Tuesday, May 01, 2007

community geek

Ah, internet drama, how have I missed the glorious days of "he said, she said" and almighty admin power to reign at will and with an iron fist... eh, keyboard.

I haven't taken the internet this seriously since the Amethyst Alliance went the way of all things mortal, back in the day when I was "VP of Administration" of a community of over 800 roleplaying geeks. Man, as third in command of an administration board of over 30 people, did lil' ol' insigificant pimply me who just went through major depression feel ever so important and powerful!

I could moderate forums! I could delete posts! I could give members the infamous "three warnings" and then delete them from the system forever, but not before mailing them a highly official letter from the AA staff, that could as well have been a death sentence in real life! I could open staff positions and conduct interviews with members to fill said openings! I could make them feel small and insignificant by pointing out all the reasons why they were not suitable enough for the positions, when they wanted so badly to be a part of the "in-crowd"! I would be part of crisis staff meetings when things got out of hand, and I would sit hours and hours coming up with rules and regulations and codes of conduct and new standard procedures! I was IMPORTANT, and a CELEBRITY among the common folk, eh regular members. My posts in the forum were awe-inspiring, just as they were from all top 10 staff members.

I took this so seriously, that I fell in cyber-love with the "big boss", and he with me, and I moved 6,000 miles around the globe to be with him outside the restrictions of the internet. Ha! How's that for overcompensating real life issues?

Anyway... most of you know how that story ended, and now I am married to the guy I met in college one day, after the "big boss" has guilelessly dropped me off there.

Well, the internet "has me back" in a way... looking back at my experience with handling a large community, I hate nothing more than admins who will not let good discussions happen, deletes topics that in any way criticize their forum, and deletes members that found themselves caught in the throes of a good old classic flame war. It's things like these that keep forums alive and interesting. I don't know how many people work hard to get a community going and fail, and this guy has a flourishing and active community at his hands, and slays it down with the mighty ax of moderation power, until it's nothing but a truncated sorry thing with more than half of the active members gone, and the rest daring to do no more than Mickey Mouse discussions about the weather their pregnancies and babies. Say one wrong word, and you are getting the smack put down on you via private message from the admin.

Yes, I am talking about the babyforum I used to frequent.

When a few days ago the admin deleted some of my very own threads without further explanations (or rather explanations that were nothing but generalized scolding over things that had nothing to do with my particular threads and I was entirely innocent of), I decided to take matters into my own hands:

I present to you: THE NEW AND IMPROVED ADMIN-FREE BABYFORUM, where moderation is non-existent, discussions are encouraged, and flame-wars a welcome entertainment for all.

Oh... you gotta speak German for it, but if I have any readers savvy of this language and are either TTC, preggers, or already parents - head on over there. You won't regret it. A lot of the nicer folk of the old forum, who collectively got bored and annoyed with the way things are handled there, switched over with me already, and I noticed how the original forum is getting less and less activity now. I partly accredit that to myself, since most of the ones who came with me were extremely regular posters there before.

So, now I am the head of a community of... eh... way less than 800, but we're growing, and I found it astounding of quickly I got back into the "thing" again, and I like it. We're becoming a tight community, unified by the "common enemy", and honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if one or two real-life friendships could come from this for me. There is nothing greater than being able to exchange oneself with other pregnoids who are similarly far along as oneself... it has some potential for the future, if I do things right. :)

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