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OneGrassRoot

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Gender: Do not display
Current location: NC
Member since: Fri Aug 5, 2005, 08:14 AM
Number of posts: 20,551

About Me

www.wishadoo.org

Journal Archives

It's official: The Internet is Owned by White Dudes

Disclaimer: I realize I make broad-brush statements below, and I do intend to write a more fleshed-out blog post about this with specific references and links, but the gist of it all is what I'm trying to convey here. It's official to me, the fact that white guys own the Internet. This may in essence be my first draft.

EDIT TO ADD FOR CLARITY: CliffsNotes Version

My point is about CULTURE -- values, priorities. Young white dudes -- even though they are not a monolith, no demographic group is -- in general have different values and priorities. The Internet initially was pretty much a playground for young white male geeks.

That is the culture -- the values and priorities -- upon which the Internet was built and is infused in it even now. Even though the face of IT is changing, I'm speaking to the now ingrained culture and how that will take time to turn around.

I'm not focused, in this OP at least, on where VC goes nor on who has coding skills. (Even though VC definitely goes largely to men...and then of course some will then say only white men are generating the ideas. Most people are missing the entire point of this post.)

I absolutely believe that the lack of diversity at the very core, the very root , the creation of these ventures -- which are the new institutions of this modern era -- has contributed to the increasingly overtly disrespectful, often outright bigoted, racist and misogynistic culture.

Diversity and equality must to be part of the creation -- the foundation -- or else nothing is ever going to change. Not really. Not meaningfully.

* * *

As a 52-year-old woman who has been focused on exploring funding options for my online ventures over the last few years, I've come to realize how much the Internet is -- and, more importantly, always has been -- dominated by men. Usually younger men (or at least they were when they created whatever entity has made them millions or sometimes billions of dollars).

I don't mean the Internet is dominated by men as the users, as that has become a more level playing field in the last five years with women having an equal presence online, but as those who are creating the business entities themselves and thus profiting off of them. Even when the websites or apps are created with women being the target audience, the founders are men (Pinterest).

Specifically, fairly young white men.

Now, I'm not knocking white men. Nor am I personally criticizing the individual men who created the vast majority of the most successful websites/apps. I do not know them personally and they may be wonderful souls.

What I do know is that the life experience of a white man, IN GENERAL, is different from the life experience, in general, of men with black and brown skin, and it is a life experience that is very different from women, of any color. And while youth has a a lot to offer, especially in today's rapidly changing, wired world, there is also a need for wisdom and perspective borne of life experience.

I just did another search (I was immersed in this topic earlier this year before crises intervened) of the most popular sites (top 100 or so on Alexa) and apps, with the most traffic/usage. Disregarding the more programming-oriented and country-specific sites, I made a list of 30, including Facebook, twitter, Amazon, Pinterest, Wikepedia, reddit, Paypal, instragram, kickstarter, HuffPo. I also included sites liberals tend to prefer, like DailyKos and Salon. DU is included in my list as well.

(First, I did NOT know that HuffPo was actually created by Arianna and 3 other men, including ANDREW BREITBART!!! Wow, that explains a lot, eh?)

Except for Gawker Media (created by 6 men and 4 women) IN EVERY SINGLE INSTANCE THE CREATORS|FOUNDERS ARE ALL MEN, PREDOMINANTLY WHITE MEN with a smaller percentage of the men being Asian.

Aside from the lack of diversity in general and the concentration of "new" wealth in the hands of a specific demographic...continuing what has been the norm for ages...here is why this disturbs me:

I adore the Internet. So much good has been done yet I do not believe we have even scratched the surface of the altruistic potential. We can reach critical mass toward transformation (positive or negative) much faster now. I search for the good, but the nastiness -- the culture of the Internet as a whole -- inevitably gets in the way. Look at the comment section of nearly any site and you'll see what I mean. The misogyny, racism and other forms of bigotry is STRONG.

I am not blaming the founders of any of the many websites for this culture of hate. I highly doubt any of them set out to create or contribute to a Petri dish of suck, but there is another aspect I believe is at play in this culture as well: a strong libertarian and anarchist vibe. These traits/values are embodied by many of the founders of these most successful sites (successful by Wall Street standards). The tone of a company's culture is set early on and manifests on the front end as well as the back end of the business.

Free speech, hands off, individualism.

Again, please don't get me wrong -- free speech is a core value of democracy. But what happens when the most vicious of voices are all that are heard because they live to attack and troll and drown out (and drive away) voices of reason? This nasty online culture has influenced the larger societal discourse, and we've all noticed the growing inability for people to engage in respectful discussion. Even though I respect the role twitter plays in our world, I don't consider tweets back and forth meaningful conversation. I'm talking about ongoing, meaningful, respectful discussion. And, let's face it: There is very little distinction between "online" and "IRL" now. Online IS a significant aspect of our daily lives.

Of course, financial profit is the goal and drives everything. It often encourages the "hands off" policy or perhaps encourages a cultivation of nastiness by said businesses in order to bring more eyeballs to their content which equals mo' $$$, y'all. So, there's that.

Even the so-called Sharing Economy ventures -- Airbnb, Lyft and Uber -- were founded by fairly young, white men. DUer Eridani's OP about the Sharing Economy, and how it's basically another word for capitalism, prompted this most recent search and this post.

So while I can appreciate what these innovators and entrepreneurs have offered the world, and have no animosity toward men (young men, old men, white men, men of color...it matters not), I am struck by the fact that WHO has created the foundations of the spaces which are influencing our culture is, by far, younger white men.

I absolutely believe that the lack of diversity at the very core, the very root , the creation of these ventures -- which are the new institutions of this modern era -- has contributed to the increasingly overtly disrespectful, often outright bigoted, racist and misogynistic culture.

Diversity and equality must to be part of the creation -- the foundation -- or else nothing is ever going to change. Not really. Not meaningfully.



That's the change I'm trying to bring to the table, so if you know anyone who wants to support such a social enterprise, please send them my way.





FINALLY, I'm following up - (edit: final update)

SUNDAY MORNING update:

Well, this way of funding relaunch/expansion doesn't look promising, so it's onward to explore other avenues. I'd rather go where there is plenty of money and make it trickle down, rather than appeal to the average person, anyway. I'm going to focus on retooling/rebranding for more cohesion among the various projects/divisions. When I get things going again, I will definitely post here at DU and specifically reach out to those who have expressed interest recently, to let you know things are up and running again.

Thank you!





Saturday morning update: I also shared this on FB, but that's the only other place, as I'm trying to gauge interest within my closest networks first. Thus far, either not enough people have seen the post or there is no interest amongst those with resources to help raise significant funds. About $3000 is what the survey results show.

What I am proposing (for those who want this condensed) is restructuring Wishadoo! (a Community Good Social network, which has proof of concept having been in use for 8 years) as a member-owned cooperative, similar to NON-PARTISAN mutual aid societies of old (though more diverse), which not only connects those who need help to those who can help, and so much more, but also creates jobs.

What I'm specifically asking here, and only of those for whom $150 is not a huge sum, is would you be interested in helping to finance the seed funding so I can hire help in order to relaunch and expand?

