Tuesday, July 06, 2004

For Sale - Internet Games Forum; two careful owners

I've been having a few Skog moments lately, and I've come to the decision that it's time for me to hand on the reins at State to someone new. I've been feeling frustrated and pretty unappreciated generally on State for quite a while now. The name of this blog originates from an incident relating the to State's reaction to my appointment as a moderator, and my rather too speedy and possibly ill-advised attempts to foster some much needed change on the forum. My tenure as Head Of State has never truly been a welcome one - I was less Owner-Occupier in the sense of owning a house, more in the sense of having invaded a country; so whilst I may have earned a bit of grudging respect from even the most hard-hearted of forumites as a writer, culminating with my Devil's Advocate being printed in this month's PCG, I never really commanded the same affection or respect as State's founder, Oskar.

My methods were always seen as being too aggressive, my style too abrasive, despite the real necessity to shake up State and move it onwards. I've always had to strenuously justify myself to the more vocal members of the community, many of whom have never lifted a finger to contribute to actively make State better - and after nearly a year and half of this, I feel it's time to move on. I'm tired of the sniping and backbiting and continual arguments to justify my decisions and strategies.

They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and I took on the running of State with the best of them. It's come to the point now where I'm putting more into running the forum and site than I'm getting out of it. I've invested a lot of time and a not inconsiderable amount of money getting State where it is, but the act of running the forum is taking away my ability to enjoy being there. With all the other pressures in my life, work, a longer daily commute, social engagements plus the increasing desire just to sit down, play more games and write about them more, there just isn't room for the extra demands of running the forum.

Over the last couple of weeks I've instigated more changes which are afoot for State, but I think they'll be far better received if I'm not the person presenting and implementing them over the next couple of months. I don't feel that the work I've done for State has ever been truly appreciated (except by a select few, who all know who they are) and I don't want to get dragged into another round of arguments to justify changes to the people who don't see the need for change, or for State to cement its future without relying on the largesse of any single individual.

I'm absolutely certain that some people aren't going to particularly like the plans to introduce affiliates for the website, but they're undoubtedly going to be less vocal if they're presented by someone without all the Mad! And! Wrong! baggage I'm carting around.

You might think I'm just feeling unappreciated and a little sorry for myself, digging for a little sympathy, but it's more than that. I'm tired of all the arguments, and tired of setting myself up to be shot at. I don't mind so much if it's about my writing - you don't publish writing in public if you can't take the heat - but to have your motivations, your decisions and your personality picked to pieces by people who've never even *tried* to contribute to something in the way you have, it's difficult to take. Particularly when you're *paying* for the privilege of letting people fling shit at you.

Sometimes you just want to pull the plug and tell everyone to fuck off onto their own server, but State's always been bigger than just one person, and I'd like to think I'm not so petty as to put my feelings before the good of the website. The hosting's paid up until December, so State's not just going to disappear - I wouldn't ever let it come to that, anyway - but I don't feel that I can be involved in how it's run anymore. My successor is yet to be determined, but if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on either Pat or Mark.

I just want to be able to go to the forum again and *enjoy* being there - being around people who enjoy the same hobby as me - to enjoy writing about games and reading the reaction to my writing. Unfortunately it appears that this and being in charge are mutually exclusive, so one of them has got to go, and I don't go to State to be miserable... Letting go of State now will allow me more time to concentrate on my writing, for both PCG and State, and will let me take a more active role in mentoring new writers on the forum, which can only be good for all concerned.

I think it's fitting that someone else takes over State at this point. Oskar provided its identity and ethos, I provided its structure and independence, and whoever takes over from me will financially secure its future and probably take State in directions neither Oskar or I would ever have dreamed of. As Sting says - "If you love somebody, set them free..."

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