Celiac.com Sponsor (A1):


Join eNewsletter


Celiac.com Sponsor (A1-m):



Join eNewsletter

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Nantzie

Making New Members Feel Welcome

Recommended Posts

On the subject of new people not feeling welcomed, I get worried about this sometimes. Has anyone else noticed our registered membership is approaching 12 thousand people???

There have been times when I have put in enough time on this board welcoming people and trying to give full, complete and friendly answers that I'm on here 6 hours a day. I just remember how sick and desperate I was and want to pay forward the warm welcome that I received when I found this board. So I put as much time in as I could.

But honestly, it gets overwhelming. With all the cooking and baking and jobs and life that we ALL have (not to mention all the accidental glutenings), it starts getting to be too much.

I think there's a group of about 100 of us who are regular posters. We all give advice and encouragement, but we're talking 12 thousand people now. It's not that we don't care, or don't want to welcome and encourage every single person who posts a question, we're just understaffed, so to speak. ;)

On some boards, it's reasonable to ask someone to read the archives to find answers, but in this case sometimes it's not reasonable at all. With the brain fog, depression, difficulty concentrating and memory problems that go along with undiagnosed celiac, sometimes reading old posts is more than someone can realistically do. Sometimes they're standing in their kitchen, close to tears because they're hungry and don't know what they can eat. Or they're hanging on by a thread and just need to feel less alone.

I'm hoping that some of the lurkers and less active members will come out of the background and if they have some time, welcome a few people and answer a few questions. I know everyone has busy lives but everyone answering a few posts a day would make a huge difference in the community feel of this board.

We've been in the middle of getting our house ready to sell as well as looking for a new house, so I haven't been on here very much lately. I'm not anywhere near as active as I was at one point. Right now I'm just scanning through the topics and just posting on the ones that I think I have something pertinent to say that hasn't already been said. I will make sure I spend the time to do a little more.

Just some thoughts.

Nancy


The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.

~Chinese Proverb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Celiac.com Sponsor (A8):

Celiac.com Sponsor (A8):


I think that if members put 1/2 as much time into REAL threads as they do into gab/chat threads we would really see a difference in the board. Much of our time is spent gabbing and not spent really helping people.

The gab/chat threads also create that clique feeling that Susan had brought up in a previous thread.

Just my 2 cents :D

-Jessica :rolleyes:


Jessica

Gluten Free since 12-31-2002!!

Kansas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my 2 cents

Its the gab chat threads that saved my soul! Reading humorous little bits and getting a spiritual boost made a HUGE difference in my day!!

For me - I begin my day - carb counting and calculating insulin for my son (and myself), figuring out how much extra carbs he needs for a basketball game after school when they go to an "away game". Doing physio for my buggered shoulder. I deal with the issues that confront my Asperger daughter - inertia, stress about some item of clothing that she wanted to wear but just spilled orange juice on...and now we have to pick a different shirt.. making sure she took her synthroid...and remembered her lunch...

So to escape to Rachelville or wherever - even if just to lurk - it helps me.

When I have posted there and explained my bad day or - what next in terms of illnesses, I have been welcomed and often within minutes or at least the hour, 3 -4 "pick me up, support " messages appear.

Often once I have been to Rachelville I am ready to pitch in and answer a post of I feel my input may help. My personal thoughts are that sometimes it is better for me to stay out of a thread cause when a newbie sees my signature - frankly - it scares some of the new people who may not realize our family is an exception rather than the rule in terms of "how many immune diseases can one family get".

I have garnered some fabulous recipes, ideas and insight from this board and I am relatively new.

Without this board, Kathryn would still have diarrhea from lactose cause it would have taken me longer to figure out. I also battle depression and some days its too mcuh to think and I dont answer threads.

Just like anything - you start at a new school, a new job or move to a different town...it takes time to get a feel for the group and sometimes you may feel slighted or rejected. Hang around and get to know the posters. With 12,000 people - there will be heated discussion, great friendships or something in between.

