The State Of The Forums
I want to address some of the recent activity on the boards as well as lay out some ground rules upon going forward. As of February 2009, things on the site changed. Whether you like it or not, the transformation of the Writers' Workshop and Chuck's direct involvement with it now, is something truly great for The Cult. More importantly though, it's great for the writers who get to benefit from it. This is an unprecedented opportunity for people.
Both this, and Kirk's recent restoration of a lot of the key features on our Forums, have transformed the site in such a way that, I personally haven't been this excited to be its webmaster in years. I'm on the boards every day now. Living on the 'Recent Posts' page. Watching the population of Groups and the creation of Blogs. Watching it all grow and evolve.
What this means though, is that we have had to start tightening our belts. I won't say there is a direct correlation between it all, but seeing the recent spike in activity and traffic to our site, due to the Workshop promotion, has made us realize just how lenient we had gotten with the Forum. Now granted, leniency ain't always such a bad thing. But in this instance, I think the cons of it all have outweighed the pros.
I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but over the last few years our forums have become a place where newbies very frequently don't feel at home. Of the tons of unique new visitors that check out our boards every day, a staggeringly low amount of these people ever decide to stick around. Lately, we've even had people PMing us, telling us there was just too much animosity and hostility on our boards that they not only decided to skip the experience for themselves, but had also thought about even warning curious friends of theirs away from it all.
That's just sad to me. A total waste of providing. We're robbing these people... these fans of Chuck Palahniuk... of a potentially awesome community for them to experience and meet friends.
Now, many of you will say that these people need to grow thicker skins. That if they're that easily offended, they should lighten up, roll with it, or even fuck off. But there is always another way. A person doesn't need to be called a 'fag' within their first 5 posts, and told to leave.
I recently joined a large movie message board. It was one I had thought about joining for a while. And I finally got the energy and inclination to give it a whirl a few weeks back. I even spent about 30 minutes on prettying up my profile first. And upon my first afternoon of posting, I was met with hostility. So now, while the post didn't offend me or anything, it left just enough of a bad taste in my mouth to where I actually gave up on the forum right then and there. And now, weeks later, I haven't been back since.
I'm telling you this because I'm a person with a very thick skin. I don't get easily offended. In fact, I get offended when I see other people getting offended over stupid shit. But I do believe in giving people a fair shake. In treating people as equals until they eventually prove that they may just be idiots. But if that's ever the case, then you can simply ignore them. You can Report Abuse when you see it. Or simply PM a Moderator.
Speaking of Moderators, I want to set a few other things straight. A lot of the Mods on this forum are your friends. Close friends in many instances. The fact that they rose to the challenge and accepted this position on the boards should be admired, not scoffed at. This is an unpaid, and many times, tiresome job. The only thing that changes for these fine folks, upon receiving a Mod position, is that they now have to deal with a shitload of responsibility. And up until recently, it even meant they had to deal with people disrespecting them any chance they could.... mocking them in the open.... and even cursing and yelling at them extensively.
I'm really not sure what's up with that. I think we've been lenient for so long here, that quite frankly, none of you take us and our jobs here seriously. You think you own the place. You forget that this is a huge message board on the official website of one of the most popular authors in the world. You forget that there are millions of Chuck fans out there in the world and that all of them deserve a fair chance to discover this website and its message boards.
Now understanding all that, put yourself in the positions of our Admins and Moderators. Understand that we take every issue seriously. What may seem like a fun and risky venture to purposely get yourself banned one day, just to stir shit up, can cause an afternoon of headache for all of us. Furthermore, I think people just get off lately on proving that they don't have to listen to us. And all that's done so far is get a lot of cool people temporarily banned.
The banning of Tom9d for instance, upset Smartazboy so much, that he thought about quitting his position as Moderator. He finally decided just to take a mini-vacation from the site. What's infuriating is that, Tom is a great member. Someone we'd normally hate to ban. Yet someone who just one day decided to push our buttons and test how far he could take it. At the expense of a friend of his like Frank.
I'm sorry, but that shit's just downright mean. Not to mention pointless and immature.
We run a great forum here. We want it to grow and suceed. We want larger meet-ups, a more bustling chat room, and tighter groups of friends forming. But understand that we have a job to do. We have Guidelines and Rules that we need you to honor. And we have Admins and Mods that need to be respected.
It's not a threat when I say that things are going to change around here in 2009. We want the forums to grow just as expansively as the new Workshop has grown already. But to do this, we're going to need all your help. We're going to need the immaturity to stop. We're going to need the spamming... the parody threads... the calling out of other members... the downright hostility to new members.... all of it... to stop.
We're at a point where the future of this site and how much better it can become is way more important to us then preserving a part of the past.
Nothing has to be erased. Nobody has to be banned. Do you know that Six wasn't kicked off the site? I didn't even ask her to "fuck off," as she so purposely miscontrued in her 'fairwell" thread. She decided to spin the PM I sent her in an attempt to become a martyr. Playing victim is something I see a lot of members do here and it's frankly lame and self-important. If you want to ditch our boards, go for it. There are plenty of other message boards out there. But I think that you'll soon come to realize how good you had it here. How loose our Guidelines actually are.
I say this a lot, but there's a reason we've been online for almost 10 years now. We know how to run a successful website. So please, let us run a better message board.
Wanna have the pants scared off you in 90 seconds?
Watch 'Laundry Day', my new horror short: