Post

Taking The Experience For Granted

You don’t have to look very far these days to find a story about how disgusted people are with all of the changes on Ep. I think there is one every day in my activity feed. I feel kind of sorry for the people who are so unhappy. I feel so bad that I recently became a supporter. Here’s why.
I was trying to make a point, albeit subtly, that I believe a lot of people, especially longtime members, have kind of lost perspective. While we all have different reasons, different stories about how we ended up here, the basic theme that runs through all of them is that we were all looking for help. Maybe we could not articulate it at the time, exactly what kind of help we were in need of, but I think we can all admit that we got it in the form of support and acceptance and through friendships and just the simple act of interacting in a non-threatening way—anonymity can be a blessing depending on your intent and your needs. While we are all well aware of what is different about the look and feel of this place, I think in some ways what is still the same (and even better in some ways) has been lost to many.
A refresher:
* There are not many sites out there that encourage anonymity these days. Being honest about who you really are encourages good behavior and holds you accountable for your words. You often need to use your real name to sign up, something Ep does not require. While this explains a proliferation of blue head profiles and fakeness, it also encourages people who are frightened about being discovered and gives them a sense of security. If you are in the closet about something, that might mean something to you. Then this place may be a refuge. I met someone once here who was gay and a drug addict and hugely ashamed about both of those things. He found a way to heal here. I watched that person start out writing stories that were painful to read—to graduating to responding to others in similar situations and supporting them in a matter of weeks. Imagine that—how cool that is—no judging—just a place for support, which by the way was the original intent of this place and still is.
 
* There are very few places on the net where you can write so freely and actually have someone read what you are writing. There are many places to blog, but honestly, those sites make it difficult to comment and interact with other bloggers. They rely mostly on the writer’s linking to Facebook or Twitter followers to share what they have written. I don’t like Facebook and Twitter. Those places do not encourage interaction in the same way that Ep does. Here people are not looking to play games and fraudulently “like” stuff in the way those other sites encourage that kind of thing; here the focus is still on the story—the writing and the commenting. That is cool, and you will not find that anywhere else the way you will here.
 
* Consequently, it is not as easy to make friends elsewhere. I find the ease with which I come to know and understand people here one of the main reasons I will never leave. There is ALWAYS someone to talk to, something profound or hilarious to read, and although I think it has been overlooked—Ep has been struggling over the years to create ways to make that interacting easier for people. The changes have made the whole site run faster, but old timers have probably forgotten just how slow things used to be, how long it took things to load, how you had to go to someone’s profile to see what they were doing, as the shared feed was non-existent. While it may seem confusing now as we all adjust, the intent—to be able to see what other people are doing without leaving your page, is pretty cool when you think about it. Maybe it is too much information for some—Ep says they are always creating new filters—but when we didn’t have that information available to us we complained about that too.
 
* I don’t like the Questions and the Confessions area, have been vocal about that since the inception of that part of Ep, but if I don’t like it I don’t have to go there, and that is another thing that I find wonderful about this place, the sheer number of ways that they have created for people to interact. I don’t like it, but apparently just about everyone else here does judging from the activity over there. Even the much-maligned adult areas of this site serve a purpose and they are in keeping with Ep’s promise to not judge people based on their “needs.” You don’t like it—don’t look. And if you see something inadvertently that offends you—report it, if it makes you feel better to do so. I tend to just ignore and that works for me. The naked guy who responded to my story—comment deleted, profile blocked—just like that. Done, and it is as if he was never there. Problem solved. Ep did that. Ep found a way to help you filter out that which you find offensive. Not all sites enable you to do that either. I find my real life neighbors offensive but I cannot block them, so perhaps I appreciate this feature more than others here.
 
* Back to the stories. Ep allows you to embed videos and pictures in the stories you create after you have chosen the group you want to put it in and if you cannot find an appropriate group you can create one of your own, complete with a logo of your choosing. That is one of the main things about this place that I find so satisfying—the many ways they allow you to express yourself and share it all with others. It seems so commonplace to so many of us now, that we have the ability to do these kind of things so easily, but there is no other site that I am aware of where you can do this. I will never tire of it and I know it—hence the membership. I applaud and support you Ep.
 
