Panda said 5 years, 12 months ago:

The views expressed in this post are solely those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Blahtherapy community or Blahtherapy’s development team. Today, the BlahTherapy community aims to connect you with random strangers around the world who are willing to talk to you about your problems, as well as sharing their own. This is a method, in which time and time again; has proven to appeal to a wide variety of community. It helps with stress, anger, depression and pain.

That being said, in order to truly serve a wider audience Blahtherapy needs to change. The bottom line is, we need to change our minds; come together and develop a better systematic approach to the issues we face today.

Thousands join this site every week alone, however they seem to find themselves lost. Down the line, three weeks, perhaps upwards of a month and they never return. Well over half of the members that joined blahtherapy are no longer active. Looking at the member’s history section on the site, realistically it seems that the numbers lean towards 1/5 of those who chose continue to use this site for a reasonable amount of time.

We as a community need to change, after talking to many individuals who left this site for one reason or the other. I’ve very much come to the conclusion that the reasons why they left are issues that have been talked about, mentioned, and one way or another completely ignored.

Here’s an opportunity for you to voice your reason, opinions, and mind-set of what you believe needs to change about Blahtherapy. Here’s a list of what I came up with, and what I believe needs to change about Blahtherapy:

Better Chat System:

We’ve very much so, talked about this before. However there are a few points in which I feel are necessary to point-out. Many people on this site complain about the ever dreadful chat system in place, many people get disconnected and lose the opportunity to talk to an individual they like.

What I’d like to suggest is a chat system that connects you to “vertified” members of the community, because while many people would truly like to discredit this theory. I’m not going to sugar-coat it, people disconnect because they chose to. The bottom line here, is somewhere throughout the conversation between two people the venter/listener learns something about the other individual in which he dislikes therefore disconnects.
It could be an issue of sexuality orientation, lack of motivation, or simply a lack of interest in the person across the table that leads individuals to “disconnect” then further more “Click (NO) to reconnect” and leave the conversation entirely.

While you may say, I don’t do that. It’s probably true you don’t do that, however there are still a major number of people that do. Putting a system in which venter’s talk to verified members of the community helps take effect.

Mobile Application:

This is an issue that has come up before, access to blahtherapy services through a mobile platform. I’m not going to go into why, or the reasons why this particularly matters. All I’m going to point out is that it’s been well over a year since people have last requested this. The reasons why it’s important are very much so self-explanatory.

Donation System:

I understand that these things cost money, specifically the mobile platform. Give us the chance to take part in this effort; setting up a donation system would be nice.

Online Journal:

The fundamental buildings block of Blahtherapy rests upon one key trait, sharing your experiences. We love sharing, we see it all around us, from messaging between members, status updates, to the chat system in place. Yet we have no clue what’s really happening in other people’s lives, we have no idea what went wrong with a certain members day.

It keeps us unconnected and out of the loop, especially when you see a certain member almost ready to give up. It’s hard to help them, especially when you don’t understand their history.

Many members on here have problems but the only way they can share it is through a status or venting. Why don’t we create a section, native to this site with the help of the moderators on here?

Let’s create a database of some sort where people can put their own journal entries like a diary of some sort.

Very similar to this: http://www.my-diary.org

Privacy:

If there’s anything I could leave you with today, which I feel is the most important subject to address. It’s definitely privacy, people are sharing a lot of information; very much so “personal information” with people they have absolutely no clue of the consequences.

I understand that this is a community of sharing; I also understand that many people would like to think that everyone here is in your best interest. Folks…. I’ll break it down right now, this is the Internet. I can assure you there are people in this specific community willing to do you harm.

Be aware of the things your posting, pictures, email addresses, instagram accounts. People can track you down, you don’t want to be in that situation.

If your willing to take the risk, that’s fine; I just want to see Blahtherapy addressing the issue of privacy concern more openly to advise all members of the possible consequences of these actions.

Tags:
@chibiru @fark @pecnut @blahtherapy @rinseandrep @itskelsie @blhthrpy00

Conclusion:

I want to hear from you, what do you think needs to change about BlahTherapy? I’ve discussed my points, now it’s your turn :D

Message me, call me, mention me! Even if you disagree with me I want to hear from ya!

