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Inter-forum collaboration discussion

KM Wehrstein

Active Member
Hi everyone -- Forum owners, mods, super mods, staff members, senior members and members generally:

I’ve created a new account here under my real name so as to share my thoughts on the collaboration ideas being discussed here, as well as other comments on this thread, on behalf of ICRR, of which I'm president, and from my knowledge of the Facebook group Signs of Reincarnation (SoR), where I am a long-time admin and one of two “group experts” (in FB terminology), the other being Jim Matlock.

But before I get to that: Congratulations to this forum for staying alive! I am very glad this decision has been made. I was here a lot in years past (under a different handle) especially when having past-life memories was new to me and this was the only place to talk about them. I made a lot of fond friends among fellow travellers here, too. It would have been a great shame if the opportunity for such benefits that this forum offered then and still does now were to disappear.

Now my thoughts:

1) Everyone's points about Facebook on this thread are well-taken. I have to say also the number of people who have said they don't use FB made me realize how much good reincarnation recounting and information is being missed by those who restrict their reincarnation conversations to FB.

The worst problem with FB, imo, is the disposable nature of the conversations, especially in large groups, due to FB format. Because of this, people are not inclined to put much time or thought into their comments, so they tend to be short, shallow, generally uninteresting and sometimes rude in ways you don’t see in places where conversations are better preserved. This discourages people who do want to put time and thought into what they write from posting, leeching quality out of the posts. It is difficult to have conversations in which bonds are formed unless you form them (possibly inappropriately) fast, because relationship-building requires making yourself heard through all the noise. Because of all this, I have seen many people who were active on SoR in its early days when it was small leave it as it grew. The best purpose for large FB groups, I think, is promotion, because you have a large audience and can seize its whole attention at least for a short time -- not discussion.

2) Because of this, ICRR has plans for its own forum in the same multi-section/subsection/thread format as is used here, restricted to ICRR members only… though we are not wed to that restriction, and might create a public one with a members-only section.

3) Re Ocean’s proposal, viz:

It would be great if the scientific reincarnation groups on FB, Jim Matlock’s group and the ICRR group, would recommend this forum as a place to discuss stuff that does not comply with their posting rules but which is allowed here … In return we could recommend their sites to those people who are interested in scientific proof and serious research on reincarnation.

Speaking for ICRR only, I see a few problems with this.

a) I would argue that those who are not interested in verifying their PL memories should be urged to do so nonetheless, because it is the best way to gain confidence that it's genuine past lives they are dealing with. Thus I think that these people are the ones who most need recommendation to visit ICRR! The serious research is relevant to everyone who thinks or even knows they had a past life, because past lives are serious business – they can have tremendous effects on people. But perhaps even more importantly, it can be a tremendous relief and encouragement as well to learn, as you do from acquainting yourself sufficiently with the research findings, that having and remembering a past life is normal.

To explain further what I mean by this, until I got into the serious research, I didn’t learn that:
  • All the Abrahamic religions have, or once had, reincarnationist sects
  • All the other major world religions are reincarnationist
  • 33% of Americans believed in reincarnation as of 2018, up from 24% (including 22% of Christians) in 2009
  • Tribal cultures in every corner of the globe believe in reincarnation, which in anthropological practice would be taken as strong evidence that reincarnation belief is very old, likely dating back to prehistory
  • People in these cultures look for the same signs of reincarnation that researchers do in 2022
  • Kids with past-life memories generally test out as normal psychologically, tending to brightness as measured by age of first words and school performance
  • Ian Stevenson and the handful of other researchers he trained investigated and recorded not a handful, or scores, or hundreds, but 2,500 cases, from all over the world
  • About 30% of the subjects in these cases have physical signs related to their past lives, such as birthmarks corresponding to past-life injuries
  • As many as 6% of American households with children aged 3-10 say they have a child currently talking about a past life (tentative finding; further work is planned)
(References on request)

Learning things like these along with reading umpteen formal case reports made me much more accepting of my own experiences, and has for many other people too, which is invaluable -- a balm to the soul wrestling between self-trust and self-doubt. Too many reincarnationists consider science an enemy due to the anti-reincarnationist attitudes of many scientists. But those scientists' attitude is, frankly, unscientific, and therefore to be ignored and not to be taken as truly representative of science. Science in the true sense of the word inquires about everything without preconceived notions.

...cont...
 
