QUESTION: How do YOU think we should respond when someone uses an argumentative tone in their posts with our community members?

BACKGROUND: We have had a few incidents in our community where a new member is “out of tune” with our culture of respect, dialogue and listening to women’s viewpoints and perspectives. Their posts might have the tone of “I am right, you are wrong.” or “I don’t believe you.” While this has been extremely rare, it has happened a few times. Mostly it has happened with new male members, but it has also happened with women.

As you know, top priority for all of us is that PulseWire is a safe space for women to speak for ourselves, empower each other and be heard. We also want to foster vibrant dialogue, and believe that transformation can occur though dialogue.

For serious cases, we have a strict policy against the use of attacking language, harassment, threats or blame. We WILL block someone from the site if this occurs.

However, occasionally it is not as clear as this. Do we take such a strict move as to block that person from our community?

One way we have responded is to write the person with the objectionable behavior to tell them about our values and encourage them to post in a supportive way. We also encourage our members to speak out if you do not feel treated well in a conversation to ask for what you need.

And if that does not bring results? Block? More dialogue?

Women have to cope with so much sidelining in the real world. There are so few places where our voices can ring out – without being interrupted, or the microphone being cut off. PulseWire MUST be a liberating space, where we don’t have to be drained or spend lots of time trying to combat or convince others. We must express our selves fully.

Therefore -- what to do with argumentative posters? Hmmmmm… At World Pulse, we are discussing this issue and thinking about a process that will ensure an empowering and safe environment for WOMEN and the MEN who “get it” and support us.

What do YOU think?

Let us know your opinion this week!

Listening to you,

Jensine Larsen Founder, World Pulse

Comment on this Post


Thank you for your efforts to keep this a safe space. You are so right, there are few places where we can be clear, direct, honest and kind without being silenced, and when aggression and might displayed as right occurs in this space, it should be checked. Having the support is crucial and it does make a big difference. My head wrap comes off with worldpulse sister friends and I want it to stay off in this space where the voice is freed!

Hi Jensine, I can understand very well what you are explaining to us. I want us to know one fact and that is, It is still only 10 out of 100 women in the developing world that understand that they should have equal right with a man. Some hide under culture, some under religion while some under the fact that they dont have the power men have.As you are fighting for women dont be surprise that your major antagonist would be women. It has happenned to me so many times. You know ignorance is a deadly disease, that is why we have to be patient with anybody that is putting on contrary arguments, explain and explain to them. If after explaining and educating them they remain adamant and want to be violent, that is where firmness now comes in, let them know there are codes of conduct for people using this space and anybody that is not ready to follow the rules and regulations should stop using the space.For men in this category, It is understandable,some of them are still struggling seriously on the issues of equality.Whenever they are getting nasty, just block them from the space so that they do not distract us.

We are moving on Busayo

Busayo ObisakinWomen inspiration Development centerIle-Ife, Nigeriabusobisaki@yahoo.comwomeninspirationcenter@gmail.com

i am wondering if there could be a system where we can edit the entries before posting it on the community. once we can edit, we can then modify any language or tone just to provide a safe place for us all to speak out without being intimated. Gifty

Gifty Pearl Abenaab Founder Greight Foundation

Dear Jensine, I do not think we should block these members too quickly. I came across one of these instances during a very intense dialogue between Jackie in Bolivia and a new male member who had found her arguments concerning Bolivian violence distasteful in some way. It wasn't exactly clear why he had taken such a strong stand against her writing as there was nothing in there that I could see that appeared inflammatory. His tone was definitely off base. He even went so far as to swear at one point and say that he flat out did not respect the author at all. Not her writing not her presentation, but her! It was horrible to see and I struggled for more than a couple of days as I tried to figure out the best ways to protect my friend and stand up for the need for women to air their views in a safe space. Every day I went back and watched the conversation continue with my heart sinking at his lack of respect and violent tone towards my new friend in Bolivia while also being fascinated by the dialogue.

Most interesting to me was how another member, Maria began to converse with him, explain how this forum is a safe nurturing space for us to learn and to be able to express ourselves openly and then proceeded to ask him pertinent questions about himself in an effort to understand where he was coming from. It was courageous to put herself in the line of fire like that and yet it opened up a whole new level of conversation that seemed to calm him down considerably. By the end of the conversation he had not changed his initial opinion against the authors views but had appeared calmer and more open to seeing things from an alternative persepctive. On any other forum this I do not believe would have been possible.