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CCRCXV9


IMPORTANT: If you don't mind, I'm a little paranoid about CC people chiming in on the survey to mislead me. They always read this stuff. If you can send me a message here if you are interested in contributing, so I know it's a legit survey vote, I would really appreciate it. Thanks.

EDIT TO ADD:

I. If you have any suggestions re: this seed funding (keeping in mind that I've already explored impact investing and foundations, as I discuss below) -- such as companies which may want to be involved or philanthropic peeps you may know -- I'm all ears.

II. If you are not familiar with me, all I can suggest is that you read either my journal here at DU or my most recent post here, or take time to read this in its entirety. My work is not "new"; the platform I created worked so well that I became overwhelmed, and I'm now trying to raise funds to hire help and relaunch and expand. Many DUers are very familiar with me and Wishadoo!; my apologies that I don't have the time or energy at this moment to prove myself to those who don't know me.

I can tell you I was dissed by Glenn Beck on his Fox Show a few years ago, so there's that.

* * *

I just spent 30 minutes composing this, and it went *poof* when I hit "post my thread". Ugh.

I can't recreate all that content and the links due to time constraints, so I'm asking you to please indulge me by reading my initial post to which this is a followup:

You know the pleas for help which create such tension here?

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10026630196


I finally composed a followup, since so many did express an interest in wanting to help me move forward and help fund the creation of several initial part-time positions, though I see much more job creation in the future; I just need the core team in order to move ahead.

The key people who have helped me all these years and who "get" what Our Community Good is all about happen to be DUers, hence my recent post asking about interest in helping provide jobs to DUers (and others). I'm initially focused on providing supplemental income to those on SS, SSDI, who are homebound caregivers, and to those who are in purgatory, having applied for SSDI but haven't yet been approved. The three DUers I would like to offer these initial core positions to are in those groups.

The blog post at the following link gives background to what I've created over the last 9 years. Many DUers are familiar with Wishadoo!, but that is only one division, and the work done here at DU is a fraction of the work that has been done over this time. I'm sure you can imagine how it became overwhelming for me.

http://communitygood.blogspot.com/2015/05/introducing-our-community-good.html


Below I've pasted the end of the blog, which deals specifically with what I need in moving forward.

I would REALLY appreciate feedback. I know that most DUers are like me -- living paycheck-to-paycheck if we're fortunate enough to GET a paycheck. Yet I also know there are those here (and reading) who DO have resources, and I would love to get a feel for their interest and ability in what I propose, so I created a survey.

To repeat, what I am proposing (for those who want this condensed) is restructuring Wishadoo! (a Community Good Social network, which has proof of concept having been in use for 8 years) as a member-owned cooperative, similar to NON-PARTISAN mutual aid societies of old (though more diverse), which not only connects those who need help to those who can help, and so much more, but also creates jobs. What I'm specifically asking here is, of those for whom $150 is not a huge sum, would you be interested in helping to finance the seed funding so I can hire help in order to relaunch and expand?



In order to move forward with these projects, all of which are still desperately needed in our society, I must have help. While volunteers and interns can supplement this help, I need a reliable team before I can consider relaunching. As mentioned earlier, Wishadoo! is a proven model; it worked so well that it became overwhelming for me, even with volunteers.

I have always envisioned creating job opportunities, especially for those who are homebound for any number of reasons, including those on disability who need supplemental income as well as homebound caregivers who also need extra income.

Over the last year I have explored a variety of funding mechanisms and legal structures for Our Good (in order to make use of various funding mechanism)s, but I come back to where I was at the very start: Raising funds via cooperative membership. From there, with a team in place, the revenue-generating models for each endeavor can work to be implemented, making Our Good a self-sustaining social enterprise, with both member-owned and worker-owned cooperatives in place.

* Because Our Community Good is not a start-up, impact investors are nowhere to be found.

* Because I am a woman, who is over 30, impact investors are nowhere to be found.

* Philanthropic foundation funding is either unavailable because Our Good has a broad agenda, not niche, or it will take at least one year to be approved for said funding.


I envision raising the initial funding via cooperative membership for individuals. (I am also exploring business membership.)

First, please know that most of the tools at Wishadoo! will remain available to anyone who joins -- for free. Being a co-op investor would offer additional benefits (to be explained in my next communication) and a voice/vote.

While I anticipate membership being only $25/year (with funding for those who cannot afford that but wish to participate in the co-op), this initial seed funding will be for $150. The ONLY reason I am doing it this way -- $150 instead of $25 -- is to weed out anyone who may want to disrupt this caring community. (Sadly, this type of disruption exists, which is why transforming online culture, given the influence of online activity, is a key area of focus for me.)

The minimum contribution of $150 provides 6 co-op memberships; the investor can select the other 5 people to participate in growing the community, or donate the membership to the general fund offering free membership. Renewal will only be $25/year henceforth.

IDEALLY, I would like to raise at least $100k, and here is the breakdown:

$60k - (3) part-time administrative support positions, one for each project, @ $15/hr for one year

$10k - IT upgrades and support; mobile app development for the projects

$5k - Expenses for one year (web hosting, domain renewals, marketing, legal)

$25k - I have bootstrapped everything for 8 years, but have been helped by several people who have granted me personal loans, and I desperately want to pay them back. Additionally, the IT team who has helped me all these years has done so out of the kindness of their hearts. I would like to be able to offer them $5k as a token of gratitude, even though they have no doubt provided at least $20k worth of services thus far.

Even though people can invest more than $150 (to provide for even more member|owners), less than 700 people would be needed to invest $150 in order to achieve the $100k goal…or 333 people at $300…or 200 people at $500…or 100 people at $1000. Or any combination thereof. I will structure the fundraiser accordingly.

However it manifests, the end result is relaunch of a much-needed service, job creation, and exponential expansion of a new type of community, one which values a Culture of Care and puts it into action.

Before I create a fundraiser, I have created a survey to try to determine how many people may be interested in being part of this seed funding investment of the Our Community Good Co-operative. If you are someone for whom $150 (or more) is a reasonable expenditure for "funding good" -- and creating free membership/ownership for those who cannot afford this initial minimum funding amount -- please click this link to take the survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CCRCXV9

Please share this with anyone you feel may be interested.

~ Dena



Between the awful story last month of the couple in Ohio who killed themselves because they felt they could not afford to exist and because no one acknowledged their pleas, and the recent viral story of the 81-year-old cancer patient who called 911 because he was hungry, I know WITHOUT ANY DOUBT that what I have been doing and building for the last 9 years is still desperately needed.

(I realize most are sharing the cancer patient/911 story as an example of an act of kindness, but I'm horrified that it happened at all. It is within our collective power to ensure that these situations no longer occur.)

Now that I can breathe again with my daughter home, I would REALLY appreciate feedback about what I share at the blog link, which includes a link to a survey.

My brain still feels enveloped in cotton, so I won't be surprised if there are questions or suggestions, assuming I haven't covered all the necessary bases in this post.

But, I'm letting it fly nevertheless and hope to hear back from some of you. Thank you!


You know the pleas for help which create such tension here?

