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TOPIC: Awakenetwork Improvement Project

Awakenetwork Improvement Project 12 Feb 2019 09:27 #110341

Time to talk turkey:

Why participate here any more? No one starts new conversations. There aren't enough participants to keep existing conversations alive for more than a few days. I helped start this place so I have a deeply emotional and nostalgic connection to it. If I'm thinking this way, well, you are all voting with your time and effort. I don't blame you.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 12 Feb 2019 09:48 #110342

It is a bit depressing, although I notice very low traffic at DhO too. I think that the benefit of online practice logs has significantly diminished as most are not on a rapid-progress path. I know that for myself, I have not much to say publicly about my practice specifically.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 12 Feb 2019 10:58 #110344

I keep checking in here even though I have not spoken up much.

I do think of these people as the ones that got me where I am... it started at DhO but continued here. I feel safer here than DhO.

As I muddle around looking for a path forward, I recognize that it's as if my progress is only relevant here, because it's hard to connect with people from outside of the bubble here, it's going to take another year of getting to be known and know. I'm not sure I will make it into another bubble, because I don't know how to relate my brain as-is with the beginner mindset in another sangha, does that make sense? I fear that a new teacher has to escort me through his/her valley before she will take me farther up the mountain, but I don't express the beginner experiences in her valley that will assure her that I'm on track. Maybe I'm wrong about that. This is a conversation to have! :)

I don't think it's your guys job to carry me along for ever.

IMHO, without advertising/outreach, the newbies that gain the most need to hear about this place to feed the pipeline and keep teacher-level people interested.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 12 Feb 2019 11:54 #110346

Just keep going! Conversation plow!
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 12 Feb 2019 13:26 #110347

If you all want this place to be available to you then I suggest you use it more. If all you're doing is coming here to read that's not going to help keep Awakenetwork alive. You need to post. I'm being blunt on purpose. I'm see no reason for anyone to stick around unless there is a marked increase in commentary over an extended period of time. My sweat equity has been invested here and as Tom said, it's too painful to watch it die a slow, slow death.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 12 Feb 2019 13:29 #110348

I just check in every few weeks or so, and not much to say.

Amazingly, "dharma overground" as a search term on Google trends actually worked, and it peaked in 2009, which is the time frame when I stumbled on to this stuff.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 12 Feb 2019 16:50 #110354

I get new member requests every couple of days, and most say they heard of this place on DhO. But virtually none of the newly approved folks post here, possibly because there is not much to see once they sign in. Not blaming, just saying.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 12 Feb 2019 18:12 #110355

Any stats on what people look at?
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 12 Feb 2019 18:34 #110356

I just reviewed Google Analytics for this site and people come here for the forums. Far and away, most page views are of the message boards.

File Attachment:

File Name: AnalyticsDefaultOverview20190205-20190211.pdf
File Size: 62 KB
Last Edit: 12 Feb 2019 18:48 by Chris Marti.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 12 Feb 2019 19:00 #110358

Here's the same data view but for a year's time:


File Attachment:

File Name: AnalyticsDefaultOverview20180205-20190211.pdf
File Size: 78 KB
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 12 Feb 2019 19:09 #110359

Interesting. I'm amazed that people aren't pouring through the practice logs. I would have been insanely interested in that when I started. All I did was search the internet and read about people's personal practices. It was like enlightenment porn. :P
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 12 Feb 2019 19:25 #110360

People tend to land on the forum pages and leave from the forum pages. The average time spent on the site, per visit, is less than two minutes. They don't stick around and explore. The really deep and voluminous content here, including the KFD content, gets almost no traffic. Maybe the site could be reorganized and/or that kind of material could be advertised openly somehow. That content really is a treasure trove of meditation material. It was one of if not the major motivation to start and maintain Awakenetwork.
Last Edit: 12 Feb 2019 19:28 by Chris Marti.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 13 Feb 2019 01:03 #110362

shargrol wrote:
Interesting. I'm amazed that people aren't pouring through the practice logs. I would have been insanely interested in that when I started. All I did was search the internet and read about people's personal practices. It was like enlightenment porn. :P

