17 MayAnd Now For Something Completely Different

In an attempt to share stuff other than what is currently making me weepy or making completely inappropriate very dark jokes…

So in other news, I read this article by Matt Haughey of metafilter about stuff he’s learned about running communities. The one that hit me was actually a sub-point of one of his primary points. It was this one:

Be the best member of your site. Lead by example by participating as much as you can in your own community. This is a good way to attract other well-intentioned members of your site and also reminds everyone a real person is behind it all and building the best community they can for everyone. Speak honestly and be supportive of other members. When I think of all the communities I’m a part of, the ones I love are the ones I see the creators using everyday.

I’m consistently impressed with his participation, and Jessamyn’s, and now Cortex’s participation on the metafilter sites. I remember back to when we were moderating the hipmama sites (though we never really required moderating so much at mamaphonic) & it seemed like the mods really were lightening rods for attention & attacks, in addition to having to figure out a really hard line of how & what required moderation on some topics that were in and of themselves lightening rods for dissent & disagreement (abortion? Israel/Palestine? racism? Those are some hot hot hot buttons for folks, and not without reason). Mefi is moderated, but in comparison, it’s much less moderated I think… I’ve learned a lot about [online] community & just how much dissension & what kind of dissension a community can take. I think both mamaphonic & hipmama have done pretty spectacularly < knocking on wood > in terms of not requiring a/multiple nannies to watch over the discussions since we reopened hipmama… But I have to admit, I haven’t been particularly an active participant. I’m there & I’m watching over stuff on both sites, but I don’t pop in & participate as a regular jane so much.

I think some of this is residual to what went down on hipmama when we decided to take it down. Some of it, I think, is that I’ve learned some of my limits better in terms of how much energy & time I have to give to actually engaging in online stuff. I’m online a ridiculous amount of time, but I don’t get sucked into hot button discussions like I used to & I tend to think that’s a good thing for me personally. I used to think that I needed to get better at presenting my points on matters, but I think really… in the end, I don’t think I ever convinced anyone to change their mind, although at times I have changed my mind on some things I’ve discussed with folks (though nothing comes to mind at the moment). My life feels saner, somehow for not being so heavily involved in the day to day discussions (or any as I spend a ridiculous amount of time on the metafilter sites, but don’t contribute substantially there either), although I am, behind the scenes, an active supporter of the hipmama communities. I don’t know really where I’m going with this.

One thing I’ve been trying to avoid (besides losing my “life/online-life balance”) might be being visible & known as “the admin” who has to step into disagreeances. Folks are going to disagree with each other. Sometimes they’ll flame out & leave the site in a huff. Or just rabble about. I don’t want to step back into “moderating” that sort of stuff. And I also don’t like feeling conspicuous when I step into a conversation, like I’m being looked at to set out some sort of “how it should be”… That might just be my weird perception & not reflected in reality though. It can be hard too, to put oneself out there when you’re already invested, so some of it is just self-protective, I guess… But I guess I do feel like I maybe should be “around” more, which is why that particular point resonated with me. I dunno.

I went through a phase last summer where I was trying to decide where I was with the whole producer thing. I think I reached the point where I felt like I had “paid my debt” to the site/s for carrying me through my girls’ early years, and for the benefits I received in learning about web stuff & organizing info stuff that helped me through library school… I looked it in the eye & came to the conclusion that I really believe in what these communities are supporting & that I can, in good conscience continue to do what I’m doing, I just needed to shift my perspective from one of feeling like I had repaid a debt of gratitude to one of this is a cause I believe in & I’m proud to be a part of it (and, of course, “my” mamas make it easy to be proud of them!).

I also got some weird email this week. Basically a “partnering” opportunity where I would get my mamaphonic mamas to sign up & write for thier site & then I’d get an $8 kickback for each one of them that started writing on that site. It makes me a little queasy to think about, really. Like I’d pimp folks out? Um, what? If people like the site, why are you offering to pay *me*? Why don’t you give *them* $8 for signing up? I dunno. It was one of the odder things that’s come across my plate in a while. I don’t think you can sell/buy community that way.

So anyway. Life has been wackily transitioning away & I have reached a plateau in my guitar stuff &… I guess maybe that’s ok since so much else is going on, but I’m tired of some of what I’m doing & want to do something new… but I don’t have the energy to sink into something new, especially since I seem to have drifted off practicing as rigorously as I was what with being worn. the. fuck. out. I guess that just means there’s one thing stable in my life, eh? I’ll take it. Here’s to an occasional plateau in a time of transition!

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