Though I trust you have all kept up to date with the rules of the board, most of you also do a good job of following them and perhaps feel little need to check for new rules that you would follow otherwise. Nevertheless, I feel that the community should be informed whenever the principles that guide the moderators are ammended.
The significant change to the forum rules announcement is the following:
I would also like to explain the reasoning behind this rule and request comments from the community.Code:15. If you are depressed or suicidal, I strongly urge you to seek professional help or the counseling of an adult n your community. The message boards can be an unfriendly place, and though some will be sympathetic, others will not be, and you are unlikely to receive the support you deserve. All too often, these threads result in flames and hurt feelings and nobody feels better. These threads will receive a reply listing resources for help and will then be closed. At the risk of appearing to hold a double standard, the moderators will be allowed to practice some discretion; for long-standing members of the community, if a particularly traumatic event occurs, they should not feel as though they cannot talk about it in the community.
By the nature of the site and the message board, many visitors are young adults going through potentially very difficult times in their lives. In the past, individuals who are clearly in deep distress have visited the board at first to help and learn; they then find the General Discussions board and find a place to express their inner discontents. I believe that at some level many of us can sympathize with these feelings, but we often must deal with their expression in the form of angry, hate-filled postings, numerous complaints, rants on the meaning of life, and other expressions of muffled suffering. I believe that the most appropriate response to this kind of pain is the care of empathetic adults trained to handle this kind of angst and unrest, and that though the response of the community is sometimes positive, there are always those who have had bad days or simply seen so much of the same kinds of unhappiness that they might sometimes trivialize it and react harshly to these posts. That is why I believe that the most appropriate response to that sort of thread is for a moderator or even a regular member to provide a comprehensive list of thoughtfully chosen resources that have helped our members in the past.
In light of this, I would ask those of you who have had difficulties in the past with this kind of issue to post or PM me with links and comments on those links so that the list will truly be personal and not just Google's top ten hits for "suicide" or "depression counseling".
At the same time, I realize that the feelings of these individuals will nonetheless seem to be unique to them and that they may not believe others have ever felt the same way and they may feel the resposne to be impersonal. But given the alternatives, I think this is the best solution. I welcome comments to the contrary. I encourage you to PM any individuals in need of empathy and sympathetic words with the same. I do not mean to suggest that these individuals be turned away with cold form-letters.
I also do not wish to express that forum members who have recently experienced some kind of loss, the onset of unexplainable depression, or other trauma should not post their problems here. The difference is that for those who have been around a long time and active in the community, they have become a part of the community and are more likely to understand and respect the rules of netiquette and to be given heart-felt sympathy, and less likely to become more out of control and express themselves in standoffish ways.
I hope that the distinction is clear to everyone, but if it is not, I should be glad to make it more so. The purpose is not to prevent people from seeking help, but to help them find it; either for new members through other resources that would be more helpful to their situations or for old members who might find friends and ears on the boards.
Further, I encourage everyone to forebore posting cruel responses to cries for help and to be either sympathetic or quiet.
If you have comments, questions, or suggestions, you may post them here or PM me.