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#30106 - 12/22/02 12:58 PM Accountability, finances, safety, and other imporant issues
Richard Gartner, PhD Offline
Past President
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/20/00
Posts: 404
Loc: New York, NY, USA
I have decided to start a new thread to respond to some things that were brought up on another thread (“threads deleted for containing trigger issues”). It seems to me that that thread has gotten too long and gone in too many directions for most people to follow it coherently and understand why I am saying the things I want to say here. I originally piggy-backed this post onto the "Structure" thread, but probaly it will be better on its own.

First, Andrew-almost52, you said, “The only reason I have not become a member is my fear of belonging to a program or group that is dishonest or flawed. Somehow it feels safer as a 'guest' if 'things' go wrong ....maybe a little bit closer to the door.” Andrew, I understand your apprehension about this. It is true for many who come here and it takes time to build the trust. Some never do build it, while others do over time. No one can make you trust, obviously, we can only be ourselves and you will decide what to do for yourself. And, of course, being oneself means not being perfect. I’m not, you're not, no one on this Forum is. But hopefully most of us are “good ENOUGH” for others to feel “safe ENOUGH” to make this site work.

Andrew, you said, “What accountability is in place for the moderators?” The volunteer Moderators are chosen to help us keep it safe here. Ultimately I am responsible for the appropriateness of their actions, though Ken is the chair of the committee that oversees the running of the website. We are struggling to put in effect better monitoring and training for them as well as provide written Moderator guidelines. That has been happening with a lot of growing pains, which, as Roy points out in the "Structure" thread, is inevitable at this stage of our development. I can only suggest that you and others will have to wait to see how well it works. The present controversies take up a lot of our time that could be better spent working on the guidelines and training. While we will always welcome feedback, we will continue to work for a smoother operating and safer Moderator staff.

You went on to say, “How much involvement did you have in the Lion Cub fiasco and its resolution? How accountable were the 2 moderators who became inappropriately involved with a 16 year old participant in chat and discussion forum. These are trust issues for me Richard.”

The "LC fiasco" and other problems that have reflected on the behavior of Moderators were a serious concern. They were dealt with through considerable input from the board and myself as well as others who were involved. They presented a new challenge and there was a steep learning curve. I believe that everyone involved learned from it. LC is no longer here, the Moderators whose questionable judgment caused problems are no longer Moderating - and we are continually looking at it as a source for understanding how to improve the safety here.

You then said, “I think it is wrong for this to be kept quiet (and I AM AWARE of the details). It just adds to the pile of secrets that we as survivors have
always been keeping.”

Others have said in the other thread what they feel about your saying you are “AWARE of the details.” For my part, I do not believe that every aspect of what went on should be publicly discussed. The Board and I have had no secrets, but there is a difference between secrecy and privacy. Public discussion of "personnel" decisions leaves us without the option of dealing with the individuals in question in a way that respects their needs as well as respects privacy considerations of all involved. It would be unworkable to have to answer to the entire public (with all of its diverse points of view) for every single thing that is done.

While that may cause some to continue to feel unsafe, I think it is the
best we can do and hope that in time the trust will grow by the cumulative
experiences people have here. Some may never feel totally safe here but many have come to rely on the qualities of fellowship and concern for each other that sustains this organization.

I also want to respond to mattandrew. Ken has said a lot about our finances. Let me say more. Given our income -- under $30, 000 in our best year, usually far less -- it would be irresponsible for us to attempt to spend our money on an office. That money gets eaten up mighty quickly by expenses like our one paid worker, our postal expenses, phones, etc. Except for Trisha, our wonderful Administrative Assistant, who works very part time, we are entirely volunteer. However, we are certainly not fly-by-night -- we have been around formally as a non-profit since 1994 and informally since 1988. Therefore, our web site activities, while very important to us, were not even a factor for the first decade or so of our existence. We offer biannual conferences in varied cities, run healing retreats, speak to the media about male sexual victimization when possible, advocate with legislators, support a resource directory (still not big enough, but it is growing), and support research and education about male sexual victimization. We respond to varied requests from all over the world, usually from survivors in dire psychological and/or legal need. We can’t always help but we try to, and at the least we offer psychological support for what they are going through. I’m very proud of what we have accomplished, and I’m ambitious for us to do much more.