My experience over the past 3 years of PD sangha activity tells me that part of the problem here is alternate methods or books like TMI, TWIM, Seeing That Frees, Advaita Vedanta, whatever. People are not willing to just continuously & directly investigate their experience for days, weeks & months on end right now, on average, relative to KFD in it's heyday (which of course I was not around during). There are loads of excuses but mostly I think there is a lack of clarity on what the goal is, a confouding of maps & terminology, a fear of the so-called 'dark night', a lack of confidence/excitement/zest for very specific linear progress oriented practice & more. Also, in general, PD needs to be sustained by new people who are actually succeeding & then taking the energy of that novelty & directing it to help bring others to their point. In this sense there are sort of waves or graduating classes. But because there are so many teachers & systems now, there is not enough agreement on terminology & experience for those groups to organically form.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 13 Feb 2019 07:27 #110364

Chris Marti wrote:
People tend to land on the forum pages and leave from the forum pages. The average time spent on the site, per visit, is less than two minutes. They don't stick around and explore. The really deep and voluminous content here, including the KFD content, gets almost no traffic. Maybe the site could be reorganized and/or that kind of material could be advertised openly somehow. That content really is a treasure trove of meditation material. It was one of if not the major motivation to start and maintain Awakenetwork.

Making that stuff obvious might be very helpful for people. One other possibility would be to resurrect long dead threads/topics/etc. as points of discussion so as to explore how people's understanding of things has changed over time. I will confess here that reading practice logs make my retinas bleed and so I pretty much never read/write/comment on them. Discussions I do appreciate, and would be happy to get together with peeps to brainstorm a list of topics to post every week or so if that's helpful.

I was surprised to see the Viktor Frankl thread in the top 10 hits for the past year in the analytics. I would be up for another book discussion thread if others are interested, but that's about all I've got. Truthfully, I'm a very private personal in general but especially when it comes to my spiritual practice and so it isn't anything I generally feel comfortable posting about unless it's as a response to a particular poster encountering difficulty and it seems helpful in the moment. I've been getting ever so slightly more open about it on some topics here, but the thought of having my experiences viewed as "enlightenment porn" makes me feel icky. I don't think what I'm in to these days would appeal to most folks, anyway.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 13 Feb 2019 07:39 #110365

First, the heyday of the KFD forums and the original DhO, was in no small part due to the ubiquitous presence of the main characters - Kenneth Folk, Daniel Ingram, Hokai Sobol, and Vincent Horn (especially at the peak of the Buddhist Geeks podcast era). I've seen that phenomenon play out over a lot of message boards in the time I've been consulting. In the Time-Warner magazine universe, the most active message boards, by far, were those where the writers and editors posted frequently. It's the dharma version of star power, and it works. If I could get Kenneth Folk to post here regularly - well, that's just a pipe dream.

Second, this format of longer reads and composed commentary isn't in vogue online as much anymore. It's time-consuming. Twitter and Instagram are the new "thing." Quick, timely, less effort, less time commitment.

Third, controversy. It sucks people in. It's the same kind of draw as reality television - prurient interest. Folks just love a good argument, watching from the sidelines, taking a side, seeing who's gonna win, who's gonna lose, who's gonna drop the word bomb, who's gonna get personal, etc. We, collectively don't do that very often but when we do, it draws an audience.
Last Edit: 13 Feb 2019 07:44 by Chris Marti.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 13 Feb 2019 07:53 #110367

Noah --
My experience over the past 3 years of PD sangha activity tells me that part of the problem here is alternate methods or books like TMI, TWIM, Seeing That Frees, Advaita Vedanta, whatever. People are not willing to just continuously & directly investigate their experience for days, weeks & months on end right now, on average, relative to KFD in it's heyday (which of course I was not around during).

Yes, I've noticed this, too. I notice people switching back and forth multiple times, even over and over, between MCTB, TMI and other practice types. I believe it's to their detriment but I can't stop them. In the end, and it will always be so, there needs to be motivation enough, and patience enough, on someone's part to wade through all the shit, the boredom, the pain, and the angst. That stuff IS the path. But we humans see that stuff as something to avoid, so learning, really grokking, it's the opposite in dharma practice is truly hard to accept and even harder to DO.

