>aa_discuss renaissance

>I wrote about stepping down as a moderator back in August 2008. At that stage, I’d been modding asian-australian_discuss for about ten years. It really was time to take a step back. I was starting to dislike the whole idea of the group, and that frustration meant I wasn’t engaging with what people were saying (which defeats the purpose of being on the group at all). There are still voices that I won’t necessarily be engaging with all that much, but that’s through a realisation that those writers’ personalities and mine just aren’t going to play together nicely.

As I mentioned in my last post (about the May AA meetup), I’ve become re-enthused about the aa_discuss group. Chatting with fellow AAers reminds that there are some tangible and highly valuable reasons to keep this kind of group going, not least because that group was where I met the majority of the great AA people I know (in and out of academia; even though I know many AAers because of university connections, getting folk to loosen up their ‘academese’ is always worthwhile). It’s often in the midst of the discussions that you realise other people are worrying/incensed/gleeful about the same things and, for me, there’s a real sense of community within the group that has translated beautifully and satisfyingly to face-to-face encounters. In recent times, this sense of community had been eroded through a combination of stalwart members leaving (or not being able to post as much), newer members being still unsure of the way the group worked and not posting, and some particularly dogmatic voices that deterred discussion (and sometimes caused overt offence). Because I wasn’t a mod anymore, I would skim over the flaming and think, “Hmm. Maybe it’s time to nix the whole gig?”.

But I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

This doesn’t mean that I’m going to oust lurkers, of course. That would be counter-productive. The cull is meant to flush out those who get enough out of the list (lurking or not) that they step up and say so. Thus far, the people who’ve indicated they want to stay on the list make me happy. The list will definitely have fewer names on the members’ list, but I’m hoping that those who are there will be there for more focused and active reasons.

Update: The Day After
Ok, so it’s the day after I culled a whole bunch of folk from the list. Mostly, it has been uneventful and, for many, a technicality (a standard note saying farewell from the list was auto-sent out – which was stupid and I had forgotten that was the group default…oh well. Have fixed this).

However, I did get a couple of notes from people who were mystified as to what happened to their membership.

1. Genuine mystification + desperation to rejoin the group = A sigh + head-shake + invitation to sign up again.

2. Smarmy one-liner + no participation + no indication they wanted to re-join = Nothin’ but bad vibes from this mod…

I know I’m an uptight list-maker, but when a message comes around saying, “Get in touch, or you’re culled!”, and you don’t get in touch…well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist, does it? Note for the future: Telling me that you don’t read the messages I send (as the mod) is not a good way to endear yourself. No cookies for you.

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