Saturday, May 20, 2006

Compromise

Compromise.

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. Posted by Picasa

5 comments:

LJCohen said...

Zette,

FM *is* your site. You don't need to apologise for or justify your decisions. There are things about the FM rules that I might not like, but I stand by them--they are what I agreed to when I applied for membership.

So don't let the whining get to you. FM will not be ther right match for everyone.

Carter said...

Brava!

Any time you get a group of people together, either in person or online, you'll have malcontents. A lot of those are people who want to be in charge and get mad when they realize they can't. I've seen a couple of attempted revolutions at FM, and I am more than glad to see the dictatorship survive and flourish. I believe that's the only way for a site like that to survive.

BTW, I had a rough spell, but I'm feeling better and I promise I'll be more active now.

tambo said...

Hey Zette :)

I'm primarily active in chat - for me FM's mostly a place to unwind and be social with writers - but I'm always delighted to help people. My *problem*, if it can be called that, is that often when I do give suggestions I get blown off, told off, or blatantly ignored in lieu of more palatable or "fun" ideas from others who have no idea what so ever about the subject at hand. I try to give intelligent, honest responses, tips, tricks, and explanations, sometimes it takes me hours to write a more lengthy and detailed post, but I get blown off as if I have no idea how to find my butt with both hands and a flashlight.

I dunno, it's just why do all the work if I'm just going to be told I'm wrong? Why bother? I have enough aggravation in my regular life, thanks anyway. I love to help people, but sometimes - as I'm sure you've endured, too - people just wanna bitch, take the easy way, and toss a flower-child dwarf into a historical romance. Because it'll be COOL!! Or they insist that Courier's "ugly" but Zaph is "pretty" and they really like pink unicorn paper! ;)

I didn't come here to complain, I know that an opinion is an opinion and anyone has the right to disregard mine just a I have the right to disregard anyone else's. It's just maybe that's why so few pros post or are active anymore. Why bother if no one wants to listen?

I've walked away from other online organizations because the BS level rapidly exceeds the benefit. I don't really experience a BS level at FM - I stay out of flame wars and disagreements, you're very easy to work with, and I certainly have no problems with your rules (even if I might have pushed the envelope on content restrictions a time or two - they've have been things I've posted that I think, "Oh, Zette's gonna boot me for this for sure!" lol) it's just frustrating to be a working writer who gives accurate information and gets told flat out that pink unicorns and Zaph stand out so that's what they're gonna do. By God.

Anyway, I just wanted to mention that aspect. It does get frustrating, as I'm sure you know.

Here's hoping you have a better day!

Zette said...

Thank you, thank you, and thank you for the comments, Tambo.

I've come up with a new answer to those people who absolutely don't want to learn: Good, do it your way. Means less competition in the submission piles for me.

I know some of those people drive you and the other published authors nuts. I watch these people say the most absolute incredibly stupid things and then argue about it besides.

There are some people you just can't help, and they're not really at FM to learn. Most of them don't stick around for very long.

But there are others -- the ones who are NOT arguing and who are taking notes, and are generally quiet -- who do appreciate the help. It's hard to ignore the others sometimes, though. The best you can do is make fun of them. (grin)

I try not to step in too often at the site in the discussions. Unless someone is being really over the top, I don't see the point of playing 'mommy.' I don't kick people for arguing with me, either.

Maybe we need a 'Pros post' board where you and others can post stuff on closed threads. Ah. Maybe have one thread that is questions they'd like to have answered, and then the pros post their replies and that part is locked so that no one can answer. Hmmm....

Shana said...

Zette, I don't think I've ever posted a comment on your blog but I do read from time to time and lately I've been mostly lurking at FM. I wanted to let you know that you do a GREAT job with FM. All the different discussions and activities going on there helped me get myself into gear, get to writing and querying, and just last week I signed on with an agent at the Maass Agency. It probably would have taken me much longer to get to this point if it weren't for the push I got from participating in marathons and dares at FM and the advice from various discussions.

There will always be people who insist on complaining no matter what you do (in my day job, we run a community forum and get the same kinds of people there), but yes, those of us who are quietly reading and taking notes are very thankful for what you do at FM and the help we get. :)