A Sensitive Subject
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26-08-2014, 11:59 AM
A Sensitive Subject
Hi folks,

This is a heads-up to let you know about a new policy statement that will be added to our Forum Info pages in the near future.

Usually, policies are quite straightforward to formulate if there are clear principles to follow. Writing TTA's policies can get a bit sticky sometimes when we have a clash between the principles of free and open debate vs. creating a protective / caring environment but usually it's just a case of making sure the policies are worded in the best way to convey the intended message.

It's an on-going thing to keep improving the way we "do the right things and do things right".

Every so often, however, something comes up that is a bit more difficult.

A while back we had a situation that was not covered by any existing policy, there was no clearly defined process and there was not even any obvious answer as to what was the right thing to do.

It caused a bit of a stir as opinions were shared, discussed and argued over.

The situation was caused by a post that was (or read like) a suicide note.

As you can imagine, this raises many questions regarding intent, responsibility and liability and with no obvious answer regarding what to do (if anything), TTA's Administration contacted Seth to get his view.

No praying required Wink

So, a simple question...
Do we do nothing (and let the consequences follow... and all that implies) or
do we do something (and all that implies)?

The answer... do something. So then the question was what? oh! and who? and how?

Can of worms, right?

Then, of course, more discussion ensued.

There were those who figured... well, Seth has spoken so we simply say that we take this seriously and will contact 'the authorities'.
There were those who pointed out the impact of that stance. There are so many "what ifs".
Indeed, there were those who disagreed with Seth. Not just from the perspective of liability but also from freedom of choice... who is to say that the decision to end one's life was not derived calmly and rationally?

To address such a complex issue, a new approach was adopted. A 'working party' approach.

The working party was led by Aurora and included those with opinions (and passions) from all sides of the debate. Not just the forum team and the veterans either. We actually have a surprising (maybe not so surprising) wealth of qualified people on TTA who offered their experience and knowledge and time.

For reasons of confidentially, no names, no pack drill.

The up-shot is that the team came up with a process by which an appropriate response can be decided upon for a number of different variables.

Outwardly, the publicly stated policy follows the format structure that we established a while ago i.e.
1. Scope
2. Consequences
3. Handling exceptions
4. How to monitor.

It is written to show that TTA community does take this seriously. To be honest, though, the important part is the process that will be triggered should this kind of incident happen again.

Here is the policy statement:

Suicide Threats
This policy applies to any content containing threats of suicide and/or self-harm posted on the forum. Individuals may endeavor to provide any support they consider appropriate to those who need it without accepting personal liability. Please note, that there is a possibility that the content of the post and the personal details of the author of the post may be passed to a local mental healthcare authority if the Forum Administration deems it necessary. This decision will be based on how legitimate and imminent the Forum Administration considers the threat to be. All members are asked to report such posts to the Forum Team.

The new process has been successfully tested so that all parties are aware of their roles and responsibilities.

We would like to thank all the volunteers involved in this for giving up your time, sharing your wisdom and for your commitment and empathy.

Heart

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26-08-2014, 12:08 PM
RE: A Sensitive Subject
(26-08-2014 11:59 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Hi folks,

This is a heads-up to let you know about a new policy statement that will be added to our Forum Info pages in the near future.

Usually, policies are quite straightforward to formulate if there are clear principles to follow. Writing TTA's policies can get a bit sticky sometimes when we have a clash between the principles of free and open debate vs. creating a protective / caring environment but usually it's just a case of making sure the policies are worded in the best way to convey the intended message.

It's an on-going thing to keep improving the way we "do the right things and do things right".

Every so often, however, something comes up that is a bit more difficult.

A while back we had a situation that was not covered by any existing policy, there was no clearly defined process and there was not even any obvious answer as to what was the right thing to do.

It caused a bit of a stir as opinions were shared, discussed and argued over.

The situation was caused by a post that was (or read like) a suicide note.

As you can imagine, this raises many questions regarding intent, responsibility and liability and with no obvious answer regarding what to do (if anything), TTA's Administration contacted Seth to get his view.

No praying required Wink

So, a simple question...
Do we do nothing (and let the consequences follow... and all that implies) or
do we do something (and all that implies)?

The answer... do something. So then the question was what? oh! and who? and how?

Can of worms, right?

Then, of course, more discussion ensued.

There were those who figured... well, Seth has spoken so we simply say that we take this seriously and will contact 'the authorities'.
There were those who pointed out the impact of that stance. There are so many "what ifs".
Indeed, there were those who disagreed with Seth. Not just from the perspective of liability but also from freedom of choice... who is to say that the decision to end one's life was not derived calmly and rationally?

To address such a complex issue, a new approach was adopted. A 'working party' approach.

The working party was led by Aurora and included those with opinions (and passions) from all sides of the debate. Not just the forum team and the veterans either. We actually have a surprising (maybe not so surprising) wealth of qualified people on TTA who offered their experience and knowledge and time.

For reasons of confidentially, no names, no pack drill.

The up-shot is that the team came up with a process by which an appropriate response can be decided upon for a number of different variables.

Outwardly, the publicly stated policy follows the format structure that we established a while ago i.e.
1. Scope
2. Consequences
3. Handling exceptions
4. How to monitor.

