How to minimize unprofitable discussion

How to minimize unprofitable discussion Hokai Sobol 9/3/08 8:09 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Chris Marti 9/3/08 12:05 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Nathan I S 9/3/08 12:32 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Vincent Horn 9/3/08 2:32 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Nathan I S 9/3/08 3:44 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Frater Geur 9/3/08 8:50 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Wet Paint 9/3/08 10:42 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion beta wave 9/3/08 11:54 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Vincent Horn 9/4/08 2:37 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Martin Mai 9/4/08 4:43 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Frater Geur 9/4/08 4:52 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Vincent Horn 9/4/08 5:32 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Florian 9/4/08 6:40 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Lee G Moore 9/4/08 6:41 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Lee G Moore 9/4/08 7:15 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Chris Marti 9/4/08 12:05 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Chuck Kasmire 9/4/08 12:43 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion triple think 1/22/09 9:12 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion j g 5/13/09 2:18 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Kenneth Folk 5/13/09 4:57 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Wet Paint 5/20/09 1:26 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Wet Paint 6/12/09 1:13 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Wet Paint 6/12/09 6:37 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Hokai Sobol 6/12/09 8:54 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Wet Paint 6/12/09 9:37 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Wet Paint 6/12/09 11:30 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion tarin greco 6/12/09 9:46 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Chris Marti 6/13/09 5:12 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Wet Paint 6/13/09 5:26 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Wet Paint 6/13/09 1:04 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion j g 6/13/09 4:40 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion tarin greco 6/13/09 5:57 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion tarin greco 6/13/09 6:14 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion nic s 6/14/09 3:08 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Chuck Kasmire 6/14/09 5:31 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Wet Paint 6/14/09 6:14 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Chuck Kasmire 6/14/09 10:39 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Chuck Kasmire 6/14/09 10:41 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion triple think 6/15/09 11:31 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Chris Marti 6/15/09 11:49 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Tina Hamilton 6/15/09 1:21 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Wet Paint 6/15/09 2:47 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Tina Hamilton 6/16/09 8:11 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion triple think 6/18/09 5:49 AM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion triple think 6/19/09 9:52 PM
RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion Ed clay vannoy 6/23/09 4:35 PM
Hokai Sobol, modified 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 8:09 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 8:09 AM

How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 4 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
Forum: The Big Issues

So far this wiki/forum has been doing fairly well, but from time to time we get threads that get way too much attention, though being basically about not much. Also, from time to time - and it will grow as our member base grows - we get posts that seek attention in a personal manner, trying to present one's own story and one's very own angle - usually not an original one, and often flatly uninformed - only to argue about this or that point while losing all sight of what this whole thing is about in the first place, namely goal-oriented practice and non-speculative, non-dogmatic exchange of dharmic tips and tricks. So let me quote from Dan's intro:

"...pragmatism over dogmatism, diligent practice over blind faith, openness regarding what the techniques may lead to, a lack of taboos surrounding talking about attainments, and the spirit of mutual, supportive adventurers on the path..."

So, how do you see us moving in that direction and gently restoring such movement whenever we find the discussion straying into biographic irrelevance, obsession over personal feelings and opinions, entertaining speculation over ill-understood concepts, guessing instead of finding out, and wishcraft instead of vigorous practice? How do we cultivate not just courteous, not even just conscious, but enlightened communication?
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Chris Marti, modified 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 12:05 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 12:05 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 379 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
Great questions, Hokai. Questions that every public message board struggles with, too.

First, worry not, because the participants here are more or less self-governing. When I was managing boards for some popular magazines we had some truly serious and nasty folks to deal with. The anonymity provided by software like this allows it, and there will always be a few who exploit it. You need, at worst, a moderator or "host" who is wiling to pull the plug on the most egregious abusers and, at minumum, who will state publicly on the boards how things are supposed to work and what is and is not tolerated. This should occur as soon as possible after an issue has been discovered. A gentle nudge in the right direction is usually all that's needed.

It's a tightrope act. Be too strict and you will lose participants. Be too tolerant and the boards can spin out of control, thus losing you participants. From my experience here to date I say keep going just as you are until experience requires another tactic.
Nathan I S, modified 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 12:32 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 12:32 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/26/09 Recent Posts
It's the internet, i think that will be hard to do.

w/r/t the buddhadharma, part of my attempt to follow "wholesome speech" is to qualify what is from my experience and to state when something is not, and to avoid giving anyone practice advice directly and where feasible relate personal practical experience, as I am not a teacher. It can lead to things sounding stilted in text, especially b/c in English we have the informal second-person, but this is my approach. When I do feel some authority to comment, I attempt only to speak from my experience, so, e.g., "Whenever I encolunter somethinfg like that, I do x" etc. I didn't make up these rules, I got them from my teacher.

on the other hand, there are some things i feel well-versed enough on which to comment or speculate, but i don't know that i'd say those things traditionally fall under the umbrella of the dharma and generally i avoid discussing it

that may not be too helpful but i think it has some impact, at least on my own behavior here.
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Vincent Horn, modified 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 2:32 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 2:32 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Great questions Hokai. I think one way we can do that is by referring to, or perhaps expanding, the purpose statement that Daniel offered on the front page. When things are straying away from the values that we are here to promote: pragmatism, diligent practice, goal-oriented, technique-centric discussions, etc. then I think we could be a little more straight-forward in our unwillingness to go down other tracts and simply warn and/or ban folks who are going overboard (which seems to be about 1 out of 10 people who have joined this wiki!).

