Chat Room vs. Ministry - PLEASE READ!

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Chat Room vs. Ministry - PLEASE READ!

Postby Dale » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:06 pm

Hello everyone,

As Board Czar, I'd like to bring your attention to a phenomenon that's been increasingly noticed by myself and our Mods and OG members lately.

The best way to describe this phenomenon is to define it as "chat room vs. ministry". The purpose of the TMB boards is to minister to Christian marriages, providing help, encouragement, support, and challenge when necessary, all within a Biblical framework. To that end, we have created a place where men and women could come and hopefully experience real growth in their intimate lives with their spouses by attaining input, feedback, and Biblical counsel towards becoming whole in their marriages.

However, we are seeing much more lately of posters taking a position on some topic, then defending that position repeatedly, causing threads to devolve into "banter" back and forth between one side or the other--which often results in the OP becoming frustrated or causing them to drop out of the discussion altogether. In essence, our long-time members are "overwhelming" threads, debating or even arguing back and forth, with little consideration given to what the original problem or question was--leaving those who are seeking help and ministry to feel left out and like they have just descended into an Internet chat room full of well-meaning but entrenched folks who only seem interested in debating their own points of view. This seems to be especially prevalent when speaking of marital roles, headship/submission, or of sexual refusal, although the phenomenon is widespread enough to be a concern on any topic. We are also seeing many longtime posters who have grown so comfortable that they are trying to act as "moderators", reminding people of rules or insisting that their point of view be heard.

So, here are some gentle (or not-so-gentle, depending on your level of violation) reminders about posting etiquette and keeping things on a "ministry" level, as opposed to "chat room" level:

1. As the Board Rules state, know when enough is enough. You do NOT need to prove your point of view is the right one! That sentence is important enough to repeat: You do NOT need to prove your point of view!! Our moderators are here to enforce the rules regarding if something is unBiblical or not. But in all other things, please abide by the old maxim from St. Augustine: "In essentials, non-essentials, all things, charity."

2. Remember that you are here to MINISTER, NOT DEBATE!! Some back and forth is fine, of course. But when the Body of Christ here at TMB is seen as entrenched or is more interested in getting "truth" out regardless of what it does to an individual, then something has gone wrong. Also, remember that you are not "in the place" of the person. Regardless of how much story we get here, there are probably thousands of other variables that we never hear about. Labeling a refusing spouse as a jerk, for example, is not healthy for the OP's marriage or their attitude, nor will it help them get beyond their own feelings and seek God's healing. All that kind of talk does is help them become co-dependent on the advice of strangers on the Internet--and our ministry here should be much better than that!!

3. The days of "back-seat moderating" need to end! There is a Report Post button (or a Report PM button in the case of a private message). That is your proper vehicle for reporting a problem or concern--and we deeply appreciate you using it!! :D Our moderators are all volunteers with full-time jobs and families to support and they do not have the time to chase down every problem in every thread. So your help with that is vital!! But, posting a response to a questionable post and telling the poster they have violated a rule is NOT the proper avenue to take--nor is arguing with a poster or attempting to elicit some kind of emotional response from them so they end up breaking a rule themselves. All that does is make the moderator's job that much tougher when they have to clean up several posts instead of one. Remember, MINISTER--not ARGUE!!

4. Longtime posters (you know who you are!), please be considerate of "newbies", welcoming and affirming them--and take some time to gather information before jumping in to solve a problem. Some of you do this well--others, not so much! :lol: Please let politeness and common courtesy rule the day, not to mention things like goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (say, isn't that in the Bible somewhere??)!

4. TMB is not a chat room where topics can be endlessly discussed and debated. We have limited bandwidth, and we try and steward our resources well. There are topics that the mods let go on for a long time, especially when they have great value to marriages and the discussion is staying civil. At other times, posts and threads may disappear or be locked when they have served a purpose and the discussion is lagging or has become stagnant. Please remember, we are NOT obligated to let everyone know why a decision has been made--and bringing the same subject up in a new thread will quite likely get that one shut down too. We don't do that out of spite, but out of a sincere need to keep TMB a safe and effective forum for intimate subjects to be addressed.

5. Lastly, a word about "safety". There are certain forums (such as Sexually Refused) that are designed to be safe places for people to vent about what is going on in their lives and marriages. The rules for those forums (in red at the top of each page in the forum) clearly state what is expected and/or not allowed for that particular area. Regardless of how you personally feel about wanting to "let a poster have it", you are expected to follow the rules. Perhaps the best rule of thumb in those areas is "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Again, you do not have to have input on all problems. Let it lie if you simply cannot control yourself!

I hope these reminders help to clarify things. Feel free to PM me if you have questions. I and the Oversight Group and the Moderators are all here to help. You may not always get the answer you want, but you will always be listened to!! :D

For the glory of God and the healing of marriages and sex lives,

Board Czar

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Re: Chat Room vs. Ministry - PLEASE READ!

Postby lilprincess » Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:21 pm

Very true and well said :) It does seem like people are arguing lately on posts. We should remember to temper all our responses, posts with God's love. We can tell people God's truth and still do it in love. Thanks for posting this encouraging word.

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Re: Chat Room vs. Ministry - PLEASE READ!

Postby Dgenerous » Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:22 pm

If I am contributing to this, will someone please pm me examples? I'm not sure I understand some of these distinctions. Sorry to be a bother.
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Re: Chat Room vs. Ministry - PLEASE READ!

Postby beautyfromashes » Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:35 pm

These kind of announcements bring out my authority-pleasing, oldest child instincts. "I know they must be talking about me!"

Seriously, Dale (and all our other Mods), thank you so much for all the work you do to keep us in line!
Deep intimacy always requires work, acceptance, and forgiveness. Lots of it. ~~ Linda Dillow

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Re: Chat Room vs. Ministry - PLEASE READ!

Postby Job29Man » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:12 am

Good comments friends. We are not going to give or PM examples to anyone (but it was fine to ask 8) ).

This is an important matter, but we should just learn and move forward that much the wiser.

It's enough just to read and maybe re-read Dale's post. Don't fret about "Is it me?" Let's just make a mental file under "a word to the wise." :D This place is like a family, and sometimes Dad just needs to make an announcement and leave it there. Then we all go out together for pizza and have fun, but we pay closer attention to our manners.
Wanting to become like Job, as described in the Bible, the book of Job chapter 29. Hence the screen name.

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