Home (theory of the ego death and rebirth experience)


Online Writing Strategy and Style

Contents

Posting Style. 1

Online Posting Styles. 1

Online writing strategies. 2

Quality of Postings. 2

Unclear postings are out of scope and subject to moderation. 3

Specious, clueless, or garbled posts will be ignored. 3

Online discussion: challenges for scholars. 3

Against individual ownership of postings. 6

Need for Sustained Debate Comparing Mystic Experiences. 8

Postings are off-topic if not tied-in to main topics. 9

No more slummin' online. 10

 

Posting Style

I frown upon most of the name calling and other rhetoric, really only because they are mostly worthless noise and posts should have high signal/noise ratio. The problem isn't name-calling, but lower signal/noise in some spots. Insults commonly are found in poor signal/noise passages. Keep your eye on maximizing signal/noise ratio, rather than on noxiously repressive guidelines. Write however you feel, but adhere to the requirement of high signal/noise ratio.

Online Posting Styles

>A truly brilliant gallery of sketches of the various character types to be found on mail groups:

http://www.winternet.com/~mikelr/flame1.html

http://www.winternet.com/~mikelr/flame01.html

Looking up Philosopher, it fits me. http://www.winternet.com/~mikelr/flame17.html

>Philosopher differs from Profundus Maximus in that he actually does know something. While somewhat humorless and slightly aloof, he is also slow to anger. When he does deign to engage in battle he is considerate of other opinions, but his ponderous and lengthy cogitations effectively smother the opposition.

Yes. A point by point rational refutation of a flamer's spouting increases exponentially in length. The flamer responds by hurling ever more nonsense back, then all that must be refuted calmly and reasonably, point by point. This is not feasible, and is solved by accepting the principle of selective response, including letting the flamer's nonsense be unrefuted.

I'm surprised you know how much I'm interested in online communication styles. I'm looking forward to reading more of these characterizations. I have written many postings about the universally on-topic meta-topic of flaming and what it really is and how to deal with it. It's a fairly complex subject that hasn't been studied but is greatly needed. I was disappointed that Mark Dery's book Flame Wars didn't cover it.

The #1 technique is selective response, at the level of a posting or within a posting. It's also important to recognize the great divide between information and social noise - discussion online starts with mostly information, and quickly becomes mostly social noise. Most flaming and chatting has little information content, just social noise. Flaming and chatting are equivalent: social noise. Information content is not rare, but it normally loses out eventually to social noise unless the forum has something to keep conversation secured to the goal of being info-driven.

I've seen a lot of hosts make a lot of basic mistakes. The entheogen host has a terrible Nanny streak -- his panties get in a bunch every time anyone is impolite in conversation. I like hosts to be no-nonsense. The hardest hosting job must be for the JesusMysteries discussion group, debating whether or not Jesus existed -- they even have to try to deal with me, a creative rule-bender set on contributing too much value to be casually kicked off for severely criticizing the "scientifically" restricted scope of the discussion group as being a dead end, as it fails to permit even investigating the possible positive value of mysticism and esoteric Christianity.

I have strongly advocated an automatic 2-week mailing to help people remember the stated goals for postings. Few hosts listen to my advice, then they pay the price when chaos reigns and especially when the most valuable contributors leave.

I fear this group is already too big for me to commit to being a good host. I can see why Earl Doherty (JesusMysteries group, Jesus Puzzle author) welcomes helper hosts, so he can go away often and do research.

Online writing strategies

My standards for clear, effective postings:

Every posting must include *explicit* indication of how it is related to the group's charter. During the posting, every few short paragraphs should prove that the post is *directly* on-topic. Meta-discussion is permissible if one states every few paragraphs why such an analysis is important for the group's stated goals.

General points are on topic only *if* the writer explicitly connects them to the central topics in the group's charter. Analogies are helpful only if the point is also made directly, explaining how the analogy illustrates the direct point.

My postings in discussion groups try to adhere to being so driven to be on-topic and contribute useful, easy-to-apply points.

I think that some critical moderators in the Christ Conspiracy no-Jesus group don't actually have trouble with my communication clarity, but rather, with my position that religion is a more or less distorted expression of something legitimate. The moderator wants postings to either be *for* Christianity, in which case he can fire at them and block them, or *against* Christianity; anything else -- anything above such kindergarten black-and-white thinking, is labeled "unclear, confusing".

"Keep it simple", the author of the book told me in the group. Translation: adhere to our two-party politics of black-and-white, us-versus-them, "rational scientific atheists" versus "idiot junk Christians".

Quality of Postings

There are 228 postings I haven't read in the egodeath discussion group. There are 138 subscribed members (and anyone can publicly read the group). I haven't promoted the group or website at all, except by including my domain name at the bottom of postings in various online forums, and by including my domain name in my Amazon page. If my work becomes popular, I will fall behind in reading people's postings at an even higher rate.

Outlook 2000 doesn't permit me to sort by Read/Unread status -- damn, what a major feature limitation -- otherwise I could print all unread postings and read them like a book. I will see if Outlook 2003 permits this.

Similarly, I expect that few people are able to, or interested in, keeping up with my postings, which have about a 90% redundancy factor per posting.

I'm considering a Web log but there are as many drawbacks as advantages. The worst thing about Yahoo groups is that they aren't logged by the Google search engine.

I started gathering all my postings, including prior to the egodeath discussion group. There are thousands of postings -- just gathering them into folders is a huge project. For example, my Sent mailbox has thousands of emails from over the years, with guitar amp gear postings mixed with egodeath, drug policy reform, and other postings.

I want to gather all my postings, organize them and compile them into a full-featured frameset, but the tools for doing so continue to be inefficient. It's a major project and I'm too impatient to get on with the next insight; I've never liked spending time polishing and presenting ideas neatly; I'm totally a frontier explorer, hungry only for the next discovery.

A problem is that even if I did collect all my writings, it would be such a huge collection, the size might work against effective communication of the basics. Also, the high redundancy from one posting to the next is also somewhat of a problem.

I could really use an assistant, like a graduate student, editing team, or ghost writer, to organize my writings. I'm doing some writing myself, which is like ghost writing, for a very busy famous person.

Now I am down to 40 unread postings in this discussion group. Signal/noise ratio was about 5%. I can contribute more value per hour for readers of this discussion group by reading books and articles than by reading and directly responding to postings. Emails sent directly to me generally are far more informative than those posted publically. Norma's recent emails to me have changed 180 degrees, after I posted about the group's commitment to being on-topic and clear, and are as valuable as the best postings to the group. Did she intend to email me alone? Ironically, her most on-topic and substantial writings weren't posted to the group.

Unclear postings are out of scope and subject to moderation

There have been regular complaints about postings that lack an effort to provide comprehensible content, so I added the following to the posting rules.

Vague, unclear, hazy postings are off-topic and out of scope and are subject to moderation. Contributors must make the effort for rational, clear, explicit, intellectual, articulate, and comprehensible presentation of particular points.

Specious, clueless, or garbled posts will be ignored

There is not the slightest need for me to refute worthless would-be criticisms, such as the following. I can only spend time responding to the most worthwhile postings, such as from people who actually know what my theory entails.

Thanks very much to colleagues in adeptly handling this particular case. (Not that any response is strictly necessary; my Web pages and previous posts show the posting to be specious and ignorant of (unclear on, confused about) what I clearly enough assert in the first place.)

Dick wrote:

>How come you keep using the term 'of the intense mystic altered state'. as though it were some kind of big deal when one of your colleagues here keeps telling me that it is a common event and not an advanced state at all? Are you people who advocate deliberate sensory enhancement not in some kind of uniform agreement with each other?

Online discussion: challenges for scholars

I need to establish in my mind what my commitment is for this discussion group. This may help people understand. I have to throw off obligations to reply to people. I owe you replies, yet I can't commit to replying, because that would cost some time that I need to spend on other approaches that are necessary in the long run to create a good Theory of the ego death and rebirth phenomenon.

I think this will be the type of approach Ken Wilber takes with regard to online discussion of his work. Unlike Wilber, it's hard for me to avoid online discussion, because I was born and grew up online. Online is my world, my open family.

