Playing Nice in the DOC Sandbox

Laddie_Head SquareI try to be open-minded when it comes to my online/offline interactions with people affected by diabetes. On one hand, I can be as snarky and self-centered as anyone. On the other hand, I have learned that being kind and supportive gets easier with practice and soon becomes a very nice way to lead one’s life. I have definitely had good role models in the DOC and I thank you all. I am also old enough that I have learned that there is no right answer to every question and no guarantee that doing the “right” thing will guarantee good results. So I try to be understanding of other people and usually I succeed.

Last weekend I unwittingly became the the central character in an unpleasant diabetes online experience. Neither the group nor subject is important. I have pretty thick skin and was more stunned than hurt by the barrage of comments. I suppose one problem with the Internet is that although you can control what you write, you can’t always control how your words and intent are received. I don’t pretend to be perfect and am willing to accept responsibility for my missteps although I still don’t quite understand what happened.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time this week thinking about my responsibilities as a member of the DOC. I had a recollection that some blogger once outlined behavior suggestions for the diabetes community. The few longtime DOC bloggers whom I asked about this didn’t think that such a thing existed. Chances are that I once read an article about general online etiquette and that stuck in my mind.

Whenever you have interpersonal problems, I think that the best thing you can do is take a deep breath and reread Robert Fulghum’s list of things to be learned in kindergarten. It always makes me smile.Kindergarten Rules_3

Now that we’re feeling all warm and cozy, let’s consider the DOC and whether there should be a code of conduct. The bloggers whom I recently contacted and the DSMA Tweet Chat of 9/3/14 were unanimous in the opinion that there should be no rules for the diabetes online community. According to one writer, rules would go against the “organic flow” of the community. I think that means that we’re an opinionated and rowdy bunch who have a modicum of common sense along with compassion and mutual respect. But when all is said and done, a few rules did come out of the discussion.

Here you go, DOC Friends!  (with special thanks to K-bloggers Kerri, Kelly, and Kim)

DOC Rules

And I’m going to add one more:

4. If someone screws up, give them the opportunity to learn and then forgive them.

If four rules are too much for you to deal with, just go with #3.

Don’t be a Jerk Face.*

That covers just about everything.

* a descriptive term that only Kerri could think of

27 thoughts on “Playing Nice in the DOC Sandbox

  1. My natural talent for spelling caused the spell check wizard in my computer to commit suicide. It called me jeff face in the note.

    Great post and sorry you were a fulcrum of silliness. LYMI

  2. For once I’m grateful I wasn’t online much last weekend. These are great rules. How about another?

    5. A person’s heart and soul is in their writing. Encouragement works wonders. Being mean solves nothing.

    …But I guess that really translates to “Don’t be a Jerk Face”. Thanks!

    • Thanks, Stephen. As I wrote this post I had considered suggesting that people do “good” things like supporting new bloggers and writing comments. Hey, that’s what you do! Do you remember a few years ago when there was some DOC day where everyone was supposed to “meet” and highlight a blogger that was new to them? We should do that again. Thanks for your Rule #5.

    • Thanks. Kelly. I appreciate your support. And there are very few life problems that can’t be put in perspective by watching Key & Peele!

  3. Thanks for the reminder to play nice (though it’s hard for me to imagine you weren’t)! And you’re right, that totally sounds like Kerri. 🙂

    • Thanks Need a Nap2. BTW I did need a nap today and never had time:-) I babysat 2 of the grandkids and that is always a fun, but exhausting time.

  4. A non-diabetes forum that I visit has a rule “don’t offend and don’t be easily offended”, I like this as it encompasses both the initiator and the reactors in any exchange.

