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Keeping the Forum Friendly

How to win friends and influence trolls...

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Jesse Jesse VIC Posts: 1117
1 31 Jan 2011
Unleashed Admin
Firstly, apologies for the length of this post ashamed

Karen and I were just commenting last week on how wonderful the forum has been over the last few months. It's been a great group of people contributing and some thoughtful discussions being had. So it's a pity to see the negative vibe that has arisen in some threads in the past few days. I get the impression a few others aren't enjoying it either.

It's inevitable that from time to time we will have trolls drop by. As has been wisely advised by a number of people, when someone is clearly trolling the best thing to do is report them and ignore their posts. Having said that, I'm also very mindful of the fact that not everyone who comes onto this site with a differing point of view is necessarily a troll...

I've seen a few comments recently saying this is a forum for vegans and vegetarians. It's true that Unleashed is here to support those wanting to make cruelty-free choices. And the forum wouldn't be the wonderful vibrant place it is without your contributions.

But first and foremost, Unleashed exists to help animals. So Unleashed is not exclusively for those already into animal rights. In fact, it is those who aren't vegetarian who we most need to reach with our message. And with so many intelligent, well informed advocates on here, this should be the ideal place for people to engage in discussion about the issues, learn, and be inspired to make life changes to help animals.

Most of us were not born vegetarian. I didn't stop eating meat till I was 20. I had met several vegetarians before then, but hadn't really put much thought to it. But I'm incredibly grateful to the person who showed me the patience to discuss the issues with me, to respond to what must've seemed like silly questions and illogical arguments, and helped me understand why someone would want to go vegan. If they had been dismissive, or antagonistic, I may still eat meat today.

Many people have never stopped to consider the fact there could be more to the story of farming animals than the plastic wrapped corpse at the store. And often people make silly comments arguments, because they simply don't know the truth. Even offensive comments/jokes can often reflect lack of awareness more so than mal-intent.

So, for the animals' sake, I try to show others the same patience and willingness to engage in discussion - irrespective of how dumb, antagonistic or irrational their comments may first appear. And when someone seems too cynical/antagonistic to have a proper discussion with, I set myself the goal of leaving them (and those who might overhear or read that conversation) with a good impression of vegans... because hopefully that will mean next time they meet another veg*n they'll be more willing to have a real discussion.

To my mind, being vegan is more than just what I eat/wear/use. It's about doing the most I can to help end animal abuse. That makes effective advocacy so important. Every time we leave someone with a positive impression (even if they don't completely come around to our way of thinking), that's a glimmer of hope for the animals.

Occasionally it may take a moment to compose myself after a particularly insensitive comment. But I dont discuss animal rights for my own sake. I do it for the animals! So I take that moment to compose myself and respond positively, rather then get caught in the trap of 'fighting', 'arguing' or 'attacking' back.

Reading through the heated threads from the weekend, I can't help but wonder how Bubble & Squeak might've been inspired if she had walked into a friendlier discussion (note: even in a rather antagonistic discussion she reflected that she would like to give up meat).

While I've put all those who were accused of 'trolling' on the weekend onto a watch-list, I also noted that when people responded to them civilly, all of them seemed willing to discuss the issues. For the animals' sake, I'd rather see these people have the opportunity to learn about animal rights in a friendly environment than have to boot people from the forum because we can't keep the peace.

I'm forever inspired by the number of people who come to Unleashed, new to the cause and wanting to know what more they can do. I hope we can keep the forum the supportive, friendly environment that will inspire even more people to make a difference for the animals.

On the topic of effective advocacy for animals, I'd highly recommend the materials that Bruce Friedrich has produced. This podcast on snappy comebacks gives a great guide to how to respond to people (even if a few of the facts they use are more US focussed): http://www.podcastdirectory.com/podshows/3462629

Karen Karen Australia Posts: 993
2 31 Jan 2011
Unleashed Admin
^^ Even if you don't have time to read Jesse's post, everyone who wants to be a voice for animals should listen to this ^^

love beaverhug
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TheSixthStitch TheSixthStitch Aruba Posts: 988
3 31 Jan 2011
Good to see the moderators back happy
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Ward Ward VIC Posts: 94
4 1 Jul 2011
Well said happy
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...2 ...2 WA Posts: 2307
5 1 Jul 2011
Thanks for that, Jesse.
I apologise for those moments where my emotions ruled my mind and I responded poorly to situations.

tongue I have since implemented a "walk away from the keyboard and return to rationality before replying" policy.
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jack jack VIC Posts: 1463
6 2 Jul 2011
Vegetivorous said:
Thanks for that, Jesse.
I apologise for those moments where my emotions ruled my mind and I responded poorly to situations.

tongue I have since implemented a "walk away from the keyboard and return to rationality before replying" policy.
same same
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PokemonFan1 PokemonFan1 VIC Posts: 15
7 29 Nov 2011
This board isn't active enough to encourage regular trolling.
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Kacey Michelle Kacey Michelle NSW Posts: 92
8 19 Feb 2012
I'm quite new to this forum, but I've mostly felt patronisation more than anything for the fact I have only begun to try and make better purchasing choices and am not already completely vegan: and my family is not vegan. Though I haven't let it throw me back. There are people here who are completely willing to be helpful and welcoming: and whenever an issue comes up in regards to these topics patronisation is to be expected, so I will simply ignore the people who refuse to be helpful.
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Aimee Aimee VIC Posts: 957
9 19 Feb 2012
Kacey Michelle said:
I'm quite new to this forum, but I've mostly felt patronisation more than anything for the fact I have only begun to try and make better purchasing choices and am not already completely vegan: and my family is not vegan. Though I haven't let it throw me back. There are people here who are completely willing to be helpful and welcoming: and whenever an issue comes up in regards to these topics patronisation is to be expected, so I will simply ignore the people who refuse to be helpful.
It sucks that you've felt patronised at times, and I hope that the posters didn't intend it to come across that way (it's hard to tell sometimes with only text and things are often taken the wrong way).

It is not as if everyone here is a vegan and you are the only one here who is feeling challenged while in the process of making kinder choices- many posters and lurkers here are in the same situation as you are and they may or may not speak up, so please keep posting happy
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Kacey Michelle Kacey Michelle NSW Posts: 92
10 19 Feb 2012
Aimee said:
Kacey Michelle said:
I'm quite new to this forum, but I've mostly felt patronisation more than anything for the fact I have only begun to try and make better purchasing choices and am not already completely vegan: and my family is not vegan. Though I haven't let it throw me back. There are people here who are completely willing to be helpful and welcoming: and whenever an issue comes up in regards to these topics patronisation is to be expected, so I will simply ignore the people who refuse to be helpful.
It sucks that you've felt patronised at times, and I hope that the posters didn't intend it to come across that way (it's hard to tell sometimes with only text and things are often taken the wrong way).

It is not as if everyone here is a vegan and you are the only one here who is feeling challenged while in the process of making kinder choices- many posters and lurkers here are in the same situation as you are and they may or may not speak up, so please keep posting happy
Thanks, I most definitely will. Regardless, it seems like a great community. happy
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