The Elephant In The Room

black violinist

I believe it may be time for at least some of us as a group to begin discussing our original group’s takeover, hijack or coup, whichever term you prefer, on July 3…  ??

Discuss how we can come to some better terms, collectively, with what has happened, and how we want to go on from here…

At least that is what I am hoping to initiate, with this post…  And in part this is also an attempt to set some context and parameters for possible ongoing discussions in these regards…  For that reason please maybe consider taking some time to read, before jumping in…?

( Let’s keep our discussions in these regards in our Facebook group, though comments are also welcome here on the post’s page… )

PART ONE:

Some observations as they come to me…

All of our actual active Moderators and Admins in the original hijacked group are here in our new group, with similar and even more responsible active roles…

All but one of our fifteen ‘“pre-approved for their posts” members in the original group are here in our new group, newly pre-approved…

It seems most of us in the above categories have been removed and blocked from the original group, with only three of our pre-approved members still remaining there, that I know of…  I also have an aka FB ID that remains in our hijacked group, which allows me to observe…

Additionally, pretty nearly if not all of the twenty-one people on a list I was keeping, of members I wanted to eventually (slowly) pre-approve for their posts in our original group, are also here in our new group…  Most of them also seem to no longer be in the original group…

Plus, many other powerful, thoughtful and active fellow members from our original hijacked group are also here in our very new REAL UNOFFICIAL HCR Discussion Group… And I think maybe also more than a few folks new to us altogether…? 😊 To catch up on some of the background regarding what is being discussed here in this post, people can read past posts on this page – https://www.unofficialhcr.com/

And ALREADY soooo many really good, in depth, broad ranging, informed and intelligent posts, comments and discussions going on…  Pretty much from the get-go…

Prior to a couple days ago, during our first few days live, our new group was very high up in FB searches for Heather Cox Richardson, HCR, HCR groups, etc…  Actually even higher than our original group was, after Bec Kemp decimated so many of its most solid and active members and deleted posts with many comments, pinned posts, support documents, etc…  

But now as I post this, and for these last couple days, we are NOT visible at all, in such searches, made by people who are NOT already in our group…

We were getting a slow but steady additional trickle of new member applications up until Thursday and probably into Friday, that appeared to be from FB searches…   All that seems to have pretty much stopped…

We believe Bec Kemp has made a report to FB…  We have countered with our own queries and reports to FB describing what’s happened and asking why are we not showing up in the searches…

Interestingly, just today, this afternoon, in the last two or so hours as I write, we are suddenly getting a large influx of new members, a good thirty-five so far, all of them seemingly really solid folks who are familiar with and fond of HCR…  They cannot be coming from searches, so somewhere, some venue, they are apparently finding a link to us, along with some impetus to click it… What an interesting, ever shifting, changing world this is… 😊  

And, welcome to all who are new to our group…!

The two people Bec Kemp has made admin and moderator in our original hijacked group were never in our group before the hijacking occurred…  One joined on July 4, the other on July 6…

Bec Kemp has been telling people straight up lies, via FB PMs, about what has happened…  We know this because some of those lies have been shared with us…

Bec Kemp is continuing to use our group’s About document written by Rana, Mark and myself, coopting it as being her own…  

Up until the moment of the coup and for most of the preceding year, our original group was increasingly & steadily growing, as reported in the header figure, but also in charts and figures FB provides to moderators and admins in the backend of FB groups…  Growing by about 2-300 members a week in the most recent weeks and months, or about 1K to 1.2 K new members a month…  From referrals, shared links, invitees, and also a lot from searches…  

In these three weeks since the coup our original hijacked group has not grown appreciably at all…

More importantly, our original group is now being rather badly and chaotically administrated, with more and more simplistic memes and “twitter” like bytes, shallower and narrower “discussions,” as it steadily diminishes in terms of what it once was increasingly becoming, just a few short weeks ago…  

Practically speaking, we are not going to regain even nearly 38K members in our new private group here…  Not unless someone can persuade Bec Kemp to turn our original group back over to us, and then remove herself from it… 

Rana Suzan and Mark Hackler worked extremely long and hard, for near about a year and a half, to turn our group into a really solid, strong and dependable vehicle for learning, sharing, support, community, broad ranging and in depth discussion, and social, political and environmental activism, all the while and at the same time enabling some huge space for a lot of additional possibility…  

