Smackdowns, Adulthood and 'Anonymity' in the Rain

By
Home Stager

Activerain has a membership of over 60,000 real estate professionals.  All of them have the opportunity to join and participate in any group they choose.  Though the number of non-stagers in this network greatly outweighs the number of actual stagers here, SIF holds one of the largest membership listings of all.  Why, do you ask?  Well, originally I had hoped that this spoke to the general interest in the benefits of staging.  However, I quickly realized that no one has to be a member of this group to read the often stellar posts about staging itself, but they do have to be a member to read those that would be better not aired to the public.

As professional stagers, we are a group of highly creative and passionate people who sometimes react strongly to the words we read here in the rain.  Often our words can lead to an immediate smackdownfrom the other members of the group.  Tell us we can't do something - expect to get a verbal slap.  Advise someone to only hire those of us who carry a certain designation, you don't even have to wait for the reaction - just know it is gonna hurt.  Say something unfair to or about a well respected and undeserving member of our group and you will experience what may be the ultimate smackdown - a not so nice blog written about you.  This is why so many members of the rain join and follow us - we are a train-wreck waiting to happen (and I say that in the most respectful and loving way).

Many times in responding to these disagreeable words, we forget that we are reasonable adults who do not have to type out whatever knee jerk reaction we experience.  It is easy to only see things from our point of view and not allow for the fact that the person we are reacting to may have limited experience in our forum and hasn't learned the ropes yet. Or that they speak from a different point of view with no intention to offend.  Often times they are just simply misunderstood due to lack of communication skills.  As adults, we should be able to sit back, consider what was written in more than our own light, consider the humanity and personal feelings of the other person, and respond out of kindness and love - that is what adulthood is.  Yes, sometimes people do need to be corrected or otherwise instructed, but we can do it without being nasty and calling names. We should also think long and hard before making rash accusations. As we sit at our computer screens many miles away from each other, we can never know for certain the intentions of others. It is best to air on the side of caution and not make a spectacle of ourselves.  That is not to say that should you be unduly attacked on your own blog that you should not be able to defend yourself.  If that is the case, be as snarky as you want to be - just know that people are watching how you handle it.

Recently, one person here decided to attack  a member of SIF with unfounded and ridiculous accusations. Unfortunately they decided to do it anonymously.  Now what this person did not know is that even if you do not sign your name, it is possible for the IT guys here on AR (All Hail Bob!!) to find out who you are.  Every comment leaves a trackable IP address that leads right to you.  Such was the case when those scathing comments were made.  That person either has or will be notified that they are in violation of the AR Community Guidelinesand are walking a thin line.  Should you want to prevent these comments being made on your blog you can go into your settings and uncheck the box that allows them.

Now, I am not saying that every time you get a less than flattering anonymous comment that you should contact the AR heads and have it traced.  This is a public site and often these comments are made by non-members.  In this specific case, it was quite obvious that the offender (who WILL NOT be named) was an active member of our community and chose to make these comments anonymously in what seemed like an effort to damage the reputation of their competition.  This was a special circumstance and that is why these measures were taken.

Should a situation be such that you feel the need to negatively respond to someone, that's okay.  As a matter of fact - to quote an AR Head - "Civil discourse is encouraged" here in the rain.  A debate, even if heated, can be a good and productive thing if handled in a respectful manner.  And you should be able to sign your name to your opinion without hesitation.  If you are going to say it, stand by it.  Even the most vile of responses can be taken with a measure of respect if the person making it can own up to it.  You may even consider not commenting at all.

Will this blog put an end to the controversy that unfolds so often here in SIF? I hope not.  It not only keeps our readership numbers up, it also helps us work out the massive amount of kinks our industry still has to deal with.  We need to work these things out together and where is a better place to do it?  We may just be achieving the transparency that the RE industry talks so much about.  We should use AR to our industry's advantage and to promote our own individual businesses, but should not use it to swing our own personal wrecking ball.

