Why can't we get along?

1st Capt. Ron raised the subject in another post. It was basically "why can't we get along?" While there have always been disagreements, I agree with him that personal attacks have become the norm sprinkled with totally off-topic posts. I don't think we were "friendlier" five years ago but I do think the totally off-topic BS was less of the total content.

I know lots of people who have "given up" because of them. Some people just don't post anymore and many others just decided they didn't want to read the ongoing (and generally stupid) attacks. While each of us will probably assume who are "the problems" I have received private messages defending those that I see as problems. The issue becomes "what to do"?

For me, this is an important question right now because I have been agonizing over how to "upgrade" NicaLiving. The software we are using is old and depends on an outdated version of PHP. As I now have a dedicated server located outside the US and will be moving NL there soon, what to do has moved up on the priority list. I am looking for some feedback to help guide what I do.

Here are some possibilities:

  • Shut down NL. It's been fun for over a decade but ...
  • Port the existing site with all its baggage to the new server and just let things stay as they are.
  • Start a bit cleaner. While there are lots of possibilities here I am basically suggesting that some of the current content gets moved and some is tossed. The new software would, hopefully, make it easier to manage the site.
  • Start over. That is, using new software, toss most of what we have (in particular, all the current forums) and "re-start" NL.

I am interested in your feedback. I have been thinking about this for all too long. It's time for action.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Keep all the pictures, as

Keep all the pictures, as they are a real draw to the site.

For the rest start over. That is, using new software, toss most of what we have (in particular, all the current forums) and "re-start" NL.

Your regular posters will lose their body of work, but if you had a link to NL "legacy" site or archive they might be happy.

Easy enough to copy our own blogs onto our home computers

I've done it already. Down load as PDFs, or copy and paste.

Rebecca Brown

A few more little peeps

I haven't thought through this in detail, but some things have crossed my mind:

  • Keep obviously valuable content. This is largely the "how-to" stuff, a lot of which, however, quickly goes stale (laws, restrictions, tax information, tourist info, travel options).
  • Prune by dropping everything else that is older than one year, or two years, or some other arbitrary deadline. Just dump it to simplify things.
  • Charge $25 a year for membership. This is possible if both the content and the resident expertise are worth it, and a lot of yippers and yappers will self-select themselves out of the gene pool. If $25 is high, pick another amount.
  • Allow more photos.

Special bonus section: Whip up a few Qwik-N-Dirty 99-cent ebooks from the valuable, ageless expertise that has drifted in over the years to add some revenue, and remove some of the traffic from oft-repeated queries and recurring discussions.


No Sniveling!

Getting very warm....

Some of the stuff on here is well worth $25 even $50.

Case in point, I was asked about the border the other day by a buddy in Guanacaste. I was able to send him into Liberia to the bank by name and address to pay his $7 exit fee so he did not have any problems at the border. It worked like a charm and a gift is on its way to me.

It needs to be "Responsive", i.e. adapts to fit all screen sizes and cater to the modern hand held device communicator that no longer use a full screen.

Imagine how much some stuff would be worth if you could tell them to go grab a coffee and their answer will be sent in 15 minutes, and here it is. "Go see Ronaldo at the third window down in Migracion, he is expecting you. You need a copy of our cedula, proof of new address and 500 cords"

Yes, but who wants to do it?

I agree the idea has a lot of merit but it requires someone who wants to provide that service (and can say "I don't know" instead of making up the answer). You also have to deal with the people who settle for free information, even if it is wrong, because it is free.

In the 1980s we offered a UNIX phone consulting service where people paid a 1 hour minimum per month fee and we got them answers. Customers varied from a CPA who was the world's biggest cheapskate and would spend a week making up a list of questions and squeeze as answers into his prepaid hour to a company in Florida (we were in Seattle) who would say "we have a problem, fix it -- even if that means you have to fly to Florida for a week. At times it was fun (I wasn't the only Guru -- we were more of a "geek dating service") but with so much readily available but generally incorrect information available on-line it would probably be a hard sell.

That said, it isn't something I want to do but it could work. The NL model is very different. Pretty much, I share what I learned as pre-payment for what someone will help me with in the future.

Two more nibbles.

(1) Chile forum from AllChile.net (http://www.allchile.net/chileforum/)

Topics never die and get locked, meaning if you want to add something, just log in and do it, rather than creating a new thread or whole topic.

Example Topic: "Living in Chile": The latest post was Apr 03, 2014, and the first post was Sep 10, 2006 (http://www.allchile.net/chileforum/chile-living.html)

(2) Jeff Attwood (Coding Horror: http://blog.codinghorror.com/) has written a lot on discussions. As a founder of StackExchange (http://stackexchange.com/) he's up on the topic. Unfortunately, Coding Horror's archive isn't accessible unless you know what term to search for, so I can't site any juicy thoughts.

But he is co-developing Discourse (http://www.discourse.org/) Whether this is relevant or irrelevant, I'm not competent to say, but it's there to take a look at.

...many communities want and need the social glue of discussion, despite its pitfalls.

We decided to do something about it.

  • Reboot forum software for the next decade, getting us out of the 1999 design rut we're stuck in.
  • Use the principles of open source software and "let's make the fabric of the web better for everyone" ideals. Like WordPress, we plan to be the best possible host and service provider for our own software, and grow into an entire ecosystem.
  • Leverage a modern, up and coming open source technology stack, one that will be vibrant and alive in a decade.
  • Inspired by the reputation/badge/governance ideas and concepts behind Stack Exchange, but broadening far beyond Q&A to seed the entire web.

We'd like to raise the standard of discussion on the web through better forum software. The word "discourse" kept coming up in conversations about the problem, and it captures the essence of what we want to do.


No Sniveling!

I Like the Chile Classifieds

This idea would work well here. Chile Classifieds Buy, Sell, Trade, or just give away things with other members of the Chile forum community. Postings will run for 15 days. (1) Chile forum from AllChile.net (http://www.allchile.net/chileforum/)

The Rolls Royce...

http://dr1.com/

Its a beauty. But its business, not a hobby.

2 things

First item - When I joined the site around 4-1/2 years ago, there were daily bloodbaths and every newcomer to the site was picked on. Rebecca was the last one that happened to almost 4 years ago. That's when I took over as moderator, back when it could take 20 minutes to clean up a single topic and I had to login at least every 2 hours to prevent the fighting before it got out of hand. Now I log in briefly twice a day and haven't had to clean up a topic in months.

Way back, people routinely left the site and complained to fyl that it was because of fighting. The last complaint he passed on to me was about me for stopping it! I have had zero feedback on this since then, so if you have given up or don't like the fighting, please complain to me because fyl isn't forwarding your comments. (I may be immune to bickering now so please point it out.)

Second item - I vote for starting a bit cleaner - Keep the forums, although there will be fewer; keep the photo gallery; get a better, separate blogging section; have both photos and topics in a forum or blog. Find the forum topic where we put in our suggestions.

One final note: When we have newcomers, the people here are very willing to help and we talk about Nicaragua, but we haven't had many newcomers, and that's when we become a world politics discussion group.

Entonces...So then

Seems like the ones that left were causing the problem.

Comments on comments

First, thanks for your thoughts. They are useful to me and will influence what I do over the next few months. Let me discuss a few of the ideas/comments:

  • NL is a .com: I started Nicaragua Living because I wanted what it would contain. It was never a business venture (other than it would be nice if it supported itself). I was new to Nicaragua and had questions. I figured I could share what I knew and have an audience that might address my questions. Thus, "being useful" is the goal. If NL was here to be a for-profit business, I can assure you it would have evolved quite differently. (Note that there was a mailing list by Bobby Hughes (RIP) before I started NL but I didn't like his "rules". I felt they discouraged discussion that was necessary. That is why I started the site.)
  • ignore feature: This has come up many times and Jinotega Tony actually implemented this locally for himself in JavaScript. Most NL traffic comes from guests, generally arriving here by a search on Google or a link somewhere. While "regular users" could set up their ignore profile, the site would still be all to much noise for prospective new members. Note that we did try a "vote-up/vote-down" system a few years ago. The result was that posts people agreed with got voted up and those they disagreed with got voted down. Pretty useless.
  • (While I disagree with being categorized as a left-wing liberal) I try to be as Ron characterizes me. I'm not perfect but much like the vote-up/vote-down problem, this is not supposed to be a popularity contest. If you have something useful to contribute, great but shooting the messenger doesn't help anyone. Many times I have posted "that's wrong" with an explanation of why (and, hopefully, with references). That way we learn from each other and someone new to the site will see the sides of the issue. I am relatively pleased with recent discussions about what is happening in Venezuela because there is a lot of input to help us understand things and very little "you think that because you are a commie/nazi/...".
  • Facebook was mentioned. Based on all too much information I have, there is zero chance I will be playing the Facebook game. I know quite a few other people who feel the same.
  • The "ask Juana" idea is a good one. Something like this was tried a very long time ago where individuals would get responsibility for various sub-sets of the book pages. It failed. Nicer software could make this more practical but we still need a group of "experts" who will hang in there.
  • Start a bit cleaner needs more thought. Can we weed out stuff is a complicated answer. First, let's assume (most of) the photos could just be moved over as well as personal blogs. That still leaves 100,000+ things to weed through. My idea a couple of years ago was to clean up what are now the book pages, cull useful stuff from the forums to add to book pages and then pretty much turn the forums into a "training ground" for updates. That is, the forums would remain a mess but anything useful would get moved to book pages. Susan disagreed and I abandoned the idea.

Hopefully that will give you more perspective. One thing I would like to seriously address is finding information. The current system has about 125,000 separate posts and the current search is just as likely to turn up total BS as useful information. There is no easy solution but, to be useful, people need to find "real answers" rather than off-topic BS. There are a lot of people that just like to hear themselves talk. (One easy way to find this is to notice which posters tend to need to have the last word.) How can we address this?

More comments welcome. There is no clear path.

A few ideas

Could we transition the existing site into an archived state, MAYBE move over the blogs and photos, and otherwise begin afresh on a new platform?

External links may no longer work, but we're looking down that barrel anyway if we replace the system. Archiving everything preserves the existing content, keeps it searchable online (read: via Google), we can link back to archive.nicaliving.com in the new version to refer to previously posted information, and it gives NicaLiving a chance to modernize and consider how, if at all, we want to connect with a new audience.

As sball mentioned, new members have a positive impact but membership has slowed, and as Juanno indirectly pointed out, it's probably because of Facebook. Is there a way we can connect with these users, maybe by offering a Facebook login option? Could we set up a NicaLiving Twitter account that tweets out new thread titles or something? I'm spitballing here.

FB is generally part of people's live already

…so adding a group is pretty simple. Also, this group tends to be disattractive to women (Susan and I are about the only regular women posters here).

I got a bit frustrated with there. Most of the expats are living in Granada or San Juan del Sur and there's a heavy contingent of realtors to steer them to Granada or San Juan del Sur. I posted a link to a very good post about Granada real estate in The Real Nica, and several people joined that based on the Granada real estate post in the Real Nicaragua.

Many women see this site as one that's hostile to women, so those people aren't coming here. One woman on the FB group said I seemed to be the only woman who got any respect here -- and I am not in the least afraid to verbally try to kick someone's head in if they don't respect me. Honestly, I don't like to do it (which is probably a surprise to some of you), but I feel I fight the good fight when I do it. The other site is even more right wing, but the basic temper is better -- the site owner doesn't try to be the center of attention and doesn't let US politics enter into discussions. The FB group owner is a bit more active in the group, but has a blog for the longer essays.

In the split of several years ago here, it looked like the people who wanted to talk about day to day life with friends went over to The Real Nica. The FB group has a number of bloggers who link to their blogs for their story telling. The FB group has more people who haven't been in Nicaragua long or who are planning check it out. It was a bit too Granada-centric for my taste.

Rebecca Brown

I wasn't suggesting you use, follow or take up facebook

just pointing out that as two alternatives, those two pages kick ass.

As for worrying about the government and police, you have revealed more about yourself on here than the average facebook account has about themselves.

..wasn't suggesting . ..Facebook

And the facial recognition guys have matched my face to a driver's license registry by now anyway... . . ..

Actually

I agreed with you culling information from the forums but you wanted to get rid of the forums. The problem I see is having duplicate information in books, forums, blogs, and photo galleries. There's also the part where I won't be doing the culling. :-)

When you talk of getting rid of forums, I don't want to lose the social part where a group of people visit each day to chat - that's the forums but Juanno's sandbox idea is good.

