being nicer on here

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being nicer on here

Postby alan... » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:01 am

i know this is stupid, and i wouldn't be posting this but:

theravada is getting more and more popular, this is one of (the only?) and possibly the most popular theravada forum on the web. so this forum is going to be part of the process of people for forming some opinions on theravada and it's practitioners as a whole, even if this is not fair or valid, it's how a lot of people work. they discover something "ooh, theravada" and maybe find a forum, if they have a great experience then they think theravada is good and dig deeper, if they like it and learn about it a lot, then they truly know about it and the rest is beyond us. however if they have a bad experience early on before really learning about the tradition much then they will lump everything together and decide that theravada and people that practice it are not something they like. again, this is illogical but many people work like this!

anyway, i've had no problems with people on here, but i've seen many arguments and debates where people are clearly getting worked up. i've also seen a lot of people join who seem to get ripped up by old heads when they have a differing opinion or are simply incorrect on a topic or statement, then they seem to disappear shortly thereafter. now the old heads probably don't even realize this is a problem, heck i may even be part of this problem from time to time and not know it (i'm not an old head on here, but i'm used to friendly debate and fact checking)! we get caught up in factual debates, proving each other wrong and so on, which is great and usually fun if you're used to it, but for someone just looking for some light reading or even friendly chatting it can be hurtful and crushing, especially when they are new to the forum.

the overall feel is that there are a lot of users on here who are blunt and poignant in speech and seem to either not know that this offends many, or too simply think that everyone should just be more like them and the others they talk with who are not offended by this kind of attitude. this is because there is a large amount of users who are like this and they all have a grand old time talking to each other like this, again, i'm probably one of them sometimes, so this applies too me just as much as anyone else.

so basically if you've been on here for a long time and know a ton about buddhism, handle newbies with kid gloves when setting them straight on the facts. lots of please and thank you, very little sarcasm (tough to be certain!) and plenty of condolences if they seem hurt by the smack down of knowledge. the knowledge must be shared, that's why we're here, but it could be done with a little more kindness and gentleness.

that's it, below are some fictional examples for fun (the "links" are just pretend to make the examples look more realistic :tongue:):

newbie: "i here buddha say: 'i am god!' this tru. what do u say?"

old head # 1: "the buddha never said any such thing. the very idea is preposterous, check your facts, here are five sutta examples where he says otherwise."

old head # 2: jumps in right after (this is probably me) "these kinds of ideas come from other religions and don't fit in with buddhism at all. check for more."

old head # 3 is next: "source? sutta quote? page number? author? be careful about believing everything you here!"

newbie: :cry:

if this thread was started by an old head they should darn well expect these responses! but for a newbie it comes off as arrogant and cold hearted.

it could go more like this:

newbie: "i here buddha say: 'i am god!' this tru. what do u say?"

old head # 1: "i've heard things like this before as well, however to my knowledge the buddha never said any such thing. here are five sutta examples where he says otherwise. although it could have come from a little known mahayana sutra or some really late mahayana/vajrayana non canonical text written by an individual or something, but it's not likely a theravada idea. cheers!"

old head # 2 jumps in right after: (this probably is what i should have said) "these kinds of ideas usually come from other religions, originally they were certainly not in buddhism as far as we know from the texts we have today. however they may fit with buddhism for certain people where buddhism developed differently and created different offshoots such as nicheren buddhism or pure land. check for more on the theravada view of this, and for more on a school that does teach things like this."

old head # 3 is next: "interesting. i've never heard such a thing, i would guess it's just a random thing. do you know what book this quote comes from?"

obviously this does not apply to abrasive and argumentative newbs, that's a whole different story.

overall, we just need to be more kind when it comes to setting people straight.

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby Ben » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:54 am

Thank you alan... for your valuable input.
kind regards,

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:07 am

Greetings Alan,

What I'd suggest is to "be the change you want to see in the world"... give the responses you feel are appropriate, and they may well resonate with others, or they may not.

Everyone is different, and everyone has different proclivities and expectations they lay upon the shoulders of others.

People will explain things according to their own understanding, and most people do not profess to be teachers.

Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby Reductor » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:16 am

This forum has always had this hard edge to it, as far as I recall, and there's been more than one thread about it.

Personally, I think the hard edge comes, in part, from the fact that people come here and show that they haven't a clue about Theravada or the what's in the tipitika. Naturally they ask oft asked questions, or make assertions founded on ignorance, and thus vex those who have seen these things a hundred times before and lack the energy to respond, or lack the patience to respond nicely.

Another problem may be that people just love to talk about the details, and are bored with giving simple answers. I know I've treated my own posts as a chance to masturbate in public (thrilling, btw, for those that haven't given it a go).

