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 Post subject: Why We Do What We Do
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 7:45 am 
We help the helpless.
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 10:07 am
Posts: 4343
Home Schooled: Yes
Because chicks dig it.

Or not. If that’s the intended result, I’m doing something heinously wrong. However, there are certain reasons that HSD’s “Everything Else” section exists. All rules and policies stem from those reasons. For example, you can’t just start talking about oranges in the thread that has been explicitly, repeatedly and forcefully reserved for apples. This is not only because apples are (quite frankly) superior to oranges. It’s a matter of order, one of the things we try to preserve here. In this post, I’ll attempt to explain what it is we try to do, and how we intend to do it.

Rational Discussion
The “D” in HSD does not stand for ducks, cute as they are. Or Dopey the Dwarf, adorable as he was. Or diphthongs, irrelevant as they are to the current topic. No, it stands for debate. Thus, we try to foster an environment that is conducive to debate, primarily within the Controversy Corner area of the forum. What this means in practice is that all users will be expected to display a reasonable amount of:

-Respect for other users
-Forethought in posting

To clarify the meaning of those items:

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me – You’re going to disagree with people around here. That’s kinda the point. This does not, however, authorize you to insult or belittle anyone. Feel free to bombard the opinions a user puts forth. The actual user, however, is not to be attacked in any way whatsoever. Sometimes, the line between users and their opinions can become blurred. In these cases, err on the side of caution – that is, go out of your way to ensure that the argument remains focused on the issues, rather than the participants. In the end, this will produce a more educational discussion and a stronger argument for your point of view.

Another issue to consider with regards to respecting your fellow users is that of the way in which you post. For instance, if one user spends thirty minutes of his precious time typing a comprehensive line of argumentation, it is incredibly rude to respond with a simple link to an article somewhere in the vast reaches of the internet. Discussion is a two-way street, where both participants ought to make every effort to meet the other at a reasonable middle ground. Therefore, if a fellow user seems to be putting large amounts of effort into a discussion, it is expected you will do the same. On a related note, it’s best not to jump into a multiple-page controversy without first reading those multiple pages. Often, you’ll just end up looking quite foolish as you put forward an argument that was soundly thrashed four days previously. More importantly, however, it shows disrespect for the users who have spent time advancing the discussion.

Finally, to preserve respectful discussion, HSD attempts to filter out what some believe is offensive language – racial slurs, “cuss” words, and the like. When you post, consider that there are many users with much to contribute to and learn from these discussions. If they have to wade through language which is, to them, highly offensive, they will be less likely to participate. When this happens, everyone loses. Not only has the user in question lost a valuable opportunity to discuss a matter of interest to him, but other users have been deprived of the opportunity to discuss his opinion. Because of this, offensive language will not, as a general rule, be tolerated.

In summary, it’s quite simple: Do your best to include every interested user in the discussion at hand, and don’t forget to include yourself – that is, put forth effort when posting.

Forethought in Posting – O RLY? YA RLY! LOL!


Obviously, good discussion doesn’t happen without good thoughts to create it. Before pressing that little “submit” button, take another look at your post. Does it demonstrate thoughtfulness? Is there something in it which you feel will truly be of interest to your fellow users? If not, was it really worth your time to type it? If it wasn’t, why would it be worth our time to read it?

This goes double for new topics. When posting a topic, consider: Is there really anything we can discuss about it? This doesn’t mean it has to be controversial – there’s a reason we have a section for non-controversial serious discussion (titled, creatively enough, Serious Discussion). If it can’t be discussed in a thoughtful manner, however, is there a good reason to place it in a discussion forum? Probably not.

Open-mindedness – Quite frankly, no one will ever convince me that I’m wrong about this point.

That’s just what we don’t want to hear in controversial threads. If you’re not open to learning something new, what motivation do your fellow users have to continue the discussion? None at all, truthfully. Again, discussion is a two-way street. If you’re not willing to meet others on equal ground, there are plenty of places where you can go and discuss matters with individuals who will completely agree with you. This is not one of those places.

This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everyone. That’s not open-mindedness, that’s lunacy. Please do disagree with others, but do so in the understanding that you’ll probably change your mind about some issue at some point. In short, you don’t know everything – so don’t act like you do.