Earl Doherty (The Jesus Puzzle) is a truly online scholar. James Arthur seems at home online. Doherty is considering largely withdrawing from some public online discussion.

A lot of information-site webmasters are starting to ask whether they really want to keep running and maintaining all their sites. Broken link? <shrug>. That's way down on my to do list; don't see how I'll *ever* get to it; can't justify ever taking the time to fix it. There are other things I want to do, need to do, or have committed to doing.

The whole Internet-based scholarship approach is getting old. It certainly requires huge commitment -- are the rewards there, as much as for other things I could be doing? What exactly is the opportunity cost?

I need to work on a web site, a comic book to enlighten kids at the rave or between sets at a Rock concert, and a scholarly book for a general educated audience. I do not promise to accomplish this any time soon, if ever. It's rough at the cutting edge and I can't afford to worry too much about writing clearly for the uneducated and inexperienced. It's enough of a challenge just to discover the core ideas.

It's already an overwhelming challenge of a lifetime to explain this Theory to my ideal audience: experienced researcher/scholars who have read several books about entheogens, several books about determinism, and several books about the mythic-only Christ and the origins of Christianity in the mystical mystery initiations of late antiquity.

Keep in mind that the postings in this Yahoo.com Egodeath discussion group do not necessarily reflect how well the readers understand or agree with the ideas. There are good reasons for scholars not to post here, but only to lurk -- I fully encourage researchers and scholars to lurk.

The people who are reading this group now are not necessarily a high priority. It is important that I be able to experiment in postings here. I have logged *many* hours in online discussions of related subjects, over ten years. I have never, however, posted for socializing reasons; I always posted in informal-article form.

If I have to practically chase people away to continue moving forward, that fits with my original picture of this group as a place to log my daily ideas, rather than a place to be popular. I hate it when I care about what people think. To be innovative I have to sacrifice my credibility and dignity daily, and further alienate myself. I hate the way I tend to care how many people have "joined" this discussion group; I have to wish that number to vanish.

That's a paradox; to post innovative ideas worthy of a large audience, I feel I have to mentally reject any concern about the audience. Only by wishing for a small audience can this Theory deserve a bigger audience. The Theory is the important thing, not the audience. My goal happens in two steps: to first create (pull together) the Theory, and then to "make it available" to those who care to see it. I am not driven by persuading other people; I reject that. I'm trying to transcend caring about what people think about what I write.

The main way I plan to use this newsgroup is to register my progress in idea development -- for myself, first of all. Incidentally, anyone who is interested can see these postings and can discuss the ideas or related ideas. I am not committing to replying here. I am not even committing to reading the replies -- that's the harsh reality of limited time and of competition for attention.

I have stacks of amazing books competing for my attention with the postings here -- that's the scholarly reality. Life is short. I have to disavow promising to be a good host or conversationalist. I'm not the only online scholar who is coming to this conclusion.

We're all learning to do resource balancing of the Net, Web research, online discussion groups, books, journals, conferences, phone conversations. Even if these merge, the issue of optimizing time and quality remains: if I just read books, will I read the relatively bad books, or spend time wisely on the most important books? If I write, do I spend my time covering the minor, or the key subjects? Low quality, time wasting, and online discussion normally go together. But I could as well say that reading lower quality books is the norm. The problem of selecting better quality of scholarly activity is certainly not solved by picking the "right" medium.

Being discriminating is always a difficult problem, an uncertain search-space problem. I am no more committed to carefully reading and replying to postings than I am to carefully reading every book I come across.

It would be wonderful if some people who understand the Theory I'm pulling together would discuss the ideas here between themselves. However, there are reasons scholars might not want to post in this very public forum.

Scholars, info-age workers, and others know well by now that online discussion and email can kill productivity. This Yahoo discussion group framework is incredibly great. The basic challenge still remains, of how much time to devote to online discussion.

I am interested in the pros and cons of private discussion groups that have requirements for admission. There are some very good reasons, and benefits, of such an approach. I've always liked anarchic public discussion areas; that's my origin, but the time-vs-quality realities loom.

