As I said in my last post, the lampworking community and my place in it has a lot to do with my current state of mind. Last year I started the Glass Haven as a response to what I thought was what people were saying about the existing forums:
- The Big Forum (BF) is too big, too snarky, and has a ridiculous signal/noise ratio and way too much drama.
- The Old Forum (OF) is not very friendly (they ran off the BF people) and a wasteland.
- The Hostile Forum (HF) had gotten, well, really really hostile and full of drama as well.
People were saying that they wanted a friendly place to talk lampworking and hang out, one that was moderated just enough so that you could freely express yourself as long as it was done in a civilized manner. They wanted a place where you weren’t going to be viciously attacked just for saying something that someone else disagreed with, a place where name-calling and gratuitous insults weren’t allowed, a drama-free zone.
So I set up the Glass Haven. People came, for a while. But after six months or so, the traffic started to dwindle, and by now is down to a slow crawl. So now it’s a catch-22 situation — I’ve been told by a number of former regulars that they don’t visit because it’s slow and there’s not that much to talk about, but it’s slow because people aren’t visiting and talking!? Hel-LO!!!? Tell me, just what am I supposed to do about that? Talk to myself all the time?
Instead, they spend their time at BF and HF, and they are still griping about those forums’ same old flaws. I feel like a lot of the people who claimed to want a friendly drama-free zone to actually discuss glass really weren’t telling the truth, and that the drama is a huge part of the draw of those two forums. People say they don’t want it but they are almost like junkies.
I’ve invested a crazy amount of time over the past fourteen months in TGH, and now I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if it’s worthwhile to continue, or to scale back, or just let it go. It makes me want to cry (or maybe throw up) when I think about all that I’ve put into it, at the expense of my own lampworking and growing my own business. The rather small amount of money I’ve invested isn’t the issue — it’s all about the TIME.? With all that time I could have been melting glass, experimenting with new techniques, taking photographs, getting my own works out there on the Web and advertising them so people would be aware of them and BUY them. But here I am, frustrated and disappointed.
I know better than to make any major decision in the throes of a depressive episode, so nothing’s going to happen right away.? But still…