* But maybe the reason so much of this—what Ep has to offer that is unique and special-- is overlooked is because people are too busy whining to their friends about how awful this place has become and how different it is from how it was when they all first met here three, four, maybe even five or six years ago.
You know—they are complaining to their GOOD friends whom they met…here at The Experience Project.
And that’s my point
Quintesse Quintesse 46-50, F 43 Responses May 19, 2012

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I just read your sectioned quote...<br />
" There are very few places on the net where you can write so freely and actually have someone read what you are writing. There are many places to blog, but honestly, those sites make it difficult to comment and interact with..."<br />
~<br />
Well, I fear, given that folks are now tearing down their (previously) written stories & now leaving in droves, that E.P. have gone & destroyed what was once unique & special about this site.<br />
~<br />
Quite frankly, I think it serves them right for being SO bloody minded.<br />
(& ridiculously heavy-handed).

Dinah, I certainly appreciate that not everyone is a natural story writer. It just happens to come easily to me and I am a writer by degree and sheer effort since the age of 9. That being said, when I first found this place about 5 years ago ( I have been at this for a LONG time) my first attempt at interacting was to answer a "question of the day" question of all things. I respect that that is a good way to wade in. However, I should warn you that story writing and commenting and interacting here is addictive (and amazing!) Thanks for reading my stories and for commenting. I appreciate it.

Ven. I loved your comment. A tad nostalgic, but appropriate--you and I have been through a lot here and I have fond memories of all it all as well. As you said. "All of it truly enjoyable."<br />
I love this place. I am crazy about you too. I'm glad you're back and that you agree with me about how amazing and unique this place is. I'm sure we'll be debating again in no time and I promise to be good. I have a new outlook on life now you know, something about a mouse...

Superman, I get that a LOT of people wish that Ep could be what it once was in terms of appearance and functionality, but it's not, for whatever reason, it looks and feels different to a lot of people and that is sad, of course. <br />
But as I went to great lengths to explain in the story--there is NO place like this anywhere--that seems to be the consensus--not just my opinion--and that is really cool. I just think people need to step back and keep it all in perspective--this place is one of a kind for so many different reasons (articulated above) and I happen to be of the mind that it should be celebrated as such.

Conceptual, by integrity, I mean that Ep was founded as a place for support and as a place for people to interact, and as it has grown the staff has made an extraordinary effort to keep up with the constant demands of the users. All things considered and with limited resources and staff, I happen to think they do a phenomenal job. The integrity of this place, what it stands for and what its goal has always been, that it is a unique and amazing place for support and friendship--is intact. I get that there are a lot of people who disagree, but I have been here a long time so I think I have a decent perspective.

Katnip, It;s not like they are making these changes just to **** everybody off; I am sure they have their reasons, and I accept that. People have been complaining since the day of this site's inception, and they will continue to complain. That TOO has become an unpleasant fact of life here as well.

I'm a little astonished (pleasantly astonished) to read this story by you, Q. I thought for sure you'd be one of the curmudgeons complaining about the old days. But you're right, I've looked and I haven't found a site that is so open and gives you the freedom to interact and express your thoughts with stories or with comments... and the debates. The debates! You and I are grizzled veterans that have fought alongside each other in the trenches many a time. And sometimes we've sparred with each other. All of it truly enjoyable. With a 1 year old and a 3 year old, I don't get to spend as much time on here as I used to, but it's comforting to come here and find you cheerleading for Obama or writing stories about rodents that you become entangled with. Like slipping on an old pair of shoes.

People. Changes happen. Changes need to happen to keep things "fresh". Facebook, Twitter, Google, literally every site is introducing new designs and functions to their sites. Without changes, the site would become old and many people would probably complain then (creating a double-edged sword). New features are broken, but the webmasters work hard to fix them. In my opinion though, the site is still to busy with content, and it had useless things (for example, the Games section which includes crappy little Flash games that have nothing to do with this site). I really like the new design though, including the new logo, and it (finally) works properly on phones and small screens, as the site dynamically resizes depending on screen size. Even with all these changes, the core of EP is still there, so don't fret! Just remember, there is no other site like this.

