Of all the beloved sites i’ve ever seen shut down, it’s always been the decision of the site administrator(s). Regular readers can leave and staff members can be bitchy and unhappy, but ultimately the admin makes the decision to pull the plug on the main page leaving everyone scrambling to talk to each other on the message boards before those too fade away or become completely irrelevant.
What is it about being the admin of a site that makes it so easy to shut everything down rather than just make a change? Is it that you’re tied to what the site was and not what it will be? Or, is it that you just get tired of making little fixes to what seems to you a large overall problem. Pulling the plug on a site, whether it be a treasured monument to e/n or the best Ani DiFranco site on the internet, seems like a hopelessly selfish choice. However, i suppose if you take on all the weight of maintaining a page yourself then you’re entitled to be selfish about it’s dissolution.
Bearing that in mind, is the solution to distribute both the joys of being a successful administrator as well as the sorrows? Does having a solid support staff make the difference between giving up on a page or just taking a much needed breather? Of course, having support staff presents nearly the same problem, as their collective vision sometimes strays from yours, leaving you either useless or annoyed. So, what’s the best formula for keeping a site going long enough that it becomes a mainstay in a community and not just a blip?
It seems to me that the easy answer is staying involved in the flow of your site, which is why so many solo blog-projects have become so consistent and venerable. It’s also why so many of them burn out and fail. If you don’t stay involved emotionally or scientifically or anything with your own writing, eventually what you’re creating means nothing and your page is just like the impression your head leaves on a pillow rather than a pillow with a real head on it. The same holds true for a group site … if you let yourself stray slowly from being an active poster to being a distanced administrator, your idea of fun is only based on reading the page as opposed to the real fun of writing it. This is not to say every administrator should be the center of attention – primadonna in their own specially constructed showcase. Instead, the point is that you have to occupy all of the positions at once: admin, staff, writer, and most importantly, fan.
Remind me about this post if i ever start bitching about any of this, if you would be so kind..