I've long been intensely interested in time management and cross-time planning -- not to say that I've done it effectively. This has helped my think about self-control cybernetics across time, or cross-time self-management. That interest is what drove me to enter the area of entheogens and philosophy: I wanted, above all else, cross-time self-control. So to say I'm fanatical or extremist about the subject of time usage may be an understatement. Favorite time-management book title: Creative Procrastination. It shows the numbers falling off a clock face.

I really want, for the next 6 months, to keep using this group to incrementally develop ideas about mystery-initiation original Christianity. (In the scholarly world, on the 20-year perspective, this topic is really hot, a new up-and-coming area.) Such incremental overlapping postings means that the people who read my every posting will complain, as I complained about Wilber's books, that I'm just saying the same thing over and over. You have to go away, and come back in two years, if you want to perceive the high rate of progress that results from sustained incremental development.

All the explaining in the world that I do now for individual replies here is wasted if I don't keep gathering in the important new connections that I'm finding from outside this group. Maybe one day many such connections will be presented by people *in* the discussion group, but I can't count on that any time soon. You should let me do less explaining and more rounding-up of further connections, for now. There is a lot of work to do, explaining the origin of Christianity, the nature of the ego death phenonmenon, and the relevant aspects of the History of Ideas.

Another obligation that's a high priority: some webmasters and scholars want my to continue using my online resources to mutually support my work and theirs. I can't do that and also reply to people here. Given the hard fact that I have to limit my time in online discussion, I may continue to post here but rarely do a direct reply. I may or may not answer your questions. I sure would like to see good answers provided by other people. I also will at least do some sloppy moderating -- I make no promises of being a good host. Even so, I'll probably be better than many hosts.

I do not favor thinking of this kind of discussion group as a "community". There are plenty such socializing-driven groups. I envision this as a place to theorize. I reject the motive of maximizing "members".

Quality and relevance of content is what I'd like to maximize -- combined with imaginative ideas, broadly informed. Even so, I'm prepared to lose serious thinkers by the droves. The group is essentially experimental and also an archival record of steps along the way to a clear, rational, systematic model of the ego death phenomenon. I give up on worries; let the insights manifest one way or another -- I'm not going to try to control it and strive to attract the best thinkers here.

I guess that translates to counting only on myself. I am grateful for the notifications other people have given me online, such as the guy who pointed out that I should get with the program and learn the mythic-only Jesus idea. I note, however, that I had already come across Allegro's book, and have seen the books "The Jesus Mysteries" and "Deconstructing Jesus" at many bookstores since then -- in other words, I wonder if logging on has given me any major ideas I wouldn't have found anyway through bookstores, Amazon.com, and the libraries. The gotcha here for me is that I love the idea of publishing the Egodeath theory only online -- despite my love of ink on hemp paper, that is, printed books. I expect to provide an online presentation first, and a printed book later."

Against individual ownership of postings

Against individual ownership of memes & sentences in posts

Personal ownership of unique and distinctive sentence-sets in online postings hinders the advance of knowledge.

When someone posts statements about mystic enlightenment and ego death and I "paraphrase" that posting to enhance it, the result is a synthesis of writing from that person and me. I have a major complaint about the convention of "owning one's postings". It is more powerful if we can manipulate writings without assigning them as being owned by that person or owned by me.

My goal and the charter of the discussion group is to move knowledge and ideas forward. Assigning rigid, static, entrenched ownership of the ideas has limiting drawbacks.

It would be better to put an idea out there, not wholly owned by anyone, and work on the idea together, as an idea out there that isn't owned by any one conversation participant. On my own, I would not write the sentences posted in my "paraphrased" postings that freely rewrite the other person's posts, and neither would the other person.

The other person didn't write exactly those sentences, and neither would I write those exact sentences as though I would stand behind them as the best expression of how things are.

Good writing involves rewriting, and the best is from a community of collaborative rewriters working on a set of expressions; like a co-authored book or paper, or technical specification produced by a group, the ideas have no one author. By convention, online discussion always consists of paragraphs which each have a single owner.

That assumed model of online discussion has unacknowledged drawbacks and limitations, and tends to egoic arguments and static, fixed statements: it is hard to move knowledge forward collaboratively, when we assume that all online discussion is about putting forth static statements and defending them as statements owned each by a single individual.

