This appears to be a word that some people don't understand these days. That makes it very difficult to deal with situations in which I want something specific for the site that is a bit more work for the person to do.
So if poeple want to do chat classes, here's the deal --I want them to give it at least twice at widely different times (it does not have to be the same day!) and write up a class to be posted on the boards , so that people who can't get to the chat class can take part as well. I've even set the word count for the board-based class at about 1000 words. It can be more, of course, but a measly little 1000 words is all that I will ask for as a minimum.
I'm really not certain why anyone would have a big problem with this, but apparently some people do. I'm getting email complaints, snide remarks in blogs/journals, and messages at the site. I'm also getting far more support for the idea than complaints, but it's always the complaints and rudeness that sets the tone.
I didn't want chat classes at all, but this is my compromise -- do both. I'm sorry that people seem to think this is a horrible, terrible thing to ask of people who are volunteering to teach classes at the site, but... it's the way it is going to be. I would love to have more classes, but I'm not going to have them held just for the select few who can make it, and then have the transcripts thrown up on the boards and consider that good enough for the rest of the obviously unimportant members. (Yes, I know that's not really how they feel, but that's how the members felt for a while and why I stopped even suggesting chat classes.)
And yes, people, it really is MY SITE now. I took over in August of 2003. That's coming up on three years now. For the first two years I hardly changed anything, except to add stuff like Back to School and 2YN -- things, in fact, that Holly and I had discussed before she turned the site over to me.
This year I started looking at other parts of the site, like simplifying the adult content tag, making the rules a little more clear, setting up a number of private critique circles, and dealing with the change in chat systems -- and believe me, the last was something I didn't want to do at all. For the rest... we're still running almost the same dares and challenges, the same boards, and the same rules as when Holly was there.
What has changed the most is the membership. That's only natural. I've been with Forward Motion since the very first incarnation, and I can tell you that the turnover in the more active people happens every four or five years. Of course some people stop spending so much time at the site -- they have mined it for everything that will help them, and because the new people are not on the same level as they are, they get bored. I'd love to have more stuff for people farther up the line, but I can't do it all myself, and too often when the people reach that point, they're no longer interested in helping others, either peers or the people still working their way up the ladder. I can't do anything about that part if none of them are willing to help push things in that direction.
Some people never fit into the site well to begin with and often find something that suits them better. That's great too. FM does have a specific focus, and that focus is not for everyone -- but it is the focus the site has had from the beginning. Holly's idea was to help people trying to work toward publication, and that's what the site has continued to stress and will always stress.
So for those of you who keep accusing me of changing the site and making it worse... fuck you. If the site doesn't suit you, then don't bother to come around. It's a real simple answer. I don't often feel that way, but you know -- there is a point where you just have to say go away. It's not a site for you. Go play somewhere else and stop complaining about something that obviously isn't important to you.