I've just taken the exciting step of opening Slack forums for students of Magick∴Me. Any students who have registered at the site, or who will register in the future, will have access to these forums. (They're only for registered students, not the general public.)
This experiment will run for one month. If it seems useful and like a good experience for everybody, I'll continue it for a full three months before evaluating if I want to keep it going full time. If it turns into a troll-pit or otherwise becomes annoying, I'll shut it down.
I started all of my own learning in online forums—primarily the Nexus/Barbelith message board run first by Jay Babcock (who later went on to create the much missed Arthur magazine) and then by Tom Coates, who went on to lead an illustrious career in tech and the early blogosphere and who now consults to startups. Previous forums—like The Well and Leri—were crucial hubs that fostered new generations of psychonauts and radical cultural innovators. The Alt.Magick newsgroup was another important early hub, although it quickly became almost 100% occupied by flame wars. This was, of course, long ago in the pre-social media era, when online communication was actually exciting and not a pit of meaningless noise.
I would love to foster a creative and exciting community in the vein of The Well and Leri around Magick.Me. That said, I learned the hard way how forums for budding wizards can crash and burn quickly, and I will be strictly and, frankly, authoritatively implementing clear guidelines and boundaries so that the forum actually has a chance at growing, and stays a safe space for participants. I think that we all have enough experience of the Internet to understand why this is, really, the only way to do it.
These will be our ground rules at the outset:
0. Terms and Conditions
In addition to the forum rules below, you automatically agree to Magick.Me's legal terms and conditions by participating in the magickme.slack.com Slack forum. Closely review them here.
1. This is a safe space. Mind your manners.
The forums are inclusive of all ages (over 18), races, genders, orientations and persuasions. The forums must be safe and comfortable for all. Friendly debate is fine and encouraged, but there will be no attacking or insulting other students. No flame wars. No "magical battles." No crazy wisdom. Use your common sense. If you cause problems, you will be banned.
2. No illegal file sharing or discussion of illegal activities.
Illegal file sharing ban is straightforward. Don't share copyrighted PDFs, media files, torrents or anything else that's not legal to share.
Discussion of any illegal activities will also not be tolerated. This applies to discussion of illegal drugs. Don't be dumb: This is a public forum hosted by a third party (Slack), and unless you're on point with your anonymity skills, your login is likely tied to a personal e-mail and your IP. This is the modern world. Don't take chances, and don't turn the forums into Bluelight. That'll get quite boring quite quickly anyway.
Don't even think about discussing animal sacrifice or any dumb shit like that. I'll boot your ass so hard that you'll wake up in a field in Peoria, Illinois with nothing but the clothes on your back and the song "I Saw the Sign" by Ace of Base stuck in your head.
3. No sexual harassment.
Obviously interpersonal relations between students is none of my business, but harassment is. If somebody is making you uncomfortable or harassing you, please send chat logs to me here and I will deal with it with a hard ban. No creeper shit. No "hey baby be my Scarlet Woman" shit. Be respectful.
4. People on the forums don't necessarily know their stuff.
This is meant to be a place to foster public discussion and for students to help each other in their practice and reach breakthroughs. However, just because somebody is on the forums doesn't mean I know who they are or that they know what they're talking about. Take everybody's pronouncements with a grain of salt. Don't let potentially unfounded opinions confuse you in your practice. Anybody you meet in person off the forums, you meet at your own risk—I just have no way of monitoring who people are or vetting them. This is the Internet. Be smart.
5. No harmful practices.
Threads on using magick to harm others or involving harmful entities will be immediately shut down with no explanation given. This includes demonic conjuration (Goetia), Qliphoth work, Nazi mysticism bullshit or racialist Asatru, Julius Evola neofascism, the Dorje Shugden fringe of Buddhism, and Voudon/Santeria/Palo Mayombe. While some of these practices may well fall into "gray areas" depending on context, they can all present severe dangers for one reason or another, and the ban has to be clear and inflexible to maintain a safe environment for budding students. In this case safety has to trump free speech; threads will be closed and anybody pushing these practices will be booted.
6. The word and banhammer of the site admin is final and does not require explanation.
This is the condition of joining the forum, and I will err on the side of safety rather than respecting feelings or "free speech" every time. You agree to this by joining the forum. There's just no other way to do it.
Anyway, with all that cheery stuff out of the way, have fun, explore, enjoy meeting new friends and I look forward to seeing everybody's creativity and intelligence at work. If the above has seemed strict, please remember that it's only with hard boundaries in place that we can really build something wonderful.
See you in the forums!