Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Tell us how you think the forum can be improved. We will listen.
Justsit
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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by Justsit » Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:19 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:10 pm
binocular wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:12 pm

I think the proverbial testosterone could be playing a major part in this.
Surely this is playing the balls rather than the man?
:rofl:

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aflatun
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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by aflatun » Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:36 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:10 pm
binocular wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:12 pm

I think the proverbial testosterone could be playing a major part in this.
Surely this is playing the balls rather than the man?

Well done sir ! :tongue:
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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SDC
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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by SDC » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:52 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:12 pm
SDC wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:26 pm
One thing that I used to really enjoy about this forum was that we seemed to have ordinary members here who wielded as much or more influence than the staff, almost solely based on their knowledge of Dhamma. Sadly that is no longer what carries any weight around here - at all. The most impressive attribute now seems to be one's willingness to aggressively take up an issue regardless of its relation to the Dhamma. And this trend started long before the "News" section arrived. I think people realized they weren't getting noticed based on Dhamma knowledge, in Dhammic topics, and were longing for more easily accessible accolades. Hunt down some of the older lounge threads and you'll see precisely what I mean. Members from all over the political spectrum were responsible for making that worldly direction and attitude a significant part of what we discuss here and how we discuss it.
I think the proverbial testosterone could be playing a major part in this. Get enough men together for long enough, and they'll find something to fight about. (And thus set the tone of the establishment for everyone else who happens to come by.)
There is likely a good deal of truth to this. I do not mind friendly competition, but that is not at all what I find on DW these days. In order for debates/discussions to be fundamentally friendly, participants must be united under a rather obvious common goal, whereby even one's failure to competently present their position would still result in a rewarding and fun exchange for all parties involved. What we have on this forum are people with such fundamentally different modes of operation that disunity is just a matter of fact, and that lack of commonality is grounds enough for some to settle for blood when knowledge does not seem viable. Yes, "Dhamma of the Theravada" is the theme of this forum, but we have seen over the years that there are various ways to utilize the Dhamma. Out of respect for this diversity, we seem to have distanced ourselves from reaching a consensus on that issue. People can literally both be talking about the Dhamma but have zero grounds for agreement.

I think it will only get more complicated - if we aren't careful. The tendency to explore and develop ideas can, if not understood, run contrary to discernment of things as they are. Exploration, in many cases, is a creative process, and leaves "new" ground in its wake, i.e. there is a lack of discernment. And a return to that ground only fortifies it further if one is not careful. Ultimately the Dhamma aims to discuss such things in a fundamental manner, but when people prefer the glory of superficiality, i.e. "my ideas", any approach to commonality is sabotaged and people become disinterested in connecting - realizing quickly that connecting is no less than forfeiture of one's position for another. Again, if there were a shared goal, forfeit would be a means rather than an end, but that additional step is rarely taken. It represents failure and concession especially when emotion is running high.

Yadda, yadda...

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retrofuturist
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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:04 am

Greetings SDC,
SDC wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:52 pm
What we have on this forum are people with such fundamentally different modes of operation that disunity is just a matter of fact, and that lack of commonality is grounds enough for some to settle for blood when knowledge does not seem viable. Yes, "Dhamma of the Theravada" is the theme of this forum, but we have seen over the years that there are various ways to utilize the Dhamma. Out of respect for this diversity, we seem to have distanced ourselves from reaching a consensus on that issue. People can literally both be talking about the Dhamma but have zero grounds for agreement.
Personally, I don't see this as a problem. If I came to a forum and said, "This is how I see things", and everybody responded by saying, "I agree", "I concur", "Yes, you're right"... it might feel nice - like a group hug or a hot chocolate with a marshmallow on top...

:coffee: :group:

... but would anyone actually learn anything new? Would we be able to test our understandings, and refine them based on feedback, and indeed criticism from others? Would we be able to improve our practice, based upon learnings? Would people share links to suttas and other resources which might challenge or significantly expand our existing perspectives? Do we seek the truth, or do we really just seek personal validation?...

