Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

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Errol Feldman
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Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by Errol Feldman » Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:29 pm

On Face Book Jim Brown said:
Jim Brown Errol Feldman, this is Canada. I can, and WILL, speak my mind when I choose. My opinion on Shell is just that: MY opinion. If Shell has a problem with it, that is too bad. I don't care. They ARE a major polluter. They ARE an irresponsible destroyer of the environmment. Just ask the Igbo people of Nigeria what Shell has done to the Niger River Delta, and their lives. You go ahead and vote for the money. That is your choice. Mine, as a free born Canadian, will be to voice my opinion. Shell does NOT control me or my voice.
My question, for debate here, is do you agree. Is it OK to have this kind of discussion on an open public medium as a member of Scouts Canada?
Is it OK to criticize the actions of Public companies of Scouts Canada face Book page. I would be interested in hearing any comments on this subject. Let's keep the discussion polite and Scoutlike. Thanks.
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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by Karl Wagner » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:28 pm

This is an open public forum and we're about to have this sort of discussion, espousing opinions with which others may object. So it must be OK. :)

Let's turn the argument around. Hypothetically speaking, would it be OK for Scouts Canada to dictate how others think or limit what they can say in a public forum? Who get's to decide what an individual is allowed to say or write? What would the consequence be? Scouts Canada decided to put themselves out on Facebook. This is a natural consequence of that decision.
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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by scouterjim1 » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:31 pm

My answer is "Yes" I am a proud member of Scouts Canada, but should my one comment influence a possible sponsor from donating, then they are too touchy. This is a democracy, and as such, I am within my rights to voice an opinion anywhere. I find it hypocritical to take "environmental" money from a company that pollutes and destroys the ecology of this planet. They were also supporters of the apartheid government in South Africa for years. That is my opinion, and I am allowed it anywhere. Shell doesn't like it, too bad for them. I stand by my convictions.

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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by Sam Wallis » Sun Oct 09, 2011 5:19 pm

individuals should be able to voice their opinion. as long as they are voicing it as their opinion and not the opinion of the organization thats fine. Those who are designated official spokespersons would not be in that position.

Also, this page is as public although no where near as well folowed as facebook.
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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by RakelaK » Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:05 pm

I am a big promoter of freedom of speech. But I do see where Errol is coming from. We know what the conversation is about. And, like the example, some of the opinions tossed into a conversation thread on the FB public page can be a bit kooky and backward... which can have a negative impact back on the group... even though it wasn't intended that way..

There is nothing saying that the SC FB page isn't attracting potential parents who just do a drive-by to see if they can dig out any information on the group. They may never take part in the discussion. But they can see it.

And when a member gets a little heated and flies into a rage on something that is their personal opinion.... the drive-by viewer doesn't know that.

So I don't think it's a bad idea to hold in comments which can turn people off... especially if they have no idea what the entire thread is about and only see that one "opinion' post... that could be the needle and the damage done for them.

I am the first one to express dissatisfaction when it comes to a Scouts Canada process or policy that I don't agree with.

But if someone deviates from the "Scout" topic and suddenly starts ranting about dislike of an oil company... or starts putting down our oil sands/ethical-oil production.... or throws out an off-hand comment like "lets be more casual and try and drop the para-military look".... statements like that, even if they are the opinion ONLY of the person typing them, might be just enough for the 'drive-by' viewer who might end up thinking we are a bunch of left-wing pea brains or a group of anti-Military hippies.

Just that one off-topic opinion read by an interested parent of 4 or 5 kids... could mean that a Scouting group somewhere just lost those 4-5 kids as potential members. It could be a military person reading it... it could be an Environmental engineer with 5 kids who is working out in Northern AB.... we don't know... and will never know.

Rant all you want about National, Council, Area, Group... handbook, uniforms, camp costs.... all that discussion can turn a big negative into a positive for the way we operate.

But to go off-topic and rant about something, especially something which could be near and dear to someone who has nothing to do with Scouting.... but might have been... could hurt us.

So speak your mind... but be careful about what you say... knowing your audience on FB is more than just long term Scouters and existing Scouting parents.

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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by Errol Feldman » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:37 am

Karl Wagner wrote:This is an open public forum and we're about to have this sort of discussion, espousing opinions with which others may object. So it must be OK. :)
Let's turn the argument around. Hypothetically speaking, would it be OK for Scouts Canada to dictate how others think or limit what they can say in a public forum? Who get's to decide what an individual is allowed to say or write? What would the consequence be? Scouts Canada decided to put themselves out on Facebook. This is a natural consequence of that decision.
DISAGREE Karl: this is not an OPEN public Forum where anybody can just drift by and have a look. Only members of Scouts Canada use it. So we don't have to be afraid that John Q. Public will see something that turns him off of Scouting because of the discussion.