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KM Wehrstein

Active Member
...cont...

b) Because ICRR’s FB group is still small, our rules are not nearly as restrictive as are those of SoR, and we don’t enforce them as strictly. We don’t prohibit conversation about regression, just ask the same of those with regression-induced memories as we do of those with spontaneous ones: that they either have verified or seek to verify them. Our forum is likely to be even less restrictive, because forums require less rigour in moderation than FB groups do.

Thus it may be that we don’t and won’t have a lot of people with prohibited topics to send here, which would hardly be fair.

c) I think it might not be beneficial for this forum to encourage scientific-minded members to go elsewhere, and to become known for doing so.

Again, I speak only for ICRR (whose board must approve any collaborative arrangement). For SoR you'd have to talk to its owner, Jim Matlock; it may or may not be that he will be happy to ask people with posts that are not allowed there to come here; I don't know. (If so, warning… there could be an onslaught.)

I have some ideas about how to publicize this forum other ways, but I’ll save them for another post.
 

fireflydancing

just a fly in the sky
Staff member
Super Moderator
Thank you for your contribution to our discussion, Karen. ;)
The only thing I can say at the moment is that there is no competition in our field of reincarnation. A lot of people are members of different forums or social media outlets at the same time. Including myself. I don't think about the risks of losing members but I think more about solidarity and spreading more awareness about reincarnation as part of our existence. I think we are both on the same page because you came here to give your thoughts.
Personally, I think it's worth the effort to modernize this forum and to keep it in the air. It serves its purpose for a lot of people, not only for the members but also for the readers that don't register. We're happy with all input at this point, so if you have more ideas... bring them on...
 

landsend

Senior Registered
IMO, it's not only about publicizing the forum, but monetizing. These things don't run themselves. They have to be paid for. So the real question is how can that work out long term -- it may be that (as much as I love free services!) a premium subscription could be an option, where devoted users pay a fixed yearly fee, or monthly, or what have you, and that goes towards upkeep. They would get a benefit of being a premium sub, in that they have access to premium features (to be determined), and / or a say in the overall running of the forum.
 

fireflydancing

just a fly in the sky
Staff member
Super Moderator
IMO, it's not only about publicizing the forum, but monetizing. These things don't run themselves. They have to be paid for. So the real question is how can that work out long term -- it may be that (as much as I love free services!) a premium subscription could be an option, where devoted users pay a fixed yearly fee, or monthly, or what have you, and that goes towards upkeep. They would get a benefit of being a premium sub, in that they have access to premium features (to be determined), and / or a say in the overall running of the forum.
Hi Landsend!

Interesting idea. I am of course no admin nor owner, but as a dedicated member of this forum, I would not opt for that way. It could be interesting if we had a learning element or skills to offer.
On the other hand, we did gather a lot of information in this forum about reincarnation and the emotional support from members among ourselves is worth gold. 😉
I know that for Carol personally, it is highly important that young parents with little children who start talking about reincarnation, find a safe spot to go to. If we would raise a paywall, we would never attract this target group. (those people often don't register but certainly read the forum and the archives).

I hope you are doing well! I missed you here although I know you had other things to do.
 

Totoro

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
I've mentioned putting out the tip bucket, absolutely!

@KM Wehrstein I wouldn't encourage people to leave the forum. I would direct them to one of the facebook groups if they wanted more academic sources of information, say someone is doing doing a paper or writing a book and wants facts and figures from papers that may have been peer reviewed. I would also have no issue with it if someone asked for recommendations for facebook goups in general.

I always try to deal with things in house. That's nothing personal to any one person or group, outside of here. It's simply customer service to me; they came here looking for help, I'll try to give it.

The thing with verifying memories is that many people don't know how or what constitutes a validation. With the forum redo, I was considering writing a guide as it's something I've given a lot of advice on in the past.

I do agree with Jim Matlock et al, in that spontaneous recall which can be verified is a pretty solid approach. However, I personally feel that any source of verifiable information that comes from within (dreams, phobias, unexplained preoccupations and so on), are also credible. I'm also aware though that the difficulty of ruling out external sources of false information and memories greatly increases through those methods.

I agree with you! I'm just ruminating as I think there needs to be more education about verifying and also on the other end, reflecting to find out what these memories mean to each person and their current lives.
 

landsend

Senior Registered
Hi Landsend!

