Regarding Winterwind's future - READ ME

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Joseph
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Regarding Winterwind's future - READ ME

Post by Joseph » Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:18 pm

As I stated before Christmas, I was extremely disappointed in the lack of response from the “community” regarding Winterwind’s five year anniversary, the accompanying Ezine issue and the lack of “Season’s Greetings” from pretty much everyone.

For five years I have invested my time, energy and money into keeping this place online. I have done it largely alone, with little help and even less thanks. While this question has always been in the back of my mind, this year it has come very much forward: Why?

Why do I bother keeping the site/forums online?

I get nothing from it.

It costs far more money than it’s ever received via PayPal donations and has never made a cent from the ads it’s had a various times. It also provides almost zero sense of satisfaction or achievement for me and takes time away from other things I could be doing.

The Site

The first thing any site needs to be successful, entertaining, etc, is a committed, dedicated team, creating and soliciting content.

That is the one thing that Winterwind has never had. Never.

The vast majority of the “team” members over the years have been, literally, all talk and little-to-no action. Reading through old threads in the Moderator’s forum makes that perfectly clear.

People complain that the site isn’t interesting or has no content that appeals to them. That’s fine. That’s valid but… When I ask for suggestions or ideas, no-one has any. That makes it impossible for me (or anyone) to create or solicit content that they will find of interest.

The Forums

As you all know, or should, these forums weren’t my idea and the individual who started them abandoned them for another forum. I was left with them and thought I’d try to make the best of it.

People complain about how slow or boring the forums are. I’ve also heard the excuse that “we all know each other/know what we’ll say so there’s no point in posting anything”.

To be polite, I’ve even used that excuse myself but it is exactly that, an excuse.

If your reasons for not posting are because you feel you already know what another member will say… then your real life friendships, with people whom you have known far longer and more intimately than anyone here, must be quiet and boring indeed. You know them better so there must be even less to talk about.

I have a disgustingly disproportionate post count. Why? Because I have tried for five years to get discussions going, to keep threads active, to “rally the troops” as far as growing/improving the site/forums.

Another factor in the “it’s slow” complaint: Threads don’t start themselves, posts don’t write themselves. If you’re not posting, not starting discussions or participating in them, then yes, it’s obviously going to be very slow.

And again, I’m essentially the only one that tries to grow the forums or recruit new members. Of the mere 12 new members in 2008, 10 came through me.

The Future

In short, I am simply tired of trying to keep this site going, tired of trying to make it enjoyable for others when I’m getting no thanks and no enjoyment from it myself. There’s no payoff, no incentive, financially, artistically or emotionally, in any of this for me.

My writing suffers. I’m too busy trying to put together content people might find interesting and so my own content is half-assed and composed at the last minute.

I’ve no motivation to try and get any interviews or “big-ticket” content because of the complete apathy I receive from the majority of the people here.

Winterwind could still be “something” though. It’s easy. So ridiculously easy.

All it would take would be two or three committed people to help me make it better.

For example, the ezine.

As good as some of the content is, let’s face it, my writing, or Mattias’ or Lina’s isn’t going to draw in the crowds. That’s why the initial idea for the ezine was one “big name” feature article per issue with supporting content from the community.

However, in order to do even something that simple, an interview an issue for example, it requires team work. That is something we simply don’t have here at present.

I’m not “giving up” on Winterwind just yet but I am giving notice.

The site, or some version of it, will likely remain.

The forums however, exist solely in support of the site and unless people become more active and more involved, in either the site’s content or the forum discussions, or both, then they will be closed.

If you have any comments, feel free to post them.

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Post by John Arkham » Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:54 pm

It would be a shame for this site to close. I have always enjoyed it and would to contribute when I am less busy. For my part, I apologise for my lack of posting and uncharacteristic lack of a seasons greetings. I have been so busy with personal issues but I should have found the time to post on the site. I will try to remedy this.

I am in the process of writing a novel about the Chaldean dynasty of Persion and thus could possible make an article out of the research in a few weeks.
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Post by The Snow Queen » Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:34 am

Josan,
I know how busy you are and bending time is stretching everything out of whack. I know I've been remiss in visiting and posting but working 6 days a week and in the evenings as well, doesn't leave me a lot of free time to play.

