Been a while since I blogged. Ok, so it's been 3 months since I blogged (I almost wrote blobbed there, really? My brain is in blob form, it's telling me something I bet!), and a lot has gone on since then. Done a ton of reading of blogs, forums, and various other fun or not so fun things out there. Good, bad, ugly, it's all something to take into consideration for us and we do so.
One thing that seems to be creeping into our world ever more so than before, and I'm not sure if it's because of Friday the 13th, the Full Moon, the biblical ending coming Saturday or all three being so close... drama. I have to wonder if humanity has lost it's ever loving mind. I wandered around PetCo today with my puppy to go buy him some toys while I was clearing my head from all the spinning of the last few weeks... and this guy was telling the cashiers we were going to have a Zombie Apocalypse. Seriously?! I sighed heavily and waited until he had left and the air had been cleared of any non obvious contagions.
I know, what does Zombie Apocalypse have to do with Drama right? It's a highlight of how things can get warped out of hand, whether intentionally inflamed to just misinformed. This seems to be happening quite a bit lately, partially on our end, but I won't go so far as to say totally our end. It seems sometimes people have this need, desire, burning urge to stir things without being fully informed and leaping to conclusions of conspiracies or favoritism suddenly being flagrant within the Founders.
What I don't get, is why things get blown out of proportion without trying to calmly, rationally ask why, when, where or how first. I get emotions, really I do, but is there anything that says someone can't ask something of any one of us Founders and not expect an answer? I am not going to shine a light on anyone or any particular thing in this, as that's not what this is really about. It is however, about how incredibly draining it is on the Founders as a whole. Let me explain more :)
I spend hours a day on IDI every day, it's the 4th thing I do in the morning when I'm up and hitting things. I'm typically there for hours, til 1am last night as a case in point. I may go for a couple hours here or there as I did today to rain toys on my dog. Typical day, non drama starts off with forum postings over coffee, runs to the support tickets, handling restarts, answering I'z problems, then transfers, moves, rename and such. Then I log into IDI. And that's where the day goes flying out of the window. IM's start, answering questions, having fun with the residents on IDI, mentors needing help, and things being told to us that we may or may not need to know. Issues being sorted and so on. All of this is more than enough all on it's own, but now toss in the idea that we get bombarded with emails, ideas being presented to us. Ideas that we ourselves, have no time to deal with or oversee. So things get presented to us, such as handling the wiki, and who can say NO to free labor? I mean really? But, the drainer, the big drainer is the drama. All drama is not created equally, and nor does it have the same effects.
Really great drama gets everyone riled up and I know I've done my fair share of that, usually without intention in regards to the grid. And typically the best drama is the unintentional. But the good part of that type of drama is it's usually educational as well, you learn something from it about dealing with things and how to do so. So there's a plus side to that. Especially when dealing with as many people as we do on a day to day basis.
The worst drama is the one that isn't supported by a wide majority, and has no purpose other than to stir the pot and usually has something in it with personal insults as gravy I suppose. This is not something I'm keen on personally as personal insults lead to one thing with most people, they don't want to know you, unless they themselves enjoy the same type of drama. This type of drama does one thing to us as Founders... drains our energy. We spend hours on this type of drama resolving it and / or correcting it. Why? Because we care. If we didn't care about our community, our residents, then we can't ask them to do the same.
We have never led by a "do as we say, not as we do" mentality, but by a "do as we do" mentality. We encourage discussion, debate, and criticism. These energize us, they do not drain us. Our mentors don't do anything different today than they did when I used to do the mentoring in practice. We do not flame or belittle anyone on our forums, and we don't expect anyone else to do that. You'd be surprised at our own debates within our chats when we don't always agree. They are civil and respectful of each others points and we will hash them all out until we reach a decision or a compromise, whichever works best from the discussion. Do they become heated? Sure, all three of us are passionate about what we do. But never do we lose that tone of respect for one another. Because each of us is integral to this team, and to making sure our world works. From the day to day administration, to the coding, to the venting sometimes needing to be done by our residents, to the answers being given for help and support, we all have our strengths and we all rely on them with each other. And because of that symbiosis between us as Founders, and our passion, we carry that to our residents, to our Mentors. It keeps it alive, and growing, and nurturing this grid that we've all worked so hard for. That's not just us as Founders. That's all of us, from Resident to Mentor to Sr. Mentor, to Founder. It's all symbiotic. If one portion quits caring, the rest will fall to the side as well. And this is the crux of drama.
It takes our focus away from our passion. It forces us to deal with the issue at hand, and deal with it we will. Not always to everyone's satisfaction, but we will deal with it. When the IM's start pouring in, and the messages start flying, what are we focusing on? Not what we need to be doing, that is for sure. Now, sometimes, it's needed because we need to clarify something. That isn't a drain. That's pure questioning whatever has happened, and that's good. It's usually a very simple matter, and doesn't explode into drama, nor drain us from what we need to be doing, because answering questions, hey that's what we do every day.
I think what I'm really trying to stress here, is we're all human, even us Founders. We're not perfect. But we're not in league to take over the world, start making the human populace wear pink thongs all over (sorry Shawn, had to), or become a corporate greed machine. Do we make mistakes? Yes. Do we recognize when brought to our attention that something may have been mistakenly handled? Sure do. And we'll be the first to say so. Because we expect that as well from our residents and our Mentors. If we expect it from you, you have a right to expect it from us. Do us a favor though, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater whenever something comes up you aren't happy with. Contact us, each of us as Founders has an open door policy. We also each have our own distinct way of how we deal with things. But we do not shut down our residents or their complaints, that's not in our nature. We are far more prone to say "hey could we have done this better?" than to say it's their fault they took it wrong.
When Tranq says the grid is his life, take him at his word for that. It's all of our lives. It consumes us, probably in a kind of unhealthy way, but so be it. We live, eat, drink, breathe, sleep and dream (sometimes not so pleasantly) of this world, our residents, their visions and dreams. We listen to your complaints, we discuss them, we make a decision. We listen to your ideas, we discuss them, we make a decision. We watch your banter and lively discussion on the forums, we see your civility when dealing with the not so pleasant aspects, and we go outside of our world to keep a pulse on our residents. If that's wrong on our part, to be in touch with you, let us know. If it's wrong of us to try and know that while we have rules in place on our forums, we will try to keep a monitor on what goes on outside so we can deal with things, then let us know. If you feel we've slighted you or your group, let us know. If you feel we're showing favoritism or anything that would not keep the playing field level, let us know. And remember, when you let us know, we're open to hearing it. We love all of our residents, because the grid is nothing without you. And that means that you do have a say with us, each and every single one of you. When you feel you need to say something or critique something, ask yourself, do I need to stir drama up over this or can I get a really simple answer by just asking one of the Founders directly?
Til we meet InWorldz :)