C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


Dear Oldies and Newbies: I Want To Help But I Don't Know How... Maybe You Should Help Yourselves.

Carolyn Tann-Starr 2009

Dear Oldies and Newbies: I Want To Help But I Don't Know How... Maybe You Should Help Yourselves.

I remember bragging about you guys like a proud Mama while I was in Albany visiting with a handful of people who help create our laws. I remember introducing them to some of the more tempered political writers on ActiveRain (like Big Mike Saunders) while explaining to some very important people that the groups we create in this forum go so much further than simply trolling for real estate industry business. I told them if people want to know what we think about anything they can ask us directly or read our blogs and cull an impression to help them make a decision if they were ever looking from input from their constituents from across the nation. After all, our members are in every state and when I got invited I was invited to attend a hearing as a person, not as a lobbyist.

Some of those people who make some of our laws actually read me so I am still involved in a fringe sort of way. I pick up the phone and call. I send e-mail. I attend events. It's almost 180 miles one way, so my gas, tolls and time matter to me. I go because people discover us in Google daily and make random decisions regarding access and availability. I also go because I have branded my group and believe in the relationships and talents of the people writing there.

They don't just read me, they read you as well... silently watching while we periodically help each other or virtually slit our digital throats.

Let the "slit our digital throats" be your fair warning... Wordy C is kinda pissed so we have a lot to chat about.

Obviously, this post isn't for everyone, but it is for a handful of people who need to take a step back and stop long enough to calm down and think about what they are doing. A few of you are going too far with some of your trigger happy comments and if you can't figure it out for yourselves I don't know how to help you. I can not be your conscious and I am not qualified or inclined to quell your personal passions. You are going to have to learn to do that on your own. Some of you are going to learn the hard way... Having graduated from the school of hard knocks and earning my diploma in survival I have no problem stepping aside and letting you do things your way. I am, however, going to have my say because there are things that I need to lay to rest before I let you have lots of rope to hang yourself with.

If you are wondering why the answer is very simple: so I can have peace. Sometimes, when people hang themselves they finally learn a useful lesson after the spanking. While sharing your opinions with others, some of you periodically appear not to care beyond your own gratification. You will learn that those of us who watch, wait and habitually listen may say nothing at first but may eventually one day say something later on... That day has come. It may come again. It may also be your turn to do what I am about to do when you decide to step in and try to stop good people from harming themselves. I have discovered that if people are not saved the way they imagined their answers should come they sometimes make a great production of drowning in their anger while passing the blame off to you. "You could have helped me but you didn't." "You could have stopped this but you didn't." 

Did I miss the part about, "I never should have posted that _____?" I am still waiting for that conversation to happen, but alas it is not to be... Why is it so hard for people to realize some things were just not meant to be posted in anger? Been there, done that, can say it from experience and observation of others folly.

Discernment is a personal perception that you either have or you don't... This means some of you will decide that I shall fail with this conversation before I even start listing the issues at hand because you will believe that I am talking about everyone else except for you. Want to stop reading now to b*tch about my arrogance, hubris and knack for writing long posts? Feel free to leave and learn nothing. I just provided you with your limited attention span an excuse to move on.

The measure you have and how much you make use of it is entirely in your own hands. Still here? Good. That means you are curious and want to see where this is going. Will I do 300, 500, 750 or 1000 words? I don't know. I guess you'll just have to stick around and find out how long it takes me to get to the punch line...

Two people in a digital room means two opinions on a matter and if you are a last word person or a reactionary responder you will be out maneuvered because the thing you focus on is not the issue at hand but the mannerisms affecting its delivery. If you realize it is okay to agree to disagree and move on if you have to you will fare very well. If you don't, human nature, statistics and trends point towards a person launching an attack because it is always tempting defend in the offensive if the option is available. I've tested that out during 15.75 years of working with male maximum security inmates on Ryker's Island. When people are upset sometimes the delivery matters more than the message.

Poor delivery can trigger unintended consequences. You either are going to hone your interpersonal communications skills or you are not. My very life depended upon my ability to negotiate a meeting of the minds with very difficult people so my assumption (I know I really ought not to assume here - LOL) is that if I remind people who make their living negotiating of the fact the very people who hire them are watching some of their comments disintegrate beyond repair, maybe a few will behave better next time rather than stoop to continuing to play stupidity limbo on a blog post.

It says a lot about you when you attack people who don't deserve to come under fire. It also says a lot about you how you counter people who do deserve to be spanked. If I curse, do you really need to curse back? If you curse, does that make my profanity a given? We all can irk each other expressing our personal beliefs with and without profanity (BTW, I use profanity, so don't get confused - LOL). I say and ask this because people like me may rant in public and/or private when it really matters to us (and/or we are feeling strong emotional ebbs) but at some point we learn to curb our anger urges because we actually care about the people who read us.

If I am going to b*tch I want it to be for a really good cause. "Good" is relative. So is "best." If I ask you as a blogging buddy to try and be on your best behavior because the whole world is watching, would you pause in your political rantings and barbed comments to do so?