The whole concept of "Martha said the following, then James said the following, then I responded with the following" doesn't always allow the *collaborative rewriting* that is taken for granted as the best way to write a technical specification.

I am working on viable, effective techniques that break the conventions of static individual ownership of posted sentences. This is one reason I'm against including people's names when citing and replying to their ideas. Also, fascinating dysfunctional "egolessness wars" often break out that couldn't happen if names were removed.

"James said he is more spiritually enlightened and less egoic than me. This shows that James is actually under the egoic delusion." That's an egolessness war, and it would be impossible if we remove the reference to the individual person -- the whole idea and assumption of individual ownership of statements encourages such an egolessness war. It isn't of primary importance *who* said what.

The ideas are the important things, and keeping track of *who* said what is only a mere incidental convenience. In most cases, it would be quite enough to say "Someone wrote:" rather than saying who wrote what, but even that introduces limitations compared to treating the ideas purely on their own, aside from assigning them to any speaker.

I don't really care *who* said something foolish about meditation, entheogens, and daily life: what matters is that there is a set of ideas or memes going around, that ought to be opposed by a different set of memes. What really matters is the meme war or debate or conversation, rather than a disagreement between individuals who are assigned as owners of the memes.

Often, there is more to be gained by responding to ideas that are *similar* to what an individual posted, than by responding to the exact ideas or words the individual posted. And it's very often easier and more profitable to freely rewrite what someone posted, leveraging it efficiently as a starting point, rather than "responding" in the artificial conventional form of "he posted these words, but I am responding with these opposed words".

Yes, there are some advantages in keeping track of who wrote what, but there are also disadvantages. Conventions of posting not only keep track of who wrote what, there are also many unconscious assumptions. For example, you are not supposed to copy and rewrite what someone wrote; it is (strangely) considered impolite to improve what they wrote.

Instead, it is strangely considered more polite to write a wholly new set of sentences that are very different from what the person wrote. We could see things differently and consider it a great compliment when someone takes out words as a worthy starting point and rewrites them rather than throwing them away and starting from a blank slate.

I wrote much in the past about the psychodynamics of flaming and the social-driven aspects of unproductive online argumentiveness. I stated at some point that I was finished covering that subject. In some ways, this posting is a discovery that there are related unconscious and unnecessary, broader limitations of the conventions of online discussion.

The theory and experience of ego death can be credited with much of this insight: think of how for the writer in the altered state, all conventions of interpersonal writing are thrown out the window. There cannot be the usual unproductive egolessness wars or online personal battles when the mind is schizophrenically dissolved or mystically loosened to the point where the writer no longer pictures fixed, egoic entities to battle on the other side of the computer screen.

No one exists (so to speak), for me to have an egolessness war or other silly combative argument against. And if no one exists, then there is no need to worry about anything so silly and artificial as "conventions of ownership of posted sentences and memes/ideas". The loosened mind naturally asks, "Why *shouldn't* I freely rewrite and de-attribute anything posted here? The official posting rules for this discussion group don't explicitly say that I must not freely rewrite what others posted."

The loosened mind is wonderfully emancipating because it effectively totally forgets all conventions of all types, including the huge unconscious set of conventions for online posting between "people", where writers normally straightjacket themselves into narrow modes of writing and responding.

For such a loosened mind, and the day-to-day ego-transcendent mind that has become emancipated from slavish automatic adherence to all conventions, there are no rules, there are no conventions, all onscreen text is mere materiel, mere stuff, to be freely pushed this way and that.

It is fully emancipating to be like a schizophrenic writer; the question is what is the fullest potential we can borrow from the schizophrenics or from the intense mystic altered state of highly loose cognition, to open up possibilities for which keys we press, and what mode we write in in the "online discussion groups"? Even the term we use tends to artificially and often harmfully restrict the potential of these online forums.

I've always treated them *not* as social arenas where we banter and battle with short argumentative posts back and forth, but rather, as wonderfully free-form article-posting forums. When I sign my name, it is always with some misgiving, and is done purely as a convenience in case it is helpful to track which words are "owned by" me. The whole idea of "owning" an article or book as the author is a curious convention, related to the topic of memetics.

