Ask An Ambassador: The Rules of The Playground

Real Estate Agent with Transaction Alliance 513.520.5305 SAL.2002007747

I grew up with merry-go-rounds, see-saws, monkey bars over hard ground, and hot metal slides in blazing hot Southern sun.  We played Red Rover and dodge ball and other games that would never fly in modern times!  And while it might have seemed chaotic, there were rules of the playground.  Don't cut in line, stay inside the playground fence and you can't beat gravity.  Break the rules and there were penalties.

Fast forward a handful of decades and my playground has changed, more often virtual than physical, but there are still rules for each playground.

Here in ActiveRain there are some written rules (e.g. the Community Guidelines).

Don't plagiarize.

Don't self-advertise in the comment thread of someone's post or in the Q&A section.

Don't write content that will get the community in trouble.

Then there are various unwritten rules and you may or may not agree (or comply with).

Some expect a tit for tat, I comment on yours, you comment on mine.

An expectation that certain topics are more or less off-limits (politics, sex, religion) for the sake of the community well-being and avoidance of becoming ActiveRain Fight Club.

And while the playground may have changed from my youth until now, there are still penalties for breaking the rules. Kicking people in the shins comes with a cost.  Maybe it's less engagement, maybe it's an addition to a "no referral" list.

We can make the ActiveRain community as social or as business oriented as we each choose to, with the understanding that how we follow the rules of this playground has both positive and negative consequences.

Ultimately, I don't own this playground and don't control what happens to it.  I trade my time and content for Ben keeping the lights on and the doors open in what I hope is a win-win for everyone.

Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help,

Bill & Liz aka BLiz

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Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas

The Liz Spear Team of Transaction Alliance
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418


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Comments (22)

Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Hello Bill,

This is a wonderful analogy.  Like many have said in their comments, this is a relatively sane place.  And I make sure to play with those who want to play and not disrupt. A

Dec 14, 2021 10:06 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

I have the folks I'm willing to play with, and those that I avoid.

Dec 14, 2021 12:29 PM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

Good post reviewing the rules of the road here.

Dec 14, 2021 10:14 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Just understanding the basics can make it a better experience for all of us.

Dec 14, 2021 12:29 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate Services

It seems to me Bill of Liz and Bill Spear that some people feel like a comment is kicking them in the chins (OUCH) and taking a comment personally when a comment is general in nature.  

I deleted my own comment the other day because the author was clearly having a hissy fit. No doubt felt my comment was directed at them and it was not.  We never know if we may inadvertently hit a nerve with people. 

Avoiding politics, sex, religion is my mantra. If those conversations are had, they are had privately. 

Thank you for all that you do for this community.  I appreciate you. 

Dec 14, 2021 10:29 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

It's the challenge with a flat medium, sometimes tone and intent don't transfer.  I think there can be exceptions to avoided topics, e.g. I'm not adverse to mentioning my religion as it relates to some of the local community events our church has held (Build the Walls).
And you're welcome! 

Dec 14, 2021 12:32 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Liz and Bill Spear just play nice in the sandbox has alway been the rules as I remember and no throwing sand 

Dec 14, 2021 10:48 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Keep the sand in the sandbox :)

Dec 14, 2021 12:32 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate Services

I am still cringing over the thought of literally being kicked in the shins. 

It reminds me of all the times I have banged my shin or knee on a coffee table.

Dec 14, 2021 02:11 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Fortunately in my soccer goalie days I had shin guards that protected me against most kicks to the shins :)

Dec 14, 2021 02:46 PM
Beth and Richard Witt
New York, NY
The best Retired Brokers !!!!

I have yet to read a post of yours that I have not thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from and this one will be added to that group... Thanks, Bill 


Dec 14, 2021 02:25 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Beth, Always happy to give you a reason to smile :)

Dec 14, 2021 02:47 PM
Rocky Dickerson
Realty One Group - Las Vegas, NV
Superior Service!

Yes I remember when children did childish things and decided not to take responsibility. Too bad some folks still want to do that. Luckily the other 99% are far nicer.

Dec 14, 2021 03:55 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

I took some knocks in my playground days, fortunately the majority of physical knocks are not new knocks, but remnants of my old mistakes.

Dec 14, 2021 05:59 PM
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

Great post!  Playgrounds have really changed over time (I am old enough as you to remember Dodge Ball and really liking it!), but following the rules should always be important to us.

Dec 14, 2021 04:06 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Some level of order maintained keeps the community functioning smoothly (for the most part).

Dec 14, 2021 06:00 PM
Brian L. Sirota, Esq.
Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney) - Orange, CA
For Solutions: (714) 501-7660

What's that you say Liz and Bill Spear, sex is black listed?  Outrageous!   Sex is a protected class, and viewing homes is real estate porn to some.   (I took my ridiculous-on-purpose pills today).

