As people have noted in response to the MSNBC buying of Newsvine there is good news and bad news.
The good news is that will bring in more people, more traffic, thus conversations and debates that were stalled can get unstuck due to new perspectives and fresh takes on issues.
Plus more traffic means more earnings and that doesn't suck.
The bad news is the last time there was an inflxu of people over a short period of time things got heated at times as some newcomers didn't listen when given helpful advice and didn't react well when some of that advice came in an unfriendly tone.
So I thought I'd write for new and old members alike five suggestions:
1) Assume good will. This is something I've mentioned in meta debates but haven't had much chance to elaborate on.... until now.
Here's the concept in a nut shell. If some veteran viner emails you advice, assume it's meant in a helpful not rude way, i.e assume goodwill.
If someone asks you a question which you at first take to be insulting, rude or smug, again assume good will.
The idea is pretty simple - don't react right away to what may be a flame - first find out if it is indeed a flame. There is nothing wrong with writing back, in email or post, "I don't know how to respond to that comment" or "Your tone confuses me. Are you trying to get me mad or am I misreading you?
On a similar note
2) There is nothing wrong - in fact I'd encourage it - with stepping away from the keyboard when things get intense. If you are considering writing an email or an article or a comment which is quite harsh step back and go do something else. Try not to react in the heat of the moment.
One reason for this is that we don't have an edit function so if you regret something.. well, it's often too late to do much about it. There's something about the Internet - probably the fact we can't see each other and our expressions - that results in people saying things in emails and in comments that they would probably never say to each other if they were indeed face to face.
I use the coffee house analogy a lot. Were you sitting face to face with me would you really say what you are considering saying? Why or why not?
Put another way, think before you post. I've been known to write an angry post (just to get it out of my system) than save it in Word or email it to myself and if I still feel the same 24 hours later I might still write but more often than not I'll calm down or someone else will say in a more rational way the point I wanted to make.
3) We don't have an edit function (actually we do now) so keep that in mind. Hopefully the edit function and/or a spellcheck will be among the new tools soon available as a result of additional funding from MSNBC.
There's been many a debate/request for these features. The debate concerns whether the edit function should be for 90 seconds or so or something longer with most people seeing why the former would be good (for fixing typos and such) and why the latter could become problematic (if people took advantage of the function to change entirely
It's considered common courtesy here that if you change something - like your article - that you note that in some way. Similarly there has been much discussion about the deleting of comments and I'm one of those who thinks it'd be good if those deleting comments leave some kind of comment regarding why a comment was deleted, i.e. it was off topic or it made anatomically impossible suggestions about the author.
4) Leave a comment for each article or seed. I know it feels weird that after you seed a topic or write an article you write one more comment but if you don't it won't show up on people's tracking monitors. I'm one of those who didn't realize that until after I wrote my first 100 articles or so and then realized the reason nobody was responding to them was because it doesn't show up on the comment tracker until a comment is left.
Some are more modest and don't leave that first common and that's your perogative but that could result in great seeds never being seen.
I generally try to add a question or a thought or something in that first comment to jump start the conversation.
5) This is supposed to be enjoyable, not work. Not everyone you meet will act or speak the way you want or expect. That's ok.That's why we have an ignore author feature.
What you don't want to do is let one or a few people ruin your experience. Find that political discussions become too frustrating? Then check out the discussions of other topics. Find meta debates too, well, meta? Then don't read them.
It sounds simple and obvious and maybe it is but i've seen people get really angry about the community as a whole when really they are mad at just a few people.
My advice on that is the same as my advice for annoying colleagues or others in "real" life - find those whose opinions you care about and when you see their comments attach more value to those. When you see a comment from someone you often disagree with you can, in your head, give less value to that. Then those two comments may be contradictions but you're focusing on what you really care about instead of getting so irked by the comment by the person you don't like.