MIA was a haven for me for many years and likely all that will come crashing to an end with the new policies that are starting up.
The main policy I seriously object to is the initiation of a “like” system for comments. This means some comments will be “liked” a lot, and others, sadly, won’t get any or will get very few. The liked comments will then get more visibility while the unliked ones will be almost invisible to viewers.
Apparently, MIA admins were stupid enough to compare themselves to the New York Times. The New York Times does have an elitist “like” system in place for their comments. The NYT claims they got more comments once the “like” system was put in place.
Does this necessarily mean anything? Anyone here actually read the Times? Have you ever commented at a major paper only to see your comment totally disappear in an instant, or get swallowed up and buried? Do you feel you have a voice in the NYT, or any chances of getting a Letter to the Editor published there? Considering we’re competing against New Yorkers who have tons more money and prestige than we do…I doubt any readers here have even bothered trying. I haven’t.
The Patch papers, though of lesser journalistic quality, are free to access for anyone. The Patch isn’t elitist like the big papers. Anyone can post a letter to the editor there and your likelihood of getting published is very high. They do have good circulation. I have been meaning to write one (recommended to me by a little birdie friend…) but have not done so yet.
MIA cannot be compared to either of these papers. MIA is actually a community because many of us know each other. That I know of, NYT commenters are not a community and don’t know each other (except the very super rich who, apparently, schmooze together a lot).
MIA isn’t the same as Facebook because Facebook isn’t an online magazine, though some pages are like magazines because they post articles and links to interesting stories. Facebook does require a login, as does MIA. It is supposed to be merely a vessel for communication, and supposedly FB itself doesn’t take a stance on any issues. Supposedly…or shall I say, they pretend this is the case.
MIA does take a stance. The person that started the site is a prize-winning journalist named Robert Whitaker. Whitaker is a science journalist who took interest in us mental cases a while back and has written some excellent books. I would highly recommend Anatomy of an Epidemic to any of my readers and to their families also. This book alone has changed so many people’s lives! (I know a few who are scared to read Anatomy because they don’t want to let go of their delusions….). I believe MIA, or, rather, http://madinamerica.com, has been in existence for six years and i have been a part of this community for the past five years.
I certainly have nothing against the community itself. I have met many fine people through MIA, many of whom have become friends of mine. I have learned a lot and shared much.
I feel much safer on MIA than on Facebook, and that’s because on Facebook, trolls come in out of nowhere, generally friends of friends, even well-meaning ones, and they bash anything you say. I have friended people assuming the relationship might be fruitful, only to have them condemn me over and over on there. I don’t think it’s appropriate to do that to some near-stranger whose situation you don’t fully understand…it’s just cruel and illogical. However, this regularly happens, as we well know.
There are trolls on MIA, people who come on there just to demean survivors and claim we’re all a bunch of sickos off our drugs. These types of comments are usually met with so much adversity that any troll eventually leaves. It isn’t even worth it to argue with trolls, nor is it even worth it to spend any time worrying (or complaining) about trolls. Many online sites, including here, have had trolls, spam, and unwanted advertising. It isn’t a big deal unless you’re overrun with them.
Specifically, it’s the “likes” system that MIA is starting up that I object to. I will not likely comment there very much anymore, knowing my comment, whatever I put there, will be upvoted or downvoted…either way, I don’t want this.
I would like to propose a hiatus from commenting on MIA due to the “likes” system. We will essentially stop commenting the site until they end the policy. However, I am encouraging people to comment on MIA posts in their own blogs and pages. You can then put a link to your commentary right on the MIA site. Now if it is your own site, they cannot take down your commentary. They cannot edit it, and they cannot ban you from your own site! You run the site…so? This way, we can say what we want on our own terms.
We can also post on MIA, “I would like to comment but I don’t want to be liked or disliked, so I am refraining from saying anything.” Then, if you have a link to your own site where you are commenting, add that link to your comment content that you post on MIA. Do keep writing and speaking out….or even do more of it….it doesn’t have to be right on the MIA site (as this blog, which has been ongoing since 2005, illustrates very well!).
I plan to stop commenting there as soon as they start the new system.
What do you guys think of this? I know many of you read and don’t comment there. I’d like to know opinions from both commenters and those that do not comment. Do you really want to be part of a Facebook-like popularity contest? Let me know and let me know what you think of my proposed temporary solution.