The “best thing for the community.” I keep hearing this phrase and it is becoming disturbing to me. We must do thus and so because it’s “best for the community.” My goodness. How did this site ever progress to the stage and state it has now become but for the Community - US. And the grace and beauty and specialness of this COMMUNITY is the members who speak their speak the way they speak it. From the bowels and truth of the addiction.
I’ve gone along (challengingly at times) with most of the changes that have occurred when we moved to this new platform, but I’m just personally finding more and more “restrictions” and “proper” placement and movement of content and moderation “all for the best of the community” to be all for the best of a community which I didn’t originally join. And I’m finding less and less enjoyment in being here because of it. And bit by bit more and more restrictive parameters seem to be being bred in little, almost unnoticeable increments.
Having been a member of this site soon after it’s inception in 2008 (two years after I had quit), I’ve seen MUCH and been a part of two platform changes now. Have seen how those changes have affected the site. Have seen hordes of member leave each time and a few core members remain, and obviously new member coming a’board. And the greatest increase of the latter was during this last platform change. Which is a good thing.
And I totally understand the need for “order” and certain discipline within a community support site. But I feel that restrictions, specific structuring and ordering, are beginning to stop the flow of normal conversation. Now, every time I write a blog or discussion I’m cognizant of “is this word ok or not? Is it all right if I add my own asterisk to ‘soften it’, or do I simply need to re-phrase my content?” "Should I place my content here, or there? Is it going to be moved?" That’s not what’s “best for the Community” to my mind. Just because of search engine needs and fear of offending. When we write a blog or start a conversation or respond to content on here, the brilliance and gift of the support is in the free expression of our hearts. And part of recovery from addiction is in self-expression and venting and becoming and sharing our new selves.
My serious concern is that when we start paying more attention to the needs of the 'sponsors' and newly created ‘medical/insurance’ connections that are perhaps being made through the expansion of this site, then what is truly special and unique about the EX Community will be secondary. I think then we begin down the road to being just like any other quit site out there. And there are MANY. And frankly they all teach the same concepts and offer similar tools. The concepts and tools presented by the Plan are not unique to EX.
What I believe IS unique, resides within the community. It's the reason, for example, that we have EX reunions. It is because of the free expression and emotional honesty that is created by the members here. The mostly ‘unconditional love’ (tough or soft) and empathy. There’s an incredible level of trust and thus depth of connection here. The more it’s tampered with by increasing rules and verbiage regulations and restrictions and altering of blog titles and placement of content - the less likely that same level of free expression and emotional honesty will come to the fore. In my opinion. I hope I’m wrong. And I may just be ‘aware of it’ because I’ve seen the changes. Those that don’t know the difference - well, it probably won’t hurt them. But I think it's hurting those of us who do. Life can be a real pain in the butt!
MOO (my opinion only).