I think it is important for us as a community to continue to listen to these posters and to have the opportunity to be able to present a new perspective and way of looking at the world to them. They may not agree with us but it's important to keep the dialogue going. If we restrict our dialogue to only those who agree with us we may not get anywhere as far as inspiring and building a global community. We can only do that if we work through our differences and our misunderstandings no matter how difficult it may be.

That being said, we also need to create a safe space for all of us beginning writers, journalists, and women leaders in which we feel able to air our opinions in the first place. This has already been achieved to some extent through the nurturing supportive community created by comments from other members. However perhaps a set of clear guidelines could also be posted so that anyone bypassing those rules could be blocked, or at least warned that if their behaviours continues they will be. For instance in the case of this male member I came across, he should not have used foul language and should not have attacked her - by that I mean openly admit that he had no respect for her. That was unnecessarily low.

Thanks for asking us our opinion on this Tina

Violence has many forms. Violent people usually take a 'flag' for which they fight, and in the process of achieving their goal (usually power or money), they will step over anyone who points out any flaw of their system, and they will exert violence to do this. It can be psychological, moral, physical or spiritual violence, but it is effective, as it turns around people's perspectives due to intimidation, fear or admiration for such a 'brave' way to stand up for their beliefs. In my case, I don't find it necessary to diminish anyone just to make people see my point. I think if anyone needs to be violent (low manners are a kind of violence) to make himself believable, it might be because he is trying to intimidate others so that they don' t speak out the truth.

In the case of the man you mention, he was certainly trying to insert truths, half truths and lies altogether with the purpose of driving everyone's attention to 'how bad I was (in his mind)' so that the real topic would not be touched. That is called INFO POLLUTION, and it is a marketing technique utilized by the nazi governement back in Hitler's days. People like him are usually sent out to impeech and throw out anyone who says something against the system they are trying to perpetuate.

He knows a lot more than he states. He knows far better than us what his pupose is. So we should not worry about him. Let him be. What we should look out for, though, is our freedom to express ourselves. Disagreement on topics is good and healthy, violence against the ones we disagree with is bad and leads to harsher and more violent attitudes both in the persons involved in the dialogue, and the public that surrounds them, as it pushes them to take public postion of being for or against not the topic anymore, but the persons involved in the primary dialogue.

This is what is not healthy. We don't fight people here, we NURTURE IDEAS.

So let us not focus this discussion on weather or not we should let people be mean or not, but on what measures we should take to stop violenece of speech, specially when it is inflected on persons, not on ideas.



Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva Tarija - Bolivia South America

Yes Jackie, I'm in agreement with you. It is truly great that we have this community to listen, support, encourage and respect each other in a way that refuses to let any other person stand in our way and intimidate us into silence. Your passion for human rights and non-violence is remarkable. Thank you for continuing to inform us about the insidious nature of violence in its many forms. Warmly Tina x

I just want to thank you all for your feedback and recommendations. This is YOUR community and it is so important to us that you all feel safe to speak out in an environment that respects the free exchange of ideas and expression. There will inevitably be dissension which I feel can be a powerful impetus for fruitful dialogue but we will not tolerate disrespect.

It is so wonderful to see you all exploring how we can shape and develop the culture of PulseWire, and create policies that support the security and blossoming of women's voices. Thank you again for your valuable input. It is much appreciated.

It is great too see everyone providing their inputs which is very useful. As for me blocking them right away will be like running away from them or hiding from opposite thoughts and it essential for us to learn how the other person thinks or his/her perspective. Then only we can know where the problem lies and in a peaceful and inspiring way we can put forward our thoughts so that the person does not get offended and will ponder upon our arguement. And our greatest achievement will be then we our thoughts keeps other people wondering and then they will realize that they have done the mistake.

Else we can formulate some strategies like guidelines for posters, or we can develop certain mechanism to report that the person's post is abusive and so on.But by blocking them we will be forbidding the person to put forward his/her thoughts which will be harmful to us as they might have different perspective on one issue but can be very positive on some other issues.

