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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Does the collective owe anything to its users?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (30398points) September 16th, 2012

Users come and go. Some stay. Some drift away. Some stop by intermittently. Some leave in a huff. Some are pushed out. Some return.

We have guidelines. We have strict writing standards. We have close moderation.

Some things are tolerated (dating questions). Some things get struck down quickly (spam).

Perhaps I’m simply having a moment of existential angst.

How does one find value in a group of faceless users on the ether of the Internet? Is it worthwhile?

Whether we like it or not, we are a kind of community.

What binds us?

Why Fluther?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

30 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

By and large,

We’re smart
We’re experienced
We’re multicultural
We’re clear writers
We’re reasonably patient and understanding
We’re not easily shocked

Berserker's avatar

What binds us?
The one ring, of course. lol

Fluther owes it to its community to be what it says it is, and we as users owe it to Fluther to respect what it is. As an online community, I guess many things can prick up in between something so seemingly simple, but In short, that’s what I think anyways.

linguaphile's avatar

Because genuine connections don’t always have to be face-to-face. All you need is shared interests and dialogue. Fluther provides that- and sets a standard for quality that keeps it going. Then a community is built from what we share.

Someone once called this an online pub. In that case, a St. Bernardus Tripel for me.

Can’t go wrong with that, IMO. Just that sometimes the pub is crowded, and sometimes it’s not. :) 100 hugs for you, Jake!!!

Coloma's avatar

It took me a few months to get the hang of fluther, I was also banned for 2 weeks for my tendency to go off topic. I was modded plenty, had a few Q’s moved around, and I stuck it out and took my lumps until I was properly trained.
I only need the most occasional swat these days. lol
No, I don’t think “we” or fluther “owe” anyone anything. If ya can’t run with the big dogs, learn basic obedience and take a rap on the nose once in awhile without excessive whining and piddling on yourself well…..move over Rover.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have read some predictions that the Fluther-type community will someday be the norm and face to face will be used only by “fringe fanatics”.

wundayatta's avatar

Make no mistake. Fluther owes nothing to its users. Fluther is a private business. They can do what they want. In fact, they are keeping fluther alive out of the goodness of their hearts. Perhaps they feel they owe the community that, but they don’t. We should all be grateful that they continue to keep this place alive, but if it gets too hard, they will surely do the sensible thing and give up.

The community is virtual. That means it can disappear in the blink of an electron. No one owes anyone anything.

We are here by a kind of grace. This grace could disappear in an instant. And us, along with it. So as long as we are together, we can be kind to each other as best possible, I hope. Remember, each moment could be the last we are able to be here together.

YARNLADY's avatar

@wundayatta That is so painfully true. I have lost several other sites that way. Here one day, vanished the next.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@wundayatta, the OP is about the collective community we have here. It’s not about the business of the site and its continued existence or demise. I’m very glad it’s here, and I’m wondering what it is that makes us a community.

Coloma's avatar

Birds of a feather. The vast majority of members here are creative, intelligent, inquiring, innovative, big picture types, Personalities and souls such as these need an outlet, considering the world is dominated by dronish sheeples with little curiosity or desire for higher knowledge, understanding and content to live out lives of quiet desperation.
Internet communities such as this bring together and unite some of the more outstanding of the species.

It’s the difference between chickens and African Gray parrots.
One is content to peck at the ground all day, the other is inventive, needs high stimulation and will shriek in agony and pluck it’s feathers out if kept in a cage covered by a towel all dayl. lol

gailcalled's avatar

And can politely disagree about when to use its and when to use it’s, which still means it is.

Coloma's avatar

@gailcalled Gah..ya got me on that one….pffft…I hate that I always hit the damn apostrophe without thinking! lol

linguaphile's avatar

African Gray Parrots Unite!!!

Coloma's avatar

@linguaphile Yes, boy can we squawk or what? lol

Coloma's avatar

Polly wanna cracker? Oh no, some of us are dieting! hah

linguaphile's avatar

SQUAAAAWK!!! Thanks for Fluther, I finally have feathers growing again, haha!

I’ll take that cracker :D

Pandora's avatar

The only thing I can see that binds us, is our curiosity, a need to learn and grow, and our need to share our joys and frustrations and experiences.
And lets not forget the absolute need to be right! LOL

ucme's avatar

If fluther incorporated a swear box, i’d owe somewhere in the region of $80k.
Fuck me, that’s almost a months wages ;¬}

harple's avatar

I do think there’s a genuine caring here too for some users…
the names/avatars we recognise because they’ve been around forever;
the names we recognise because they joined at the same time as us;
the names we recognise because they once answered your question with notable kindness;
the names we recognise because they disagree with everything you believe in, and yet you can see that they’re not a bad person because you can see that they too answer other questions with notable kindness;
the new names that appear everywhere and grow their lurve so quickly;
the new names that stick around beyond the easy lurve…

I think it feels like a community because there are enough regulars to always recognise someone, and there are enough different personalities to reflect “real-life” communities, and there are enough different jellies to always have someone that you get on with and connect with, perhaps behind the scenes, so that you always feel welcome.

wundayatta's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I’m sorry. I thought that when you said “collective” you meant fluther. It was hard to know how your details and your question title went together. Then you spoke of existentialism and the ephemerality of it all. So I was just pointing out that that is indeed the nature of virtual communities. They are products of the moment with no future and, should they go down, no past, unless someone has backed them up somewhere else.