Thanks so much for this. I agree, obviously.

Integrity? They say policing the site is up to us. But they don't seem to be willing to hire enough people to respond to the flags. (Maybe their recent hires will improve the situation--too early to tell now.) And there are two sides to flagging. It gets rid of bad things. But it is also an effective tool for unjust persecution. Comments get deleted and stories get jailed before they are ever reviewed by EP Support--that's not integrity. I know this to be the case, but it is not safe for me to discuss the details on open site.

That still doesn't excuse trying to fix things that are not broken and end up breaking them so the function doesn't work at all.

Tas. You won't find a better place. Period. Changes happen. But the integrity of this place is intact.

I have looked for a better place and as yet have not found one. But still I am very dismayed at the constant changes here. For me the attraction is the stories and comments. I was very upset due to dates gone and mix up of comments on a friends profile as he passed on last year. There are so many changes that I cannot see how any of them are for the better. I am an oldie and dont like changes for changes sake but lots of younger people feel just the same.

Changes happen every day to websites. Take Google, for example, in a year it's gone though about four different designs (from what I can count). Changes happen, because it makes things fresh. To be honest, I was really sick of the old website design.

Thanks fab one and Mar. I think I do make some points worth considering. There is so much more about this place that is good than bad, but I think that fact gets overlooked--a lot.<br />
Thanks for reading and commenting.

You make some valid points ms. q.

I try. Thanks for reading.

Turtle--most people love questions and answers. I happen to think with that kind of forum it is easy to be nasty, either in the form of a "venting" confession or a snide question or answer. I only know this because I have made the mistake of following people over there back when it was new. <br />
I have been told however that there are some very insightful and profound things going on over there but whenever I used to look I was always seriously disappointed, so now I don't look and I don't follow anyone there anymore either.<br />
But I appreciate that other people are having a grand time there and I am glad that as a new member you are one of them. I just prefer the stories and comments--I am old school I guess. <br />
The ads are bad, but it is a part of online life. You have to try to ignore those too (although you see much less of that when you become a supporter--another incentive.)<br />
Thanks for your comment. Now get to work--I am looking forward to you being unstoppable.

Q- Speaking as a newbie to the site, I would offer that the Q &amp; A forum is less daunting than launching into adding to the stories. After reading many of your stories, and several other authors on this site, not being a professional writer ( in truth, I have not written for many years), I admit to being rather intimidated..... I have commented on several stories, and have begun to interact, but although I continue to peruse the myriad of groups to join, and have joined quite a few, the prospect of the blank page is somewhat unnerving in such company. I truth, I know, I should do as Shakespeare wrote, and "screw my courage to it's sticking place" and just start.

I'm afraid I overlooked something Doug said, but I was thinking about it and he's right. Maybe we do become jaded after Ep has served its original purpose for each of us. And maybe that is because after you have been here a while you start to feel comfortable and well, maybe there is a little "familiarity breeds contempt" going on. To that I guess I would say,watch and you will find that "absence makes the heart grow fonder" too though. Great point. <br />
I also like that part about take what you need and discard the rest. <br />
Exactly.<br />
Thanks Doug.

I enjoyed this piece very much. It was warm, balanced and insightful, and it resonated with the impression i've been developing of this website, if not with my own exact relationship to it. Funnily enough i've spent most of my time on Q&A, and increasingly have been feeling guilty about that. I'll not easily abandon Q&A of course, it was where i was born, but i can see that it is easily the most frivolous, and probably the shallowest part of EP. Reading and writing more stories has almost become the most important thing i put off these days. If only i could take my own advice i would be unstoppable.

the new pop-up ads really annoy me though, and in a way they never would have when i was young

right, they just annoy me period.

Grania--your story touched me, not only because sometimes Mother's Day gets me down, but because of how you found Ep. The experience that you describe so typifies what is phenomenal about this place. You just cannot find that kind of support and compassion and a willingness among strangers to reach out and comfort and share anywhere else online. You can come here feeling like crap and within minutes have five new friends and feel rejuvenated--sharing sincerely and with genuine people will do that for you. <br />
I tell people, years ago I typed in "I Am Lonely" into Google. The rest is Ep history. <br />
I'm glad you're here, and I thank you for giving such a great example of why it is important not to take such things for granted. The kindness here is worth treasuring. Thanks for your great comment.

