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Forum Unity

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I hope this doesn't confuse anyone, that I am simply "jumping in" with a quote from another thread. But I thought it was best to quickly start a new topic on this subject before the original thread was hopelessly derailed.

--- Quote from: zach on January 18, 2013, 04:19:19 PM ---i'm not objectifying anyone, or dismissing them, but i do see patterns, and a spade is a spade.

without dredging up the "c" word, its a pattern that i have seen that new posters are treated somewhat dismissively. sure, there are the pat scripted welcome messages, sorry you have to be here, but glad you found us. that sort of thing. then a period of grace, until they say something they learned over at the body, and the flames begin.

gotta set the children straight, how dare they believe something the other rival site said, thats not accepted science! well, how the hell do they know that? oral sex is a prime example, everything i have ever read anywhere but here says that although small there is a percentage of risk of transmission. to my way of reading things, this group is the anomaly on that issue. but don't dare question that science.

and there are also, just as often, and just as predictable, new users expressing frustration at the unwritten rules of this forum. it is really easy to rub up against some of the personalities in here, and sometimes the new posters don't even know they've crossed a line.

all i was saying to the OP was take it for its worth, and let it roll off your back. if anybody was seriously offended by what i said... i dont care. we're all grown ups here. the moderators know how to ban me if they feel it warranted.

you ask how my post fostered forum unity... let me turn that question around for a moment.

how does it foster a welcoming atmosphere to ignore the many (and echoed over time) valid issues of new users. turning a blind eye just entrenches the status quo even more. i think thats a shame, and disengenious. the core group of names in this group doesn't change, and that says something to anyone that listens.

--- End quote ---

If it is OK. I would like to address your concerns from the ground up.

You mention that the core group doesn't change. I submit that it does. Over the years many new people have joined the forums and have become part of this "core group." And sadly, over the years, many members in that core group have died.

Some of the folks who post a lot have only been poz for five years or less, so I am thinking it is not a "newbie versus LTS" thing or even a "young versus Old" thing, as from what I can gather, this "core group" of posters seems to range in age from their twenties to their fifties.

Of course this begs the question. Is there something wrong with having a core group? People who, for whatever reasons, feel a sense of attachment to, and perhaps even a sense of family within the forum? Isn't that part of the purpose?

Over the years the forum has evolved dramatically, in many instances based on precisely the situations you mention. We created the "Just Infected" forum so that newly diagnoses individuals, in their most vulnerable days/months, are NOT dismissed, nor condescended to by more educated and experienced members who have already surmounted the rather steep learning curve that HIV necessitates.

As for the greetings to the newly diagnosed people, that you apparently consider disingenuous, I can only speak for myself when I assure you that I mean what I say there, every time I say it. I don't do an awful lot of hanging out in that forum because quite frankly, I just don't have what it takes to treat people with kid gloves. Some do, and I admire them for it.

I tend to enter the fray when it comes to criminalization and such, but normally I try not too use a heavy hand in that forum. Which is sort of a copout, because the introduction to the forum explicitly states that the purpose of that forum is to let people with experience and strength help those who need it the most.

I have always been a bit of a science nerd, and throwing my attention to the science of HIV transmission theory is a choice I made back in 1994. There have been so many advances in information gathering since then, the most startling of course has been the serodiscordant studies dually pioneered in Spain and the US.

The Page-Shafer studies in particular are a fascinating read, especially when you read her intentions at the beginning of the first study, and then follow her revelations regarding transmission through receptive oral sex (you mention oral sex in a broad sentence, but I am assuming that's the target here.) This, combined with the well-known fact that patient report is considered a far softer science, especially when dealing with issues as full of stigma as homosexuality, anal sex, and the perception of judgment from authority figures, has really changed the paradigm insofar as HIV prevention is concerned. By putting our resources into prevention as it is truly, empirically needed, we can make the best use of those dwindling resources.

I am sorry if I come across as heavy handed when I discuss that. I just can't assimilate the notion of the plural of anecdote being equal to data. If I step on toes, I am sorry. But again. I am just one guy.

Which brings up two important points you made. There have been talks about some of us "shouting down" others. I don't have the capacity to stop other people from posting. Hell, I would not be a moderator here for all the Gun Oil in the Castro District. I have opinions. I try to ground them in science. I state them emphatically when I believe I am correct, and try to have the grace to step back when I am proven incorrect. And that's it.

I am always really peeved when people discuss all the PMs they get behind the scenes, agreeing with them that I (along with others) am some sort of online bully and/or part of some cabal.  Sadly, as anyone who has sent me a PM knows, I don't check mine all that often.

What disturbs ME is when people talk about the "many people" who PM them and call me out for being an asshole, yet refuse to engage me in the forums (unless they are quite drunk, of course.) I have no cabal. I am just one guy. And sometimes I honestly feel that you (not you in particular{though let's ne honest here, you too} but "you" in the royal sense of newly infected people, really would rather I just go away. SO the thinly veiled (and often not veiled at all) talk of bullying seems disingenuous to ME, as I often feel targeted and monstered.

