During this joyous Christmas season I have decided to switch servers for this blog. To preface: the blog used to be run on a private server, not affiliated with WordPress at all. I didn’t have a ton of costs, but I also didn’t have backups or HTTPS.
This used to not be a problem, when I first started this blog I didn’t actually expect to take much pride in my work (and I still don’t take too much pride in it). Things have changed though, I looked through the posts I wrote and I have thousands of words written and a wee bit of pride attached to it, and all it would take is a single person feeling a little malicious to wipe away what I have.
So here we are now, I have backups and access to some pretty sweet site layouts and HTTPS. But even with everything looking different (Here is an archive for comparison) I can guarantee the content won’t change suddenly, although I can guarantee it probably will over the next year, which brings me into my next point.
“I miss the old _______.”
This is the funniest phrase in the history of phrases in my opinion. With any organization, group, community, content, you can almost guarantee that this phrase will be said.
Some people believe that nostalgia is a big factor in this. I think otherwise. YouTube content creators have this problem in their communities. Challenge: Go the comment section of a big YouTuber who has been around for years and see if you can’t find someone who says, “I miss the old [Name of YouTuber].” Still you can go back to their old content, and it is still as fresh and funny as the first time that you see it, so really nostalgia isn’t the biggest factor.
Content creators who are actively trying to grow their content aren’t going to stand still on what they have, any great content creator is going to have to change or become more official so they can break out of their niche and capture a larger crowd. And this is why the phrase is said for content creators like YouTubers.
I don’t think this blog or Xylo-a-day is ever going to skyrocket because I’m not trying to grow them, my whole purpose with this blog is to document things I think are cool, if people read it then that’s just a bonus. Xylo-a-day’s purpose is to make sure that I’m playing on a consistent basis, if people stop by and think that the content is cool I’m not going to stop them, but at the end of the day I’m just trying to get my practice in.
And because of the reasons above I don’t think that my content is going to change much, it will definitely undergo change as I become better at blogging and better at playing, but not because I’m trying to make my content appeal to a larger crowd.
Organizations suffer this same exact problem of having people grumble about missing the old days, for similar reasons too.
Let’s say I wanted to start disc golfing with my friends. So a couple of my friends and I start going to play disc golf. We have tons of fun and start a group chat to schedule more meetups. Everyone is loose and relaxed we are all just there to have fun.
Then we start picking up other people who hear about the fun we are having. Our group is growing and we now have tens of people coming. It’s still fun to play but it is getting more hectic trying to schedule everyone on the same day. So a few people step up and say that they are willing to play multiple times a week and we can have multiple sessions a week, so that everyone doesn’t rely on a single day.
This is a big deal because now that we have more sessions a week, our availability is larger and even more people want to come. So now we have grown much much larger and some of the sessions are becoming mixes of beginner players and competitive players. The beginners want to learn without being intimidated and the competitive players want to play competitively.
“Why don’t we host learning sessions.” One suggests.
“Why don’t we host a tournament.” One suggests.
“We could even have prize money, and T-shirts!” Another chimes in.
So with a couple of peoples input our unofficial group has a couple of social organizers in charge of hosting the weekly sessions, a learning session organizer, a tournament organizer, a volunteer graphic artist for the shirts, and an unofficial treasurer.
We are growing large and the next stepping stone comes when we start collecting money from the tournament entrance fee, and the shirt orders. We make a little bit of profit.
“We should use that money on advertising!”
“We should use that money for club-owned equipment!”
“We should donate it to charity!”
“We should use that money for travel expenses so we can go to nicer parks farther away!”
And before you know it, we have our first major conflict that needs a full-baked response. Whether we resolve it or not isn’t important, because soon after somebody suggests that we create an official organization to help resolve future disputes, like a non-profit or a school club.
So we do, we draft up a constitution and by-laws, appoint official officers (probably the same people as before), open up a bank account, and are now having official officer meetings following Robert’s Rules of Order to decide the direction of the organization.
We are now a fully fledged fully organized entity. People sign forms to come play with us. We reimburse for gas money when we go on long trips. People can rent out some equipment from the club after signing a few forms. We host legit tournaments with prize money and charity donations that the surrounding community can see. Whenever somebody comes to play it isn’t “hanging out with pals” it’s “going to disc club”.
And that’s when you’ll hear it.
“I miss the old days. You know? Like when it was just a couple of us going to play disc golf and hanging out…”
Now I’m not saying that every organization goes through that, some organizations are immediately formed with paperwork and a constitution and are backed by another entity. But still, it is a very reasonable scenario that has most assuredly happen on some level.
Burning Man, a festival promoting free expression of art went through something similar, originally it was just a group of people going out into the desert making art and burning a wooden man. Nowadays, you have to buy a ticket and fill out a couple of forms to go. It is a legit organization with principles and a constitution, which holds legit responsibility for the actions of the festival-goers.
DEF CON, a yearly hacker convention held in Las Vegas, has also undergone this same problem. What originally started as a party to celebrate hacker culture has turned into a legit organization with volunteers and speakers. It is now a convention that hosts thousands of people who are interested in the realm of cyber security and hacker culture. In DEF CON you can easily find people who say “I miss the old DEF CON, it was a lot less uptight.” Las Vegas is cool with having a couple hundred hackers roaming the strip, but it gets a little less relaxed when you have a few thousand.
I didn’t mean for this to sound like a rant, I just wanted to share an observation. With any sort of growth, content is bound to change, rules and exceptions are bound to change, people are bound to change.
I’m a boring guy, I don’t plan on actively growing this blog or my YouTube channel, so you can expect more or less the same thing.