So in closing, I say be nice, be respectful, and remember that you are an adult with full control of your words and what you say and do here is a reflection of your professionalism even if you think no one knows who you are.

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Rainer
73,992
Kimberly Wester
Valparaiso, IN

Julie - Don't let this turn you off - they all wash out in the end.  If we all stick around and insist on a certain amount of decorum they will get the message and eith straighten up or head out.

Karen - Thanks. If you are the 'queen of wordplay' does that mean I am the 'queen of issues'? That somehow sounds totally wrong, yet oddly appropriate all at the same time...LOL!! I'd be happy to be one of your new best friends!

Shell- LOL!!  My nephew would love that!  We all need to remember that most of the time what is posted here is not usually pointed at one specific person (though if they start the post or comment with your name, that may be an indicator of the opposite).  If we step back and think 'is this really about me?' we may have a totally different perspective of the matter.  However when it is clearly about you, you have every right to react negatively and the other person should expect it.  Sometimes the high road is unavailable...

Dec 08, 2007 09:01 AM #9
Rainmaker
305,616
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

Although I am clueless as to what exactly transpired (& am happy not to know), I whole heartedly agree with you that we are in a very public forum and we can agree to disagree in a mature, professional civilized manner. 

In this Christmas season especially, in the words of a song that's playing in my "sounds of the season" satellite channel in the background... you better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm tellin you why.... AR claus is comin' to town!

Keep the peace! Thanks for a well written perspective on something we all need reminding of.

Dec 08, 2007 09:38 AM #10
Rainer
208,277
Julianna Hind
eXp Realty - Tacoma, WA
REALTOR, 206-679-4768, Tacoma Federal Way, Auburn, Kent, WA
good stuff.
Dec 08, 2007 09:44 AM #11
Rainer
73,992
Kimberly Wester
Valparaiso, IN

Karen - It doesn't really matter how this all started as long as everyone remembers to behave and be respectful.  Of course it is very obvious that YOU learned that long ago and haven't forgotten! :)

Julianna - Thanks.

Dec 08, 2007 01:41 PM #12
Rainmaker
71,681
Gary Barnett
Home Matters - Indianapolis, IN
Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis
Kimberly, I think you did extremely well at speaking right to the heart of what most of us feel about this.  I have to tell you that two very positive things came out of this whole episode.  First, I think this lady has a tone of class in the way she addressed this person.  I don't think I could have even come close to how she handled her self.  Second, I am very happy that I align myself with a group of people that tried to do the right thing by coming to an associates defence.  It speaks volumes to what you all stand for.
Dec 08, 2007 04:26 PM #13
Rainer
77,324
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona

What an interesting forum we have in the entity of ActiveRain and SIF in particular. No dues, no mandatory attendance, few rules. The interesting part is that much like the nursery rhyme concerning the little girl with the curl – when it is good, it is very, very good and when it is bad . . .

 

Here is what I love about having the SIF platform and the very idea that there is a place for “Group Think.”

 

  • There is a huge difference in the work backgrounds of our many members. (This trait alone has allowed me to gather more information than I ever hoped to learn elsewhere.)
  • The vast majority of us have a passion for staging (and a considerable number of us have further passion for being in the staging business.)
  • With very few exceptions the people here are extremely willing to learn.
  • Contributions are made day after day by person after person.
  • There is mental stimulation on a recurring and regular basis.

 

Dec 09, 2007 01:30 AM #14
Rainer
20,641
Cari Pilon
RE:STYLE Home Staging - Brighton, MI
RE:STYLE Home Staging
Don't forget the opportunity to develop new relationships with people across the country  - nice talking with you the other day Yvonne!
Dec 09, 2007 01:50 AM #15
Rainer
77,324
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona

You are right Cari! The fantastic opportunity we have to contact one another through email or phone is just unbelievable. I too, enjoyed speaking with you. 

