Quite Oh, on extended hiatus

Dear friends,

I’m sorry, but I won’t be returning to SL for quite some time. I won’t go so far as to say that it is permanent, but it will be for an extended period. There are a number of reasons:

1) As we all know, NCI underwent a change in management. Everyone was used to Carl and Tat running the show, and Carl quit. Drama ensued. Too much of it.

2) I can understand why Carl did it; it was his choice. It’s his business. He still has my friendship and admiration for what he has helped build, perhaps more so, due to my experience on NCI’s board of directors.

3) I joined the BoD to help keep the place running, because I believe in NCI. Unfortunately, being on BoD for a while brought some disillusioning realizations.

a) I expected that NCI to be as I saw it from the ground level. Good people helping other out for no reason other than because they felt like helping, with no expectation of reward. The fact of the matter is that I did not count on the fact that membership expect to be paid an intangible reward: Ego. It never really occurred to me that people help for reasons other than just wanting to help, but they do.

b) I had imagined that these good people would all take it for granted that the mission of NCI took precedence above all else and that all would work quietly to further its (the collective’s) aims. I was wrong. People gave precedence to their ego, rather than to a larger vision of helping NCI grow. They sacrificed long-term gains for the desire to be recognized as “special”.

In the short time that I worked on the board, I learned that those who we worked hard to serve were generally of two classes: a) those who didn’t really care, or who were content to simply use the services and b) the vociferous know-it-alls, all helpers, incidentally, demanded to BE served rather than serve. It also seems that the more vocal the people, the less they were actually willing to put in the time. They wanted the say–that is, the ego recognition–but not the work.

Of the first group, the quiet beneficiaries, I say enjoy! NCI is a great place and organization. To the latter group, I have nothing to say.

Running NCI is like running any organization in the real world. There is a fundamental set of processes and tasks to accomplish regularly. These are dull and ordinary tasks. No glamour, just maintenance work, much like doing the dishes. In order for the place to run, this must be done. That is all.

There are those who, not willing to actually do the work, who vociferously demanded a say in “how things are run” based on their imaginations of how things are, when it’s evident that they had not taken the time to actually observe how things are or even to think about them from a realistic perspective. Pet theories, ideologies and perfect-world scenarios, but no feet on the ground–but what loud voices! Some demanded accolades and adulation for doing that which they volunteer to do. Everyone seems to know how to run the show, but none would do it–except the board of course, yet those who quietly just do the work were treated as though they somehow had power to control other people’s lives.

In the period of time that I worked with the board, we did our flat-out best to house-clean the organization. Housekeeping, finances, processes, procedures, documentation–all that is expected of a professional organization. I’m proud to say that in the board really brought it up a couple notches in those respects. (To Carl and Tat: take heed of the lessons and advantage of this, this is what needed to be done that two people alone could never do. USE and TRUST the board or whomever you have working with you.)

It seemed that the more that we gave the more a core of people demanded. It seems that they mistook our desire to serve as a signal that we would cater to the demands of those who stamped their feet the loudest, regardless as to what the current circumstances were.

The worst, however, is that there are those who harassed the one and most uniquely qualified, generous and selfless person, Gramma Fiddlesticks, into quitting. She quit because she was unwilling to deal with the constant stress and harassment of the attention-suck-know-it-alls. Gramma has some 30+ years of management experience already was volunteering in a number of roles, and when the change over happened, she took on an even heavier load. She was working 18 hours a day for NCI, and in return, people p***ed on her for their own vanity and ego. Unforgivable. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back, for me.

Finally, when one individual whom I had imagined would be a down-to-earth get-it-done smart type hammered on me for ego stroking, I knew I had had it. I had taken this person in as my confidant, to help me keep my perspective in the drama-storm, and in the end got exactly the opposite of what I needed: self-serving and demanding, not-willing-to-do-the-work, and eventually being accused of being unethical for not adopting a pet theory quickly enough.

Ego. NCI, to me is about the opposite of ego, it’s about service. Just being cool and nice to newcomers and helping them find their way along. How can people lose such a simple mission? I have no clue.

As for me, my spouses had just moved out to go have a child, my cat had died, and the time that I had dedicated to NCI in the first month cost me financially to the point where I lost 3 clients (I regained 2) and I was in arrears with my bills. Frankly, that was more than enough emotion, that dealing with the minor drama seemed an unnecessary addition to an already intense time.

I am not saying that the situation with my spouses or cat had anything to do with the time that I spend in-world, but if I had been in the real world, I might have been able to deal with things differently.

How big of a baseball bat on the back of the head does it take to get one to recognize the situation and place attention to where it’s due? Apparently, for me, it was a big one.

As much as I love NCI for the hard work that Carl, Tat and the board put in, and for what I thought it represented, I have to give priority to my own life.

SL started off as a means of creative expressions: building as a inexpensive, interactive art form. An “art world from home”. It turned into a petty drama shit-storm that brought people’s ugly side to the front: little ego-demons clamouring to be fed, gnawing away at the hand that fed them; childish bullshit that no adult should have to put up with and even less, exhibit.

The board is, surprisingly a quiet mature group mostly, just keeping their heads down and doing the work. Doesn’t one expect it to the center of the drama? It was not. While we did have to learn to work with each other, I’m not sorry at all to tell all the drama-mongers that there wasn’t even a hint of anything that could become bickering. Everyone was on the same page: get the job done. Are there egos on the board? Of course. But in all honesty, the members have my respect for keeping them in check so dilligently. Truth be told, they are probably the most down-to-earth group I’ve met in SL. I encourage people to support them.

In the meantime, I am getting on with my life. By now, I have surely missed enough votes to have been considered as having abandoned my post. I should have at least had the decency to inform the board earlier, but I could not face the prospect of returning to SL due to my disgust with the situation. I’ll be informing the board officially in a moment after I’m done this article.

I still have 20 projects that I would love to finish, but that’s taking a back seat until such time as my real life project are complete.

To those who were quiet, hard-working and down-to-earth people who keep NCI running, thanks, you have my respect. For those who had fun sharing building and good times, I wish you well. I have to get on with my life, and keep SL in its place for what it is: a fun, enjoyable and creative game. SL is best enjoyed by people can make it an addition to their life, not a replacement for it.

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4 Comments

  1. zanna said,

    January 26, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I recently found you blog and have quite enjoyed it.. I have always liked NCI and its saddening to see the change.. What you say is right.. SL is an addition and not a replacement.. Hope to see you back soon :).. Till then.. Smile :) Always..

    Z

  2. kattatonia Wickentower said,

    March 28, 2010 at 3:53 am

    I miss you quite. I understand you gotta do what you gotta do, but still, I miss you.

  3. truesoul said,

    April 6, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Really enjoy your blog and insights. NCI is where I learn and meet good people. Hope you will consider back and just think of how many newbies you have helped. Happy always :)

  4. Zhoraz Zhora said,

    March 17, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Ohhh it is now March 17/2013 and I have just discovered your blog now.
    I’ve been on SL since 2007 and you speak wise words.My Fav which are these… “SL is best enjoyed by people can make it an addition to their life, not a replacement for it.”


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