Hot and humid. ‘Natch… as it has been with little relief. But that’s Houston in the summer.
An observation. 8 more hours in the day to do things did not mean I got things done.
So, what happened, what has been learned?
1700 daily posts, with differing topics and amounts of effort over the course of more than four years. Over 12000 comments. When I last bothered to add it up, I figured over 1.5 million words on mostly prepping related stuff, mostly here but also in comment sections across the web. Add a few more hundred thousand since then. That’s a graduate degree, maybe two. That’s a dozen novels, maybe more. At 8 hours a day (while doing other things, and spread out across the day) it’s 13000+ hours- well past the mythical 10K hours needed for mastery, and I didn’t start from zero with the skills. All that is just to say that I’ve been doing this for a while now. In another year, I’ll have the same number of posts as Bob (in this iteration of the site).
When Bob first asked me to contribute, I was flattered, and a bit nervous, but also, it wasn’t that different from posting long comments. I liked it as I like sharing, teaching, and I think the material was and is important. When Bob suddenly got sick, I had the access and the desire to help keep the doors open, so we’d all have a place to wait for him to get better and return. So I did. Barbara and Bob were both well aware of what we were doing here. When Bob passed, and Barbara wanted to keep the site going, I was flattered and a bit awed that she let me continue, asking me to do more than just ‘open the door’ in the morning.
I felt a strong sense of duty as well, but I wasn’t just a caretaker for a memorial site, I felt a strong duty to contribute, to build on the knowledge, to keep the site as a living growing evolving site, so that new people could and would discover all the great stuff here, and the great group of people who hang out here. The depth and breadth of the knowledge held by this group is astounding. I felt, and still feel a strong sense of conservator-ship and I regularly re-read old posts and old comments to keep the continuity of tone and focus.
It’s Bob’s site. He brought most of us here, and the environment he fostered kept most of us here. I’m flattered that some people have joined us since I started daily duties, and have chosen to keep coming back and to contribute when they can, or to ask for help when they needed it. It’s inevitable that as I became more comfortable in the role, and had the ever increasing number of posts, that the daily blogging part of the site, the heart that is Daynotes Journal, should come to reflect me more than Bob. I hope that the style and tone have continued to reflect what readers and commentors enjoyed coming here for. I have made a conscious effort along those lines.
It was therefore quite a shock to discover that someone who I thought I understood seemed to think little of everything I’ve done and tried to do for the last 4 plus years. Not a certain troll. I don’t actually care about him at all, only the disruption he causes. But the stress on the system caused by the troll led to the revelation and it kinda blew my mind. How could I be so blind? Was I wrong about other things too? Why the F was I spending 8 hours or more a day on something that didn’t matter?
So I closed my browser and walked away.
It was a busy couple of days. School is starting today, new school for one kid, last year of Middle of the other. Friday was the 4th anniversary of my father’s death. Saturday was my non-prepping hobby meeting, and the last chance to plan for our yearly swapmeet/tradeshow/annual meeting which takes place in two weeks. Plus all the normal things and FINALLY making some progress with contractors at the BOL.
It was hard to stay away. I realized I miss my friends. I miss sharing ideas and the stuff I’m doing. I miss the collegiality, the conviviality of the group. I’m in the habit of thinking “oh, that’s something I can build a post off of”, or “oh, that story will get people talking”, or “holy cr@p that went badly, someone will enjoy hearing about that mess….” but I had no outlet for it. I also missed hearing about what you all were up to, what was happening in your lives.
I realized that the site is a labor of love, as well as a duty. I realized that there were LOTS of people who do think what I’m doing and trying to do has value. Barbara assured me that she is one of them and wants me to continue. So I will. The past few days have been longer than I’ve ever been away from the site, even as just a reader, since long before I started posting. I read through the past days comments and I’m gladdened by what I saw, people communicating and hanging out, sharing, and helping. Thank you to those of you who reached out privately too.
So, I will continue to feed my addiction by coming here every day and sharing my life with you, and sharing in yours as well.
To make that happen, I have reassurance from Barbara that Bob wouldn’t have tolerated the sort of disruption that we’ve seen lately. Anyone who claims to love Bob, or the way things were, has no standing to cause disruption as that is the OPPOSITE of what Bob would have wanted. I have Rick as a partner on the technical side. And I’ll deputize anyone willing and able to make things happen if that becomes necessary.
What does that mean? I’ll do whatever is needed to preserve the tone and atmosphere here as it has been for the last decade. It means that there might be some ‘rough and tumble’ as we are all (to the best of my knowledge) adults and sometimes adults have exchanges that they later regret. We’ve had those in the past and I expect we’ll have them again. I think everyone knows how to disagree without being disagreeable. It also means that most of us should “assume positive intent” when reacting to each other (as has been the case for almost 190K comments).
That does not apply to trolls. They have demonstrated negative intent consistently, repeatedly, and willfully. One will be deleted on sight. The other has acted in bad faith by my reckoning but has the tiniest sliver of possibility left. I have technical reasons to think they are not one in the same despite 90% or more congruence. I’m putting him on notice here. Do not push this. If your whole story isn’t a thin tissue of lies then you know how to behave here. Failure to do so will just prove your bad intent and ill will and we will all delete you on sight too. And that goes for any new trolls too, we’ll assume bad intent and just delete them.
For reasons that are wider than this site and what Rick can easily do, blocking trolls a priori has challenges. Therefore, Rick or I, or one of our deputies, will delete offenders and their comments as soon as we see them. I don’t want to leave even a note in their place, as that is disruptive too, and takes more time and effort than is worth spending on it. If there isn’t any interaction with them, removing them won’t leave anyone else scratching their heads wondering what they missed (hint)… and it may be that if I’ve deleted the original comment, I might delete the reply, especially if it quotes the original. Unless it’s particularly clever, then I might leave it. I’ve said before that I don’t need reasons other than my whim, and several of you have affirmed that. If you make a reply and I delete it too, please don’t take it personally, I’m just trying to reduce the value of attempting to disrupt us, and the rewards he receives for doing so. I definitely don’t want you guys competing for the cleverest response to a troll. Seriously. Engage as little as possible, and know it might all vanish.
If the trolls come around, our response won’t be seamless, but it will be final. Have patience as we work on it.
It has been my honor and privilege to continue walking the path that Bob started on, and I expect to continue doing so for some time.
(oh, forget about the drama and get back to stacking!)