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"The first human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization." 
– Sigmund Freud

 Agreement Among Users

These forums, which are unmoderated, are designed both as research projects and dynamic group processes. As we discuss theoretical, clinical and social issues, we observe ways in which analogous dynamics arise within our own community, attempt to give them meaning, work to resolve conflicts over time, and share what we learn with others.

What we write is an expression of ideas. Our purpose is creativity and discovery, with personal insight and a greater sense of connectedness arising from the struggle to work together. We agree to be as open and honest as possible with ourselves and one another, and to express ourselves in ways that facilitate those processes. We agree to compose our thoughts rather than vent or suppress them, with consideration for their potential impact on others. We will make every effort to share our associations to the ideas and feelings or our colleagues, and avoid prejudging or criticizing them on the basis of different ideologies, personalities, or communication styles. While we can't expect ourselves to maintain full conscious control of the unconscious forces that motivate our posts, we appreciate that we're more likely to disregard that level of meaning when we feel hurt, humiliated, or desire revenge. When conflicts emerge, we will do our best to look inside ourselves, examine our own sense of injury, and the feelings and self-protective mechanisms that motivate our communications and the way we hear and respond to the communications of others.

Participants understand that this process is not confidential. Real names are used. Some members plan to write about the project, and others will discuss it with friends and colleagues. We agree not to reveal names or forward posts to individuals outside the group, and we will not quote people without their permission. Discussions with non-participants should be about the process as we experience it, not about specific individuals. However, we also understand that rules are occasionally broken, and this is a greater risk when there are a large number of people involved. If we agree to participate we do so with full understanding of these risks.

It is always easy to misinterpret the meaning and intention of others based on what we're predisposed to believe, and distortions are even more likely when we can't read each other's expressions or hear their voices. Intense feelings and conflicts may arise as a result. We will try our best to help our colleagues recognize and resolve these difficulties when they arise, but we understand that in unusual circumstances this may lead to an exacerbation of an individual's underlying emotional problems.

We understand that personal issues or vacations may take people out of the arena for extended periods, but we agree to do our best to remain in the room. If the desire to unsubscribe arises out of strong personal feelings, we agree to discuss those feelings first, with the hope of resolving them.

Full participation in the forum can be intense, emotionally challenging, and time-consuming. Potential new subscribers must have some understanding of the nature of the project, and either be sponsored by a member of the group, or be willing to tell us something about themselves and the reason for their interest prior to joining. Participants under the age of 18 can participate only with parental consent.

If individual participants choose to write about the project, they agree to share their drafts with the group first, but will ultimately take full responsibility for their interpretation of the material, without implying that other group members are in agreement with their perspective.

We agree not to post materials that may violate any laws. We will not seek to hold any administrator or member responsible for the posts of other adminstrators or members. We understand that information we enter will be stored in a database and may be open to theft or loss, and we will not seek to hold any administrator or other member responsible for breaches of confidentiality other than his or her own breaches.

This contract will remain in effect until phenomena emerge that make us need to reconsider some elements and perhaps add others, at which point it will be renegotiated. Return to Forum Index>>