Sandy


Sandy

Type 1 diabetes - 1986

hypothyroid -1993

pernicious anemia

premature atrial beats

neuropathy

retinopathy

daughter is: age 15

central hypotonia and developmental delay

balance issues (rides an adult 3 wheel bike)

hypothyroid 1996

dermatographia - a form of angioedema 2002

celiac 2004 - by endoscopy

diagnosed Aspergers at age 7 - responded very well (HUGE difference) to gluten-free diet

recovered from Kawasaki (2003)

lactose intolerant - figured out in Oct/06

Gilberts syndrome (April/07)

allergy to stinging insects

scoliosis Jan 2008

nightshade intolerance - figured out April 2008

allergy to Sulfa antibiotics

son is 13

type 1 diabetic - 2003 diagnosed on his 9th birthday

celiac - 2004 by endoscopy

lactose intolerant - figured out Nov/06

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nantzie. Thanks so much for this post. I had brought up in an earlier thread (ysterday, I think) that I sometimes feel ignored here, and I had serious trepidation about posting that. People responded very kindly and with great insight to that comment, and to ALL I say thank you.

I sometimes just lurk, I sometimes am too overwhelmed to read whole posts/threads, and on my better days, I do ask questions and also try to offer encouragement to others.

I love what you said about some of us who are less active trying to step up a little. That's exactly what I've been trying to do.

You guys are great. I'm so glad to have found you and to be part of this (large!) community :)


dx by blood test and biopsy April 2006.

gluten free since, and avoiding dairy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that Nancy. We certainly are getting large aren't we! It's amazing, and yes time consuming.

Just going through the new posts on a daily basis takes up a good part of the morning before I tackle all the other jobs that need doing. Then after lunch I try and check in on some of the new threads.

We can only try and do our best without it taking over our lives :P

To the newbies...hang in there, some of us will get to you as soon as we can, it just takes a little longer than it used to :lol:


Shirley

[save the Earth, It's the only planet with chocolate and wine.

It isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...

It's about learning to dance in the rain.

Gluten free since 1989

West Kootenay.... British Columbia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the thread Nancy.

I must admit life is pretty busy, and being a member of a forum can take up a lot of time, but I have found this forum very imformative, and of course we all need to develop of bit of confidence in ourselves before we can impart some of our newfound knowledge to newbies.

Since I have been gluten free for a year, and I am mainly doing fine, (must be doing it nearly right) I feel I do have a bit to offer the newbies, and I do put in my 2 cents worth, but sometimes time is a factor and I just cannot reply as often as I feel I can or should.

There maybe 12,000 people registered to this forum, but how many are actually active member? But still that is an aweome amount of people, and an indication of how much more awareness of this disease there is out there now.

Cathy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The gab/chat threads also create that clique feeling that Susan had brought up in a previous thread.

Yeah but they also allow people to connect and want to help each other more.

Thanks for starting this thread Nancy. I think this board works because most of the regular posters do feel a responsibility to help the newbies. It's just such a large board. I hope new people who don't get acknowledged right away feel they can keep posting. Sometimes it's just so easy to not see certain threads since there are so many of them.


"Let food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be food." - Hippocrates

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

During busy times, there are usually about 150-180 people online at one time, both members and "lurkers." This amount varies throughout the day, and include people who check it once, and people who check it more than once.

I'm sure Scott could give us an average of the number of members on in a given day, plus add the large amount of lurkers (I would say there are generally 3-4x as many non-registered readers on than members)....and I'm guessing its a pretty high number.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think that if members put 1/2 as much time into REAL threads as they do into gab/chat threads we would really see a difference in the board. Much of our time is spent gabbing and not spent really helping people.

The gab/chat threads also create that clique feeling that Susan had brought up in a previous thread.

Just my 2 cents :D

-Jessica :rolleyes:

and I am SO guilty of creating just that clique-ish scenario!! :ph34r: (dear God, look back about 7 - 8 months ago in the OMG thread - - or better yet, DON"T!!) I have gotten so carried away and SO goofy at times that I thought I might get kicked out. We did get in a bit of trouble over the summer, in fact, for being so wildly off-topic.....so we added some strictly chatty and goofy threads. And you know something? The first place I really found friends and "met" people was in the OMG thread - it changed everything for me. The laughter, along with the advice, support, kindness and everything, is so welcome, as Tanya said, esp. on days when I'm feeling physically terrible and not doing much else.

I have been gluten-free for one year, and the change in my mind, body, and mental health is staggering. Things on here (and this thread, thanks Nancy!) have reminded me lately that I need to offer support to those who are feeling as bewildered as I was. But, it does take time, and sometimes I only have a few minutes, so just check in with the discussion where I know those with whom I'm familiar will be.

But this is overall such a good place, and literally has saved my life. :)


SUSIE

Diagnosed January 2006

"I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells." ~Dr. Seuss

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have gotten so carried away and SO goofy at times that I thought I might get kicked out. But this is overall such a good place, and literally has saved my life. :)

Dingogirl, I so appreciate the goofy threads, I may not have a lot to do with them, but life can be so serious at times, it is a treat to read something that makes me laugh.