I am saying that the collective community, as you refer to it, is ephemeral. It may not last. You never know if this moment is the last moment and the last post you post. That is partially due to the nature of finance, the internet, electrons, power sources and people. With respect to the latter, you could be banned, or I could be banned at any moment for any reason and we would have nothing to say about it.

This is not a democratic place. It is not a real place. It exists only in the minds of the people who happen to be thinking about it. The other people are not really real, either. They are virtual. If you were to meet them, you might not even recognize them, despite what they say about the difference or lack thereof between their virtual and real presences.

I have found that people strongly underestimate the role of physicality in their personalities. They have no idea how much it makes up who they are. Mostly we never talk about who we are, physically. We don’t know how we walk, or what our voices sound like or how we eat, or any physical habits or tics and any of a million little things that we take in without knowing when we see someone in person.

Here on the internet, we make all that stuff up, and most of us are completely unaware we are doing so. We make these subconscious assumptions about what a person is like.

But what this means is we really don’t know much about each other, and that the collective, as you think of it, is built on whispers and dreams. While there certainly is genuine caring for people as we know them here, and while there is good will towards others, it is all virtual. And it all is misleading us in terms of how much there is to know. But you can be sure that you only know a tenth of what there is to know, at most, about any other person here. Until you meet them in person, you can’t know the rest.

cookieman's avatar

I’d be happy with a hug and some cookies.

gailcalled's avatar

@cprevite: And probably could live without the hug, I am guessing.

cookieman's avatar

@gailcalled: Well, if I had to sacrifice…

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@wundayatta, that’s good stuff. That is exactly what I’m wondering about. Why do some come and go, and others come and stay? Ephemeral is just the right word. Thank you.

Coloma's avatar

I also think it has to do with overall emotional maturity. A relatively ” mature” person may get a bit pissy now and then but they do not flip out and go all emo over disagreements on an internet website. I am lucky to be the type that doesn’t hold grudges, I move on quickly, and while I may decide someone is just not a good blend for my personlity I do not ever take whatever happens here on fluther into my real life and lose any sleepover it.

Everything is transient and certainly,someday, I will leave fluther,or fluther will leave me. ‘Tis the way the of life, ch, ch, ch, chaaanges!

Sunny2's avatar

I think the things that are banned by the rules that the mods enforce is what we owe each other: respect and no personal attacks. Back and forth comments that sting may make people leave. It would be interesting to know why people leave.

chyna's avatar

@cookieman {{{Hugs}}} and cookies.

cookieman's avatar

@chyna: Right back at’cha darlin’

Kardamom's avatar

I think we owe it to the collective to give the best answer that we are mentally and emotionally capable of giving. One that is based in facts and personal experiences, answers that are based upon our backgrounds, education and sensibilites.

We should always be polite and compassionate, even if there are members who disagree on what politeness and compassion are.

We owe it to the collective to do our very best at trying to follow the guidelines set forth on Fluther. If we disagree with the guidelines, we have an obligation to discuss those concerns with the moderators. If we decide we can’t agree with or abide by the guidelines, we should get off of Fluther and get back on Facebook where anything goes.

We are human beings. We are fallible and fragile (sometimes) we are a group of people that often have dizzyingly different perspectives. But we still owe it to the collective to give it our best efforts, in the spirit of being useful and helpful. Otherwise we might as well stand out in our front yards and yell, “Get the H*ll off my lawn!”

tacres's avatar

I am (sigh ) still such a newbie to this site. That being said this is the only site I visit. Its(‘s) ,(snort) the only site that I have stuck with. I usually give sites a cursory look over, find them fluffy or snobby or way too far left or right. While none of us are always perfect I do get a sense of community here. Now not being all that bright & spending much of my time alone its great to have mentally stimulating conversations with people whose IQs are greater than their shoe sizes. The face to face isn’t necessary for that. I actually prefer it that way.
So the question was does the collective owe us anything? It owes us what ever we take away from it.I mean mentally take away. Everyone gets to give opinions, the moderators seem to make sure we play by the rules. I may vehemently disagree with some answers however that makes this site more interesting. Why would I waste my time with people whose opinions are just like mine? I am grateful to the folks who created this site, who stay on top of things but still allow a free range of back & forth. I learn things , for free. So UOU( you owe you). Also “Fluther “has made me far more conscious of my spelling . Giggle.

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