re: the closing of the "Ask the Self-Injurer" thread

Link to the thread in question is here. TubaDiva closed the thread, saying:

The thing is, my impression was that they weren’t “seeking medical help.” This wasn’t a “medical advice” thread (those are understandably frowned upon). The OP wasn’t asking “I cut myself - what treatment would you advise?” They were just giving other people the chance to ask them questions about their condition, and IMO the thread was very informative.

I’m pretty sure that threads where people share their experiences with other medical conditions aren’t closed, just because it deals with a condition. “Ask the person with OCD” or “Ask the person who had depression” wouldn’t be closed, unless the point of the thread was to solicit medical advice.

Frankly, I find it ironic that TubaDiva said “any of you that are cutting yourselves or contemplating doing so, don’t be making threads about it, go see a phyisician or other qualified medical professional.” Earlier in the thread iampunha said:

The reason that thread was so informative is that self-injurers aren’t likely to talk about their condition and help others understand it, especially if people’s knee-jerk reaction is “OMG see a doctor now”, even if it’s not an urgent medical issue. Yet that’s exactly what TubaDiva did.
I’m just asking for clarification on the closing of threads discussing medical conditions and their experiences.

It was obvious to me that that thread was a bad idea. It seems to me, and I could easily be wrong, that reading a thread like that could be a trigger for someone trying to stop. Also, you may not be aware of a really ugly thread on this very subject that was posted on this board in the early days. In any event, there are a multitude of forums on the web for people who engage in and/or are trying to stop that activity.

I completely agree with Waenara. The thread wasn’t promoting or encouraging self-injury! And it wasn’t asking for medical advice. I thought it was a good opportunity for people with this affliction to share their stories, and for others to understand it. It’s a shame the thread was closed - that was completely uncalled for. TubaDiva said to “seek help;” well as I recall many self-injurers in the thread have sought help or are under treatment or have been treated. So why the hell was it closed? That really pisses me off.

The moderators have a tradition of judging against those who self-diagnose, regardless of the circumstances or condition. People who are cutting, or thinking about it, who haven’t gotten a professionally-trained opinion, are judged to have self-diagnosed to some degree. A thread about this would, therefore, not last long here.

I was disappointed to see the thread closed, though it wasn’t a huge surprise.

As I said in that thread, I am a crisis line volunteer, so I occasionally speak with folks who have cutting/burning as one of their many struggles. With any situation like this, I want know what I can do to make the person’s day better. I was hoping to get some direct feedback (and some folks did provide this) as to how to achieve this goal.

Of course, there are tons of books out there and loads of info out on the web, but just like a SD thread cannot replace proper literature on the subject, there is considerable value in individual experience, the focus of that thread.

I imagine that this could very well be a subject where folks might regret posting such intimate details of their life later on, so perhaps this was a factor to the closing as well.

As far as the professional help comment goes, in my own experiences, every single person who told me that they practiced self injury was also under the care of a professional. Not that this proves anything – it could be that they all get our number from their therapists. The point is that if someone does this, it is likely they are already seeking help, and if not, seeing that they are not alone might help them to find the courage to seek a professional.

That’s why I started this thread, to get clarification on how this is interpreted by the mods. If that thread were asking about diagnosis, then I could see it being closed. However, it didn’t seem to me like that was the case. Also, most of the people who posted who had self-injured either said that had sought help, or that they were no longer actively doing so. There wasn’t anyone who said they were doing it right now and needed help or a diagnosis.

And I think that saying “someone reading the thread could possibly use if for self-diagnosis” arguement is a huge grey area. I mean, any thread about any medical condition could potentially be used by someone for self-diagnosis. But unless the thread is explicity about that, is that sufficient grounds for closing it?

I just searched for threads with “depression” in the title and found these:

Can you describe what depression feels like to you?
What is a serious depression like?
Postpartum Depression experiences
depression recovery advice from those who have been there?
Helping someone who has depression
I think I have depression
How can I spot suicidal depression in myself?

Now, to me it looks like you could say that possibly, potentially use the information in any of those threads for self diagnosis. However, only the last thread was locked by the mods (understandably).

Count me in the disappointed that this is closed crowd. Self-injury is a topic I don’t know anything about. The thread was giving me some insight into why people would do it. It was civil, informative and looked to stay that way. This thread was not a how-to guide. It was a let-me-help-you-understand guide.

Im with Tastes of Chocolate here. I have never known a cutter, and reading about the hows and why of it went a long way to fighting my ignorance of it. Shame Tuba jumped the gun so fast, it was a good thread.

So what? A thread on drinking could serve as a trigger for someone who’s trying to stop. A thread on chocolate chip cookie recipes could be a trigger for a bulimic. A thread on online poker could trigger a compulsive gambler. Are the Mods to close down every thread that could trigger an addict?

