Monday, November 13, 2017

Compuserve forums shutting down Dec. 15!

Very sad news today: the Compuserve forums are shutting down effective December 15!



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.

[Update 11/14/2017: The latest word from one of the admins in charge of our forum (not Diana) is that we will relocate elsewhere. She's not giving up, and therefore, neither am I. I have no details as yet, but if and when an announcement is made, I'll post it here.]

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.

6 comments:

Jessie said...

Hi Karen--You have published a great deal of fine writing and research to Diana's forum on CompuServe. I hope you have it archived somewhere.

I regret the loss of all the knowledge fans have built in that forum over the years. Those posts represent a fair potion of the entire Outlander discourse, and you have played a major role in organizing them and keeping the forum a place for civil and productive exchanges.

Few people have the skill and dedication you have consistently shown of the past ten years as a forum moderator. May you find another place to herd bumblebees.

Take a bow, Karen. You have earned it.

Jessie

♥Susanlynn said...

Karen, I have never been able to figure out how to comment on CompuServe , but I lurk and read all the comments on CompuServe OUtlander daily and feel as if I know all the regular commenters there. It would be sad to lose this place , especially all the comments Diana has given to our understanding of the characters and events in her books. Que lastima.

Niki said...

I haven't been to CompuServe in quite awhile, but this still makes me sad for the regular visitors and commenters.

Rebel Fan said...

I think I stumbled upon Books and Writers, by another name, back in 2004. Sad to see it go. I wonder if it will be archived. I should visit soon, it's been over a year.

Christinazappa said...

Thank you for the update. If possible let us know new location.

Anonymous said...

When about shut down all its forums, the quilters moved to Delphi and were made welcome. It's been as much fun as about. FWIW.

Cris in MT
ruckmanc@yahoo.com