Anniversaries are a time to celebrate, and also a time to reflect on the past year. This third anniversary pushes me toward reflection this time around, rather than celebration. Year three was somewhat disappointing in all honesty. RHDN has suffered from what I would call ‘growing pains'. It's not the little haven it once was. Success has prompted growth and growth has prompted many changes in atmosphere. Now that RHDN is bigger, we can't go backwards. We can only try to adapt to it's larger size burdens and choose the best direction to move forward. That's the key to this reflection, the direction to move forward.
The growing pains’ we've experienced represent problems that show up with any larger groups of people. Massive influx of useless new people who don't read rules, post 1 or 2 useless posts, and never come again, is one example. It starts to become a burden to handle these people and has a negative effect on the atmosphere here. The larger the site, the larger this problem becomes. But that's not what disappointed me. What disappoints me is that despite large amounts of people, there is still lack of a real community. In fact, there's less of one than there was before. That begs the question of; do RHDN visitors even want a community?
Are you kidding? You surprised there's no community with this kind of attitude from the site admin?
No offense dude, but when you call new members "useless" are you really that surprise that they post once or twice and never post again?
Reading the rules? Man, how long have you been on the internet? Nobody reads the rules anywhere, that's the norm. Are you really surprised about that? Like, honestly?
The way I see it, there's some really talented and smart people down here at romhacking. But being good at hacking doesn't imply that you have the skills to deal with people. I'm not talking about you, Nightcrawler, I'm not pointing anybody.
Let's face it, the moderation is pretty damn harsh. You guys don't mess around when someone messes up, you tell it like it is in no uncertain terms. I personally don't have a problem with that but I can certainly see why some people would.
The thing is, everybody starts being a "useless" member first. Given time, some of them will develop and become pretty good at hacking.
The way I see it, this forum is for elitists. If you're a beginner it's pretty much: Read the FAQ.
With something as complex as romhacking, some actual support would be nice as opposed to being pointed to a link. I don't blame you though, I can certainly imagine the increasing frustration as new members keep repeating the same annoying behaviours. But the thing is, as an admin you pretty much have to deal with it.
Now, those are just my impressions and I might very well be completely out of line here.
As far as I'm concerned, romhacking is great for translations but that's it. I wouldn't describe the forum as being friendly and welcoming, not by a long shot.
I thought I should let you know, in case you wonder why some people just leave and never come back.
We've spent time on features such as the community database which has huge potential to be enhanced into something grand like personal status pages for all community members. We've also added user reviews. Hardly anybody uses either of them. Massive amounts of people come here for a single useless post or two and never come back. As for community regulars, their interests are also in question. Two of the most popular site related discussion topics for 2008 were for a minor deletion policy change and handling of a newbie violating a rule. Those are the kinds of things that are most important? Individual forum moderation decisions and disallowing baseless claims for deletion to cut down on work? This is disturbing to me. This is not positive community oriented discussion. Our open forum tries to facilitate discussion of all site developments, but what's being discussed is dirty laundry airing instead. Where's the discussion on enhancing the community? We used to have that. Now, it seems to be missing. We temporarily lost a founding member this year thanks to loss of community focus and allowing endless nitpicking of every decision. This really poses the question of whether or not people even want a community, which leads me to my most troubling thoughts of all…
That's a shame, because all in all, romhacking is really one gift that you offer to the community, Nightcrawler, and I for one really appreciate it.
I'm sorry you're disappointed in your community but man, surely you'd have to be blind not to notice some things.
I mean, one of the first thing I noticed coming here was you, the admin, talking down one of your mods in a public forum. I was like, WTF?!
Does what the people want now conflict with the site charter? It would seem like the larger the site gets, the more in the direction of not wanting a community it goes. People seem to just want an archive site to come to grab whatever they want. They don't care about their peers. They don't care about contributing to enhancing the community. They don't care if they never interact with anyone else. So, how does a site with a fundamental goal of being a community site, handle the community not wanting a community anymore? This is a core conflict of interest. This is a call for re-evaluation of the direction of the site. As the site Administrator, doner of countless hours of time, having the vision for this site, and being an active community member myself, this is very troubling. The site majority has shifted. Thanks to growth, the people who don't care now outnumber the people who do.
Well I never saw romhacking as a community thing. I think a lot of people are mostly interested in grabbing their patch and being on their way. They probably then comment on the romhacker's own blog/site.
It is because of these issues that year three has been disappointing to me. I see a call for a change in direction and resolution of this core conflict. RHDN needs to adapt to what it has become and set the direction it needs to go in to continue to be successful. I will take some time to carefully think over RHDN's current state, it's fundamental goals, recent community sentiment, and more importantly, listen to you now. Some changes are likely. Some compromises may be made, and perhaps some new goals will even be set. Is RHDN primarily an archive site? Is it a community site? Does the community RHDN aims to serve include everyone, or is a more select audience? Does full unrestricted policy discussion work with large amounts of people, or does it just breed dissension? Are all decisions made up for debate and allowed to be challenged? These are just some of the questions that must be asked.
The face of RHDN is changing. What does RHDN mean to you?
I think this new attitude couldn't come at a better time. Yeah, I would listen to, if I were you. Let's hear what the members have to say.
But I mean, get your team together and don't start berating your staff in public, that just gives a really awful impression for visitors. Cancel the request for updates, that just destroys the whole purpose of a community.
There, you wanted my opinion, you got it.
Next time around, when one of your members is being respectful and another fool (can't remember the guy's name, Syrael something, I don't know) comes by behaving like a prick, well, you know: Moderate. It might show that you care about your members and want to discipline the jerks.
I'm just saying because that was the straw that broke the camel's back as far as I'm concerned.
I wish you the best, may your community prosper in 2009, have a good year my friend.