<<IMHO it's not an accident that we are forced through spiraling, concentric circles of the dukkha nanas. We need to feel that stuff deeply and deal with it on its terms, know how it works, what it's made of, and so on. That takes time and repetition.>>
Last Edit: 13 Feb 2019 07:55 by Chris Marti.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 13 Feb 2019 10:51 #110372

Chris Marti wrote:
People tend to land on the forum pages and leave from the forum pages. The average time spent on the site, per visit, is less than two minutes. They don't stick around and explore. The really deep and voluminous content here, including the KFD content, gets almost no traffic. Maybe the site could be reorganized and/or that kind of material could be advertised openly somehow. That content really is a treasure trove of meditation material. It was one of if not the major motivation to start and maintain Awakenetwork.

I'd love for that material to get more traffic, and I'm also curious about what people really are interested in and why are they here? Where do they come from? Why do they leave so quickly? Here at work, we ask our users directly via a service called HotJar . We get questions answered via Feedback Polls.

If the basic service would be insufficient, I'd chip in towards $29/month for a few months to help us understand our users and what they want.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 13 Feb 2019 11:15 #110373

Chris Marti wrote:
I notice people switching back and forth multiple times, even over and over, between MCTB, TMI and other practice types. I believe it's to their detriment but I can't stop them. In the end, and it will always be so, there needs to be motivation enough, and patience enough, on someone's part to wade through all the shit, the boredom, the pain, and the angst. That stuff IS the path. But we humans see that stuff as something to avoid, so learning, really grokking, it's the opposite in dharma practice is truly hard to accept and even harder to DO.

<<IMHO it's not an accident that we are forced through spiraling, concentric circles of the dukkha nanas. We need to feel that stuff deeply and deal with it on its terms, know how it works, what it's made of, and so on. That takes time and repetition.>>

There's a good book I'd read recently called The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure which says that a lot of American societal ills have roots in 3 ideas which have become increasingly interwoven into parenting and education: what doesn't kill you makes you weaker, always trust your feelings, and life is a battle between good and evil people. My takeaway from the book in terms of people waking up is that it's very bad news indeed: basically, it sets up the younger generations to see the first noble truth as something to be skipped over rather than truly and intimately known. Of course the dukkha nanas are going to seem scary, threatening, something to be avoided at all cost. Of course they're going to be drawn to systems that are advertised to be safe and pain-free, with lots of bliss and joy at the end of the rainbow. Humans have always tried to seek pleasure and avoid pain, but for people coming up these days it's been taken to a whole new level.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 13 Feb 2019 11:29 #110375

We're starting to get multiple threads going in this topic, but I'd like to follow up on this one:
.Chris Marti wrote:
Time to talk turkey:

Why participate here any more? No one starts new conversations. There aren't enough participants to keep existing conversations alive for more than a few days. I helped start this place so I have a deeply emotional and nostalgic connection to it. If I'm thinking this way, well, you are all voting with your time and effort. I don't blame you.


Why participate here? It's not so much about participating here as why should I participate anywhere? Here are some things that came up for me when I tried to write to understand my motivations. Maybe someone can comment on some of these?

- I don't have the same motivations to talk about my experiences as before. Before, awakening was a "project" that I really wanted to complete, and (looking retrospectively) there was this "look at me, look at me, interact with me" vibe.

- So what's my motivation? I sometimes distrust my motivations as somehow ego-supporting in a pathological way.

- It often takes me a day or two after reading a comment and letting it percolate before I understand what I have to say about that comment. The opportunity passes in that time.

- I don't have that much time at work most days, and I feel guilty when I do more than a quick reply. When I get home, I've already spent 8+ hours in front of a computer, and I want a healthier relationship with computer use. Not spending time on AwakeNetwork is a consequence of that.

- It's hard to open a conversation topic I feel good about. I have the sense I know less and less about what's going on with me as time goes on, and have more and more confusion about it. Whenever I post about something that's clear and current, a few days later that clarity goes away and I regret posting. It's also often hard to describe what's going on -- writing and thinking becomes so reductionist as to lose that deep connection with what I'm trying to describe.

- Often I don't think I have much, if anything, to add to what's being said.