I think many confuse rule adherence with censorship.... and that's unfortunate.   

Dec 14, 2021 04:08 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Those pills work!

We all make a willing trade when we enter the ActiveRain doors.  We have someone host and do all the technical work to keep the site functioning, and we get to play in the playground based on the owner's rules.  I don't have an issue with that.

Dec 14, 2021 06:01 PM
Greg Large
ERA Real Solutions - Grove City, OH
A Tradition of Trust

Thank you for this post. Kicking shins or sand at others, whether in the sandbox or on the beach is never well received. Most of the time (I think) if I see a post or comment that I do not agree with, I move along without commenting. Other times, when someone has been personally attacked, I likely do not let that go unchallenged. Many of us have strong opinions but Bullies do not belong here, IMHO.

Dec 14, 2021 05:47 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

We all have a Gandalf line of "you shall not PASS!!" that switches us from observer to guardian.  Fortunately not too often needed in this community.

Dec 14, 2021 06:02 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

That's a great analogy for the AR community. And it works pretty well for the most part.

Sadly the social media world that has developed seems to adhere to a different set of rules...and they may be few and far between...than many us grew up with on those playgrounds. And it's not just generational!


Dec 14, 2021 08:37 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Jeff, true, the age range of people that are running roughshod over each other on social media is across the entire spectrum of ages.  It's a false perception that there are no consequences for bad behavior.  Sometimes the consequences may be minor (so how long would it take someone to notice on Facebook that a particular person no longer follows/likes/comments?), other times I could see a broker hauling an agent on the carpet and sending the agent off to seek another office if the broker became aware of what was being associated with their office name.

Dec 15, 2021 05:06 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Things are much better when everyone is following the rules and when the rules actually make sense, haha.

Dec 15, 2021 05:37 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

Let's spin the Random Rule Maker Wheel of chance!

Dec 15, 2021 07:07 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Wherever there is a large group of people, differences will inevitably erupt in how we handle things.  This is a people platform and not everyone sees things the same way or acts the same way.  Boundary testers are always the ones that get upset when they trip on the boundary they just crossed.

Playing nice and being respectful is the best advice.  When I feel my feathers ruffled, I check out for a while.  I can only control my own reactions.  It's amazing what time away from social media platforms, here included, can do for someone's perspective.  

Dec 15, 2021 12:24 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

A lot of social media outlets I'm not present on.  Facebook I found I had to do some serious filtering over the last 5 years to flush the negative out. 

Thanks for the group feature!

Dec 15, 2021 03:07 PM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Featured in the group:  BARTENDER, MAKE IT A DOUBLE.

Dec 15, 2021 12:25 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Good morning!


I do feel like this is a online network where most follow the rules, with only the occasional rule-breaker. And I agree with Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist that sometimes things we write may strike a nerve, unintentionally. That's just another thing to keep in mind - the written word comes without the facial expressions and eye contact. Something that might be said with smiles in person might be taken in another context in writing. We just have to pay attention to our perceived tone as well.


That being said, "tag, you're it!"

Dec 16, 2021 05:01 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

You never know with an audience this large who might have a hot button over some statement.  Some are easy to predict, others...where did THAT come from?

And as a former soccer goalie, if you can run more than 18 yards you're probably home free!

Dec 16, 2021 10:17 AM
Matt Brady
Watermark Capital - Del Mar, CA
One of San Diego's Best Lenders

I think it speaks volumes that any real conflict stands out like a sore thumb in the Rain, while it is commonplace on most sites.

Dec 16, 2021 04:51 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Matt, it's one of the reasons I'm  willing to be here daily, even if it might just be in lurking mode.

Dec 16, 2021 05:02 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

There are forums where you can find sex, politics, religion, and whatever may be your interest. Active Rain is not one of those forums. If the AR rules of engagement do not suite you, there are alternatives.

Dec 19, 2021 05:49 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

Exactly, plenty of other places to go if one MUST discuss the topics that don't fit here.  Have at it, just not here!

Dec 19, 2021 07:10 PM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

No kicking in the Funyuns! LOL LOL LOL

Dec 25, 2021 05:20 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

A callback to a past post :)

Dec 25, 2021 07:19 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I do like the analogy as well! The playground is full and lovely and full of things to do

Jun 30, 2022 12:00 AM
Liz and Bill Spear

And overall this is a pretty good playground.

Jun 30, 2022 05:58 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Yeah there’s no place for throwing sandbox sand in the kids faces these days. Darn right! And if you can make it after that, you’re probably good in that regard

Sep 09, 2022 10:50 PM