Kim, you have taken so much time and thought posting this blog. I'm sorry I forgot to mention before how much I appreciate you and your ability to think things through and write so well about them!  

Dec 09, 2007 05:03 AM #16
Rainmaker
444,181
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging
DARN!  I have been busy with Roundtable stuff and totally missed it.... geez, you leave for a few days and all heck breaks loose..... glad to see you guys got it all under control.  I'm with Dane though, curiousity does get the best of me - my Irish/German heritage too!
Dec 09, 2007 06:05 AM #17
Rainmaker
120,843
Elaine Manes Gage
Home Staging Online Services - Denver, CO
Staging done ONLINE!

Kimberly- Your blog was about a very controversial subject, but you chose the "glass is half full" attitude, and I think we can all learn from that. The world would be very boring if we ALL agreed with each other ALL the time. But there is a method for disagreement or criticism that retains a level of respect that all humans deserve. When a person is "attacked", the reason behind the attack slides into the background, and the attack itself becomes the issue. If you disagree with someone, do what I used to tell my children: COUNT TO TEN!!! Once you are calm, decide whether the issue is still something you want to address, and then figure out a way to do it that will make the person really HEAR what you are saying. When you attack one of us, we are going to put our wagons in a circle, and the point you wanted to make is not going to be heard above the sounds of gunfire!!!

Very well written, Kimberly!

Dec 09, 2007 06:40 AM #18
Rainer
600
Alisha Stern
Arranging 2 Sell - Gonzales, LA

Hello all. 

I am brand new here.  My name is Alisha and I am winging it as to how to blog.  While I am semi-new to staging, I feel like I have found my one true passion in life.  LOVE IT.

This is my first visit to the blogging site and I must say I was a bit taken aback by the fact that there was this kind of interaction.  I am very pleased that there is someone here who seemed to have stabilized this, whatever it was.

Being a true southern belle, I was taught the GRITS (Girl raised in the South) Code, from birth.  It is pretty close to what you are saying Kim.  My grams had good advice to share, I think.  She said, "People who insist on flying off the handle and sharing their every thought should be viewed pretty much the same way you would view someone with pneumonia.  She said that I should treat them with respect and kindness while ignoring all that yucky stuff coming out of them uncontrollably.  "Keep your distance however", she said, "jess so you don't catch what they have".

To me, that is sort of what I see in your well written comments, Kim.  Curiousity prompted me to wonder who the presently ill person is and what came out of them when they sneezed, but I think that is not going to enhance my life much.   So, maybe I should let sleeping pneumonia cells lie.  hahahaha    

 

Dec 09, 2007 11:44 AM #19
Rainmaker
212,529
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

I too was gone a few days and missed the whole thing...well, sounds like that could be a good thing.  Great blog and well put.  I agree wholeheartedly.  I didn't get a slam on a blog, that I took seriously anyway, but did get an email "warning" about things I might say???   Not worth an answer.  I am an adult and do my best to act appropriately.  I don't need the idea police to tell me what is acceptable.  I think I can handle it.

Hope so anyway.  Carry on and keep on speaking the truth. Terrylynn Realtor/Staging Specialist

Dec 09, 2007 06:20 PM #20
Rainmaker
47,843
Kim Dillon
Creative Eye Home Staging - West Chester, PA

What a well though out post.  A good reminder that this site is for exchange of ideas and opinions (and thank goodness they are not all the same or it would be worthless!).  Constructive criticism is a great learning tool.  When I read comments that are especially harsh, I can't help but form a poor opinion about the author--even if I might agree with some of what they are saying.  Like staging, it is all in the presentation!

