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Over at Onexposure, a community where I participate, I noted that in the Member Forums there is a discussion going on about our little photo community. If you are not a member of OE, you will not be able to view the discussion, but to summarize it, one member began talking about the quality of comments he had received in the Critique section of the member forums. He felt that some comments left were not as detailed as he had hoped. Another member mentioned that because some members are more familiar with others, short comments are appropriate.

This began a thought in my head about communities outside of OE that extend into the real world of life. I began to ponder my comments to those who I know well or those in my own family. Those communities are much more important to me than work or hobbies, so I began to think about my conversations with those I know well and love. Within any relationship that has depth, there invariably comes a time when discussions that are not pleasant must occur. It is in those times that my need to explain is often more extensive than when I am delivering good news, or during a discussion I feel will be easily accepted. If I care about the relationship at all it is important for me to convey how I feel about the topic, but not in a way that is accusatory or demeaning. On the contrary, I simply want the person to know what is bothering me, or more accurately why I felt the need to discuss whatever it is we are discussing. And in those rare and unfortunate situations where I’ve ‘had it’ I don’t feel a need to discuss anything at all since I don’t believe what I have to say will be of any value or the situation is beyond repair. Only time will tell me if I am right.

So where am I going with this disjointed musing? Unlike art, I believe that communities of value to each individual require honest communication, but more important than that aspect, we all deserve consideration. That is the basic tenet of a community and I will have to remind myself often that everyone deserves consideration even in those times when I feel it has not been extended to me. Time heals all communities, but only if we are open to it.

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