5/7/15 UPDATE: Since there is interest, I will work on the next step of feedback needed. I'll try to post a followup to this OP tomorrow, or Saturday morning. Thanks much.

* * *

(Edit to add: I'm going to be persistent about keeping this kicked to be on the front GD page for 24 hours, to give people a chance to see it and chime in, or contact me.)

I have a way to help; it's how it used to be done here. Please let me explain, especially for those of you who don't know me. If there is a pitiful response to this post, I promise to leave everyone alone after this.

(BTW, this link will explain me and my work more thoroughly as of 2015. I'll be focusing on these six sectors in moving forward with the work of creating a more Caring Society:

Caring Culture | Caring Democracy | Caring Economy | Caring Ecosystems | Caring Education | Caring Organizations

If you're interested in any of this, please let me know or follow the Caregiverism blog.)


For those who don't recognize my name, please refer to my DU journal. You'll get a better feel for me there. Older DUers can vouch for me, as they did in a recent post about my daughter being in Nepal when the earthquake hit. Thank you, old friends, for doing that. (BTW, after those 9 harrowing days, I probably should have waited a day or two to post this, as I may poop out really early and not check this as often as intended...lol.)




I recently posed a question here, asking how this community feels about the possibility of doing a fundraiser in order to create jobs for a few current and former DUers. There was little response, but having OPs seen and rec'd is a crap shoot and always has been...lol. I don't know if there is interest or not, which is why I'm trying one more time.

^^^ That is still my primary question. I provide background and more info below.


Reading through Torch the Witch's latest thread is what prompts this post.

Before this current version of DU, members used to have to ask for permission to post requests that involve money. Because I had created a platform which, in part, exists to connect people who need assistance or support to those who want to connect directly to be of service, and since I had been a long-time member here at DU, such requests started to go through me and Wishadoo rather than await permission from admins.

I would then post a weekly OP listing the DUers who were asking for help after doing some behind-the-scenes due diligence to verify the veracity of the request if the person wasn't already familiar to me and the community. For people already known to the community, it's a much easier process, obviously.

Additionally, one of the first things that has always been done when someone new comes to Wishadoo and expresses need of some sort, is to search to find existing resources (which is why developing this directory is critically important), connect them to other community members who may live in the area or who may be able to help or provide insight about the situation in question, etc.

A fundraiser is a last resort; we try to find other ways to solve the problem first. Of course, as the social safety nets have disappeared over the years, the need for money to solve the problem has increased dramatically.

I quickly became overwhelmed. I did NOT want the site to become another gofundme. My intention all along has been to cultivate connection and genuine community, not simply have yet another fundraising site.

So, I put Wishadoo on hold. I knew I had to find help before I could relaunch, and I want to provide paid positions and not rely on volunteers.

There are a couple of DUers who have helped me so much over the years with Wishadoo and they totally "get" what it's all about. They are among those I want to provide part-time employment for, to supplement SS and SS Disability and to supplement income for those basically homebound due to being caregivers.

If I had help, one of the ways Wishadoo could still be of service here at DU (and other communities) is to take away the fear that you're being scammed. As I said, due diligence is done first. Unlike sites like gofundme (which serve a great purpose, I'm not knocking them) which are starting to require your gofundme page be linked with a Facebook profile, I have worked with people over the years who needed to keep their "real" names shielded from the public; their request was valid, they're who they said they were, but they were victims of domestic abuse or were searching for a job and having their name online forever would have been embarrassing, etc.

I do the behind-the-scenes work, and that's one of the types of positions I need help with in order to move forward and expand. There are satellite, synergistic projects beyond Wishadoo which also can also be relaunched, and provide both paid and volunteer/internships, when I have a core team of help in place. Volunteers and interns can then supplement helping with this enterprise, but I need reliable help and paid positions are the only way for that to happen. (http://ourgood.org is the portal site)

Plus, we need more jobs of integrity, right? Especially part-time jobs for those who are essentially homebound and/or on a fixed income.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the couple in Ohio who took their own lives, because they felt absolutely hopeless. They had created a gofundme page and online outreach on other sites, but no one replied.

That is another key difference with Wishadoo: Again, because it is about community, everyone is acknowledged. First and foremost, they are acknowledged and they know right away that someone cares.

I can tell you for a fact that has saved lives along the way. That's what I've been told repeatedly: Being acknowledged is what helps those suffering feel human again, and that in and of itself can create hope. When the pleas for help are real, it is devastating to be questioned and told you're a scammer; even worse is no response or acknowledgment at all.

As I emerged from my own personal crucible in early 2015, I've been exploring ways to raise funds for job creation. Foundations and grants move too slowly; impact investors only want to invest in start-ups (and younger people...ageism anyone?).

I've returned to once again give consideration to crowdfunding.

I have ways to generate revenue once I have help and can activate the social enterprise model in earnest so that the enterprise is self-sustaining (and worker-owned), including structuring Wishadoo itself as a member-owned cooperative as I have envisioned all along. Wishadoo was created eight years ago and has worked as intended; it worked too well, perhaps, as it became overwhelming without reliable, ongoing help.

So my question is:

IS THERE ANY INTEREST HERE AT DU IN ANY OF THIS ANY MORE?








Earth Day 2015: CARE OVER CAPITAL

EDIT TO ADD: I don't think what I share is of my interest at DU now, so I don't think I'll keep trying to re-engage after all. Best of luck to the handful of people who may read this.

* * *

As I create blog posts, I'm trying to remember to share with the DU community, too, and add to my journal here. It's too time-consuming to recreate the entire content here, but the full content can be found at these three locations:


LinkedIn | My personal blog | Caregiverism blog


If you want to know more about Caregiverism and what I'm working on, this post provides great background: First and Foremost, We Must Care







Within each ecosystem there is a web of connections and relationships, the proverbial "web of life. " When an ecosystem is healthy, there is a balance between the inhabitants and the resources available to them. This balance ensures the survival of the inhabitants and the environment itself.

When you stop to consider your local ecosystems and environment or the global environment, do you feel good about it? When you see images of fracking and factory farming, BP's devastating oil spill in The Gulf of Mexico, food waste contrasted with hunger and poverty, and how we as a species have literally trashed our oceans and land…doesn't it feel wrong how cruelly we treat the environment, other creatures, each other, and ourselves?

The driving force for this cruelty is the quest for control of resources.

Resources = money.

Money is meant to be a tool, not a value. Our economic and financial systems should reflect our values as a society. Instead, money has shaped our values and has itself become a value system, the primary focus and priority in our lives.

In order to get more money, we compete, seek to dominate and, quite often, exploit in this quest for more money…more, more, more of everything. This quest destroys not only the security and well-being of the global environment, but the security and well-being of individuals, families, communities and even nations.

We can, as a citizenry, do better. We can start by having a conversation about prioritizing our values as a society.

One of the fundamental elements of Caregiverism is Care over Capital.

On this Earth Day 2015, what if we were to apply Caring Values to how we approach being better stewards of the environment and find solutions to the myriad problems we face?

Compassionate, courageous, inclusive, optimistic, wise, and integrity-based values.