I was then, just one year ago, given the privilege of taking that awesome vehicle and the space Rana and Mark created and moving with it and with all of you into and towards some new, different and potentially evolving directions and possibilities…  Slowly, with care, always respecting, nurturing and sustaining our shared heritage and common appreciation for Heather Cox Richardson…  

Our increase in numbers over this last year was in part because of our already large body of members referring and inviting their friends and colleagues, along side of HCR’s ever growing popularity, and coupled with FB searches…   And with all of it connecting into a sort of collectively growing awareness of what was becoming some ever increasing intelligent and informed discussion and community engagement, that we were all beginning to notice, more and more…

And so NOW the question becomes, with our now different circumstances, what do we want to do, as a new group…??  If we are not about the “numbers,” then what are we about…?  

Not “about” as if we are merely an “idea,” but rather really what are we about, as in up and about, moving, growing, changing…?

I believe we need to answer that question collectively…  Thus, again, this post…

PART TWO: 

What are some things we can do as members to both further our new group AND grow ourselves ever more into some of the deeply engaged, broad, effective and dare I say awakening community that we were increasingly beginning to find together, in what I believe were greater and greater ways, in our original group…??

1 – Reach out, in any and every way possible, to HCR, anyone here who feels they can, ask that Heather review what has happened, and intervene…  Perhaps even you know someone who knows someone…?

2 – File detailed reports to FB regarding what has happened, and also that we are no longer findable in searches done by people who are NOT in our new group…  For the first several days we were VERY findable… The more of us that do this, file reports, the more it may weigh against whatever Bec Kemp is reporting to FB…  Click your profile picture, then ‘Help & support,’ ‘Report a problem,’ and “Something went wrong’…  Anyone who is good (and persistent?) at dealing with Facebook in these regards, or perhaps knows additional ways, please do consider jumping in here…

3 – For any members remaining in the original group…  Go there and use FB Messenger to message people you appreciate…  You can message them via their profile pictures on any of their comments for instance…  And maybe do this even for people you have not ever messaged before…?  Tell them what has happened, and give them a link to our support site –  https://www.unofficialhcr.com/  –  and/or to our new group here –  https://www.facebook.com/groups/real.unofficial.hcr.discussion.group

4 – If you remain in the original group and are ever moved to leave it, before you go, post links to our support site and/or this group (see above) in comments under multiple select posts, altogether with thoughtful timing, in the hopes you will reach some members before your comments are deleted and you are removed from the group…  In other words let Bec Kemp and cohorts do your “leaving” for you…  This way you will also be making a statement to Bec Kemp, which she cannot miss…

5 – Spread the word in other ways, as in reaching out to people in your own lives and FB circles, other FB groups you are in, folks you would like to see here in our new and still evolving group/community…

6 – Your thoughts here…???

PART THREE:

Personal musings regarding our group…  Instead of trying to create a narrative, I will simply share various select pieces, most already written, in no particular order…

Without exaggeration, over the last year, with increasing frequency as the year unfolded, many scores and perhaps even hundreds of people have expressed serious appreciation, in various ways, for what the group is, was, and was becoming…

Regarding the submission of possible posts to our group:

Quality rather than quantity regarding articles, and/or your own intelligent and insightful commentary that inspires response and discussion…  Depth and perceptiveness regarding subjects our group as a whole is concerned with, including ways to broaden existing conversations and provoke new understandings and explorations…  

We are not a news outlet per se…  We are about learning, growing, informing, broadening and deepening our shared understandings and connections with each other, so as to support greater concerted activism and involvement in our various and diverse locales, around necessary human change and evolution…  

We seek to do this in part via impactful current events and longer term core issues in our local, national and world communities…  Inclusive of all life…

Our original group became what it became over this last year (and was continuing to become more and more) in part because of its unique and diverse collection of rather amazing members, and in part because our moderators and admins were (and still are in this new group) free to follow not just our insight and intelligence but also our instincts, intuition and inspiration…

At least some of our (actual and potential) pre-approved members, and probably all of them, have views that are significantly different from at least some of my own … Different life experiences naturally make for different views upon life… All the while that I know in my own heart it is not our experiences that are the problem, but what we make of them, or not….

