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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Main: It's a ubiquitous problem with anything volunteer-run: Edit Log


Nov 3 2021, 7:09pm

Views: 1589
It's a ubiquitous problem with anything volunteer-run

I agree with what people have already said about the effects of film and TV release cycles and the changing technological landscape. Quite aside from that I think these cycles just happen naturally, because we're dependent on volunteers.

I've been involved in a number of volunteer things during my life so far, in several different kinds of activity. They all rely on a few people who are able and willing to do most of the work. So projects are usually just a few resignations, retirements or lowered engagements away from quiescence, near collapse or actual collapse. It's unrealistic to expect the old faithfuls to last forever -- people become less available or willing because of changes of all kinds. And while it is tempting as an active member to be frustrated about people who 'just' lurk and consume others' work without returning anything, I also see that when I do that I'm being unrealistic and unfair. Not everyone has the right combination of time, self-confidence, enthusiasm etc. to poke their head up above even the tiniest parapet, no matter how much I or anyone else describes it for them or offers to fetch a box.

Now of course I used to to help run the 'read-through' programme on the Reading Room board (and at one time was the sole organizer). So I had the task of asking folks to contribute to the projects, and I know why fewer and fewer people would agree to help. Principally it was (1) lack of time or (2) nervousness about not knowing enough / the kinds of reactions they might get. Personally I don't think it's a co-incidence that this became more of an issue from 2016 onwards (with the rise of more toxic and contemptuous online discourse). Sadly, I think we suffered even though our boards are so carefully moderated. I think people became extra-wary or just plain exhausted by what was going on elsewhere.

Thinking about my own career as a poster here, I also think one can reach what you might call the 'OK plateau'. When I first posted in the Reading Room in 2012 I had lots of questions, and people generously gave their time, energy and expertise to help me answer them. They also pointed me towards other resources, and ways of thinking that could help me answer my own questions. So nowadays I know most of what it occurs to me to want to know, and have a point of view about most things it occurs to me to have a point of view about. There's obviously a whole lot more to learn and think about (in principle), but I've become dependent on new people who are in the stage I was in back in 2012. People asking questions that would provoke me to think anew about things, and to bring the enthusiasm and wonder that people have when it is all new and exciting. Otherwise, I'm an old Ent, becoming tree-ish.

But the flip side of everything easily collapsing is that is of course it just takes a few new people to turn up to post interesting things, or organize new projects and we're off again. That will happen if it happens, I suppose.

When there is something new to discuss, the Reading Room forum (for example) is an old donkey but has quite a kick - consider the time recently where we discussed An Egregious Article Against the Tolkien Society's Constructive Attempts. Plenty of 'action', and a discussion that wouldn't have kept so civil on most social media platforms.

My profile picture is "Kaninchen und Ente" ("Rabbit and Duck") from the 23 October 1892 issue of Fliegende Blätter (see https://en.wikipedia.org/...2%80%93duck_illusion )

(This post was edited by noWizardme on Nov 3 2021, 7:17pm)

Edit Log:
Post edited by noWizardme (Half-elven) on Nov 3 2021, 7:12pm: typos
Post edited by noWizardme (Half-elven) on Nov 3 2021, 7:16pm
Post edited by noWizardme (Half-elven) on Nov 3 2021, 7:17pm
Post edited by noWizardme (Half-elven) on Nov 3 2021, 7:17pm

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