Interesting idea. I am of course no admin nor owner, but as a dedicated member of this forum, I would not opt for that way. It could be interesting if we had a learning element or skills to offer.
On the other hand, we did gather a lot of information in this forum about reincarnation and the emotional support from members among ourselves is worth gold. 😉
I know that for Carol personally, it is highly important that young parents with little children who start talking about reincarnation, find a safe spot to go to. If we would raise a paywall, we would never attract this target group. (those people often don't register but certainly read the forum and the archives).

I hope you are doing well! I missed you here although I know you had other things to do.

Yes, of course, paying to use the forum wouldn't be a great option, but it might be an option that some people who have the means could pay into a premium membership type role -- it's something I've seen a lot of companies do these days. It's an idea, at least. Emotional support is exactly what I got from these forums. I felt pretty sad after KenJ passed on, and needed a good break from here. He was a big part of this forum. I did visit here on occasion and never truly 'left'. I should do an update eventually on how things have progressed. Hope you are well also!
 

Emma66

Once a Marine, always a Marine
When you begin to figure out what's going on you are glad to find a place like this forum or private Facebook groups and I mean serious groups. Last year I was searching on the internet to understand what was going on with me, searching for books, I found the site then the forum. First I was a visitor, then registered when I saw the place was safe, serious and that you stay anonymous not like Facebook. You cannot imagine how it helps me, reading first and then writing.
When you realize it could be PL memories with all the emotions you need help from people who have already experienced the same thing. How you can remember, writing or recording everything, how to verify memories, even help to search for validation.... A guide would be great for the newcomers.
 
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Steve

Grand Poobah
Super Moderator
Wow. All good stuff. This is exactly the kind of issues that Carol and I want to bring out into the open. The big idea, here in 2022, is that the Reincarnation Forum (after its recent near-death experience) be modernized and retooled to resume its role as a leader and force for good among the online reincarnation community.

We agree that monetizing is important now. We need to grow beyond being just a shoe-string, all-volunteer effort. We'd also like to figure out, eventually, how to formulate the new Reincarnation Forum to be self-sustaining and perpetual, even after the Bowmans are gone.

[Technical: Can some super mod spin off this thread into a new thread with a new title? There's a way to move posts into a new thread, right? Let's start the new thread with Karen's big post. This is all too valuable to be buried in a thread titled New Announcement. ]
 

Carol

Author
Hello, All!

I'm so grateful that there was so much support for this new, "modern" incarnation of the Forum, and that Debbie, Tinkerman, and many others have kept it going for 25 years! Thanks to all of you!! Over the years, some things change (like the improved software), and many remain the same--mostly our mission: to offer a safe place to discuss reincarnation, and a resource for providing guidance to parents (and other adults) concerning children's spontaneous memories. In that, this Forum is unique, a treasure for anyone who needs guidance with a child's possible past life memories. And I agree with all of the suggestions about indexing these instructive posts from the past 25 years to make it easy for people to find what they're looking for if they need help, reassurance, or are just curious about reincarnation.

I think that we can stay true to this mission, and collaborate with other groups, as Karen Wehrstein and others suggested. (Welcome back, Karen!) I think that cooperation and linking to other groups will strengthen the Forum, and will complement the stellar work Karen and Jim Matlock are doing, along with other groups. We can broaden the topics of healing, meaning, and relationships, and continue to host some in-depth discussions--whether we're dealing with verifiable memories, or spontaneous memories in children, which are mostly not verifiable. The same goes for adults' memories, which can be very powerful and meaningful in explaining our present personalities, behaviors, and experiences, but can't be verified.

I have some other ideas on how to open up the discussion of past life therapy and adult memories, after figuring out how to tighten the guidelines on that topic. That can easily veer off into NDEs, UFOs, aliens, suicide, online counseling, etc., as Forum veterans know. We want to stay on topic, as much as possible.

Steve and I have been supporting the Forum financially all of these years, and we go back and forth about how we can continue doing that now that we're retired. My feeling is that I want to keep it free, so there are no barriers to this information. If we can figure out an effective way to get a number of small donations, that would be great.

I look forward to hearing more on your thoughts and ideas about the Forum!
 

KM Wehrstein

Active Member
I hope that people didn't interpret my previous comment as meaning I don't support the idea of collaboration between the Reincarnation Forum (RF) and ICRR at all. I do (personally - a formal arrangement would require ICRR Board approval) -- it just has to be set up to be a win-win, and the obstacles I mentioned are just bumps in the road to that, in my opinion. I would support cross-promotion generally as that works well on the Internet as a rule.