AGREE Karl: Scouts Canada should not dictate what we are allowed to say wherever we want to say it. You may be right about the discussion being a natural consequence of that decision to open an Official Scouts Canada Group; but IMNSHPO, some discretion should be used so as not to get involved in "political" debates on that page.
For instance, who knows how many members have family members working for Shell...and what that could cost in members. The other side of the coin is that if we can teach proper environmental usage to those members, can they help to influence Shell?
Just think about that...
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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by Errol Feldman » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:45 am

scouterjim1 wrote:My answer is "Yes" I am a proud member of Scouts Canada, but should my one comment influence a possible sponsor from donating, then they are too touchy. This is a democracy, and as such, I am within my rights to voice an opinion anywhere. I find it hypocritical to take "environmental" money from a company that pollutes and destroys the ecology of this planet. They were also supporters of the apartheid government in South Africa for years. That is my opinion, and I am allowed it anywhere. Shell doesn't like it, too bad for them. I stand by my convictions.
Jim I am NOT saying that you don't have the right to express your opinion whenever you will. I am only suggesting that it may not be a good idea to do it on the Scouts Canada Official Face Book page.
PERHAPS, just perhaps, Shell has realized the problems and is trying to do some good.
Remember though that wherever you buy gas for your car you are dealing with a company that has exploited African and South American nations for years. They (ALL) have even exploited the United States to achieve their profits; and what about what they do in Canada...

The other side of the medal is that your comments may not only influence Shell and the other Oil companies, but they may also influence Banks (who exploit the hell out every one who has a mortgage), Food Companies (who exploit us by putting all kinds of chemical shit in our food, check out the E-numbers); etc., etc.

So where does it stop?
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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by Errol Feldman » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:46 am

Thanks Rakelak
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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by Nora Bugeaud » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:57 am

With all due respect to everyone here.
Everyone in this country of ours has a right to express any and all opinions anywhere they want, that being said I do agree that perhaps it is wise to at least temper what is said on any open forum. Personally I would love for us to actually have a closed forum where we can discuss stuff openly without fear of reprisal but even these Scouts Canada forums are not truely closed. While non members of Scouting may not be able to register (and I do not know that to be true) anyone who finds them can in fact access everything in them they may just not be able to "comment". There have been several times recently when there has been "advertising" for these forums right on the "Scouts Canada Official Facebook Page" does anyone honestly believe that what is said here is really not already in the public eye?

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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by Errol Feldman » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:21 am

Nora Bugeaud wrote:With all due respect to everyone here.
Everyone in this country of ours has a right to express any and all opinions anywhere they want, that being said I do agree that perhaps it is wise to at least temper what is said on any open forum. Personally I would love for us to actually have a closed forum where we can discuss stuff openly without fear of reprisal but even these Scouts Canada forums are not truely closed. While non members of Scouting may not be able to register (and I do not know that to be true) anyone who finds them can in fact access everything in them they may just not be able to "comment". There have been several times recently when there has been "advertising" for these forums right on the "Scouts Canada Official Facebook Page" does anyone honestly believe that what is said here is really not already in the public eye?
You are probably right Nora, but it would have to be a concerted effort for someone to read here. First of all you have to find the Forums and they are no longer indicated on the Website Home Page of Scouts Canada. You have to go to Scouters and Resources to find it.

Iam not saying that you can not express whatever your mind tells you to express; but IF you look at the "God" discussion, you will see that we can temper our words and still reach the same conclusions... I ONLY suggest that we not antagonize people by making "political" statements of the Face Book page
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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by Nora Bugeaud » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:42 am

I agree Errol it is harder for people to see what is written here but all it takes is one person to see stuff and the word is out and can no longer be denied. Remember there have recently been several very public links to these pages and I guarantee there are now people at least monitoring different discussions!

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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by scouterjim1 » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:01 pm

Hey, if the families of Shell emplyees have a problem with my opinion, that is their right. Me? I want nothing to do with Shell. They may have cleaned up their act in Canmada and then US, but they have (and still are) polluted the Niger River Delta in Nigeria. Fishing is gone. Villagers have been attacked anad harassed by Shell hired thugs. These are the actions of a good corporation? Go ahead, accept their money. I shall not.

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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by jkeess » Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:56 pm

But if someone deviates from the "Scout" topic and suddenly starts ranting about dislike of an oil company... or starts putting down our oil sands/ethical-oil production.... or throws out an off-hand comment like "lets be more casual and try and drop the para-military look".... statements like that, even if they are the opinion ONLY of the person typing them, might be just enough for the 'drive-by' viewer who might end up thinking we are a bunch of left-wing pea brains or a group of anti-Military hippies.
This is a bit of a straw man argument. Just because someone thinks that people who try to make scouts look "para-military" with the attendant emphasis on regalia are a little self-important and somewhat misplaced in their thoughts on uniforms doesn't automatically make them an "anti-military hippie." Trust me on this one. The average passer-by doesn't take this nearly as seriously as you probably think they do.

Conversations that are too focused will inevitably be less productive than they can be - there is a bias imposed by the restraints. Since scouting is a movement with a strong ethical core, it only makes sense to bring about other factors, such the environment into consideration when discussing sponsorships. How can you tell a kid with a straight face that taking some stick out of a forest as part of a leave no trace lesson that you'll have some detrimental effect on the environment when you're being bankrolled by a terrible polluter with extensive human rights abuses? It's like having Imperial Tobbacco donate sports equipment. Saying "oh that's another topic" is essentially putting a set of blinders on (what social scientists call "cognitive dissonance.") Really, it's very hypocritical. After all, a scout is honest.

As for an open forum - it's important to note that SC is not a paramilitary organisation. It's a volunteer organisation reflecting the values of Canadian society at large. If people don't think that their opinions will be valued, they really won't bother. If SC doesn't want to have some criticism of its policies, than it shouldn't have a facebook page. If you're going to (try to be) trendy and hip by using the internet and social media, then be prepared for differeing opinions and some criticism. After all, you're using the tools that helped take down Mubarak and free Tunisia. Sacre bleu! They don't like the new shirts! Whatever shall we do?

I hardly think that the public will lose faith in SC if some leaders are pointing out that they don't agree with SC policies. I'd like to think that a baseline of disagreement and dissent is healthy, especially if it's a volunteer organisation that's trying to keep up with the times.

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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by Errol Feldman » Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:50 am

KARL: I stand corrected. I forgot that "guests' can simply cruise by and post spam messages here, so I would guess that they can also read all the messages as well. My apologies...

Is there no way to lock out people and make them register before reading or posting...I realize that they can use all kinds on "monikers" but at least that makes it a bit more difficult for them...
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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by Nora Bugeaud » Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:45 am

While "Locking" anyone out might be nice, in this day and age what we need most is to be completely transparent in all our activities and policies. Personally, I believe that friendly open discussions of anything, simply shows that we are trying to do the best job we possibly can of providing a safe and exciting environment and program for all of the kids in our organisation.

If a potential member's family can see that we are actively discussing different aspects of the Organisation most will realise that it is because we truly care and not that we are disenting.

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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by Admin » Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:59 am

Errol Feldman wrote:Is there no way to lock out people and make them register before reading or posting...I realize that they can use all kinds on "monikers" but at least that makes it a bit more difficult for them...
People have to register before posting. There's no requirement to register before reading.

It is possible to have closed forums but that is not the intent of the talkscouts.ca site, which was established to be inclusive.

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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by Errol Feldman » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:40 am

Admin wrote: People have to register before posting. There's no requirement to register before reading.

It is possible to have closed forums but that is not the intent of the talkscouts.ca site, which was established to be inclusive.
Ok Thanks.
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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by Mike Stewart » Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:48 pm

We could make these forums closed, in that people would have to register before reading posts. However, it wouldn't change the fact that anyone can register - i.e. you don't need to be a Scouter to have an account. So it seems to me that it wouldn't accomplish anything. I agree that TalkScouts is best as an inclusive forum right now.

Perhaps when AMS is well established, we might move TalkScouts (and maybe the Facebook GROUP as well) into a similar forum within the social component of AMS.That way we could have a forum that is just for registered Scouters.

I'm curious to hear what people think of this idea?
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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by ayates » Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:58 pm

Mike Stewart wrote:That way we could have a forum that is just for registered Scouters
I am completely against this as it excludes leaders from the rest of the world. A number of Canadian leaders, including myself, benefit from the UK Scout web forum (much more active than ours). It would be a shame to cut them off from our resource, and cut us off from their knowledge.

Besides that, we should have nothing to hide. My theory is that if you are afraid of a question, its because you are afraid of the answer.


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Re: Voicing Opinion on Scouts Canada Official Face Book Page

Post by jkeess » Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:13 pm

We're also in a society that is becoming increasingly open - to close off will onyl engender a harsh view (as has been seen in the past week.)

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