The "them" and "us" mentality and how it negatively impacts us all
Its one of those things that unerringly pops its head up month on month, and its something that is frustrating, often hurtful and hard to read about. Let me explain some of my thoughts.. (warning I have a lot of thoughts I want to put down)
1. a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking.
2. a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.
We all say that when we see another user on the site with a volunteers title or a staff symbol, or whatever it is that marks them out as "different" something fundamental changes in our attitude.
Perhaps its envy, or jealousy or hate. Perhaps its simply respect and admiration and pride.
I would honestly LOVE it if it was the second set of emotions but I'm not going delude myself or you by telling you that it is, we all know its not.
Let me tell you something plainly and simply. Being a volunteer doesn't fundamentally change US. It doesn't make US any different from YOU. Not a single thing physically or mentally different beneath the skin.
Its astonishing how a persons attitude to a volunteer position or to a tiny little symbol can be the difference between an awesome experience of everyone having the same goals and mutual respect for their fellow site members, and everything turning into a drama filled handbags at dawn monstrosity.
Don't expect me to tell you that being a volunteer doesn't open your eyes, or make you understand better how the site works, the ultimate symbiosis between the code and the people that you might not notice as a deviant - because it does. Every day, and don't ever think to assume that any of us in this position don't know just what it means. On a personal level I KNOW how much of a "big deal" being a volunteer is. Furthermore, I KNOW just how many of you would absolutely jump at the chance of doing that bit more and having a go. Stepping up and making a difference doesn't require you to have a funny symbol.
However, just because you KNOW you'd do an awesome job at volunteering, just because you may not completely agree with how a current volunteer does their thing - doesn't mean you have the right to blame them for things they simply have no control over - again read VOLUNTEER NOT STAFF
Raging, writing journals about "how things are going down the pan and how those CV's just don't give a crap and are just like staff" is to be blunt, a complete waste of your time and effort - because it won't change what it is you are ranting about.
YOU can write journals
YOU can make features
YOU can get involved in Project Educate & The Art History Project
YOU can host chat events
YOU can feature new artists or old artists or art that makes you sick with envy
YOU can even feature work every single day and call it a daily deviation
YOU can create, support and develop groups for a specific goal style or topicCommunity is synonymous with cooperation
A personal statistic for you, I currently watch 1511 people, and if I had to hazard a guess, I would say approximately 80% of the people I watch are stock & resource providers, or photomanipulators. Thats a lot of people talking about things and discussing subjects they care about, or want something changing with, and thats just my watch statistic.
Thats a lot of people who can feed negativity, or encourage positivity. Thats a lot of people to "listen to" and yet, I wouldn't ever think of culling my watchlist - because that reason.Don't ever think a symbol change or a title makes us stop listening/reading/considering/drawing attention to topics that are important to us all
You can call it being big brother if you like but what I want to reiterate is that your concerns, the community concerns, are OUR concerns. We (as volunteers) probably mostly feel the same way about a lot of site wide issues as every other user on the site. We have to talk to each other!
When was the last time you actively sought out your local gallery community volunteer and spoke to them "note to note" about something you are passionate about?
The point is, theres a lot of people yelling and screaming, but nobody talking directly to us! Being a volunteer means we can draw attention to issues that staff might not currently be aware of, being a volunteer means we can highlight subjects and people and things that generate positivity in an immense way - but that still doesn't mean we have a deciding vote - WE AREN'T STAFF.
Seeing people blaming us for the state of the galleries, or accusing us of not doing enough is unfair, unwarranted and frankly nonsense. Not to mention its going to make us feel like crap for doing something we love doing for a community that uses us as a whipping post.
I've been away on a much needed 4 day break to see my family and friends and came back to a lot of negativity and OMGI'MLEAVINGTHISSITESUCKS journals. Its depressing especially when the cause of the complaint was something that not a single person bothered to even consider noting us or emailing us about.
If you asked any volunteer what it is they "do" on this site, 8/10 will more than likely tell you they are a photographer, or an artisan crafter, or a traditional/digital artist or photomanipulator first and foremost. If you asked me what I do on this site I would immediately tell you I'm a stock provider. Telling you I'm a volunteer doesn't tell you who I am, but telling you I am a stock provider does - so that means that when something affects our gallery - like somebody posting porn, impacts my stock before it impacts my volunteering. Its the same for everyone, so don't ever think that things going on in our immediate galleries affect us less as volunteers because it doesn't.We aren't all seeing, all knowing - but the COMMUNITY IS
So we watch a lot of people and read a lot of journals and look at a lot of art, but as this weekend showed we're not on the site 24 hours a day 7 days a week (again read VOLUNTEER) ((though usually its fairly close!)) Its a physical and mental impossibility for us to see every single issue or journal or deviation; so we rely on YOU the HUGE community with a million eyeballs to help us do a better service for OUR community.
Tell us about things, make sure that we are aware of stuff going on that is important to you!
Don't listen to the "them" and "us" brigade because we are all part of the same community with the same goals.