OMG . Honestly I think everybody is taking everything waaaaay to seriously. I remember the days when I was a member of aol and my first experience with public forums was a remarkably similar experience to dealing with the general public in person. On the receiving end, we would ALL do well to take everything posted on the net as whole with a grain of salt and remember that we can utilize the gray matter between our ears as a filter for what we let inside our hearts and minds. There is one thing, and as far as I can tell, ONLY one thing in all the universe that I can control and that is my own behavior. This includes how I choose to interpret or perceive what enters my domain as well as how I choose to [strike]react[/strike] respond to it. This came from a years worth of court mandated anger management classes which I am very glad for now though at first I was not pleased about having to attend.
On the dispensing end, for those of us who enjoy stirring up the pot a little for whatever reason, we should keep in mind that how we appear to ourselves is not always how we appear to others, and it behooves us as individuals and as a community to refrain from behaving in a manner that might not be as innocuous as it may seem, particularly in terms of context, or when we make a first impression. I am grateful for the "edit" button available to me here, as I often type away and click send before careful examination of what I might be sending (especially when I am tired - which is also a time when I sometimes don't carefully examine what I am reading either) and this feature has surely saved me some regret in hindsight.
There are some great words of wisdom written on, of all things, a bottle of soap I found at Mom's house. Took me a half-hour to read the entire label of Dr. Bronner's Castille soap, and I'm not even sure all of them are the same, but this one noted something like, "you are master of the unspoken word, once uttered you become it's slave." And someone else (Joyce Meyer?) once said something to the effect that the even the mightiest and most powerful of men have difficulty holding their own tongue. Something to consider before speaking first as well as when considering something said.
I guess the point is that ultimately we are all human, capable of both mistakes and of forgiving them. I find this forum populated with folks who seem to be a little more mindful than the general populace as a whole, which is why I was immediately attracted to it and feel comfortable expressing myself freely here. But water seeks its own level, as do people, I think, and anyone tempted to post here has probably, like me, done a little lurking first and isn't likely to get their panties in a wicked bunch over an unhelpful comment or two even if it IS the first response to theirs. In truth, the one most vilified as a troll here was one of the reasons I signed up, and it saddens me deeply that I shan't get to cross swords with him in the 'religion' thread. And yet, feeling unrelentingly attacked and unappreciated had ALMOST driven me to leave the forum that later introduced me to this one, and what prevented that was the positive efforts of a few members who reached out to me and mitigated the damage.
I think this group attracts the type of folks that can get along with each other better than most; I think if we do try to keep each other in check we can prevent frightening off newbies and still have fun. I am a firm believer in "do unto others" Golden Rule. Doing my best to uphold it sometimes means challenging myself to do things differently than I want to, but rarely regret after the fact.
(and who knows? if everybody plays nice, I just may do a little dance of joy...:tongue1:)