Full post: LinkedIn | My personal blog | Caregiverism blog








Apathy Kills: Who Cares? (Part I)

Once again, it's been a long span between my posts here on DU. I hope some of my old friends here see this, and maybe I'll make new friends as I attempt to re-engage. I was planning to share a few things here later this week, but something I read this morning instilled me with the fierce urgency of now.

I posted this originally at LinkedIn (in case you're on there and are inclined to connect and/or *like* it), as well as at my own blog, in case you prefer to share that link (as we know, many conservatives refuse to read anything with the word "democratic" in it, sadly). I've recreated it below for DU.

For those who have been wondering where I've been, I wrote a post last week which shares some of my recent journey and where it has brought me, and where I intend to go from here. Whereas I've been focused on compassion and empathy for the last 10 years, I'm now focused on CARE: caring about, in order to care for and, ultimately, caring with. I called it Caregiverism (i.e., giveashitism).

It's a long read, but if you're interested.... First and Foremost, We Must Care

I have come to believe:




I'll be focusing on these six sectors in moving forward: Caring Culture | Caring Democracy | Caring Economy
Caring Ecosystems | Caring Education | Caring Organizations



* * * * *




APATHY KILLS: WHO CARES?



This wasn't the post I intended to write today.

I thought about creating a video to express what I'm thinking and feeling after reading a news story this morning, but I haven't been able to stop crying long enough to speak clearly.

I am writing this through tears of anger and frustration, but also tears of determination, perhaps belligerence, and an overwhelming sense of the fierce urgency of now. I hope you care enough to take the time to read this.

Please know that I do understand how most people today feel overwhelmed with the constant bombardment of news and information (often negative) and pleas for help swirling around as most of us are doing our best to get through each day. It becomes what I call white noise. I understand the tendency to shut down and turn away, and turn inward, feeling helpless in the face of it all.

Yet I'm asking you to not turn away.

Earlier this morning I saw a Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch article entitled: "Despondent couple found dead in their Bellefontaine home"

]Neighbors said they seldom noticed the couple in the little house at 225 W. High Ave. Yet the two were desperately reaching out for help. In a listing on giveforward.com this year, Jodi Speidel wrote that both she and her husband, Randy, had chronic illnesses and had been living without gas heat all winter and without water for a week. With $33 in savings, she said, they were eating one meal a day and didn’t have scraps left for their two cats.

“I have turned in every direction possible and don’t know what else to do,” she wrote. “If you can help, we will be forever grateful and will even pay you back once we get back on our feet.”

No one responded on that website or a similar post on gofundme.com.

On Tuesday, the Speidels’ landlord found a pink note on the front door of the one-bedroom house warning visitors about carbon monoxide inside.


The reason I'm so heartbroken about Jodi and Randy Speidel's story is because I know that, while they likely felt alone in their struggle (which is heartbreaking in and of itself), they were not alone in what they were experiencing. I know all too well that there are thousands upon thousands of people, in the United States alone, who feel the same sense of isolation, despair and hopelessness, for countless reasons. It's an epidemic.

Many of these same people have found their way onto my path over the last eight years through my work at Wishadoo; people of all ages, backgrounds, belief systems, in every corner of the United States and even around the world. (Please note that Wishadoo is currently on hold; more on that later.) BTW, DUers, DU was the first community to use the tools at Wishadoo, years before members were allowed to post fundraisers here themselves.

The number of people who feel they cannot afford to exist in this world is growing.

It wasn't that long ago that I felt much the same. Too many find themselves contemplating the brutal reality that their loved ones may have a better chance at sheer survival if they were to leave -- and leave loved ones with life insurance funds.

In our predatory capitalistic society – a society in which money IS our value system -- money is at the root of nearly every decision made throughout each day. It's not hard for such thoughts of despair to creep in...thoughts about proceeds from our deaths may be more helpful to our loved ones than our struggles to keep a roof over our heads, if we've been able to maintain those payments, that is. (I know, I know…the mere mention of suicide brings up so many deep-seated feelings and opinions, and I'm aware suicide usually negates life insurance payouts, but if you're focused on that tidbit, you're missing the point here.)

I have persevered because I know I have worth and value in this world; more importantly, I know everyone else does as well. I'm here to remind others of this simple guiding truth:





There are thousands upon thousands of people feeling this despair, in a country where wealth and income inequality are staggering. Quite frankly, it's obscene and shameful. Such despair is not only unnecessary and avoidable, it's unconscionable.


I contend that most of our systems are FUBAR. We are increasingly criminalizing poverty and inequality, while simultaneously decreasing employment opportunities and destroying social safety nets. Quality of life is quantified by the numbers in one's bank account.



I empathize with the Speidels and the untold number of others in despair but, more importantly, I care. I recently wrote about how and why I have come to firmly believe that, first and foremost, we must CARE: care about, in order to care for, and ultimately care with.

No one should feel isolated and alone, not unless they consciously choose such a life. This is precisely why I created Wishadoo! (a Community Good Social Network) eight years ago. As I wrote in my story of how Wishadoo! was born:


I believe there is an underlying truth that remains unsaid as we turn away and struggle on our own each day: We intentionally create walls. We don't trust, we fear humiliation, we fear being taken advantage of, we fear judgment, we fear rejection. It feels as though it is easier to just "get by" on our own.



We can break down these oppressive, destructive walls – individually and systemically -- if we simply make the choice to care.

We can drill down later on the specifics which lead to tragic choices such as The Speidels' -- the healthcare system, the economic system, the social systems and the personal stories involved – but, for now, I'm asking you to simply care about their story.

I'll end this first installment by also asking you to do this: Imagine.

Imagine a community, similar to Facebook, where people are there to share and to listen; to share joyful, celebratory aspects of their lives as well as struggles; where there is a better chance of connecting and not feeling alone and hopeless. Or helpless. A community which encourages genuine, deeper connections and respectful dialogue. A community which is a catalyst for outreach with physical neighbors and others in their local community, and provides meaningful support to create these connections.

A community which can provide hope and support, perhaps even empowerment and meaning, all of which so many desperately need.

A community where people truly care.

In Part II I'll share what I offer as one solution, one avenue of care. I may even post Part II later today.

Thank you for reading…and for caring.







**Help A DUer: World Kindness Day 2013 Edition** (please K&R -- that's an act of kindness!!!)



PLEASE SEE MY POST ABOUT WORLD KINDNESS DAY IN THE GOOD NEWS GROUP.


I'm going to take my own advice and be kind to myself rather than beat myself up for not being able to follow up with everyone who has Wishlist posts to get updates, and for how long it has taken to create this OP. The site has undergone an upgrade and I'm finding glitches each day that I haven't yet had time to address. Also, no new fundraising posts will be displayed until I get help and implement a new protocol. I apologize for any convenience that causes.

I've gotten the information I need in order to transfer a few Wishlist posts into the new Fundraising Section at Wishadoo, and I'm including those links below. For anyone I'm neglecting, please send me a message w/update. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT EACH DUer WHO HAS BRAVELY ASKED FOR ASSISTANCE CAN CREATE HER/HIS OWN OP in GD (or your favorite forums/groups) AS WELL for more visibility and to give more background information, updates, interact with other DUers about your situation, etc.


