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Kutaki: An Admin's Perspective
村長 :: Sonchou
Joined:
2003/1/24 17:34
From Chiba, Japan
Group:
村長 :: Admin
村民 :: Villager
Posts: 1546
Offline
Hello All,

I decided to post this after being encouraged on the moderator's list to make my thoughts known to everyone.

Tonight I came very close to temporarily closing down Kutaki for 3 months, mainly due to the following factors:

1) Since another popular martial arts website has been offline for a number of weeks, the quality of posts on Kutaki has noticably gone downhill. While this is a very interesting study on the ways in which people use the two sites, it does indicate that people who are used to airing things on the other site which they would not normally post on Kutaki are now doing so on Kutaki since their normal vent is gone.

2) Related to 1. In the last few weeks there has been a noticable increase in posts which I consider to be extremely egocentric, arrogant, and condescending - moreso than I have seen in the 5 years of Kutaki's existence. While I would normally never tolerate this attitude, I find myself in the position of doing so simply to be politically correct - something I don't really enjoy. Although this attitude is held by a very small number of users, it makes it a bit depressing to admin the site when you see that certain people just use it to attract attention to themselves and attempt to make themselves look good while looking down their noses at others.

3) People are not reading the disclaimer which they are required to check "I Agree" to before joining, as well as not reading the FAQ. This relates especially to the policy of including real names in user profiles. In the last week I have deleted an average of FIVE user accounts PER DAY because people did not READ. Then of course the users contact the admins to ask why their accounts were deleted... this is a complete waste of admin and moderator time.

4) Last weekend I was working on the server and inadvertently put it offline (I won't get into the technical reasons why). This happened on a Saturday at 3pm. Because it was a Saturday, there was noone at the data center where the server is hosted so I could not drive out and reset the machine. I called and emailed the staff but got no response, so there was nothing to do but wait until first thing Monday morning, drive out and fix it. That night (Saturday) at midnight, I got a call from someone who was concerned that Kutaki was offline. I didn't pick up, because I knew who it was and why they were calling. Sorry guys, but I am not answering phone calls at midnight on a weekend to explain why Kutaki is offline. The same person called me 3 times the next day. I didn't answer for the same reason. After the server was back online on Monday, emails between this individual and myself revealed a difference in the way that we view Kutaki, its role in the Bujinkan, and my responsibilities to it (or lack thereof, in my opinion).

Because of the above reasons, it was my intention to announce tonight that I will shut down Kutaki for 3 months to give people a chance to get out, breathe, get a life, and examine what and why they post here. Some good advice on the moderators' mailing list caused me to reconsider, but it was suggested that I post my views publicly so that everyone knows where I stand on Kutaki and the priorities and assumptions under which I admin the site. The following post to the moderators' list basically outlines my views:

Quote:

Kutaki to me started out as a hobby, and I still view it that way. To me, it doesn't matter how popular the site has become or how many members it has. It is still a free website being run in my spare time. Donations do come in, but it is not enough to nearly cover domain registration and hosting fees, which I pay completely separately from the Internet account I have from my ISP. To me, my *responsibility* for Kutaki is Zero. I registered the name, I maintain the site (with the much-appreciated help of all the moderators), and I can do whatever I want with it at any time. Use of the website by over 1600 users is provided as a convenience to them, not a right. This is the same with free Internet bulletin boards everywhere. That is the nature of free websites. They can go down at any time for any reason for any length of time. There are no guarantees and the owners are not expected to give any reason in advance or any apology afterwards.

I remember being at Hatsumi Sensei's house one time in 1995, and he had some words of wisdom for me about the Bujinkan organization. They went something like this: "I don't need the Bujinkan. I don't need students. I could dissolve the whole things it at any time and it wouldn't bother me." I feel the same way about Kutaki.

It's just a website. I like to think its a good website, and helpful for people - but in the end, it is just a website, to which I feel no particular obligation. I do appreciate the efforts of all the moderators in helping to keep things smooth in the forums, but please understand that if I feel that Kutaki has outlived its usefulness, if it becomes more trouble than it is worth, or if I just feel like it for no reason whatsoever, I have no compunctions about taking it offline temporarily or permanently or doing whatever else with it that I please. I know this might sound harsh, but please understand that is the cold reality of it in the end. Things live, things die. Its a natural cycle. Sometimes the death is of old age or natural causes, sometimes it is caused with intent and purpose. Kutaki is no different.

Hatsumi Sensei has put a lot of effort into the Bujinkan organization. He has Shihan all around him who have invested and sacrificed a lot for it. But he does not let that sway him, he is not "attached" to it. That is basically the same way I feel about Kutaki. Nice website, can be helpful. In the end though, it is not *necessary* for anyone.

Thanks for your understanding,

Shawn


This is not the first time I have pondered shutting down Kutaki, although it is the closest I have come to actually doing so. In the past when I have voiced those thoughts, people jumped in and encouraged me to keep it going, and that is probably why its still here. I'm happy to provide the site as a voluntary service, but please remember that it is just that - a free voluntary service. It is not a right. It is not guaranteed. It should probably not occupy a very significant amount of your spare time. If it becomes useless in my own personal opinion, it can be at any time taken offline, frozen, deleted, mercilessly tortured in a dark dungeon somewhere, or subjected to any other manner of unhappy endings.

Please continue to enjoy the site, don't take your karma, number of posts, or ranking too seriously, and realize that its just a website and if it goes offline and that seriously affects your life, you may want to make some changes to your life.

Thanks, and best regards.

Shawn


Posted on: 2005/5/1 23:46
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