I'm not opposed at all to involving those folks who are at least willing to understand some of the basic assumptions at play here, and be at least somewhat interested in engaging in the diaogue the way it was structured, which I believe is the most powerful kind of dialogue around w/r/t dharma practice.

I have gained some much value, and challenged so much of my naive notions and faulty assumptions, by being able to talk with other practitioners who were treading the path, who were open about their attainments (and lack of attainments), who could offer a few helpful suggestions, and who were deeply interested in supporting my genuine awakening. I can say for sure that for the few people who are actually willing to do the work, and to question some of their models of awakening, this place can and should be an absolute god-send.

This, I guess, is just to remind myself of the real potential value here in this community.
Nathan I S, modified 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 3:44 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 3:44 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

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I'll add that it might be helpful to flesh out the pages with more information suited to technical practice. I really can't emphasize enough the extent to which learning that practice has an ends, as well as a progressive and potentially permanent effect, rather than some stoned-granola crap about "inner peace and stuff" or "like being in the moment" or some therapeutic ethos, as much as those are in their own flawed way as accurate as anything else, spurred me to practice. before finding Daniel's material I had written off Buddhist practice in the West as something addle-brained upper-middle-class white people did to feel better about themselves

practical information, it's a quality breakfast
Frater Geur, modified 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 8:50 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 8:50 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 24 Join Date: 9/9/09 Recent Posts
(Me too, Nathan28!) Compassion has to be part of our approach. The unhelpful stuff that people might bring to these forums are simply an acting-out of the genuine problems that stand in the way of practice, no matter their motives. And to ban someone is a very serious thing to do. If someone is banned, how do we ensure they have the opportunity to change and come back and give it another try? What seems appropriate to me is a response that is as tolerant of unhelpful stuff as possible, but which firmly points the attention back - again and again - to more skilful forms of practice.

Duncan.
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Wet Paint, modified 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 10:42 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 10:42 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: AlanChapman

What is the aim of this site? For genuine practitioners to communicate with each other? Or to help the misguided to the correct approach? A mix of both?

I suppose it comes down to how much value we place on acting the Bodhisattva. Personally, I love it. I very much enjoy engaging with shoddy thinking, prejudice and assumption. But I do have a finite patience, so the question for me is how much effort is too much? When am I wasting my time?

Perhaps a page of FAQs addressing the main misunderstaings of Buddhism or the approach of this site is required. Then when a boob pops up, we can send him/her straight to that page. If they fail to change their approach after this pointer, they get a warning. Persist, and they're banned.

Or how about this - after pointing them to the page, if they fail to change their approach we simply do not engage with them until they do? And if one of us does engage with them, we get banned. Hang on...
beta wave, modified 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 11:54 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/3/08 11:54 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 5 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
This is just a small thing, but it seems like the conversations become mostly noise when we don't nail down the real question/statement within someone's post.

When a lot of "story" or even "drama" is a part of someone's question, we need to do a good job of not being distracted by that and instead help that person clairfy exactly what their question is. Many times people will include distracting details or contentious statements as a way of protecting their actual vunerability. They offer an additional easy "target".

So I would say we need to be a bit more diagnositic before we jump in with advice or reactions. And we can encourage posters to be as concise as possible with their questions. With both sides taking that kind of responsibility, I think unprofitable discussion would be very minimal. Really, it already is pretty minimal, but I agree that this is a very good conversation to have right now.
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Vincent Horn, modified 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 2:37 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 2:37 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Yes, I'll have to echo Alan's question of "When am I wasting my time?" and more importantly when are we wasting the time of the folks who come to participate here and aren't acting out in obviously neurotic ways, who are willing to learn and put some of this stuff into practice, etc.? I think our energy should be more focused on those that are able to receive the suggestions, feedback, support, and challenges that many of us here offer. I think that in the long-run we'll do a disservice to these people, the one's who will actually benefit from this site, by focusing all of our attention on those folks who have very little social intelligence, a high degree of neurosis, who think in highly dogmatic terms, and who simply aren't interested in learning anything here.

