Our Community Member Forum is one of our core offerings here at Third Factor. On this page, we lay out its format, rules, and some suggested best practices.

Our goal for the forum is to offer a space for those who enjoy our content to connect with others on similar paths of ideation, creation, social engagement, and personal development.

How the Forum Works

It runs on the Circle platform, which you can reach through your browser or the Circle app.

It is a private space. The paywall helps screen for those who want to be here, and not just to troll.  The small size means members get to know each other, adding context to their thoughts.

It is a primarily text-based forum.  Our early community members chose this format to give us space to think grand thoughts, carefully and thoroughly.  Some exchanges are fast-paced; others unfold on timelines of days or weeks, allowing time for thought and reflection.  We do supplement this with occasional Zoom sessions, but we are anchored in the written word.

It is a space where all opinions are welcome but not all behaviors fit.  To this end, we have a code of conduct and best practices that we hope will help you come on board and start connecting.  You’ll find this below.

  • Coming soon: In an upcoming issue, we’ll answer the question, “Why do we want an all-opinion space?”

Forum Spaces

Our forum is broken down into spaces with specific purposes or themes, as visible at right.  You can join the spaces that interest you and leave others unsubscribed.  When you first arrive, you’ll be directed into the Introductions forum to introduce yourself.  Spaces will usually have a post pinned at the top explaining what they’re about.  You can see the current spaces as of August 2022 at the right.

What Can I Do Here?

Our mission is multifaceted.  That means many different types of conversations are welcome in this space. Here are the big ones:

  • Ask questions and develop your ideas through debates with other abstract-intense thinkers
  • Have frank conversations about hopes, frustrations, and other strong emotions, exploring where they come from and what you could do to address them constructively
  • Find other creators and connect to share (but please see our guidelines for advertising your own projects below)
  • Get sanity checks and compare notes on your process of positive disintegration and reintegration
  • Learn from and compare notes with other Doers of Things, so you don’t totally have to reinvent the wheel
  • Join or lead a small, focused discussion group
  • Discuss the theory of positive disintegration and other related theories
  • Zoom in on the values relevant to any conflict or vision, developing your own hierarchy of values to help orient yourself in our tumultuous age

Code of Conduct

In order to cultivate a culture of respect, openness, listening, and responsibility, we’ve laid down some basic rules.

Do these things:

  • Self-regulate in the face of strong emotions and recognize if you need to step away
  • Recognize that other people experience the world differently and that other people have their own experiences that may not line up with yours
  • Assume good faith, agreeing to disagree when necessary
  • If you have a concern about a post, bring it to the attention of the forum moderator
  • Creative self-promotion is acceptable when cleared by a moderator (see our note below)

Don’t do these things:

  • Attack, provoke, or engage with hostile intent, either on a thread or by private message
  • Engage in bad faith (“trolling”)
  • Spam or advertise without clearing it with an admin
  • Threaten violence against others or yourself
  • Post URLs, memes, videos, or other pre-packaged content without adding your own hook, however brief, to spur a discussion

Policy on Creative Self-Promotion

We are a space for creators.  We know contributors want to connect with each other to build their brands.  Before you use Third Factor’s spaces to promote your projects, however, please reach out to the moderation team for approval.

There is an exception to this rule: you may link to your personal projects your self-introduction post without pre-approval. (In fact, please do!)

We typically approve calls for participants or a post about your project only if you have been an active participant in the community.  Alternately, we sell advertising space and offer members discounted rates; we’re also open to working out other exchanges.

Policy on Events

We run Zoom-based events, and we put them through the same editorial process that we use to produce the best articles we can.

We therefore ask that, instead of posting events in discussion threads, you submit the event to us and work with us to develop events that you would like to run for our audience.  If it’s in line with our mission and values, we’ll work with you to develop a strong program, post it on our Zoom events page, and advertise for you.

If that’s more work than you’re up for, we also encourage you to bring up whatever you like in our Open Zooms, which occur periodically and are listed at the same link above.

If neither of those suit you, you are also free to reach out privately to friends you’ve made in the forum.  However, we reserve the right to delete events posted publicly to the forum.

Penalties for Violating the Code of Conduct

We reserve the right to enact the following penalties for violations of our code of conduct:

  • Minor infractions will result in a warning.
  • Repeated minor infractions will result in a temporary ban or, at the discretion of the moderator, a permanent ban.
  • Major infractions will lead to your post being deleted immediately by the moderator and a temporary or permanent ban, with the same refund policy as detailed above.
  • In the case of a permanent ban, your subscription will be terminated. Monthly subscribers will not receive a refund; annual subscribers will receive a prorated refund for the months remaining on their subscription.

Image by mixetto (iStock)

Best Practices

What we wrote above are rules.  What follows are suggestions.  You are not required to follow them, but if you’re here, you probably want to connect.  We’ve therefore put together this guide to what we find works best.  We encourage you to experiment and see what works for you.

  • Be curious about other people. If you want engagement, start by engaging with others. Ask a lot of questions and listen to the answers. We find this forum to be most rewarding when we try to understand why fellow members think what they think.
  • Short posts are more likely to be read. We challenge you to present your topic in 250 words or less, especially to start a new thread. Granted, this is the best practice we most often disregard, but if you do so, be sure it’s an intentional choice.
  • But do make sure you include your own words! When members post just a link without a conversational hook, others tend not to engage.  We can all find interesting content out there; what we want here is to get to know youDo share links, but also share what you want us to discuss about them.  Note that this is a rule, not just a best practice, and a moderator may delete your post if it contains nothing but a link, image, or video.  
  • Share personal experiences. These are always welcome!  They help others relate to you and foster compassionate exchange.
  • Keep threads on topic.  If a conversation inspires a new idea, start a new thread.  That will bring in participants who wouldn’t have noticed it if you buried it in the previous thread.
  • Consider how you might ground your idea in the concrete, specific, and real. Our community members are generally abstract intense, which shapes our community in a certain way.  And we do love theory and the hypothetical!  Some questions, however, might most effectively be addressed by landing on the ground and getting into the concrete details.
  • Aim for generative conversation. Are you just looking for validation or are you actively seeking to find solutions to a problem?  We all simply need our feelings mirrored sometimes, especially when we haven’t gotten much of it before.  As we’re a forum dedicated to growth and pursuit of wisdom, however, be prepared to receive ideas for how you could tackle the problem. In other words, if you ask, be open to receiving answers.
  • Be precise about what you want.  If there’s something that you need–support, advice, recommendations–ask for it!  People generally respond most readily to clearly worded, direct asks. 

  • This is a community space, not a therapist’s office. We encourage the sharing of issues that affect you as you would with offline friends.  In some cases, however, you may be better served by therapy or by coaching. If that’s what you’re seeking, feel free to reach out; we may have referrals for you.
  • Disengage and unfollow a thread if you don’t feel you can participate constructively or if you’re no longer interested in getting notifications about it. Sometimes this is the easiest and most effective way to self-regulate.
  • Remember that we do not owe each other responses.  We are here because we want to be, and most members are looking to connect.  If you’re not getting the type of responses you would like, we hope these best practices offer some food for thought on ways to change that.

  • Engage!  The more you interact with others, the more they’ll interact with you. Don’t just post; respond, too!  Are you waiting for someone to start the thread you want to see?  How about starting it yourself?  If it doesn’t take, review these best practices and try again.  Fail again.  Fail better.

Forum Moderators Contact Info

You can reach our Administrators and Moderators through those links.