xenologer: (Ravenna)
I have feelings, and sometimes those are not actually sensible things to be sharing. I share my feelings when they provide someone useful data as to how to treat me well, either by affirming what's good or clarifying what is not an effective way to coexist with me. As a result I don't really vent at people unless I have some other independent reason to be doing so. If I am venting to you about something you have done, it's because I have concluded that a more detailed map of my emotional terrain would be useful for you.

Most of the time that isn't necessary. A simple explanation ought to be enough! People should just believe me when I articulate the "when you do X it makes me feel Y because I tell myself Z, so I need you to not X," sort of thing. They shouldn't need to see the wounds and have the blood flung in their face.

The known bug of this particular system is that if I can think of a reason not to divulge, I am prone to using it as an excuse, as a way to bolster my resolve to avoid sharing simply because I do not like sharing. The harm of this is limited because an actual tactical reason to share can override that. The harm is still there, though, even if it is mostly just the further ossification of my insides rather than any kind of outward damage to my social network or the people in it.

Still, I do have a journal. I do have a space which is ostensibly designed for me to talk about my internal life, and the only people who read it are the people who have decided for their own reasons that they want to keep an up to date map of my terrain.

So here's what's eating at me.

For a good few years I roleplayed in a setting called Metro City. It was a chat setting before it was a board, what we now call Silver Age Metro City (yes there is a Golden Age but like most comic book Golden Ages, it isn't necessary reading). That makes the board revival the Bronze Age, I suppose.

I joined because someone who'd been a major player in the prior setting specifically requested the character I used to play, and so I went ahead and joined. I spent a full year or two so drained and bruised from my last go-around of administrating a community that I specifically enlisted the aid of my fellow members (both staff and not staff) to help keep me from taking on more responsibility. Could I be helpful? Yes. But I needed to be told no to my helpful impulses.

That worked for a while. People who used to rely on me at the detriment of their own abilities were finding their feet--even when it meant making necessary mistakes. I was cool with this. It gave them every opportunity to grow, and it gave me time to rest. Wasn't what we did forever, though. Eventually I started helping. And helping. The more I loved the place the more I felt rejuvenated by it, and the more I finally had to give back.

It sucks to be the last staffer standing. Everybody else had legitimate reasons, of course, but then... everybody who opts not to prioritize a thing does so because there are things they value more, and if you do not value a thing particularly highly then... well, you will have lots of perfectly legitimate reasons why something else should be on your mind instead.

It sucks to be the last staffer standing. I had legitimate reasons to neglect the place too, but the difference between me and some people is that I also had one reason to stay that was apparently unique to me: I don't like bailing on commitments.

Some people feel less strongly about such things.

Someone has to keep things running, though, right? Someone has to keep the heart beating so that when everybody else gets done with other priorities they'll have something to come back to, so that the place I loved would still be there for us all when the people it really needs decide to be around. If that can be me, then... well, doesn't it have to be?

Finally... finally I just couldn't anymore. So it happened again. I let a place drain me until I just couldn't carry it, and I had to slide it off long after everyone else. I came back once, because I visited with my peeps from that place and it restored a lot of my love for it. I had previously made a list of things that needed to be done, reforms that needed to be made to remove the barriers to new people joining and investing as well as speedbumps for the established members to keep giving. But I was good! I was good and did it the healthy way and asked people first for feedback and then to pick their own tasks based on what they thought they were available for.

We got most of them done. Luckily for me my job was pretty much just to remind people what they'd committed to and take tasks nobody else wanted. I didn't say that I would finish tasks other people failed to, but... well. You know.

A new person showed up, someone I'd told about the board... oh... half a year ago. So, moment of truth: what do we tell them about the lack of activity. I said that I wasn't going to recommend Metro City to them, but that I would make other recommendations to places where a new person had any reason to expect a return on their investments.
Spleen: So, as a point of information, is your stance that Metro City isn't worth trying to revive at this point?

Me: Yes.

Spleen: Ever?

Me: Who's gonna do it?
I mean, practically-speaking, assess the likely futures.
Who will do it?

Spleen: I understand your point.
I just feel like we didn't give it enough of a shot last time before people gave up on it. And, yeah, part of that is because the "revival" was pretty much you, me, Vigs, and Karl. Elf was good for a few posts too. I might be forgetting someone.

Me: Well, I gave it my share of the shot along with approximately 25% of everybody else's.
So if any future plans involve me doing that again, you should consider them highly unlikely.
It takes more than a couple of staffers who're willing to post to their own threads.
It takes a few dedicated staffers who're willing to both do baseline member stuff like "use the board for RP" and the work of administrating, refining, and promoting the board.
And then members on top of that.

Spleen: Yeah.

(For the record, Elf did way more than that. She did, like... basically all administrative and crunchy work nobody else wanted to touch. The fact that he didn't understand that and saw only her posts in RP threads... well. There's data there about his chances.)

I figured that was the end of it. The next day, however, I get a board-wide email reaching out to everybody who had ever had an account. Suddenly people are energized about Metro City, because I gave up.

To their credit, the people who are stepping in now have been very clear that if I am done forever that's okay. If I am done until the community demonstrates it has enough momentum to be worth returning to, that's also okay. There's been no guilt-tripping. There's been no passive-aggressive nonsense. There's been no implication that I didn't do enough. All of these things are why I am not ranting to them. All my complaints are about things in the past that can't be changed now, not the way I am being treated now that those things are allegedly done with.

I am still fucking pissed. If I had known that declaring Metro City dead and closing its tab because I am done would be the thing that made people realize the joint's worth working to save I would have done it as a tactical choice two fucking years ago, back when there was anything worth saving. I hope they succeed. I hope they demonstrate that they are better than they were when I actually needed them, because they will have rebuilt something beautiful that I dearly miss. That's why I am not telling them all of this. I don't want to diminish their morale when I already think so little of their chances already.

Their failure feels more like a when than an if, but I'll still be disappointed. I'll still be sad, even as part of me looks at messages like this and snarls.

"I wanted to say that although I always was kind of aware that there was a bunch of stuff we were leaving to you, I have really gained a new level of appreciation over the past few days for all the work you put into keeping Metro City running.

I am sorry that it was as thankless a task as it was."

I'm a nice person, or at least a restrained one, so I said, "I appreciate that. I hope that it at least made your job easier after the fact."

I think the thing I most needed to be told was this, which came shortly after. "Thanks for making Metro City a really awesome place for a really long time. I hope that I will be able to make it an awesome enough place that you feel like RPing there again."

I hope so too. I want to stop feeling this way when I think about a place that used to bring me so much happiness. I want to stop feeling this way about people I care about. I just plain wanna stop feeling this way. I want to have fun again.

It's their gamble to make now, though. Let them try. I hope they manage it without me rooting for them because right now I don't think I have it in me.
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