Cathy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dingogirl, I so appreciate the goofy threads, I may not have a lot to do with them, but life can be so serious at times, it is a treat to read something that makes me laugh.

Cathy

I am glad to hear this. But, I do think there are those that find these offensive.....I am glad they make you laugh. :) I have nearly busted a gut, at times. Helped me dearly.


SUSIE

Diagnosed January 2006

"I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells." ~Dr. Seuss

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I am glad to hear this. But, I do think there are those that find these offensive.....I am glad they make you laugh. :) I have nearly busted a gut, at times. Helped me dearly.

For those of us that are not directly related to this disease, but may have family or friends, let me say that there is nothing like a little laughter in times of need. I am a firm believer that laughter is sometimes the best medicine. This in no way takes away from the seroiusness of this disease that so many here have. With knowing a friend that is gluten intolerant, it is good to be informed in order to help her, and it is just as important to be there for someone in order to lift them up, if through a funny story or a lighthearted joke. I am a newbie here, and the only thing I have to offer is bringing some light conversation into play, and lift a spirit if only to get a smile when those don't feel like laughing that day. I plan to post anything that may be lighthearted or definitely not gluten related on the non gluten free category. If we get silly, and if we laugh our heads off, anyone that feels like reading and is looking for some relief if only for a moment, can warmly come there, and hopefully we can bring a smile. Some times a smile is all it takes to make someone feel better. This site is good with information all round, a place to find someone that will listen, someone that will lift you up, and someone is here that will just write something so utterly ridiculous you will find yourself having to laugh or a hint of a smile. I being new, am not coming here to disrupt or horn in on any of the very important information that is posted here. I am leaving that for those of you that are expert in the areas that you suffer from. I plan to read, and learn about Celiac. I suppose if it would get out of hand, there would be someone to slap a wrist or two, and that may be well and good, but overall, it is refreshing to see those that can muster up posting a humorous thread, while suffering from this disease, as well as those of us that are not diagnosed with it. I hope I made it clear my intentions here. But one of the most important things is that those that can and do share their knowledge are those that inspire the most, while dealing with Celiac. There is no better testament than from those that deal with Celiac disease daily. I hope all understands. I have no idea what all has been posted previously that may be questionable. I have a lot to read here yet and may never catch up totally. Wishing all the best day possible for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think that if members put 1/2 as much time into REAL threads as they do into gab/chat threads we would really see a difference in the board. Much of our time is spent gabbing and not spent really helping people.

My opinion is that without the gab/chat threads some people might get tired of posting all together. I think they are therapeutic for people who are going through alot with their health. Afterall....laughter and friendship are part of the healing process.

I would not say that these threads arent REAL...they can be just as valid and just as helpful to someone as any other thread. It depends on what that person is looking for. I think many people have been helped in some way...by finding comfort in a thread where they always feel welcome.

If we see a difference in the board without the gab/chat threads....I'm not so sure that the difference would be a positive one.

I think sometimes people need a break and want to get to know some of the other members ....or just laugh a little. Illness can take a toll....laughter relieves stress and is beneficial in many ways. I think this poster proves my point.

Its the gab chat threads that saved my soul! Reading humorous little bits and getting a spiritual boost made a HUGE difference in my day!!

I dont think any of us are *obligated* to visit this board and try to help others. We do so because we want to....because we enjoy the board and the people we meet here....and we value the things we can learn from each other.

If we cant connect with people and ocassionally feel free to chat in the designated forum...I think this board would actually lose some of the valuable posters here who help so many newbies.

Remember....its not only the newbies who need help and support....but also those who are "not so new".

If there are threads to sort of keep things "fresh" and "light".....it gives people a break from answering the same questions day in and day out. I think friendship keeps people coming back to the forum. If these people didnt come back there would certainly be less people here to help the newbies.

I dont consider the threads to be "cliquey"....when I think of cliques I think of groups of people who are unwelcoming and who push others out. This is not the case on any of the threads I read in the gab/chat forum. In fact these threads are FAR more welcoming and pleasant then some of the threads I've viewed in other forums recently.

I think those "less inviting" and "hostile" threads are the ones that are causing people to head for the gab/chat threads.

Just my 2 cents.


