The Webmistress Who Wasn’tPosted: January 14, 2011 | |
Another against all odds article brought to you by yours truly:This whole thing started out of frustration really. I had found a women’s only motorcycle forum which was part of the her-motorcycle.com site, which I really liked. The women were discussing their experiences while learning, helping each other out. They discussed gear, riding technique, their fears, their embarrassing moments, anything to do with the ride. In short, they shared.
There was no drama initially. Everyone was open, religion, politics and other potentially controversial stuff wasn’t debated or even really discussed. It didn’t matter. Just a bunch of women (and a few guys) from all walks of life sharing their passion for two wheels. Young and old, retired and working, self-employed and business owners, students, moms and homemakers, single, married, straight, gay, religious and the not-so-religious, women with differing political views, new riders, seasoned veterans, cruisers, adventurers, sportbike riders, women who rode trikes, scooters, and even sidecar rigs.
Then some bad stuff happened, drama tried to ensue internally and the man who ran the board shut it down without warning. TWICE. This happened twice! Lots of us lost ride reports, and extensive posts that were valuable to other riders in content. He was also in the habit of deleting posts he didn’t like or ignored content submissions to the main site of the women who had voiced concerns. He also deleted and banned accounts of male members “who were problematic” in his eyes. I never saw what he spoke of. As a matter of fact the two male members who were actively posting to the board were very helpful and didn’t do anything (at least not openly, that could be construed as “problematic behavior”) and none of the other women seemed to care that they were part of the group.
Finally the core group of us (some of the members actively posting at the time this happened) had enough and tried to gather the women on a different network to figure out what our next move should be. We got to know each other and we didn’t want to part ways. Not like this. We found a temporary home on the Ning network and although it was lacking in a lot of features (but awesome in other areas.) This temporary home became more permanent than initially intended and although the majority of women of the former board didn’t make the transition for various reasons, the Ning network also started growing in membership. Then Ning decided they wanted money to keep our little home in the clouds going. Hell with that! I decided that I had finally had enough of “control issues” that were out of our hands, so I bought some hosting server space and plopped down some cash from my “Racing Fund” to get our own thing going where we were in charge over EVERYTHING short of server outages and acts of God.
The core group moved yet again. Again we lost members in the transition. We Ride 2.0 (as I call it) is born. A full-featured site which grew out of the Ning social network, created by DianeT who is one of our resident IT Gurus.
And this is how I came to be responsible for running a motorcycle site for women. I had sworn (a long time ago) that I would never be a site admin again. It is so much work! Most people don’t even understand how tedious and time consuming it is to keep a good site running efficiently. Not to mention the amount of time and effort mods spent to keep the discussions drama-free and to the point. To keep the board clean and free of spam, to keep it organized, so it is a help to its members and to those people who are in search of information.
Part of that is membership. Discussion boards grow by the contribution of their members. The more useful content the better for the site as a whole, but that is of secondary importance. We need members, active members who want to become part of a women’s forum that is small as of yet, but has huge potential, since we have so many talented women in our small little group. They all have something to contribute, each of them have their own little area of expertise.
I promised them regular database backups and continued hosting, no matter how loudly the echo reverberates in the room. Both of which were issues in the past, unfortunately. You can’t force people to post. Doh! This site isn’t going anywhere. If all else fails, I can use it as my own personal online m/c playground. Heck, I could move my blog over there if I wanted to, but I am not about to install a local copy of the WordPress script on the server and transition all this junk. I don’t have neither the time nor the inclination. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, unless it’s too slow…
I knew it all along, but it is something that I am rather bad at, so I procrastinated it, because I have so much other stuff to do that takes priority. We need to advertise. We need to get the word out. We need to let women know we’re here and that we’re trying to build something for ourselves. We have to sell ourselves. Yeah, there it is. I hate self-promotion, I hate selling myself or something of mine, wether it be material or intellectual. Heck, I hate selling stuff for other people. I always thought it to be a prickish thing to do to be in someone’s face and try and make them come around to your point of view in order to get what you want out of them. I always thought that if it’s good people will notice, take part in it, and spread the word. It would pretty much take care of itself. Not so. Like a friend of mine on Twitter once said, there is no one coming to discover you. No one will come and rescue you from your mundane existence. You have to go out and reach for it yourself. Easier said then done, when I’m already reaching for the improbable myself… So much to do, so little time. I suppose I need to come up with a plan. Do the things that are self-evident and then just put it in action. I have a feeling I will be doing a lot more writing and script tweaking in my near future. I better start sleeping less and managing my time better.
Wish me luck, and sign up for the damn forum already, will ya! 😉
FYI: Miss Busa is such a bad sales person, she couldn’t sell a racing slick at half-off MSRP to a racer with a flat tire. And that’s a fact, Jack.