#HAchat: Confronting In-Community Drama

For this week’s chat, let’s delve into different kinds of “tough stuff” that relates directly to participating in an online community: confrontation, conflict, and drama.


Image Credit: Thierrry on Flickr

The internet veils us. Safely behind our computer screens, we feel freer to express ourselves. We have the option to be anonymous and test the waters before we commit ourselves to it. Anonymity, itself, is important – especially to the online health community – because it allows the crucial first step of questioning, searching, and testing the waters to happen without interfering with our personal or professional lives. Disclosure is left up to us. We won’t be judged because we, as people, aren’t necessarily tied to what we say. We can decide what to share and with whom – all without the sort of permanence that comes with putting our names or faces to it. We are free to lurk and engage how we want to, whenever we want to. Seemingly without consequence.


Once we start engaging as ourselves (or build up an online persona) – it gets a lot more complicated. When we’re involved and exposed – we’re vulnerable. We can start to face real threats, opposition, and conflict in a new way that we hadn’t as casual users. Once we start sharing personal information and attaching real parts of ourselves to it – even just our emotions, stories, thoughts, and what we know and believe – we reach a new level of interaction.


On one hand – when we start really engaging and putting ourselves into our online communities, we start truly connecting and creating things. On the other hand – we will have to face disagreements, disorder, and conflict. As leaders of our own chats, blogs, forums, pages, and communities – we not only have to witness some drama – we also have to deflect and corral it.


What do you do when there is in-community conflict? When others in your health condition or focus disagree on something fundamental such as how to discuss symptoms or which treatments are good or bad? When terminology doesn’t always align and some people think you shouldn’t say something that you think you should?


What about in the comments section of blogs and sites where drama and “mean girls” can arise? How do you stop trolls and change the conversation when it starts to derail? What about bullying?


Even though we’re adults and all understand what it means to be kind, respectful, and considerate – we still have to deal with really tough and sometimes hurtful conversations online. Let’s put our heads together and talk about these issues and what we can do as Health Activists to make these conflicts less burdensome.


So how do you deal? How do you approach moderating comments, disagreeing with fellow leaders, conflicting over terminology or minutia, or even having differing opinions on fundamental issues?


Join us for tomorrow’s Health Activist Tweetchat to discuss these and other topics related to in-community conflict and drama. We’ll also have a corresponding panel to listen along to. Sign in to Twitter http://tweetchat.com/room/HAchat#



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