- The insights I've had past second path do not seem to correspond to what others had. My initial efforts to discuss those came during the honeymoon, high motivation, big impact phase of the insight, and were often highly charged and perhaps off-putting. Now, those insights keep deepening, and sometimes even changing. New stuff comes up.. So much water under the bridge.

Comments? Questions?
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 13 Feb 2019 12:24 #110382

My comment, Andy, is just this:

The best is the enemy of the good.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 13 Feb 2019 18:23 #110388

I am not sure that finding new ways to surface content is going to make a difference here, as the pattern (to me) seems to be people Googling something and landing here, and then either finding what they want or not. In a small percentage of those hits, they will be intrigued enough to sign up but, generally, not participate.

In the heyday of DhO and KFD, the reason those places were hopping was because of what Noah alluded to: lots of new people in the “sport”, achieving things with the help of key mentors. We have mentors here, to be sure, but there is not the same number of people trying “to get enlightened here”. I think this has always been a very eclectic thing to do and that brief spell back then was a blip, not the norm.

I agree that practice logs do not make compelling reading, which is why (I think) they are mostly one-way threads with the occasional post by a mentor. That is very useful to the individual (or maybe not), but not super valuable to others. The Frankl thread was a good example of something that drew a lot of people in, and I think that is the kind of thing that could resurrect AN, if it needs some kind of life support.

I plan to keep the doors open as long as it helps at least one person, and as long as it does not suddenly become a huge drain on my time to support. But if folks have concrete ideas for increasing the participation level, I am all ears. Like Andy, I find that generally I don’t have a lot to say these days, in part because I am not in a hair-on-fire place, although dharma is pretty much a daily part of my life. I could be accused of being complicit in killing AN by not writing about these things, so maybe I should lead by example. Maybe I will.

Discuss.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 13 Feb 2019 20:59 #110389

While mindfully doing the dishes, the though occurred to me that we should have a town hall, open to all, where we can discuss this in a more fluid and interactive manner.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 14 Feb 2019 00:28 #110392

One part must be (and I wasn't there so I might be wrong but maybe i am right) when DhO was formed, it was a new thing, right? It changed the landscape of online dharma. When it got weird and AN split off, AN was part of a new thing so it was new in its own way. Sorry for leaving out KFD. Along side, or trailing in parallel with that action, new places, books, podcasts, general popularity and awareness of what was already around and additional new stuff was wider than ever before.

So, the world of dharma is different now, so everybody experience (newbies finding new things and oldies participating in old things) is different. I guess I'm saying Impermanence.

I guess that's obvious, sorry, but I won't just delete it all and slink away, I'll post it.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 14 Feb 2019 06:32 #110394

Another new-ish thought --- take the old nuggets of good stuff and turn it into FAQ.

Something that I've been wanting to do is use the nanas and the paths as an outline and then under each header, list out some typical questions and good answers. Basically do this in the order of typical progress so that even within, let's say FEAR nana, there is the early fear stuff (being spooked and turned away), middle fear stuff (watching it like an interesting horror movie, scared but still want to watch), the transition phase (starting to get insights into fear, what it is and isn't, how old ways of looking at fear are wrong), and mature fear (noticing the value of the information, the exhileration, and how the temptation to freak out cuts us off from information and exhileration of this phase).

Most of what we have here often spans a few nanas, so it would require some editing. But I think such a product would make it useful to many many people.
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Awakenetwork Improvement Project 14 Feb 2019 08:08 #110396

I plan to keep the doors open as long as it helps at least one person, and as long as it does not suddenly become a huge drain on my time to support. But if folks have concrete ideas for increasing the participation level, I am all ears. Like Andy, I find that generally I don’t have a lot to say these days, in part because I am not in a hair-on-fire place, although dharma is pretty much a daily part of my life. I could be accused of being complicit in killing AN by not writing about these things, so maybe I should lead by example. Maybe I will.

I hope you do! It's active posting, causing our content to change frequently, that will draw more users and more thus active posting. If people find us using a Google query and see an inactive place they'll leave. It's like a party - if it's active, lively and engaging and people are talking to each other it's a great party. If it's not active and there are only a handful of people talking in the corners of the room then you probably leave early and go on to the next party.
Last Edit: 14 Feb 2019 08:15 by Chris Marti.
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