AR Says "Political Blogs Grrrrr - Those Dammed Red Flags" ~ Should We Make Them All Private ???

By
Real Estate Agent

 


My title is NOT a direct quote from AR, it is tongue in cheek.   

Those who post in the political forums know that AR does not take kindly to some of the antics they see.  A news timely blog turns into a fist fight.  Food fight would be far too tame a description

  • One side or the other cries foul. Tempers flare and inappropriate comments are made. The blog turns into a street rumble akin to the Jets and the Sharks, not a discussion. Members post on blogs just to be disruptive or to malign the integrity of the blogger. 


  • The real message the blogger intended to convey becomes long lost.  Members who are reading the blogs and gaining insight are appalled by the conduct.  They may have an opinion but are scared off from commenting for fear they will be targeted by a few.


The red flags start shooting into AR like flaming arrows.  AR is flooded with phone calls and emails from irate members. AR founders are left to sort out the various hostile eruptions and become score keepers of behavior. Obviously they would prefer to dedicate their time to site building and business expansion.

Active Rain was formed as a social and business networking site for Real Estate Professionals and their related industries.  The people who are members bring with them experiences not only profession related but life related.  It would be naive to think that members would limit their "social" exchanges to the narrow subject of Real Estate.  The "water cooler" temptation exists within most of us.

  • We as Realtors make our living "talking".  Not writing contracts, negotiating price or writing advertising scripts. We have to talk our way into a listing or sale before we can roll up our sleeves and go to work. Without speech we do not work.


  • Our relationships with our clients is based on our conversations and the manner in which we portray ourselves. While some may not believe it, those who have strong political opinions know to park those opinions with the car.


You cannot live without having some kind of social interaction.  Realtors, like Doctors, or Painters, or Shop owners seek out others in their profession to communicate with and share ideas.  After all, the underlying bond is the profession you have in common. 

You meet at professional functions, where the public is not invited, and reach out to one an other.  Rarely do you attend any local or national Real Estate event without conversation digressing to other topics.

  • While the taboos of Religion, Sex and Politics are not appropriate to discuss with clients, it is perfectly acceptable, and does occur in a closed social environment.


There are thousands of groups formed on AR that do not have Real Estate roots here are a few:

Walking by Faith    Senior Issues     Square Pegs     Baseball Talk     Calling all Nurses

Parrotheads     Parents of Special Needs Children     Cosmic Cow Pie     Book Club

Around the Water Cooler     Movie Club     Road Trips     AR Rotarian's     AR Gutter

Singles with Positive Attitudes     Serial Monogamy     Paranormal Experiences


Within these groups people share, encourage, offer advice, and learn from each other.  They make friendships that are nurtured beyond the confines of AR. 

Group members pick up the phone or email members to further discuss one on one their common interest.  Relationships are developed in depth.  Do they relate to Real Estate?  Ultimately they do and will.
 
When a breast cancer survivor from Texas meets and forms a bond with another from New Jersey they simultaneously nurture their "business associations". The chance of a referral increases when you have a personal as well as business relationship with a member.

  • Are political groups designed differently? Political groups were formed for the same reasons.  It is however a passionate topic. 


Go to the Parents of Special Needs Children and post that you believe the parents should be responsible for educating their children and not taxpayers.  Get ready to DUCK!  I guarantee as much heat and passion will be expounded on that site as is elicited on a political site.

  • Should the Political groups be private and only open to those who join? If they are, then all non-related real estate groups should be private as well. 


Members often stray to groups they don't belong to when they have a current interest or wish to ask a question of another member. If you want to know about the latest movie critique from unbiased people - jump over to the movie group.  Why should access be limited?

  • Why do the political groups go so far astray?  You have only to follow the comments and the individuals who post them to answer that for yourself. 


There are two types of commentators.  Those who present their differing opinion by posting concrete cohesive thoughts, verses those who become polarized on one phrase in a post and are determined to discredit the poster just out of plain meanness.  They offer no valid counters to the point and the aim is to hijack the topic or discourage meaningful dialogue between interested parties.

Recently I posted a blog in the political groups concerning pending legislation that could adversely impact mortgage brokers.  Another member who is in the mortgage industry found the information that I presented worthy of reblogging and passing along the message. 

While the post covered other industries and was political in nature, this member realized that within that innocuous looking piece of legislation, there was a real concern for the mortgage industry.  Isn't this part of the reason we belong to Active Rain?  To share with others who are like minded.

  • The solution to the current strife we are experiencing could lie with the moderators of each political group or the bloggers themselves. Eliminate comments that are off topic, nasty, vituperative, contain embarrassing profanity or attacks on other members. Make it a point to exert editorial license in the interest of all.


My message to Active Rain, for your consideration is this, over 160,000 people belong and communicate peaceably every day. 

  • Only a handful display a tendency to disrupt or silence opposing views.  I offer no solution directed at any specific members.  It is your business and you alone control membership in the organization.  When you are considering your course of action I believe political discussions are an intricate part of our industry and should not be disrupted.