Who owns insights about particular topics, particular connections and structures of ideas? The idea of owning a sentence, article, book, or posting as "the author" is a curious convention. The loosened mystic mind that is intent on improving expressions of sound ideas can hardly be bothered with anything so wholly *irrelevant* as who wrote what, or who is the assigned "owner" of each online sentence.

Who really cares who wrote what word-combinations -- why does that really even matter at all? What's the goal here: to be credited with owning word-combinations, or to know truth and participate in ever-improving word-combinations? Yes there are some advantages in assigning individual ownership of posted word-combinations, but these advantages are usually overinflated into extreme and complete possessiveness.

"Hey, you can't rewrite *my* sentence!" We end up putting total emphasis on who owns which word-combinations and ideas, when we should be putting first emphasis on laboring together to advance and iteratively improve the word-combinations by any and all means.

Conventions of conversation ought to be seen as a mere method, one of many sometimes-helpful methods, oriented toward a goal of non-owned knowledge, rather than taking these conventions of conversation as a fixed law of the universe, to which the development of knowledge is subservient and which serves as a limiting factor on our pursuit of knowledge.

I measure online postings in terms of really just one measure: has knowledge been moved forward as rapidly as possible? By that measure, the problem with social-driven postings such as flaming and egolessness battles as seen in many spirituality groups is not the presence of noise or irrelevance, but the way such noise restricts the advancement of knowledge.

Need for Sustained Debate Comparing Mystic Experiences

>>I agree with some others here that drug-free mystical experiences are preferable-though not necessarily better.

Christianity and other religions, in their most mystic layer, assert that drug-induced mystic experiences are the ones by which to measure all spiritual experiences. The main and first and original meaning of Eucharist, or Lord's Supper, manna, sacred meals, mixed wine, hermetic bowl of mind, witch's potion, magic elixir, and holy grail, is visionary plants -- certainly not drug-free New Age American Buddhist meditation-type so-called "spirituality".

>but I myself have had a drug-induced mystical experience-or at least i think that it was.but guess what?i am really going to rock the boat here,i am a christian!

That's nothing but the standard norm, from the mystic point of view. The real Christians or mystics of any religious brand are those who use the sacrament in its authentic original form: visionary plants.

>I was obsessed by hallucinogens for years, but then I had a realization -and a few "devilish" trips, where I actually sincerely prayed,

True prayer for rescue from thought-injection isn't going to come from today's tepid, superficial, artificial, and invented faux-spirituality, but from visionary plants -- psychotomimetics.

>because at that time I KNEW that there is a God (because of the "godlessness" quality of the trip-, a realization that maybe, just maybe that the authors of the bible were just telling the TRUTH.

>and anyway, I only have to ask myself if what I am reading in the bible is true,

All religious scriptures are true mystically and false literally.

>I was hoping to find a site where i could share/compare experiences,

Who is preventing anyone from doing so? One should not blame other people for one's own silence, to make one *appear* more upstanding and constructive than others, while not *actually* contributing any substance. Idle and empty complaints about "argument" (complaints that imply that the argument has no value and is purely worthless noise) take less effort than composing substantial statements.

The common debate-phobic attitude is completely misguided. Substantial conversation and spirituality has nothing at all to do with avoiding debate; to assume they are related is already to adopt and covertly profer a bogus conception of what spirituality is all about.

If you have additional substantial things to say, then you can say them -- no one is blocking the way, so it's senseless to blame them for doing so.

>and maybe explain them,from different perspectives,eg.jung,leary,spirtually,cognitively,etc.

One would ideally read the archives before pronouncing on the restrictions of the group based on careless sampling. I'm thinking up a way to quickly migrate some archives to the Web, for much faster access to some previous posts.

The subject is defined in the mission statement of the discussion group. Unlike other groups, this one actually adheres to the scope and boundaries it claims to set out -- though any individual is likely to focus more on selected subtopics. This group has had an unusually high percentage of on-topic postings, to the point where I am opening up the tight guidelines. There is no problem with each person posting a small percentage of off-topic postings.

