PGW is am amazing site and Emerald and I are very proud of it, however, of late some issues are dooming this place not to grow and thrive, so here are my concerns, and why I am feeling like I need to take a break…
1. Anxiety about Chat and Site Attendance: Way too many times, I am forced to be the one person who is tasked with pushing people to the site and off other platforms. People can say they are “busy” or “working” but I am sorry it’s bullshit if they are on kik, trillian, FB, or elsewhere. It is 2019, the internet is the internet, the site is fully mobile. People claim they are doing all they can, but I rarely see anyone but me pushing attendance. Lately I see some mentioning they are heading for the site, that helps but is it really enough? If people are simply not regularly attending the site, it, as a grass-roots social network, will fail. This costs money and time out of My and Emerald’s real lives. It must grow or die. Members need, not only to want to BE here but to care about consistency here. With more than 500 active members, there should never be only 1-2 persons in the Public Chatroom. If this problem were aided by membership I could relax a lot more here.
2. Community Culture is Failing: As I have expressed time and time again, the only thing that separates PGW from just about any other place is community and family feelings. Having actual continuity from day to day, where you can connect with other members, and share experiences makes this a place that has real value. If that is not the case, this site has no specific value at all, as there are plenty of other platforms where people can just “message” each other. Often many of you will proclaim to me “I am only here for you, Cathy!” This is actually the antithesis of what I want here. Anyone who knows me knows I only care about family, groups and community, and want members to care about each other, not just about Me or themselves.
3. Delegation of Authority is Failing: For the last 5 years Emerald and I attempted to ask members of the Sophia Family to help out with moderation in chat, technical support, introduction and acclimation of new members, as well as putting out social fires, but we found no consistent support to be found. Then a few months ago we decided to appoint a specialized, smaller team of admins to perhaps focus on these issues, hopefully persons that really cared and would not mind being dedicated to helping. I delegated different issues at times, but the general hope, was that these 2 people would cover for us when we could not be present on the site. Unfortunately this too has failed, which is upsetting. I understand that people have real lives, but I guess I am disappointed that appointing two extra people was not enough, or that these people were unable to handle the task. I have added one more person, but I am at am impasse now, as Emerald and I ended up having our real lives totally disrupted and its just really unhealthy.
4. Members are continually feeling isolated: I cannot tell you the amount of times I hear private complaints about members feeling sad, lonely, neglected, and ignored. I also feel that way maybe 50% of my time spent on the site, so If I am feeling this way, rest assured many of us are. We have tried to talk about reaching out to others, not expecting nor waiting for them to reach out to us but nothing has been changing there. For a real paradigm shift to occur, members need to forego the defensiveness and stop worrying about blame. Simply take the first step! I do it all the time, and you can too. Why are people simply sitting and waiting for others to do the work? Also: if you are aware someone is feeling sad or hurt, why can’t you just speak to them? The “Clique” thing also keeps coming up, and if we assign blame, we could easily say “ridiculous! there are no cliques!” and leave all the people who feel left out to stay in the lobby, but again, this needs to be about the site! By slowly and gradually reaching out to people who stay in the lobby, you absolutely CAN dispel the perception of cliquism, and bring them in to the community at large. People who feel invited and part of something will be less inclined to believe there are cliques.
5. Members who are already trying, don’t know how to help: This is very simple, yet not always obvious. If you feel that you are already fulfilling all of these tasks, there is still a bigger task to work on: encouraging and helping to organize OTHERS to handle them as well! Either we sink or swim as a group. This is all of our responsibility. Do we want this place to work or not? If so, we have to stop worrying about who is doing more, and do ALL we can! God knows I do! Let’s remember, I don’t make ANY money here, the donations I do acquire go to my bills, which are paid from personal funds. I have no monetization plans in place yet for PGW. While the site is generally getting hits, the attendance is still not showing real growth: we gain a member, as a member stops showing up. If all these other issues were handled, then sure I could feel positive about the future of the site and perhaps invest even more in that future. When I started this site and we only had a few members, I believed i could handle everything myself, but this is no longer the case. I have to admit: I need help.
6. Members being non-direct: or just lying: I have stressed over and over the need, at least in the Sophia Family, for members to be honest, open, and direct. Holding truth back to spare feelings always backfires in the end. By attempting to be fake to preserve a person’s feelings, you will hurt them worse, once they learn of your deception. I don’t know many times i can say this until people start buying in. But this is paramount: a huge problem in this community, and let’s face it, all online communities. It’s just way too easy to try to lie, cover up, and hold back truth until the absolute last moment, when you are about to be busted. My problem here is I am far too good at detecting deceit, and this kills me inside, knowing my so-called “friends” are willing to lie to me or hide things for any reason. It makes me sick in side, and saddens me. Members are asked to handle squabbles directly with each other, but how often do you guys just vent behind backs or even organize a lynch mob against another member? Recently we dealt with that, Emerald and I, and it was nothing less than shocking and disgusting. I could not believe we were being blamed for one member who was acting out, and then given ultimatums about forcing that member off the site. We must all grow up, yes I know it’s hard, and go directly to the offending party, not to others, because then it always ends up in MY lap, and that’s a horrible reality. That is a major issue in terms of me not being able to function here.
I am probably forgetting something but since I heard some Sophia Family members claiming I am not specific enough, there is an outline of things that need to be fixed or addressed here.
Thanks for reading and I welcome your comments and suggestions, thanks!
Cathy, Team Panda, PGW