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My Website Forums

This will all sound stupid but damn I've got to let it out. Spacefem is what I've been on the 'net for almost five years now, and starting spacefem.com was a dream more fulfilling than I ever thought it'd be. People visiting my personality on the internet. Thousands a week. Getting my message out and telling 15 year old girls what I wish someone had told me when I was 15: be yourself. be strong. you don't need a boyfriend. you don't need to give yourself up like you see girls your age doing. Be a feminist. Be aware.

The problem I'm running into is this: I have a full-time job that does not involve being Spacefem, it involves being a 23 year old engineer in the middle of Kansas. It keeps me from spending time on my site. Issue? I didn't think so. I mean, why do I have to babysit a website?

I will tell you story.

There was a website and it was mine. I decided to start some forums. The forums got big. 400 members in three months. I got some moderators and put them in charge of everything. I picked moderators who I trusted, who'd been on the forums all along. But I didn't like how things were run. People were scared of the moderators... mods had power, they didn't. So I took away the roving band of moderators and gave them each a small part of the forums to look over, just to make sure people didn't go nuts and SPAM the hell out of the place. The moderators weren't happy with losing power, but the new people weren't as scared of the moderators. Time went on.

The moderators grew less and less happy. "The forums are going downhill," they said. "We are tired of reading middle schoolers writing rants about how they hate preps and school cafeteria food."

"Quit whining," I replied. "What's important is my message, and my site, and if middle schoolers are the ones posting here, then middle schoolers are the ones I care about."

The problem was that I wanted older, responsible moderators, who I trusted, in charge of a site full of young, crazy spacefemmers who I loved. The younger people who couldn't write very well were the majority. I said, "Why turn it into a bloodbath? Why can't the moderators just settle down? They can't beat them, so why not join them?" I told the moderators this, and they doubted me. I took away the modertor's power some more. "If they're going to try to make my site something it's not," I said to myself, "I'll make them less powerful, so it won't be as painful to the younger members."

The moderators bitched, whined, complained, and started leaving. I was left with a few that seemed loyal, but still very unhappy. The moderators said the forums would keep going downhill. The moderators did not remind me that they were there every day reading posts, and I was working as an engineer and visiting the forums only to do administrative maintenance, but I know that's what they were thinking. I know that's what I was thinking.

I started to wonder if I was catering to not only the younger members, but the stupider, younger members. I started to worry about losing my moderators who I trusted.

Then I thought, "People are still joining. I do not need those moderators, I have an endless supply of members wanting to moderate. Spacefem.com is great. Spacefem.com is not like other forums, where moderators are in short supply. Spacefem.com has made it this far, and I don't care what form it's in, it will continue to make it."

I think there is a natural cycle to everything internet. People join a site, love a site, leave a site, sometimes in a matter of weeks, sometimes in a matter of seconds. My moderators who worked hard for me... they would have left eventually, no matter what I tried to do. There will always be new people that the moderators can not relate to. So far, there've been 100 new members this month. That's who I'm going to cater to.

Spacefem is the internet, the internet is spacefem. Looking ahead, seeking out what's new, going with whatever comes. Not trying to be something she's not. When friends visit your house, you serve food you know they'll like. When they move in, they'll eat whatever you bought at the store that week. If they don't like it, they move out, but still meet you from time to time at a restaurant where you can both eat what you like and share a pleasant conversation. Spacefem.com is my house that people move in to. They get what they get.

I'm going to be okay with that from now on.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
katlynel
Sep. 21st, 2003 09:02 am (UTC)
I'm so incredibly proud and impressed with you for having the patience to provide a place for those girls. They need it, and my time at just-before-Chickclick EstroNet demonstrated to me that I'm nowhere near patient enough to do that job. So, kudos to you for doing it and wanting to do it.
homunculus
Sep. 21st, 2003 11:10 am (UTC)
wow. that was cool. and yeah; a site can't stay the same forever. especially if you're wanting to reach kids. it has to change almost constantly, like they do. you can't help that, you shouldn't help that. good luck w/ keeping your integral vision, though. good luck, spacefem.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 21st, 2003 11:33 am (UTC)
right on, spacefem. i completely agree with you, and i think your decisions involving mods are fine. i dont know why everyone is freakin out so much about it. do what you want, that site is your baby.
-zoe.
angry_amy
Sep. 21st, 2003 11:36 am (UTC)
wow. thanks for sharing that with us. i think you are right. this is the reason that i have moved over to inhabiting livejournal instead of the forums at your site. i miss it occasionally, an i go back to deal with mod issues in my area, BUT here i find it to be a bit more adult for me. i can talk about stuff here that i wouldnt be able to on your forums.

i am still around and i still care very much about you girl. thanks for being there for me too.

if you have a second i wrote an entry this morning titled "thank you...." please read it and help. i feel really insecure right now. i need someone to tell me "amy, you dont need a boyfriend. especially not the one everyone thinks you should be with."
spacefem
Sep. 21st, 2003 02:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'd got absolutely insane without livejournal to balance out the spacefem forums for me, I've always said that! That's not to say I don't get anything out of my forums, it's just... I get different things. I don't expect people's online lives to revolve around my site in the least bit.

anyway... you have more of a life than you think you do, I bet. What's a life, anyway? Being a people person? Boyfriends? Eh, screw it all.

Stand up and face whatever life you've got and take it as yours... people are, well, interesting sometimes in what they think. Don't let it get to you :)
cheap_thoughts
Sep. 21st, 2003 09:57 pm (UTC)
I haven't been to your site fourms in a LONG time. I couldn't keep up with it! Plus I didn't feel like I fit in. Ah well, I never fit it, so there.

:D
tanookie
Sep. 22nd, 2003 12:34 am (UTC)
I never looked at it this way spacefem and i completely understand where you are coming from. It is afterall not just a site but something that allows you to express yourself to the world.

I am sure no matter how you decide to go with it, it will turn out great!!
spacefem
Sep. 22nd, 2003 04:17 am (UTC)
thanks 'nookie you rock!
(Anonymous)
Sep. 27th, 2003 08:51 am (UTC)
Now on?
"I'm going to be okay with that from now on."

Somehow I can't imagine you being happy with ANYTHING from now on.

;)

radagast
(Anonymous)
Oct. 3rd, 2003 04:10 pm (UTC)
Dude, spacefem, I miss you. I did just sort of up and leave, but the forums were superfun for me while I was around. I'm glad you've decided not to stress about it. -BCG
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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