Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Unmanageable Community

Blade says it better than I can:
So, at this point, I'm done with Myst fandom. I've had a lot of very good experiences in it, but again and again, I've seen a subset of Myst fans tear apart almost any attempt for someone to take charge of something to get things done. Every time, people get accused of 'power grabs' and 'trying to make thenselves feel important.' There's a subset of loud fans who are obsessed with taking pot shots at people and take the 'question authority' schtick to the extreme of 'question anything that might possibly be seen as authority at all as rabidly as possible and then claim they have been wronged when people finish lash out at them.' Even some of the more reasonable people seem to fall back on the utopian ideal of everything being run by consensus in every single case.

I'm tired of dealing with that sort of abuse. Especially from people who don't actually do anything but hand out abuse. It's been going on for YEARS in the community, and it's usually the same people who cause it. And when they get called on it, they get offended and indignant and use that as an opportunity to take further shots.
... I'm pulling out of Myst fandom as much as I can for a while. I made a commitment to help with Mysterium 2010, and I'll keep that commitment. But otherwise, I'm done.

When Uru-related harassment and abuse follows me into other virtual realities, it's time to walk away. When standing up against people being rude and antagonistic gets me summarily rejected by long-time friends, it's not worth the drama anymore.

People want to carry chips and grudges, lash out at people just to prove they are right, that's fine for them. It's a waste of my time and energy to try and engage them.

Until the community responds by rejecting argumentative, attacking behaviour, *and* Cyan can pull off actual community management: someone(s) with actual, unquestionable authority and voice,this sort of backstabby nastyness will keep showing up again and again.

To paraphrase a bumpersticker "Myst, please save me from your followers"


Free Bird said...

Frankly, Eleri, I think you're one of the people with too much concern for their own status within the community, as even the title of your post proves. An unmanageable community? We never asked you to manage it in the first place. As for the fans who would take questioning authority to the extreme, I haven't seen many examples. Then again, I mostly steer clear from the official MO:UL forum, which is something I would advise any person bent on keeping their sanity to do.

I do agree with one point you make, though: Cyan really needs to learn how actual community management works, instead of delegating it to one of their own employees as an afterthought.

Shaun "Drakmyth" Hamman said...

I hear you Eleri. I stay almost exclusively on the MOUL forums these days so I don't know how bad it is on other forums, but the lack of many members of the community to come together to do anything is really aggrivating. I understand that we are all anxious to get back inside, and that we would all like to do so under Cyan's guidance, but that clearly isn't going to happen for quite some time, and the disrespect being shown to Cyan from many explorers because of this is disgusting.

Perhaps it is nostalgia speaking, but although our community was split across shards back in the UU days, I don't recall most of the explorers being so... argumentative, so eager to pick a fight. Sure, we had our fair share of fights, but rarely, if ever, was it as bad as it is now.

If I remember correctly, you and I entered the community about the same time, after Prologue near the beginning of UU. So I know exactly where your frustrations are coming from. I just wish there were something we could do about it (though sadly, I think any attempts to do so might make the problem worse).

Eleri Hamilton said...

*nods at Free Bird* The title could have been written differently; it was supposed to mean that being in the community was unmanageable for me right now.

I don't think you could pay me enough to do community management for *any* group, don't have the patience or the tact :)

I'm always a bit bemused by the idea of having any status... I do things because I'm enthused by the idea, or I have some skill that would be helpful, and it's nice to have work acknowledged. So, I guess, I'm a little bit blindsided when I'm actively attacked for helping, especially when I've been directly asked to help.

Lostthyme said...

I'm sorry. I don't know what is going on with all of this because I tend to stay on the outskirts of the fandom, but it's sad that it's come to this. I hope one day the problems will get resolved and you can come back. :)

vid said...

I'd like to say that things will get better eventually, but I think it's always been like this. It just seems worse right now, because the only people who still hang around are so incredibly stubborn (myself included) that it overshadows the way things were when more people were around than just the most mule-headed.

I think that just about everyone who's ever tried to do anything besides sit around and wait for something to happen (in Prologue, MOUL, and beyond) has been accused to "making a power grab". Try to rally people to a cause? That's a power grab. Try to do/make something because nobody else is bothering? Power grab. Make an effort to engage Cyan/the DRC/GameTap/WhoeverIsIsThisYear? I HAVE THE POOOOOOOOOOOOOWER-grab.

It's a miserable situation, but I hope you and Blade will both still be around with good input and good company if we ever get to a time where there's a healthy, growing community again.

Deg said...

I'm not involved enough in the forums to see any of the bickering, so I'm a bit out of the loop on this one. Although I know pride has always been a problem for humans and the D'ni. I do wish explorers would work together to build one great Age instead of the dozens of okay ones.

Anyways, I just want to send some encouragement your way. You're a great part of the Myst community and I'm glad to see your contributions to it.

BearFoot said...

Blade. It is sad that an old stalwart such as yourself has decided to leave. You state you are leaving because the community is unmanageable. I have to disagree. Only a very few cause mayhem in here. You and I know very well who they are. It is sad that empty barrels make the most noise. These noisemakers don't care a damn for the community, they are the most selfish swines. I can count on less than 10 fingers the real unmanageable troublemakers. What a shame you give in to them.

Anonymous said...

mszv said....
I hope you come back to mystonline Eleri. If you don't come back to mystonline, I hope you find another myst themed forum and group to your liking.

I think there are a couple of things going on

- it's never been one community, but a collection of people who like the Myst series games including Uru. If someone tries to speak for "the community" - it tends to make people a little testy.

- the number of people actively posting, and staying involved on forums is small Differences get magnified.

- mystonline tends to be more contentious. UO is more laid back, no yelling.

- the whole personal thing. Giving details about your life online - some people click with you, some don't. Sometimes people end up as polarizing figures. I don't have an answer for it - the group dynamics thing.

Here's the biggest problem - nothing to talk about, officially, that is. So people find other things to talk about - and one of the things they do is argue with each other.

On being a forum moderator - my experience - on a forum with a product, a growing community, with community managers hired to do community management - being a forum moderator is great. It was great in the Ubisoft era. I learned a lot. The whole idea is to not take it personally. Differences get magnified on the internet.

I agree on the Cyan thing - a good community manager, whose job it is to do that - works wonders. I think Mark (Chogon) is super great, but he's also super busy and the forum suffers for it. He also can't solve the problem of no game, nothing new to talk about, with regards to a product.

Take care Eleri