If we become dharma martyrs, I think that won't speak very highly of our true mission and vision here, which isn't to stir up drama, but rather is to stir up good and useful dharma. ;) And the fact is, that even if someone is in the dark night (I know many many people who are) that doesn't mean that they are ready, willing, or sometimes even able to accept the basic suggestions that would help them pass through it. That doesn't mean we can't be skillful as possible, but that does mean there need to be clear boundaries so that a greater number of people can get value from this site. Anything else is just egalitarian mush...
Martin Mai, modified 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 4:43 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 4:43 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
What´s annoying me most is that the unprofitable discussions have been recieving way more attention than the technical ones. There has been a long time that valuable questions have been unanswered because the expereinced members had to deal with the small talk going on in other threats. I´d love to see the quality threats recieve more attention again and I think Alan´s Idea from two posts anove might be quite practical in this regard.
A site explaining the standard maps like the ones about A&P and Jhanas and some general, often-used terms would be quite helpful for new members who haven´t read Daniel´s book or anything related, I think.
Hope things will change for the better,
best wishes,
Martin
Frater Geur, modified 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 4:52 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 4:52 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 24 Join Date: 9/9/09 Recent Posts
According to the home page, Dharma Overground is an 'outer circle' with an 'inner circle' of the Dharma Underground. This kind of structure is a time-honoured and proven mechanism for safeguarding esoteric practices and - presumably - is also there to be made use of in dealing with exactly these kinds of problems. Naturally, there will be more noise in the outer circle. In a sense, isn't that its purpose? When I think of the intense love-hate relationship I had with Buddhism for many years, before I settled down to proper practice, I'd hate to think that I was perhaps consolidating someone's prejudice against dharma by laying it on too heavy with them, before they've properly had a chance to work out for themselves what it's all about.
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Vincent Horn, modified 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 5:32 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 5:32 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 211 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
Hi Duncan,

Actually, there is no Dharma Underground. Though that was the original intent, but nothing has happened with that other site (primarily, I think because it takes too much energy to do both), and so in fact this site has become both. I think that must be considered moving forward...

Best,

-Vince
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Florian, modified 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 6:40 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 6:40 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
I added an FAQ page, with one simple question answered. Feel free to add, everybody.
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Lee G Moore, modified 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 6:41 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 6:41 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 18 Join Date: 7/4/09 Recent Posts
There is an energy about this site that inspires me not to write unless I feel there is something helpful to say. Many times I've written long winded content laden posts as I have in other forums, and simply stopped before posting realizing my intention was not to be helpful but in actually was to do some "selfing". I appreciate not only the explicit advice given towards being pragmatic but the implicit unwritten rule that discourages wallowing in content.

Sometimes, I find myself wishing there was more "action" on these forums, but mostly I appreciate how effective this community is at staying on track and minimizing noise. Having been involved in (and grown) a number of internet communities, I'm quite happy and impress with how Dharma Overground has grown.

Please, keep up the great work!
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Lee G Moore, modified 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 7:15 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 7:15 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

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Occasionally someone comes along who doesn't seem to get this community and tends to offend (or annoy) the core values of many members here. However, often the ensuing dialogue results in excellent discussion and I see the same points articulated in new and interesting ways that gives me a fresh slant on pragmatic results oriented practice.

In other words, I find redeeming value in much of the conflict that comes from new outspoken members that don't quite connect with the core vision of the community. The effort to help someone who is not connecting can yield some interesting and engaging new articulations of the core values.

Overall I am pretty happy with the manner in which unhelpful topics and discussions are addressed and made interesting.

Lee
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Chris Marti, modified 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 12:05 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 12:05 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 379 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
After reading through the comments here today I'd like to reiterate mine from yesterday: please stay the course.

Dharma Overgroiund has so far had just abut the right mix of new and old, novice and expert, tight and loose controls on posters. Don't change anything until it bceomes obvious that a change is necessary. It's really easy to over-engineer and thus mess things up. We'll know if we need to change the current process because this topic now exists and can serve as the canary in the coalmine for Daniel, Hokai and Vince.

JMHO.
Chuck Kasmire, modified 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 12:43 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 9/4/08 12:43 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 560 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
I agree with cmarti: please stay the course. There are some rather strange posts at times. And it does seem that no matter how hard some try to give advice, the point they are trying to make is at times missed. Still, I think there are probably more people viewing this site than actually post to it and for them, there may be great benefit from reading well thought out responses. That is, they may have similar issues or questions as the poster – and are capable of understanding the advice offered in a way that helps them with their practice. I think any site that tries to do what DharmaOverground is trying to do is going to have to expect that things will get a bit messy around the edges.

-Chuck
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triple think, modified 15 Years ago at 1/22/09 9:12 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 1/22/09 9:12 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
As someone who took up this challenge by beginning with posting a personal difficulty in the hope that it would be addressed in this very direct way I think you are meeting the standards implicit within your intentions with genuine expressions of wisdom and compassion without nurturing confusion or delusion and that is the context we are all aspiring to participate in isn't it? I think as long as there is evident and mutual respect there can be the presentation of plain old blind spots and ignorance at the same table to address. So, great work, much appreciated and thank you.
j g, modified 15 Years ago at 5/13/09 2:18 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 5/13/09 2:18 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
How about something to give members an outlet without cluttering up the discussion threads.