Just one thing to say"AWESOME POST" thank you Again you have written from the heart with compassion and commen sense.

Thank you so much. It is from the heart. I truly love this place and felt the need to speak up.

I'm fairly new to EP, came here because I was waiting all day Mother's Day for a call that never came. It didn't dawn on me until the next day that I have just moved within 20 minutes' drive of my sons' home and if they planned to see me they'd have arranged a lunch or breakfast ahead of time.<br />
<br />
It's been a hard life of abuse with their adoptive dad who was my third husband and I'm finally out of that, then met a man who I cannot describe properly, he's so - sane & lovely inside. They disapprove. Not the numbers, and it's been nearly 15 years away from their dad, but because they think I hurt the guy. The guy who they've conveniently forgotten put me through hellish abuses.<br />
<br />
I can't describe the agonizing pain I felt that day, or the desperation for comfort that brought me to EP. Here I was able to share with other mothers and it eased the pain. God, did it ever help. I'm new to this area so have no close girlfriends to cry with and I just don't want to hurt my guy when he surely suspects that he's my sons' problem.<br />
<br />
Thanks for saving some sanity. I don't have that much I can afford to lose it! There is kindness here and that is a rare thing nowadays. I'll treasure it.

great posting, full of positive messages. Let me summarise. First, EP is a great website. The world is a better place because such a website exists. It has helped my personality to reconcile emotion with sexuality. I'm a better man from it. Second, let it be known that Quintesse is a great person. So far, I only saw her sensible emotional side, but now I see clear thinking and articulate writing. The world is a better place because such women exist. Cheers to that !

Jenvice. My point EXACTLY. Thank you.<br />
Anyone who has ever ... (because at some point I guess everyone winds up feeling disgruntled after a while, or they get their hearts broken or they have a falling out with a friend...) ...looked for another site that offers anything close to what this one does will tell you--there is no such thing. <br />
I've been around the block--a few times, so I can vouch for that fact. There is NO PLACE to write and read and interact and play and debate and learn and reflect --there is no place like Ep anywhere on the internet. <br />
To the naysayers and the complainers I say--go look. If you are looking to express yourself through writing ( my intent) this is it. But if you want to accumulate fake friends and write nonsense that no one will ever read have at it--I can even offer a few suggestions. <br />
Thanks Jen. We all need a vacation now and then ( I have a story about that as well--it may be necessary for perspective) but try not to let stuff get you down. I'm glad you're here. Stay.

I am not leaving. Thanks!

Great commentary Quintesse. Recently, I went on EP "Vacation" to think over whether I should continue to use this site. It had nothing to do with the changes. My only problem with changes is my computer keeping up with Ep. (Ok, yeah, I did complain about the "Log out" but they fixed that. I share computers.) My reasons for considering leaving EP or using it less were personal and had nothing to do with the site.<br />
<br />
My point is I looked for a similar site online and I could not find one anything like Ep. We are blessed to have this site with it's emphasis on sharing experiences and stories. The feedback, friendships, variety we can find seem to be unique.

Thanks you guys, for reading and appreciating what I was trying to do here. It must nice to get some positive feedback for a change. I like to be different, plus--I meant every word. Thanks for this place. I'd be lost without it.

Thanks for writing this. I love the spirit of this group. I like the fact that the community has an open forum to provide engineering with feedback about the quality of our work. It helps us improve our work.<br />
<br />
However, it's also really important to write about the things that you like. If there are new changes that you like, please also let us know. That way we have community feedback as to when we're heading in the right direction. If we release something new, we generally hear from the person that doesn't like it. But do we hear from the people that appreciate the changes? That part is less known to me.

I appreciate the changes.

