Well, I'm trying to catch up on everything I've missed the past while, since I've been ill Ö and I'm just now getting to the Teen Chat forum issue.
To be honest Ö I'm really at a loss to understand why some are surprised that Teen Chat was removed?
I noticed some of the Teen members feel that this decision came "without warning" Ö almost as if this were a knee-jerk, spontaneous reaction that was unwarranted. I don't find this to be the case. We've been discussing Teen Chat's influence and purpose within these walls from way back when it was originally Teen Explorer, and we have continued to discuss both it's positive and negative aspects right up until Ron made the decision to pull the forum.
In my opinion, this is an attempt to get a handle on a situation that has seemed to fester, from a slow boil to various eruptions over and over again.
Several of us have requested Teen feedback on this continuing problem issue in the past, both through posts in Teen Chat and posts in the DM forum.
Many of our Teen DM's or SM's have given us valuable input, have worked hard to turn Teen Chat around, and yet, try as we all did Ö it continually became an issue for moderator discussion due to tempers flaring, arguments, profanity, complaints, etc. Granted, it was not like that 100% of the timeÖ but it was increasingly becoming combative over the past year or more. Many threads were just fun and silly, but many Teen members became annoyed by their frivolousness and sheer volume. We have lost a great deal of really active and very talented Teens, and it all seems to have come on the heels of Teen Chat, or at least that seems to be the complaint we heard over and over.
These are just a few of the comments that I gathered over time. They are direct quotes from a multitude of various DM or Teen Chat threads made by various Teen members, over a span of time:
"Family of Friends used to mean a strong connection between people of all walks of life coming together to form a common interest. Now, I don't know."
"I find most of the things that go on there very annoying. It's trying on my nerves a lot of the time Ö I see Teen Chat becoming very clique-ish Ö it's become nothing but a bunch of immature gossip and banter"
"Teen Chat and #5 has become incredibly frustrating as there is either too much idle chit chat on pointless topics"
"We can come together as a group and make improvements or we can all sit here and watch it decay...your choice everyone...its sad to see that it had to come to this."
"everyone's always complaining about how there's no one replying in Teen 5, and still, no one replies in Teen 5"
"I can't be bothered Ö.coming in every day and seeing the same pointless threads and jarble that never seems to go away."
"too much garble and bantering back and forth Ö THAT is annoying"
"I just dont know what to do n e more..everyones gotta act on their own...its up to the individual..i jus hope things turn out for the better."
Just over three months ago, we had a very in-depth discussion in the DM forum. We were looking at the numerous Teen Chat and Teen Poetry problems and trying to find solutions. I truly think that many tried to make a very concerted effort to turn things around, on many occasions, and I applaud all those who did so. Members were asked "why" they joined PiP in the first place Ö trying to understand the issues, get a handle on things Ö was it the poetry Ö was it the camaraderie?
What brought you to PiP? Jan 18, 2002: http://piptalk.com/pip/Forum40/HTML/000762.html
We are, after all ... a poetry forum. Judging by the statistics I compiled regarding activity in Teen Chat vs. Teen Poetry Ö it seemed like Ron was primarily hosting a "chat board" for Teens, and not a "poetry forum" for Teens. I was very stunned by the statistics. Teen Poetry used to rival "Open" in the number of responses and posts Ö but in the past year ... it was lucky if it received a passing glance as so many rushed past it to the Chat forum.
As a reminder to some who may not be aware, the Chat Forum arose from another venue Ron opened called Teen Explorer. That was specifically to be used as a mentoring forum for poetry, critiques, etc. It was meant to be poetry related. When it became clear that members may benefit by a "general discussion forum", again, we asked for feedback and acted on it - thus Teen Chat was born:
Members Voted for what direction they'd like to see Teen Explorer go Apr 18, 2001: http://piptalk.com/pip/Forum45/HTML/001805.html
Somewhere along the line though Ö for what I think are a multitude of reasons, problems arose, and tempers and complaints began to flare amongst the members.
Another Leaving thread addressing problems-Apr 4, 2002: http://piptalk.com/pip/Forum40/HTML/000914.html
Teen PiP falling apart - Apr 5, 2002: http://piptalk.com/pip/Forum40/HTML/000917.html
All forums go through changes. The members change, the forums change, people will come, and people will go Ö but what holds us here Ö what brought us here, I hope Ö is to come here to read, share and enjoy poetry. In my opinion, the discussion forums are merely an additional "benefit or bonus" where we can get to know a bit more about each other. They are by no means Ö the primary focus of this poetic site.
If Teen Chat took away from the poetic aspect as the statistics would suggest, if Teen Chat formed deeper cliques, caused distress and annoyance to many Ö then I find it difficult to locate the redeeming value or benefit of having a Teen Chat forum here at Passions in the same fashion as it most recently was.
We are always open to discussion, feedback and opinions however Ö and value everyone's input. If there is any additional input anyone can send our way regarding this, then please do so. The removal of Teen Chat should not be seen as "punishment", but rather an attempt to get a handle on a situation that has seemed to fester over and over again. Now is the time to voice any additional opinions ...
There are many "chat" programs available that could be set up "outside" of PiP, either through Yahoo or various sites, and perhaps that would be preferable alternative for many - those who don't wish to participate in that aspect, would not feel so obligated - poetry would perhaps become the more primary focus once again, when visiting PiP - and those "chatting outside of PIP" would not be subject to the rules and guidelines that "do" need to be governed here by moderators when the discussion is a part of Passions itself. After all, if it's within Passions Ö it goes without saying, that we "must" adhere to those few but certain rules that all members should be aware of.
Perhaps we could look at it as a temporary opportunity for Teens to join in the Alley, The Lounge, Feelings, etc Ö branch out a bit ... maybe this would be a positive and not a negative bonus to many throughout the forums?
Perhaps we can start some poetic ping-pong threads, challenges etc. to inject a little life into Teen Poetry? Direct our efforts toward poetic rejuvenation, while we determine how to move forward from here?
The Teen Forums mean a great deal to me, as does the health of Passions, and I'm sure we will get over this hurdle as we've done with other issues in the past.