I was thinking it would be nice to have the ability to create an online meditator's journal linked to the user's page. I'm a beginner, and thought it would be great to have something to post maybe some weekly thoughts listing the progression of practice (like a blog), may be the ability to create sub-user pages where the user can give a brief bio and maybe a list of books read... all with the intent to give the more experienced members and leaders the ability to guage the babes as they give them advice, and help them when they ask real questions... and maybe weed out the flaky stuff. Also, maybe the ability to to keep those journals private if one so chooses, and give the user control of who may view it, since the experience of practice can look strange to outsiders.

I realize this is all similar to what one could do on a blogsite (like blogger or wordpress), but maybe this could work here. I dunno, what do the higher-ups think?
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Kenneth Folk, modified 15 Years ago at 5/13/09 4:57 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 5/13/09 4:57 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 439 Join Date: 4/30/09 Recent Posts
I think that's a wonderful idea, Jamie. Most of what you are suggesting can be done on your profile page. At the bottom of each profile page is a place where you can start a thread that could be a journal or progress log. I like your idea of having a person's meditation history available in one place because it would make it easier to give intelligent answers to questions.

As for cluttering up the discussion threads with personal practice info, no worries; that's what this place is about. We share our practice and our wisdom. But if, whenever someone asked a question, we could go to their profile page to put it all into context it would be really helpful. Often, the information is on the site in various threads but it isn't practical to track it down. I'm thinking that when you put some practice detail into a discussion thread you could also cut and paste it into your practice log for easy future access.

As for keeping it private, that's a bit antithetical to our mission of transparency, but of course you can always PM other members for more discreet conversations. A lot of us do that already and it's a big part of what this community offers.

Thanks for the great suggestion!

Kenneth
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Wet Paint, modified 15 Years ago at 5/20/09 1:26 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 5/20/09 1:26 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: PaulMarshall

Hello all - I've come to this site thanks to the Buddhist Geeks podcast.

I used to moderate a very large Buddhist messageboard and it really was like herding cats, mainly because of the level of neuroses that seemed to be present in many members. Some would be overly wooly, some completely rigid in their thinking and many having a weird passive-aggressive tendancy. From what I've seen here there's a level of maturity that should prevent many of these problems (fingers crossed) or help people who suffer in such ways. That Dharma Overground is so much more practice-based I think many such problems should be nipped in the bud fairly easily. A good FAQ is something I think is invaluable for this.

Paul
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Wet Paint, modified 15 Years ago at 6/12/09 1:13 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/12/09 1:13 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: lastingr

This thread gets to the heart of why I have never gotten excited about discussion boards, groups, etc. A topic dear to my heart digresses and I find myself losing interest. As a new member of Dharma Overground, I'm hopeful that this experience might be different. Namaste, Barry
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Wet Paint, modified 15 Years ago at 6/12/09 6:37 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/12/09 6:37 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

I wish Hokai had linked to the discussions he finds "unprofitable". There's a risk that people will agree (or disagree) with Hokai's assertion, without knowing the specific cases to which he's referring, making consensus unreliable.

I think it would be inordinately useful for Hokai to link to discussions he found 'profitable'. New participants can be asked to conform to the profitable pattern, and avoid the unprofitable ones.

The same procedure can be applied to problem of defining (and avoiding) neurotic content.

Wikipedia has many of the same issues, and over time have developed a fairly robust system of guidelines and policies. My personal favorite:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don%27t_bite_the_newcomer

Metta
Hokai Sobol, modified 15 Years ago at 6/12/09 8:54 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/12/09 8:54 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

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It's impossible to do that, since the "profitable" and "unprofitable" tend to coemerge side by side, and partially even arise in the recipient, as the author himself cannot control entirely the effect of his or her posts in such circumstances. Obviously, there were threads that are more of one, and those that are more of other, but linking to anything as a definition of good and bad discussion would amount to distrust of everyone's intelligence, and in itself unprofitable. Again:

"...pragmatism over dogmatism, diligent practice over blind faith, openness regarding what the techniques may lead to, a lack of taboos surrounding talking about attainments, and the spirit of mutual, supportive adventurers on the path..."

Hence, I will restate the original question invoking clarity: How do we cultivate not just courteous, not even just conscious, but enlightened communication?
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Wet Paint, modified 15 Years ago at 6/12/09 9:37 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/12/09 9:37 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

Well, that is good clarification. I thought you were referring to entire threads. First, to address the technical issue: it is possible to link to individual posts by editing the URL on which the post occurs. For example, the URL for this page of the discussion is:

http://dharmaoverground.wetpaint.com/thread/1825908/How+to+minimize+unprofitable+discussion?offset=20

And the link to your last message is:

http://dharmaoverground.wetpaint.com/thread/1825908/How+to+minimize+unprofitable+discussion?offset=23

Note the change in the 'offset' parameter.