Honestly, there has never been any real consensus here at this forum in terms on Dhamma view... it's just that we had one particular member who took it upon himself to play Dhamma Cop and incessantly hound and badger anyone who said anything contrary to his understandings of what was important, what should be respected and what should be protected. I guess you could call that a "consensus" of sorts, but it's a forced consensus, achieved only by silencing and consciously diminishing the voices of those who disagree. Was that a good thing? Maybe some people with similar priorities to the Dhamma Cop might have been pleased about it at the expense of those with different priorities, but if people are being reasonable, independent and objective, I think we can probably agree that that's not really how a "forum" ought to operate.

TL;DR - Ideas can best be explored in a group environment, when people are not emotionally attached to their views, and when people are refraining from the temptation to coerce others.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"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)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Mkoll
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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by Mkoll » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:36 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:10 pm
binocular wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:12 pm

I think the proverbial testosterone could be playing a major part in this.
Surely this is playing the balls rather than the man?
:lol:

Touche!
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:38 am

... well we just had a recent topic on the "person within the ball". I guess it was only a matter of time before we had a topic about the balls within the...

Oh, nevermind.

8-)

Metta,
Paul. :)
"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)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

SarathW
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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by SarathW » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:52 am

but would anyone actually learn anything new? Would we be able to test our understandings, and refine them based on feedback, and indeed criticism from others? Would we be able to improve our practice, based upon learnings? Would people share links to suttas and other resources which might challenge or significantly expand our existing perspectives? Do we seek the truth, or do we really just seek personal validation?...
Agree.
This remind me the saying "If everybody agrees, some one is not thinking"
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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SDC
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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by SDC » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:56 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:04 am
Greetings SDC,
SDC wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:52 pm
What we have on this forum are people with such fundamentally different modes of operation that disunity is just a matter of fact, and that lack of commonality is grounds enough for some to settle for blood when knowledge does not seem viable. Yes, "Dhamma of the Theravada" is the theme of this forum, but we have seen over the years that there are various ways to utilize the Dhamma. Out of respect for this diversity, we seem to have distanced ourselves from reaching a consensus on that issue. People can literally both be talking about the Dhamma but have zero grounds for agreement.
Personally, I don't see this as a problem. If I came to a forum and said, "This is how I see things", and everybody responded by saying, "I agree", "I concur", "Yes, you're right"... it might feel nice - like a group hug or a hot chocolate with a marshmallow on top...

:coffee: :group:
In terms of particular ideas and or methods, I do not think you'll ever find such "harmonious" agreement, and that is not at all what I was referring to. It was more along the lines of purpose and general agreement of what we are here to accomplish - even if the answer is an understanding of Dhamma in our own terms. That could be agreed upon, but there is always someone who thinks they know better. It is a shame to because even after a heated debate people would have the option to consider the other view rather than having fortified their own. Though you rarely ever see such contentiousness end that way around here.

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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by Caodemarte » Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:00 am

Just to return to the theme for a second and drop the balls: if the forum could just return to exploring the Dhamma that would be good. Is it possible to eliminate these weird fact-free attacks on other religions (mostly Christianity and Islam) with no claims of even tenuous relevance to Buddhism? Using the forum as a platform for irrelevant provocations degrades the forum and makes it unattractive for serious discussion. If a post or thread has no connection to a discussion of the Dhamma why not eliminate it? There is plenty of room elsewhere.

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Will
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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by Will » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:03 am

First choice would be for David to evaporate the News-Events-Politics forum. There are vast numbers of online & other media for that.

But I fear he will not - so the other option is for all of us to not post there at all.
Whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. -- MN 19

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SDC
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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by SDC » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:08 am

Will wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:03 am
First choice would be for David to evaporate the News-Events-Politics forum. There are vast numbers of online & other media for that.

