I love how the online cloth diapering community helped solidify my decision to choose
cloth diapers for my family. Knowledgeable bloggers shared their honest experiences, online retailers gave practical advice, and the Monday night #clothdiapers chat on twitter helped me build new friendships.
Over the past five years, however, cloth has become more mainstream (a great thing) and cloth diaper forums, support groups, and blogs have multiplied. It seems everyone has an opinion on the “right” way to cloth diaper and “experts” are abundant. The old style community of “let’s figure it out together” that won me over has fallen prey to episodes of cattiness, judgement, pettiness, and ostracism.
Most days when I’m online, I just want to tell everyone Take a deep breath. They’re JUST diapers.
When true passion comes into play – for your child’s health, the environment, or your pocketbook – it can be difficult to keep perspective. The cloth diapering world is expanding and that diversity is a fantastic thing. I like to believe that people have the best of intentions and that passionate feelings and the barrier of a computer screen sometimes get the best of all of us. With that in mind, I’ve created The 5 Dos and Don’ts of Cloth Diaper Forum Etiquette.
The 5 Dos and Don’ts of Cloth Diaper Forum Etiquette:
DO Share Your Personal Experience. If a cloth diaper style or brand, diaper cream, or laundry
detergent works well for your family, then share your experience with others. Be sure to include important details, like whether your water is hard or soft, your baby’s build, and whether or not you us liners with creams. Remember that your experience, no matter how positive or effective for your family, might not work for everyone.
DON’T Set Yourself Up as an Expert or Belittle the Experiences of Others. Your experience is just that – yours. No member of the cloth diapering community can speak for every product or brand. What works for one baby or family might not work for everyone when you factor in finances, baby’s build, water condition, and more. Some members of the cloth diapering community such as retailers, manufacturers, and some bloggers have extensive experience, but even they recognize that there is no one size fits all cloth diapering solution.
DO Stay on Topic. When you find a group you enjoy full of individuals you trust, it’s natural to want to reach out to them for advice and support. Forums are an awesome place to encourage someone who is frustrated by a wash routine, help a family get started on a budget, or gauge opinions on which brand to choose. People sometimes look perplexed when I mention cloth diaper forums, clearly thinking What is there to talk about anyway? Cloth diapers are actually a very broad topic and offer plenty of material for active and engaging on topic discussions.
enjoy a diverse forum where I can glean from the experiences and perspectives of others. A good rule of thumb is to approach a forum with a goal to learn more than you teach. When approaching an ongoing conversation thread, it’s also good form to read the existing dialogue before contributing to see if you can learn from the conversation. Then, if you have anything new, affirming, or positive to add, do so. More than anything, give other participants the benefit of the doubt and remember that we can’t hear tone or see facial expressions online.