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A critical and delicate matter


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#1 Artemis

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:38 PM

This topic has been a long time coming.
 
 
As you may have noticed, we've had an uptick in the number of threads and status updates from members contemplating suicide. Yes, they've been happening for a long time now, but in recent months have become more frequent than in the days of old. I'd like to take this opportunity to say a few things that several people will no doubt have a problem with, but I think will relieve many others and be better for those who are inclined to post notices of that sort. We, the staff, have discussed this at length.
 
Suicide is a serious matter that can require prompt and personal attention, yes. We get that. I get that. As a pony/brony forum, it's quite natural for someone to expect help and support in times of need and sadness, and it's just as natural for many bronies to want to provide it if they're able. We even have a Life Advice section specifically for that purpose. Unfortunately though, or perhaps not, the line must be drawn somewhere. The primary purpose for this forum's creation was to discuss the show, merchandise, and the fandom's activities. Everything else is secondary. It wasn't created to provide resolutions to all of one's existential crises. Not only is it beyond the scope of this forum, it's beyond most people's capability here. Furthermore, as much as I wish it wasn't so, you also run the risk of receiving bad advice from those well-intentioned or even deliberately led astray by the internet's more depraved denizens. That's bad for someone contemplating taking their own life, it can be bad for those trying to help them, and it makes the forum as a whole look bad to newcomers while stifling what keeps the regulars coming back. People don't log in with the expectation of seeing things so dour posted all over the place; they come here to have a good time. They shouldn't come here fearful of another member's impending doom at their own hands. They shouldn't be berated by people to whom they offer kind words and helpful advice during times of supposed turmoil (it's happened).
 
To help curb these events, we're instituting two changes:
 
 
1 - Threads, blogs, and status updates in which somebody threatens suicide will be deleted, followed by a PM to them suggesting professional counseling for it. We aren't equipped to help you with that here, it's not a responsibility we're capable of or willing to shoulder, and this forum was never intended to do so. There are organizations dedicated to helping with this dilemma at no charge; avail yourself of them. And if you have any friends that you think might be able to help, speak with them privately on the matter; you'll find the discussion more meaningful.
 
2 - Everyone has a bad day every now and then and feels like expressing their frustrations with work, family, friends, and life in general in a status. I've done it too. On the other hand, it only kills the mood for everyone else when someone posts that sort of thing virtually nonstop, and nailing one's woes and angst to a what is a virtual bulletin board for all to see doesn't really help him feel better or overcome anything either. Should it be noticed somebody has a habit of doing this all the time by posting a slew of depressive (and over time, obnoxious) status updates and blogs about how terrible his life is or whatnot, the moderators will start locking or deleting them as necessary and directing the OP to the Life Advice board. After all, that's why it exists: to give people an outlet where they might receive help without needlessly darkening the rest of the forum. There was a time when all such threads were kept in General Discussion. Not much point in having Life Advice and shuttling all those old threads into it if that sort of thing is still permitted to run rampant everywhere else. In the end, this is better for everybody.
 
As a sidebar to that second item — you may be given advice you don't want to hear sometimes, even if it's the truth. Granted, tact should still be used. Assuming that benign advice was offered though, you're expected to treat that person with courtesy and respect. I've seen a number of cases where somebody posted a blog about a bad situation they were enduring, given a polite, fresh perspective on the matter by somebody that suggested the OP might need to readjust his outlook on things or his approach to the circumstances, only for that commenter to be viciously insulted for his efforts. This can't stand. Feeling down won't absolve you of your poor treatment of others. But if you think somebody was unnecessarily caustic in their reply or making demeaning remarks, please report them and let the staff handle it.
 
 
 
 
tl;dr - There is no tl;dr version. Read the above.

Edited by Thereisnospoon303, 26 June 2014 - 02:48 PM.
Bolded parts for emphasis and clarification.



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#2 Makusu2

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:43 PM

I disagree with this very much. I'm disappointed.



#3 Ocean Waves

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:45 PM

I disagree with this very much. I'm disappointed.

 
Why do you disagree? Everyone is welcome to their opinion, but providing reasoning for it is a lot more helpful for everyone.



#4 Makusu2

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:50 PM

 
Why do you disagree? Everyone is welcome to their opinion, but providing reasoning for it is a lot more helpful for everyone.

If someone is considering suicide, they should be open about it. They should try to get help. Few people will go to a professional to get help when told by an admin or mod of an MLP forum. 

