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Silicon Valley veteran doing Technical Community Management. Photographer with a strong interest in birds, wildlife and nature who is exploring the Western states and working to tell you the stories of the special places I've found.
Author and Blogger. They are not the same thing. Sports occasionally spoken here, especially hockey. Veteran of Sun, Apple, Palm, HP and now Infoblox, plus some you've never heard of. They didn't kill me, they made me better.
Person with opinions, and not afraid to share them. Debate team in high school and college; bet that's a surprise.
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Monthly Archives: September 2004
Well, Laurie and I have been doing just that for a decade or so (or, more correctly, before there were web sites, it was mailing lists). If you include our use and involvement in various USENET communities and my time on other systems like Delphi and CompuServe, our experience with this goes back about 20 years (sigh. where’s my walker?)
Why do we do it? there are, honestly, days when we ask ourselves that question and don’t have an answer. The turkeys and trolls exact a toll, and some days, you feel it’s just not worth it.
But it is — we get to build things that encourage people to gather, and more specifically, people we enjoy being around. When it works, it’s a lot like an extended party full of people you enjoy being around and talking to. But when the turkeys get under your skin, it’s easy to forget the dozens of good people because of the one or two bad.
There’s a long tradition of this that predates the net — most fan groups have a sub-group that enjoys putting on conventions or conferences. In science fiction fandom, they’re SMOFs (Secret Masters of Fandom), and they actually have their own convention on running conventions.
For me, it’s a rewarding hobby that introduces me to really interesting and fun people, with short interludes of absolute agony. And I think most folks who do this eventually find that the trolls win, because there are always new trolls and you eventually run out of the energy to fight them. Laurie and I have come close, and occasionally “taken vacations” (announced or not) to get our batteries charged up again or regain our perspective on all of this. And as we’ve gotten older and wanted more of this weird thing some folks call “a life”, we’ve backed off on how many things we do, and how many folks we support, to reduce our workload; I think it was a smart move to focus on the groups we felt were most important to us than continue trying to work on all of them when some were simply not getting enough of our time.
But the bottom line is — you do it because you enjoy it, or you’ll do it badly. and doing it badly is worse than not doing it at all, because if you don’t do it, someone else will likely step in and do it instead. And because of that — it’s always my belief that when it stops being fun, you should stop. If it’s useful, someone else with more time and energy will pick up the reins and carry it forward. the world doesn’t begin and end with one person, nor should it.