Levi-UR said 5 years, 12 months ago:

@amlife100 about the chat system, Why not allow the venter to rate the usefulness of the listener after the chat? I mean it would allow for you to monitor who is and isn’t good. Maybe also have a separate option to vent to non-members. These two combined would allow you to find members who are listening that have gotten poor reviews and tell them why. Have the end survey in a multiple choice format if they choose to give negative feedback. For example the choices could be, Listener spent more time talking then listening, Listener was racially/religiously/sexualy offensive Listener was unsympathetic. this way you could tell the listener what they were doing wrong.I think that the criteria for being a listener should change, I don’t like to vent here because I’ve had to dealt with horrible listeners. You might have noticed that I have a lot to say about listeners and not as much about venters but that is because i have listened more and rarely had a problem with a venter that was anywhere near as infuriating as my experiences with bad listeners. Members who receive consistent negative reviews should lose their listening privileges ( a bad listener can do a lot of damage) but other then that I think that the only ranking should be members and non-memebers in the listening section. You can’t vouch for the nonmembers but the members you should be able to. Other then that maybe have some quicklinks to sexual abuse/suicide hotlines to we don’t have to open a new tab and risk having the listener feel alone if we don’t already have the link handy (which I didn’t the first time I had run into those issues)granted Im just a random guy but I think what I said makes sense.

Deleted User said 5 years, 12 months ago:

well you can create awareness, albeit its pointless, as well you dont own this IP, why not send your concerns to the BT staff?

Deleted User said 5 years, 12 months ago:

Great post Panda. The chat system would be an excellent idea especially for those genuine listeners.

Deleted User said 5 years, 12 months ago:

Yes, I agree about a better chat system! So many times I will wait and wait as a listener only for the other person to disconnect because I’m not the right age or gender. Would be more efficient if this could be established before-hand.

TheMaverick said 5 years, 12 months ago:

Levi-UR for mayor. It would be cool if we could choose if we can vent to members or in the chat, nobody ever takes my problems seriously, and always assumes things about my situation and sometimes I get insulted out of the blue because people think my problems aren’t that bad to get down about.

Deleted User said 5 years, 12 months ago:

Another idea could be to have verified members sign up for a service that allows someone to enter a problem or something to vent about. The person then would click “submit” and their issue would be passed on randomly to one of the online members who signed up to receive these messages.

Of course there would need to be a system in place that prevents “overloading” a singe user with messages, and there is a chance that a person may miss the message and sign off, but I do think it is something that should be taken into consideration.

Instead of empty topics of “I feel lonely” and no one answering, you now know that someone out there will at least listen and read what you are feeling. Again, this is a voluntary service that people could sign up for, so if you didn’t want to be bothered with random people’s issues all the time, then don’t sign up for it.

Also trolls are everywhere…there probably WOULD be several trolls that are in the mix, but in today’s age of the internet and online social interaction that is something that just comes with the territory.

Thanks guys for reading.

ImnotMatt said 5 years, 12 months ago:

I just joined this site, I’ve tried to vent to a few people and honestly there are a lot of bad apples I’ve bumped into and only an incredibly small handful (1-2 people) that I’ve actually connected with and was able to maintain a positive and mature conversation.

I think a lot of your suggestions would bring about positive changes overall and I’m all for it.

Swifting said 5 years, 12 months ago:

Can I point out that maybe someone’s only having a 3 week rough patch or maybe a rough year and that’s all they need to have someone to talk to for?

They join the site to use the forums during that time and then they don’t NEED BlahTherapy any longer.

For me; it’s been a time killer. I have experienced a lot of life and no that I’m not able to lead as active of a lifestyle I come to share what I’ve learned in life.

This doesn’t have to be the NEXT big social media thing and honestly if it became that: I’d leave.

jporwave said 5 years, 12 months ago:

You’d think it’d be a good thing a lot of them left. They come here looking for help, and if they are no longer here, they either got help or are still looking. A lot of the people that remain are listeners, and that’s to be expected. I wouldn’t want a guy battling with depression to get some tips, then continue to hear other people that are also battling with depression and relapse (I haven’t been depressed for years, but I’ve come close to slipping back into that pit, and something that didn’t help me personally was hearing other people talk about their problems)
Of course, everyone deals with pain of every kind differently. One person may love talking to people, one person may love listening, another may hate people in general. That being said, you made some great points.