There are some good points against people giving advice who are unqualified made by Artemis, but not nearly enough as to justify this.



#5 Dahing

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:52 PM

I for one am for this. I can't speak for everyone here, but I personally am incapable of helping people with situations like this (there was this one time I was, but that was years ago and I haven't had to deal with a situation like that since) and I am pretty sure that a lot of people here are incapable of doing the same. While I am not trying to shit on those who are depressed and are actually considering suicide, I would rather see this stop and that you get advice from someone more qualified to help a depressed person rather than a forum full of people of varying ages from 13 on that barely know you. Call your state's or country's suicide prevention hotline if you must.

 

Life is hard. Take it from someone beginning to transition from the sheltered world of his home to the outside world, it's not easy. But there are people out there willing to help you. You're probably not gonna get the greatest advice from a forum like this, though.



#6 M'aiq the Liar

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:54 PM

Well, a rather easy way of solving this would be to simply remove the public status update option. Rather than locking or removing a users status, you can just remove the part of the forums that allows for any public member to view any new posted status update. It could be kept in a location that only moderators can view it in order to maintain control, but the public mood could be greatly increased by doing this. Along with helping to possibly curb any people abusing others empathy for attention (as horrible as it sounds, it does happen). By removing the option for there to be a public update list of all status updates, you remove their chance to abuse it for attention or to dower the public morale. This would also prevent the issue presented in the second bullet point, as they cannot force there issues upon a bulletin board that is not there. By keeping status updates to viewable on profile only, or only sending updates to users added on friends list, you greatly decrease the amount of people involved, and by extension the amount of people effected by continual negativity. However, I do not know if this option is available, or if IP board prevents the removal of the public status update list. This would avoid any users claiming to be being persecuted or singled out by staff, and would decrease the amount of people viewing said negativity.

I also personally believe that doing the same would greatly reduce flame wars caused because of a negative status update, as the entire public would not be privy to it.

Edited by Miaq_The_Truthful, 23 June 2014 - 08:56 PM.


#7 Makusu2

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:55 PM

I for one am for this. I can't speak for everyone here, but I personally am incapable of helping people with situations like this (there was this one time I was, but that was years ago and I haven't had to deal with a situation like that since) and I am pretty sure that a lot of people here are incapable of doing the same. While I am not trying to shit on those who are depressed and are actually considering suicide, I would rather see this stop and that you get advice from someone more qualified to help a depressed person rather than a forum full of people of varying ages from 13 on that barely know you. Call your state's or country's suicide prevention hotline if you must.

 

Life is hard. Take it from someone beginning to transition from the sheltered world of his home to the outside world, it's not easy. But there are people out there willing to help you. You're probably not gonna get the greatest advice from a forum like this, though.

If I was contemplating suicide, there is not a chance in hell that I would see a professional about it or call a suicide hotline. A professional would be too stressful, and I'd probably just want to end my life without complications. A suicide hotline just wouldn't feel real. I would want to talk to my friends about it. They're the only ones who I'd feel could help me. I don't doubt that either of the previous options would help, but I don't think I'd give them a chance.



#8 Nohbdy

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:55 PM

If someone is considering suicide, they should be open about it. They should try to get help. Few people will go to a professional to get help when told by an admin or mod of an MLP forum. 

There are some good points against people giving advice who are unqualified made by Artemis, but not nearly enough as to justify this.

That's what the Life Advice section is for. We're not trying to prevent people from seeking help. Instead, we want to emphasize that there's a special place for such issues.



#9 ghostfacekiller39

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:56 PM

I can see it now  - a lot of "complaining," as my lovely waifu would call it, about this new policy - one that I wholeheartedly agree with.

 

I don't come here to be a counselor, and I don't come here to see people talk about how they want to kill themselves. I, just as everyone else in the entire world, pretty much, don't live life as happy as a clam all of the time - whenever I have felt down in the past, though, bad enough to want to just want to spam status updates talking about how I feel like shit - I didn't out of respect for this community. I took it to the life advice board and I got several replies to my topics there each time. Those boards aren't ignored, folks, and people do go actively look to help others there. I got help from there, and people who didn't want to deal with it didn't have to deal with it. Furthermore, I've even replied to several of these threads myself, and I will generally message other people who I consider to be a good friend when they're feeling down, to try and help them out - it isn't something to burden everyone else with.