(1) Do not name politicians of the opposing party you espouse to despise in connection with possible defamatory, libelous and slanderous speech. Lots of people have Google alerts and I am amazed at the brazen things some of you say as if you have impunity or will not be found out. Lets go to Wikipedia for a quote because some of you need to get this wee bit of an idea that slander, libel and defamation is a big no-no into your heads:

"Defamation—also called calumny, vilification, slander (for transitory statements), and libel (for written, broadcast, or otherwise published words)—is the communication of a statement that makes a claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government, or nation a negative image. It is usually, but not always, [1] a requirement that this claim be false and that the publication is communicated to someone other than the person defamed (the claimant). In common law jurisdictions, slander refers to a malicious, false and defamatory spoken statement or report, while libel refers to any other form of communication such as written words or images. Most jurisdictions allow legal actions, civil and/or criminal, to deter various kinds of defamation and retaliate against groundless criticism. Related to defamation is public disclosure of private facts, which arises where one person reveals information that is not of public concern, and the release of which would offend a reasonable person. "Unlike [with] libel, truth is not a defense for invasion of privacy."[2] False light laws are "intended primarily to protect the plaintiff's mental or emotional well-being."[3] If a publication of information is false, then a tort of defamation might have occurred. If that communication is not technically false but is still misleading, then a tort of false light might have occurred.[3] In most civil law jurisdictions, defamation is dealt with as a crime rather than a tort.[4]"

(2) Public officials have equal protection under the law and can sue people as an individual person wronged. BTW, bloggers are not the press. You do not have freedom of the press and you do not have the right to attack members of the public or members in this forum because they hold opposing political beliefs and views. I noticed several of you think you can say what ever you want because you believe you are engaged in a political debate. What I have been reading has nothing to do with any form of debate and more to do with spewing venom. Lets go to Wikipedia for a quote so the newbies can actually base the concept of debate on something other than the piss poor thinly veiled attacks I am reading and getting really bent out of shape about in my group.

"Debate or debating is a formal method of interactive and representational argument. Debate is a broader form of argument than logical argument, which only examines consistency from axiom, and factual argument, which only examines what is or isn't the case or rhetoric which is a technique of persuasion. Though logical consistency, factual accuracy and some degree of emotional appeal to the audience are important elements of the art of persuasion, in debating, one side often prevails over the other side by presenting a superior "context" and/or framework of the issue, which is far more subtle and strategic. In a formal debating contest, there are rules for people to discuss and decide on differences, within a framework defining how they will interact. Informal debate is a common occurrence, the quality and depth of a debate improves with knowledge and skill of its participants as debaters. Deliberative bodies such as parliaments, legislative assemblies, and meetings of all sorts engage in debates. The outcome of a debate may be decided by audience vote, by judges, or by some combination of the two. Although this implies that facts are based on consensus, which is not factual. Formal debates between candidates for elected office, such as the leaders debates and the U.S. presidential election debates, are common in democracies. The major goal of the study of debate as a method or art is to develop one's ability to play from either position with equal ease. To inexperienced debaters, some propositions appear easier to defend or to destroy; to experienced debaters, any proposition can be defended or destroyed after the same amount of preparation time, usually quite short. Lawyers argue forcefully on behalf of their client, even if the facts appear against them. However one large misconception about debate is that it is all about strong beliefs; it is not."

(3) An on-going investigation is not the completed investigation.

The point I am trying to make is you have to control your reactions before words typed or spoken in anger place you in a position you never should be trapped in through using an unfortunate choice of words published in social media. Reading some of your comments have me going WTF???

I will call a spade a spade at the drop of a dime and if your personal politics can trigger the stupidity limbo in your comment sections because you find an opposing views intolerable, suck at the art of persuasion, don't give a fart about the issues at hand and think it is a bloodsport to ruin another writer's post I am going to make every attorney girlfriend I know start blogging here.

Stick with the community guidelines, hone your interpersonal communication skills and stop attacking people in the forum. You do not have the right to attack members and certainly do not have the right to drag poor newbies under the virtual bus because some of them think it is okay to repeat what you say and follow in your ignorant footsteps.

Anything worth doing is worth doing correctly. Some of you owe others of you apologies and need to go edit yourselves. People know the difference between a difference of opinion and an attack. The blogosphere and our friends at home and abroad are watching. If you can't have consideration for yourselves, have some for the readers. I very rarely enter the political post arena but enough is enough. People can get hurt by the inappropriate squabbling some of you habitually engage in.

My rant of caution is done. Beware the length of your digital rope...






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Comment balloon 9 commentsC Tann-Starr • March 24 2010 12:29AM


C-Tann as always a thoughtful and well written post.  It can be so easy to hide behind the screen of what seems anonymity but fact is we are all very public people.  Perhaps we have all at one time or another posted something here that was less than professional or vented after a particularly stressful day, but it is no excuse for bad behaviour.  I for one appreciate you taking the time to remind us that we are being watched and must watch what we send out to the world via the internet.  My mother has often reminded me, to watch what I say in writing. I am still learning about blogging and do not have any of the bells and whistles in place but I have kept in mind that the public may be watching.  Thank you for the reminder to always put my professional foot forward.

