There were two instances today where a certain kind of negative post was raised to the top. One was from a person who was having a tough time a couple of days ago, and the other was from a person who was a member for a short time, put up a post saying he was thinking he wanted to go back to smoking. I want to use this thread to address these two types of incidents and to have it available to bring up in the future when such events occur.
Again, in the first example the person was having a bad time a few days back. When she put up the original post, a few people responded back with a few well thought out and supportive posts. The person who put up the original post wrote back in another string saying that she was now better and that time of the crisis had passed. This was a good example of how a few quick and well thought out replies can really do the trick of helping a person get through a bad time. It is not the quantity of responses that is going to get a person through a moment--it is the quality of the information and support that he or she will get.
When a person cries out for help, gets it, comes back and responds that they have ridden out the moment and our now better, and then maybe one or two people respond quickly that they are glad to hear that the person got through the bad times--then it is time to let the post drop. Bringing it up over and over with comments like I am glad you are better is just making a person looking in for a quick look at the board think that the person is still in distress and in need of help--maybe hours and then days after the real problem existed.
The second example from today is where a member wrote that he was thinking of going back to smoking, that quitting just didn't seem worth it. Again, there were numerous members who wrote a response back to him and suggested articles for him to read. Actually, the articles I had suggested for him to read were the following:
The man never replied back, and this was from well over a week ago. Then today a member brought back the post today asking how he was doing and telling him to hang in there and post.
The member who made the first post has either relapsed and can't post or has not taken the time to read the replies and acknowledge that he is okay or to let the people know who have tried to help him that their efforts were helpful and appreciated. We honestly don't know which situation is involved here. Either way, there are reasons why this post should not have been raised to the top today. There are a few already existing strings that address why we feel this way. They are:
Misery Love Company (If you have not already read this one today please do and pay special attention to post 10 in that string.)
Each of these string address issues that are likely explaining some of the possible reasons that this post did get raised today. There was no real reason for this man's post to be singled out.
If you go back over the board for the almost three years since Freedom has existed, there are hundreds of people whose posts like this could be brought up every day if we wanted to. Why pick out one and forget the others? Why are we not working at dragging all these people into posting and maybe quitting?
The reason is we are not here to force anyone into quitting and we are not here to enforce personal resolve. We are here to help people who have already decided to quit and are sticking with that committment. (See Our Mission Statement) We want people who are in fact putting in a one hundred percent commitment. If the man had come back and said he was still off and still in dire straights, you can bet he would have been inundated with help and support. If our membership saw he was needing more, they would have delivered it. But at this point we have zero indication of what this individual is thinking or doing.
The one thing that these two posts have in common is that they were bringing negative posts to the top, giving the impression these people were quitting and in trouble. In the first case the person was not in trouble, at least not in trouble with what was being addressed in the particular string, and the second case we don't know if the person is even quitting, let alone in trouble.
I hope that each and every one of our members would try to think back to what the board was likely like the day that you arrived. What made you realize that you wanted to join Freedom? Was it a whole bunch of posts of people complaining about the bad lives they are having since they quit smoking, or was it from a balance of posts?
The odds are the kind of posts that made you want to join were seeing people who were successfully quitting. There were likely some posts from longer-term members who were relating what it is like 99% of the time since they had quit smoking and not really thinking about cigarettes. Other posts were probably from people who were first quitting but who recognized how their lives were in many ways being wrecked from cigarettes and were totally out of control while they were still smoking. It is also likely that there were other posts that had a very strong educational component trying to get the message out that the effort being put forth by all of our members was truly a struggle for your Freedom, your health and your very life.
Try to think back what pulled you into Freedom and ask yourself is what you are posting now really helping others to want to quit smoking too. I suspect if you do this you will consider how you post and how you respond and will much more likely write posts that will not only better help the individual you are writing to, but also all others reading your words to stay determined to never take another puff!