As for your second statement, that such examples would in some way distrust people's intelligence, I think it's very easy to overestimate what is understood by all parties! To illustrate by way of example: I walk into a popular local restaurant and proclaim, "Gosh, I wish there were fewer nasty items on the menu, and more delicious ones!" I would certainly be met with an almost universal chorus of approval from all the patrons, and probably all the chefs. However, when I follow up with, "Well, the tuna-salad sandwich here is awful and needs to go; let's replace it with egg-salad," you'll be greeted with mixed responses, I'm sure. Something along the lines of "but I LOVE tuna salad", and "But you can't do that, I'm allergic to eggs!" And so on.

Providing examples is not necessary, especially with enlightened moderation, but examples with commentary could be invaluable in teaching new and old alike what is valuable and what is not, and achieving the admirable goal of enlightened communication.
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Wet Paint, modified 15 Years ago at 6/12/09 11:30 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/12/09 11:30 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: msj123

One person's gold is another person's crap.

I remember clearly on my last retreat a few weeks ago, thinking of Kenneth and Daniel like this:

Those guys are idiots.
Brilliant! They're brilliant!
No, they're idiots.
No, they actually ARE brilliant!

And this is just with one person. Now take a group of people at different "levels", with different mind-body content, in a group situation. Impossible. Unless you have a more exclusive group, but this would undermine the interaction between more and less experienced cultivators.

Online, it seems you let the arrows fly, and the Tao takes care of the rest.
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tarin greco, modified 15 Years ago at 6/12/09 9:46 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/12/09 9:46 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
i tend to agree with hokai, which is that the profitable and the unprofitable arise together. and i think it is worth separating here two kinds of unprofit - the kind that comes from one's own unprofitable intent and motivations, and the kind that simply arises as a circumstantial consequence of someone else just not getting what one writes, for whatever reasons (their own indulgence in unprofitable feelings, careless reading, the language barrier, the we're-not-actually-thinking-the-same-thing-even-though-our-words-are-very-similar-or-the-same barrier, etc). in the latter i find a trial and error process, perhaps mostly error, which is addressed possibly by giving as much consideration as possible toward clarity as well as courtesy. the former, im finding, is a matter of not just knowing one's own reasons for discussing things but adhering to a standard that one would truly be proud of in one's writing that is identical to one's living. for me, that would be simply making sure that i mean no harm nor am i taking on any, a goal which i find sensible, as well as reasonably achievable (as i have something better to be other than either malicious or sorrowful, namely, i can be the enjoyment of a kind of sensuous delight that is right here right now). the consequences of living along the guidelines of such a resolve makes it possible to do that now somewhat automatically, without the necessity of keeping up a conscious effort, as well as makes it possible to re-affirm the resolve whenever necessary, as of course from time to time i notice myself acting out some form of unhappiness or another, though, to my satisfaction and further intrigue, this is clearly becoming less and less.

in short, im finding, sincerely and rather naively perhaps, that the desire to be happy and harmless is a suitable foundation for all communication. with this in place from the very deepest part of my gut i can feel, the rest i just play by ear.
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Chris Marti, modified 15 Years ago at 6/13/09 5:12 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/13/09 5:12 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 379 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
Bingo! Ching ching ching ching!



Just in case you couldn't tell, I agree with that last comment ;-)
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Wet Paint, modified 15 Years ago at 6/13/09 5:26 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/13/09 5:26 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

I have reviewed this thread, and have some questions of my own (the source of the question is referenced as (quote, poster, message)):

1. Are posters expected to have read Daniel Ingram's book (or at least be well read in the field? ("flatly uninformed", Hokai, 1), ("understand basic assumptions", vjhorn, 5)
2. Are posters expected to show certain people in this forum more respect than others?("expressing one's own angle", Hokai, 1) ("wasting my time", vjhorn, 5)
3. Are posters expected to fit a particular psychological profile before posting? ("obviously neurotic...little social intelligence", vjhorn, 5)
4. Are stories not acceptable? ("biographic irrelevance", Hokai, 1), ("don't like a story, betawave, 10)
5. Is speculation not encouraged? ("speculative", Hokai, 1)
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Wet Paint, modified 15 Years ago at 6/13/09 1:04 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/13/09 1:04 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

A wordless, negative vote. I'm not sure what to think.

My sense of this board over the last few days is that there is a hierarchy, and a canon. There are 5 classes of users: elders, acolytes, neutrals, clueless, and rebels. They are distinguished both by their content and regard from the community. The elders typically reiterate the canon using phrases like "maps of attainment" and "models of enlightenment". The acolytes use the same kind of wording, but get less value votes. The neutrals post from the heart, and tend to conform more to the language of the poster. They often seem to simply be offering support and warmth. The clueless post, but often not in relationship to the topic, and not in consistency with the mission statement - they are often ignored, and receive neither positive or negative feedback. The rebels challenge the assumptions of the elders and the canon. Rebels are known for getting a great deal of negative feedback, and the language tends to be angrier, especially from the acolytes. (Rebels could further be classified into constructive and contrarian, but I digress.)

