Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Moving On

I resigned today, along with the remaining DRC Liaisons. You can read our group statement, as well as Eleri's and Gadren's individual statements, here. But I wanted to post mine here as well.

This is going to be a long one, so please forgive me for that, but I ask that you read this through completely.

I am resigning my position for many reasons. The abuse from a vocal minority of the community has not helped things. The endless frustration from all sides has not helped things. But, primarily, I think we as a community are just not ready for this yet. I must take some responsibility for this, because I was someone who wanted to move things quickly back when this all started. I, like many others, was under the impression that the DRC had a grand plan for this position, but were merely hammering out the details. This made me think that a full job description would be forthcoming, and we were safe in moving forward with an election. It turns out that this was entirely the wrong move, but more on that later.

We have been trapped between two sides here, and neither side has been very helpful. The DRC never came through with a job description, and asked us to come up with one. We asked the community for input, and got very little. So we wrote up something that basically covered what we had been doing, and the DRC approved. But it never felt like we were doing enough for the community. We tried to get things from the DRC -- more meetings, more information, space on their website. "We're too busy", we were told. "Ask again later." "We'll let you know." In essense, we got nothing. So we turned again to the community. Over and over, we asked, "What do you want?" We got some good ideas (which we couldn't implement without the DRC), but mostly, we got more nothing. So then, we tried to come up with some ideas on our own. There was moderate success, especially with the IC/OOC Standards statement, but mostly there was apathy. We tried to do some big things, make some changes, and there was anger in response. Sometimes things went well, but more often we were ignored or abused. This has been the entireity of our job. After nine months, it becomes obvious that the experiment has failed.

Last week, we finally came to a realization. The DRC never had a grand plan. They had only started the ball rolling because we, the community, had not. One of the major things The Great Tree had pushed for, back in the old days, was Explorer representation among the DRC. They wanted the Explorers to have a voice in how things would go. We, the Liaisons, were the realization of that dream. But we had been handicapped by the very community who had asked for us in the first place. So we immediately began posting here, saying the DRC did not want to give us a job description, it was for the community to decide! (It's worth noting here that we had been pleading for the community to tell us what they wanted since the second election, but now, we knew the end was nearing.) And yet, the community kept handing it back to the DRC. And yelling at us for screwing up in trying to do what we thought was the right thing. It became too much for one. And at that point, it was over.

Really, that was the end of the Liaisons. Oh sure, we've been discussing what to do. We tried to get Professor Askew involved, and what a major screw-up that was. Admittely, it was our mistake entirely, but at that point it really didn't matter. Even then, we talked about what to do. We talked about making demands of both the DRC and the Explorers. We talked about ignoring those who simply griped and doing what we thought best anyway. We talked about waiting and seeing what happened before deciding anything. And in the end, we decided we just weren't having fun anymore.

Even now, I really don't want to quit. I feel like I'm giving up. You see, I've got this stupid dream. And it only got worse after that realization last week. I wanted to make a difference, to do something the community had wanted for years. I wanted to get the DRC to listen to us, for once, and give us some of the things we've wanted for years. I just knew that if we could get together, as a community, and come up with some good ideas, we could make a difference. And so I waited. And I prodded. And I poked. And I asked. And I begged. "Do something" was my refrain for months. Even at the end, the DRC seemed to be interested in the job again, and I thought we had a chance. But to tell the truth, it was too little, too late on their end. And the community was still the same. The Liaisons can only make a difference if the community is willing to make use of them, and it seems we are not. And so, I'm going to try and make myself useful elsewhere. (Probably several elsewheres, as usual...)

I think the chance is not gone, though. We can still make a difference. But we must be ready this time. First, we must decide what we want. It is not enough to say, "We want new Ages, new areas, and the whereabouts of Phil and Dr. Watson." Face it, the DRC already knows we want that. We will get it when it is ready. What else, though, do we want? And we must get everyone involved, as many as are interested. The word must be spread far and wide, in the Cavern and on the Surface. Every Explorer must have the opportunity to have a say. If they do not want to, that is their choice, but they must have the chance. And then, when we know what we want, we must decide how to get it. The greater idea of the Liaisons is not a bad one. Above all, we want a voice with the DRC, a way to influence how things are done. Do not get bogged down in rules and regulations and paranoid about power. Give structure to the position, whatever you call it, but leave flexibility. These people will need to make quick decisions at times, and will require the freedom to make those decisions in what they think is the best interest of the community. That's why it's so important to pick people you can trust to decide for you, when necessary. Once we know how to pick the right people, do it, and let them do their job. Support them when they do what you want - if all they hear is the negative, they'll listen to that. When they do things you don't like, tell them why, and how to fix it -- don't just complain, be constructive! Ask them to explain their reasons at any time, if you are confused. And above all, tell them what you want from the DRC. If enough people together ask for something, they cannot be ignored. Do you really think the DRC wants thousands of angry explorers on their hands, if they can help it? If they know what you want, they can try and make it better. But when it's thousands of voices asking a thousand different things each, they don't know how to help.

I am really sad to leave this job, but it's just not fun anymore. I will not leave this Cavern until I'm dragged out kicking and screaming, but I just can't do this job the way I think it should be done. One last time, as a DRC Liaison, I implore all of you: Do not lose this opportunity. Do something.

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