Commenting On Stories And Interacting With Other Members

Up until recently (until the Beta profile to be exact), I used to receive my fair sure of story comments. Nothing crazy, but enough to keep me coming back to see what people had to say to my stories, to respond and to interact with my fellow EP Members. Now days, I think I would be lucky to receive 1 comment per story (and I have written over 2500 stories, and over 1000 in the past year). And speaking to other's, they have found similar lack of commenting since the Beta profile became compulsory.

I am not sure what the reason behind this is exactly, maybe it is the Beta profile (which many of us find too difficult to navigate effectively, but I am not going to sit back and knock the Beta profile, you know my feelings on it already), or maybe it is the direction the site has taken (which seems to be a My Space clone more so every day). But I am going to say that something needs to be done in regards to getting people to interact on this site.

Right now, the Experience Project has become an impersonal, unfriendly site to be a part of. It lacks the personal touch in once had, the magic and the welcoming nature that really made EP feel like a home for many of us. I am not sure what the answer is exactly, maybe it is promoting commenting by providing additional tokens (it doesn't need to be complicated like changing the rating system!), or providing trophy’s for sending gifts / gestures / whiteboard comments to new members. It's this sort of interaction between members that need to be promoted and encouraged, by both staff and by other members. Something to keep people coming back and something to reward members for using the site the way it was intended to be used.

Something needs to be done. Change needs to happen.

TheWanderingSupertramp TheWanderingSupertramp
26-30, M
9 Responses Nov 11, 2012

I guess I see the act of self disclosure as leaving users with a sense of vulnerability. I can imagine people sitting their WAITING for a response to a revelation that feels important to them and worrying about it until someone responds (with or without compassion).

And in addition.. if this site is to be successful it needs to be perceived to be a SAFE space for users to reveal themselves. From what I can see this isn't happening.

I agree wholeheartedly with your comments, however I don't think that the responses to posts should be for the purpose of validation and competition. I believe this 'lack of responses' poses some ethical issues to the site. I've been corresponding with the management staff about very specific cases and have sent them this :

Some thoughts about how to improve the ethics and management of your site :
Another example illustrating the need to review :
'i have something with me everynight. i cant figure out what it is. it is built like a skinny man but looks like a tree. has about a foot long claws on his hands and has bright eyes. its terrifying me. please. someone at least let me know who it is or what it is. i cant seem to find anyone to help me. Im gettin freaked out. im not on drugs or alcohol im new at this but it comes to me everynight.' <--- This girl could be just mucking around or could be showing early signs of psychosis. What are your ethical standpoints on this?

Another example I sent through was of a young woman disclosing her struggle with her mum's alcohol abuse without receiving a single response
Another example is of young women (13-15yrs) disclosing being 'spanked' (they may or may not be adults posing as children but regardless...) and receiving unregulated responses such as 'you deserved it and I bet you liked it' 'did your dad ever get a hardon' etc.etc.

These are not only ethical issues but liabilities to your organisation.
And so rather than continuing to bombard your team with emails (of which you don't respond to for some reason?) I thought I could send you through some suggestions :
- Either the site should be strictly 18+ and publicised as such and/or :
In consideration of youth :
- When someone posts a comment they should be advised of services that are available to them should the require further support (For users such as the last 2 I've emailed you about who have been left hanging)
- When someone posts a comment they should be advised that the responses they will receive will be from the general community and not from professionals and hence responses are at user discretion
- Ideally you could employ someone to adequately monitor the site by responding to users with empathy, compassion and suggestions of further services that are available to them (see for an example of this. Every post is monitored by the administrator as are the responses. EVERY post hears a response that demonstrates compassion and care)
- Perhaps you could have health professionals available via collaboration with other counselling sites that could strengthen the network of support for users.
- If a post needs to be removed for inappropriate content, the users should be advised of the reasons for doing so and be provided with support beyond the site
- If users are posting inappropriate responses and posts they should be permanently banned from the site and potentially reported to the police (depending)
- Members should be required to submit contact details in case of disclosures of suicidality. This also might act as a deterrent for people using the site for (as you described it earlier) 'titillation'

Any of the above demonstrates the minimal amount of care required to deliver a site such as yours. Your website is potentially a first port of call for people who are confronting serious situations in their lives. It's not just a site for voyeurism and gossip and 'confessions'. You have a responsibility to the users of this site (particularly youth) to ensure that there are adequate pathways of support and care. As an organisation you can't just blind yourself to these ethical issues behind the philosophy of a 'community support project' because how do you know that the community of users that are accessing your site are capable of supporting people with complex life struggles? It's a great idea in theory but the reality of this is highly risky for your organisation but more importantly the users.

----- further suggestions anyone?

I have been rarely getting comments, for a long time. I got more comments at first. For a while I was very worried about people not commenting on my stories. Then I decided that it's normal for stories to have three or fewer comments, after so much time since the story was posted, and I think most commenting is done on stories that are recent, and all of my stories are old now.

Should I say I agree? I do agree btw.. I think it had something to do with all the changes. I used to be able to go through in a matter of a few minutes.. see the new groups my buddies created and add those if they pertained to me... i then was able to go over to the stories page and narrow it down to just my circle and comment away until i ran out of pages I can't do that easily anymore so I don't comment as often.

The new version is just too hard to use effectively (at least from how it used to be).

It frustrates me just as everyone else.

EP, that is another issue: offering the ability to "cheat" and use tokens to rate up a story. (Er, no offense, lunadelobos ;-) Where is the honesty in one person being able to artificially bump up a story six times? It's insincere and I have no idea why it was implemented.

Exactly! Another stupid idea, implimented without thought for what we actually want from this site.

NO listen I GET YOU LOL and i actually AGREE in principle.


PS I AM NOT SCREAMING LOL I JUST commented to another member about this very silly token idea rofl :D ..

Plus it's very dubioius it will even last :) i will not agree to this insanity..
(no i am NOT a hypoctire rofl :")!!!

Understood lunadelobos, understood! ;-)

What Ruby said... It is indeed cheating. The rating system has lost all credibility. :/

I agree!

*hehe* RedRubies :) *winks*

*double winks at everyone*

Yummy. ;)

oh boy is it hot in here or did i just sit on my roasted chicken dinner :D?

I don't think it's cheating. I just think it's stupid, pointless and annoying!

Can it be all of the above? :)

*two thumbs up* ;)

I kind of like being able to rate up someones story more that once. Wasn't it a common comment for someone to say, "If I could rate this up more that once I would." It appears that EP listened and we can now.

are you umm *culprit #2* ;) hehe ?
if so *high fives* for this story is worth to go up up and into EP staffers' ears :)

Nope, I didn't rate this story up at all.

Yes, but wishing to rate a story up more than once &amp; being able to are two different things. Where's the legitimacy in it? It means that popular people get more notoriety &amp; the little guy get shoved to the side. It disingenuous, &amp; unnecessary. A story should become popular solely on merit, I think. :)

Makes sense, but I still like voting up more than once. Though, I wouldn't get all upset if it were not available to do so.

it's true meanwhile so much sexual based stories get like tonnes of ratings for drivel!!! content.

So we all concede that on merit many GREAT Stories are just not as popular. Which is counterproductive to the tenets of this site, or this is my thinking....

and when a good story needs to be heard, i will use tokens to rate THIS story up :D

I have no ethical dilemmas here *zero *.

Hey, lunadelobos, if you've got any left don't forget my 3 new stories, please. :o)

@ conceptualclarity ~
I do lol i have been kvetching over this one my whole evening :D

and woe and behold it's 5:31 am and i got to wake up nice and chipper at 10 oy vey.. O_o!

Please remind me in a letter, memory's pretty shot, thanks fibro and ptsd and oh yes, the gifts my ex spread so genously of mental fackery/duplicity

&gt;must be Karmic ways at work&lt; just am sorta stuck for now...:)

...sorry, just lots of things i want to bury the hatchet on but i am not sure how :)
*hugs* Luna.

17 More Responses

And I thought it ws just *ME*
I am soooo glad someone has bought this up,
I swear this site is feeling more and more like a deserted island :(.....

A really facked up one at that O_o

Sorry you all but i am just devastated becasue it's not warm or cozy, or INTERACTIVE as you said ReeceH, just more crazy for me...the father it goes the crazier it gets imo.

I think a lot of the established users are feeling that way lunadelobos, which is a shame because we are the ones who have helped shape this site into something good.

it's maddness, sheer and utter sad insanity ...ok ok i'll stop with the melodrama.
it's a good touch though ;)

I am trying to lighten the mood cause i am pissed here...*pouts*

<p>i am the nut job who spent 14 tokens to rate up your story to 20:)! <br />
i don't do that for nothing you</P><br />
<p>it's true. I see very little of normal activity,something fishy is AFOOT at EP central command.</P><br />
<p> and I DON'T LIKE IT AT ALL!</P><br />

Very crazy! But thank you, I am honored you did =)
I think linking the Beta profile to a lot of EP's problems may be a bit overboard (I was just trying to throw around examples more than anything), but it does seem to cause more problems than it is worth. I think maybe there should be an EP Vote or something to actually come to an some sort of understanding about these sort of issues. Or a EP Member Council. Something to stop this confusion.

I Like that idea someone sort of connected but sort of impartial.

I mean we are all so impassioned here, why there is steam just rolling off the top of my head ;)

How would we find a person like that?...

I am like House, he HATED changes, so do I and the way I Look back, the Alpha version was GOLDEN:D *sighs* maybe i am being simplistic but i was content as a chicken who'd laid a golden eggy :)) Back in the day.....

Definitely agreed.

Thanks conceptualclarity, I would be suprised to find too many user's who didn't tbh.

I agree. And I have a question for EP Staff. Has increasing numbers become more important to you than the quality of interaction among members? It sure seems that way.

Thanks for the comment datura.
Honestly, I believe it has. I see more and more members joining this site, but more and more established members leaving because the site has changed for the worse. It is a shame and it shouldn't be happening!

Exactly, Reese! EP needs to decide their priorities and then let us know. If they really don't care what they do to our user experience then we are wasting our time trying to get them to understand. And we are wasting our time using this site.

Yes, EP has lost quality members who said they left because they didn't like the way the site is being run.

And who the site allow to abuse the lack of policing on the staff's part.

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