As a new person, I think I'm firmly in the "clueless" category, with "neutral" tendencies. I am not an acolyte because I don't know the elders well enough to trust them implicitly; nor do I know the canon (Daniel's book) well enough to phrase my questions to use it's language.

As a clueless, I've delighted in sharing my stories and speculation about the meaning of certain experiences. I'm sorry if I offended the acolytes by doing this - I was thrilled to finally have a place to talk about my experiences. I forgot an important lesson: the less you speak, the more you say. Brevity is surely a part of Hokai's "enlightened conversation".
j g, modified 15 Years ago at 6/13/09 4:40 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/13/09 4:40 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
This website contains a lot of good information in the maps and guides, as well as the pages discussing some of the hints and tips of practice... you know, serious dhamma practice. But I find most of the discussions distracting. This may very well be why the 'elders' are moving more toward a wiki and away from a discussion forum. It may well be better that this site be more of a supplement to Daniel's book, as it already seems geared that way anyways.

And instead of letting anyone post to the pages on the left, let one be able to submit any future content to the inner circle for review and approval. This might not appear very democratic, but so what, I don't imagine that this site's core premise is democracy as much as it is getting down to what works in practice, about reaching the end, doing what needs to be done.

So I challenge the elders, get the DhO 2.0 wiki done and make it a reality, let's cut the bullshit and get down to the nuts and bolts of what works. What you the elders are building together based off of your relationships and experience in practice, and what you want to accomplish and present to the world has to be done by your own hands, so don't be lazy.

And that is my neurotic, personal attention seeking, flatly uninformed, lacking social intelligence, and unhelpful opinion.
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tarin greco, modified 15 Years ago at 6/13/09 5:57 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/13/09 5:57 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
1. posters are required to lurk more.
2. yeah you better respect the touchy ones otherwise you'll get a lot of verbiage back.
3. posters are expected to have enough social intelligence to avoid posting and interacting in ways that will annoy other members for no particular gain (wow, just like in real life!)
4. shiaaat, i'd be in huge violation of this one if so, but i think what they're saying is dont tell too many stories that arent relevant to a point you're trying to make about practice, in which case it would be 'biographical relevance' ;)
5. yes, speculation is not encouraged because it could get easily out of hand.
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tarin greco, modified 15 Years ago at 6/13/09 6:14 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/13/09 6:14 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 658 Join Date: 5/14/09 Recent Posts
'A wordless, negative vote. I'm not sure what to think.'

think 'oh darn, i got trolled successfully' emoticon

'My sense of this board over the last few days is that there is a hierarchy, and a canon. .... Rebels are known for getting a great deal of negative feedback, and the language tends to be angrier, especially from the acolytes. (Rebels could further be classified into constructive and contrarian, but I digress.)'

there's a social structure to the board, sure, though you might cite examples of your observations, because to me they appear to be somewhat imagined. also, you should consider how it is that you know a post is ignored, as an unreplied-to post is merely an unanswered one (not everything warrants a response).

'As a new person, I think I'm firmly in the "clueless" category, with "neutral" tendencies. I am not an acolyte because I don't know the elders well enough to trust them implicitly; nor do I know the canon (Daniel's book) well enough to phrase my questions to use it's language.'

hopefully, your acolytes dont trust the elders implicitly, but only where they have shared experiences, and hopefully they are also willing to deviate from the elders when their experience diverges? (otherwise they'd never make any new discoveries). i hope your constructive rebels can find their places in this community.. and i hope your clueless are learning!
nic s, modified 15 Years ago at 6/14/09 3:08 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/14/09 3:08 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 7 Join Date: 5/27/09 Recent Posts
Hi pookee,

I'm pretty new to this site myself, and clueless (although I appreciate being clueless more and more).

I think the primary motivation for founding this site was to help move people to and from an A&P experience to later
stages, and some assistance and fruitful exchange during later phases (paths), of course I could be totally of mark here. And thus is deemed profitable. Yes it requires learning the terminology and correctly identifying what experience is what and for this it is very useful to have an open discussion, because probably books and wiki pages can only ever convey experiences to a certain degree due to individual differences.

I wouldn't worry too much about hierarchical, social structure, people's intentions, what is useful, clicked on as valuable etc. As long as the prime motivation is served. You will probably notice that personal views are likely subject to change once practice deepens. So really the interesting thing to question would be, have you been helped? Have your practice related questions been answered sufficiently? If not what needs to be done in order to further improve communication? In terms of being a member of a supportive community as well as the one seeking advice. For me it's a constant learning experience and process, and there are likely to be a lot of stumbling blocks along the way.
Chuck Kasmire, modified 15 Years ago at 6/14/09 5:31 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/14/09 5:31 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 560 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Any community that exists for some time is going to develop cliques. I think this is unavoidable and is both real and imagined. Real in the sense that people over time develop relationships with each other and a certain level of familiarity, imagined in that others will sense that familiarity and feel on the outside or left out.