Hi everybody

This Hot Topic has really turned into something important. All the points that my friends put in are very very apt. Cyberspace has its benefits, and its drawbacks, like everything else. We need to be very careful when we deal with antagonistic people or the comments that flow in. Everybody has different opinion on different things. When we say, women should be provided equal opportunities for education and work, there will be a group of people who will completely agree, and there will be another group who will disagree. Such disagreements can bring in unhealthy comments sometimes. They can be from men or women. It is sad that there such thinking still resides in women in some parts of the world. But we have to accept that it does. When we talk about religion and ethnicity, disagreements are evident. However, we cannot stop a person from giving in opinion that could be of concern to all.

The question of course is how do we deal with them. I am involved with an e-magazine. Sometime back, one of the writers wrote about sex-trafickking. It was a very informative piece, with lots of facts. There were many who applauded her writing...Then, there was a guy who did not like the article,we presume. He commented on the article, and used the "f" words and the "s" words. Not only did he attack the article, but he attacked the writer. We were of the view that such comments should be blocked. But our editor made us understand that if we block his comment, we will be taking away his freedom to speech, but she also agreed that we cannot put the magazine to shame. So, one of the team members, very politely dealt with him, and told him the purpose of the magazine, and the article. By the end, the guy pacified and everything was back in place.

So, what i mean to say is, there is a very thin line between attacking the write-up and the writer. We need to identify that first, and act accordingly. Even after dealing with the person, if he/she doesnt change the ways, it would be of best interest just to let the person know that his next comment, if in the same line, will not be published, and he/she will be blocked from the space.


Khushbu Agrawal

I can understand how it is hard to find the right tone when you feel strongly about an idea since I often think I have done this same sort of thing myself in posts. Where is the "line" exactly between stating your opinions strongly and sounding as if you are saying instead 'you're wrong' to someone? This is something I hope to explore more fully during this journey together.

I remember feeling very upset at the guy and wanting him to change his tone toward Jackie in Bolivia, I think sometimes people are not used to being listened to. So many things can happen where they seek to be heard and too often find that sort of idea of "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" and negative habits develop over time. I think in many places online the more inflammatory the post the more responses it gets so it becomes a habit almost to start off that way on other forums.

I remember feeling happy when he began talking to us as a real person but then kind of blew up at another person a bit later who I felt was just re-creating that bad feeling all over again. So, finding a balance is something we, me especially, need to still work on. I love reading the ideas expressed here since it is together we will truly figure it out and change things. It is a very important goal and not going to be easy. I think when they browse the site a bit and see what we are trying for that they will see "the idea" is a real one and not just a little social feel-good club.

I believe in the past that the idea was the feeling that the one woman who was helped was 'better then', that sort of "divide and conquer" thing where it sets up false barriers between people, and we just need to keep doing what we are doing to combat it. It is like I learned at the one woman's resource center that "it wont stop until I make it stop" and that is by changing the feelings inside first.

I agree we should not ban right away but I also don't want to come here and find it unexpectedly too. But then I know I come across strongly at times, where when I am writing it I feel like I am being perfectly reasonable and open-minded but reading it again later I feel I could have worded it a bit differently maybe. So, I guess it is that same feeling where I would certainly prefer an email regarding something then a ban!

I loved reading everyone's posts, it is great to see the continued values of these great woman on here!



i agree with the view points expressed by members, i agree that everyone has freedom of expression but such freedom should have limits and respect for other people's views. I hope that as members we will learn to value other people'sthoughts and feelings. love chimango

I am moved to see so many of our community members taking ownership of their right to this space. I think that the individuals that created this space for all of us do indeed have a target community and population in mind; one that is unequally supported in the global society (in comparison to other dominant groups that have unlimited freedom of speech, press, rights etc). I think in the process of creating this space, it is important to keep that original vision in mind and work diligently on behalf of those that are not otherwise protected or listened to in their lives. For that reason, my opinion on this issue is that any type of intimidation or "verbal violence" is inappropriate here and demeaning to the work we are all doing. If an individual feels personally oppressed or attacked in their own life, let our appeal to them encourage that they talk about THOSE feelings rather than direct that anger and pain at one person. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to have a warning system. The first "offence" would solicit an appeal from us at World Pulse asking that they review our values and policies regarding mutual respect and that if they don’t feel comfortable agreeing to those, that this may not be an appropriate place to express themselves. The second "offense" may solicit a message asking them to remove the offensive post and stating our reasons why. They third "offense" may result in a block of their account (or at least their ability to post. Can we do that guys out there in tech world?!) with the option to write an apology and appeal to their community in order to preserve their account here. What do we think of those options? I think it’s important not to stifle anyone’s freedom of speech, but to be very clear with the offender when we, or anyone here feels disrespected or violated. Our community members should be here because their vision for women in the world is a loving, open-minded and non-oppressive one...and firstly that their intention matches the Pulse Wire objectives of creating this sacred space. I believe that this is how we will keep the nature of this amazing resource working for everyone in a positive way. Thank you for the right to be heard! Be blessed Kate

