Thursday, February 11, 2010

#19 28,000 posts on PTO? (RETRO)

28,000 Posts by one person on PTO?

First off, before I begin, my very best wishes to family and friends of Kay Yow, former coach of the NC State Wolfpack, who passed away today after lost her bout to cancer. I am a Tarheel fan, but I am first and foremost a human fan, and I know that the entire family of NC State mourns, as many, many people across the nation. My most sincere wishes to the Yow family and Wolfpack Nation.

I know it is not an easy transition, but let’s get to the title.

I made a post the other day about some prison support sites, and the problems with many members. I singled out Prison Talk Online because I used to write for them, and many other sites. One argument I had was that many moderators and members create a false sense of respect by racking up huge numbers to make themselves appear to be who they are not. Several months ago I blogged about how one person argued against me in that I said I had 1200 posts, but she had over 15,000!

So today I got an email from a person who knows what I am talking about and wanted me to talk some more on it. She said she was going to copy my blog and share it with some more folks, but wanted me to address the issue, and how it does not help people with loved ones in prison.

This entire blog can be summed up by one phrase…quality, not quantity.

I want to go right after this, because despite what many people think, this is not in any way supportive of anybody going to these sites for help. There are a lot of people who call themselves “members” of prison support groups that have ungodly numbers as “posts”. Some folks have 1000, some have 5000. Some have 10,000, some 20,000, some 30,000 or more.

Let me be straight forward on this…any person on PTO with more than 5000 posts is not sincere to the site. I say this because the site itself is less than 8 years old, yet you have people that have thousands and thousands of posts. Is it possible for a person to have so many posts? Yeah, it is, if you think about it. But me use myself as an example because I am an extreme writer.

What I say by that is that I write a LOT more than most people. If you have been reading my blogs, you know that quite well. I don’t do short posts because when you are looking for help, you need answers more than just a “quick fix”. Too many times we look for the fastest solution, and forsake the BEST solution.

When you join a prison support group, you need to find others that can do what the site claims it does…SUPPORT. In the times you need help, you are looking for people to give unto you what you yourself do not have…strength.

Consider the very definition of “support”:

“To keep from falling or sinking, to hold in position, to bear the weight”

“To give strength to, to enable to last or continue”

In order to do either, someone has to have something to give to a weaker party. You can look at the word “weight” and easily substitute “burden”. This would make a lot more sense when you look at supports sites, such as a prison support site.

When a mother has lost her only son to prison, and has nowhere to turn, she is looking for some support…not somebody to AGREE or say, “there there”. She is looking for people who can bear her burden, to keep her from falling down, to give her strength to last, and more importantly, to continue.

But that can’t happen if members themselves have no strength. And I think members with for example, 20,000 posts give a very false impression of strength that they do not have.

Now, I wrote my butt off for that site, and most of my posts were about 1-2 pages long. I am a pretty decent writer, and a pretty decent typist. I took typing class in high school, and honed on the skill throughout college, and even did more when I was able to take a couple of computer classes while in prison. So I can type pretty well.

I spend about 30-45 minutes writing an average post before I put it online. There are some exceptions like last night, when I wrote 9 pages. That took longer. But most times when I post or blog, I spend about a half an hour or more on what I am going to share.

That folks…is QUALITY. It is quality because I put my heart into what I mean to tell you, not pride or the idea of using a member to boost up my post count.

A person joining a site needs strength, members who can support them by lending them their strength. But how do you give strength on a prison support site? Strength does not come from the number of posts you make, it comes from what you share from the heart.

So consider how much heart a member has when they copy “hi and welcome to PTO” 200 times a week. Do you really think somebody like that CARES about what you are going through? Do you even think they read your post?

So the question in particular becomes, can a person really post 28,000 posts on a site that is less than 8 years old? Well, sure you can. But if you ask me if that person has any real credibility…my answer would be no.

I will put that to the test to anybody that is a member on ANY prison support site in the United States. I will challenge any person who claims to have so many posts to put up and for 2 weeks, to write at LEAST two posts of at LEAST two pages a day, and see how long you last.