Pookee: You mention views of hokai and vince on this topic. I can't speak for them but I don't think they want to be put in some 'elder' box (Personally, if I have to be in a box I want to be in 'contrarian-rebel'). I wouldn't worry about appearing 'uninformed' – let Hokai deal with it. Likewise, I wouldn't worry about wasting Vince's time – it'll be good practice for him. So what are your views on 'How to minimize unprofitable discussion ?'

BTW, for those who have not read the link that pookee posted in #22 I would like to recommend it as well. Particularly the part: How to avoid being a "biter"

I don't see Daniel's book as a 'cannon' so much as a reasonable starting point. I disagree with parts of it and am far from being a Visudhimagga fan. His book reflects his experience and interest in getting these teachings out in the open and more accessible. I can relate to that. People tend to teach from their own experience which makes sense. I hope the new site is not some narrowing of views but rather an expansion – 'to boldly go where no fundamentalist has gone before'.
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Wet Paint, modified 15 Years ago at 6/14/09 6:14 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/14/09 6:14 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: pookee

Chuck, I always love your posts. If we had an "elder vote", you'd get my support.

My view is that a group like this needs better software. I admire the acolytes: they have chosen a path, and are diligently working to walk along it. They see this site as direct access to elders, and a way to support each other. They are not helped by speculation because for the, speculation is over: it's time for work. (The path, for them, is largely described by Daniel's book. Daniel and Kenneth are the elders. Vince and Hokai are acolytes.)

I think that those who have committed to a particular, mechanistic, no-nonsense understanding of the path and who want directed conversation about practice from elders and other acolytes are seriously annoyed that they are not getting what they need. And I feel for them. I think they would be better served by an acolytes-only forum that is, at most, read-only for everyone else. (The situation is precisely as in maya81's excellent post)

Everyone else still needs a place to share experience and speculate and challenge the assumption of the various traditions, including Daniel's (or perhaps I should say Bill Hamilton's?) tradition. And even if we challenge the elders, it's nice to hear what they have to say, too.

Greco: you are so right about being trolled. Everyone needs a way to ignore these awful "value" counters, as they are worse than useless! I wrote a greasemonkey script to do that. To use it:

1. Install firefox (http://getfirefox.com)
2. Install greasemonkey (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/748)
3. Go to http://files.getdropbox.com/u/126618/wetpaint_value.user.js
4. Review the source and install!

Kind regards,
Pookee.
Chuck Kasmire, modified 15 Years ago at 6/14/09 10:39 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/14/09 10:39 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 560 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
I think you will have lots of agreement here. Have you seen these threads?

http://dharmaoverground.wetpaint.com/thread/2388798/Community+Wiki+software

http://dharmaoverground.wetpaint.com/thread/2414103/Community+Wiki+Content+Ideas

As I see it, the focus of the site is primarily to help people through stream entry – I think maya81 says it pretty well. I imagine the future site will probably have more structure to parts of it that allow people who want 'just the facts' to get that. I don't see that anyone wants that to be specific to the Burmese Theravada tradition. Rather, we are developing a community where the process of awakening can be discussed and explored in a much greater context – out in the open – free from taboos and rigid hierarchies.

(cont)
Chuck Kasmire, modified 15 Years ago at 6/14/09 10:41 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/14/09 10:41 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 560 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
This is part of what this site needs to do. The site is practice based because that is what does the work. So that challenge has to come from personal experience and not from speculation or beliefs. So within that context, challenge away! If your practice is different from Daniels or Kenneths don't worry about it. Post your questions, state your tradition, and chances are good that someone out there has some experience with it.

But pookee, can you pleeeeaazze think of us more as a 'learning web' along the lines of Ivan Illich than as 'acolytes and elders'? – that stuff is really 15th century :-)
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triple think, modified 15 Years ago at 6/15/09 11:31 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/15/09 11:31 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Sorry folks, I tried to create and link a page, don't think it happened as intended, that's ignorance for ya. sigh...
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Chris Marti, modified 15 Years ago at 6/15/09 11:49 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/15/09 11:49 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 379 Join Date: 7/7/09 Recent Posts
Pookee, we're all just people here. We're just trying to get somewhere. I think you'll find that here, as in the material world, your reactions will in large part determine your reception.
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Tina Hamilton, modified 15 Years ago at 6/15/09 1:21 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/15/09 1:21 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
For a newcomer such as myself, I find it beneficial to read through these threads so that I may get a feel for what is considered profitable vs. unprofitable posting. As this cliche' so nicely puts it: "when in Rome, do as the Roman's do."

There is a defined purpose to this site. I knew that when I signed up to join.

It is my choice to come here and glean from what others may generously share. I'm not of Theravada tradition, but that certainly doesn't mean that I can't learn from models, maps, and etc. Likewise, hopefully at some point I can contribute (profitable) info that may be helpful to others.
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Wet Paint, modified 15 Years ago at 6/15/09 2:47 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/15/09 2:47 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: KristerHolmes

Thanks for this Khara!