Kim Dillon, Creative Eye Home Staging

Dec 09, 2007 11:01 PM #21
Rainer
342,584
Anthea Click
Fresh Perspectives - www.InsideNashvilleHomes.com - Franklin, TN
Nashville Home Stager - Selling Nashville, TN homes quickly!
Kimberly,
Very well said. We can disagree - let's just be respectful of others.
Dec 10, 2007 12:42 AM #22
Rainmaker
212,529
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.
Kim Dillon, I couldn't agree more.  Thanks for the comment, didn't think of it like that but it's true, we do make judgments based on how people handle themselves, don't we.  Terrylynn Realtor/Staging Specialist
Dec 10, 2007 01:12 PM #23
Rainer
73,992
Kimberly Wester
Valparaiso, IN

Gary- This is why I am so adament in my support of SIF.  For the most part, it is a wonderful group of people - and all with their hearts in the right place.

Yvonne - AMEN!  It is amazing how we aren't truly bound by 'rules', but most of us agree that when it is wrong, it is wrong and it has to stop.

Cari- So True!

Melissa - I know how you fell, but letting the cat out of the bag will only serve to make the situation worse.  As much as I'd love to let you guys at them, they deserve a second chance.

Elaine - You'd think counting to ten would be easier in this forum as there is no one standing right in front of you to be angry with.  Very good advice.

Alisha - First, welcome and I'm sorry this is one of your first experiences here in the rain.  At least it wasn't the situation itself!  Your Grams makes a very good analogy - it is kind of a disease, isn't it? lol!!

Terrylynn - Isn't it odd the amount of warning people get around here?  Obviously that was made by someone who jumped to a conclusion about some impending behavior, as I don't think they have had anything concrete to base it on here.

Kim - You are absolutely right.  If someone is unduly mean to someone else, I tend to have a very low opinion of the meany.  If they will be that way when they have an edit button, what are they liek in person?

Anthea - Right on.

 

Dec 11, 2007 12:02 AM #24
Rainer
102,830
Julea Joseph
Reinventing Space - Chicago, IL
Julea Joseph House Stager - Reinventing Space

Kim, I've been out of the A/R reading loop w/work - so I just FINALLY was able to read your post with my Brain "ON." So poignant, and thanks for SMACKIN' IT DOWN.

Gary, Thanks, and I wasn't not like this 5 years ago, I would of reacted quite differently -

Shell, I hope you don't mine me using your Boogie line -

Dane & Melissa - read a few of my posts and all will be revealed...

- JJJ

Dec 11, 2007 06:32 AM #25
Rainer
73,992
Kimberly Wester
Valparaiso, IN
Julea - You are most welcome. Isn't it great to know so many people have your back?
Dec 11, 2007 10:11 AM #26
Rainer
102,830
Julea Joseph
Reinventing Space - Chicago, IL
Julea Joseph House Stager - Reinventing Space

Kim,

Absolutely - That is funny you said that too.  On my way to my library workshop last night I was thinking exactly that thought -That this community is such a refreshing addition to my business. 

Dec 11, 2007 11:13 PM #27
Rainer
11,595
Joni Van Deventer
RoomByRoomRedesign - Midland, TX
RoomByRoomRedesign

It's really bizarre that someone will attack another on a forum like this but it happens in all of them from HGTV to local forums in Bizmark, North Dakota.  Is it proper etiquette-No! The moderators are suppose to nip in the bud before it's gets out of hand, however, is that what everyone wants censorship or the ability to have different opinions.  Back in June things got really heated in SIF but eventually it was resolved or it just died down. 

However, personal attacks are a whole different thing, when you question or accuse someone on their ethics then you go after their home life, that's just cruel.  Whoever reveals details of the person they are attacking; personal home life, I say strip them of their ability to be a part of the Rain.  The Rain is suppose to be about professionals and how to improve our businesses and lives not who has what credentials that's not important it's just a tool to prove that you were serious enough about it to get training and it put some money into that type of education which I am all for but it does not supersede experience which in my book counts for so much.  In the Rain we learn new and better ways to do things, it's a privilege to belong to something like this and we should not ever abuse it.

Just my humble opinion.

Dec 13, 2007 06:49 AM #28
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