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building a better and more inclusive LP community

I made a post in a different context regarding some of my thoughts about our forums here. (I deleted it because after I made it I thought maybe it would better as a different thread.)

Anyway, one definite thing I have noticed is that we do not get a lot of user participation in our forums.  And I was thinking, that as the LP grows, we should work on trying to create a welcoming place for people to "jump into."

So I wanted us to think about that, and if anybody has any ideas please chime in!

Here are several points that came to me as I thought about this:

  1. I think we should think of the forums as less of a place to debate ideas, and more of a place to interact on a human level. This reflects the fact that we should focus on interacting in a more grounded way, focused on each other as individuals, not just engaging by debating about ideas.
  2. As Michael mentioned, this LP site is more for new-comer type people to the LP. Therefore, we should think about having philosophical or "big idea" type conversations and debates at the MichaelSharp forums instead. Maybe this is important because if the discussions going on here are too intellectual or academic or convoluted I have people say that it makes it too intimidating for people to ever get started?
  3. Maybe we should think of the forums as less of a place where "teachers" educate "students", but more as a place where people sit in a circle and share perspectives and find common ground.
  4. We should admit that even after 15 years or whatever [and this is just me speaking here], I don't think the LP has really succeeded in building a very supportive community of mutually interacting people. So to me, this makes it somewhat of a imperative to consider changing our model or approach. Why? Because as they said: "if things don't change, they will definitely stay the same."

What do you guys think?

ben May the people of this world be free.

Hi Ben,

You are Sane. It is a very good idea to suggest a revisit of what works and what doesn't.

I've been thinking about this too for a long while, even when away and could not put my finger totally on why there was a need to approach this in academic way. I never admitted this before, but coming here at times just to post to respond to something interesting, valid and needful of discussion, was like writing a term paper or an essay.

There have been some times when I have gone as far to try writing one personally, which has not been a consistent experience earlier in my life. I wanted to express what I've learned from here, because I did learn things, but I was fraught with much anxiety, so I had to just stop until I get a better grip of it. Have I perhaps exceeded the need for this forum? Maybe.

I must say that the nature of academia language in general, syntax and flow in general is nearly like 'rocket-speak", on top of elitist, conceited, cliquish, intimidating and mentally exhausting. Not everyone has an academic background, most people are refugees from corrupted (and non-existent) educational , social and familial systems to even think straight. Perhaps it's the inherent dryness or infiltration from the System as a deterrent, even with a dictionary, thesaurus and a Chicago MLA Manual of Style book thrown in.

Was it perhaps a personal challenge to get past the intimidating feelings within? Maybe. Is is also difficult to connect with other LP participants in this format when it seems like there's too much of a grip on how the conversations go, with some mild sidetracking aside.
I would like to find other ways to interact as myself and in my style more with the full knowledge and application of respecting the souls I interact with.

If this site is assist people to wake up spiritually at a basic level, it is to be accessible to all. At one time there was sort of a chat box going on but it was discontinued, though I don't recall reaching out to ask about that, or wonder if moderating it was logistically challenging.,

I agree there is a need for a better vehicle to allow a more fluid interaction of discussion in a ways that respects our individual view of the world more, which has been unfortunately shaped by our experiences and circumstances and what goes on daily in the world wherever we are, while we work on healing the damage and corruption together. I'm not condoning superiority complexes, cherry-picking or victim-hood at all.

At most I'm grateful in encountering the academic experience and received varying degrees of perspectives, acquired personal improvements due to this presentation of authentic spirituality to keep myself safe and begin to heal.

I think a separation of content is needed. More spiritual discussions, cosmology, theology, chakras, etc., more advanced discussion, should be moved to the MS site and this should be confined to the basics, basically, what's in the four LP workbooks. If we did that, then the forums could be more focussed on answering newbie questions, providing supportive discussions, etc. I think we need a third site for connection coaching stuff.

We can definitely make the focus here more on support and community. I'd be open to suggestions on how best to revise the forum structure with this in mind. This needs to be the primary and obvious focus. Maybe a forum for general discussion and a forum for Q&A? I think simple is better. But do you  folks suggest.

I think all members now have a certain expertise and sophistication that can sometimes block newbies. I mean when you think about it, the LP framework is quite sophisticated. Light year ahead of what most people understand, so we really have to be careful in presentation.

One thing to think about is things like Facebook and Reddit and Discord have really co-opted the "supportive community space." Most people when they do communities go to these places now. So it might not be all the LP fault because these technologies were designed to siphon people into corporate-controlled spaces. So maybe the focus should be on a simple forum structure here along with some social media activity.

Also, LP servers are quite busy. we recently topped 2 million hits a month on the main LP site alone. So I know people are reading this material, through the workbooks, or the SpiritWiki. The question is how to draw some of them in.

I'm happy to put up a chat thingy again if there's interest. Maybe that's a discord server.

I'm open to any and all suggestions and directions.

-- All you need is love...

On a related note, I'm doing kinda the same thing over at the MS site. Focussing!

Welcome home!

Have a look at the "Intermediate" link.

Intermediate Spiritual Teachings

What do you think about the way I'm presenting the materials. Short, succinct, easy to navigate.


-- All you need is love...

I think that Ben has a solution to the problem:

I think we should think of the forums as less of a place to debate ideas, and more of a place to interact on a human level. This reflects the fact that we should focus on interacting in a more grounded way, focused on each other as individuals, not just engaging by debating about ideas.

Having said that this is not mutually exclusive with debating on more complex subjects.
There's one leftist forum that I am member of, that is generally very laid back, but at the same time serious debates happen there sometimes, albeit in very inclusive and welcoming manner. There's a vibrant and welcoming community there, in large part due to relaxed structure, very good moderation and code of conduct. It has become a place where people come to have a good time and hang out with a very diverse crowd present there. It's cool to see discussions ranging from complex political subjects to things like gardening at one place.

My two cents here are that "thumbs down" option in this forum seriously needs to be removed, with only "thumbs up" left. It is just a source of social anxiety and doesn't provide much more feedback that single "thumbs up" option.

ok. I've removed the down button. Also, simplified the forums.

I thin we can proceed along Ben's lines. I'm moving all more advanced discussion over to where I've organized teaching into intermediate and advanced categories. I'm going to slowly incorporate all the advanced teachings from spiritwiki, older books, into these categories in "lightning rod" form. I think all more advanced discussions and questions should take place over there, and these forums can be more about answering questions, supporting the healing and connection process, etc.  We can come up with rules of conduct as we go.


-- All you need is love...

The other thing to keep in mind, is that we have a public LP discord channel:

If anybody doesn't know, Discord is just an instant messaging type application.

The best way to use it, is to download it, and just leave it running in your system. People can message each other, and we can have more "chatty" interactions if we ever want.

The other thing we can do, is to try to have live chats like once a week, at a certain time. May the people of this world be free.
Quote from Michael.S on September 27, 2020, 1:25 pm

ok. I've removed the down button.

Thank you, Michael! It's way better that way.

I was thinking that we should start to have weekly group chats, open to anybody interested in / involved with the Lightning Path.

The first group chat will be this Friday, 9-October-2020, at 7:00pm EDT (GMT-4).

You can double check what time that is for you here.

As I mentioned above,  just tune in via Discord, either using your web browser or stand-alone Discord client:

I am thinking our first topic of discussion should be on current events, where we can exchange perspectives on how to interpret them through an LP-style lens.

Please stop in and say hello if you can! May the people of this world be free.

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