Kate, thank you for these insightful comments. Our current policy is to take the measures as you so clearly stated for first and second offenses. Electronic communication is very limited and it is very easy to misinterpret the tone behind what people say, so we definitely want to encourage our community to give each other the benefit of the doubt and assume that others are speaking with the best intentions. However, in saying that, it is also important to reiterate our policies and to emphasize that although dissension is acceptable, disrespect is not. In regards to a third offense, we do have the ability to block an account and have done so in the past where posts were clearly offensive, threatening or harmful.

I agree that World Pulse is a safe space for us to discuss and express our thoughts and opinions. We cannot guarantee that everyone is aware of the tone he or she uses. Sometimes we get too passionate about something and without meaning it, we get to offend someone. We always have to remind ourselves that the things we write are not always acceptable to everyone and that is why, we should be careful and say that it is our opinion and it does not mean in anyway, to force others to believe.

Argument is good if we want to explore certain ideas and topic. As long as it's not too personal, too disrespectful or offensive. When the argument becomes a personal attack, then we need to call the attention of that person. We need to understand where the person is coming from since we have different up-bringing and cultural practices. We need to be open yet guarded; accepting but with discernment. We have to tell the person, that although we are all here to hear and be heard, understanding and respecting our differences is also one of our aims. We are here to nurture each other, to widen our perspective and not to pin down others. Violent language which is meant to harm another person is definitely a NO on this site.

If a person disagrees with me, I really don't mind. It's the other person's opinion and I still read it and I try to find something that we can agree on. If not, it just shows the differences of our values, which is ok. In case, someone is so offensive, let's try to talk it out, to help the person as well. Maybe there is something we can do to calm the person down? Sometimes the person just needs attention, or the person just needs to be understood. I believe in diplomacy. We have to try every possible means before we let the person go. We have to be a little more patient too since not everyone is as mature and as conscious.

Poverty is man-made that we can undo.

Dear Jensine and all, Thank you so much for your post. I can understand what you mean. Let us see the both aspect of our reality in our community.

When we go to our community to bring change, do we have only supporter in our community? Absolutely not! There will be someone who will be against us and our work. What will we do to them? We will try to convince them and think something else to solve the problem. Isn’t it?

Similarly, if someone is against our thought and said “I don’t agree with you” or “I don’t believe you”, is it honest to block them? But I agree with you. There is a condition to block them if they use bad words that can harm our prestige. At that point, I think World pulse should take the strict rules. I believe everyone has freedom to speak so sometimes we can hear argumentative opinion from people. But we must think, while expressing our thoughts, we need to respect others.

Hence, I don’t think, we should block them. Let’s have a discussion with those people and convince them. Let’s change their thoughts so that in the future, they will not argue with others (women). Let us hear from them what they really want to say. Why they are against our thought? So that we will get chance to understand the real problem of our community. we will get chance to prepare ourself.

I think it will help us to prepare ourself before going to our community. Those people are also in our community. I think it's an opportunities to learn from them.

What do you think friend? If I am wrong, please comment me. I love to read comment, though my exam is coming soon.

Cheer up everyone

With Love and RegardsSunita Basnet

I believe that while we all have a right to our opinions, we must be careful not to express ourselves in manners that are insultive and harmful to other people. I think that what should be done is to enter into communications with such individuals, make them realised that their opinions are valued but that the way it is expressed leaves a lot to be desired. We must keep in mind that for some, being insultive to the point of abuse is the only way they have been able to make themselves heard, warped as that may seem, it is the sad truth. Thus, they carry on this habit into this space. However, for the sake of those who might be at the receiving end of such harmful posts, if the individual does not cahnge, they may be blocked as a last resort. This because we don't want a situation where we stop talking because of the possibility of being insulted by one of us. The example Tina gave shows that it is possible for people who start out this way to change. I believe it will be a delight to see that kind of change. Much Love Olakitike