When I joined here 5 years ago, I was pretty much homebound. I had had a difficult spinal fusion and at the time was not certain I would ever be able to return to work. I had a lot of time on my hands. This community was a great place for me and kept me busy, active, and challenged. I learned so much just the first few months here. I was able to devote a lot of time to the site.
Since then , I have seen a lot of folks leave WC. Some have moved over to other sites, some have just left skinning in general. I interacted with a few of these people. One bought me my first sub to ODN. Some were and still are heavily committed to skinning and or graphics. SOme of them were huge contributors to skinning, to the site, and to the community in general. Not many made it known why they left and I haven't asked, respecting their right to privacy. I miss them all here. I often wonder if anyone from WC admin has reached out to any of them and if not, why.
The past couple years, I feel things have changed. (Sorry, Jafo) The talk of 'cliks' and people working against each other is very disturbing. Either it was not as prevalant before or wasn't brought up before, but I don't recall this kind of dissention when I first joined. I honestly believe that the creation of 'Master' status had some influence with this. I don't blame the Masters or the creation of that level,. I think it was an unforseen and unfortunate side effect.
Masters and other folks who were once extremely helpful are now very busy. Life. New opportunities. Maybe some folks just get burned out or distracted. I don't know. I don't see a lot of the names I used to offering help or guidance. Some of the changes taking place (Windows 7, DesktopX moving to new scripting, etc) happen quickly and often without much in the way of updated tutorials or resources. This leaves some folks behind. It also ties up some of the more experienced folks with catching up and adapting.
I thought that part of being a Master had to do with Masters offering tutorials , not just private one on one help. I think there were a lot of good intentions with the Master-level, but some of them have fallen to the wayside or are just overlooked in general. I appreciate the offers for help from a lot of people with skinning, but the lack of tutorials available for 'anyone' gives the perception that it's all a big secret that no one wants to share. It seems to me that making tuorials, full tutorials- available would benefit WC and Stardock.
I Have a rough idea or opinion of where WC is heading. I'm not sure I like it, but only time can tell. My impression is that everything is being streamlined, right down to the community. I peeped at the new site and it seems that community is no longer a priority. Revenue is. I understand the economy is bad. In my own work, we are being forced to do more with less. We also struggle there as well to maintain a level of comrodary that is threatened by these new demands. I don't see the co-workers I like to hang with as much and it seems less and less every passing week. We are all to busy and struggling to keep up with all the changes and all that is expected.
I see the same here. I think even some Masters see these changes as kind of a threat, for lack of a better word, and wonder where it will leave them in the end. It's becoming very competitive in what I am not sure is a good way.
There are a few skinning sites left out there. Some so overblown, the sense of community that I belive made WC what it was/is is impossible. Some are so small, people tend to just bypass them. Some give the appearance of being 'exclusive' or 'elite' and will attract those into that and only welcome/admit those they deem worthy. WC was unique. Is unique. Everyone is welcomed by a large amount of the community. People have debated, argued, insulted, and been banned. They have also reconciled, forgiven, made-up, and laughed about it. They have worn their hearts on their sleeves and have reached out in great times of need for help and to give help. People have fought for their lives openly in the forums. They have gotten compassion, inspiration, and love. They have also given it. We have seen children born and family members pass. What I see coming is cold and threatens to diminish the feeling of family here. I hope I am wrong.
If I seem pessimistic, I apologize. Not my intention to. I love this site. I hate the thought of it becoming less of a community and more of a corporate billboard. In the end, though, the folks that feel the way I do about WC are the only ones who can save it and keep it that way. You can change the appearance and structure of every aspect of the site, but if I have learned anything in my life, it's that there is almost always a work around. You just have to be committed to keeping the spirit alive.