Richard Gartner,
President
MS/NOMSV

_________________________
www.richardgartner.com

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#30107 - 12/22/02 04:29 PM Re: Accountability, finances, safety, and other imporant issues
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Quote:
The Board and I have had no secrets, but there is a difference between secrecy and privacy. Public discussion of "personnel" decisions leaves us without the option of dealing with the individuals in question in a way that respects their needs as well as respects privacy considerations of all involved. It would be unworkable to have to answer to the entire public (with all of its diverse points of view) for every single thing that is done.

While that may cause some to continue to feel unsafe, I think it is the best we can do and hope that in time the trust will grow by the cumulative
experiences people have here.
Personally, this makes me feel a lot safer.

Quote:
I'm very proud of what we have accomplished, and I'm ambitious for us to do much more.
Me too!

Wuame

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#30108 - 12/22/02 06:42 PM Re: Accountability, finances, safety, and other imporant issues
guy43 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/17/02
Posts: 450
Loc: Minnesota
Richard,

I greatly appreciate your thoughtfully worded reply and that you moved it to a new thread. So many important details about the functioning of MS/NOMSV have been clarified.

In particular, for me, I'm most grateful for the willingness to respond to poster's concerns, not only by you but by all the moderators and others. A lot of time, engery and wide-ranging feelings have been expended on all this. The patience and understanding and compassion shown here has increased my belief in the good intentions and skill and direction of this organization.

When I first found this web site about a month and a half ago, I had a good inner sense about validity and purpose of MS. I've experienced so much healing and personal validation (especially in the chat room), I don't really have the words to explain the benefits to me. (Which is why, in part, I have volunteered to help out here where I can). I've had no reason to regret becoming a formal member, and my confidence and respect for this site continues to grow.

It's true that for me, some of the forum postings have made me feel very unsafe. But, I've somewhat overcome my fears of being flamed (attacked) and realize that for me, my posting and getting positive and or honest feedback is far more important than any flaming that might occur (which it hasn't). I have a responsibility to keep myself safe, which I do my best to do. The most important thing for me to remember is that it's not ok for me to attack another poster here. I did it once and have regretted it. I/we can disagree on everything under the sun - if we leave name calling or labeling out of it.

I believe this site needs to continue it's outreach to others who are hurting. I also believe that I/we need to continue working at making it a safe place for all of us to share our experiences, strengths and hopes for a better life. I can't do this (recovery) alone.

AA has a saying - some of us are sicker than others. I know I am not a mentally whole or well man. I am in recovery from abuse/neglect and addictions, and taking it one step at a time. This site will continue to be an important part of my recovery.

So... in honor of Vic, who won't do it, I will... shameless brown-nosing... \:\)

Thank you Richard and other board members/staff. Thank you to all the moderators and the work they have and are doing. Thank you Fred, the webmaster and one of the unsung founders. Thank you to my new found friends in the chat room.

Three cheers for our MS/NOSMV part-time Admin!

-jer


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#30109 - 12/22/02 10:09 PM Re: Accountability, finances, safety, and other imporant issues
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Hey Jer-- :p \:D

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#30110 - 12/22/02 10:41 PM Re: Accountability, finances, safety, and other imporant issues
Richard Gartner, PhD Offline
Past President
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/20/00
Posts: 404
Loc: New York, NY, USA
Dear Jer,

You are welcome, most welcome! I am glad you found us!

Richard

_________________________
www.richardgartner.com

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#30111 - 12/23/02 03:03 AM Re: Accountability, finances, safety, and other imporant issues
andrew-almost52 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 243
Loc: canada
Thank you for your honest and forthright reply Richard. It makes me feel a little better about the forum and I believe it will be much safer for 'others', in that you have indicated that you are attempting to address the problems. Thanks, Andrew


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