So what, mark 2. There have been ugly threads on all sorts of topics. If threads were locked becuase of a previous ugly thread on the same topic, this place would be barren.

So what, mark 3. There are dedicated forums on the internet for 99% or more of the topics that get discussed here.

None of which those of us who don’t engage in or think about that activity would ever see, so our ignorance would not be fought.

It was a excellent thread, and I was learning alot from it. I’m very disappointed in the decision to close it.

Would “Ask the Guy Who Sleeps on a Bed of Nails” or “Ask the Devout Catholic Who Flogs Herself” be closed as well? Because someone might be tempted to go buy a bed of nails? I think that’s ridiculous. After years of hearing about the cutting phenomenon and actually knowing persons that I suspected were doing it, this was the first time I was starting to understand it.

As a general rule I don’t complain about mods, in fact I’ve never done it on the SDMB, but I can’t find any merit in the decision to close that thread.

The battle is not always to the strong, nor the race to the swift, but that’s the way to bet it.

The bottom line here is always the Chicago Reader. Nobody is likely to sue the Reader because he read about sleeping on a bed of nails, tried it, and now his shirt billows out every time he sneezes. There exists a much better chance that somebody would read that thread on cutting as it was progressing, make some unwise personal choices based on that information, and the Reader could end up getting blamed for it.

The next line of defense (and not a very good one, but it’s still there) is that it may well have creeped Tuba out more than her personal preferences would allow; remember that most of the objectionable threads have as their main defense “well, nobody’s making you read this thread, so stay out of it…” The mods and admins don’t have that choice. They have to read the threads.

Terrible closing, I thought the direction the thread was taking was informative and mature. My ignorance on SI was certainly being fought.

I too am sorry to see that thread closed. Tuba’s suggestion that anyone actively doing such a thing should seek medical help is an important thing to say in the thread, but NOT a reason to close the thread.

I don’t mind when mods/admins close threads for “stupid thread” reasons, for “illegal activity details” reaons, or “ugly meltdown hatefest” reasons, but I always hate to see one get the padlock for “too hot to handle” reasons. (If not here, where?)

Oh well.

In the office of a mental health professional, perhaps?

This closing really is a shame. I’d never known much about self-injurers and was having my ignorance squashed in that thread.

I am disappointed that there have been so very many threads on other aspects of mental and physical health and this one was closed before a page of posts was done.

I am disappointed more by the fact that there are been many other threads which became “talk about your experiences with this not-always-safe phenomenon” and were not closed. In particular, consider these posts from the “Explain how depression feels to you” thread:

“If I hadn’t been depressed before reading this thread, I would be now.” (By panache45)

“I concur. Even just talking about depression can make you depressed.”(By Othersider)

“Sometimes you really don’t see the point of living.” (By Kythereia)

(I haven’t reexamined the other threads, so I don’t know how many other similar posts there are on this board.)

Perhaps it is that depression is a more known phenomenon and TPTB were reacting out of a lack of knowledge of SI and/or a genuine concern that someone reading the thread might be too tempted to SI to stop. However, if the latter is the case, the same argument says that the thread on depression should certainly have been locked after panache45’s post.

I understand well the argument for shutting something like the SI thread down because it might trigger someone else to SI. But the same could be said for any thread on alcohol–which then caused a recovering alcoholic to go get drunk, any thread on sex–which then caused a predator or sex addict to go do something similarly unsafe, or any thread on “What’s the angriest you’ve ever been?” which then sparked someone’s hate-filled violent act. I don’t see a lot of those closings in the board’s history, though I’m open to someone providing evidence to the contrary.

In the SI community I co-mod, we have a system in place (cut tags, which act in a way vaguely similar to spoiler boxes here) to prevent against people posting triggering entries and those entries accidentally setting off someone who had been close to the brink before that. Perhaps the thread could be allowed to continue if those involved agreed to use them. (I would not, truth be told, be entirely fond of this, as it’d be sorta like having to hide what I have to say, and the entire reason I posted in the thread was so I wouldn’t feel like I was hiding.)

Again, it’s disappointing to me (even absent the fact that I obviously have a nontrivial personal stake in it), and I think it would be helpful if someone explained the difference between that thread and, e.g., the “How does depression feel to you?” thread.

I think Ethilrist has a good read on the situation in his first post here.

It’s unfortunate the thread was closed. I’d say it was shaping up to be one of the more informative, sensitive, compasionate, honest, and fascinating threads we’ve had in a while.

This is no worse than any the depression threads or people describing the apparent rotting of their genitals or other parts of their bodies. Or compulsive tattooing fercrissakes. It’s just talk.