A better chat system would be great, but it’s not terrible as is. Instead of having a completely different chat, maybe just have a check box for using your actual username, or some kind of option in your settings. Also, I think they should add replies to the QnA section. I hate asking a question, then trying to reply by giving an answer to my own question. That’s stupid, and a lot of people I’ve noticed don’t reply, or even know you are asking them questions on their question.

rinseandrep said 5 years, 12 months ago:

To be fair, people who expect to reply to their own questions could try opening a thread instead, I don’t know how many people check replies to the answers they post, compared to replies to threads. Of course as it is they can also contact privately the people that answered for more talking.

Humanist Hope said 5 years, 11 months ago:

BlahTherapy is a place for people to reach out and find help or to reach out and provide help, respectively.

As stated, no, BlahTherapy is not perfect. There are many flaws to the system, and Admin IS addressing them as she can, even if she is not openly communicating any results.

Anyone who says that BlahTherapy is badly built would not be far from the truth, but the inherently good nature if the site is what makes it special. BlahTherapy is and was designed to be a forum. The chat service, however imperfect, was never intended to be a permanent solution. With a lack of funding and manpower, BlahTherapy lacks the physical capability for rapid change and growth; therefore BlahTherapy users are encouraged to remain patient.

It is true that any service offered should be a good one, and BlahTherapy DOES work as-is, though admittedly with some pain involved in learning to navigate the site and staying connected, so it is true that the system needs updating, and changes must be made to appeal to a broader scope of those in need of help, but one avenue of doing that is not bashing the site; that only displays infighting and dissent, which greatly undermines any trust someone might out into the site.

Constructive criticism like this post is welcome and encouraged, but any posts that openly bash BlahTherapy and provide no useful input will be deleted with prejudice.

For the time being, the message is the same: you are all very right that changes would make BlahTherapy better, but for now, those are changes that are beyond Admin’s ability, but I must stress this next point:

Admin is not being lax. She is working on a solution.

Please keep reaching out to each other and keep helping those who in turn reach out to you. You make a difference with your perseverance.

Kelsey c: said 5 years, 11 months ago:

They should have a chat where members can talk and you can actually see who you are talking to. And maybe even a mobile site or an app.

Angel Demon said 5 years, 11 months ago:

First of all, I apologize for my delayed response, as I was not informed of your mention of me for whatever reason. Anyways, prepare for a wall of text, as I have some opinions to share with the lot of you.

Before I begin, I’ll express my thoughts on the things that were brought up by @amlife100 (Panda), respectively.

1. A Better Chat System;
If I may propose a system in which users are rated according to their performance as a listener, perhaps through a previously mentioned survey after a conversation? (Levi-UR)
That’s honestly the best way I can think of at the moment, though perhaps with the addition of reputation being a factor in the weight of a person’s opinion since it’s not easy to gain reputation through always offering bad answers. This I feel would help keep trolls at bay. Also, in order to prevent multiple account hardcores that are desperate to find ways around systems, perhaps a security measure such as one account per IP address should be implemented. This way, the people who have been proven to be reputable and offer good advice can rest assured that trolls will not be slipping into the system to sully the experience or the quality of the site itself. For the venter side of things, perhaps a similar system could be implemented, though I honestly don’t feel that one could accurately regulate venters seeing as how a mass of them are going to be ‘strangers’ and not registered members of the site. Though, the survey at the end of the session would be a good way to help find out who’s trolling and who’s earnest. A survey for both sides perhaps, and if one happens to not be a registered member, the survey could remember the IP address of the one being surveyed, and if they receive too many negative reviews, they could be blocked from using the chat service entirely. It’s an idea, and one open to speculation, as I know that for every idea or method there is some way around it or what have you.

