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Simply Plural Review and Personal Thoughts

This is a cleaned-up version of the essay posted on our dreamwidth [HERE] on 11/18/2022 with an added section.

We used Simply Plural solidly for about a year. Every switch logged as precisely as possible, notes logged on fronting, the whole nine yards.

This is a bit of a review, a personal feelings thing, and a persuasive thing all at once.

Because, you see, we decided while it can be a very useful tool for many, its not for us and we wanted to go a bit into why.

Simply Plural is a logging app for systems where one can log their headmates and switches and share who is at front and who is in their system to their friends on the app. There are poll options, ability to leave notes, and somewhat limited but decent profile options for each headmate. There is also a feature that synthesizes the fronting data to give you different information like the average fronting length of each member and how often they front during different times of the day.

Its for mobile and can be run in offline mode for it, but there is a desktop version as well which requires the internet.

They are explicitly run as being inclusive of endogenic systems, if that is a concern, and the app is useful for loggings switches, showing people who is fronting on your friends list, and synthesizing fronting data.

It also is kind of buggy. Sometimes you try to record a front, close the app, and discover several hours or days later that it didn’t register. This is most common in offline mode or in the transition from offline to online mode and vice versa, but it can happen in online mode only as well. You can belatedly add a switch and edit fronting start and end points, but this doesn’t entirely erase the frustration of having this happen. It happened to us about ~30% of the time we recorded a switch, but we often turn our wi-fi off and dont have data on by default so ymmv.

There is also the problem with the desktop app. It frequently will load for hours and not open for us. Its quite laggy in this manner. We don't know if there is also an issue of desktop-mobile switch registering as we rarely have used it because of this, but its possible it also occurs here.

The useful links section also leaves much to be desired. Some of the resources are great! Morethanone.info (one of the best plural FAQs) is there. There is also a site in french and some global crisis hotlines which are perfectly good, and there is a excellent link for headspace building.

The majority of the rest of the links are hard weighted toward DID/OSDD, and this would be fine, except what information that does talk about non DID/OSDD and non-trauma-based systems is kind of terrible for a app that claims its inclusive.

The most grievous examples of this are the two carrds linked that are made by the same author. NOTE- This isn't an attack on the author, its a critique on the resource and its inclusion on a professional app. We have no beef with the creator, this is about accuracy of presented resources.

A carrd is a mini website that anyone can make and is mostly used to make an external about page for social media or as an alternative to linktree, as a note. A carrd is generally not the most professional of sources.

The first carrd is the ‘New Alter’ carrd, which is intended to be shown to new headmates to help explain the situation. It is a mildly condescending and rather barebones carrd where the only properly given resources are some general online crisis ones, links to some discord bots and to simply plural itself, and to the next carrd, ‘Plurality Hub’.

Like any help resource, its going to be very YMMV of course and everyone has a different tolerance for coddling, but its real issue is barely explaining system things in favor of linking some discord bots, Simply Plural, and another (worse) carrd about it.

‘Plurality Hub’ -not to be confused with a Far Worse discord server hub known for its toxicity- is a plural entry-level FAQ carrd, intended as an all in one resource.

The bulk of the carrd is talking about the criteria for each dissociative disorder with not much on the community itself, the lived experiences of plural folks, or those in the community who don't have a disorder.

It barely mentions non-trauma origins or nondisordered plurality and what it does mention is 'neutral' on their existence in away that leads the reader to disbelieve in them when compared to the other information in the carrd for disorderly systems. What little endogenic and nondisordered information exists is significantly more barebones compared to the detailing of diagnostic criteria and flagrantly incorrect in places. It feels like there was no effort being put into research for that section.

The carrd is filled with misinformation, including but not limited to misdefining co-consciousness as the same as co-fronting(it is not), giving hard limits to what things are or are not possible for systems when none of it is proven or disproven across the board, and assumes all systems define ‘headmate death’ the way the writer does and claims headmates cannot die in any way because of it.

Its worst misinformation sin, though, is that it claims mixed-origin systems don’t exist and that only one thing can contribute to what a system believes caused them to form. This is very much incorrect and shows a total lack of understanding of the experience and belief.

That this carrd is linked as a resource is a incredibly poor choice and actively contributes to frustrating misinformation in the community. Its an incredibly poor choice of a source to add, especially when MANY better and more permanent sources exist out there that have proper resources and information. It feels like non-100%-trauma-based systems are a lazy afterthought to the company when the chosen sources are like that.

All of this wasn't a dealbreaker for us- just deeply unfortunate as we were just using it to log switching and didnt need the resources, but its important to keep in mind if you want to use it- the sources aren't the best overall and its a bit buggy.

We would generally recommend it despite this because of its utility for systems. It can be an invaluable tool for many and its really the only app of its kind out there that works the way it does. Just keep in mind that it can be buggy and its sources are lacking.

The real problem for us was a personal one with how it made us behave about switching and fronting.

The app logs exact hour counts, and for us, it became an obligation to open the app and log a switch within a minute or two every single time. We wanted to be exact because the app was exact.

Because we hate carrying our phone with us, we often leave it in the truck or when home on the bedside table and sometimes even leave it at home wholesale. It becomes a chore to get to the phone every time to update simply plural so we often ended up resisting switches or choosing not to switch when we could have. Even when the phone is on hand the first thought about switching has been for months now ‘ugh we will have to log this’ instead of 'nice, its my turn with the body!'.

This is not ideal as it means we resist switching even when it would be good for us to do so. Our host has a habit of hogging the front and it overtaxes itself doing this and the logging in this fashion only encourages this bad habit it wants to quit doing.

It was preventing us from switching as normal and this caused us to experience more fronting fatigue related dissociation than we would have otherwise.

While it was great for figuring out certain patterns in fronting and switching, and it helped us learn to switch more than we used to before the app, we have reached the end of its usefulness for us and have decided to return to how we were functioning before- a discord channel to log notable things about switches without being too fussed about accurate times or always recording every switch. We have added a bullet journal to log things done and notable events each day with who was present for it, and intend to see if that will strike the balance between too little documentation (and risking forgetting something useful) and too much.

Ever since we have done this there has been a marketed difference. Only one day in the last ten or so was the host the only one that used the body that day- compare that to an average of only one or two days in a week when the host wasn't the only one fronting. We were suppressing the vast majority of the fully voluntary switching just to avoid touching our phone.

Finally uninstalling it off our phone was sad, but it was like a weight was lifted, we were free of logging things so precisely. That's for sure a sign we needed to do this.

It was nice while it lasted, but we really needed to try something else- so that's what we are doing. We encourage you to do the same if any popularly used tool isn't working for you. Its ok to use something different or not be helped by a specific thing people seem to use a lot. There are far more options than just the popular ones for whatever it is you need the tool for.

You don't have to use any accessibility tool you don't want to. If it doesn't spark joy or doesn't help you, then stop using it! Sometimes you outgrow certain tools and practices, and thats not a bad thing.