Posted by Connie Johns, Toledo, Ohio Area Real Estate (Transaction Realty) over 10 years ago

Hi C, great, great post! It's funny how people forget that what we write, can and will catch up with us. It's like that security camera in the room that everyone eventually forgets about because it's part of their daily lives. Thank you for taking the time to remind us all! :)

Posted by Jackie Connelly-Fornuff, "Moving at The Speed of YOU!" (Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY) over 10 years ago

Thank you, Connie. I am an anything goes kinda person up to a point. I don't tell people what to write or say in my group, but that doesn't mean we're going to let people act as if Club Chaos is the wild, wild west or a dumping ground. I do not want the name to fool anyone here. Our brand enjoys a nice reputation. Sometimes, if enough new people see old timers getting away with repeatedly acting a certain way they join the pattern unaware of the fact that experienced people walk up to the line and dance on it without crossing over. I'm hoping to stop some people from crossing into very dangerous territory.

Thank you, Jackie. Sometimes people put founders, admins and moderators in positions we do not want to be in. I'm not in the habit of deleting posts but I will if I have to. I really hate the thought so my goal is to get some people to edit themselves. We all have to live with what we do and don't do. In the end people are going to do what they want. Perception is reality and some people really feel they have the right to do what they are doing. I just want to remind some of my writers there are consequences to our actions...

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Hi C-Tann,

Thanks for writing a much needed post. I totally agree with you. I am one of those who probably doesn't engage as much as I should in those so-called-debates because I am painfully aware that any one at any time can Google me and read everything I have written. That said I probably agonize over posts more than most.

We most definitly are under public scrutiny every time a client decides whether they want to hire us as their representative in negotiating a real estate transaction. They will see how we handle ourselves, in most cases, long before they hire us. They WILL want to know whose back we are using the knife on. You are so correct that we need to pick the backs of those we want to 'knife' very cautiously. Because it will count in the end.

Who will be passing us by with the knives we throw, I ask? We must pick our poison carefully.

I love your posts, whether long or short and read them all to the end. I really appreciate your words and it has taught me a lot over the two years or so I have been following you. Keep it up.

Posted by Jerri McCombs, Broker, Hendersonville NC Relocation (Dogwood Real Estate Services) over 10 years ago

C, this is excellent!  Your post is long but easily readable.  I tend to skip over ugly comments in posts I read but perhaps I should pay better attention.  If you ever come across a post or comment from me that you feel is inappropriate, I do hope that you will let me know by phone or email.  There have been times when I have written a post then wondered if it is something that should be posted.  That's my clue.  The fact that I question the content or wording is enough for me to delete it unpublished. 

There are two thoughts that I would like to leave here:

1. What we post on the internet may be read by our grandchildren in the future.

2. If your words will improve the silence, speak; if they will not, perhaps it is best to leave them unspoken. (This is a paraphrase of a quote I read somewhere but do not recall where I read it or who said it originally.)

Posted by Maria Morton, Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758 (Platinum Realty) over 10 years ago

Thank you, Jerri and Maria. We all have our moments (I most certainly do - LOL) but enough is enough. People can do what ever they want with their blogs, but my question is is it helping or hurting your cause?

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Very thought provoking and appropo for this medium. There are places ehre i wont go because of the attacks "professional" people commit on each other. I choose to stay out for my own verbal 'sanity. TY very much.

Posted by Robert L. Brown, Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic (www.mrbrownsellsgr.com) over 10 years ago

Well said - I appreciate the reminder and can only hope that all those for whom it is what intended and reading and learning!  Thank you!

Posted by Sheila Kennedy (J29 Project) over 10 years ago

Robert, I've been discovering that as wild as I can be sometimes even I wont go certain places (LOL). The fall out is just not worth it. I have enough issues. Political litigation can be very expensive. Just Googling the ones in progress will reveal that more than one person can bang a writer for the same infraction. People have teams of workers working on projects and a scary, unintended consequence is having the team come for you individually for portions of the whole. One question a prosecutor loves to ask is "who knew what and when did they know it?" When people are blogging away publishing/spewing venom as if they know something that they don't and they recklessly accuse people of things that are not quite right, they can be missing the fact that they might be saying someone is committing felonies and misdemeanors without knowing that's what they have written. Even if they are not doing that particular ditty, leading people to believe a bunch of negativity that harms them can open up a can of worms if they fight to defend their reputations because RSS feeds have taken hypothetical accusations to the masses.

Sheila, my conversations have been very interesting since I wrote this. People I didn't read are asking me if I am talking about all sorts of stuff they wrote that I am now learning about after the fact. The few I intended to reach did get the message. What anyone does from this point on is up to them.

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 10 years ago

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