Bringing negative posts to the top

Joel
Joel

December 17th, 2002, 6:06 am #1

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:

"I made a conscious decision to smoke."
"I think I have decided to go back to smoking"
Options
The Smoker's Vow

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.)
"Please don't smoke."
Acknowledge the negative--but dwell on the positive
Buddy Systems

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!

Joel
Quote
Share

freefromit GOLD
freefromit GOLD

December 17th, 2002, 6:47 am #2

Thank you Joel, for some good guidance regarding the occasional negative posts we see here. It was a good reminder for me to check the date of the original post. I replied to one today that was over a week old without realizing it...
I was drawn to becoming a member here at Freedom because of all the positive posts (like the milestones) and the dozens of articles that you put up every day, as information on all aspects of our quits.
Thanks again for helping us stay focused and on track here!
Marie 3 months 1 day
Quote
Share

Joel
Joel

December 17th, 2002, 8:00 am #3

Thanks Marie:

I want to make it clear that it is not that I am trying to stop people from when they are experiencing bad times and thus having negative posts. It is the act or resurrecting old negative posts at a time when they are no longer current or relevant and giving them and inordinate amount of play, making the quitting experience seem overall tougher at times than it may actually be that this string is addressing.

Does quitting have the potential of causing some discomfort and can the adjustments to life without smoking cause some difficult times? Sure they can. But when contrasted to the pain, agony and disruption that smoking can cause, the effects experienced from quitting are minor in comparison. Smoking will cost you a fortune and can cause pain, agony, suffering AND death. To some degree it does the first three effects to most smokers at one time or another, and as far as the last effect-killing the individual, it ends up doing this to one out of every two smokers. To avoid the pain, agony and total loss of everything that can be caused by smoking always stay resolute in your resolve to never take another puff!

Joel
Quote
Share

FruityPatti
FruityPatti

December 17th, 2002, 8:11 am #4

Okay, this may be a real goof ball question but I have to ask...when you say "bringing a post to the top" does that mean responding to the post and that makes it go to the top of the thread list? After 2 months, I still don't have all the "message board workings" down. If you just read the post, does that make it go to the top?
Sorry to be a pain .
Patti
Two months, three days, 16 hours, 37 minutes and 40 seconds. 3881 cigarettes not smoked, saving $679.71. Life saved: 1 week, 6 days, 11 hours, 25 minutes.
Quote
Share

Joel
Joel

December 17th, 2002, 10:07 am #5

Yes Patti, the only way to bring a post to the top is by responding to it. Always be cognizant that when you respond to a post it is going to make that post be the first thing any new member or current member is going to see when first logging in at that time. If the post that is being brought up is a past post asking for help, always ask yourself if typing to it now is really necessary and going to be productive. There are times you may read a post that is expressing a problem or issue that has been explored in a previous post. You can always attach a link to the other post without bringing it up. But always try to be sensitive to the privacy of the other individual member who has posted in the past. He or she may not want to be highlighted as having experienced a past problem. It should be up to the individual whether or not they want to be offered up as an example of a situation. As far as posts that I may have used addressing another person, you are always welcome to copy and paste the replies into the new person's post, and if you ever feel any of my articles or any posts from the managers address a specific concern, you are always free to bring those strings up too. Hope this clarifies the issue.

Joel
Quote
Share

improud (golder)
improud (golder)

December 17th, 2002, 10:02 pm #6

My reason for joining Freedom was the positive attitudes that everyone had the night I started lurking and decided that night I would join. the posts were so upbeat and I couldn't believe the support of people who didn't even really "know" the person that they were supporting only that we are all in this together and we are all striving to be Smoke, nicotine free and fighting the same addiction every minute of the day It was the Mission statement the relapse statement, the articles, that made me feel that This Site was REAL and not some bogus let's rap kind of thing. Freedom made a difference in my life Freedom helped me take control of my addiction and if I can do this anyone can. There are times when I'll read a post from someone that continually whines and I won't answer because it's the same old same old. We've all suffered craves, and what goes with quitting some can't make it while the majority do the ones that don't make it really don't want too as far as I'm concerned, Keep up the good work Joel Cathy
soon to be Double Gold after smoking for 40+ years
Quote
Share

Lena (SILVER)
Lena (SILVER)

December 17th, 2002, 10:54 pm #7

Sorry Joel, My intention was simply to say that I have been negative and I wanted to share the positive aspects of my new life. I should have chosen my subject name more carefully. I'm not used to this. I will be more careful in the future. Lena
Quote
Share

