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Some thoughts on my 15,000th post at EC

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Chip, Sep 1, 2015.

  1. Chip

    Board Member Admin Team Advisor Full Member

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    So this marks my 15,000th post at Empty Closets. I thought it might be interesting to take a moment and reflect on what it’s meant to be part of EC during the past 7 years and 15,000 posts. :slight_smile:

    I joined EC in May of 2008, but didn’t start posting regularly until some months later. At the time, it was still a small enough community that you regularly saw the same names posting pretty consistently, so you got a chance to know most of the people in the community simply by reading threads. And there were only maybe a dozen or so new threads each day (if that.). There are quite a few members who still post regularly here (and several staff members) who have been around longer than I have, and it’s always interesting to hear stories from the staff and members who were around in the really early days (2004-2008) when the board was really tiny and had only a few thousand users in total. One of our many “to-dos” is to get a more complete and detailed history of EC written.)

    I was invited to join the staff as an advisor in August of 2009, just as we were starting to see the beginnings of our rapid growth. I was asked to join the what was then the new admin team some months later.

    It’s been a pretty amazing evolution to watch and be part of EC's growth over the years. For me, one of the most gratifying experiences is seeing all of the people who have joined as anxious, questioning, insecure people… and watch them blossom, grow, and become confident, open and successful people. Not all are able to go from 1 to 100 and there are many here that are still on the journey. But there are always changes and transformations to be observed, in everyone — member, staff, admin -- who posts here for any length of time. And this transformation is no less powerful for our members in their 40s or 60s than in someone who is in his or her early teens… the experiences are really not that much different at either end of the age spectrum.

    It’s particularly awesome to see those who started on EC in a place of anxiety and fear, and have reached a place of thriving and success sticking around to help others. It is, quite honestly, those folks (some of whom have joined staff, and some of whom contribute as members) that make EC the magical place that it is. Equally important are the members who are in the midst of finding themselves and who post their questions, share their deepest concerns and secrets, and trust the community with their vulnerability… and are rewarded with kindness, empathy, and practical advice and input.

    For me, EC has also been motivation for my own personal growth. I’ve always been a bit of a bookworm, and EC has fueled my interest (as well as my vocational interest and educational goals) in the psychology, social work, self-help, chemical dependency, and shame resilience fields. It’s also fostered a wonderful connection with an amazing group of staffers and board members; I’ve had the privilege of meeting four other EC staff members in person, and getting to know all of the admins and board members and quite a few of our staff members.

    I’ve also been around long enough to see some pretty significant changes; I was a member, but not active, when the security changes happened in July, 2008. I know the story of what happened, and what changes were made, but I can only infer from posts and comments what it was like being on staff at that point; in a very short period, every profile, every post, every member had to be individually reviewed, and personally identifying information and various other things removed or edited. Even then, that meant hundreds of thousands of posts, wall postings, profiles, and blog entries. The (then tiny) staff dedicated themselves to making that happen, developing the new policies, and bringing on a bunch more staff to make the transition to the new, secure community possible.

    A lot of people were angry and outraged, and it is sad that the selfish acts of a single shady creeper, attempting to hook up with a vulnerable teen, was the motivation for such a drastic change. But it was actually a blessing: The new security policy almost immediately drove away the creepers and pedophiles that exist in droves in pretty much every other online community out there, as they could no longer have easy access to the vulnerable population they were after. And, too, the strong moderation required to keep the community safe had the effect of creating a more insular community, providing a safer environment for people to share their vulnerabilities, fears, and concerns.

    I’m convinced that the security policy we put in place 7 years ago has been one of the reasons EC has been successful, and continues to serve two roles that remain absolutely crucial to maintaining the uniqueness of our community: keeping the community safer from predators than other online communities, but equally important, providing a unique online environment that is mostly free of the trolling, bickering, and flame wars common to other online communities.

    Another of the most exciting and gratifying things I’ve had the opportunity to participate in is our transition from a loosely-knit online community with little formal structure to an IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) public charity. Making that transition, and dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s necessary to make the various governmental bureaucracies happy has been a challenge for all of the board and admin team members involved with it… and every time we turn around there’s yet one more hurdle to overcome.

    But it’s totally worth it. EC will be able to accomplish amazing things in coming years, connecting and cooperating with other organizations, reaching even more people, and expanding the resources we provide. I think anyone who spends time in an online community is doing so out of a desire for connection. I'm no exception. I've learned so much from so many people here. I've gained a deeper and fuller understanding of not just the issues common to the LGBTQ community, but of many issues of common humanity that everyone, everywhere shares.

    Every member of our volunteer team - board, admins, CFs, moderators, advisors — cares deeply about this community, and works hard to ensure that it’s the best that it can be. And finding a group of people with that kind of passion is unusual, but to find a group of volunteers who do what they do day in and day out, and some for 8 or 9 years… that’s pretty extraordinary. I feel exceptionally lucky to have stumbled upon such an amazing community, and to have benefitted so richly from my connection to it. I look forward to continued connection and growth with all of you. :slight_smile:
     
  2. Blue787Bunny

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    :eusa_clap:eusa_clap:eusa_clap Your comments and advice are always ones of the most highly regarded and valued by EC members. Personally to me you are like that strict professor you have at college but you highly regard and respect because of the immeasurable value the things and lessons he imparts unto your hold. Keep at it. :slight_smile:
     
  3. RawringSnake

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  4. Kidd

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    Yay Chip. Your guidance is always the best and so many of us have personally benefitted from it, you are truly irreplaceable. <3
     
  5. blaziken25

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    Congratulations; and thank you for helping make this site the place that it is today!
    Keep up the good work.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. biguy8

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    My only regret is not finding EC sooner and coming out sooner. But better late than never.
     
  7. Reciprocal

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    Congratulations, and long live EC!
     
  8. Alex Vause

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    :eusa_clap :eusa_clap :eusa_clap :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:ride:
     
  9. Richie.

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    Thanks chip for all you do

    This place is unique and has helped me so much!
     
  10. Foz

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    Please, for all that is holy. Use your admin powers to change your post count to "over 9000!!!" :roflmao:
     
  11. wolf of fire

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    I was tempted to do something like this for my 666th post (but it would just be pure evil to).

    I'm glad to see EC has been around for so long and that there are people willing to stick around here that long, may we be around longer than the Romans (or something).
     
  12. Spartan 117

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    Fifteen thousand posts!

    I'm approaching my 1,500th post. Does that make me a tenth of a Chip? :lol:
     
  13. FootballFan101

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    :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:ride:
    :thewave:
     
    #13 FootballFan101, Sep 2, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2015
  14. DreamerBoy17

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    Congratulations, and thank you for all your work in the site :grin:
     
  15. BMC77

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    Congratulations!

    What impresses me about the 15,000 post mark isn't just the number, but the length and the amount of thought and care that must go into them. Anyone could come up with 15,000 posts in 7 years if only doing short one-liners that show little thought. But doing your posts takes a lot more.

    Now you can aim for the next goal. Perhaps 30,000 posts!
     
    #15 BMC77, Sep 2, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2015
  16. Simple Thoughts

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    Congrats on the long history.

    Honestly I'm glad you're around. You seem to generally know what you're talking about around here, and when youv'e got something to say I tend to respect your opinion and listen.
     
  17. Andrew99

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    Congratulations! :thewave: