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how to foster permaculture discussions in facebook groups?

 
Posts: 12
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 Hello! Recently I'v fallen into a "leadership" role with my local permaculture group. We have a decent sized Facebook group catered to our specific area, i think the vast majority or members live in our county, or surrounding counties. Past leaders and current leaders have tried for years to get people to gather in person, but there's a lack of commitment and every one is "just so busy." I've all but given up on trying for regular meet ups. So i've turned my focus to trying to facilitate more discussion on the FB page. There's a lot of semi-negative thoughts I have about the group and while I don't want to focus on them, I think recognizing them first is the only way to fix them.
 The FB discussion has been so stagnate, basically nothing is being discussed that wouldn't fit into just an organic gardening group. No discussion that goes beyond organic gardening, and no new ideas being dissected or discussed. Theres one-on-one discussion when people hang out with fellow permie friends, and a few of us work on projects around the area together, but i think that leaves a lot of room to improve, and a lot of opinions and views are being left out by almost a clique like mentality.  
 Soooo, I'm trying to learn how to facilitate more in depth discussion within our FB group. I've already put forth my intentions for facilitating more online discussion and debating in the group. I have gotten lots of support from the usual active people and new people. I've even come up with discussion rules a little bit like permies, and i'm constantly asking for input. I want more people to feel like a part of the group. I'm trying to encourage those with lots of knowledge to interact more with those who are newer, both could benefit. I just want some more input from outside of my own brain as to how to get more discussions going and i have seen there a lot of good "thinkers" in these forums...  
 Also, I'm really not sure how to word this, i think i've written and deleted a paragraph about 4 times, but how do you talk to people who believe their point of view is "morally right" and plug their ears to any other POVs. Very frustrating, i can see the perks of the way this forum is set up, but i don't think myself and a few others can highjack the FB group and make it how we want to get more discussion going. Please share if you have any thoughts about that subject if you want, i'm always looking for outside ideas and help... I may go into more detail about this specific problem but for now i dont think i can without being too specific, and it's hard to explain all of the ins and outs in a monologue.
 Anyway, i'm trying to be more active on here, at first its a little intimidating with the whole apples and pies aspect, but i'll worry about that later. I also like to discuss more with people in my specific area, as a lot of my wonderings are about that.
 
pollinator
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I no longer use facebook, but I have a thought (or two) that might be helpful. Is the facebook group open to be joined by anyone? Or at least any local? If so, maybe post a link here. Maybe you'll get more members who are used to how we do things here.

Also, maybe post permies links there? Maybe that exposes some folks to how we do things here. Maybe if you can't have the discussion you want on facebook, you can move it here. Maybe some facebookers learn to "be nice". Maybe if I try hard enough, I can squeeze in one more "maybe"...
 
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I would encourage you to send out daily posts. Each with a little tidbit of permaculture gold.

If you become the "expert" you will be able to better facilitate these discussions. Post picture of project that you are doing or that you see on the web.

This could also be the be nice policy of the group, after too many heated conversation the defacto solution was to just talk about fluff stuff. I like  hosting workshops with my own local group.


 
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Bill Waters wrote: how do you talk to people who believe their point of view is "morally right" and plug their ears to any other POVs.



I don't believe you can.  Some people simply aren't receptive to anyone else's ideas, and I don't think you can bully, cajole, or convince them to look at things differently.  I think that is part of the reason that you don't hear a ton of permaculture success stories.  I think a lot of people that are doing this have given up trying to convince anyone of anything and are just quietly doing there own thing on their own land.  I know I rarely talk to anyone outside of here about any of the stuff I'm doing, and then only if they ask.  I've simply grown tired of trying to explain things to people that already have their mind made up differently.  I can tell immediately if someone is genuinely interesting in something I am doing, or just asking so they can try to shoot holes in it.  I don't bother with the latter.  I don't have time for it.  I have projects upon projects that I want to do, gardens and forests to create, animals to care for, solar experiments, and life to enjoy.  My time is a limited resource that I am not willing to waste.
 
Bill Waters
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T Melville wrote:I no longer use facebook, but I have a thought (or two) that might be helpful. Is the facebook group open to be joined by anyone? Or at least any local? If so, maybe post a link here. Maybe you'll get more members who are used to how we do things here.

Also, maybe post permies links there? Maybe that exposes some folks to how we do things here. Maybe if you can't have the discussion you want on facebook, you can move it here. Maybe some facebookers learn to "be nice". Maybe if I try hard enough, I can squeeze in one more "maybe"...




Anyone can request to join, though someone in the group of moderators has to approve them. Usually we just try to make sure they live in the area, and it's not a troll, we're pretty lax when it comes to that but we want to keep this group local. juuusttt maybe.... it's hard because for the most part every one is nice, only one instance a while ago, before the rules, some one ended a pretty engaged conversation quickly with a comment that really sounded like "if you don't do permaculture my way then you're wrong!"
One problem is we've had a lack of engagement from members because this group is public. You have to request to join in the conversation, but anyone can see the conversation. Sometimes threads will appear on someone's homepage that is not in the group themselves, but has a friend in the group. Multiple people want to make the group private, and said that's the thing holding them back from engaging. bbbuuutt roughly the same amount of people want to keep the group public. They've given the "we need to spread the permaculture knowledge to as many people as possible" excuse to keep it public. I fully agree with that idea, i just don't think this is going about that in the right way.  And while they themselves aren't very active in spreading permaculture knowledge through their own Facebook page, they want other people to do it. I want to go about this process democratically, but lots of people voted without giving it any real thought or discussion. Some got the wrong impression that making it private will make it completely closed off to the public, this is not true. We tried to explain this but i think people don't get on Facebook enough to keep up with the discussion (but still felt they should vote). You only have to be approved (very easy) to read the discussion and participate. The group will also come up when Facebook makes suggestions to people about what groups they should check out, so it still will have public exposure. Just some drama, and in the end it will be resolved, it's just hard to discuss with people who have made up their minds and i'm semi-venting my frustrations while also looking for help. :-D
thank you for the response!
 
Bill Waters
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S Bengi wrote:I would encourage you to send out daily posts. Each with a little tidbit of permaculture gold.

If you become the "expert" you will be able to better facilitate these discussions. Post picture of project that you are doing or that you see on the web.

This could also be the be nice policy of the group, after too many heated conversation the defacto solution was to just talk about fluff stuff. I like  hosting workshops with my own local group.




thank you for input- i like the idea of semi daily posts, i've been thinking of ways i can post semi daily about a "permaculturalize your thinking!" with a little tidbit i've learned from permaculture and see if people want to expand and discuss them... for example "Permaculture thought for the day- 'The problem is the solution!' tell me about instances where you've experienced this"
I'm hosting a workshop soon and we'll see how the turn out will be... i'm hopeful we can get the ball rolling again.
 
S Bengi
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I think that it is good that it is public and so people are nicer.
I can see how some folks on the more "prepper" who like their privacy wouldn't want to talk about their plans and project to the public. Or those who engage in civil disobedience by installing a greywater system or composting toilet might not want everything out in the open.

Similar to how we have biweekly themes/book give away here on permies, it might be nice to have 24 or 12 themes per year. And semililar amount of in person workshop. Do charge for the workshop but offer sliding rate scholarship aka full scholarship. Make your facebook post picture/infograph heavy
 
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Trace Oswald wrote:

Bill Waters wrote: how do you talk to people who believe their point of view is "morally right" and plug their ears to any other POVs.



I don't believe you can.  Some people simply aren't receptive to anyone else's ideas, and I don't think you can bully, cajole, or convince them to look at things differently.  I think that is part of the reason that you don't hear a ton of permaculture success stories.  I think a lot of people that are doing this have given up trying to convince anyone of anything and are just quietly doing there own thing on their own land.



I think showing is more effective than telling.  I'm more influenced by people who have projects to show than by people who lecture.  So I think having various projects forums or galleries might be helpful, so instead of trying to convince someone of something verbally, you can say "look at what so-and-so is doing here (link)"
 
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Having it be public makes it a lot harder, I think! I'm part of a local homesteading facebook group, and a lot of the  posting is pretty personal "I saw a coyotee up by Miller's Creek" or "Anyone want to trade fertile khaki campbell duck eggs for some rhode island red eggs?" Because it's private, people feel a lot more comfortable and it's more like a community. I think having it be a public group probably makes it feel more like a "page" than a group.

There's a benifit to it being a page-like group. Facebook likes groups more than pages. I can share something on permies facebook page, and it'll be shown to maybe 200-400 people. BUT, if someone then shares it to a group, BOOM, it gets seen a lot more. One meme I posted on there has been seen over 100,000 times, which is insane! And it's because people shared it to groups and their pages.

So, I think the focus you want is to post things that are articles, threads, memes, etc. Try to get discussion going by asking a question--the more people respond to it, the more people will actually see it. Facebook won't show it to people if it doesn't think they'll want to see it.

I would probably alternate between articles (Daron Williams has some really nice ones at Wild Homesteading https://www.wildhomesteading.com), and permies threads, your own permaculture stories, and memes. There's some pretty cool meme threads here:

https://permies.com/t/135423/favorite-Paul-quotes
https://permies.com/t/40/108927/Hilarious-rib-tickling-memes

Post the meme with some related question or a link to permies thread or personal story. That should help people interact with it more!

And, please feel free to share anything off of the permies facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/PermiesCommunity/). We'd be so grateful, too! Just share things that match the vibe of your group. There's a lot that I don't share to the gardening facebook groups I'm in, because I don't want to look like someone just out to spam everyone with permies stuff!


=================================

The biggest thing, I think, is to not get yourself burnt out. If you're trying to create new posts everyday from scratch, you might quickly run out of material and time/energy. But, if you can just go share things that other's have made, you'll save yourself a lot of time.

It's hard to get people engaged on facebook, especially on a non-private group. But, since it's public, things are shareable, and that's a huge strength. Use it!
 
Bill Waters
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S Bengi wrote:I think that it is good that it is public and so people are nicer.
I can see how some folks on the more "prepper" who like their privacy wouldn't want to talk about their plans and project to the public. Or those who engage in civil disobedience by installing a greywater system or composting toilet might not want everything out in the open.

Similar to how we have biweekly themes/book give away here on permies, it might be nice to have 24 or 12 themes per year. And semililar amount of in person workshop. Do charge for the workshop but offer sliding rate scholarship aka full scholarship. Make your facebook post picture/infograph heavy




thats a perfect examples, some members live in small conservative communities and have already gotten trouble from (as paul says it) "the department of making you sad" for simple things like small structures and the sort, we don't need to blast out online what plans we have, or are thinking about. Even if people don't ultimately put those plans into action, it's still nice being able to talk about them without nosey Nelly down the street seeing it on her Facebook homepage. We do have preppers in the larger group but for the most part they stay off Facebook entirely...

For this workshop i'm only charging people their labor to help me get a few projects done, i'm also working on my teaching skills because i'm pretty terrible at it but would like to do more in the future...  and today i started a picture thread in the group, lets hope that gets some responses and friendly interactions going!
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