Tuesday, April 6, 2010

All Good Things Must Come To An End...

Don't worry, loyal followers, I am not talking about my blog.

Actually, this week, I'm going to be ranting a little about leadership, or at least the couple stints I've attempted.

I've never labeled myself a leader. Actually, I'd bet that no one who knows me would label me a leader. On the whole, I'm quite content to take a backseat and do as I'm told. Now, if and when I am given a job to work with others on, I'm happy to give ideas and opinions, but I think I'd be the last one to take control of the group, even if it were careening off a cliff.

What can I say? I'm afraid of judgment. I don't like to step on toes. I don't like when others' views are stifled. I'm a team player.

Unfortunately, I'm having a bit of difficulty finding a team on DeviantArt. A few weeks ago, I started up a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Group, dedicated to sharing and promoting artwork from Alan Moore's graphic novels and/or the LXG movie.

Being a member of a couple writing groups, who run regular workshops and/or contests, I was excited to see what I and a team of fellow fans could conjure up.

However, the only response I've gotten from my pleas for volunteer admins is one person who checks in maybe twice a week, and rarely posts ideas or responses to my questions. One of her responses was, "I shall give this some thought and post my findings shortly." ...which was two weeks ago. I'd really love to start up a workshop next month, but with absolutely no creative support, I'm starting to think myself too ambitious. Oh, did I mention that the group is only 25 people? There's that too.

A bit further back, as of 2008(?) I was promoted to the moderation staff on a forum-based website known as Diffindo, which I believe I talked a bit about in my first post. As a moderator, I was one of a group of people in charge of scanning the site for conflicts, inappropriate content, and other cases of rule-breaking, then discussing the issues and resolving them as a team. I never had any duties specific to me, other than the occasional graphic project that I took upon myself.

In July of last year, Diffindo started a monthly book club, and as my fellow moderators became busy with school, work, or other issues, I found myself taking more of an interest in continuing the club. Being unemployed and out of school, I probably have the most time on my hands, anyway.

Out of the themes we generated at the beginning, or member suggestions, I pick one I think is appropriate for the upcoming month. I then write up a post explaining a bit about the theme, defining it, giving ideas, and generally hyping the theme. The thread is then open for book nominations, where members post books they would like to read that fit into that theme. On the 1st of the month, I gather the nominations and create a poll where we vote on which book we want to read for the club. On the 8th, I then close the poll and post a new thread containing short summary of the book that was chosen (perhaps the back cover, or an Amazon review) and open it up for members to start posting their impressions or discussions.

So far, I've made it a point to attempt to read every book. Out of the nine books we've chosen, I've read seven of them, and the two I didn't complete, I only dropped when there was no response from anyone else. And yet, though I try and I try to spur interest (or guilt, in some cases) - even going so far as creating a Facebook Event for this month's poll - all of the 'discussions' have fallen flat.

Now, maybe I don't know how to run a book club. I've never been in one outside of this, so I don't really know about ways to craft discussions, or what topics to bring up. I've posted lengthy impressions on a couple of the books, but gotten no replies. Even one where I copied discussion questions that the book provided got nada response.

Also gaining nada response was the most recent 'bout of Holiday Activities. I posted an open art/writing activity for Valentines day - then opened it up to the whole month of February. Nothing. For Easter, we had The Easter Bunny (me and another staff member) post four different activities (word scramble, art/writing contest, madlib poem, and egg-coloring) that would yield rewards for any entry. There were 2 entries for the word scramble - one of which came from a staff member who was bored.

It just hurts when you put effort into something only to receive no thanks in return. It's like spending hours drawing a picture, only to have someone crumple it up.

The site activity has a whole has dwindled to 3 staff (including myself), and 3 or 4 regularly visiting members. Most posts occur in the Chat, with a total of 10 posts taking place in RP (the main focus of the site) since March 1st.

The mods and admins have discussed this before. I argued that the site was still being used, it just goes in waves, and that we'd fall apart if it went offline. Now...I think I'd let it go. As much as I'd like to, I can't fight alone.

The site won't fall overnight. I think we still have the domain name for another 9 months or so. Activity might pick up in the summer, and maybe we'll make an effort to resolve storylines. I'll probably try to copy my posts into a Word file, since I plan on reusing my main character in the future.

I think I'd move the book club to Facebook, or maybe here, just for the 4-or-so people who do participate. It's a really cool idea, and I do like reading books that aren't normally on my radar (The Perks of Being a Wallflower ~ Stephen Chbosky). Who knows, maybe I'll get more feedback here?

The fall of one age brings the rise of another.

I don't yet know how my adventures in leadership will pan out. Perhaps I'm just not assertive enough, though I prefer to put it more on being open and a team-player. Hey, at least I'm not a tyrant, right?