Friday, March 01, 2013
At my first Origins I heard about the Ladies of Hack section of the boards that was getting underway. It was a private girls-only section. Seemed safe enough. I set up an account and logged in only to find the entire community engaged in a now legendary flame war. It settled down, but I was already gone. Even the safe sounding Ladies of Hack were fighting. I was out before I was ever in. The downside was that I wanted to do more with the HackMaster Association and unfortunately the main requirement for doing so was being an active member of the discussion boards. Eventually, a conversation began that I wanted to participate in, I went back, found the flames had died down, and turned from "lurker" to "poster" to "moderator" of the same Ladies of Hack area that got me to sign up in the first place.
Looking back, I wonder why I was scared. I know what scared me: Strong personalities, that I might ask a dumb question, that the regulars wouldn't appreciate my presence, that I could embarrass my husband, that I'd violate an unwritten rule.Since it took me such a long time to figure out what I wanted to do there, it seems sort of appropriate that I ended up as a moderator for a new section called The Gatehouse. My collaborator, Barb Blackburn, took a similarly long route to the boards. We both spent a good amount of time watching from the sidelines before joining in.
I wish I had the Gatehouse when I signed up. I bet it would have saved me a few of the awkward things, like the time I tried to figure out how the Reputation system worked. ;) In the Gatehouse, new forum members--100 posts more or less--can hang out relatively anxiety-free. This is because Barb and I and the HackMaster moderator George and Yorkus have their backs. There are no dumb questions and there are definitely no dumb questions in the Gatehouse. The original idea belonged to Face, who a long time ago tried to tell me the discussion boards were fun.
The boards are fun...now. I can't make anyone believe that any more than Face could convince me back when I first signed up. The person "lurking" (why do we call it that it sounds scary) behind the scenes, or the shy person, or the husband/wife that thinks he/she is intruding on the other's space except they like HackMaster or Aces & Eights or Knights of the Dinner Table and want to participate. Participation is up to them. What I can do is stand at the door and let them know they are welcome. :)