I was asked why the site slowed up lately. Despite personally enjoying the grand lack of various warring factions ... I realized a couple items:

We have a lot of people on the sidelines and they do not know what they should post..   Total psychological meltdown as to what is acceptable. Without warring factions of philosophically biased esoteric/occult schools and "Master"-warring...  what else is there left to talk about?? the minds all went blank at the realization that no theosophical topic exists without the infighting....

This year is a real world-wide mental depression. Every (nearly) major country has a major election/power-shift. People are looking up and down the street trying to figure out what type, if any, government they will have in a few months.  (well, I sure am and know many who are). Attention seems focused inward not outward.

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Very well said John. How to encourage those on the sideline to participate?

Not very easy.

As a moderator both here and at other sites, and having dealt with the "How to get people to participate?" question for a handful of years, I've finally come to peace with the notion that quality is definitely desirable over quantity when it comes to activity. For one, there is only so much one can do--and there is a great deal being done here to support activity. This site gets an A+ for effort as far as that is concerned. Secondly, looking at some of the more active Ning sites reveals that oftentimes high activity comes at a huge sacrifice in terms of depth of content. Justin Bieber fansites see a lot of activity but that's not the kind of activity we're looking for...

We may be Theosophists, but alas, we are still human and as has been intimated here already, it seems that the times of highest activity are those times of conflict and controversy. At The Theosophical Community, there has never been a more active period than the 2008 International President controversies and the General Council shenanigans that followed. People who never posted anything before suddenly became forum warriors. As much as we may think of ourselves, our behavior does not always match our ideals. Nothing like a good argument to get a Theosophist going.  :-)

Actively posting messages takes a lot time and in many forums I have seen that a few individuals tend to post a lot of the traffic and there is also the question of noise. That is the nature of the beast. All we can do is to bring ideas or news of interest and see if members respond. There is only so much that individuals can do. We shall keep trying to motivate active discussions and be prepared for ups and downs in traffic.

One of the main reasons for the intense traffic in 2008 elections and its aftermath is that there was only one independent internet forum outside the control of organizations to exchange information and views without interference from organizations and in the opinion of many, it saved the organization from taking a turn South.

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One of the main reasons for the intense traffic in 2008 elections and its aftermath is that there was only one independent internet forum outside the control of organizations to exchange information and views without interference from organizations and in the opinion of many, it saved the organization from taking a turn South.

Sorry, but that doesn't make sense to me--I was referring to a spike in activity at The Theosophical Community, a site that is funded by the TSA and not an independent site at all. How could that spike have been caused by the fact that there was only one independent Theosophical discussion site at the time? There's no logic that can explain that. Besides, I don't see how the independence or non-independence of a site is even relevant to the point that Theosophists like to argue. What does this comment have to do with the discussion at hand? If I didn't know any better, I would think that you are simply jumping on what you perceive to be a ripe opportunity for complaining (again) about forum moderation that took place years ago at a totally different website than this one. This does nothing to support the enrichment of activity here at Theosophy.net and seems rather childish to me. Just my opinion of course.

Sorry, I missed you referred to theosophical community. I was referring to theos-talk on yahoo groups (which is outside the control of and financial support from organizations or their leaders) which had similar spike at that time. May be the general climate at that time was such that it encouraged traffic everywhere. As for internet forum moderation, I have been around internet and computer based forums for a long time and know there is bound to be moderation to one degree or the other. Anyone who is able to help with any ideas to enrich www.theosophy.net is very welcome to come up with ideas and suggestions. As everyone knows, I have been on this site from the early days and continue to support it. Let us see what is in store for the future.

Okay, then I owe you an apology for flying off the handle. If you simply misunderstood me, then this means I misunderstood and I apologize for the accusation that I made.

No need to apologize.We are all in this together and trying to see what we can contribute. At the end of the day, only our contributions which can help everyone counts. Thanks

Yes, it is, sorry to say, the site has been on the downswing for some time, but all sites will have ups and downs. Has it ever occurred to the Inner Circle here that this site may not be the center of focus for most members lives? That they, and myself, are in the very midst of life in their personal lives and not just "sitting on the sidelines."

Most of the most active members that have been absent, myself included, have sites of their own they're centered around and probably have found other metaphysical sites they resonate with more. This is Joe's site and at the end of the day, when all is said and done, it's his show and we are all players in that(except maybe the "Inner Circle"). That's fine. No problem.

So, in the best tradition of Hermeticism(that Joe seems to have recently adopted), we all are "a center of divine operation." Meaning, we all have the birthright to be our own creative center, putting this site and others as players in our own evolving  show.

That being said, I think there are a few factors that figure in the exodus and non-participation of numerous members. One would be this campaign of Joe's of trying to take the word "theosophy" away from it's identification with the Theosophical Society. Certainly, it is technically correct that it's root is not in the TS, and Blavatsky, Judge, Olcott, et. al., adopted the word and it's variations, "Theosophist" "Theosophical," etc., 137 years ago. But over that time, those words have come to be associated with the TS, either with the HPB branches or the Besant/Leadbeater branches. For better or worse(a little of both), it has deeply seeped into the world culture and language as such.

I say leave it be as such, it's just too much wasted energy to have to explain outside this site that one is using "theosophy" in it's root meaning every time one uses it. It hasn't caught on with other metaphysical sites and I predict won't. Also, I personally don't want to be known as a "Theosophist" or "Theosopher," in any definition of the words. "Metaphysician," "Hermeticist"  will do just fine.The terms "metaphysical" and "spiritual" communicate to the vast majority of people much better.

