One surprisingly good post from our sister topic at Zen Forum International that I'd like to share here:
guo gu wrote:
catching up on certain threads and found this one...
personally i feel that non-anonymity may help in encouraging people to take responsibility in what they post in this forum, but it's not a guarantee. as many people have expressed, some people may not feel comfortable revealing their identity.
the issue here may not be anonymity or non-anonymity, but trolling. yet, i don't see trolling or trollers (not sure if i'm using the word correctly) on this forum. i see a very few number of people asking different questions but not accept others' suggestions. but that's fine. i don't see a problem with that at all. i'm not familiar enough with online forums to comment but my impression is that the so-called "trolls" or "trollers" on other social medias/forums/blogs, etc. usually post many hurtful things. folks do get annoyed with each others' posts, but people get annoyed with others in real life. do we block them out of our life or do we use the opportunity as practice? if people are annoyed, don't bother responding. i say that in the context of this forum specifically. again, i don't feel members here are saying hurtful things, using inflammatory words, or being insincere. we may not agree with certain views, but we can't assume that the poster is a troller because their views are different. they may be quite sincere in sharing their own experience. using words like trolling or troller for any member here, i feel, do more damage than good.
the issue here is how to establish a shared sense of ethics in posting to make this forum a friendly and helpful community, how to post with a sensitivity towards other members. challenging questions and debates are part of a healthy forum. most people here share this sense of ethics. we should try to help those who do not yet have share this sensitivity. we don't just ban them! we don't give up trying.
this reminds me of a chan story. one time a mob of monks complained to the chan master abbot that certain so and so was doing something unethical--i think the monk in question stole something--and wanted to have him expelled. the master said, "if you want to kick him out then you'll have to kick me out too." when asked why, the master said, "all of you already know right from wrong but that monk doesn't. if no one wants to teach him, then i will." the monk was moved to tears and changed his ways. the point: people don't change necessarily because of external rules or pressures; people change because they're moved or inspired to change, because they want to change.
another story, actually it happened on this forum! when i was invited to be on this forum, i joined not knowing that teachers' advice to students in the "ask a teacher question" section cannot be challenged/questioned. so naturally when i felt that a teacher was not answering the question, repeatedly, despite the student's requests, i stepped in and gave an answer to the student and questioned the teacher. this was one of my first posts. unfortunately, my answer was perceived as a threat, so much that the teacher actually left the forum our of anger (despite my repeated apologies to him in pms)! another teacher jumped in and attacked my responses to nearly every thread, even outside of the "ask a teacher question" section. this continued until even the admins asked me to click on the "report" button several times. i never did. so the admins took it upon themselves one time to remove that teacher's posts. meanwhile, the first teacher returned to the forum, and i received many pm's by members asking me not to leave; some shared with me their own experiences/encounters with those teachers, thinking that i was offended and would leave the forum. actually, i didn't really see those as problems, but i did feel sorry for the teachers, members, and admins. the point: there's always a choice in whether we get offended or not. what's the sound of one hand clapping if there's no hand that claps back?
we're all growing and learning together here, and nothing remains the same. yet in this process, what kind of forum ethics do we want to propose? what kind of online zen community do we want to have? since people's views are divided on whether someone is a troller or not, on what grounds do we judge others?
more words to add to the entangling vines...