When I signed up for this Three-hour Tour I thought I knew why I was here. Now that the reality of the Deserted Island has set it, I'm not so sure.
I envisioned this as a semi-safe place to put forth some of my own perceived shortcomings with interpersonal skills and find ways to "test the waters" for improving some of them.
Thus far, in my SE-verse existence, I've managed to dodge the bullet for the reported unfriendly and unwelcoming behaviors of the grandaddy site. I began on Unix & Linux, and found the information, and site in general, rather useful, and decided to join and do my part to make the Internet a better place. In a way both returning the favor for answers received and paying it foreword for possible answers in the future. Somehow I drifted from there to Super User, still not sure how that happened. For a while I was getting rather comfortable on Super User, and in their chat, Root Access.
Later I became involved in a beta site and moved my time and energies to supporting and growing that site. Again, positive encounters with encouraging and supportive users. This, minimal, collection of history in SE convinced me that, as a whole, SE was a nice place in a web of unknown elements.
Now, as I said, I'm not quite so sure. I have anthropological training, and I think I am reasonably good at not judging others by my standards, or the standards of my society. (Though, to be honest, I'm not at all certain that the "society" I am a nominal member of would do so well by its own standards, so I couldn't apply their standards to anyone else in good conscious anyway.) In the early days of the site, some members were strong on the idea of not applying external conditions to querants, applying instead solely the conditions of the culture and society of the querant. They supported a cultural relativistic stance for the site, and argued against ethnocentrism, from any user's point of view. I remain strongly in favor of that position, in life, and for this site. I see, however, that it is not often allowed to work that way in practice.
I often, as in almost always read answers that are based on Western, European, or even United States, culture and society when the querant has given a cultural context outside those realms. Being from the United States, I must still admit that the greatest collection of such offenses appears to come from the United States perspective, even towards European and other Western querants. I, sadly, also see many cases where the answers attack, all be it is often mildly, the querant for having some view, holding some belief, or behaving in some manner which the respondent considers wrong.
I accept that the site must maintain certain standards, either because of dictates from SE, or for the health of the site. I do not, however, believe that the strictness being enforced by some users is at all healthy for the site. I have seen attempts, frequently successful, to establish bright line tests or conditions in areas where I know that, presumably, better minds have failed to establish the same thing within a real life context. In some cases, powerful users have even "created" definitions that are diametrically opposed to established definitions which can be cited from multiple reliable sources outside Wikipedia.
At some point, hopefully, I will begin working on some of my interpersonal skills so that I may improve somewhat as a person. That work will hopefully include utilizing this site to its potential. For know, however, my issues will remain in the background while I wait and watch to see what this site will become. I will not withhold my assistance from others, when I actually have some to offer. I will not be seeking the assistance of others until I can feel safe disclosing the issues and presenting the problems to a non-judgmental user base.
Whatever my situations, circumstances, or beliefs may be, they are not up for debate. Only the question raised is open to discussion, while all other "facts" are to be treated as existing as stated. Once I can anticipate that the majority of the active users will respond in that fashion, then I can begin to look for feedback. Until then I can only, by example, Be the change that I would see in the world.