Which, my own ego and desire to be part of a community aside, would not be an issue if ANYONE WAS VOLUNTEERING TO HELP OUT HERE. You know how many people are active in answering questions in AM I INFECTED, the English edition? Four, at my best estimate. And the Spanish edition? Two. For a site of our esteem and credibility, that's laughable. And to be frank, most of the times I am even ON here, I came here to answer questions in AM I, and stick around for interesting discussion after.

So here's the thing, I guess. What do YOU (not only you {but seriously, you} but the Royal You) want out of these forums? And to what lengths will you go to achieve that? Obviously, if your goal is simply to tear them down, then by all means, sow dissension and make anyone over thirty, or who have had HIV/AIDS for longer than ten years feel unwelcome (which, interestingly, is what motivated the Long Term Survivors Forum.

If it is indeed to foster community, it would, I think, behoove you to try to use your empathy as well as your strength to foster bonds, not acrimony. This is something I struggle with myself, but it is a struggle worth having.

I do not delude myself into thinking that this forum has a long term future. HIV is becoming passe, even to those who have it. The notion of lifestyle change of any sort to accommodate this infection is not the sort of message anyone seems to want to hear. The Golden Days of our community coming together to form ASOs, Act Up, and even this forum (thanks, Peter Staley) are over. And as the dust of the pandemic settles, the basest form of human interaction persists and dominates the overall discourse. No one is taking my place in AM I INFECTED. No one is taking Leatherman's place in his ASO. No one is using the scientific method, it seems, not even when it is to their obvious benefit.

Treatment as prevention will usurp and replace  condom use. An overreaching sense of entitled victimhood will overtake a sense of personal and mutual responsibility. And I have no doubts that this forum, like many relics from the HIV pandemic, will suffer further and eventually be left behind.

But in the meantime, as long as this place seems needed, and as long as I am not a total dinosaur, I will continue to contribute. Because of all the things I have wanted to do in my life, making some sort of difference has been the common denominator. Judge me for being an asshole, for being harsh, for my interpretation of science, all that. Just never assume my motives are anything but genuine.

I am not a cabal. I am a guy, living with four ferrets, in Smyrna GA. A guy who has spent a decade here trying to help educate, as much as I learn. A guy who has seen most of his mentors die, and has seen no replacements in leadership.

And for now, a guy neglecting his hungry boyfriend to write this post. SO I am out of here for the moment.


I know.

this response is to joe's post to me in the other thread.

i apologize for offending you joe, i value and respect your opinions highly... however, i do think there is an elephant in the room that many here ignore. on this we may disagree completely.

yeah, i brought some conflict, but its nothing that hasn't been discussed around here before, ad nauseam.

the OP made a mistake in another thread, quoted someone out of line, and was promptly corrected by one of the more famous posters here. i mean seriously, he just didn't know how some of the functions worked. my first post in the thread was simply telling him to take it all with a grain of salt. it devolved into something darker, and should not have hijacked OPs thread. for that i accept full responsibility.

a couple of months ago a first time poster got the grammar nazi treatment, he hasn't been back, i hope he's doing ok. they backpedaled quick, and made the standard welcomes but that was the second thing said. also within the last couple of months, a couple posters in here flamed a new user, and others came to the defense writing it off as "oh, well, when you get to know them, thats just how they are." jkinatl2, you were one of the posters that said that. jk, my first post was fundamentally very similar to yours. it boils down to, there are some known people in here, and that is how they are, don't let it get to you. there is a pattern, often repeated, and to ignore and deny it, that is what i think is disingenuous.

The first time someone calls you a horse you punch him in the nose, the second time someone calls you a horse you call him a jerk, but the third time someone calls you a horse, well then perhaps it's time to go shopping for a saddle.


I don't get what is driving you on this mission of yours.  I can't see where the OP you are referring to was mistreated in any way -- except for your derailing his thread, of course.  Quite frankly it was some gratuitous and close to a flame bait.

Seeing as you have a great memory on a few "badly treated" newcomers -- where are your examples of all the helpful threads for newbies to these forums?  There are alot more of those -- by far.
You seem to have a chip on your shoulders -- if I recall, it was present when you first came here -- if you really don't find these forums useful, then why are you posting?  Hopefully, you can find the support you need here -- I know I have.  Yes, there have been "fights" and disagreements on here -- but when the chips are down the support comes -- sometimes from a source you might not expect it to come from.
So -- focus on the negatives if you want -- but there is more good here than you seem to see.


Rev. Moon:

You make some really valid points, but they are wasted on an individual who seems rather determined to flame bait --and to create the sort of negativity that disgusts him so much, and which he claims to find throughout the forum (while all the while riding a high horse).  It's the kind of person who doesn't even merit a response or any attention.


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