Rachel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I take small hiatuses from time to time as many have probably noticed. I have to either due to other pressing matters, work, deadlines, glutenings, or other medical problems. I also do it because I like many others get overwhelmed from time to time. Along with I always have people calling me at home on gluten issues or business matters.

I don't mind being part of the greet and eat squad but I know that no one can do it constantly just like I can't. When you look at this site being 12000 people that is a lot of people.

Sometimes people feel put out because not everyone has jumped on the welcome wagon but as Nantzie said, it is tough on many of us because no matter how long we have been gluten-free, all it takes is an accident or something to take us down.

As for gab/chat threads it gives us a chance to laugh and leave this disease for a minute and take a breath. We have had some very interesting and lengthy discussions in gab/chat. I know some days I just can't put it together for some of the other discussions and gab/chat is there for me.


Rusla

Asthma-1969

wheat/ dairy allergies, lactose/casein intolerance-1980

Multiple food, environmental allergies

allergic to all antibiotics except sulpha

Rheumitoid arthritis,Migraine headaches,TMJ- 1975

fibromyalgia-1995

egg allergy-1997

msg allergy,gall bladder surgery-1972

Skin Biopsy positive DH-Dec.1 2005, confirmed celiac disease

gluten-free totally since Nov. 28, 2005

Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism- 2005

Pernicious Anemia 1999 (still anemic on and off.)

Osteoporosis Aug. 2006

Creative people need maids.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember when we were bugging Scott to start a chat/gab thread for us :P It didn't take us long to get one really, Scott is so good about stuff.

We've certainly had some fun with it.


Shirley

[save the Earth, It's the only planet with chocolate and wine.

It isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...

It's about learning to dance in the rain.

Gluten free since 1989

West Kootenay.... British Columbia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, Rusla.

The "Gab Room" is sometimes the only way I can deal with this disease.

Also, nothing brings me more joy than someone posting that I made their day, or I made them smile, or I made them think of Kentucky Fried Chicken, or.......... :rolleyes:

All you have to do is read my signature to know how much humour means to me.....

Hugs.

Karen


Karen

positive bloodwork, positive biopsy

Celiac, collagenous colitis, hypothyroidism

endometriosis (at age 20)

spinal stenosis (early 20's)

Biopsy August 2006 confirmed complete villous atrophy despite being gluten-free for years and bloodwork within range showing compliance with diet. Doctor has confirmed diagnosis of Refractory Celiac Sprue.

Endoscopy also showed numerous stomach ulcers, have started taking Losec.

Mother to Eileen 13 yrs

Rhiannon 8 yrs

Daniel & Connor 6 yr twin boys......

"Joyfulness keeps the heart and face young. A good laugh makes us better friends with ourselves and everybody around us."

Orison Swett Marden

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.

-- Victor Borge

"An optimist laughs to forget. A pessimist forgets to laugh."

Tom Nansbury

"Doctor to patient: I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you are not a hypochondriac."

Unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know what you mean, Karen.

Roasting inmates over and open staircase, eating paper products and dusting nuts...what is there not to love about the laughter, joy and happiness that brings.

It is great to make others laugh because in turn it brings inner joy to yourself.


Rusla

Asthma-1969

wheat/ dairy allergies, lactose/casein intolerance-1980

Multiple food, environmental allergies

allergic to all antibiotics except sulpha

Rheumitoid arthritis,Migraine headaches,TMJ- 1975

fibromyalgia-1995

egg allergy-1997

msg allergy,gall bladder surgery-1972

Skin Biopsy positive DH-Dec.1 2005, confirmed celiac disease

gluten-free totally since Nov. 28, 2005

Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism- 2005

Pernicious Anemia 1999 (still anemic on and off.)

Osteoporosis Aug. 2006

Creative people need maids.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everything gluten free has been foremost in my mind for the last year. I have neglected my family, my friends and probably my job in my quest to get on top of gluten. It has been quite heavy going, and being an older person I have even been stressing out on what else I can have wrong with me. So far it is just coeliac, but I go for a biopsy on Thursday, so here I go again, a bit stressed.

Laughter is a welcome relief for me, as I just can't be serious 24/7 or else I will crack. Laughter for me lets me know that I have found the person I was before. I might not contribute much to the lighter threads, as I don't think I am all that funny, but I do get a kick out of what people say.

This forum is a lot like life, a bit serious, should say very serious with just a little bit of humour, for me I think the balance is about right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's great to want to help welcome the newbies. Keep the newbies in the "fold." Let them know that what they are going thru is normal for newly gluten-free, etc.

