A Message from Your Channel Founder:

Dear Gardeners,

The New Year is upon us, and I’d like to take some time to reflect upon the past, present and future of our little garden.

The garden rose from the wreckage of the CCN shipwreck and from the flameout of Shooby’s Café. Suddenly we small band of chatters found ourselves without a home, and we formed the garden as a place to gather and chat. We have fled from CNNnet to DalNet to Coolchat as we have tried to find our home. We have had good times and bad times.

The fact that we have mostly stayed together through so many tribulations is a testament to the fact that we are some sort of dysfunctional family. It would be easy to disperse to the various other chatrooms – to EFnet #politics, to UnderNet #politics, etc. Yet, the fact that we do not says that the garden embodies an atmosphere that we find attractive. A place dedicated to mature, polite chat… a place where even the most unpopular opinions can be expressed and discussed without the room turning into a mosh pit of personal vituperation and hatred.

Or at least, that is the goal.

When we first fled to DalNet we pulled together towards that goal. We kept that unity in #news_cafe because we were faced with a common enemy; our own founder. When Shooby melted down and lashed out and closed the café, we joined together as never before and created the garden. We not only opened the room – we created a stellar web page, we found people to donate prizes to the quizzes, and we worked together.

But in the last few months I have seen the room fall away from those heady days of early camaraderie and friendship. Often, when I have been inactive for a while and review the logs of what happens when I am lurking, I see a few chatters who are dedicated to the concept of the direct and indirect insult. I see sniping and innuendo. I see discussion of personalities and of chatters. I see endless deconstruction of each other’s words and actions in an attempt to analyze the chatter instead of the topic.

This is not why we gather together. The room is NOT meant to be a “target rich environment”. It is not meant to be a place where chatters feel free to insult and attack other chatters. It is not meant to be a liberal room or a conservative room. It is meant to be a neutral place where we chat about many things – including heated topics such as politics, racism, religion, etc. And sometimes we won’t agree.

SURE, it is frustrating when the other chatter doesn’t see the overwhelming clarity and wisdom of our ideas.
SURE, it is annoying when they continue to obstinately hold onto their improper ideas even though we have shared the _truth_ with them.
SURE, our frustration can lead us to the tools of insult or satire or sarcasm. BUT, If we allow that to happen… if we allow ourselves to succumb to those temptations, even in anger or in revenge for what the other chatter has said – we diminish the room. We become more like those rooms we eschew. Each time we insult another chatter, or lampoon them, or satirize them, we lose some of what draws us here.

We also diminish ourselves.

I would like to ask each chatter to reflect on these ideas. I would like to ask each chatter to resolve to recoup some of the camaraderie that built the room in the first months and to eschew some of the behavior that has caused us some problems in the recent months.

Let us resolve to work together:

· Let us exchange ideas and not insults
· Let us be friends and not foes
· Let us express respect and not revilement.

By doing so, I think that we will not only help weed out some anger and hate from the garden, but I think each of us will better ourselves.

I’m going to try… please join me and lets see what we can accomplish together!

Da Rat

December 28, 2002