Very much appreciate your opinion and glad to have met you. I think I'm outta here. Not feeling welcomed, getting scratchy responses to my posts, feeling excluded and disappointed.

I was so excited that there was somewhere people were talking about this, but I don't think it's where I belong.

All the best to you and best of luck with this website or what ever it ends up deciding it to be.

I'm outta here!! emoticon

k
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Tina Hamilton, modified 15 Years ago at 6/16/09 8:11 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/16/09 8:11 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Clarification to my last comment which may seem to be of a negative tone when read outside of my intended context. No intended insult to KristerHolmes, but my point was simply that this forum arose with a set purpose in mind. Daniel stated clearly in the intro of his online book and even within the title that it is "Hardcore Dharma," and for those who are serious in applying these methods in their own practice.
Hopefully I'm not merely speculating here, but I believe that his intentions (and the intentions of moderators, etc.) is for this forum to be relative to the stages, maps, etc. that he covers in the book. I believe this is meant to be a supportive community for those who are serious in applying what was stated in the book, or at least relative to Theravada teachings and/or Vipassana practice. Therefor, with that understanding, I believe that it's my responsibility as a community member to keep the discussions relevant to this specific subject matter. Also, from what I understand, these methods, models, maps, etc. are not meant to be exclusive to those of Theravada tradition, but rather can be applied to any tradition whereby one is seeking to deepen their meditation practice and reach higher attainment.
I'm not here to win kudos, "yes" votes, or even friends for that matter. Yes, it is nice to feel supported and to perhaps feel that one "fits in," but that's merely the sugar coating.
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triple think, modified 15 Years ago at 6/18/09 5:49 AM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/18/09 5:49 AM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
I haven't been posting much as of late, no offense intended, simply a matter of circumstance. Been traveling a lot and when not I've been in monasteries where internet use is 'discouraged' at best or non-existent for the greater part. Getting it done is not, in the final analysis, talking about getting it done and no doubt that is what Hokai was getting at in the first place.

As for 'Hardcore Dharma', well, there is Daniel's take on what that means, and I do like that, being myself quite a contrarian gen X freak, of perhaps another kind. On the other hand, there are strict, longstanding and, technically speaking, even more hardcore definitions of what proper and complete Dharma/Dhamma is that make the definition of 'hardcore' here look whimpy to say the least.

On the third hand, a site largely focused on practical meditative issues is very much needed by those of us who do meditate a great deal, a lot of meditation raises a great many questions and concerns of it's own even if it is a very narrow field of concern in the context of Dharma overall.

On the fourth hand, having posted to many eBuddhist sites over the last decade, I know for a fact that either you develop patience, tolerance and a very thick skin or you go back to talking mostly to yourself about your concerns, whatever these may be.

On the fifth hand, I also think that liberation from Samsara is much more than a full course of training in SamathaVipassana, but there are places for other kinds of discussions where the rules of have been hamburgered out and people can start a mosh pit on whatever cone-onical minutia they like. If you need directions, send a pm & I can pass along some URLs when I get back online, whenever that is. It is only fair in an online context to let this place evolve in its own way, into whatever it will at the hands of whichever brave folks have the right stuff to see it through.
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triple think, modified 15 Years ago at 6/19/09 9:52 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/19/09 9:52 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
1. Get enlightened
2. Communicate
So, here we are again at...

Do the 'enlightened' suffer from afflicted emotions and misconceptions?
The old school hardcore say "no way, not at all."
The new school hardcore say "no way but I am no less human and reserve the right to be liberated in both the old school and in the very contemporary way that is the same worldly freedom that can be known by many contemporary human beings." (and maybe the times do call for getting as much wisdom pumped into the world as possible at this point.)

We have 'what we have' of the original transmission, the history &...

In the 2500 year interim, our emotional aesthetics have "changed" (how about that! 'changes'!) and continue to change. As have our ethics, as have our societies, as have our technologies, as have our senses of humor, as have our conceptions of rationality... .... ... ... etc. etc. ...

Personally, I look at photos of leathery old forest monks who have meditated in hardcore ways for decades and they look kind of... scary almost, definitely not all smiles and chuckles, most sort of look like they have been staring down the devil for a long, long time. Stop to consider that when you get wise, there is a lot of noting of being surrounded by a lot of 'not wise'. So 'not wise' gets old fast & genuine shared wisdom is a real breath of fresh air.

When one makes sure of a thing, one can relax about it, it is not an argument, it is a verified observation and so one can simply say it is 'like so', see for yourselves if you like, or not.
Ed clay vannoy, modified 15 Years ago at 6/23/09 4:35 PM
Created 15 Years ago at 6/23/09 4:35 PM

RE: How to minimize unprofitable discussion

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
One way would be to provide parts of the DhO specifically for "unprofitable discussion".

An off topic section where wild speculation, philosophying. even socializing, are appropriate. People who want that sort of thing can go there as interact with friends from the site and people who don't never need to see it.

Ed

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