Joel
Joel

December 17th, 2002, 11:20 pm #8

This message has been deleted by the manager or assistant manager.
Quote
Share

Rickgoldx5
Rickgoldx5

December 17th, 2002, 11:23 pm #9

Thanks Joel, Bob and all this one gets printed!
Rick
Seven months, one week, six days, 4 hours, 8 minutes and 25 seconds. 18173 cigarettes not smoked, saving $2,717.48. Life saved: 9 weeks, 2 hours, 25 minutes.
Quote
Share

Joel
Joel

December 17th, 2002, 11:27 pm #10

Hello Lena:

When I started writing this reply to your post "7" here, I was going to say that I was going to delete your post above and this post once I know you have read it. I was going to say that I suspected this post is going to be brought up many times in the future to address the issue of bringing up negative posts. I was then going to say that I fully suspect that soon that you would be as positive as the next person here and won't want to be remembered as a negative quitter.

But then I realized that would possibly give you and others the impression that you were different than most because at this point in time you were a having negative thoughts. This would not be entirely true. Many of our long-term successful and seemingly overly joyous members could very likely have been negative in the beginning. Negativity is what helps keeps smokers smoking. The feeling that quitting is impossible, that it is too late to do any good, that a person doesn't care enough about himself of herself, that nobody can quit so how do you expect me to quit--all of these thoughts often permeate the addicted mind of a smoker.

That is basically one of the major strengths of what we are doing here at Freedom. We are trying to help people see that they must look for the positives of quitting. The fact is you don't have to look really far. At the same time we want to help people see that they also have to remember the negative side of smoking. We are not trying to convince them that there were not good times that they associated with smoking, and not even that there were not some good cigarettes--meaning cigarettes that the smoker truly enjoyed. But if cigarettes are remembered accurately, the odds are the majority were no longer "good" cigarettes and the fact was that even the good ones were destroying them, literally cell by cell.

The important thing is not looking at smoking negatively or not smoking positively. The important thing is to look at both sides accurately. There are good and bad moments on both sides. But as time goes on, the many positives of not smoking become the predominate issue that can help sustain a quit, while for those who continue to smoke, the negatives get increasingly worse and more severe, eventually reaching complications of life threatening proportions.

To stay on the side where health, economic, social factors, smells and a host of other improvements become the norm, always work on reminding yourself during all of the good times as well as the bad, as to why you first quit and now want to stay committed to never take another puff!

Joel
Quote
Share

Joel
Joel

December 17th, 2002, 11:30 pm #11

Sorry Rick, I edited my post above while you were responding to it. I had some pretty bad sentence structure in one part. Actually there were a few parts that were not structured well but I let the others go. I think you were responding to this post so your reply here may seem a little out of sequence.
Quote
Share

Joel
Joel

December 29th, 2002, 2:04 am #12

Its sometimes tricky running a board such as ours. Some past strings have great content and using them for an example or a point of reference can be a great benefit for new readers. But as this post covers, sometimes the title is the only thing that a lot of people are going to read and that message alone can start a chain reaction of negative postings or just leaving a person looking in thinking that a person or various people are in trouble of having a harder time than is actually occurring.

Today we had the post God I Want a Cigarette!!!! brought up. It is in fact a great string illustrating how a person who in the early days of a quit and sounding and feeling that quitting is impossible can develop into a strong and secure ex-smoker who very rarely if ever experiences any such moments months or years into his or her quit. To some degree this illustrates an almost universal experience to most ex-smokers.

But again, when it is brought to the top the string poses a problem. The best way to avoid this complication and still use benefit from use of the string is to keep the original string down by not attaching any new posts to it, and using a new string linking over to it and saying how that string serves as a great example of how a person will become stronger over time.

Here is an example illustrating what I mean, using the exact post that was utilized this morning.

Start a new string with a title like:

"It really gets better over time," or "An example of how it gets better over time."

Then in the body write something to the effect:

"When people are first quitting smoking they often feel that quitting smoking is impossible and life will be a constant battle of trying to stay smoke free. But this is not how it will be for the vast majority of people. Even if you are having an absolutely terrible time now, know that this is temporary and it will soon be much better.

A good case in point can be seen by reading the post, God I Want a Cigarette!!!! Just a notice of caution, please do read this post but do not reply to it. If you do it will elevate it to the top and give the board that the person who wrote it is currently in trouble which is clearly not the case. (see the string Bringing negative posts to the top that discusses this issue)

In that post you will see how a person who sounded as if she were on the verge and likely feeling that she was going to lose a quit has become one of our many multi-year success story."