  5. Wonderful post!
    I do not comment on the stuff that I read in the DOC. I read alot of it but rarely if ever respond. There are some amazing people, who write some amazing post’s. That being said, I have found that although more than likely comments come from a good heart, they sometimes come off as being pretty snarky. Like that person is the Number 1, authoritative expert in all that is Diabetes. When I see this, it takes massive amounts of restraint to NOT to be a Jerk Face. Thankfully, I have adopted a rule of asking my wonderful sweet wife, before I interject my opinion(Typically not very nice). I often find that just writing out my rant/mockery is good enough. press delete and move on.
    Sorry for a long winded short comment but just wanted to add a thought.
    Run your comment by someone else before you press send because once you press send, you can never take that back. You never want to be #3

  6. Thanks for reading and commenting, Jay Rose. Sometimes I think that only Type A people get diabetes and then of course we all become “authoritative experts”! I have had so many positive experiences in the DOC and this will soon be a distant memory. I love when people write long comments. I used to do that and decided that I should start a blog. Now I write long blogposts (and still write long comments!).

  7. Laddie,
    My favorite rule was #4. We all need to lighten up, forgive others and move on. And I also liked StephenS’ s rule #5. Being mean solves nothing! Amen!

  8. I love it when I am thinking of a response to a post and what comes to mind first is… “uhcan-i-getta AMEN!?” I very much enjoyed your post and the comments here, Laddie. A few DOC etiquette reminders are never a bad thing.

    • Thanks, Heather. I have learned a lot about playing nice through my years in the DOC, but occasionally have a goof-up, I guess:-)

  9. (I’m writing this before reading other comments so as to not be biased, so forgive me if I seem repetitive or unresponsive).

    I’ve often wondered if such a “code” should exist. Or if there is an “unwritten code” that does exist and must not get violated, punishable not by sanctions but by ostracism. Kind of like the unwritten code of fighting in hockey. But rules are restrictive, and we’re here voluntarily. I’d be less likely to stick around if I had a list of rules to follow.

    I agree with your longer list (except, perhaps, for Milk and Cookies being good for you, because it’s certainly not good for me!), and even with your shorter list, I think that the one Golden Rule is what we really need: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (short version: Don’t be a jerk face). But the thing is: some of us would want different treatment than others. Some want only to read nice things that make them smile, others want healthy debate that makes them think. And yet others want to be insulted, so they can have the opportunity to retort with an even more biting insult (see also: “your mama is so…” jokes). The bottom line is that we can’t please everybody, but we can’t pretend that life is as carefree as The Brady Bunch either. We need disagreements; that’s what leads to problem-solving and helps keep the community alive.

    But respect for one another is non-negotiable. And where we stray from that ideal, as my religion teaches us every year around this time, we should apologize to others whom we’ve treated wrong and forgive others who’ve done us wrong. And start the new year (5775, if you’re paying attention to the Hebrew calendar) with a clean slate.

    • Thanks, Scott. I like the idea of apologizing and starting a new year with a clean slate. I miss the innocent idea of cookies and milk, especially as I remember them from kindergarten when it was always graham crackers. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  10. This topic is one of the biggest reasons I’ve been “falling out of love” with the DOC. There are a few people, such as you, that I hold dear to my heart – but others are just too busy being a jerkface for their own good and it’s taken a toll on me emotionally. I can’t fathom how some people can be so mean and hurtful.

  11. What a great blog, Laddie. Sorry that you had such a unwelcome experience. You are one terrific blogger, thoughtful, kind and extremely considerate and definitely undeserving of tumult in your life.

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  13. Hi Laddie. I’m so sorry that you went through this.

    I’m so behind on life in general that I’m “out of the loop” in terms of the details of what happened. I hope that once I catch up that I won’t get myself all worked up and upset long after the storm has passed.

    The internet can be one of the most cruel places around, and none of us are safe from it. Thankfully, the love and support often far outnumbers the unpleasant stuff.

    I often think all we can do is keep learning and growing, and keep trying to do our best.

    Sending you lots of love and hugs – and missing you over the winter!

  14. Many years ago, I made “don’t be a jerk” the core of my personal ethic. I fail sometimes, but I do try.

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