Monday, September 15, 2008

My new role on Compuserve

As some of you may have heard, over the weekend I was offered the position of Section Leader (SL) in Diana Gabaldon's folder on the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum, which is the online community where Diana hangs out.

Naturally I was delighted (and rather stunned) that Diana and the other forum staff would think of me, and I accepted the offer with pleasure. Now, when you look at my posts on Compuserve that were created since the announcement, you will see a little picture of a gavel beside my name, which indicates that I am a member of the forum staff.

If you want to read what Diana said in her public announcement on the forum, click here.

So, what does a Section Leader do? The job was described to me as "a cross between moderator and janitor". [g] I can -- theoretically, as I'm only just starting to learn how -- move, edit, and delete posts, change thread titles, split off discussions into new threads, and so on.

Basically, the idea is to keep the discussions from getting out of control, and also to free Diana from having to do these sorts of housekeeping functions herself -- so she can spend more time focused on finishing AN ECHO IN THE BONE [vbg], which she hopes to have completed by the end of the year.

By the way, in case you're wondering, the forum staff are all volunteers.

I really enjoy the atmosphere and the intellectual stimulation of the discussions on Compuserve, and I'm thrilled that they let me take on this role even though I have only been a member for a year and a half, and only posting regularly on the forum since BOTB came out about a year ago. (Some of the people there, like Diana herself, have been members for 20 years or more.)

I know that some of Diana's fans view her Compuserve forum as a scary or intimidating place, especially for first-time posters. I understand why people feel this way, but I don't happen to agree. I hope to use my new position to make the forum a more welcoming place for newbies. And the fact that I've been given this opportunity just proves what I have said for a long time: you definitely don't have to be a writer (or even an aspiring one [g]) to participate in the discussions over there.

11 comments:

Bedelia said...

Hi Karen,

Congrats again, Karen. You so deserve it. And now I have another blog to add to my favorites to check daily [g]! Just one question, Diana will still be answering questions on compuserve, right? Looking forward to following you on this journey.

Bedelia

Karen Henry said...

Bedelia:

Oh, yes, absolutely, Diana will still be answering questions on Compuserve! My role there is going to be more in the nature of moderator/referee, but she still owns that section and will continue to reply to posts as she sees fit. (And I will still ask questions and make comments there, just as I always have.)

Glad to see you over here, btw. [g]

Karen

Janellybelly said...

Congrats again from me too Karen, I have always loved your insights into these fabulous books - love the blog too. You never know, you just might get me out of lurking to posting on Compuserve *vbg*
Janelle N

Merrymags said...

Karen:

Nice to see you putting all your excellent skills to work in this vein. (Especially if you have talent - which I came to realize I didn't!) Blogging is a wonderful form of expression, and I look forward to reading yours. Congrats, again, on your appointment as SL. What a compliment, and one that is well deserved.

Midge

Diane M. said...

Karen,

Congratulations! I am very excited for you. I think it is a terrific honor and one that is well-deserved. You will be great! I think it will be good for the forum users as well to have you around to welcome newbies and keep the Gabaldon folder all neat and tidy as well.

I agree that the Forum isn't a scary place. I've only been posting there myself for two years. I was nervous at first, as I am also not a writer, but quickly felt right at home in any folder. I think, however, if you put some flowers on the table and have the brownies ready to dispense to the newbies, it will be less scary for them to take that first step!

Bedelia said...

Hey Karen,

Hope I'm not being TOO nosy, and if so, you don't have to answer, but did you actually get to talk to Herself and will you be able to in the future?

Bedelia

Karen Henry said...

Bedelia:

Talk to her in person, you mean? No, of course not. We've "talked" via discussions on the Compuserve forum lots of times, but that's it. [g] And I don't expect that to change, but you never know, I suppose. I'd say it's pretty unlikely I'll get to meet her in person unless she plans a trip to NC, since I don't travel all that much.

Karen

Jay-Lee said...

Yayyy for Karen!!!

Congrats again Karen, what an honour! I am so trilled for you. I love reading all your wonderful thoughts and insights on Compuserve as well as on LOL. Now I get to read more on your blog too!

Jay-Lee

Jari Backman said...

Dear Karen,

This was really neat. And you are quite right about the scaryness factor.

And I do believe that you can help to really lower it.

You do a great work with the blog, as well. [s]

gail said...

Hi, Karen,
I am so pleased that you have been honored with this important role. Congratulations!! I am a faithful reader of Diana's folder on CompuServe but I rarely post, as it intimidating to speak up, if one is not part of the "in" crowd. Though I must say that Diana has always been gracious and generous with her comments back to me--a real treasure.
I look forward to watching you manage the site as we discuss this beloved series of writings that are so much more than imaginings within the covers of a book.
I have bookmarked your blog, too, for daily reading, right beside LOL, CS and VOTA!

Way to go, lady.
Gail A

Karen Henry said...

Hi Gail:

Thanks for the kind words! I have heard a lot of people say things like that about the Compuserve forum, and I think it's unfortunate. I hope to use my new role to help make newcomers feel more welcome there. You're right, many people do feel it's an intimidating place. One reason may be the fact that Diana hangs out over there, and people are (quite understandably!) shy about asking questions or making comments about the books where she can see them. I honestly don't think people should worry about that. Diana is always willing to talk to fans, and she's amazingly patient and responsive to questions, even questions she's heard a thousand times before.

I do think that there is a sort of "in-crowd" mentality among some of the long-time members on the Compuserve forum. Many of them have been there fifteen or twenty years or more, they all know each other very well, and it can be hard for new members to find a niche for themselves. I seem to have done it <g>, but it took many months of keeping up almost daily with the discussions there before I began to feel truly accepted by some of those long-time members. Like any online community, the more you post, the better they get to know you, the more welcoming they will be. But as I said, I do intend to make a serious effort to ensure that newbies are treated with respect.

I often tell people, don't be afraid to ask questions on the Compuserve forum, because you just never know what sort of answers you may get! <g> And when you address questions to Diana, I've found that as long as you sound reasonably intelligent and you make it clear you've at least read the books <g>, she'll give you an intelligent and sometimes thoughtful answer back. So if you have a question, I would encourage you to go ahead and post it there.

Karen