I enjoy the Gab section and sometimes that has a serious topic thrown in but we pretty much get it back on course. It's hard to follow a long Gab type thread as you have to read from the beginning to get the feel of the topic.

Personal attacks are not welcome (like celiachap did). However.....

My pet peeve is posters who make someone uncomfortable for having a differing opinion (not to be confused with opinions that are based on misinformation which do need to be addressed):

I've had that happen to me on a few occasions here (people attacking me about my personal opinion, not because I gave out misinformation). (I've been told in so many words that when I state that I feel that most doctors are inept, that I offended someone.)

The above situation has made me want to dump this forum on those occasions, but I get so much good from this board that I ignored those who leveled anger at me and avoid threads where those posters are.

Normally if someone has an opinion that I disagree with and it's more of a personal opinion, rather than a serious opinion based on erroneous fact or lack of facts, I just read it and accept it as that person's opinion and do not try to change it or tell them that it offends me. I just avoid the thread from that point on.

Live and let live.

Just recently someone chided someone else for "putting something political" in her post and I frankly didn't see anything politically offensive in that original post.

This is what starts disagreements: when someone perceives that something is offensive and rather than chalk it up to a misinterpretation of the post or allowing that other person to vent a personal opinion which isn't going to hurt anyone or doesn't contain misinformation, they throw a "bomb" at the so-called offending poster. Sorry but I feel it isn't necessary and if anyone wants to talk about this, send me a PM to discuss.

This is why I've been on the board less than ever. I sometimes feel there's an undercurrent of board member censorship by a small group of members. A perfect example of this is how the crowd turned on srokie last week.

So this could be why newbies are hesitant to join us.


Husband has Celiac Disease and

Husband misdiagnosed for 27 yrs -

The misdiagnosis was: IBS or colitis

Mis-diagnosed from 1977 to 2003 by various gastros including one of the largest,

most prestigious medical groups in northern NJ which constantly advertises themselves as

being the "best." This GI told him it was "all in his head."

Serious Depressive state ensued

Finally Diagnosed with celiac disease in 2003

Other food sensitivities: almost all fruits, vegetables, spices, eggs, nuts, yeast, fried foods, roughage, soy.

Needs to gain back at least 25 lbs. of the 40 lbs pounds he lost - lost a great amout of body fat and muscle

Developed neuropathy in 2005

Now has lymphadema 2006It is my opinion that his subsequent disorders could have been avoided had he been diagnosed sooner by any of the dozen or so doctors he saw between 1977 to 2003

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe we should just monitor our chats a tiny bit, just make sure that at least one of us says "hey" and welcome to a new, or newer, poster. Acknowledgement is really nice when there's a big, cozy chat amongst friends who've sent packages or just gotten off the phone with another forum member. It's simple to do and shouldn't take that much time. :)


SUSIE

Diagnosed January 2006

"I like nonsense. It wakes up the brain cells." ~Dr. Seuss

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that the Gab/Chat threads are great. Such a big part of celiac disease is the years of being sick, being treated like a hypochondriac and/or being outright disbelieved or rejected by friends and family. Being able to come on here and have fun with people who have been through a lot of the same things is a much-needed part of the healing process.

I tend to scan past the threads that are a newbie just saying hi, and focus on the threads of people who think the gluten-free diet won't help their celiac-like symptoms just because they have negative test results. If I hadn't been told that by a few people here, I would still be sick, and probably even sicker. So that's where my heart is. Letting those people know that trying the gluten-free diet anyway may change their lives like it did mine. And even I haven't had very much time to just do that lately.

In my experience the couple times I've jumped into the OMG-type threads, everyone is very friendly and welcoming. I'm just not a chatter. It has nothing to do with the friendliness of the thread. And I've seen on several occasions the people on that thread invite newbies to jump in there, explaining that it's just a friendly chatty, no particular subject thread that anyone can jump in on.

I also hope that newbies don't get offended if most of the regulars don't greet them. Even on the "negative test results" threads, I will just look and make sure someone else has said what I would have said. It's not a snub at all. It's just an attempt at time management. ;)

For Christmas my husband got me a computer program that is kind of like Tivo. We already had a wireless system for the laptop for internet access. So now I have my laptop in the kitchen with me while I'm cooking. I can watch TV, come here and clean the kitchen or cook all at the same time. It's pretty cool. The program is called SageTV Placeshifter if anyone is interested in it.

Nancy


The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.

~Chinese Proverb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites