Online discussions brainstorm

FAC has had a couple of online discussions recently, on topics that some of us feel passionately about, and disagree over. I’m really interested in people’s perspectives on how our interactions as a group are affected by the online tools we use. I’d love it if people would answer this completely unscientific poll.

As an aside, how gross is it that the company that provides the poll software is called ‘PollDaddy’?



Of the platforms listed above, which do you find most useful, which are most likely to cause problems, and why?

[I can’t seem to figure out how to add a long-form question to the poll, so please answer this one in the comments below.]

Feel free to add any other thoughts on the dynamics of online discussions. I think it would be fine to use pseudonyms for this, so it doesn’t feel personal.

4 Comments on “Online discussions brainstorm”

  1. scrozz says:

    I think it’s problematic when people make comments online as though they’re speaking with the voice of the group. Some of us in the group don’t agree with what gets said in the group’s name. People are genuinely afraid to post things or to disagree with the policing group, and these voices go unheard. We’re losing members, and this needs to be sorted out. In short: you don’t need to “call people out” online on every single thing that annoys you. Tolerance is sorely needed, or else this group is going to implode.

  2. Lis says:

    I think that almost every kind of discussion, online or offline, ends up making some people feel left out, unable to post, frightened to post or feeling that the group is not for them. For example, I often see the phrase “don’t read the comments!” posted on links to news articles, and those often aren’t moderated at all (or only for really extreme stuff).

  3. kirstente says:

    I’m most used to discussions on blogs. In general I’ve found the best discussions are on blogs with really, really strict comments policies administered without hesitation or apology. However, that only really makes sense if your priority is the quality of the discussion, and not other things like being welcoming to new-comers or facilitating cooperation on activism – things which are obviously very important for FAC.

  4. KM says:

    Thanks for all the thoughtful responses! I have to admit that I’m a total process geek, in some ways I’m more interested in how a group works together than in what the group actually does. But I do think it’s sometimes useful to look at how we communicate, if only to be aware of how many different perspectives there are.

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