By using a technique like this, you will still get the value of the original string without leaving anyone quickly reading the board thinking that there is a crisis happening. By putting in the link to Bringing negative posts to the top you are even educating anyone reading on how to be careful not to respond and create a similar negative post himself or herself when reading the suggested link.

We have a great wealth of experience and information in our past posts and want people to feel free in being able to utilize these strings. Lets do it in a way that keeps our board being as positive as it deserves to be. Quitting smoking is a good and positive thing and nobody should ever have the impression that being an ex-smoker was a bad choice. Becoming an ex-smoker is one of the greatest decisions and one of the greatest accomplishments that all of our members and all successful ex-smokers have ever pulled off. We want everyone here to always recognize this fact and to always stay happy, strong and resolute in his or her decision to never take another puff!

Joel
Quote
Share

Parker GOLD
Parker GOLD

January 21st, 2003, 10:29 pm #13

Quote
Share

Luke (green)
Luke (green)

January 21st, 2003, 11:09 pm #14

This message has been deleted by the author.
Quote
Share

Luke (green)
Luke (green)

January 21st, 2003, 11:11 pm #15

Hi Joel

Im a little confused as to what all these mails actually mean?? It could have been me that didnt respond? and this whole concept of mails to the top.. the top of what.. sorry I dont follow any of what you have said nor what anyone else has said in this posting (or is it called a thread). Is there a link somewhere that I need to read to understand what we need to know to use this forum? Does this explain why the post "where are you from" was at the top (assuming the top is the top of the page) yesterday? If I open a post does it bring it to the top.. the top of my screen or the top of everyones? When can I write something: anytime just to share progress or only in an emergency? What sort of info do we want to bring to the top? And last who decides that the posting or thread should and must be at the top (what ever the top is)?
Please enlighten me. Sorry Joel I even got confused writing this!

Luke
Quit now for 2W 16H 57M
Quote
Share

GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)
GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)

January 21st, 2003, 11:27 pm #16



here you go, Luke.....it's all explained here

Our Courtesies
How to Post
Quote
Share

marypGold
marypGold

January 21st, 2003, 11:44 pm #17

Thanks Joel and Mrs Grumpy for bringing this to the top.The last couple of days has got me down seeing the same post at the top every time I looked or so it seemed.Thank you again Mrs. Grumpy for making my day brighter and not having to look at the same post over and over.

Winnie
Quote
Share

Joel
Joel

January 22nd, 2003, 3:05 am #18

Hello Luke:

It's all pretty simple. If you reply to a post you bring it to the top. So by me replying to this one now it is now brought up. I am not sure what you are referring to in thinking you were the man who had not responded. The original person to who this article was referring to was written back in mid-December. In fact, I was not the person to bring this one to the top today, it was another member who was seeing that a similar episode was being repeated. This was a somewhat tricky concept to bring out without hurting people's feelings and I spent quite a bit of time in the latter posts trying to clarify the reasoning behind the concept. If you read the entire string above though I think it will really help you to understand the importance of the original post. We are just trying not to create an artificially appearance of negativity to the board as a whole. Negative posts are addressed and we try to bring the member posting around to see the positives of not smoking. Hopefully that will help him or her move on to a more positive state that will be much more conducive to helping him or her and every one else reading here to stay happily committed to never take another puff!

Joel
Quote
Share

Joel
Joel

February 8th, 2003, 4:36 am #19

I just deleted a string that was brought up to the top. When a manager writes that we want to let a string drop down because of the issues discussed here we ask all members to honor that request. If the person who was having a specific problem wants to bring up the string because they are still having the problem, that might be a legitmate reason to raise it again. But for another member to raise it because they want to congratulate the person of a milestone or to add additional comments, it is doing exactly what this post is talking about.

The string got deleted today precisely because this is what a member did. Where back on January 21 a manager put up the message that it was time to let this string drop, now two weeks later a member raised it saying that he or she knew it was against the rules but he or she was going to do it anyway. It resulted in the loss of the entire string.

