Some site owners are tired of too many demands from visitors, flames,
and other general stupidity.
This leads to the site owner becoming ticked off and shutting down their
site in a rage. I canít blame them. We make sites for fun, when they stop
being fun, why should we keep them going?
Because of shut downs of this type, some claim SM fans have become much
more demanding, too bitter, and too picky.
Being a fan of SM on the Internet for over 4 years and
SM site owner for almost 3 of those years, I have seen no real difference in
attitudes. Sure some maybe pickier about correct information
and stolen material, but flames and stupidity is at the same level it has always been.
A few believe other Internet fan groups are not as bitter as SM fans, but this
simply is not true. Other fan groups suffer from just as many flames
(if not more) than SM fans. Flames have been part of the Internet longer than
the World Wide Web has. It just seems SM fans are the only ones who waste their
time complaining about flames and stupidity, rather than brushing them off like they
should. Thatís where the difference is.
There is no real increase in flames, itís just some site owners are
tired of them. Then when they shut down because of it, many are
translating that into an increase in flame levels.
The biggest problem in all this is, some sites start off slowing down as in
"Reason #1", but then they receive so many emails demanding an update,
they often end up shutting down because of "Reason #2".
However, both reasons boil down to one thing. The site is no longer "fun" to work on. After all a fan site is a hobby, and because it is a hobby, when it is no longer enjoyable, you find something new to do with your free time.
Now a fan site is an interesting thing, itís actually about more than just "fun"
for the site owner. Picture an old set of weight scales if you will. On one end of the scale
we have "the hobby". The "fun" and "enjoyment", the two reasons why a site owner
begins constructing a web site. However, on the other end of the scale is "Service"
which gives a web site itís purpose. A web site is a form of media, a source
of information and/or material to the people
who visit it. A site which is built for a "hobby", but if doesnít provide a "service"
to itís visitors it usually is an unsuccessful one. It has no real purpose and the scale
tips too far to one side. On the other hand, a fan site which provides great "service",
but no longer has any "fun" for the site owner, tips a bit too much the other way.
So itís a delicate balance.
Luckily for newer sites keeping the balance is usually easy. Often the hobby is not just fun, itís interesting. The site owner wants to learn new things and put together the
best site they can. They do the proper research, they make and scan graphics, they
design layouts, and test their work.
Some site owners might hit a few bumps along the way. Like a review from a page like ours, or comments and even flames from others. The site owner should take those in
stride, use them to improve and make their site better. They should only ignore the
truly stupid flames with only things like "this page sucks". Everyone gets stupid
flames every now and then, itís a fact of life for the Internet. Owners have to get use
to them. If you canít handle them, well then maybe you picked
the wrong hobby and itís time to get out. Sometimes the owner no longer wants to handle them. They donít have enough time or interest to do anything
in response to the critics. Either way, the scale has tipped, the "hobby" weight
has fallen off. The owner shuts down the site.
Sites that do survive the flames, the sensible critics, and the outright stupidity
can eventually run out of new information to research. The owners become a bit
tired of looking at the same material. The scale begins to tip. So does the site owner do? They start something new, but because they have spent so much time on creating their excellent service to visitors and feel proud of their work, they leave the site up.
This way the site holds on to the "fun" the owner had when they once worked on it.
The site also remains a service to newer visitors who have never seen the site before.
By taking a break, the owner avoids becoming totally bored with the site, and someday
may look at their "old friend" and decide to work on it every now and then. The memory of how fun the site was comes back to them for short periods of time and allows
them to work on it with new life.
So where am I going with this whole scale analogy?
Well first of a message to visitors of web sites.
Keep in mind if the site owner announces they do not have
time for the site right now, or has announced they will be working on other sites for a while, do not badger them or bug them about when the next update will be. Do not
demand an update! Sure I have always said a frequently updated site is better than
a seldom updated one. However, if a fan site takes a break from updating, it does
not make it a bad one. When they get the time, they will update. Respect their
decision. Remember, they do this as a hobby and do not get paid.
You will only tick off the site owner, and they may shut down the site altogether.
In addition, if itís a large SM site, there isnít much the owner can update. Time
may not be the factor, just a lack of ideas. The story did end two years ago, and larger, older sites have done just about all they can do. Calling a large, correct, original, yet
inactive SM site "bad" because it no longer updates is plain stupid.
How can they be "bad"? When they are often four times the size of many newer sites!
Keeping old sites around does not effect the chance of exposure for newer sites.
If a new site is good, it will be noticed soon enough. This goes back to the whole
extremely stupid "Newbies VS Elitist" thing, and I donít have to tell you
how I feel about that. (Read it in Rant # 11 if you really
want to know.)
Second a message to site owners.
If you want to keep your site up, but it will
be more inactive than it once was, still try to keep your site up.
Place a noticeable message on your index page to your visitors
about the current status of your site. If you get stupid emails asking or demanding
updates, ignore them. They obviously did not see the notice or simply do not understand.
If you get really tired of the stupidity, try removing your email addresses from the site,
or get a web based email separate from your "default" email and change the email
addresses to that new address. Then you donít have to check the email so often and
people can still reach you. Please shut down only as a last resort, or only if you
need the space for a new project. You may regret it down the road, and will
disappoint some of your more frequent and loyal visitors. If you do shut down, then
I respect it. We all should respect it.
Like I said, there is no sense in continuing a fan site if the fun has completely gone out of it.