We live in harrowing and tempestuous times.  Our economy is fragile and far from cured.  Political issues strike at the heart of every industry that exists in America today.  Active Rain is one of them. 

  • Many of our members come to Active Rain to get caught up on news or events after a long day.  They missed the news or did not get a paper. Perhaps they do not trust all the news outlets to be unbiased or balanced. Perhaps they follow one or more political bloggers here who presents opinion they value.  Being informed and able to form an opinion is critical to the survival of our industry and our lives.  Without watch dogs who will sound the alarm?


We have some incredibly intelligent members who often leave me spellbound and speechless by their blogs.  I learn from the likes of them and often alter my viewpoint based on their comments and sources. 

I am more informed than I have ever been in my life.
I have expanded my scope and understanding on the pressing issues both domestically and internationally that impact my home, my family and my business.  I am better qualified to support or oppose an issue based on fact not feeling.

  • I often communicate privately with those members who inspire me, and have built a professional respect for them and a trust.  Should I have a need for a colleague in Your Town USA I know who I can trust and refer to.


                      As our Country goes - so goes Active Rain. 


Anything that happens in Washington impacts every member here and their livelihood.

                Without our livelihood we have no need for Active Rain. 

We are all in this together and should be able to discuss anything free from threats or shackles.

 

______________________________________________________

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Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Rene,  thank you for your comments.  John F Kennedy said No country can survive without debate and dissent.  Debate is good for us. It makes us think.

Nov 01, 2009 12:45 PM #81
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Robert thank you for the congrats.  Any time you want to jump in come over the Silent Majority - Just stop by and say hello.

Nov 01, 2009 12:47 PM #82
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Inna,  As always an eloquent contribution from you.  I sincerely appreciate the congrats. I greatly admire your literary ability.

I am not in favor of making political posts private. Perhaps we can all find a way to keep them a little tamer.  You do an excellent job as a moderator on your own blogs.

It's ok for someone to disagree, but do so civilly.  If we thought alike it would be a pretty boring world. Another Silent Majority member did not agree with a post I did a day or so ago.  We are still friends. You tell me your reason and I'll tell you mine. We can walk away secure in our opinion or enlightened by the converse side. 

While we may not agree politically, I know your strengths and would not hesitate to refer someone to you for marketing guidance.  Thank you again.

Nov 01, 2009 01:03 PM #83
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Tana, Thank you for the compliment.  Is that a wink I see?

Nov 01, 2009 01:04 PM #84
Rainmaker
832,232
Broker Nick
South Florida Real Estate & Development, Inc. - Coconut Creek, FL
Broker Nick Relocation Broker Service

Bonnie - If the political groups were made private, I for one would not post in Active Rain. Perhaps, some people would be happy about that, I don't know.

Nov 02, 2009 02:30 AM #85
Rainmaker
205,952
Alice Linahan
Voices Empower - Argyle, TX

Bonnie,

You know I think you are brilliant and your post just proves me right.

I am passionate about politics not because I want to be right all the time but because I believe we have a duty to our Country to be well informed. AR has been a wealth of information for me. I have learned a great deal from people on all sides of the political spectrum and have made some life long friends.

What an incredible gift.

Have a wonderfully productive and blessed week!!

Alice

Nov 02, 2009 05:45 AM #86
Rainer
293,571
Melissa Anderson
Mortgage of Texas & Financial - San Antonio, TX

Bonnie,

This is one of the best posts and most necessary I have ever had the honor to read on AR.

 

Nov 02, 2009 11:42 AM #87
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Nick,  I agree, I would not post if they were private.  We actually have more readership than  participants.

Nov 02, 2009 12:01 PM #88
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Alice,  Always a joy to see you.  Thank you so much for your gracious compliment.  Like you, my goal is to inform others.  Our country and our way of life is in danger of radically being changed.  Every American needs to be more informed now than at any other time in our hisotry.

Nov 02, 2009 12:04 PM #89
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Melissa, I'm always delighted when you join a conversation.  I appreciate your compliment and hope you join us often.

Nov 02, 2009 12:05 PM #90
Rainmaker
832,232
Broker Nick
South Florida Real Estate & Development, Inc. - Coconut Creek, FL
Broker Nick Relocation Broker Service

Bonnie - Who in the world is this Ugg Boots? Can you please dispose of this hogwash? Thanks

Nov 03, 2009 06:54 AM #91
Rainmaker
445,969
Ted Baker
Carmody and Associates LLC - Winter Haven, FL
MidFloridaMediation.com

Excellent post, Bonnie, and interesting discussion.  

I have seen verbal conduct that embarrassed me from both sides in these groups.  But what I rarely see is the more conservative voices running to AR for relief.  This seems to be a tactic of the more liberal members and it bothers me. I have similar reactions when this occurs in mainstream media.  I have seem groups formed here on AR with instructions to liberals on how to game the AR system by complaining to the already overworked AR staff about conservative bullies (these events occurred in the Bush years) to get people thrown off the island, so to speak.  