Speaking of kindness, in case you didn't see the update re: sunwyn, please know you're making a huge difference in others' lives, not only with financial support and resource suggestions, but by letting people know they're not alone in this world. The simple act of acknowledging another person, even if they are in the throes of struggle and grief, may be the kindness thing each of us can do each day. You made a huge difference in sunwyn's life. Hers is merely one success story over the years due to the kindness of the DU Community.

EDIT TO ADD: A DUer who mainly frequents The Lounge bravely posted there about her situation recently, attached a link to the fundraiser at Wishadoo, and had her rather dire need taken care of literally overnight. I couldn't believe I awoke to a success without me doing a thing. That's the way it's supposed to work! So, thanks to all the Lounge peeps for helping out recently.




BELOW ARE LINKS TO FUNDRAISING POSTS CREATED AT WISHADOO BY DUers, in no particular order. Click link for background information to the request.


TREE-HUGGER: http://www.wishadoo.org/fundraising/6/help-with-rent-bills-car/


ATOMIC KITTEN: http://www.wishadoo.org/fundraising/8/need-help-to-cover-rent/


PAB SUNGENIS http://www.wishadoo.org/fundraising/7/need-help-to-get-gas-reconnected/


STEWERT http://www.wishadoo.org/fundraising/4/help-paying-my-bills-for-november/

(Note: Stewert has created posts on DU over the last couple of months, updating others about his situation and asking for assistance; he's waiting for disability to kick in and a few other potential avenues for assistance but, last I heard, is still having trouble. DU helped with October's bills but his situation hasn't changed as yet. I feel compelled to include this info along with the above link to his current, active fundraiser since his is not a new request.)


When you think one act of kindness can’t possibly make a difference in a world that sometimes seems immersed in unbearable, overwhelming suffering, remember the story of the starfish:









* * * * *


PLEASE ALSO:

* Recommend this thread and keep it kicked for visibility.

* Please scan the Wishlist in general on a regular basis; some posts are simply asking for information. It's not always about money.

* ACKNOWLEDGE these courageous people who have made themselves vulnerable by asking for help. Please offer whatever support you can (information, advice, well wishes, financial or other support, etc.)

* Share Wishadoo! with others (online and in person)...your friends, loved ones, neighbors, co-workers, other networks and organizations; after all, the more who gather...

THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE IN NEED, HERE AT DU ALONE, THAN PEOPLE WITH RESOURCES TO HELP. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD TO EXPAND THE WISHADOO COMMUNITY.

DUers, you are making such a big difference: THANK YOU, from Sunwyn!!!!

11-13-13: PLEASE SEE MOST RECENT HELP A DUER POST


Please forgive typos or other mistakes here; I'm in a huge rush but I HAD to post this message.

I plan to create another post later today, with more updates about Wishadoo, about other DUers' who need our help, and about many DUers' fears of asking for help because of that other website which monitors and trolls activity here. That makes me so upset I can't even express it. (For those of you from CC reading this, Wishadoo isn't restricted to DUers, but this is a community...just as I assume yours is...and the idea of trying to destroy community rather than build it, regardless of viewpoint or ideology, is just....sad.)

For now, I wanted to make time to at least share the good news about sunwyn, and I really hope all of you kind souls who have helped in various ways see this; not only those of you who have helped with sunwyn but with others as well. YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE. That's what I want you to know: Even though I don't have the time to do followups and then post them, YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

In case you missed it, here is the link to the post from last week re: sunwyn's situation.


The fundraiser for sunwyn was successful in less than three days!!!!!!!!!! Whereas she assumed they would need to move to Missouri, she got a tip during the time of the fundraiser about possible housing in Dayton, which is much closer (and would be a much easier move on her mom, who is in poor health), and has been interacting with at least one other DUer about Dayton.

Here's what she wrote, Monday morning, after composing herself when the fundraiser's goal was reached so quickly:

First off let me say thank you to all of you who have supported me . Your words of encouragment have really kept me going. Yesterday was a strange day. I had spent the night before battling the stomach flu but yesterday I drug myself up from the couch and walked over to check a few things on the internet. I found I had not just reached my goal but had actually went a little over!

So I started looking through the donations and I was astounded. At first I thought I was reading the amounts wrong..maybe my head was a little off due to the stomach but no...there were some very large donations and there was one that floored me! I nearly fainted right then. I had to gather my composure and go tell my Mom. She was astounded as well...at first. And then she looked at me and said, "Honey, these are the same people that helped us before. They have good hearts the world would be a better place if it were filled with more of them. " She was so right.

I have to tell you all there were points in the last couple of weeks were my anxiety had reached full pitch and I was having full blown anxiety attacks. This was totally out of character for me as I have always been the one to trudge along, making a way through no matter what. I often felt like I couldn't go on because I was letting down my family and it was unbearable. Of all the things I needed to do, coming up with enough money to get us out of here and into another place, the money was the most insurmountable. Today, my anxiety has dissipated and while I am still dreading this move, I can now face it head on.

Today, I am heading to Dayton, Ohio to check out the area as the doctor is unsure whether my Mom can travel the thousand+ mile move to Missouri. I don't know much about the place but I know the have a large Senior Center, a public transportation system, and lots of job openings. I really don't know much about big cities or how to live in them well, but I am willing to try anything. I want to keep you all updated on how things are going so look for updates whenever I have computer access.

Thank you to all who shopped my Etsy Shop. I am almost sold out of everything and have been making more hats and gloves and such to fill the Shop back up. And to all who contributed, monetarily and otherwise - Thank you from the very bottom of my soul. You have given me back my hope and faith in humanity, and not for the first time. I love you all and feel blessed to have you in my life.

And one more huge thank you goes out to OneGrassRoot whose compassion and empathy have made this possible for not just myself, but others she has guided and helped. The world is a happier and richer place for having you in it. Thank you....



Here is the followup Tuesday morning, after going to Dayton:

Went to Dayton and wow...lots to help my Mom. I have an appointment Friday with a Social worker who may be able to help us get into a house quick as we have an eviction notice. Mom has doc Friday again for tests to see if she can travel and how far. I will try to write more later....



Thank you, DU. Thank you!!!!!







*** Help a DUer *** Friday 10/18/13 (please keep kicked!)

Due to a prolonged family crisis, I've been largely absent from both Wishadoo and DU. I'm very sorry to the DUers who have needed my help and I haven't been available. (I've also been waiting for the IT team to upgrade Wishadoo, which will include a DEDICATED FUNDRAISING SECTION with tools to make fundraisers easier for all of us; hoping that takes place over the weekend.)

I have continued to try to obtain legal guidance regarding structuring Wishadoo as a member-owned co-op, as I've always intended, but have encountered the same wall I've found for years: Such a thing hasn't been done yet, so finding legal guidance has been next to impossible. Imagine if Facebook, Ebay, craigslist and even Angie's List were all member-owned cooperatives; all of those tools are at Wishadoo, and I have always envisioned the community as a member-owned enterprise. I'm not going to give up.