But I fear he will not - so the other option is for all of us to not post there at all.
Seeing as though you have been the OP on a fair share of sociopolitical contributions over the last year, I think it is quite a statement to see you leading this charge. I tip my hat to you. :smile:

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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by SarathW » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:16 am

First choice would be for David to evaporate the News-Events-Politcs forum.
Interesting discussion in Sutta Central.

https://discourse.suttacentral.net/t/fa ... it/7522/66
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:36 am

Greetings,
SDC wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:56 am
It is a shame to because even after a heated debate people would have the option to consider the other view rather than having fortified their own. Though you rarely ever see such contentiousness end that way around here.
Maybe though, but you never know though. I mean, is there anyone here whose view of the Dhamma is identical to the day they started? If not, then everyone is open to change and advancement to some degree... whether they come to you after the event and say, "You said this, and it make me reflect on that, and by doing so it helped enhance my understanding of such-and-such".

That feedback loop is never guaranteed, and in fact, if anything it's a pleasant surprise if it does happen. On a slightly related note, part of my job is to facilitate Lessons Learned Review workshops for project teams, and document their learnings in the report for dissemination to the appropriate people. I facilitated a workshop today, where it was actually evident that they'd consciously applied learnings from a previous review session that I'd facilitated for them. It's actually rare to see that feedback loop for yourself... often you just trust/hope/don't focus on the fact that what you say may or may not as well be going into a black hole... and you'll rarely know one way or the other. And thanks OK...

Metta,
Paul. :)
"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)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by DNS » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:43 am

I see there are currently about 89 active topics over the last 7 days. Eleven of these topics are in the News sub-forum, so about 12% of all topics. The vast majority of topics are in the other sub-forums on various Dhamma topics; meditation, jhanas, precepts, etc.

I still see no reason why those who want to discuss news cannot do so; upcoming elections, global warming, etc and I still think it is possible to do so while discussing what the best Dhammic position might be, understanding that others might disagree with you and that is okay. In this way, it is still related to the Dhamma. For example, I remember last year when marijuana legalization was on the ballot in my state. I supported it, being in favor of liberty, even though I have no interest in using it, but I wanted to hear some opinions from a Dhammic perspective, so asked my kalyana-mittas here at DW and also at DWM for their opinions.

As any forum gets so large (currently well over 10,000 members) there are bound to be very diverse opinions and of course participation in the News sub-forum is entirely voluntary.

As I and others have mentioned, if you want to see more topics and posts away from the News section, then start making them. "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by Will » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:58 am

DNS: I see there are currently about 89 active topics over the last 7 days. Eleven of these topics are in the News sub-forum, so about 12% of all topics. The vast majority of topics are in the other sub-forums on various Dhamma topics; meditation, jhanas, precepts, etc.
What about number of posts, not topics and over a month instead of a few days, in the News? What might be the percentage then?
Whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. -- MN 19

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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:00 am

Greetings,
Will wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:03 am
First choice would be for David to evaporate the News-Events-Politics forum. There are vast numbers of online & other media for that.

But I fear he will not - so the other option is for all of us to not post there at all.
Just some history (for the sake of background, not to say it needs to determine the future).

Since Dhamma Wheel started, we have always had a Lounge section, and the Lounge is inevitably where people would go if they wanted to discuss anything that didn't fit specifically within the parameters of the Dhamma-centric forums. It included News and Current Events topics, but it also included all the usual word games, cat pictures, music videos, jokes and such. We had a mantra, from the early days, of providing "a time and a place for all discussion of interest to Theravada Buddhists"... and the Lounge was one part of that bigger picture - a bit of a "catch all" for anything that didn't logically fit elsewhere.

Then a couple of years ago there were two key challenges that arose simultaneously...

- An Engaged Buddhism forum was briefly created which, for all intents and purposes, was set up as a Left Wing Buddhism Forum, and was full of late-era Bhikkhu Bodhi flavoured activism, protesting against capitalism, black power retreats, rants against cultural appropriation, advertising marches against climate change, and the pursuit of other leftist agendas. It was so tightly controlled, that no dissent was allowed... even questioning how "Buddhist" such left-wing activism was could get you banned. (Hello Cormac Brown, if you're still around...)

- With major shifts and polarization in the political landscape (and therefore, plenty to talk about in that sphere), some people complained that the Lounge needed to be more Loungey, and not so serious.