My impetus for removing myself and other mods and admins from between certain select pre-approved members’ posts and the group as a whole, was and is exactly that I (and we) very much want the group to be an ever evolving reflection of more than just myself or even just a few of us…

Instead we wanted (and want) us as a group to continue to grow in our ability to discover what we are all about as an extended, evolving and diverse community, or might we say begin to discover OUR larger collective reflections, together…

My personal goal in all this has always and simply been, to be another part of that discovery process, with a group of people who might care about themselves, each other, other life forms, and the world around us in some similar ways as I do… 

To participate, in other words, by bringing my own unique ways, capabilities and possibilities into play with other people’s unique ways, capabilities and possibilities, and in so doing become a contributing part of a larger collective…

In a certain very real sense, that has been my goal my whole life… And, I actually believe it is every person’s goal who is able to look deeply enough into their own hearts…

In other words our group was for me about seeking and finding a larger and larger terrain that I believe, for a long time now, is always and already ours… Or we could perhaps say, a place or terrain already here, that is about ALL of us, together…

Irregardless of which side of whatever particular dialectic one is fond of being on, as long as the underlying belief continues to be that we are separate, the insanities will only keep getting worse and worse…   

And in these what are now some late and likely final stages of the overarching collective insanity, the belief that we are or could ever really be separate, a meta insanity that is pretty much and nearly totally unconsciously hellbent upon destroying itself as well as the world it is inseparably a part of, many of the various so-called “left’ and “right” insanities here in our U.S. society (and elsewhere) are actually now starting to merge together…  

Imagine two opposing armies in medieval Europe, myriad swords, spears, shields and maces in hand, merging together on the battlefield…  What sane person could ever tell any of that apart…? Presently that same insanity is right now becoming more and more dominant here in the U.S…  It’s still mostly in the virtual realms, so to speak, but it won’t stay there for a whole lot longer, if something very real and true doesn’t start to awaken to itself in the midst of it all…

The natural world is first and foremost infinitely diverse, as well as wild and free… And so must we humans also become infinitely diverse (once again)… Not to mention wild and free… But consciously, caringly and inter-connectively this time…  😊

Consider, none of us are going to be here in form forever, and none of us are going to get “out” of “here” with our forms intact… 

But while we are still here, what else could we possibly be doing, together, that is better, more beautiful, or more important than this…?

It was really and truly like a quickening, that seemed to actually want to keep happening in our original group, more and more and more…  Scores, and scores, and just ever increasing scores, of beautiful and deeply caring people, all interacting and interconnecting through a collective multitude of extremely intelligent, aware, informed and considerate understandings, heart felt visions, and concerns…

We humans feed and nurture whatever it is we “see” through the filter of our beliefs…  This is irrefutable and unavoidable…  Another way of saying the same thing is we cannot nurture what we do not perceive…

What I, and I believe many, many others of us saw (and see) in our group, and what Bec Kemp saw (and sees) in our group, was and continues to be very, very different…  

I believe all Bec ever saw in our group were the numbers, and some idea of herself and a world she mostly seems to hate, reflected back to her via those numbers…

I continue to see our group as I always have: connectivity, inclusiveness, possibilities of change, evolution, growth, informed awareness, intelligence, depth, broad terrains, courage, persistence, willingness, acceptance, spirit…  And so much more…

Let each one of us consider this further for themselves, rather than me saying any more…

John Fridinger
7.24.22

free

9 comments

  1. I applaud your strategy, John. There are unseen things about which we humans know nothing that continually engage us through our connections to each other. It is impossible to understand precisely or predict what those things will do or how they will affect our path forward. The value of a broad-based group that interacts on a regular basis is its use as a means of maintaining perspective and elevating quieter voices to full participation. As long as this group continues to do this, I will be a part of it.

    From my POV, we are in a period of huge transitions, and the outcome is likely to be a very different world from the one we have known. Communication and the development of a sense of belonging on a broad scale, e.g., a nation such as the US, will likely employ the use of digital technology in ways we cannot anticipate or calculate. Not all aspects of internet connectedness are detrimental to human connection.

    Facebook has its own agenda and bases that agenda on its own fallible choices and decisions. What they may see as outcomes from developing and encouraging groups like this will likely not resemble the eventual result.