All which ties in with how this root usages of the term "Theosophy" here is confusing to new members. Most new people see the word in this site's name and immediate think this has something to do with the TS, Blavatsky, Besant, Leadbeater, etc., join up and quickly find out they've been "bamboozled," so they never go any further. I know this won't be adopted, but a name change would go a long way in bringing in members who will participate now and again, at least.

Another point, the occasional "far left" political and social views here, with some implied approval by the leaders, I know has turned off some past key members who have dropped out. It's a slippery and dangerous slope when metaphysical/spiritual sites and groups start getting too involved in politics, left wing or right wing. Of course, one prominent past member stopped participating because it was thought this site wasn't socially/politically active enough. Like I said, you can't win in the end when politically taking sides all the time.

One last point is that there is much ballyhooed lip service paid to "intuition and imagination," but heaven help those who actually put them into daily use and place them above the intellect(as even Einstein advised). And with "intuition" I put the psychic and artistic faculties. Some of the finest psychic intuitive and artistic types here are long gone because of jeers and sneers in this direction. As a lengthy member, it's obvious that Intellectual gab fests have always been the real value here.

Joe will disagree and point to his praise of imagination in his previous post. That's a good start, certainly. I would say that Imagination is even more important than what he expressed, for it is the very ground and first cause of all so-called "realities." One of the basic principles of Hermeticism and in the East. Einstein said it plainly: "Imagination is your preview of coming events."

Intellectual scholarship has it's place and Joe has stated his long term goal is a magazine style site of entries of intellectual articles of  top new thinkers. I suggest another site devoted to that, and paying money for the articles, will be necessary for it to materialize, it won't happen here.

All this won't change anything, but I thought I'd get it down for the record.

I have to admit that I've always found it kind of curious that so much energy has been spent here on a semantic overhaul of the term Theosophy. I agree with the sentiments behind it and find the wider, more universal meaning preferable. I don't like some of crystallization of thought that occurs in the Theosophical organizations that happened to take the word for their name (sometimes I think they should just change the name to "The-ossify" for all the brittleness they've come to exemplify at times). As far as the Societies go, I think their greatest potential gift to the world is the Three Objects and that the Secret Doctrine is not really necessary as far as the pursuit of those Objects. That this site actively pays homage to the word's deeper and more encompassing roots is a sign of respect for what theos sophia really means.

But at the same time, it is really confusing to see the name used here at all in that case, because unfortunately it has been co-opted, and not just within the TSes either. Go to a Golden Dawn or BOTA discussion forum and use the word, and they'll immediately think of Blavatsky too. By using it here, and making such a show about the "redefinition" aspect, the message is sent to newcomers to expect something new here, and in that regard I do think people will end up disappointed to find out that all the talk of redefinition really just amounts to semantic tweaking. Beyond that, the essential "product" on offer here is then seen to be identical with what one can find on any number of other discussion sites, with one important difference that in many ways is a drawback: The insistence of redefinition leads to excessive policing of discussions because the object here becomes a control-oriented matter of pushing for the acceptance of an agenda instead of a genuine focus on creativity, which requires freedom of expression in order to thrive. So the range of people to whom this site will especially resonate becomes quite small--if one is interested in pushing the redefinition of theosophy, this is the place to be, but if one is simply interested in discussing general esoteric wisdom without all the baggage, of course they'll go somewhere else--which is a shame because the eclectic esoteric discussion would otherwise be one of this site's strong points if it were simply allowed to abide outside the parameters defined here. The mixed message probably leads to a great deal of exasperation on the part of members. "We value creativity and imagination so much that we in fact enforce it by frowning upon discussion that works within existing frameworks that we are trying to distance ourselves from by using their name for our site." It doesn't parse and I have to admit that I find myself perplexed as to the real mission here sometimes because it seems to contradict itself on some level.

I feel the need to bring a bit more fairness into my above assessment of what is going on here at Theosophy.net. I wrote...

By using it here, and making such a show about the "redefinition" aspect, the message is sent to newcomers to expect something new here, and in that regard I do think people will end up disappointed to find out that all the talk of redefinition really just amounts to semantic tweaking.

I made it sound as though I don't see any innovation going on here, and that's not true. I suppose what I'm getting at is that the push here at Theosophy.net to redirect awareness to the fact that theosophy is not an "ism" connected with Blavatsky and the Masters is one that really should not be necessary. HPB made it pretty clear herself that there should be no dogma in theosophy and tried time and again to point us all to the universal aspects of theosophy. If you consider The Mahatma Letters to be authentic, the Masters themselves did the same. They said they didn't want to be worshiped, and in so many ways indicated that the most important thing to take away from this all was the altruism and the universal truths in which that is rooted. So in a sense, it is absurd that we should even have to undertake this exercise and I personally get somewhat annoyed and impatient with that. My impatience came out as frustration that was directed at the site and it shouldn't have. It is a bit unfortunate to have to pull the focus away from valuable sources of theosophical wisdom in order to emphasize a message that they themselves professed and it is kind of confusing to sort out, too.

I very much agree! 

As to moderation, on an internet forum, it is highly likely that there will always be something that needs moderation, be it this argument or something else down the line.  Let's keep the two notions somewhat separate so that we can maintain some perspective on the whole.

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