Generally we don't like to delete strings if we can help it, but it is the one way that we can enforce policies that we have in place. Please honor our courtesy and rules here at Freedom, they are here to make this site the most effective it can be, for new members and old members alike. To stay a member with posting privileges stick within our proper code of conduct which is spelled out in our Courtesy and Rules thread. To stay a member of the race of living and healthy human beings no longer being controlled by a chemical substance always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
Quote
Share

richard This is It GOLD
richard This is It GOLD

February 8th, 2003, 4:44 am #20

mea culpa
Quote
Share

Joel
Joel

March 21st, 2003, 8:53 pm #21

We have a lot of new members. I thought it would be a good idea to help people see how we try to structure the board and posts so that we can get an accurate portrayal of what quitting is like without making it appear that staying off is as bad as many people think that it is going to be over the long-term. The post below title of posts is a good case in point. I was actually thinking a good string to have brought up to see how things improve with time was the one titled, "God I Want a Cigarette!!!!," but as you will see from the comment below I prefer to get the message of that one string out on the board without bringing the title up to do it.
From: Joel. Sent: 12/28/2002 12:04 PM
Its sometimes tricky running a board such as ours. Some past strings have great content and using them for an example or a point of reference can be a great benefit for new readers. But as this post covers, sometimes the title is the only thing that a lot of people are going to read and that message alone can start a chain reaction of negative postings or just leaving a person looking in thinking that a person or various people are in trouble of having a harder time than is actually occurring.

Today we had the post God I Want a Cigarette!!!! brought up. It is in fact a great string illustrating how a person who in the early days of a quit and sounding and feeling that quitting is impossible can develop into a strong and secure ex-smoker who very rarely if ever experiences any such moments months or years into his or her quit. To some degree this illustrates an almost universal experience to most ex-smokers.

But again, when it is brought to the top the string poses a problem. The best way to avoid this complication and still use benefit from use of the string is to keep the original string down by not attaching any new posts to it, and using a new string linking over to it and saying how that string serves as a great example of how a person will become stronger over time.

Here is an example illustrating what I mean, using the exact post that was utilized this morning.

Start a new string with a title like:

"It really gets better over time," or "An example of how it gets better over time."

Then in the body write something to the effect:

"When people are first quitting smoking they often feel that quitting smoking is impossible and life will be a constant battle of trying to stay smoke free. But this is not how it will be for the vast majority of people. Even if you are having an absolutely terrible time now, know that this is temporary and it will soon be much better.

A good case in point can be seen by reading the post, God I Want a Cigarette!!!! Just a notice of caution, please do read this post but do not reply to it. If you do it will elevate it to the top and give the board that the person who wrote it is currently in trouble which is clearly not the case. (see the string Bringing negative posts to the top that discusses this issue)

In that post you will see how a person who sounded as if she were on the verge and likely feeling that she was going to lose a quit has become one of our many multi-year success story."

By using a technique like this, you will still get the value of the original string without leaving anyone quickly reading the board thinking that there is a crisis happening. By putting in the link to Bringing negative posts to the top you are even educating anyone reading on how to be careful not to respond and create a similar negative post himself or herself when reading the suggested link.

We have a great wealth of experience and information in our past posts and want people to feel free in being able to utilize these strings. Lets do it in a way that keeps our board being as positive as it deserves to be. Quitting smoking is a good and positive thing and nobody should ever have the impression that being an ex-smoker was a bad choice. Becoming an ex-smoker is one of the greatest decisions and one of the greatest accomplishments that all of our members and all successful ex-smokers have ever pulled off. We want everyone here to always recognize this fact and to always stay happy, strong and resolute in his or her decision to never take another puff!

Joel
Quote
Share

Joel
Joel

March 25th, 2003, 1:11 am #22

For Rickdabler
Quote
Share

Joel
Joel

April 13th, 2003, 3:47 pm #23

We had an incident where a person wrote kind of a desperate post a few days ago, got lots of replies, came back and said she was better, thanked all of the people who responded and even said that she was a little embarrassed that she wrote the post, and then, two days later it got brought back up again leading to people addressing a problem that had long since past. This string addresses the reasons to avoid bringing such posts back to the top.
Quote
Share

Joel
Joel

April 23rd, 2003, 10:29 pm #24

We had an incident where a person wrote kind of a desperate post back in mid-January, got lots of replies, and wrote back a few days later that she was better. Then, almost three months later now a member popped up the post telling the person not to panic that things will get better. Bringing up this post made absolutely no sense today and to avoid any other confusion or embarassment to the member who first made the post I just pulled off the entire string.
Quote
Share

Joel
Joel

May 24th, 2003, 9:44 pm #25

Quote
Share