I understand your opportunities have expanded also that demand your attention (hopefully resulting in a paycheck) or another stepping stone to what you really wish to do in your life.

I can't imagine a forum so complacent
All men exist to serve me. ;)
Well, least it's a nice idea but I'll settle for a few....well a couple, maybe three or four. Hell, how about one for each day of the week and we'll call it quits at that? That should be enough staff don't you think?

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Post by AngryKidJoe » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:32 am

Read and acknowledged. I think a proper, constructive reply will take a re-reading or two of the post.
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Joseph
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Post by Joseph » Tue Jan 13, 2009 6:12 am

Strangely ironic that the three replies to this thread have been from two of those 12 new members and a former team member who just returned on the eve of the anniversary.

That is a positive.

Unfortunately, it highlights the long standing negative that's lead to my current view of these forums.

That's a better example of "ironic" than most/all of the example's in Alanis Morrisette's song though.

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Post by The Snow Queen » Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:40 pm

Unfortunately wasn't able to complete my post -- I didn't mean to give the impression I found this place 'quiet', I've had some good laughs reading and fun here. But trying to keep body and soul together has me running in 5 different directions and burning the candle at three ends.

Like now...rushing out the door to work!!
All men exist to serve me. ;)
Well, least it's a nice idea but I'll settle for a few....well a couple, maybe three or four. Hell, how about one for each day of the week and we'll call it quits at that? That should be enough staff don't you think?

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Post by Clyo Beck » Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:00 pm

Hi -

I have my hands full with putting out the London Writers' Society newsletter and updating our website not to mention my own projects.

Right now I'm just trying to get through my e-mail after having been away for a few days and it's just frustrating as heck. I've done nothing at all productive for a couple of hours.

So I don't really have the time to contribute to this forum.

An active forum needs a lot of members. To get a lot of members, you need traffic. I can offer you no advice on how to get traffic. I assume you are using Joomla! or a cached system as opposed to static web pages and they are difficult to search engine optimize, or so I've been told.

We in the LWS have the same kinds of problems in terms of participation. Only a few people participate in our critique groups relative to membership.

Also, when composing the newsletter, I ask for suggestions, articles, etc., but get nothing.

Fortunately, I still enjoy putting the newsletter together.

Bottom line, if keeping this forum going is draining you, drop it. When you start resenting it, that's no good.

I know it's hard to let go of something into which you've invested so much time and effort. You may feel like you cannot cut the cord because then you will have wasted five years.

Yet nothing is ever wasted. I'm sure you learned a great deal. (Gosh knows I did in trying to get LWS off the ground.)

However, it may wind up that you will throw another year's worth of energy away, and then another and still another, yet never see the results you hope for.

Bottom line, do what makes you happy. Relief is a wonderful thing.

In my opinion, you either need to find a different model that works or give it up. Run a contest. Charge for entries. Charge for membership.

Everyone expects to be paid for their time, why not you?

I know you asked about LWS members using your forum. That's why I included your link in the newsletter. Perhaps people who get the newsletter will begin to contribute to your forum.

In regard to using this forum for LWSand as an adjunct to LWS, that really won't work for a number of reasons.

We want a closed membership forum tied to LWS paid membership. We also want to make sure that the public cannot see orginal work.

The main issue for us is the fact that when a piece of fiction or non-fiction is published on-line for all to see, the author loses 1st rights.

No traditional publisher will pay for a story that has appeared on-line. Publishers are very specific about that. Every contest out there rejects work that has been previously published on-line.

Since most of our members hope to break into traditional print, they want a closed forum.

In any event, while I may sound discouraging, I just want to encourage you to follow your own joy.

Don't "should" on yourself. You don't "have" to do anything. You have one life. Your moments are precious. If they aren't fun and fulfilling, then something has to change.

Memo to Clyo: listen to your own advice!

All my best,
Clyo
As past president of the London Writers' Society, I invite writers to visit www.londonwriterssociety.com (and after April 2009 www.londonwriterssociety.ca) and see the resources for writers on these sites.

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Post by Joseph » Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:27 pm

A wonderful post Clyo and appreciated.

