One criticism that has been brought up of paleohacks is that participants act nasty.
Theoretically, paleohacks is a cross-section of paleo people who use the internet. There are almost 5,000 users. In a given sample of 5,000 people, anywhere, you'll find some very nice people and some jerks.
You will also find varying opinions of hot-button issues. What seems jerky to someone might seem like the truth to others.
So, my question for you nasty boys and girls is...do you find paleohacks to be more nasty than other internet forums? Personally, I find people here to be fairly clever and analytical, but not always. There are jerks and trolls for sure, along with some insanely helpful members who write out long answers to help paleo newbies at the drop of a hat. The concept of "paleo" has fragmented into many different, sometimes conflicting ideas in the past couple years. Conflict in discussion is bound to arise, but as moderators, we want to make sure it's not completely out of control.
Please do keep in mind that there are different paradigms that can be used in moderation. What is moderation but governance, and what topic is more hotly debated than how to govern (aka politics)? You can't please everyone all the time, but hopefully you can please most of the people most of the time, or something like that. Or is it fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on...you?
Meh. A little nastiness is okay by me. Frankly, I think we need to call out the bullshit. I've been brutally corrected here and it was painful, but it made me more careful not to just parrot whatever I had read or heard.
And overall, most people here are pretty nice and respectful. The mods also do a decent job of not letting things get out of control.
I suppose that in wanting "paleo" to be as correct as possible, people can get riled up. We have to hash it out. I can remember many vehemently disagreeing with eating potatoes, for example. Now it seems that very few are totally opposed to it - even if they eat low carb themselves...
I find that most of the users of this site try to be genuinely nice and helpful. I also find I have learned a lot and continue to learn a lot.
I also find that every once in awhile I just get sick of the nastiest that comes out, the immaturity and the competition to be the most scientific (even when the science being quoted is biased, inaccurate etc.) People on this site love to poke fun at conventional wisdom about nutrition and medicine, yet I find they are more than willing to sling around their own inaccurate conventional wisdom. I find this extremely frustrating.
The attacks on people, not just their ideas, though are intolerable. When it gets to be too much, I stop coming to the site for awhile. So far, I've kept coming back, but each time I've gone away, I've stayed away longer.
If I was going to draw a line as a modifier, I would flag any attack on a person. Attack my ideas, attack my science, whatever. But when you attack me (or any other person), that's disrespectful and immature and stifles the communication of genuine ideas and support which I believe is the purpose of this site.
I've been a lurker from the beginning of PH. Those days, Paleo was easy. Everyone "knew" what you could eat and not eat. Then the potato snuck in... then rice... then fruit beyond a handful of berries... orange juice, sugar, seems that Paleo went from being Original Flavor to Taste the Rainbow. Hell, Harris has singlehandedly brought back gluten in the infamous "donuts and pizza" debate.
We're left with a hundred ways to "be Paleo," and when a person needs to (wo)man up and make some personal decisions, things can seem scary, dicey, wild, chaotic. We're no longer left with folks who ask questions and a symphony of cohesive answers. We have a thousand answers for each question, each spoken from the Hacker's homegrown perspective.
Added to the mix are the outliers, folks like Kruse and his Kourse of Kold and Ray Peat, Thymus King. These folks are relying on their intuition and creative leaps to develop the new frontier, and when you don't have the literature to back up your pronouncements, you should expect the Hackers to say "Wha?!" Doesn't mean the outliers are wrong. Or right. Just means that they are yelling into a black hole - you can't quite hear them, and they can't quite get their full message out.
I don't think this is Negatron Town. I think it's a group of incredible and smart people who are trying to make sense of something that is not yet quantifiable. The snark I've seen has been two-sided or born from sheer desperation when someone who acts like they have authority answers a question with a question or sidesteps the issue.
Participating in PH requires some level of authenticity and transparency, or it should. The people who intrigue me the most are those who answer questions in a forthright manner and who lay out their evidence.
Compared to most online forums, I would say that PH is pretty friendly over all. However, some of the Paleo Orthodox ilk get annoying.
For instance, someone asks for a recipe for a paleo-friendly version of a neolithic comfort food. Let's just say pancakes.
Half the thread consists of actual answers to the question.
One quarter of the thread consists of comments underneath the answers saying things like "That sounds yummy! I'm going to try that" or make some other positive comment.
A quarter of the thread? The Paleo Re-enactment folks climb on the pulpit and preach to us about the fact that they don't crave these types of foods anymore and they can't imagine why someone else would, so why bother making "paleo friendly foods" blah blah blah.
