You know, back when all this began, I was a happy lurker on AFF.net. I donated a few times over the years. Then I got the bug to start writing Aulu lemons, and -- woot, the site crashed! Behold my awesome powers of entropy! And that was good, because it meant that I spent a lot longer polishing my first submissions.
Eventually I couldn't stand it anymore and started posting on ficwad.com. I've also discovered Freedom of Speech Fanfiction Archive. However, I had meant to tide myself over until AFF was back up, then post there.
There's just one problem. I've met some great folks on the forums and lj pages of the AFF community, but I've also seen some really nasty posts on the yahoo group list that give me pause.
I've been a moderator here and there for nearly ten years. Sometimes members drive us completely bonkers. Sometimes (well, always) they bitch and moan. I've been known to be curt with them now and again. What I saw on the yahoogroups list was beyond curt.
1) The front page of AFF kept saying the move would happen by Feb 15. For a week or so, there was no update to explain why the site was down, timing out, or author controls were frozen. Mods were snippy or uncommunicative answering questions. All they needed to do was post a notice on the front page of AFF saying, "hang tight, folks, we've run into some massive technical glitches that are slowing us down; AFF will be back but it's going to take a few weeks!" I don't blame the mods for not posting such a notice for some time, but I don't think they should've jumped on members for continuing to ask "what's happening?" before, or even after, those notices went up. (Some people always seem to miss the memo.)
2) Moderators attacked members for trying to use the site once it came back up, calling them names and blaming them for making it go slowly. If the site wasn't ready to be up, then it's really not the members' fault for stepping through the front door when it's open.
3) Moderators on the yahoo group kept mocking members for being unable to wait for the site to return. That wasn't what members were asking for. Members were asking for some information. It wasn't, "bring it back now now now!" but "er... is it just my net, or is AFF still dead? Any ideas why?" Those are not unreasonable questions to ask, and some of the scathing responses I saw gave me pause.
4) Moderators on the yahoo group finally declared they'd just ban any complaining, questioning, etc, and anyone who wanted to bitch could just leave. They gloated that they'd delete any post that mentioned censorship. That's when I got nervous. I mean, we don't like ff.net because it's so very arbitrary towards authors. So why on earth start making AFF that way?
Yes, some members were being cranky, others were asking the same questions that had already been asked over and over, but I can think of so many other ways to deal with their griping, and I can't condone dismissing all complaints or frustration as that of idiots, brats, crybabies, etc.
So I'm left scratching my head.
I was looking forward to becoming an AFF author instead of an AFF lurker. I've waited patiently for nearly 2 months to post my first story. Now, at last, the "register" page is open. But... do I? Or do I just stick with ficwad and other places, which seem a little more good-natured? It's not that I think the AFF mods are unmitigatingly bad -- some of them are patient above and beyond the call of duty, while others have been working their buns off to get this move accomplished -- but the comments of a few of them were so discouraging that I really don't feel comfortable with AFF any longer, whereas, ironically, when I was just a lurker... I was happy to support the place.