The reason I bring this up here now is because I heard you all loud and clear when many of you said it would be much easier for you if you could contribute x amount and not have to choose a Wishlist post; choosing is too hard. I hear you, and I'm trying to find a way to do this -- via this cooperative approach -- so that option can be part of the process of engaging at Wishadoo.

For now, however, this post is like the others (see my journal), where I share the DUer's name and link to the Wishlist post for more info. Since I have been out of pocket I fear I'm missing someone. Please let me know if I've missed anyone who has a Wishlist post and needs help!!!

And for those of you with Wishlist posts, please remember that you can create your own OPs here at DU to bring even more attention to your situation! Also, if the amount raised is different from what shows on the widget (perhaps you received donations via snail mail), please let me know!!!

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT THESE INDIVIDUALS HERE AT DU AND/OR AT WISHADOO. All of the ones listed below are indeed fundraisers and a fundraising widget is included in the Wishlist post. Some of these are urgent!!! Remember, even if you can't help financially, maybe you can suggest resources or simply lend moral support. I've listed them according to date the Wishlist was created for expediency in getting this OP created and posted.


Pab Sungenis -- http://www.wishadoo.org/wishlist/207/money-to-get-our-gas-reconnected/


DuffyDuff -- http://www.wishadoo.org/wishlist/206/50-dollars-for-flea-tick-product/


rbrnmw -- http://www.wishadoo.org/wishlist/203/need-help-for-me-and-my-children/


Liberty Belle -- http://www.wishadoo.org/wishlist/202/recording-equipment-and-small-portable-computers/


kimmerspixelated -- http://www.wishadoo.org/wishlist/200/need-quick-funds-to-help-with-rent/


Are_grits_groceries -- http://www.wishadoo.org/wishlist/199/money-for-repairing-my-car-new-glasses-other/


Lady Freedom Returns (any news from her since the big move?) -- http://www.wishadoo.org/wishlist/197/money-to-help-till-i-get-back-up-on-my-feet/


Myrina -- http://www.wishadoo.org/wishlist/189/assistance-requested-for-foster-dog-rehab-therapy/


I'm waiting to hear from DUer, maur, to get an update regarding her situation. Her fundraiser expired...without much assistance...so I don't know if her situation has changed since then or not.


THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HAS HELPED OTHERS ALONG THE WAY -- AND MANY HAVE BEEN HELPED SIGNIFICANTLY, NOT ONLY FINANCIALLY BUT IN MANY OTHER WAYS!!!




* * * * *


PLEASE ALSO:

* Recommend this thread and keep it kicked for visibility.

* Please scan the Wishlist in general on a regular basis; some posts are simply asking for information. It's not always about money.

* ACKNOWLEDGE these courageous people who have made themselves vulnerable by asking for help. Please offer whatever support you can (information, advice, well wishes, financial or other support, etc.)

* Share Wishadoo! with others (online and in person)...your friends, loved ones, neighbors, co-workers, other networks and organizations; after all, the more who gather...

THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE IN NEED, HERE AT DU ALONE, THAN PEOPLE WITH RESOURCES TO HELP. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD TO EXPAND THE WISHADOO COMMUNITY.





* * * * *

ABOUT WISHADOO!:
Anyone is welcome to use the tools at Wishadoo, so long as the Terms of Service are adhered to (basically "play nice" and don't lie). Wishadoo! is a comprehensive portal providing tools, resources and inspiration to connect, help/be helped, and cultivate compassion, cooperation and authentic community in myriad ways, online and in our own "backyards." Wishadoo!'s tools have been designed to integrate and be of service to all sectors of community: individuals, neighborhoods, schools, organizations and businesses.

Any contributions to Wishadoo! itself go toward the cost of maintaining the site, NOT toward any Wishlist posts. That takes place one on one, between Wishadoo! members. If you are able to help with costs to keep the site going, I'd appreciate your generosity tremendously and will be forever indebted.
http://www.wishadoo.org/support-wishadoo/


MANY, MANY thanks to those who have already
helped support Wishadoo! in various ways!





As a DU member, how do YOU want to handle this going forward? (need more input, please!)

EDIT TO SUMMARIZE/CLARIFY: After a few comments were shared below, I was able to see that a third option should be added. I had viewed this way forward as either/or: either fundraising posts are created here within DU only, preferably within a new subgroup, or the Wishadoo Wishlist would continue to be used and shared as I've been doing.

I've added another option, which is a combination of a new subgroup and Wishadoo. The Wishlist posts would still be created at Wishadoo but are then shared regularly at a dedicated subgroup here at DU, with periodic OPs in GD (and maybe other groups as well) as is already done.

In previous years, fundraisers required admin permission, which is precisely why I offered the tools at Wishadoo, and got Skinner's blanket permission to post periodically, in order to expedite things. If the admins have any concern still about having fundraising posts being directly created here at DU, this may be the best way to go. And, having a host(s) of a new subgroup dedicated to this could be a HUGE help to me as it concerns DUers' needs/offerings.

So, if the community wants a new subgroup, the form and function of this new subgroup needs to be clear, and hosts need to step forward and propose such a group to AtA. A new subgroup in and of itself requires permission, of course; if the new subgroup is going to be dedicated to fundraising posts, that adds another layer to that permission.

The background, plus more FYI info, is laid out below. But, for those who don't have time to read further, this should summarize this OP/poll.

As always, thanks!

* * * * *

"This" being helping DUers, member to member.

Please see this thread for background:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023652112#post133

As I've now said repeatedly, I appreciate the replies and thoughtful suggestions and feedback SO VERY MUCH!!! It's this type of interaction that makes DU a true community, imho.




a2liberal's suggestion in that thread is one that has been posed from time to time, and prompts this OP/poll:

I have 2 ideas:

1.) See if the admins will agree to a group or forum where DUers who meet certain criteria (time of membership, etc.) can post their own requests

2.) This may seem like even more work on your part at least at first (maybe you could get someone to help you), but it may help to get more help to those who need it. I think some of the "compassion fatigue" comes from having to read all the stories and decide who to give to, resolve all the details of how to give, etc. Perhaps you could solicit some sort of monthly gift from "angels" that a trusted team could then divvy out to DUers in need?



As I replied, that approach may be something for this community to consider. In fact, it feels like now is the time for DU, as a community, to decide on the way forward regarding how we, as a community, want to handle such interactions and requests.

Having a group within DU, as a2liberal and others have suggested over the years (and as some other online communities do), takes Wishadoo out of the equation. And that's okay!!! If there are people willing to host such a group, and if they approach the admins with it and they give permission, that is definitely one way to go.

I want to make it clear here that I would not volunteer to host such a group. I want to work WITH all existing communities, including DU as I have done over the years, but I don't want to confine my Wishadoo-related efforts. I want to expand connections and expand community, not isolate or limit it in any way, so I need to keep my focus in this regard on Wishadoo. Hope that makes sense.

Please see my full reply to a2liberal HERE.



Assuming people want to have a way to help one another as a community, here are the options as I see them. (If you don't want to see such posts here at DU, click ignore!)