 

I'm sorry to those who need this help, but when there's a whole area of the site dedicated to this sort of thing, and one that's rather active in both topics and responses, I can't help but feel like there's no excuse for taking it over there instead of flooding the site with depressing messages about how you feel and effectively ruining everyone elses good time.

 

Again, there's not really an excuse to post suicidal stuff outside of life advice. That's why it's there - so people who want to say this stuff have an outlet without dragging down the site as a whole. This will be a welcome change over time and I'm very happy to see this happening. It's a bit tough, but it's needed for the entire good of the site.

 

Nice call :D


 



#10 Makusu2

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:56 PM

Well, a rather easy way of solving this would be to simply remove the public status update option. Rather than locking or removing a users status, you can just remove the part of the forums that allows for any public member to view any new posted status update. It could be kept in a location that only moderators can view it in order to maintain control, but the public mood could be greatly increased by doing this. Along with helping to possibly curb any people abusing others empathy for attention (as horrible as it sounds, it does happen). By removing the option for there to be a public update list of all status updates, you remove their chance to abuse it for attention or to dower the public morale. This would also prevent the issue presented in the second bullet point, as they cannot force there issues upon a bulletin board that is not there. By keeping status updates to viewable on profile only, or only sending updates to users added on friends list, you greatly decrease the amount of people involved, and by extension the amount of people effected by continual negativity. However, I do not know if this option is available, or if IP board prevents the removal of the public status update list. This would avoid any users claiming to be being persecuted or singled out by staff, and would decrease the amount of people viewing said negativity.

I also personally believe that doing the same would greatly reduce flame wars caused because of a negative status update, as the entire public would not be privy to it.

Wait, that's the only part of the forums that I use o_0



#11 Acoustic Cloud

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:57 PM

I am in the middle on this here.

I for one have posted about such a thing here before, not MANY times, but I have.

And there are many people who have frequently posted that who are obviously just looking for attention.

But there are also people who do need serious help.

I don't believe removing their voice is a great idea, but I do believe putting guidelines on it is quite necessary.

 

I do believe that all such topics should be restricted to the life advice section or a new similar section.

 

But making people be quiet about it is quite an ill decision.  I know I never went to get professional help until waaaaaay down the road, and I can't expect most people to either.

The saying "you don't know what you have until it's gone" is very appropriate.  Most people don't realize someone is going to kill themselves until it's done and over.  And the fact that someone is talking about it is quite amazing and a VERY VERY rare thing to see in someone very serious about that matter.

I say let people talk about it, I do agree you should send them a responsible message, and I believe that any posts out of the right area should be moved to the proper subsection.  But do not, for the sake of a life, delete it.

 

That is all.



#12 Ocean Waves

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:58 PM

If someone is considering suicide, they should be open about it. They should try to get help. Few people will go to a professional to get help when told by an admin or mod of an MLP forum. 
There are some good points against people giving advice who are unqualified made by Artemis, but not nearly enough as to justify this.

 
The fact of the matter is that almost no one who would see or reply to their status update would be truly qualified to help them on a professional level. Of course, people who are going through difficult times should be able to turn to their friends for help and comfort, I'm not saying people shouldn't do that. But a status update isn't a great way to do that. There's no guarantee your friends are even online or are going to see it right away, while at the same time you could be bringing down a bunch of people you don't know at all. 
 
If you sent a group PM to all of your friends instead, for example, or hit them up on Skype, you're getting help and support from your friends in a much more personal and meaningful way without bringing down anyone who's just trying to browse around MLPF and have a good time.
 
I care very much about people who are going through difficult times, so I'm not trying to be insensitive with anything I'm saying here. I've gone through difficult times, too. We all have. For pretty much the entirety of my membership here I've often commented on people's status updates who were feeling down or upset about anything doing the best I could to try to help them.
 
That being said, the rest of the staff and I still have to think about the community as a whole. I'm always for protecting individual freedom of expression as much as possible, but a line must be drawn in order to protect other people and the community at large. That's why we have rules, and that same principle applies here.



#13 ghostfacekiller39

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:58 PM

If I was contemplating suicide, there is not a chance in hell that I would see a professional about it or call a suicide hotline. A professional would be too stressful, and I'd probably just want to end my life without complications. A suicide hotline just wouldn't feel real. I would want to talk to my friends about it. They're the only ones who I'd feel could help me. I don't doubt that either of the previous options would help, but I don't think I'd give them a chance.

I have a professional counselor - or, used to, rather. Rares has provided me outlet enough to not need one any longer.

