A2K isn't the only online community, of course. But it is our community.
It's funny -- I recall RP told me (he had been a member of Abuzz but I don't think he ever posted there) -- oh, I'll join. But I probably won't post much. Almost 15,000 posts later ....
And that's what happens. You think, oh, this won't be much. I'll hang around, get my question answered. Oh, maybe I'll answer this other one. I know it! I know it! It's like having your hand up in school. And then you see that people are interacting and are having fun. Chatting. Joking around. Arguing. Sharing. And suddenly, almost 15,000 posts later, you realize: I'm a part of something bigger than myself.
Our philosophy on A2K, at least from a Moderation standpoint, has evolved. Right now I see us somewhat similar to this. We try to be firm but not controlling. We do our best to be open to a lot of different voices. We attempt to open up the forum to as many opinions as there are stars in the heavens. Even when those opinions make our skin crawl, we allow them, as we know and trust that the community will sort them out.
In a lot of online communities, where the Moderators are known to all (Abuzz was one of them), a Moderators' words can sometimes take on too much of a life of their own. There is deference. There is a nodding agreement, to try to stay on the Mods' "good side". I do hope there's none or almost none of that here. It's not what we're about. God knows I don't know what I'm talking about at times. I expect, nay, I demand that you shatter my illusions and make me see the light. Although, I admit, I'm a cream puff. I do prefer if you're nice about it.
But this isn't about me. It's about you, and about A2K. So here's a bit about what's happened in the past seven and a half years.
In late August of 2002, Abuzz was beginning to really fall apart and I was out of work. Robert was running his own site, The Raven's Realm, and sent me a note about a new and different site he was making.
It was raw, and it was slow. It started off on Lycos as a holding pen. It was called Abenuts because there just needed to be filler text in the name.
In mid-January of 2003, we started designing baseball caps, and soon we sold a few (a number were also given away). I've still got one.
It was some time in 2003 -- June? -- that we added timberlandko (I believe this is his first post: http://able2know.org/topic/890-1#post-9322) to the ranks of the Moderators. Noddy24 came later -- 2004? It's a little unclear as she was on, and then left, and then was back again. Over the years we brought in more Moderators, who wish to remain anonymous. It's not about power. It's about love.
There have been nine known deaths of A2Kers: Noddy24, timberlandko, cavfancier, mamajuana, kev, Joanne Dorel, Olen, Paola and JoanLee; plus JayBea, himself and Mary Pope from Abuzz. Here's a link I hope you'll enjoy: http://able2know.org/topic/120478-11#post-3391471
Just as A2K grew from the ashes of Abuzz, we continually reinvent ourselves. The site has gone from a rigid, structured forums site to a fluid, tagged site. Don't want to see a topic? Vote it down. Like a topic? Encourage the topic creator (and other users, to check out the topic) and vote it up. Love a post? Vote it up. Dislike a post, or think it's too off-topic? Vote it down. Don't want to read a user? Ignore him or her. Want to see a user more easily? Follow that user.
We're chockfull of it, from our neologisms (Robert even referred to this as the "jespaupdate"), our culture and our in-jokes. We know about nutella. We spell back "bavk". No one knows where littlek's left underwire is. Capybaras make us smile.
Talk about music, or sports, or software. Get a Latin translation. Or help with Neopets. Or your water softening system. Or, yes, a question about breakfast in the West. Or talk about your favorite Droid app. Or get some relationship advice. Cook with us. Sing with us. Yabber with us. Argue with us. Mourn with us.
This isn't just my site, and it isn't just Robert's. It's yours, too. So here is your space, because you are a part of the 100,000 membership just as surely as we are. So take it away, A2Kers, and add your own bits and pieces and spin.
Greatest hits? Meta information? A2K's own culture, neologisms, vaunted members? Thoughts? Links? Photos? Tunes? Things that make you laugh. Things that make you cry. Things that make you think. The moments that make A2K, well, A2K.
Come to think of it, that might be what the flower-picking hamsters are doing -- impregnating unsuspecting goldfish!
Fri 19 Feb, 2010 08:00 am
Dont look at me when you say that. I dont have a guilty conscience. You cant prove anything.
Fri 19 Feb, 2010 10:12 am
What a great tribute to a2k, jespah. You're such an insightful and brilliant
writer, you should have your own newspaper column, really! Have you ever
thought of applying for a more journalistic/writing position? Start at least
a blog and get your talent out there - I know a (former) unemployed writer who got a great job through her blog.