Postings are off-topic if not tied-in to main topics

Poetry is off-topic and not allowed unless there is an *explicit*, comprehensible tie-in to the stated topics. For example, acid-rock lyrics without analysis are off-topic. Acid-rock lyrics *with* specific and clear commentary connecting them to the forum topics are on-topic.

Poetry can be included in postings, but in most cases, there needs to be accompanying prose commentary.

A posting is off-topic if it doesn't state what the tie-in it has to the in-scope discussion topics. Postings must clearly and comprehensibly state their relevance to ego death, personal control, mystic experiencing, and the other intended topics.

This discussion group was never intended for open-ended reflection on world events, particularly not *unspecified* world events. That would be a worst-case posting. It would be better, though still probably off-topic, if such a posting stated what events were intended, and preferably, included URLs for further information.

Off-topic postings are subject to deletion from the Web-based archives. Please tell me what I can possibly do to make the posting rules any clearer. I am not going to rigidly enforce the rules, that's not the first line of action for guiding a discussion group. The first thing moderators should do is be absolutely crystal clear, with no room for misunderstanding, about the scope of the group and requirements for postings.

The first person to blame for off-topic postings is the moderator, for not making the guidelines clear enough. I will make the posting guidelines much clearer and more stringent -- rather that taking action on moderating individual postings.

If open-ended commentary on general world events were to be considered on-topic here, the discussion group would lose too much focus, and I may as well post all those drug policy reform postings I'm often tempted to post. I have to remind myself that this group I started was never intended as an activist forum discussing drug policy reform as a topic unto itself.

I'm restricting what I post here, and everyone else should to, because that is the founding vision for the group; otherwise, it will become just another social hangout accomplishing no particular goal. If people want to comment on world events independently of the ego-death topics, they will find it more enjoyable in other discussion groups.

This is a strictly on-topic discussion group. I will make this *absolutely* clear in the posting rules, and may even go so far as to moderate off-topic postings. It should already be clear enough that any topic is allowed *if* it is *explicitly* tied into the defined topics. Every two weeks, this is stated in an automated posting: "It is possible to write on most any topic and have it be relevant for this Egodeath discussion group if you show how the posting is related to the in-scope topics for this discussion group.

This group is not formally moderated, but it is consistently focused on the defined topics, including peripheral topics if the writer explicitly connects them to the core topics."

I have now reasonably clarified my vision for this group and the concomitant requirements for posting. This issue does warrant the serious reflection I have given it; online discussion is complex and it can be a challenge to have *productive* discussion that advances knowledge and understanding, rather than just having random discussion that goes to no planned and focused and structured destination, or neglects to integrate with the main goals of the discussion group.

I may clarify the posted posting rules, but I'm not going to give this subject more consideration. These are not difficult posting requirements to meet. If you don't care for the group's focused vision and the necessary, concomitant posting rules, start your own group and post there instead -- I did, and I'm glad I did. It is not time for me to be impatient about these points; it is time for me to make up my mind about group policy and vision and commit to upholding it.

I should have foreseen this challenge and prevented it from arising -- discussion groups related to mystic-state insight are, as a rule, dominated by unfocused activity rather than structured, focused, goal-oriented activity.

No more slummin' online

I'm the king of slummin' in online discussion groups. I like to post material that aims to be serious substantial and extremely leading-edge into the midst of the usual newsgroups dreck. I must go on a diet from slummin' -- for higher quality, more value for everyone. Not that there was anything lacking in previous exchanges of postings. They were highly valuable, but it is time to use and try other approaches. Everyone should find interesting a change of approach. We can't know without actually trying it; mere speculation and conjecture is pretty worthless.

I don't like how my writing policies have made my writing style a narrow monostyle. I'm actually a very experimental person, but there is too much confusion and chaos already in religious theory, such that too much experimenting on my part may be detrimental. A great writer should be great at clear communication *and* at experimenting; neither being clear and dull like some word police would have it, nor being all goofy and wild and fun-loving -- without delivering substance. Erik Davis' TechGnosis group errs toward the latter: all fun, little effort at serious substance.

I chose to err toward the direction of all serious substance, no fun. A main key to decoding mystic metaphor is the attitude of "serious clever humor" designed to mislead and shock the literalists.

 


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