1. Create a group within DU where needs/offerings are posted, as a2liberals and others have suggested.

First and foremost, of course, this would require permission from admins, as well as DUers offering to host such a group. It would also entail hosts doing what I do behind the scenes before sharing such posts, including finding a way for electronic payments to be made (which makes it so much easier for most, not all, people). If there isn't a PayPal donate button included (or the widget that I try to include in Wishlist posts), it greatly decreases contributions; simply providing a PayPal address isn't enough, as I've discovered that many people don't understand how to send money unless a donate button is provided. Keeping people updated regarding the process of a fundraiser is another task. There are quite a few elements to consider, but all certainly doable.


2. Continue to use Wishadoo's Wishlist to post needs/offerings, with me creating regular Help a DUer OPs.

Basically, continue as is but work to implement some of the great ideas shared in that Heart-to-Heart thread to make this easier and more effective for all concerned.

The benefit of doing this (for DU and other communities) is that it expands the reach and potential for connections beyond one's existing community.


(BTW, one thing I haven't mentioned in any of my OPs, but is a key part of my bigger vision, is one of the spin-off projects I hope to develop. The focus at Wishadoo is to always try, first and foremost, to find existing resources. DUers are really knowledgeable in this regard, and offering resource suggestions is a HUGE aspect of how I hope you use Wishadoo as you reply to Wishlist posts. In fact, DUers are usually so well-informed in this regard that they have indeed exhausted all avenues (though sometimes others are able to suggest something they weren't aware of) before coming to Wishadoo to create a fundraiser; others outside of DU who come to Wishadoo, however, are often not as knowledgeable about what may be available, or they're simply too tired and beaten down to keep looking. I'm often able to find help for people without a Wishlist post ever being created, and I see that is a key service to provide, along with simply acknowledging others. Being SEEN and acknowledged is, quite frankly, priceless. I need help in doing that, of course. To me, THAT is community.

I want to organize the existing resources into a comprehensive directory which is updated on a regular basis. The bare-bones basics are shown here: http://findhelpdirectory.info/ It's not only to find social services-type, but to find various types of "good" manifesting in the world. I need programming changes to make the creation of the listings easier on my end; right now it's too cumbersome. I have a huge list of excellent resources and stumble upon new ones each day, but obviously this is a tremendous, ongoing task, yet it could be invaluable in the processing of helping one another.)



Lastly, and this is more of an FYI, if it's decided that a group should be created here within DU (#1), another option is to use one of the many existing dedicated fundraising platforms, like gofundme.com, and post a link to those gofundme individual fundraising pages.

I've considered doing this at Wishadoo myself, since I did not set it up to be a fundraising platform and thus it's more labor intensive to make it work as such unless I make programming modifications.

While the benefits of using these fundraising platforms include expanding the reach and streamlined fundraising tools, there are potential drawbacks to using these third-party fundraising platforms:

A. Privacy. More and more I see they are requiring you to create an account using Facebook, for example (for verification purposes, to avoid scamming), or they don't make your fundraising page public unless you DO use your real name (you can keep the page and share with people, but the larger community doesn't see it, taking away the "reach" benefit). While I greatly appreciate how much easier it makes it for the fundraising platform itself to avoid scammers, I'm also sensitive to the various legitimate reasons why people don't want to give their real name on a public platform for the world to see when they're sharing something so personal. (When using a screen name, they can always share more about themselves when people reach out to connect, privately.)

B. There are fees (5% on average) on top of the PayPal fees. And, I believe gofundme is the only one right now which enables you to get funds quickly, whereas other fundraising platforms generate a check at the end of the fundraising period.

Those two aspects are the reasons why I, personally, am hesitant to go that route regarding people at Wishadoo who need to raise funds, but I offer it as a viable option to be implemented here at DU if a group dedicated to helping one another is created.


So, what say you?

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for adding your opinion!

Time for a heart-to-heart, DUers (w/update)

UPDATE: I just want to thank you all SO VERY MUCH for the thoughtful replies and all the K&Rs!!!!!!!! You have me in tears this Friday morning...in a good way. There are excellent, actionable suggestions below, with truly thoughtful insights that are priceless. (You should read through if you have time!)

I am going to really sit with these replies and see what I can implement sooner rather than later. I may do a poll to get specific input from the community about the way forward based on info shared below. I'll keep you all posted.

THANK YOU!



EDIT TO ADD, to those of you who have written to me, asking for help in any way: PLEASE DON'T FEEL BAD!!!!!!! I just need to get others (DUers and beyond) involved. They probably assume I have a lot of help and that I don't struggle myself, and that if they don't K&R or help in any way, plenty of other people are. But that's just not the case.



* * * * *

CLIFFSNOTES VERSION of my missive below: As more and more people here (and beyond DU) need help, I need more people TO help. Wishadoo is just me, and I struggle. I'm having a hard time of late getting views and K&Rs on the "Help a DUer" OPs, so I'm asking for recommendations and suggestions regarding how to keep doing this effectively here at DU. I'm also asking for your help to spread the word about Wishadoo in general. The more who gather...

(Adding a shout-out to Thom Hartmann's team, Big Ed, or any of the other media personalities I've been wanting to contact forever, to explore collaborating in some way to DO GOOD.)

* * * * *

Listen, I need your help, and I really hope people will read this and reply with their thoughts and feelings on the matter.

As many of you know, I've been posting "Help a DUer" OPs periodically for a few years now. Here is the latest:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023623242


For those of you who are new, I've been a member of DU since 2004. When I created Wishadoo years ago, I naturally wanted this community to be involved -- to lead the way and show other communities (online and our local, physical communities) how the tools there can be used to connect and help one another in a variety of ways. My BIG dream was to have Wishadoo be the first member-owned cooperative social network; I still have that dream. (My dream has also involved, somehow -- via the various tools and spin-off projects I'm trying to develop -- sustaining myself financially via these efforts. I do work; I've been self-employed for 20 years, though my income was cut in half 18 months ago and I haven't been able to supplement it. My time and attention are constantly torn between doing my existing work, looking for more work, dealing with Wishadoo-related needs, and trying to expand Wishadoo and develop related projects, as well as the whole "basic survival" tasks each day, which those of us who struggle financially understand all too well. It's amazing how much more energy it takes to be poor...lol. Oy. )

It used to be that, here on DU, for anyone to post about any need they have which involves raising $$ -- or for another DUer to do so on their behalf -- permission from admins was required. That could take a while. Plus, as the economic situation worsened, the number of requests was bound to increase and become overwhelming.

I wrote the admins and offered the tools at Wishadoo for this purpose, and Skinner kindly agreed. Instead of DUers creating separate posts regarding their situation and their needs, DUers would instead create a post in the Wishlist and I would create what are now known as a "Help a DUer" OP to bring these needs to the attention of the DU Community.

At first, when there were just a few DUers asking for help, these OPs (and the requests) got a rousing response.

Over time, however, as this community itself has changed, these OPs get fewer and fewer recs and are seen by fewer and fewer people.

Unfortunately, the number of community members in need increases daily.


(I must inject my profound gratitude for those of you who DO support the OPs and the other DUers, and me. You really, really are human angels. You are appreciated!!!)

Please understand that 1) I never intended for Wishadoo! to be all about raising $$; I still firmly believe we can help one another in other ways, such as finding existing resources that may have been overlooked; 2) I never intended to be so involved as I have become.

