It's later than ever this month, I know. I meant to write this about ten days earlier but, well, things happen. October has been quiet so we don't have much in terms of news, and most of what's newsworthy, if anything, is in the root log so I'd just like to talk about one or two things that have been salient to me over the last month or so. Mostly it's about community.
I've been to at least a dozen nodermeets, of which my consort and I hosted four. Starting in 2001 and most recently at CotC5, I occasionally throw off my distant, Olympian persona and mingle freely with the mortals. Well sort of. Actually, not even sort of.
When noders get together, there are no titles and gods and all that crap. The community is not tied to the hierarchy. It's not linked to achievements, M-Noding, or @ signs. It exists in parallel to the formal, rigid structure of the title and level continuum. I may be the titular head of the staff hierarchy but in real life that means little more than that I get to talk more shop than most people. On the ground, I'm no more or less a part of it than the 2008-edition noder at his first meet or the fellow whose last node was posted in 2002. As a personality, I never have been and do not intend to be a catbox diva or a celebrity noder. I don't have and don't envy the star power of a LaggedyAnne or a Wiccanpiper, who you all know are cool as fuck people. I'm just another face distinguished from the rest by the name on the plastic cup of booze.
When I say talking shop, that doesn't mean that the staff get together in a secluded room and and yakk about noding. This was a unique occurrence at HD5. Talking shop mostly means getting the sort of feedback and response that's really hard to get on-line. So when I'm out there I'll talk as much site policy, events, gossip, and plans with jessicaj and vandewal as I will with dann and OldMiner. Half the time we don't even set out to do so but one tangent leads to another and before we know it we're in orbit around planet DMan. Still, since I like familiar topics, I'll happily talk E2 with anyone who'll listen or ask.
It does become possible, when you've been less social than you mean to be, as family and school responsibilities made me over the last 2-3 years, to lose touch a bit. It does me a world of good to climb down from the ivory tower in which policy is argued and get a solid reminder that there is a lot more to the site than maintenance and operations. On the upside, the fact that the site's social life has its strongest expression in the Midwest these days helps me stay in touch with things and people a bit more easily.
Things happen at nodermeets and every meet is different in the end, even those that are part of a series. Somehow I always manage to miss the more scandalous coastal ones and have to be briefed months later about the things that my otherwise respectable staff (and non-staff) get up to when the suits and ties come off. Here in the American heartland, we're a bit less outrageous but that may just be because we tend to put feeding people ahead of getting them laid. Give us the chance to cook for two dozen people and we'll be all over it.
I suppose where I'm going is that I strongly approve of noder fraternisation as an important aspect of the site's social fabric. Despite the fact that there are personality differences and clashes over events on the site itself, I've never felt unwelcome among noders, and neither should anyone else. My message is, especially for the newer folks: if you have the chance to attend one of these get-togethers, don't miss it.
Things are going on behind the scenes. Few of the projects have sought the public eye so some folks will eventually pop up and show up what they have to present. One thing that I am concerned about is the lack of contributions to the Contest. Maybe it's seen as too ambitious or different from what we usually do. We'd rather not call it off due to lack of participation. If you won't do it for the site, do it for Jet-Poop, whose awesomeness is well known and publicised (mostly by him). Seriously though, it would be a disappointment if we can't get the creative souls to step up and shine. If only half of the people who've C!ed that node step up to the plate with something outside the box, I promise to stop torturing you with mixed metaphors.
The threat of having me organise E2SS2K9 seems to have prodded people into action. Once again, and for the fourth time, the fair lady gwenllian has taken charge, though where she'll find the time... Many thanks to androjen for offering herself up as sacrificial
virginvictim if we didn't find someone to do it. I appreciate it almost as much as her corset. Now get yourselves on the list and start giftin'.
Things you never thought of doing with penne pasta #34:
--Me (puzzled): What are you doing with that noodle?
--Two-year-old: Racing it!