The solution to address both those circumstances, was to dissolve the Engaged Buddhism forum (with topics dispersed back to other suitable sub-forums), and the creation of the News section, which was on a level-playing field, with no moderator intervention to bolster any flavour of political view. News topics were moved from the Lounge to the News section, and we introduced a self-service function to allow people to switch off the News section, if it wasn't amenable to them and their practice. Unfortunately, very few people have opted for sense restraint, and have opted instead to complain about the fact there was a News section.

Also, aside from what's been happening here at Dhamma Wheel, people in society in general have become increasingly accustomed to self-selecting their own media intake and social circles in a way that aligns to and confirms their own views and perspectives, thereby creating a customised, technology-enabled echo chamber. Then, alternative ideas, or even the prospect of people holding ideas different to those they find within their echo chamber is very threatening to them. Diversity of thought was once an exciting proposition for many... but now it seems like a source of terror and anxiety, and probably helps to explain why these psychological conditions are becoming more prevalent in society. This evolution is not Dhamma Wheel-centric in origin, but it plays out here too of course, because many people are increasingly establishing their own ideological echo chambers, which reaffirm their side's stereotypes of what kinds of people, with what kinds of moral shortcomings, would dare to disagree with them. As such, the open playing field of the News section, where favoured views and non-favoured views actually have to co-exist, is, I think, proving too much for the psyche of some people. (If anyone here thinks I'm talking about them specifically - no, I'm not). People have grown intellectually lazy, and socially anxious, and having that which they might otherwise be able to escape from, put literally in their faces by other Buddhists, elicits some of the knee-jerk reactivity and hyper-emotional carry-on that we see from some quarters. Most people can handle it, but it only takes a fraction who are intolerant of the presence of alternative viewpoints, to create a whole lot of unnecessary drama.

Whilst the prospect of closing down the News section isn't on my immediate horizon, the prospect of banning people from that sub-forum for their failure to abide by the rules of the News section is indeed on the cards. From my perspective, if a limited few people can't cope, and don't have the capacity for appropriate sense restraint, then they shouldn't be allowed to ruin it for everybody else. I'm also toying (although probably not very seriously) with the possibility of turning off (in contrast to prohibiting) the News access of anyone who complains about that section. They can always manually turn it back on, but they'll have to make the conscious decision to do so, at which point by "opting in" they've waived any legitimate grounds to complain about it.

But as I said earlier, that's just background, context, and where things sit now... none of which dictates what the future must look like, or what society-level trends we need to be cognizant of here at Dhamma Wheel in coming years.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"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)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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DNS
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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by DNS » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:14 am

Will wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:58 am
DNS: I see there are currently about 89 active topics over the last 7 days. Eleven of these topics are in the News sub-forum, so about 12% of all topics. The vast majority of topics are in the other sub-forums on various Dhamma topics; meditation, jhanas, precepts, etc.
What about number of posts, not topics and over a month instead of a few days, in the News? What might be the percentage then?
If one opts out of the News subforum that percentage is:

0

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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by aflatun » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:30 am

Nothing significant to add I guess, but I will say as someone that more or less abhors politics, and cannot think of a greater waste of my time, I think its a good thing that David and the Mods are in support of allowing people to discuss (more or less) what they wish here. If people want to talk politics they should be able to.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

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Will
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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by Will » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:49 am

DNS wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:14 am

If one opts out of the News subforum that percentage is:
0
Never mind noble Will who is saving his soul from the ravages of contention, what about the others?

I bet the percentage of posts in News is more than 12% of all DW posts over a month period.
Whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. -- MN 19

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Re: Let's make this forum more Buddhist!

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:53 am

Greetings Will,
Will wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:49 am
Never mind noble Will who is saving his soul from the ravages of contention, what about the others?

I bet the percentage of posts in News is more than 12% of all DW posts over a month period.
I think it's quite clear from David's response, that if any others have a concern about the percentage of News related posts, they can reduce that percentage to zero with the proverbial flick of a switch.

Given they have been granted the autonomy and power to do so, why would it be any of our concern?

Metta,
Paul. :)
"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)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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