And again it highlights the problem...

It's the people that this thread ISN'T directed towards that are the ones replying.

The site will remain. There's little doubt of that.

It's the forums that are potentially on the chopping block. They require periodic work/upgrades and time and that's an investment that Mattias and I make, to varying degrees, and there's little participation and even less thanks.

These forums are maintained as a courtesy and to provide the readers and contributors to the site a place to 1) Discuss the content of the site and 2) general discussion on various other topics. Seems most people here aren't even aware that there is a website as well as these boards.

Oh, and just a quick note about my suggestion... you can have public and private forums with controlled access. You can't see the mod or admin forums here can you? :wink:

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Post by D. Sauzi » Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:13 pm

Hmm, i probably should have posted a similar post as AKJ, but i wanted to think things over a bit before i replied, i know too little of when the place was founded. btw, indeed a great post Clyo, agree on many things with you.

I fear you are right in many of your measurements, and i must admit i as well am starting to become distracted with the pace things are going at. I suppose thats part of me as well, and i think i am also too much of a consumer in such, but its is traffic that is indeed the main problem. I had a bit of a talk with you on MSN just yet, but with the current user group, i dont think a new team will all of a sudden come up, there are even some times a day passes without a new post by now.

Of course i hope things change and go for the better, but i'm not sure, and if it does cost you too much time and money, it might not be a bad idea to move, merge or cut it off, if it happens to come to that its been a nice 5 years (or a bit less in my case).
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Post by Fluffy17 » Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:47 pm

I'm sorry for my inactivity, my dog is very sick despite being 13 years old I love him and I just want to be with him.

Plus I'm working on a story that I want to be published
I have no time for flat characters why should I have times for flat people?

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Post by John Arkham » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:11 pm

We could start an advertising campaign...

I would hate to see this forum go but if it is too much of a drain you could close it. It is your choice Josan, and we will all support you.

For my part I will still read the e-zine.
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Post by Joseph » Wed Jan 14, 2009 5:26 pm

Well, the ezine will hopefully continue. Mattias recently expressed continued support for it and even suggested Lina be made a team member. I'd like to see that happen because really, with two or three people dedicated, it could be much better than just one person feeling run down and developing a sense of apathy.

As for the forums, I really would like to see more "community spirit" and activity. Some of the members here have never read so much as one issue and never commented on any of the content.

That is the extremely discouraging part. And as I've said before, it doesn't bother me if they read or reply to my material or not. I just think that the people who take the time to submit short stories, art, etc, deserve more of a response.

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Post by Joseph » Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:46 pm

Further on this subject, Lina, aka Firstborn, has "joined the team". So, it is now comprised of Lina, Mattias and myself.

Our intent is to focus on the ezine, making it the best we can as far as our own original work, contributions from other writers and artists and, with a little work, some good quality interviews in the arts and entertainment world.

Regarding the forums, they will remain with the hopes that the improved content and focus of the ezine leads to more activity from both existing and future forum members.

Thanks,

Joseph

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Post by Gorth » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:32 am

Josan wrote:Further on this subject, Lina, aka Firstborn, has "joined the team". So, it is now comprised of Lina, Mattias and myself.
Poor girl, so much to learn. rule #1, never volunteer for anything :cool:

Anyway, what a nice surprise. If that means a regular occurring piece in the e-zine that is. Who needs happy endings? :haksthumbsup:
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Post by Firstborn » Sat Jan 17, 2009 2:17 pm

Attracting a crowd is hard in the first place, making said crowd to actually do something is even harder. And what's worse, you can't make them, you have to trick them into wanting to. So, let's start planning deception... :D
Or, at least start wooing artists and rock stars. ;)

And I really like the forums. I think the site would loose a huge part of it's soul if the place where we all can connect were to disappear. Just so you know. But then again, I'm not the one performing the upkeep. ^^

Ha,ha! Oh, Gorth, I love having things to do. I'm volonteering for a few other things as it is already. ^^ If I were to only have my job, then go home to watch TV and only have a life in the weekends, then I would honestly wither away and die! Or at least loose what ever little sanity I had to begin with. ;) I don't know how many days I will have in my life, so I better fill them with stuff to do, sort of. :)
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