Compuserve forums shutting down Dec. 15!
*** Update 12/13/2017: The forum has relocated to TheLitForum.com! Please come and join us in our new location. You have to register in order to read or post on the new forum, but it's free.***
Unfortunately, yes, this includes the Books and Writers Community, which is the online forum where Diana Gabaldon has been hanging out since 1985. I joined the forum in March, 2007, and I've been Section Leader (moderator) of the Diana Gabaldon folder on Compuserve since September, 2008.
Diana refers to what I do on Compuserve as "herding the bumblebees". I love that image -- herding bumblebees is harder than herding cats! -- but as I often say, the trick to bumblebee-herding is to do it without getting stung. <g>
As I write this, it's only been a couple of hours since I heard the news about the forum shutting down, and I'm still in a state of shock. We had no warning at all. The Books and Writers Community (especially Diana's section of the forum) has been a major part of my life for the last ten years, and I'm deeply saddened that it's going to come to an end now.
Rather than dwelling on this devastating news, I thought I'd focus instead on the positive things that have come from my time on Compuserve. Finding the forum really did change my life, in many ways! Here's a list of "10 Things I've Learned From Bumblebee-Herding" that I wrote several years ago. I think it's appropriate to repost it today.
I have learned a tremendous amount in the last nine years about how to manage a large and constantly shifting group of forum members. Here are ten of my favorite tips, techniques, and strategies for bumblebee-herding. I think most of these could be applied to managing any online community, Facebook group, etc.
10 Things I've Learned from Bumblebee-Herding
1) Keeping discussions organized and on-topic is an art, not a science, and it takes time and practice to learn how to do it effectively.
2) You can't please everybody. Inevitably, some people will disagree with your decisions. Don't take it personally.
3) Trust your own judgment.
4) Encourage people to ask questions. Even if the topic has been discussed many times before, there will always be newcomers who haven't seen the previous posts.
5) Make an effort to acknowledge new people and make them feel welcome. This is especially important in a group where many of the members have known each other for a long time.
6) Nobody's perfect. Even bumblebee-herders make mistakes from time to time. <g> It's OK to admit it if you screw up.
7) Lead by example. Be polite and show that you have a sense of humor, and most people will reciprocate.
8) Discussions tend to run in cycles. If you hit a rough patch, try to remember "this too shall pass".
9) Even in the midst of the busiest "thread explosions", take a break once in a while. "Me time" is important! (I always make a conscious effort to do this while the TV series is in progress, and it definitely helps!)
10) Don't be afraid to yell for help if you need it.
I will miss the forum tremendously! It's really a unique place, a wonderful community full of readers, writers, and book-lovers. And the fact that Diana Gabaldon is there, participating in discussions and answering questions on a daily basis, makes it even more special for OUTLANDER fans. I'm biased, of course, but I think it's the best place for in-depth discussion of Diana's books that you'll find anywhere online.
We will survive, of course. But it's the end of an era, and that makes me very sad.
If you want to reminisce, share your reactions to the announcement, or talk about where we go from here, feel free to come and post in the thread on Compuserve here.