I think it's great that some folks eat like a cave man. Fantastic. But if someone is really doing their best to improve their health, who are we to tell them that their understanding of Paleo is wrong? Keep off the high horse and keep it positive, please!
I think I can say with some objectivity as someone who has been here since pretty much the beginning that there was at some point a qualitative shift in the direction of nasty. I'd say it was about a year ago, about halfway into the lifespan of Paleohacks.
Who knows what the reasons are, but last spring I went from thinking of this place as for the most part friendly and cooperative to thinking of it as for the most part combative and non-cooperative. Even at the beginning there were some spats here and there, but the change brought with it a general sense that there was some ill will present -- and when not explicitly present then at least lurking behind the scenes, always threatening to return.
This is a significant downside to the site, but I of course still think it has tremendous value, both for beginners who want to learn about ancestral/biologically sound/paleo/human eating, and for paleosphere connoisseurs who need a place to debate.
DOWNVOTED YOU LOW-CARB PEATARIAN NO_NOTHING. GO BACK TO YOUR MEAT JELLO EATING.
I bow (because I am not worthy) to the culture as defined by Patrik.
"This is not a discussion board nor a blog, this is a place for questions that can be answered!
Treat others with the same respect you'd want them to treat you. We're all here to learn together. Be tolerant of others who may not know everything you know. Bring your sense of humor."
If that's our standard, I feel PH has in fact gone past my comfort level of nasty in some threads. If Patrik is okay with that he just needs to say so and I will decide whether or not I wish to continue as a member.
I see a lot of people feel the same way as myself: it is pretty darn tame for the internet, but there have been a few lines crossed.
The only criticism on a whole for the paleohack forum would be disrespect to other people in the population, even if they are not present. Actually, especially for groups that aren't represented. Criticizing parents in a "you did this to your kid, you are evil", criticizing the overweight/obese as "way to fall for the pyramid scheme, you less-intelligent others", general tarring of all medical professionals for "covering up the symptoms", and other attacks that aren't directed at members, but just generally make me feel like things are a little too nasty. From the recent blog posts and general murmuring amongst female paleo-ers, we know that the same problem has surfaced here as in the vegan movement: people want to look good, and if they feel like they don't look good, than they are disappointed that they are not the adequate representation of the paleo lifestyle. This attitude is present whenever any "new food thing" surfaces and starts getting media attention, as the whole group wants to put it's best foot forward, in a way, as proof. You see that on the forums now, that if you don't look good yet you aren't doing it right, but I think the regular users are aware of this and keep it well-controlled and surprisingly tame.
That being said, I mean there have been religious questions on here with a multitude of faiths responding that did not dissolve in bubbling, bitter chaos, which is a pretty good way to gauge that things are pretty good over all.
"You take the good, you take the bad you take them both and there you have"....PaleoHacks
I have learned so much and met so many amazing people through paleohacks. I've also had some interesting run-ins and had some pulse pounding angry moments courtesy of this forum.
It's hard for an online forum like this not to get nasty. I think a lot is due to the lack of the ability to set tone in written communication (like in emails). Sometimes things get misconstrued.
There has been so much focus lately on mud-slinging, name calling and quack watching. I'm tired of it. I want to get back to the exchange of information and helping each other out.
Time to get back to the good ole Thumper rule "If you don't have anything nice to say...."
I don't really participate as a registered user in many other online forums, except for a few Facebook groups. I do, however, use other forums if I want to learn varied subjects quickly (eg. Samsung Galaxy forum, Backyard Chickens forum, Dangerously Hardcore forum, GardenWeb forum, even MDA). I don't think I've seen very much hostility in the non-diet/exercise forums very much at all. However, many diet and exercise forums tend to get pretty nasty from time to time. So Paleohacks doesn't strike me as unique in this way. However, if I were a Paleo Luminary I prolly would not read this forum very often (I actually am pretty thin skinned) and in fact I think Chris Kresser mentioned recently that he NEVER reads PH (I don't really blame him.) BUT maybe we need to take note of this.
As a user of PH and a sometimes snarky remark maker (I promise to stop posting while drinking - I PROMISE!) I have to say that I an going to try to turn over a new leaf! I will try to stop operating from the base of the pyramid and instead will focus on balancing at the tip top. MODS - If you could please make this image a permanent fixture on the side bar over here -----> that will help to keep me on point. You can even name it "For Meredith."
BUT there are people here who are quite adept at making sure their arguments are focused at the top of this pyramid. If you are upset and THINK that someone is being nasty because they do not agree with you, try formulating your response by "explicitly refuting THEIR central point."
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