I created the safe, compassionate space for people to be supported in "putting it out there" (asking for help is the hardest part for most of us). Everything is supposed to be one-on-one, no middle person.

And the "no middle person" is supposed to include me.

Since nearly every single need that DUers are posting in the Wishlist involves raising funds, it has become very time consuming on my end to help set up a PayPal button, keeping the fundraising widgets updated, etc. To create the OPs on a regular basis to bring attention to these needs is also very time consuming.

A lot more goes on behind the scenes than people realize; often a need doesn't even make it to the Wishlist because I'm able to find help for the person's need right away. But as more people find Wishadoo (which is great), it gets more overwhelming for me to do all on my own, especially as those with resources (time, money, recommendations, whatever) are NOT finding their way there.

There must be more of a balance. I need help finding people who CAN help others, and that help can come in surprising ways. Sometimes knowing the perfect resource or having the perfect suggestion based on personal experience can help another person get beyond a seemingly insurmountable hurdle. People find their way to Wishadoo after they've exhausted the application process at social service agencies, etc. They often feel hopeless and beaten down. When someone is a member of a community such as here at DU, there can be a level of familiarity and thus trust, rather than feeling like complete strangers. Still, if before someone helps they require proof or more information, that is their right. It is between the individuals; that's where personal responsibility comes in. Unlike agencies and other nonprofits, people aren't screened (beyond basics) or required to prove their worth in any way; in fact, Wishadoo was created to fill that gap and allow our basic humanity to come through for one another, as individuals. It's a social experiment of sorts and, I must admit, I do feel it's failing, mainly because I haven't succeeded in engaging more people to help me spread the word.

As I mentioned in my latest "Help a DUer" OP, I'm having a really hard time with a personal crisis (this one doesn't involve money) myself right now. Granted, I've been having a hard time for years right along with many of you, living on the edge financially myself. Keeping my utilities on is often an issue; keeping the website going becomes secondary. But, thanks to a handful of kind souls, somehow the hosting fees have always been paid each month. Upgrading the site and adding features to make life easier is always put on hold, waiting for something positive to happen with my personal situation.

The events of the last week have brought me to the point of posting this plea.

Nearly every day I get heart-breaking requests from DUers who need help, yet the number of people engaged in these "Help a DUer" OPs decreases. (There is a wonderful group I call "DU Angels," who asked to be put on an email list, to be notified whenever I create a new OP; if you would like to be added to that list, please message me.)

I'm not bitching at anyone at all; I am sorry that this comes off as whining (I hate that, but, oh well...). I'm spilling my guts and asking for some feedback and suggestions regarding this situation.

I don't know if the lack of attention (even views, let alone K&Rs) is because I suck at creating attention-getting subject lines or what.

I FULLY realize that perhaps most of us here struggle financially and thus even $5 is difficult.

I also FULLY realize that compassion fatigue is real; sometimes seeing the suffering up close and personal via our various communities (online and in the "real" world) is just too much and we close off.

But month after month, as I see the types of OPs that get recommended through the roof and see the OPs I create go unnoticed, it's disheartening -- not only for me but for those who had the courage to share their struggle so publicly.

Also over the years I have begged for help in spreading the word about Wishadoo to your other networks: work, school, neighborhood, faith-based, etc. I have never had a marketing budget or any help (Wishadoo is me, myself and I still), so I admit that I'm nearly devastated that I've never had any BIG help in growing the community over the years.

And in order for people to find help, the Wishadoo Community must grow. Wishadoo wasn't created to be strictly for DUers. At all. But what little time and energy I have of late as it concerns Wishadoo is devoted to helping DUers, and that's not even working out to their benefit lately. Not in a reliable way.

IT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE THIS WAY, AND I CAN'T CONTINUE THIS WAY.

I really thought DU and the members here so devoted to the progressive concepts of community and The Common Good would help me spread the word so more individuals and other communities could come together to make use of the tools I created there, which I feel can still be of tremendous value.

There are now more names here at DU that I don't recognize than names I DO recognize. I don't have a feel for how much of a community really exists at DU any longer, to be honest. Obviously there are wonderful, wonderful people here who help one another in amazing ways; there is certainly still a sense of community, but I do feel it has diminished over the years, which is natural, I suppose.


With every single OP I create I ask people to please spread the word about Wishadoo so that community can grow. After all, the more who gather...

I fairly recently posted an OP with an activist idea I had to help citizens:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023385076


But, as I type this, I don't know what else to do to help DUers and/or get the attention of more community members here at DU to help one another. Any thoughts and suggestions are welcome.

Options as I see it are people creating separate posts here on DU with their needs; I'm not sure if that still requires admin permission or not. The problem with that is that if the site becomes more flooded with individual OPs, attention paid to such posts will wane just as they have for my Help a DUer OPs. I don't know. There are a ton of fundraising platforms nowadays (like gofundme.com, for example) which make personal fundraisers easier; of course, they charge a fee, on top of PayPal's fees, and -- like everything else online nowadays -- there are sooooooo many people using them that individual needs, unless they become viral in some way, get lost in the midst of the hundreds of thousands of other requests.


(Before anyone asks, I need to get updates from the DUers who do have Wishlist posts so I can manually update the widget that shows the progress. That's time consuming for me, too. In a perfect world, Wishadoo would have it's own built-in tools available there, that work properly. But that takes money. And, again, I did not set Wishadoo up as a fundraising site -- nor do I charge anything as fundraising sites do -- and I DO NOT INTEND for Wishadoo to become strictly a fundraising site. There is so much more to Wishadoo -- a marketplace, a business directory, ecards, a forum, groups, etc), and there's so much more we can do to help one another.)


Below is the content I include with every Help a DUer OP, in case you've never really read it.

Thanks for reading.





PLEASE:

* Recommend this thread and keep it kicked for visibility.

* Please scan the Wishlist in general on a regular basis; some posts are simply asking for information. It's not always about money.

* ACKNOWLEDGE these courageous people who have made themselves vulnerable by asking for help. Please offer whatever support you can (information, advice, well wishes, financial or other support, etc.).

* Share Wishadoo! with others (online and in person)...your friends, loved ones, neighbors, co-workers, other networks and organizations; after all, the more who gather...



* * * * *

ABOUT WISHADOO!:
Anyone is welcome to use the tools at Wishadoo, so long as the Terms of Service are adhered to (basically "play nice" and don't lie). Wishadoo! is a comprehensive portal providing tools, resources and inspiration to connect, help/be helped, and cultivate compassion, cooperation and authentic community in myriad ways, online and in our own "backyards." Wishadoo!'s tools have been designed to integrate and be of service to all sectors of community: individuals, neighborhoods, schools, organizations and businesses.

Any contributions to Wishadoo! itself go toward the cost of maintaining the site, NOT toward any Wishlist posts. That takes place one on one, between Wishadoo! members. If you are able to help with costs to keep the site going, I'd appreciate your generosity tremendously and will be forever indebted.
http://www.wishadoo.org/support-wishadoo/


MANY, MANY thanks to those who have already
helped support Wishadoo! in various ways!




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