New Forum Needed: The Safe Zone

For issues such as sexual abuse or mental health, etc where only supportive and helpful posts are allowed–not critical comments or flames.

Shouldn’t that be everywhere on the board (appropriate to the particulars of the o.p., of course) except The BBQ Pit?


Define “helpful posts”!

I don’t think so. All the other forums, even if they don’t leave someone open to the unconstrained abuse that one might be subjected to in the pit, leave room for someone to dissent and perhaps tell you that in their opinion you acted like a jerk / brought it on yourself / are making a mountain out of a molehill / are not consistent in what you say / etc.

I can see merit in having a Safe Zone. Sometimes people want to share what they’re experiencing and don’t want to get feedback that contradicts their explicit or implicit notions. And reciprocally if there is such a place that could minimize the extent to which people feel inappropriately jumped on or responded to with less than expected solicitous concern in MPSIMS and IMHO.

I can see where some people are only looking for affirmation of their existing beliefs. But it’s hard to reconcile that desire with the overall tone of this board.

The reality is some ideas are really bad. And the most helpful response you can give to somebody who is presenting a bad idea is to explain to them why they are in error. You’re not doing them any favors by supporting their erroneous belief.

I realize there’s a big difference between politely explaining why an idea is bad and ridiculing/insulting/attacking the person who presented it. I have no problem with a board policy that prohibits the latter (outside of the Pit) while allowing the former. But I don’t feel we should have a forum that prohibits anyone from expressing any disagreement with an OP.

eta: It occurs to me that if such a forum existed and this thread had been started in that forum, my post would be a violation of that forum’s rules.

Some people who would never go the Pit agree that the Pit is a good idea because it isolates that kind of behavior — there’s a place for it and the rest of the board isn’t it! — and you should perhaps consider this proposed Safe Zone in a similar light. It can isolate the desire to make statements and receive nothing but supportive comments.

I think this idea should be considered. Maybe?

It would need a disclaimer that if one needs urgent help to consult a professional; and any comments made would ultimately be worth the price paid for them.

Also, should any professionals offer advice, they should also disclaim. (but I would hope they would know better :slight_smile: )

Overall, shared experiences could be helpful to many, and be a no-cost alternative to group therapy, support groups, and such.

There is always a way to give constructive criticism in a supportive fashion.

I think having such a dedicated section is fundamentally incompatible with #the-bbq-pit. You cannot have both in the same community, let alone the same website.


I have a terrible life, and I’m so deeply depressed!

My wife won’t make me a sammich when I order her to, or wash the dishes. My son claims he’s a girl and want’s to marry a n… black man. And some America-hating liberals have moved next door.

(Supportive comments only, please.)


I see no problem with that in the “safe space”, it just wouldn’t garner any replies.

The problem would be people wanting to refer to it in other fora. The safe space isn’t very safe if people use what you say there against you elsewhere.

Yeah, I agree with this. The idea is at least worth considering.

I was about to say the same.

A very good point.

Isn’t that already MPSIMS? I thought that was the effective distinction between that and IMHO.

I do not think this is a good idea, for two reasons.

The first is due to follow on effects. I would foresee the result to be that people would feel okay with being meaner in other forums. If you have a space where X is not allowed, then it inherently encourages people to do X where it is allowed. That’s human nature.

The second is that I don’t really see any reason we need a special place for this. The types of situations where this would be appropriate are also the ones where society itself says that you’d be a jerk if you acted in that manner.
If someone reveals something personal about their life, especially some sort of trauma, and they did not ask you to critique them or anything, then you are inherently being a jerk to do so. And of course, flaming them is even worse.

So I see no upside to the proposed forum. Creating it would give tacit permission to ignore the “Don’t be a jerk” rule in other forums per my bolded statement above. And I don’t think that should be allowed.

People should just be able to post about their personal life and traumas in whatever forum is appropriate for the topic, and other posters should be able to respond without being a jerk.

And, yes, certain things are too far even in the Pit, and we’ll soon be getting a set of rules for that, to help those who have trouble understanding. That, plus the “don’t be a jerk” rule in other forums, should be sufficient to allow people to talk about their trauma without worry.

Hmmm …

Not really a fan of the idea, though I can’t quite articulate why, other than I think it would be a modding nightmare.

“Critical comments” is such a vague thing - what one person could see as a helpful illustration of something, another more fragile person might feel seriously attacked. A BB like this means it’s generally impossible to accurately judge the OP’s actual state of mind, and as responses are generally off the cuff, the “safe space” may actually put a spotlight on those who are needing some calm and quiet reassurance.

The only way to ensure supportive posts would be to limit them to brief commiserations and insincere glurge like “I’m so sorry you’re facing this” and “Hugs if you want them” which is less than helpful.

In general it’s a nice thought, but frankly the internet is NOT a nice place, though there are a few safe-ish spots – Captain Awkward and the associated forums come to mind.

(Mods here do a great job overall, but I imagine it’s like trying to police Grand Central Station with a few volunteers who have other full time jobs elsewhere!)

Yeah, no thanks, for this reason.

Yes, all of us here in Nazi Central High Command think this is a FABULOUS idea!! I fully support your proposal to exterminate all those non-supporters and vile worms, which is of course what I’m sure you’re really getting at in your cleverly worded OP. Death to the inferior races–I agree!!!

It might, though. Not from our regular group, I would hope; but others of similar opinions might show up.

I don’t think it’s a good idea to open ourselves up to that possibility.


– I can’t get any help at all around here for this problem!

Here are three links to organizations in your area helping with this problem, plus four suggestions for ways to get help outside the organizations.

Is that a helpful comment, or a criticism?

Indeed. Allowing a post that reprehensible to not just stay up but go completely unchallenged is tacit approval of the message’s contents

You can still report.