Re competition, I am not concerned, because there are enough reincarnation-interested people to fill every group or forum, or the FB reincarnation groups wouldn't be hitting 70K or 80K+ people. Let's say that the pilot survey that produced that up-to-6% figure I mentioned in my previous comment is actually six times wrong and only 1% of American households with kids age 3-10 have one talking about a past life. That's still millions of parents in the USA, and it's not counting all those who have a child talking about a past life but don't understand that that's what the child is talking about (as they would have answered the survey question "no"). Or those in the rest of the English-speaking world. By the stats, 67% of Americans and majorities in other English-speaking nations do not believe in reincarnation, but millions are having it thrust upon them by their little ones anyway. Reincarnation signs in children should be routinely mentioned in childcare manuals, taught about in ECE courses and talked about with new parents, without prompting, by pediatricians and childcare consultants -- but it's not (...yet!), so they're on their own until they think to search on the net, if they do.

Re financing -- I did not know that the Forum was being underwritten out of Carol & Steve's personal funds. Obviously that's not a permanently sustainable source. The donation jar is an obvious possibility, but there are others. As we discuss the challenge of financing, it would be good to have a figure for how much it costs to maintain RF so we know in dollars how big a challenge it is -- Carol & Steve are you willing to share that or does it need to be in a private conversation?

Steve, I think a new thread for this discussion is a good idea as it's gone well beyond your "the Forum LIVES" announcement. (And just like that, it's done! Thanks, whoever did it!)
 
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Steve

Grand Poobah
Super Moderator
Karen, what would it take to make collaboration with ICRR a reality? Can we start a dialogue about that? To the extent it requires modifications to our policies and procedures here, we need to get our mods and leaders in on the discussion. And Carol, or course. But I agree, whatever differences in approach and opinions we have are minor compared to the bigger goal or reincarnation awareness.

Re: financing. The software and hosting for the Forum don't cost that much--at most about $500 /year (times 25 years, yikes!). We're both retired now so we question everything in our budget. We would love to get some help paying for this. We used to get a trickle of donations that helped, but not in a long time.

That said, the best reason to monetize would be to have funds to buy some advertising, or marketing services--hire some experts to help us modernize our promotion too. Our long-term vision is to create a non-profit, seek donations and real funding and governance that can keep this going indefinitely.
 

KM Wehrstein

Active Member
Steve et al: The ICRR Board is having a meeting this afternoon, and the idea of RF/ICRR collaboration is on the agenda. I'll get back to you all!

Our long-term vision is to create a non-profit, seek donations and real funding and governance that can keep this going indefinitely.

Seems the governance is in place already; to make it sustainable I suggest creating task lists for all positions (to be passed on from one person to the next) and finding understudies/heirs apparent for each position, especially the key ones, if possible.

Incorporating a not-for-profit in the USA is fairly easy if I recall rightly (ICRR incorporated in Canada, where it's really easy), though there are costs involved. Becoming a charitable org, i.e. a 501(c)3 org, allows you to issue donation receipts that donors can use to offset taxes, but it's much much more difficult than just incorporating. Setting up a PayPal account for the not-for-profit corporation, and setting up "Donate" buttons from PayPal, are easy and free. I'm not sure what you mean by "real funding" as donations are real funding as far as I'm concerned, if you get enough of them, and that's a matter of promoting. With any luck there is enough interest in keeping RF going for people who can afford to donate to do so enough to pay the $500/year. You could do an annual "Reincarnate the Forum for Next Year" (or words to that effect) donation drive for a couple of months each year, with a goal of $600, or maybe $1000 in the first year, to build a little balance to sit in the PayPal account for emergencies. It seems to me you still have lots of members, so ideas along these lines just might work.

Warmly,
KM
 

Steve

Grand Poobah
Super Moderator
Creating a non-profit and all that is a long-term goal, nothing we're going to do right now. I'm just framing our current modernization as a step, a stage, towards the Reincarnation Forum being an institution not dependent on any individuals, including Carol and me.

I agree that defining roles carefully and nurturing successors is important, especially for the Executive Director role. Tman agrees and it's part of his overall strategy.

We're going to start a donations campaign after we all get comfortable with the new software and cleaning up and reorganizing the forums. Does anybody remember how we did it in the past?
 
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