It is written to show that TTA community does take this seriously. To be honest, though, the important part is the process that will be triggered should this kind of incident happen again.

Here is the policy statement:

Suicide Threats
This policy applies to any content containing threats of suicide and/or self-harm posted on the forum. Individuals may endeavor to provide any support they consider appropriate to those who need it without accepting personal liability. Please note, that there is a possibility that the content of the post and the personal details of the author of the post may be passed to a local mental healthcare authority if the Forum Administration deems it necessary. This decision will be based on how legitimate and imminent the Forum Administration considers the threat to be. All members are asked to report such posts to the Forum Team.

The new process has been successfully tested so that all parties are aware of their roles and responsibilities.

We would like to thank all the volunteers involved in this for giving up your time, sharing your wisdom and for your commitment and empathy.

Heart

It seems to me that missing from that policy is a statement about those who would mock the poster or even encourage the action.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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26-08-2014, 12:17 PM (This post was last modified: 26-08-2014 01:17 PM by DLJ.)
RE: A Sensitive Subject
(26-08-2014 12:08 PM)Chas Wrote:  ...
It seems to me that missing from that policy is a statement about those who would mock the poster or even encourage the action.

I think that's a fair point and worth raising to see how that is going to be covered.

Thank you. I'll take it as an action item.

Update for Chas:
I posed the question and it has already been considered.
This situation is covered by existing policy...
Usually (but not always) posts of this nature will be posted in the Personal Issues and Support section. As you know, but for others who may not know, this is a 'protected' zone and policy exists to cover misconduct in this section.

Should a post of this nature be posted elsewhere, the author will be contacted by PM and the post can be moved to the PI&S section.

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26-08-2014, 02:33 PM
RE: A Sensitive Subject
Can I also suggest that somewhere on the forum there is a list of resources to suggest to the poster who may be having thoughts of suicide.

Don't know when this situation occurred but as an attempt survivor this policy seems fair to me even if I may go about it slightly differently. Good job and thanks to all the individuals concerned - and indeed, concerned individuals!


"Name me a moral statement made or moral action performed that could not have been made or done, by a non-believer..." - Christopher Hitchens



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26-08-2014, 02:40 PM
RE: A Sensitive Subject
(26-08-2014 02:33 PM)CiderThinker Wrote:  Can I also suggest that somewhere on the forum there is a list of resources to suggest to the poster who may be having thoughts of suicide.

Don't know when this situation occurred but as an attempt survivor this policy seems fair to me even if I may go about it slightly differently. Good job and thanks to all the individuals concerned - and indeed, concerned individuals!

We already have one in PI&S.

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Best
Ferdinand: We don't really say 'theist' in Alabama. Here, you're either a Christian, or you're from Afghanistan and we fucking hate you.
Worst
Ferdinand: Everyone from British is so, like, fucking retarded.
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26-08-2014, 02:49 PM
RE: A Sensitive Subject
(26-08-2014 02:33 PM)CiderThinker Wrote:  Can I also suggest that somewhere on the forum there is a list of resources to suggest to the poster who may be having thoughts of suicide.

As Hughsie said. Specifically, here --> http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...-resources

(26-08-2014 02:33 PM)CiderThinker Wrote:  Don't know when this situation occurred but as an attempt survivor this policy seems fair to me even if I may go about it slightly differently. Good job and thanks to all the individuals concerned - and indeed, concerned individuals!

Agreed. The team worked hard on this one. My thanks to them also.

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26-08-2014, 02:52 PM
RE: A Sensitive Subject
(26-08-2014 02:40 PM)Hughsie Wrote:  
(26-08-2014 02:33 PM)CiderThinker Wrote:  Can I also suggest that somewhere on the forum there is a list of resources to suggest to the poster who may be having thoughts of suicide.

Don't know when this situation occurred but as an attempt survivor this policy seems fair to me even if I may go about it slightly differently. Good job and thanks to all the individuals concerned - and indeed, concerned individuals!

We already have one in PI&S.

Thinking about it though CT (and anyone else who's interested), if people wanna find contact details for further organisations, or organisations in countries that aren't currently listed, then if you post them in FTM we'll be happy to go through them and add them to the thread. Expanding on that thread could be a useful thing for us to do.

Best and worst of Ferdinand .....
Best
Ferdinand: We don't really say 'theist' in Alabama. Here, you're either a Christian, or you're from Afghanistan and we fucking hate you.
Worst
Ferdinand: Everyone from British is so, like, fucking retarded.
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26-08-2014, 02:53 PM
RE: A Sensitive Subject
Just saying a broad thank you for all who helped with this. Its difficult to witness and to know this is taken seriously is a great thing for the community.

When I want your opinion I'll read your entrails.
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26-08-2014, 03:42 PM
RE: A Sensitive Subject
(26-08-2014 02:53 PM)WitchSabrina Wrote:  Just saying a broad thank you for all who helped with this. Its difficult to witness and to know this is taken seriously is a great thing for the community.

^^^this.

Many thanks to all involved.


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26-08-2014, 04:28 PM
RE: A Sensitive Subject
Bravo for not threatening to call the popo. Thumbsup

#sigh
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