I have yet to read an opinion by liberal or conservative here that I wasn't interested to hear - whether I agree or disagree.  But the attempts to silence those with whom one disagrees is difficult for me to understand or tolerate.

I object to any attempt to escalate a disagreement to AR staff or management.  I believe that there are more than 6000 groups in AR at the moment and we have the responsibility and the obligation to police our own groups.  We also have the tools.  

The author of any post has the ability to delete, if necessary, any comment made to his or her post.  This should occur as seldom as possible but a comment that is offensive, attacking another member personally, totally off point of the post or inappropriate advertising of another product on your post could all be the subject of deletion.  It is, in my opinion, the author of the original post that should be the first line of discipline for the comments to the author's post.

In the event that an author does not take action or is not on line to take action, the moderators of the groups have the power to delete the entire post.  (I do not believe they have the capability to delete an individual post).  I have suggested to the AR folks that comment deletion would be a useful tool of discipline for the group moderators to have.  

But let's keep the disagreements among ourselves in the groups.  These disputes should not become a burden to the AR staff - and I do not think any of us will like their solutions if they are pressed to create them.

I would hope that we are all professionals here and should be able to have an adult discussion about controversial issues.  The country is close to evenly split on liberal and conservative points of view.  We would certainly expect that those numbers would continue among our membership.  I can assure all of us that my liberal friends believe in their principles just as strongly as I believe in mine.  I welcome their dissent in comments to my posts and I frequently cast a dissenting vote on theirs. At the end of the evening, I hope we are still friends and I look forward to the next discussion.

 

Nov 03, 2009 11:26 AM #92
Rainmaker
212,046
Inna Hardison
ha media group - Orlando, FL
Wordpress for Real Estate & Design, Print HaMedia Group

Mr. Baker, Sir, - this here liberal agrees with you a 100%.

:-)

Nov 03, 2009 12:03 PM #93
Rainmaker
445,969
Ted Baker
Carmody and Associates LLC - Winter Haven, FL
MidFloridaMediation.com

Thanks, Inna.  Nice to see you

Sorry, Bonnie - didn't mean to hijack your post

Nov 03, 2009 01:30 PM #94
Rainmaker
257,454
R.E. Renée Hoover, Salesperson
Century 21 Geba Realty, Milford, PA; Licensed in PA & NYS - Milford, PA
Poconos, Pike, Wayne, Monroe Counties, PA; PA/NYS

Many points well taken.  I personally am very passionate about my political point of view.  In light of that, I stay away from the political blogs - I find too much of the commentary to be inciteful rather than stated in such a way to respect those who may have a differing point of view.  I got caught up in that trap as a newbie during the last presidential election.  From a business standpoint, I prefer to keep my politics separate also.  I am here to help anyone who is seeking real estate or construction services in my area, from all political persuasions.  I had no idea that AR was plagued with so many complaints about inappropriate, inciteful commentary.

Nov 04, 2009 05:04 AM #95
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Nick I flagged the Ugg boots as spam.  I think AR took care of it.

Nov 04, 2009 12:47 PM #96
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Ted,  I was attempting to convey that I hold your postion as well.  The author is the first line of defense and I have in recent weeks excecuted that discretion when needed.  I also agree it is not the conservative voices who are cutting and pasting and screaming foul to AR.  There are times when comments rise to a level of being professionally dangerous and I do believe some restraint may be needed by AR if members continue that behavior.

Nov 04, 2009 12:52 PM #97
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Renee, those of us who are practicing in the industry know when to turn it on and turn it off.  When arriving at a listing appointment and I saw a Dem bumper sticker, I certainly refrained from engaging in any conversation about politics.  I think we can be passionate without being abusive.  That said, when the attacks start it is very difficult for a normal person to refrain from biting back.

Nov 04, 2009 12:55 PM #98
Rainer
257,223
Kathleen Frawley
Keller Williams 916 730-4404 Elk Grove, Wilton, Folsom, Sacramento - Wilton, CA
South County Sacramento, 916 730 4404

Bonnie, I was late to the party!  Beautiful and well done gift.  I agree, this is America, opinions should always be allowed to voiced.  What ever they are. On that note also, any intelligent person can tell the smallness of a person who is unable to be civil.

 

Teds comment #94 made me laugh.  Liberals are the ones whining to AR....Isn't that the definition of a liberal? Someone wanting someone else to "make it better"

 

Delightful post and comments.

Nov 07, 2009 11:09 PM #99
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Kathleen, It's always nice to see you comment.  The political blogs seem to ebb and flow from calm to catastrophe.  After the horrible murders at Ft.Hood some are convinced the act had an underlying motiviation.  The other sides wants to give the benefit of the doubt and look for excuses.  Sometimes I wonder if we all live in the same country.

Nov 08, 2009 03:47 AM #100
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Rainmaker
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Bonnie Vaughan

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