    One way that particularly interests me is the nature of interpersonal communication and the development of real-time personal connections among strangers who meet on social media platforms like Facebook. These kinds of connections can produce trust, empathy and feelings of loyalty and understanding beyond what Facebook’s platform can comprehend or predict.

    These groups are potentially a means of broadening the reach of these same human qualities across the world. They are already doing so to some degree, and that will continue and expand. These groups, in particular, are foundational to such a movement, and the promotion of ethics and values that serve humanity in the broadest sense is their core purpose. Participating in, promoting, and engaging directly with the members of groups like this one will become a central resource for transforming how humans communicate and socialize on a broad range of issues and human activities.

    IMHO, the separation of this group is perhaps a significant step into a new way of doing things that the previous group may have been holding us back from understanding or experiencing. I wish you well and thank you and all of those who are working with you for your willingness to take this on.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Alexandra. We plan to maintain the optimal level of engagement and cooperation that are essential to any type of understanding between members. Glad to know that you will be with us on this journey.

    2. Alexandria, thank you… Your words are very well said… 🙏🏽 If there is a call to carry this into some deeper discussion I would love to have that occur under this post in our FB group… So am wondering if you might be moved to repost it there…?… 😊

    3. Let’s make this political party. Speaking pretty with no power does not mean much.
      We will make no impact if our number does not make a dent in the polls. The one way our number would make a change is to give that number the political power.

  2. It’s late and my brain isn’t firing on all cylinders right now, but a couple of quick comments – and others may not want to hear the first one… I don’t think Heather Cox Richardson should be drawn into this FB group spat. Respect her good name and move this group forward with civility and dignity. I don’t know this Bec Kemp and really don’t care what she’s done or is doing to the old group now. If she’s tarnishing Heather Cox Richardson’s name, steer clear, chart a course for this new group, and be done with it.

    As for the direction of this new group, I’d like to suggest the #1 goal should be to become activists in preserving our democracy. If we lose the freedoms guaranteed under our Constitution, we truly have lost everything, including our ability to join forces with the rest of the world in combating climate change.

    To the admins and moderators, I suggest you pick one or two or three overarching topics of conversation, let the group know those topics, and then filter prospective posts and articles to keep within the parameters of those topics. For instance, if you choose US democracy as one topic, you would probably not want the feed filled with posts about adoptable rescue cats.

    Last, don’t let the group become an on-going b*tch session. We all get enough of that elsewhere. Yes, we need to keep abreast of what TFG and his cult are doing and saying, as well as the two obstructive Democratic Senators, but to just keep seeing memes of Josh Hawley or Joe Manchin is not productive – discussing ways to get around them is.

    So, those are my thoughts. If this is counter to the reason this group was formed or the direction the group is taking, please let me know and I’ll withdraw.

    P.S. Numbers are important, for sure, but I’d rather see a strong group wiyh fewer members pulling together toward a common goal than a large group that lacks focus.

    1. Leslie ~ I strongly affirm your suggestions! John, thank you for your actions & explanation! I believe THIS November election is CRUCIAL to saving our DEMOCRACY, on national, state, & local levels! The sharing of factual information, encouragement, and actionable opportunities must be paramount from now through Election Day, plus supporting Democracy officeholders and procedures.

    2. Thank you for joining us here, Leslie. It seems you may not have been a member of the original group because it was curated for content and moderated to avoid the things you have mentioned. We generally didn’t approve posting memes. We disallowed most profanity and removed personal attacks and rants. It was an information based forum with extremely intelligent contributors. The loss of 38k potential ‘listeners’ is disconcerting. Especially, now when we need every voice available to defend our democracy and notice the landmines that have been laid.

      Bec was an absentee ‘owner’ of the page our forum was built on. She didn’t contribute to or work on the page. The group underwent a takeover. It was FB legal, because she ‘owned’ the page. But it was done without engagement that would have protected the legacy of the group and given consideration to its admin and membership. It was a wrenching experience, especially for those who’d committed 60-80 hours per week to its care. It would be inconceivable for those of us immediately effected by the takeover and who have been working hard to recover what we can and bring forth a new group to think of it as a “spat”. Spat implies a conversation where there was none.

      It does sound like our group would more than meet the requirements you’ve identified. Hope you’ll decide to join us.

Leave a comment

Your email address will NOT be published. Required fields are marked *. First names are fine. Comments will be moderated. Email addresses are used to filter out spam.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.