What's my point? None, really, except that only those with thick skins or prior knowledge of Theravada (or both) will stick around. And to me, this seems perfectly fitting. :pig:

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby Dan74 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:20 am

I basically agree with the proviso that you can't please everyone. What is "being nicer" to one person is "mincing one's words" to another. What is being blunt or even rude to the former is being direct and to the point to the latter.

I do agree that as a general policy it is good to be welcoming and gentle to the newbies regardless of what they say, as long as their are genuine and civil. But I think the "old heads" are already doing this, are they not? Maybe you can PM the mods with example where you think people were not?

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:37 am

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby binocular » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:45 am

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby m0rl0ck » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:49 am

“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby BlackBird » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:47 am

It's definitely a problem, and it's starting to put me off.
Last edited by BlackBird on Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." -

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby Hickersonia » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:26 pm

I do think we've had a few more "heated discussions" than usual of late. While I don't post too often, I read a lot and just shake my head when a conversation starts to go awry. I try to shrug it off, but I have come to the conclusion that the source of it really is bruised egos.

I hope no one takes my saying that the wrong way...

In any event, I think there are a lot of occasions where we could think a little bit longer about what we're posting before we hit the button and send our typewritten speech across the internet for all to read.

Be well, friends.

"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of
throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby Mr Man » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:39 pm

I think a call to be nicer is a good call.

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby Sarnath » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:02 pm

Namaste Buddhists

I am a new member to your forum. And an example of someone who does not know. I do not know.

I would like to know. I am not a Buddhist, I am a Hindu. But nevertheless, I would like to know.

I have many allegiances to India. Because of that, there is no avoiding Lord Buddha, Who after all was a Prince from Nepal-India Who obtained Enlightenment. As with most Hindus, my respect for Buddha is notable, and I am coming from the perspective of a continuing crisis within Hinduism, there are examples of Hindus "converting" to Buddhism.

This crisis has origins in birth-based caste doctrines, it continues today and due to fear of a decline of Hinduism is actually surfacing once again as some within Hindu schools are building walls around themselves in an attempt to protect their interests and to hide.

There is also a tone in such circles, driven by fear, to argue all the time, to use mean language, to take things too personal, and even when the point or truth to be made is grounded in dharma it is done in a matter that is projecting these same tones which do not do service to the message.

I respect the Buddha because He told what needed to be exampled and expressed to those such as me who do not know. I hope if the message is grounded in dharma that it can be made with that spirit. Surely if it is dharma, then this is possible from those who know.

I have two posts, and just exploring the forum to try and know more. I have not fully explored the forum to know if what is implied in this thread has validity or not, or is n example perhaps of what happens in other practices. It will be interesting however, I hope patience is a path.

In your service ...
Caste System is Not Karma, it is Man Made

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby Aloka » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:22 pm

Last edited by Aloka on Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:29 pm


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Re: being nicer on here

Postby SDC » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:39 pm

Your post count and join date mean everything. They are in direct correlation to your knowledge and experience of the dhamma. So post a lot for a long time and then people will take you seriously. Furthermore, you can say anything you want once you've been around for 3 years.






In all honesty, we could be nicer around here, but no one is perfect. You can get a lot out of this place if you don’t get wrapped up in the riffraff. Personally after 3+ years here, the only issue I have is that too many of my ‘Discovering Therevada’ posts have been denied even though they were awesome. :tongue:

Best advice I can give new people – stick around until you aren’t new anymore. By the time that happens you will understand the pulse of this place and it will no longer be an issue.

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby binocular » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:52 pm

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:14 pm

• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby reflection » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:25 pm

Last edited by reflection on Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby Anagarika » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:26 pm

It's interesting to me, being a member on both Dhamma Wheel and Dharma Wheel the difference in tone at times, between the two. I enjoy and respect both tremendously. I have my own thoughts as to why there may be differences in tone, having studied/practiced in both Dhamma and Dharma. I still come back to the idea of trying to maintain Metta (goodwill) and an effort at right speech, with others. I'm guilty of being snarky at times, and for that I'm not always pleased with my performance. It's always my hope that new folks come to these forums and find a welcoming environment, just as out Hindu friend arrived today seeking input. I'd hate to think that someone new came to DW seeking advice, counsel or a kalyana mitta and met a nasty exchange over anatta. :)

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Re: being nicer on here

Postby Sadge » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:01 pm

SDC, post count and join time on an Internet forum have nothing to do with how much you know and have experienced the Dhamma.

I'm a newbie and was surprised how harsh this place is considering it is full of Buddhists! I like things being harsh and not sugar coating things.... And there is that here, but imho there are also posts that seem to just give the posters opinion in an unnecessarily rude way. It's opinionated, thats my main opinion ;-)

Plus a lot of people do get scared off by harsh words and the OP is right,this is the main theravada forum, we all have a responsibility to be kind.

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