Can a community change?
During the time I have been there the community and forums have been in I, would say steady decline. There were alot of reasons for this but the net effect was/is that a brand of vigilante justice came into came into common use among the community members. I am okay with a bit of flaming, heaven knows I have engaged in such behaviour myself. But I have seen on more than one occasion new posters getting brutally flamed for not following unwritten forum rules and people launching unwarranted attacks against others essentially because they disagree with something that person said four years ago. A friend recently described the forums as, paraphrasing here, "just so many bitter people", which is pretty much spot on.
It's not good for anyone.
Anyway over the last 6 months or so the team of people managing and administering the forums in question changed, or got more organized or I don't know what all but there have been alot of improvements and surely a much greater display of interest in the community on their part.
Which is good.
Part of this increased interest is a new moderator by community members program and this is the program I have been apart of. I took the job in part to try and make the forum more professional and more useful for more people. I believe, or perhaps believed that you can make a diference and you always should at least try to improve things. But it's been a rather trying and somewhat discouraging experience.
In my weeks as a moderator I have seen
At any rate both because I am not really interested in the ongoing drama and headaches and more because I would rather see the moderator program succeed then my be part of it (and these two things seem to be incompatible given the sheer irrational hatred that some individuals on the site seem to have for me) I resigned from my moderator role today. The moderators who are left are all very good people, I hope that they will have more success.
But I am left feeling disappointed and wondering if the community can become something more professional then it is now. I have doubts that it can be. I wonder how long it might take or if it is possible for the culture of a online community, especially one that is so very negative to change for the better. There is no doubt in my mind that there are very great number of very knowledgable experts and gurus on the site. I can honestly say that I believe that for the particular (fairly popular) topic there is no greater collection of knowledge, experience, etc available on the internet. And yet it is so diminished by roving bands of people seeking to dispense "justice" and complain of change and having to be saccharine when in fact all that is ever asked is to behave in a manner approaching some professionalism.
Last but not least I should add that the entire community is not by any means a band of internet thugs. There are many other people who care and act in a responsible and professional manner. But the ones that do act like children seem to scream the loudest and certainly appear to be driving the direction of the culture of the community and that seems a shame.
Rob - Aug 29th 2008 8:44 AM
|© 2008 Max Stocker|