I know that KotST and a few other fora were formed as a sort of alternative to AVEN. I'm not a refugee myself (I'm still active on AVEN), but I know that some people here have left AVEN entirely.
I've been thinking that one of the problems with these alternative forums is that some of the refugees are the very same people causing the problems. Do you think there is any solution to that sort of thing?
D'you mean Apositive? Because as far as I'm concerned, Apositive is actually functioning more to corral the people causing the problems into a smaller space than to create any kind of safe space.
The problem is that the asexual community is pretty small, and word about new spaces to discuss asexuality spreads very quickly. So, because the community is so small, the same people are often posting on many of the same sites. The only division I have seen without huge amounts of crossover is the one between the AVEN + satellite/spin-off forum "sphere" and the Livejournal/Dreamwidth "sphere" largely clustered around the asexuality Livejournal community and fandom communities like asexy_sherlock and asexual_fandom, and even those broad groups contain many people who participate in both spheres.
To hide from the people causing the problems, you have to either create a space that is so small that those people don't know it exists--difficult in the asexual community--or else moderate your new space to make it clear that these people are not welcome. KoST has, as far as I've been able to see, taken the first route.
The other problem is that alternatives to AVEN are created for different reasons. For instance, definition of the problems certain people have caused varies. I know that Apositive was founded because sex-positive asexuals were feeling uncomfortable on AVEN--but as far as I know, it has never acknowledged any kind of problems within AVEN discourse besides that, and so of course it's not going to be a problem-free space for, say, the repulsed. Cakegasm was founded by people who were angry that a long-term AVEN moderator was demodded--people causing problems are likely to be defined very differently there.
And the third problem: some of these forums are moderated entirely or primarily by current or former AVEN mods, especially those who have been modding off and on for a long time. Expecting the problems caused in part by moderation--e.g. not banning posters causing problems or warning--to go away in a new space with exactly the same moderation style is probably not going to happen. Different board cultures come out of different moderation styles, but I personally would like to go on board as saying that AVEN's is one of the worst out there--its moderators won't enforce social rules and expect members to self-police, but they refuse to allow open anger on the boards themselves, which means that members can't enforce social rules either. If spin-off boards are led by the same people, of course they're going to suffer from the same problems in board culture.
The biggest solutions I can think of are to a) not have too much moderator crossover between AVEN alternatives, particularly not with people who have been modding AVEN for a very long time, and b) to not be afraid of using moderation powers to make it clear that certain kinds of behavior are not to be tolerated. If we're aiming to make a safe space for everyone, which is what KoST was created for, that means using moderation powers to enforce that safe space. Maybe it's just me, but I've seen a distinct discomfort with using moderation powers to warn or ban users among most spaces moderating asexuality discussions.
Haha, yeah, I had Apositive in mind. Though, from their perspective, the "problem" people are people like you and me.
If there's a big separation between AVEN and the LJ community, I would suggest that this has to do with the structure of the medium. It's easy to jump from forum to forum, but to move from AVEN to LJ is more significant. The corollary is that distinct populations should also emerge from the asexy blogosphere and tumblrsphere, if they become big enough. I would actually be very happy if the blogosphere kicked off a lot more, because it's more my natural habitat than the fora.
SlightlyMetaphysical's been linking me the juicier posts, which is how I knew about it. Thank you for the compliment there, by the way, it amused the heck out of me! I love being a "problem" person to that sort.
I think you probably have a big point about the structure of the medium there. LJ and Dreamwidth are very similar to one another in terms of format, and it makes sense that there would be a lot of crossover between the various same-format communities. And on the other hand they're very different from non-LJ/DW blogs, which are again different from tumblogs which are different from forums. And that jump in media is hard to get used to.
I think there's already a distinct, heavily yada-influenced culture beginning to form in the tumblrsphere, which seems to be growing pretty quickly. The blogosphere I agree with you on not being quite big enough, which I think is a shame. I'm actually probably more suited to forums temperamentally, but I really love the sort of protoculture I can see forming in the asexosphere.
Post by you*hear*but*do*you*listen on Feb 16, 2011 12:04:23 GMT -5
Anybody who was causing problems on AVEN comes here, fine as long as they follow the ToS. But I'm not afraid to use my Banhammer. I don't intend to go crazy and ban people left and right, but one of my problems with AVEN was, as Sciatrix put it, "moderators won't enforce social rules and expect members to self-police, but they refuse to allow open anger on the boards themselves, which means that members can't enforce social rules either". I'm in love with a Sith and do not care at all for the Jedi philosophy of repressing anger. Also, excessive anger can be a problem, but one can express outrage and irritation on a forum without being like "RAAAWR FUCK EVERYTHING AND EVERYBODY BLARGLBLARGLBLARG". Seriously.
"Anything can be a weapon if you're holding it right." --Ludo