Let all guests that come be received like Christ. – The Rule of St. Benedict

HSD seeks to promote rational discussion. Equally important, however, is the community which takes part in that discussion. For this reason, certain topics of discussion have in the past been and will in the future continue to be disallowed. This is not because we believe that it is wrong to discuss those matters. Rather, it is an effort to preserve the accessibility of the community for young and impressionable users. If a post or discussion damages the community spirit of the userbase, it will be removed with prejudice. Do not take this personally, if it happens to be an item you posted. We simply believe that the sense of community takes precedence in these matters.

To foster this sense of community, please get to know each other. Obviously, this isn’t the 11th Commandment or anything like that. It is merely a suggestion. Ultimately, you are likely to find the discussions more rewarding if you invest yourself in your fellow users. In my experience, friends find much more of interest in a discussion with each other than strangers do. Thus, it might be a good idea to learn a bit about the other users. Perhaps you might send them a private message to introduce yourself, if you’re engaged in an interesting discussion with one of them?

Everyone is welcome here. Period. Several of our users have no connection to the NCFCA, homeschooling, or even Christianity. Over time, these users and others have made valuable contributions to various aspects of HSD. For this reason, it’s important that we welcome everyone. For one thing, you never know who will “make good” and become a constructive member of the community. For another, it’s simply good manners to treat others as you would want to be treated. New users in particular are to be treated well. It can be a daunting thing to enter an established community, so give them some time to adjust and learn the ebb and flow of the place.

Because we’ve all been n00bs at some point. :)

Spiritual Fruit
God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts. – Some Bumper Sticker

Discussion and community are important, yes. At the heart of the matter for Christians, however, is spiritual fruit. What is it? Basically, it’s manifesting the character of Christ in our own lives. According to the book of Galatians, spiritual fruit has several aspects. They are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I will now proceed to write 10 pages about each of these attributes.

Eh, maybe later. To put it simply, this isn’t really a hard-and-fast, black-and-white issue. As such, it’s not so much my job as it is yours. Not only is it your job to manifest these characteristics in the way you conduct yourself around the forum, it is also your responsibility to encourage others to do so.

That doesn’t mean you get to be a self-righteous little jerkface (to put it mildly). There will be no Spanish Inquisition (expected or otherwise) here. In other words, you shouldn’t go around looking for faults in people and correcting every single thing you can find, however insignificant it may be. That is, in itself, contrary to the spirit of Christ. Scripture does, however, tell us to encourage each other and keep each other accountable. If you feel you can help another user in this way without being judgmental, go for it. Just remember to always speak in love, seasoned with grace.

Their bullets can't stop the prayers we pray
In the name of the Prince of Peace
We walk in faith and remember long ago
How they killed Him and then how on the third day He arose.
-- Rich Mullins, 'While The Nations Rage'

 Post subject: Re: Why We Do What We Do
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 8:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 7:55 pm
Posts: 421
Home Schooled: Yes
Location: Supporting your local coffee shop
Wow. Amazing.

This has been needed for a long time.

Possibly the most relevant point in this post? "Sometimes, the line between users and their opinions can become blurred." So true. And the following wisdom? "In these cases, err on the side of caution – that is, go out of your way to ensure that the argument remains focused on the issues, rather than the participants." Why is this so hard to do? Because so few people actually believe it will "produce a more educational discussion and a stronger argument for your point of view."

Thanks, Nathan.

::your life as a movie review::

If at first you don't succeed...
((destroy all evidence you ever tried))

Maybe I'm just scared
To face the things I've failed
((It's easier just to walk away from everything))

 Post subject: Re: Why We Do What We Do
PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:27 am 
Warrior Poet

Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:32 am
Posts: 3676
Home Schooled: Yes
Location: Bay Area

It's worth another thorough reading.


 Post subject: Re: Why We Do What We Do
PostPosted: Tue May 18, 2010 12:05 am 
melancholy milkshakes. no straws.
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Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:31 pm
Posts: 3986
Home Schooled: Yes
Location: Hinnom, TX
Good heavens, that is a darn good message.

Thanks, Nathan :)

Joe Hughey

Two roads diverged in a wood and I -
I took the one less traveled
And that has made all the difference

 Post subject: Re: Why We Do What We Do
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:01 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:53 am
Posts: 4
Home Schooled: Yes

~Someone foolish enough not to hide their password well enough.
Your Homeschooled, Geeky Hacker.

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