To that person with 28,000 posts, I don’t believe you are as sincere as you let on. To that person with 30,000 posts, I don’t believe you know as much as you say. To that person with 50,000 posts…you’re just being silly.

Even the owner of PTO has huge numbers, which really comes into question. I don’t have to like (considering how he apparently treats some members) to know that to run a site like PTO takes a heck of a lot of time…time he can’t possibly be using making legit posts on the site.

I used an example on my other post with 28,000 posts. That averages to about 10 posts A DAY, every day, for 8 years. Now, I grant you this, I can copy and paste a cheap one liner and run through 20 posts a day doing that, and not care about a single one of those members, and rack up thousands of posts inside of a year or two.

But the quality of what I put up would be garbage.

There is no strength in somebody who is too busy trying to be the #1 post person on the site, when there are dozens of people who need help. The entire point of support is lost because the member is looking out to be regarded as an expert simply because they have more posts than another person.

Blind leading the blind.

So some may ask, why is this such a big deal? Leave well enough alone.

It bothers me because it is a deception of trust and compassion. When I sit down to blog, I want to make sure that for the next 30 minutes to an hour, I am giving you my best I can give. When a person who is low on hope comes across my site, I want them to believe, even if for 10 minutes, that there can be hope. I am not here to pat you on the shoulder and say “there there”. I am here to help you find strength and encouragement so that when you lay your head down, you can actually get some rest instead of crying yourself to sleep.

And to do that, I am putting my faith in God that when I type, I will be able to do just that…give you my best, without holding back. When I go to bed at night, I think to myself, “could I have done more”. I am always trying to figure out how to give you my best every time I blog. This is why I offer the free prison encouragement certificates and why I give my email for you to email me if you have a question.

This is not done to get a blog count up. I am nearing 300 blogs, but if I broke it down into single pages, I would be far, far past that. I have been criticized by some for making my blogs too long, but those are by people who don’t care about helping others, they just want some cliff notes to read and move on. I also understand that sometimes I might say something you may not fully agree with. Charge that to my head, not my heart.

But when you look at the BODY OF WORK I put out on this blog, even the most skeptical cannot ignore that I am trying to get you to focus not on the negatives, but the positives by generating some faith, some hope and some love in what I share.

Listen to what I am saying now…you cannot get that in a single sentence by anybody on any site. What message is in a simple sentence that took you 5 seconds to write? If you REALLY cared about that individual, you would have opened your heart to that person and given them hope, love, and some strength to get through the next day.

That takes a commitment, which many of those people with 10,000, 15,000 or more posts don’t have. They can’t possibly have that because they are too busy counting up cheap one liner posts. They are too busy worrying about being the number one poster on the forum for wives with husbands in prison or the number one poster for mothers with children in prison. It is a very sad thing that we look at numbers as superiority, and the more one has over the other, the greater they are than someone else.

A person with 20,000 posts is saying to lesser members “I am better than you because I know more”. Logically speaking, you can’t possibly write 20,000 sincere posts on any site less than 8 years old.

I challenge ANY person on ANY prison support site to take me up on this challenge: If you have a problem with my statements about members with over 5000 posts being bogus, challenge me.

For two weeks, I will pit my writing against anybody who thinks their 20,000 or 30,000 posts are legit and sincere. Show me what you are REALLY writing. You come up with general prison issue topics, and we’ll both write out a blog or post for it. Show me that you really DO care about those people you are using for another stat count. Or, if you are a member of any of those groups, check it out yourself. I challenge any member to check on those sites, find one of those people with over 10,000 post, and search to see what they have been writing. See how many are anywhere between 1-5 sentences, and how many are true and sincere posts…and see how many of those “hi and welcome to PTO” posts you see.

If you are feeling really brave, look up any posts by masonik4 and Nolaw97 and you will see what I left there. They said they would remove my posts (which actually is cool by me) but I would wager they have not. Check to see how many posts those people with over 10,000 actually STARTED, rather than just add their two cents to.

When you really look at that, you will start to see who really cared about your problem, and who used it as a stepping stone. I say again, there is no strength or support in people who make THAT many posts, because they are only interested in quantity, not quality. Those people cannot help you.

And sadly enough, they never intended to. You’re just another number to them.

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