As I tend to do from time to time, I was recently browsing posts in my weblog from this time last year. It’s always interesting to recall what was going on in your life at a certain point in time in such vivid detail as a weblog(or journal for that matter) can provide. A lot of the posts where about our return from Chile, and feelings about Springtime, many of which are bubbling up currently as the trees begin budding. One interesting post that caught my eye was the post on May 13th that announced I was leaving the evolt.org project I’d founded nearly four years earlier.
While I was reading the post, some of the baggage during that time in my life came back to the surface, and I wondered what the people running that site were up to… A number of people from those days I’m still in touch with on a daily basis, and many others, on a less frequent schedule, but always friendly. There were a few personal sites of people I’d known during my time with evolt that I checked out over the past few days as well.. Some were still active in the .org, others had moved on as I did, albeit in less dramatic fashions :)
Sent off a few emails just to say hi, and to let a few people that might not have known that Jenny and I had in fact gotten married, and I hoped they were doing well, the usual kind of stuff you send when you haven’t really corresponded with someone for a long period of time. It was nice to hear back from all of them, and I’m happy to report that almost everyone is doing well, all things considered :)
One response I got from someone who was still slightly involved with the .org was pretty interesting. They said that although the public sides of evolt like the website and mailing list were doing well, many of the administrative things ‘behind the scenes’ weren’t in really good shape, and in a number of cases were totally dead of all community involvement except when a flame war or server move popped up. It was pretty much one or two people (who weren’t hard for me to guess) that were doing most of the legwork like dealing with article submissions and answering email inquires.
Of course, I knew something was up last month when I got an email saying the members.evolt.org service was shutting down (I offered f2o.org accounts for stranded members.evolt.org members, about 30 people took us up on the offer) within a fortnight of the message, and it turned out the person who took over hosting evolt.org after me wasn’t seeing any money after seven months, and had to shut it down. The end result of all that was a scattering of the services(sans m.e.o) to anyone that could take them on.
Skipping over the gory details, I guess the one thing that caught me as I relived what was happening a year ago and what I was seeing now is the absolute justification for me leaving. One of the primary reasons for my departure was a lot of people weren’t happy with the choices I made as hosting provider for who got access to servers and whatnot. When we left for our Chilean vacation, I left the ‘keys’ with a person who was involved with evolt and worked where the boxes resided, much to the distress and howling of a number of people.
The timing made the irony extra thick I guess, as I saw that pretty much the same thing I got ostracized for last year is still happening, just with a different person, and no one seems to have a problem with it this round.
So I say justification above because I always had a suspicion it was me personally some people were going after, and not the handing out of ‘keys’ for example, or any other process I had. And not that I’m doubting the choice I made in leaving, quite the opposite in fact; I’m glad I didn’t stick it out and try to make things work a year ago, because apparently, nothing I could have done at the time would have made things ‘better’. I see now that I was right in believing the only way to fix the process in some peoples eyes was to take me out of it.
Hindsight is always 20/20, but it’s nice to look back a year and read on a signpost, ‘I was right’ with perfect clarity.
Naturally, I think a few people continue to do a great service behind the scenes for the community that is evolt.org, and they should get a fucking medal for it at the very least. If it weren’t for their hard work, the community could simply fade into irrelevance, and a great idea would simply cease to exist.
Of course, as things have a way of doing, it all worked out in the end for me. A year later, a lot of the stress I felt while dealing with a certain number of shrills on a constant basis is gone. The project I started immediately after I left evolt, f2o.org, is going on it’s own one year birthday, and is doing better than I could have ever dreamed. Jenny and I got married, and are living together more happily than ever.
In all, it was like taking off a heavy winter coat on a fine Spring day (such as this!) and coming to the realization that while the coat had a use in one season of your life, it’s no longer needed, and, in fact, you can walk faster without it anyways.