Time really does go by faster at the NYWC. Saturday was a very full day spent in the exhibit hall, doing some networking for YMX with some fantastic folks, going with Amy to interview the inimitable Marko for a forthcoming article, more time in the exhibit hall, assisting Adam with his late night Web 2.0 discussion, and then a very late but highly entertaining dinner at a local cafe (which was having karaoke night!). But, the best part by far was spending time with great people from the YMX forum community and building relationships that bring the interactions online into the realm of “real people.” While all of the days’ activities were time well spent both for the site and for me personally, it was the conversations with members that were the best investment of time.
One of the natural topics of conversation related to some discipline decisions made on the forums in recent months. Being able to answer questions face-to-face about the reasons behind the decisions that had to be made, was a relief to those who asked and listened. There were many of these side conversations which took place and it was a relief to all of us to be able to share the other side of the story in honest and reasonable terms and with honesty free of the heat of the related angry posts and emails and IMs some have received. Equally, it was important for concerned members of the community to know that no personal vendetta or persecution took place, regardless of accusations along those lines, and that there were real reasons behind the actions taken. It really was a relief to be able to honestly share the bottom line issue – that a perceived leader in the community did attack and use threatening and/or vulgar language in angry written communication (private and public) to other members in more than one case; and, that another member did on multiple occasions violate the portion of the terms of service regarding posting under the screen name of someone else. It really is just that straightforward, and the reasons were communicated to the parties involved. Did everything go perfectly at that time? Not hardly. However, the fact is that the decision has been a good one for the community as a whole, and every single person I’ve spoken about it with as it has come up has clearly seen that a leader can’t be allowed to treat members that way and have the community survive in any healthy way. The pattern of behavior was clear and unsurprising, and no one was happy that it all came apart that way.
One concern was about restoring personal relationships, and I shared that attempts were made and rebuffed, but that my hope remains that with time these wounds on all parts will heal. I wish nothing but good for all involved and have grieved the lost friendships greatly.
I’ll write more about the convention in another post, probably tomorrow, after I take some time to rest and process the messages and thoughts. It’s been a super valuable time, and for that I’m grateful.