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 Bright Moon's Letter of Invitation to OBC Connect Readers

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Rob



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Join date : 2010-10-28
Age : 60
Location : Edmonton, Alberta

PostSubject: Bright Moon's Letter of Invitation to OBC Connect Readers   Wed May 16, 2012 11:52 am

[Admin note: this topic was split from the thread: What happened to Brightmoon.org?]

Hello,

My name is Rob Moore and I am a member of the Bright Moon team. Aylwin and Mia have already done a good job of providing you with perspective on the Bright Moon project, but we thought that a formal message from the team would be a good idea as well. After reading the following letter, if you are so inclined, we look forward to "seeing" you on Bright Moon.

In gassho,

Rob

To: The admins & readers of the OBC Connect forums
From: The Bright Moon team

Dear friend,

As you know the Bright Moon website recently opened up for the Sangha. I understand that some of you on the OBC Connect forums have shown an interest in Bright Moon. In response I would like to say some words about it and to extend on behalf of the Bright Moon team an open invitation to anyone who is interested to come and join.

Bright Moon is an independently run site set up by a team of lay Sangha, and is primarily intended for people practicing within the OBC tradition. However, anyone who is interested in a spiritual practice and would like to know more about us and our practice is also welcome. We hope this will be a meeting place where the lay community can get to know each other, share with one another and experience the sense of being a Sangha in a tangible way.

As those who have visited the site will know, the forums on Bright Moon are accessible for members only. The decision to make the forums private was taken to keep discussions between members out of the public domain. We believe that this is consistent with the purpose of the site, as a place where lay practitioners can share personal experiences about their training and get to know other Sangha members. This is not an attempt to put up walls between members and non-members but a desire to create a safe place for this exchange of views to take place.


The registration form for creating a user account on Bright Moon asks users to provide information about themselves and their affiliation. Some OBC Connect users have questioned this approach.

The “required” fields for registration on Bright Moon are:

· Username
· Email address
· Name
· Country
· State/Province
· City
· Affiliated temple (not affiliated/other is an option)
· Agreement with the Registration Agreement.

The registration agreement requires that users agree that postings will not be abusive or slanderous and that your conduct on the site will be “within the Buddhist precepts.” You can use an alias as username which will appear as the author name of your posts. The name and surname fields require your real name. This is for site administration and will be kept confidential by the admin team.

There are many completely optional fields in the registration process including those that identify your previous experience with the Serene Reflection Meditation tradition. The reason for gathering this type of information has to do with one of the main objectives discussed in the lay Initiative, that was started at the 2010 OBC conclave: to develop ways for the lay Sangha to share our training, and find ways to consult with one another about stuff concerning all of us as lay practitioners.

We found that the main obstacle for realizing this objective is that we have no idea who the Sangha is in terms of how many of us are there; where we live; how many are long term committed; how many perhaps just starting etc. Any optional information will only be used to help in facilitating Sangha wide consultations in the context of the Lay Initiative or make practical plans for retreats and events.

In terms of confidentiality, we chose to host Bright Moon on an independent platform rather than a commercial one because the core business of commercial social networks (such as Facebook or Forumotion, where OBC Connect is hosted) is to trade in user-generated data. Without getting too technical this means that everything a user does on such a platform and all the information and content members provide are made available to commercial parties for advertising purposes. Some social networks do this more ethically then others, but the business model of earning money from trade in user data inherently generates a permanent tension between commercial interests and user privacy. As an independent platform without any commercial interests, user data on Bright Moon can’t be accessed by anyone other than the Bright Moon lay team. Our interest is to use it exclusively for the benefit of the community and site security is designed also exclusively for that purpose . We endeavour to do so in as preceptual manner as possible, and to make Bright Moon as safe as possible a place for members to share personal information.

Is Bright Moon something for OBC Connect users? It’s intended to support those who wish to practice within the OBC tradition, so if you feel that OBC practice is wrong, it may not make sense to hang out with people who feel that it’s beneficial! However, the OBC Sangha is a genuinely diverse bunch of people accommodating a variety of views. We wish to explore different views about our practice, and without room to exchange different perspectives on training, there wouldn’t be much point in providing a website with forums. But within the realms of possibility, we do ask that users tread gently and patiently; that any critical dialogue is approached in a mutually respectful and non-antagonistic manner; and that members try to remain tolerant and supportive of the very diverse life choices that have been made (within legal and ethical bounds obviously). Our guidelines are here
www.brightmoon.org/content/forum-guidelines, the terms of use are here www.brightmoon.org/content/terms-use, and we aim to abide by the three pure precepts: to do no harm, to do only good, and to do good for others.

While one may wish to seek reconciliation with those with whom they hold grievances, if this is what you wish to do, it may be worth considering that Bright Moon is an independent lay platform and therefore not a direct means for communication with the formal OBC and the monastic order.

I hope the above information is helpful to you as user of the OBC Connect forums to judge for yourself whether Bright Moon can be of benefit for you. If so, as the Bright Moon team we look forward to seeing you there and getting to know you!


With bows and best regards

Ayse
On behalf of the Bright Moon team
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Bright Moon's Letter of Invitation to OBC Connect Readers   Wed May 16, 2012 12:34 pm

Hello Rob, and welcome! Thank you for joining us here. I hope you'll be a frequent visitor and will feel free to participate in the conversations at any time and start some new ones, if you like.

Thanks also for your letter of invitation to join Bright Moon. We appreciate this step you've taken.

Best regards,

Lise
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Bright Moon's Letter of Invitation to OBC Connect Readers   Wed May 16, 2012 2:03 pm

Rob wrote:
Hello,

My name is Rob Moore and I am a member of the Bright Moon team. Aylwin and Mia have already done a good job of providing you with perspective on the Bright Moon project, but we thought that a formal message from the team would be a good idea as well. After reading the following letter, if you are so inclined, we look forward to "seeing" you on Bright Moon.

In gassho,

Rob

Hello Rob,

Thanks for putting up the official invitation. Note we will move it into it's own thread later today, so it gets the attention it deserves :-)

I think it's great that the two memberships are beginning to mingle. There's a lot to share and it should be beneficial all around.
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Kozan
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PostSubject: Bright Moon's Letter of Invitation to OBC Connect Readers   Wed May 16, 2012 2:24 pm

Rob, thanks for posting this!
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glorfindel

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PostSubject: Re: Bright Moon's Letter of Invitation to OBC Connect Readers   Thu May 17, 2012 5:00 am

Rob wrote:
The name and surname fields require your real name. This is for site administration

In what way does access to people's identities aid in "site administration"?
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Lise
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PostSubject: Re: Bright Moon's Letter of Invitation to OBC Connect Readers   Thu May 17, 2012 3:14 pm

I would like to understand this too.

I'm not able to think of any site administration activities that I do with OBC Connect that are related to, or dependent, on knowing someone's real name.

I don't know how you'd verify that someone has used a real name.
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Bright Moon's Letter of Invitation to OBC Connect Readers   Fri May 18, 2012 12:22 am

Lise wrote:
I'm not able to think of any site administration activities that I do with OBC Connect that are related to, or dependent, on knowing someone's real name.

I don't know how you'd verify that someone has used a real name.

"Site administration" may just be a poor choice of words, but I'm also interested in knowing what it means. Hopefully Rob will clarify.

Regarding the real name requirement, I had another look at the registration page and
if someone chose to only fill in the "required" fields there wouldn't be
enough to really verify their identity. On the other hand the required
fields do include a person's real name and location, so someone
would have to intentionally lie to create a false identity. That would
be weird, but doable.
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Rob



Posts : 7
Join date : 2010-10-28
Age : 60
Location : Edmonton, Alberta

PostSubject: Re: Bright Moon's Letter of Invitation to OBC Connect Readers   Fri May 18, 2012 5:55 pm

glorfindel wrote:

In what way does access to people's identities aid in "site administration"?
Lise wrote:

I'm not able to think of any site administration activities that I do with OBC Connect that are related to, or dependent, on knowing someone's real name
Isan wrote:

Regarding the real name requirement, I had another look at the registration page and
if someone chose to only fill in the "required" fields there wouldn't be
enough to really verify their identity.

Glorfindel - thanks for your question. The personal user information including the full name and location that is gathered is for "mapping" the sangha. As we mentioned in our letter, Bright Moon has a longer term goal of providing content that is specific to Sangha members in particular areas so being able to locate people and associate them in the database to temples and meditation groups is part of the design of the system. However, we do not require members to affiliate themselves to a temple, if they do not wish to do so.

Lise - As Isan noted, the word "administration" may be misleading in this case but I hope that the answer to Glorfindel's question makes our intentions clear.

Isan - you are right. If someone wishes to disguise their identify it will be difficult for us to know. However, in discussions about the creation of Bright Moon, there was a strong preference within the community that the sharing of postings be done with people who are willing to be upfront about their identity. So, we are doing what we can to make Bright Moon a place where people can feel safe to share sensitive information about themselves. That's the main reason why the registration process asks people to provide their real name.

In gassho,

Rob
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Isan
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PostSubject: Re: Bright Moon's Letter of Invitation to OBC Connect Readers   Fri May 18, 2012 6:24 pm

Rob wrote:

Isan - you are right. If someone wishes to disguise their identify it will be difficult for us to know. However, in discussions about the creation of Bright Moon, there was a strong preference within the community that the sharing of postings be done with people who are willing to be upfront about their identity. So, we are doing what we can to make Bright Moon a place where people can feel safe to share sensitive information about themselves. That's the main reason why the registration process asks people to provide their real name.

In gassho,

Rob

Thanks Rob. I want to suggest that you craft a privacy policy that states how information that is posted in the forums can be shared with others who are not members. For instance while I would not cut and paste from Bright Moon into a public post on OBCC, I might feel motivated to share interesting information that I read there and it would be good to have guidelines beyond my personal sense of what is and isn't appropriate.
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