Ear to ear--That's the smile this post and thread has put on my face. Thanks for sharing this thoughtful note. It means a lot to hear that EP means so much to so many of you.<br />
<br />
We are so fortunate to have members like you that make EP a supportive and positive space where everyone can feel accepted, comfortable and part of a community of friends.<br />
<br />
We know that change isn't easy and many members have been with us for years and have seen the site go through various revisions, but I can assure you we'll never make changes for the sake of change alone. We'll only make changes/revisions if it's a major improvement that will help our members browse, interact and connect with others on the site, with the benefits far outweighing the frustration of learning a new tool, look, or process. Now, we're only human and though we always have good intentions in mind, we don't always get it right at first try, that's what makes your feedback invaluable. <br />
<br />
So whether you love, hate or have trouble using a new feature, please continue to share and voice your feelings because it matters!

I'll see that ear to ear grin and I'll raise you a pleased chuckle. Keep up the great work. And thank you again.

Very well said! You make some excellent points. It's all too easy to complain about the glitches, the trolls, the pervs, etc., and forget what brought us here in the first place, and what keeps us here. EP is amazing, and I applaud it's founder, Armen Berjikly, and the EP staff who keep it running. Considering how it has grown, it must be a monumental task to try to keep things running smoothly, and everyone happy. As the saying goes, you can't please all the people all the time. But one more thing to remember is, this is all free. The people who complain about seeing a few ads need to realize that money has to come from somewhere to grant us this lovely free site, and all the features and privileges within. I love EP, and don't foresee ever leaving.

Complaining is easy. Finding a way to have a positive perspective when all those around you are choking all the life out of the place --not so easy. But I like to try. Thanks. I'm not going anywhere either.

Actually Quin, They did ask us as a collective community and that was done via people that are a members of this group. I know those "thought you should know emails" can be a pain but at the same time some of them in the past have been to invite us to provide feedback because we are part of this group. I am guilty of ignoring these emails sometimes and then I will go back and clean up to only think "shoot I missed out on this or that because I failed to read a stupid email lol". We have to remember also that these changes were not made overnight and that some of the feedback we are just seeing implemented are things that were just implemented are from feedback they received several months (and in some cases over a year ago) and although I did not agree with all the "best suggestions" I do remember others posting stories about them and Arsinah and others of the Admins answering those requests with something like, "we will be glad to take this back to support and see if it can be done!" hehe! So I guess they did just that and what we have now is the animal that was created by so many of those ideas. I can always count on EP being interesting if nothing else. I look forward to getting back into the community, and for the admins decreasing some of the "trolling" that continues to happen here.

Thanks. Like I said, I just like that this place is here. I just like to write, so naturally, I appreciate this place for what it is--no matter the changes.
Thanks

Me too. I will live with whatever they throw up here as long as they do not change the original mission of the site to be able to share ourselves here without fear of attack based on anonymity.

Fungirl and Golden one, I miss you guys. <br />
It just seems that this time around everyone went a little nuts about the layout and the whole reworking of the profile page and such. It was like a collective depression of sorts. All I kept seeing popping up was how awful everything looked and how inefficient everything is...blah, blah, blah. <br />
I was not happy either, frankly. I happen to believe that generally speaking, less is more, but I have accepted that no one asked me for my opinion and I was not invited to sit in on any of the meetings, so be it. This is what we have. As I am fond of saying--it is what it is.<br />
But enough already. <br />
This place is phenomenal, and all you have to do is attempt to write somewhere else and that will become evident pretty quickly. That's where perspective comes in, and just plain not taking things for granted. If I woke up one day and tried to log in and this place was gone I would be in a desperate and distraught way.<br />
So, I am pretty happy no matter what they do.<br />
Thanks you guys.<br />
Ps-Fungirl--I though you left Ep. That 's what I heard anyway.<br />
Just kidding.

This is great Quin. I appreciate EP too. Im not here too much these days for various reasons but I have no intention of leaving or pulling the plug. Yes. The anonymity is great. Yes. There are so many different ways to express and share here. Q and A forum I have no great interest in either but the choice is there. The bad stuff? Well you can either get stuck in and create more drama or you can get on with the stuff you enjoy. It is multi functional! And therein is the point. The freedom you get here. The choice of communication of which there are many medium. I have never had any interest whatsoever in any other social networking site but EP. Well. EP is special! :)