Furthermore; one of my main observations is the obviously poor chat service. Yes, people disconnect because they want to, but surely there is a better system than for the server to wait for 5 minutes of inactivity to finally decide that the other has disconnected. Personally, if there was an issue that was truly and deeply bothering me, I may have sit and thought on things for several minutes before looking back at the screen and offering a response after taking everything in and assessing the situation with the new information or opinion that I’d just received, so 5 minutes of inactivity disconnecting a user is unreasonable in my opinion. Also, implementing a system that can detect whether a user had perhaps lost connection to the internet, is simply inactive, or has in fact decided to disconnect for any reason and being able to inform the person on the other side of what happened would be greatly beneficial in my opinion.

Another thing that I would like to mention is; perhaps users could choose what area of problem that they are either having or experienced with could help direct users to people who would be able to better help them with their issue. Say a venter is having an issue with relationships and needs advice on that subject. They could select it from a multiple choice representation of common issues so that the system could help direct them to someone who, say, has love and relationships checked off in their ‘experienced with’ section.

2. Mobile Adaptability;
Yes. Absolutely. I do agree with the idea of making the site mobile friendly. I’m sure there are those out there who feel they need advice on things immediately who don’t have access to a computer at the moment they need it. Being able to get advice and help wherever you go with your phone is a great way to get help to those who need it.

3. Donations/Funding the Development of the Site;
In regards to the donation system, I do agree that the site manager could indeed set up a system in which users can choose to help develop the site; whether it be through providing services such as coding and design to offering funds in order to get the things that cost money done. I’m sure there are some out there who have knowledge on coding and design who would like to have something to do in their spare time. Why not help develop a site into an even greater site that could one day become a very well known site? Being a part of that would be, in my opinion, quite awesome.

4. Online Journal/Diary;
Regarding the online journal mention; Perhaps all Blah really needs is a revamp on how things are kept on the site; perhaps simply better organization of things such as status updates could turn the status update system into a well functioning journal for those who would like to use it as such. Or perhaps, there could be separate sections for things that a person would like to keep diary-esque that is separate from the publically broadcasting update system. I mean, the groups could, and do, function in a fashion much like this, however, I feel it could be… smoother. More refined.

In addition to such a thing; perhaps there could also be a system in which users could find groups that share things such as experiences similar to their own through a search bar, which would make it easier to find groups that they feel they could relate to and be willing to join. For instance, say someone has had experiences with bullying and they would like to find a group of people who have shared experiences similar to them. They could simply type in bullying in the search bar and find groups that offer support for people who are or have been bullied. Perhaps a system like this already exists and I have simply yet to find it, but as it currently stands, I don’t believe something like this exists, so it would be a good idea in my opinion.

@shadrakor A good way to get someone’s attention in a reply to your own question is to mention them using the mention system. When you mouse over a username, it will show you the link to that user’s page on Blah. You can get their account name that way, and using an @ before their name much like I have done with your name, that user will receive a notification that they have been mentioned. For example, yours is shown in the bottom left corner of the screen as http://blahtherapy.com/members/shadrakor. The last portion, in italics, is the account name. Alternatively, you could also simply send a private message to the user you wish to continue talking to.

@godofstupidness I believe the anonymity is appealing to many people. Though perhaps a chat where registered members could chat with each other the same way the vent/listen chat functions where profiles are visible could be implemented and perhaps helpful in some ways. Perhaps it could be an option, to remain anonymous or to have your profile visible during chat. I think that would be an idea worth bringing up, what do you think?

Thank you for taking the time to read this all the way through (Or even partially). Thoughts, ideas, opinions?

rinseandrep said 5 years, 11 months ago:

This “5 minutes before the system detects a disconnection” seems new to me, does anyone else experience 5 minutes between the last sign of activity and the user disconnecting?

When I read someone talking about mobile site, I imagine someone on the bus going around the city among various degrees of signal quality and deciding to pass the time by having a quick chat. You know, help someone for 5 minutes *wink* wink*. And then some person on the site complaining about disconnections.
So beside using the chat, can someone be explicit about “mobility”? What is it that you can’t do by opening your phone’s browser and visiting blahtherapy? What exactly is missing?