 

In any case, they're rather helpful and the good ones do look out for your best interests, I can speak from experience.

Furthermore, everyone's being given a chance. It's only being restricted outside of the designated sub-forum. This way, people can say what they want, and they can actively seek help, but the people who don't want to see that sort of thing don't have to.



#14 M'aiq the Liar

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:59 PM

Wait, that's the only part of the forums that I use o_0

You would still be able to see members updates via viewing their profile, or by adding them to your friends list and then getting the notification they posted a new update. But removing status updates from the public eye could do a lot to prevent the negativity from effecting more sensitive members of the community, along with preventing flame wars that break out because of status updates that members make about various topics.

I would liken it to a facebook styled status update. You can view them by viewing their profile page, or it shows up on your news feed if they are on your friends list.

#15 King

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 08:59 PM

If someone is considering suicide, they should be open about it. They should try to get help. Few people will go to a professional to get help when told by an admin or mod of an MLP forum. There are some good points against people giving advice who are unqualified made by Artemis, but not nearly enough as to justify this.

Should everyone else be forced to be brought down by one persons depression?

We have the life advice section for a reason, and it should be used for that reason.

#16 Makusu2

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 09:00 PM

That's what the Life Advice section is for. We're not trying to prevent people from seeking help. Instead, we want to emphasize that there's a special place for such issues.

First off, the Life Advice section has a character minimum of twenty characters. As stupid as it sounds, I can imagine myself just wanting to type "Help.", then being told I need to say more, have a breakdown, and give up. The comment section is okay for the character limit, but why not remove it for the OP? Also, would it be possible to, instead of locking the status, move it over to a thread in Life Advice? I'd be fine with that.



#17 Clarity

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 09:03 PM

I support this. Just the question of whether or not people who aren't suicidal, but merely down, are still able to call for help. I've made friends with whom I thought were strangers because of their kindness to me in these dark situations. :)


Edited by Akuma Homura, 23 June 2014 - 09:05 PM.


#18 ghostfacekiller39

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 09:04 PM

First off, the Life Advice section has a character minimum of twenty characters. As stupid as it sounds, I can imagine myself just wanting to type "Help.", then being told I need to say more, have a breakdown, and give up. The comment section is okay for the character limit, but why not remove it for the OP? Also, would it be possible to, instead of locking the status, move it over to a thread in Life Advice? I'd be fine with that.

Why wouldn't they be able to specify what they need help with? 

I mean, no one would have a clue how to respond if the OP read nothing but the word "help" and just posting in Life Advice would be redundant because of that. People wouldn't be able to help you because they'd have no clue what to help with.

 

So what do you get? No replies. Would that feel very good? Nope. It wouldn't in the slightest.


Edited by ghostfacekiller39, 23 June 2014 - 09:04 PM.


#19 Nohbdy

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 09:04 PM

First off, the Life Advice section has a character minimum of twenty characters. As stupid as it sounds, I can imagine myself just wanting to type "Help.", then being told I need to say more, have a breakdown, and give up. The comment section is okay for the character limit, but why not remove it for the OP? Also, would it be possible to, instead of locking the status, move it over to a thread in Life Advice? I'd be fine with that.

Help with what, though? If you're asking for it, the bare minimum information you should be providing to benefactors is what you need help with. Sorry, but just saying "help" isn't enough. 

 

As for moving statuses to Life Advice, that's not possible or practical. What's wrong with locking it and telling the OP to move it him or herself? 



#20 M'aiq the Liar

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 09:08 PM

Help with what, though? If you're asking for it, the bare minimum information you should be providing to benefactors is what you need help with. Sorry, but just saying "help" isn't enough. 
 
As for moving statuses to Life Advice, that's not possible or practical. What's wrong with locking it and telling the OP to move it him or herself?

In situations of great stress or sadness, even if expertly worded such a suggestion is most likely going to be taken as aggressive or antagonistic (I have dealt with family members after their loved ones had died in very recent situations, even a simple suggestion like asking them to take a seat can throw an emotionally unstable person into a frenzy). In some cases, the user may be unwilling, or unable to properly communicate their desires and wants for help beyond the most basic, as people in emotionally stressful situations tend to act. And an emotionally distressed person is often not thinking logically, so a very basic help is all they may be able to post before an emotional breakdown, but again, since they are in emotional distress, they may not be able to fully grasp that they need help outside an Internet forum.




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