Date: May 11, 2021 03:24PM
I'm not attempting to answer for CZ (nor am I qualified or assigned to do so). I just want to say, azsteve, thank you for stating your dissenting opinions clearly and respectfully.
But. CZ is not just the board Administrator but also the Owner (iirc Eric passed the torch to CZ a few years ago). As such, surely he has the official capacity to call the shots as to what the board is about and how it's run.
In other scenarios, I may agree with some of your points, while disagreeing with some of your conclusions. But CZ, Board Owner and Administrator, surely has the right and capacity to state the purpose of the board and determine the content of its posts and the posting guidelines he wishes to implement.
He's not, as you seem to suggest, some random guy imposing his own viewpoint on everyone and then refusing them the right to respond. He's trying, it seems to me, to keep RfM running on course, to first and foremost, help people who have exited Mormonism. Lately, the discussion has veered further apart from that core purpose. I, for one, appreciate the latitude we have been given. But that can't be allowed to swamp the core purpose of RfM, in content and tone. Argumentative exchanges easily occur when some hot button issues are raised. They can soon become rancorous and easily dominate the board. I try to remember often the timid first-timer who quietly peeks in, needing help, and I hope they see and experience the benefits of RfM. It's harder if the place is in an uproar because we're fighting over political and religious issues (especially if posters don't relate their viewpoints and comments to Mormonism, as we are asked to do).
It's no accident that the first word in the board's name is Recovery. I've always noted that Eric's and CZ's chief focus and purpose is encompassed in that word. It's hard to be a newbie and break in on a place where it seems everybody knows everybody else but nobody knows them. Even worse if nobody hears them. That defeats the entire purpose of RfM's very existence.
I do think I understand some of your points, azsteve, about what is or is not a fact vs an opinion re the issues CZ references. But it's not a case, as you assert, of CZ taking an opportunity to post his own facts while shutting down your ability to debate them. I'll leave it to CZ to address that if he wishes. To me, it's merely a case of an owner/administrator stating the guidelines for using his site. Basically, it's a matter of remembering the main topic and posting within the few rules that are needed to corral the motley crew that hangs out here. Some of the emphasis has to remain on the silent readers and nervous newcomers so that they feel welcome and may eventually dive in and share their own stories.
It's a tall order. I think we're lucky that RfM exists and has survived this long. I've long thought, and often said, that really, absolutely **everything** can be related to Mormonism somehow (and other similar groups). That's the tricky balance here - how to make a seemingly OT subject on topic rather than going way off on tangents that cause contention and are unhelpful to participants and readers alike, including and especially, newbies, who are timid enough to start with, never mind having to dive into a quarrelsome mob rather than a welcoming group. That is one big reason, I figure, why politics has always been a topic that is strongly discouraged here, if not outright disallowed. As politics is so all-consuming these days it's hard to avoid those topics. But remembering CZ's injunction to be kind to each other goes a long way to explaining why we're asked to stay on topic most often and only occasionally venture into OT territory and also to try and avoid arguing with each other.
Be welcoming. Be kind. I think that sums up how RfM wants to be, for the benefit of new posters as well as us oldtimers, because in the end we've got at least one thing in common: the Mormon Church (or similar groups) and discussing that, after all, is the main purpose of being for this board.