Forums

I didn't mean eliminate them from the site. I mean toss current forum content, cull useful stuff to put in "authoritative pages" and, in general, direct people looking for an answer to the authoritative pages first.

Forums are a good thing to get a subject discussed but when you have 100,000+ posts, they are not a good place to find answers.

Wikipedia link

You mentioned we couldn't have forums or at least they couldn't dominate to have Wikipedia link to NL.

I bet I've pitched 200 topics with nobody noticing. :-)

It' fuzzy

Basically, "you can't link to a forum site" is what it says. Based on what you find in forums, that generally makes sense. Today's NL is clearly a forum site. You come to the site home page and what you see are forums.

My goal would be to create a site with forums which I see as quite different. I am going to post a screen shot in another thread of what I started a couple of years ago and explain it a bit more.

I've said this before

Newcomers, looking for general information, look in the books and the photo gallery. Once they're done, they stay for the forums.

The blogs have good info but they're useless because you have to search and don't know what's there, and I can't easily move them to a forum, nor should I because they're someone's blog. If they were completely separate, so you didn't seem them mixed with the forums under Recent Posts, all of the political discussions wouldn't be so annoying to people looking for Nica info.

I agree with Sball on how

I agree with Sball on how folks interact with NL. I saw this question about what NL should be before but didn't reply as I was too new to the site.

If you want to be a source of information about Nicaragua, then you have to compete with Wikipedia. If you want to be source of news then you have to compete with Google new links. If you want an ex-pat chat room for everyone to connect you have that now, and NL seems to be ahead in this category (from what I see on other sites) despite the humorous personality/opinion clashes.

I came to NL with specific questions about Nica plants and horticulture for our family beach house. I stay around as a source of non-mainstream topical news about Nica, since I have family there now. I learn things about Nica from NL that a Google news link or wikipedia page can not provide. From that perspective I think NL is a good service that is being provided.

I, too, agree

And this is getting to the crux of things: What do we want NL to be? What does fyl want NL to be? If there's a difference, can we find a middle ground that everyone can agree on? How do we want to get there?

For example, I think fyl (and please correct me here as needed) wants NL to be a reference site. Somewhere that people can go for authoritative information on a variety of topics Nicaragua related.

I think "we" largely want the status quo, which is a social network, but organized by topic.

I don't think these are mutually exclusive ideas. We can have books, or wikis, or w/e, that are maintained by either everyone or a select few users/experts. The knowledge contained in these, as fyl has pointed out, can be refreshed by discussions in the forums.

Personally, I think we'd benefit from growing our community, and staying focused on what makes NL great, which are the in-depth, knowledgeable discussions on taxes, religion, costs of moving and living, Nica culture, Nica people, etc.

Next up: How do we get from here to there?

It's not about me

Seriously, I don't care what NL is as long as it is useful to someone. I started the site for my own purposes and it served me pretty well. I have received enough positive feedback that it clearly has done that for others as well.

But, I am your free programmer. The amount of time and effort I put in here is a function of how useful I see the site -- that is, personal opinion. I am willing to put in more effort on something that is of interest and/or useful to me. It should be the same for site contributors, the difference is only that much of my time and work is behind the scenes.

I don't want to eliminate the social networking aspect of the site. What I want to do is to have it become one part rather than the primary emphasis. For example, when someone new comes to NL looking for an answer, I think we need the site organized so that they find the answer rather than encountering one of our off-topic personality conflicts. If they find their answer they are more likely to come back and maybe get involved in the cat fights.

There is a lot of good content here (photo galleries are an example but there is a lot of real about Nicaragua info as well) that, if it can be found/used is a big plus. It seems a waste to just toss it.

Good input

NL can't be and, in my opinion, shouldn't try to be everything for everyone. But, don't be shy in your input. NL has to work for newcomers as well so tell us what you want to see. (If you are not even an NL member, you can send email to mono1@monosmedia.com with your input.)

There is a lot of information here but accessing it is an issue. As but one example, we have photo galleries. Those same photo galleries, ported to ocPortal become more functional as it has a built-in facility to send an e-card. For some it is not a big deal but it just falls out of the data we already have.

What I want to do is improve the tool. It is up to you to contribute the content.

Other options

Have you considered eXo Community edition? It's LGPL licensed, allows the creation of wikis that only specific users or groups can edit, there's a gallery extension, an activity feed, support for login through Google/Facebook/LinkedIn, and configurable dashboards.

Example of the activity feed: https://www.dropbox.com/s/o0s0gppbzetjg00/Screenshot%202014-04-04%2012.2...

Example of the configurable dashboard: https://www.dropbox.com/s/z63b628t2w0bf0h/Screenshot%202014-04-04%2012.4...

IDK if it's polished enough for us, but it feels easier to use, to me.

I have looked at it

There are a lot of things I like about it (as opposed to Dolphin, for example) but it seemed to be only social networking. To me, the place to put the semi-static content didn't exist.

To offer an example of current NL info, Paul Tiffer has written quite a few forum posts about immigration issues. While even Paul can be wrong, we have a person writing for us for free about what he does professionally. (Paul certainly does benefit -- lots of clients have been NL members). But his posts get lumped in with the "my neighbor's, girlfiend's, best friend's mother-in-law said ..." posts. Wo me, the Wiki+ feature of ocPortal is such a good fit for this without the participant having to learn what a wiki is, ....

I understand that any good CMS can have a plugin for anything. Unfortunately, as you keep adding plugins, you get complicated. For example, Drupal has about 10,000 plugins. I spent a week when Drupal 7 was first released looking for the right plugins for us to use moving from Drupal 5 to 7. oCportal has very few (Open ID login being one) so there is nothing to look for and no surprises when you try to get the plugins to work together.

With appropriate search

Forums can be fine for finding answers. In fact, I suspect, if you haven't outright admitted, that most of the traffic to NicaLiving (outside of regular members) is Google traffic.

With that said, I'm curious what you mean by "authoritative pages." Do you mean centrally administered pages or wiki-style pages with manicurists? (Sorry, editors and curators...)

Specifics

I haven't looked recently but Google was the most common referrer. But, there are lots of people who got here -- possibly by Google -- that then want to look for something more or something different. Some will go back to Google but, with a good search, some will stay and look around.

For autoritative pages, click on Living or Nica Info. These are "books" in Drupal vernacular. They are organized into a hierarchy and are created by "us". They are less than perfect but the idea was to separate forum discussions from something that at least feels more connected to reality.

I have looked at various sytems that seem to both do forums "better" and have a better way to do the authoritative pages.

You mentioned in another post what I will call "incremental move". My background has been pushing me in the "I can move millions of things and have everything work with zero downtime" approach. I've done it but there is a big differences in the target audience and the actual data. Over lunch I was thinking about/talking about this and, in general, agree that we can do this incrementally and, in fact, that may be a better way to get what is needed.

For example, if I port the user database and all the photos we have a useful chunk of the site moved. We also get a place where users can update their profiles and we get to test our new software. I am not working on a plan. The only real problem is to make sure that the destination software can really support everything we need.

Yes, We Could

all (or some of us, anyway) -- sit in the Sandbox and throw cat poo at each other.

I like that. The serious stuff separated from the cat poo.

One is to trust that people can figure out things for themselves

I tend to find that kill-filing people derails my own tendency to get into those endless wrangles.

Most good information has the characteristics of other good information. Most of the times when people insist on another person listening to them, the information is less than good. Good information takes care of itself. And people who refuse to listen to good information get what they deserve.

You do know the expression PKB, don't you?

Rebecca Brown

The negativity seems to come

The negativity seems to come form just a few people---an "ignore" feature would be great!!

It's Just As Bad

everywhere else:

majicjack Profile Private Message Invite 3/31/2014 08:59

If you need to know, I owned a 5000 acre ranch and 20 belly dump gravel trucks. Also have a degree in Engineering. Have worked all over the world and have met hundreds just like you. How I learned about lawyers and things not to do in Nicaragua was by making the same mistakes that I try to make others aware of. The lawyers I refer to were found through Nica friends(so called) the one I use that was introduced by an expat is a very good lawyer and as hard as it may seem, honest. I of course am not so multi-talented and so full of knowledge or in your case what we call full of BS where I come from as you. I will however fight you all the way when you are out to screw the hell out of innocent people living on fixed incomes and trying to make it work in Nicaragua. I believe you discovered this site and being US citizens and Europeans are involved all you see is dollar signs. You are not the first slick NIca or other con artist to try and you wont be the last. The best way to fight people like this is to keep people informed. How many millions you made off of property means nothing. This is money you made. How many expats have made millions off of your deals? Or should I say how many millions have they lost dealing with you. If it looks like bull s--t, smells like bull s--t, then it probably is bull s--t Answer to your last question, yes I do believe in that and hopefully people will read your post and laugh it off. I am quite certain that anyone that deals with you will be very well educated by the time the process is over.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Where would we go if NicaLiving disappeared?? It's a jungle out there.

Categories Could Be

updated . . ..

Multiple pic posting would be nice. Sometimes one pic doesn't tell the story.

I would miss the intellectual content of NicaLiving. While some threads become quarrelsome it's nice to read someone else's take on a Nicaragua-centric topic. How the events in Venezuela will affect Nicaragua's future, for example.

I agree, civility should be the rule of the day, and ad hominem attacks on fellow site members should not be supported.

The site provides a real service to those living in NicaLand, and is a beacon for those intending to move here. Information is accurate, and if it's not, it is quickly corrected.

The system of organizing pages by nodes is very handy and helpful. I couldn't count the number of times I have linked a NicaLiving page to someone.

Nicaragua seems to be finally moving in all the right directions. I for one have made my peace with DO and appreciate the stability he has brought to the country. I believe -along with many young Nica friends- that the country might yet realize its potential. With, or without a canal :)

If hosting costs are an issue, I would be happy to contribute.

Allow Ads to Pay for Hosting Costs

When I first retired in 2005 I moved to a seniors condo in Cape Canaveral Florida. Every afternoon there was the pool side group of cronies hanging out and sipping mint juleps. At first, I loved it, but it started to wear thin when certain people showed up and started arguments. I found one solution that worked well. When the conversation got a little too warm for my sensitive skin I would take a dive into the refreshing water and swim it off. But I would not stop going to the bull sessions because they were interesting, helpful at times and downright fun. I find it to be the same way on NL. It's just too good to miss! Also, I have a Spanish school in Estelí and I would like to pay to advertise my school on this informative site. http://www.spanishconversation.net/ The ads can be small and unobtrusive somewhat like the size of Google Adwords ads. I'm sure others would be willing to pay to advertise on this wonderful site as well. Think about it. Kenny

Reasonable suggestion

But, of course, we tried it as well. Personally, I have no interest in dealing with the administrative side -- mostly from dealing with payments. As much as I don't particularly like AdWords, the only requirement is to deposit a check every now and then.

If there is someone out there interested in managing such a system, speak up.

ooops

Since I am in the spot light here, let me give my opinion.

First --don't you dare get rid of Nicaliving. It is an INVALUABLE resource for people who want to learn more about Nicaragua, who want to move here, and who live here. I am very grateful to you for this site and to Anna for her book, Living like a Nica. Without these resources, I would have had a much harder time moving here a little over 5 years ago. Thank you.

Apart from the content which will directly benefit me, I like Nicaliving because it is (still) a community of expats. Beyond the direct benefit of content, it is a good place to network. A good place to make friends and to share ideas with people who have diverse backgrounds. The free advice here is great. When I broke my tooth, on a weekend. The members here told me how to cope until I was able to see a dentist. That helped A LOT.

FYL and I are very different politically. He is a crazy left wing liberal and I am a radical right wing waco, still, he has always been very respectful to me even in disagreeing with me. I hope he feels the same towards me. I still hope one day we can get together and drink a beer or two. After which I will use his compacting toilet ;-) I probably won't be able to meet most of you, but I would someday like to meet many of you. I really don't care if we see eye to eye, I would like to put a face to the name, and the posts, to find out what type of person you really are. However, after some of the B.S. and trivial bickering I read (I am guilty too), there are some I really don't care if I meet or not. This is a shame, because we are all expats here and we need to have a strong community for our own benefit.

Many times we turn into subject matter experts on this site, magically. I like to push my view as I believe I am right and FYL will tell me exactly why I am wrong. Still he has never insulted me or tried to belittle my opinion. As long as he knows I am right and he is wrong, I am happy :-)

The only problem I have on this site is that we need to remember everyone is an individual. Right or wrong, we are all entitled to express our opinions without being attacked for them.

I guess that is what I wanted to say, but I might think of a better way to say it latter.

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)

I think we need to realize that not everyone wants to be….

….part of our "nice little English-speaking community here." I like having some English-speakers around which is why I chose Jinotega rather than Granada or somewhere with fewer yet expats.

Difference between opinions and facts.

If someone repeats after being corrected that the legal age for prostitution in Costa Rica is fifteen, after one polite correction that fifteen is when sex with other fifteen year olds is legal, not for paid sex with forty year old and up gringos, then the second correction will be less polite, and the third and subsequent ones will be even less. This is something that can get other people in legal trouble.

My impression is that the more people hang out in expat circles, the less they actually respect Nicaraguans. As with us, nobody needs to respect all Nicaraguans or all expats, but if people respect and know none of them, it's time to go back to the US in the first case, and perhaps time to get Nicaraguan citizenship in the second.

I realized early that the best sign of someone who's gotten beyond racism is that the person can not like one person who is black without making that dislike be about all blacks. Excusing someone for being a jerk because he's black/Nicaraguan/an expat isn't something I like seeing done.

Rebecca Brown

One

Have you come here for forgiveness

Have you come to raise the dead

Have you come here to play Jesus

To the lepers in your head

.....One, but not the same.

U2

Facebook and the like has taken over some of what NL did

Pages such as Expats in San Juan del Sur and Ex Pats in Nicaragua provide a lot of the inquiry type answers mixed with sometimes entertaining anecdotal stuff. The page "Owners" are quick to delete members that are offensive.

Fyl, you are sometimes (a lot of the time) your own worst enemy, starting threads about nonsense that you know or should know by now will just cause a further breakdown of your own site.

NL has no business plan and no mission statement. It has stumbled and bumbled along at its own pace and here we are at the edge of the cliff. Proven by the amount of times you have asked this question and the fact that the "Bell Curve" of the business has flatlined and has been for some time.

Moderation under my membership has been by two people at the opposite ends of the spectrum with not much middle.

Why do I still post? I do less and less but its pure entertainment. I am also selfish and in helping people I learn myself. I am no expert but I do know how to quickly find the location of where the right answer should. (its the frustrated lawyer in me!)

So:

Shut down NL - If you wish

Port the existing site with all its baggage to the new server and just let things stay as they are - NO, we all live amongst people who did that when they moved here (and they all seem to post on here).

Start a bit cleaner - Getting Warmer, but can you weed it out easily?

Start Over - Toss most of what you have and have two functions;

1) The "Ask Juanita" section where you get the real answer from a small team (3?) of experts (small e) and where nobody else can access (in particular section 2 people below) to post answers. Answers will include a few links to support them and provide the team of three with enough confidence to say "Final Answer..now go off and do your own research having started a lot warmer than you were". Ask for feedback as to how they did...if they are off in LA LA land, then send them to....

2) "The Sandbox", where all he children that are too ADD to go through that section can discuss, make up or otherwise keep a thread going just because they can, do and will.

My thoughts, not yours. (and remember, I cared enough to post a sensible reply)

Pretty much agree even though I suspect I'm some people's

…problem. If you want to have a platform for your politics, you will create problems because we're not going to agree on the politics for a range of reasons.

Some of us disagree on politics but agree pretty much on how to live in Nicaragua successfully. I'm coming up on year four in August; others that I've met in person have been here far longer. One way to cut down on the theoretical posts about living in Nicaragua would be to give time in country as a reality check. It's not an absolute reality check -- people can live here for decades without much real contact with Nicaraguans (one woman's comment here in Jinotega was that "We have a nice little English language community here" to explain why she was refusing to learn Spanish) or only Nicaraguans who work for them. But this would spare us yards and yard of theoretical blather about countries people have only visited for less than a month and whose language they don't speak even a little.

The idea that we SHOULD all get along tends to favor bullies (anywhere on line). In the group that's having so much trouble with a mission poster I've referred to recently, he also insists that we should all get along. It's what the bully wants.

Rebecca Brown

Let me be the first to disagree

Pretty much agree even though I suspect I'm some people's new problem. If you want to have a platform for your politics, you will create problems because we're not going to agree on the politics for a range of reasons.

Politics and religion (are they different?) are what Bobby disallowed on his list. The reason that made no sense to me is that politics and religion is a bit part of life, particularly in Nicaragua. If you struck politics out of nicaraguan discussions, would you really be discussing Nicaragua?

You don't have to agree with someone to have a civil discussion. Let me offer a specific example from when I was first in Nicaragua.

A Nicaraguan who was showing me some properties (Omar) was looking for some investment in his family's meat business. Basically he wanted me to buy a baby cow. His family would care for it and butcher it and I would get something like half the profit. The idea sounded safe and I trusted him. But, I had one issue.

I'm Taoist. He's Catholic. Clearly he had no issue with the idea but, to me, investing in a plan to kill an animal didn't fit my Taoist position. I didn't want to offend Omar but I just didn't feel comfortable doing this. He, of course, knew nothing of Taoism.

Armed with an Internet connection I looked for something in Spanish that would explain why this "didn't fit my religion". I found something, printed it out and gave it to him. I didn't invest in a cow (on religious grounds), we clearly had a different opinion and we continued to work together with no issues.

Your point about "time in country" being useful information has been considered. We have run polls to get a general profile of the members and I have thought about adding a profile field about this. But, you are equally correct about the difference between someone actually living in the Nicaragua that Nicaraguans live in vs. living in a Gringo compound. A non-expat equivalent would be people who actually live in one of the countries where there is a US military base vs. one who lives on the base itself.

My feeling is that adding fields to one's profile such as "How good is your Spanish?" would be more useful.

"How long have you lived here and how many of your neighbors

…who speak Spanish actually understand most of what you say?" might be the better question. I know three or four people here in Jinotega who speak fluent Spanish -- and only one of them is from the US (and I'm not one of them).

One basically has to respect someone to have a civil conversation with them. Someone who comes in all "Little woman, let me explain things to you" doesn't basically warrant respect, though if the majority of a group is respectful, I would probably chose to simply not engage someone who did that. I am only civil to people who have been civil to me. If I say no politely, I expect that to be that. The next "no" will not be polite, and should not be polite.

Rebecca Brown

bullies

I hope I have not been one. I admit I am not Mr. Social. Typically I like to listen to my friends talk. I hear a lot of myths, errors, B.S and lies, but I don't really care. I just let them talk, shaking my head in acknowledgment, not in agreement.

1st Capt. Ron

(Title by Miskito Alan)

You haven't been as far as I'm concerned.

Don't see that in you at all.

I think some bullies do have good social skills and work to manipulate others into attacking for them.

Rebecca Brown

I Stay Away

.... ... in response to Phi's comments . . .

from Facebook and Twitter because I know the NSA runs a mirror, and much of law enforcement uses Facebook as a resource.

Here USAID takes the fall for the Cuban Twitter,,, give me a break, I know where those servers were:

http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2014/04/03/cuban-twitter-secretly-...

I'm not anti- NSA or anti- law enforcement, but I just don't see the benefit.

But, getting back to the thread: If we refrain from the ad hominem attacks I think things would be a little sweeter. You can think: that person truly has his head up his ass, you just don't have to put it into print. That's not how you win the argument anyway.

NicaLiving was- and still is - instrumental in facilitating my move to Nicaragua. For that, I say .. Thank You!

Aw schucks, jeez louise

I mean, we get along OK, IMO, tho, at times, we fight like brothers. Disagreements are fine, often informative. Personal attackers need to be reminded of what civil discourse is. The BS ain't so bad cause it's on computer and one can toggle thru it in a gif. (Besides, you get to know who the BSers are in a short while.)

There's a lot of useful-to-expats-in-Nicaragua information here. Tho sometimes it is a bit difficult to find what's germain to one's problem. More than compensating for the info (+ BS) glut NL contains are people online who know how things work (or not) here. That's invaluable to folks like me who don't do Facebook (especially after watching 'The Social Network' movie). (I'm not in Nicaragua to change it, but to enjoy its disconnect from the so-called modern world.)

What's more, NL is a kind of cemetary of the last words of more than a few, gone-t'other-side Nica-expat contributors. That means something.

Look, in the final analysis, it's a dot com, your business your decision. (nytimes.com never asked me what they should do.)