a link. To go to the previous post, just click that link. If the previous post has been deleted, the link won't work, sorry, but you may still be able to find it by searching.
The first post in a thread may be in reply to another post if it was redirected from another board. A later post in a thread may not be in reply to another post if it used to be the first post in a different thread that was merged into that thread.
The Thread section under a post lists the first post in that thread, the posts immediately before and after that post, and the most recent post in that thread. In the case of the first post, all the posts in that thread are listed.
Each thread has a number, at the bottom of each post just before the URL, to help you search just that thread. To search just the subjects, posters, or dates of posts in a thread, you can also use Find in your browser on the Thread section of the first post in that thread.
Sorry if it's confusing! This explanation by Shar might help. Also, if you want, you can keep this small list of boards open and off to the side. Finally, if you have a question, feel free just to ask at Psycho-Babble Administration.
Some old web page addresses may not continue to work because of the archive process. To find those messages, try going to the time period during which they were posted, on the main page under "Previous periods", or do a search.
Also, sometimes posts seem to be submitted by mistake and are deleted.
WebTV should be able to read the page completely if you use the "small" text setting. To change the text size, go to the WebTV home page, click "Settings", click "text size", and select "small". That should do it!
The server will automatically try to turn URLs (if they include the "http://") and e-mail addresses into clickable links. HTML cannot be entered directly.
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Dr. Bob is Robert Hsiung, MD, firstname.lastname@example.org
Revised: September 3, 2013
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