Part III: End the Beginning, Would You Kindly?
Responsible preamble: The following information is provided solely from my own view and experiences. I attempted to break no confidences nor misrepresent the behavior, conduct or viewpoints of anyone discussed herein. This is just one guy’s experience from within any discussed situations, and is not meant to impugn the reputation of anyone discussed herein. All listed pseudonyms are those used online at the time.
The honeymoon’s ending was abrupt and served as a microcosm of state of affairs that would signal the need for changes, ones that would prove necessary to transcend beyond where we were to where we would venture.
During the summer of 2018, if I recall correctly, plans for a rebranding from WYK-TV to Would You Kindly began. We passed this information to the broader moderation team so that they could participate, both in terms of getting excited with the rest of us based on what the necessity of such a rebrand represented as far as growth for the team, but also letting them become part of the process in-so-much that when the team had more, they would hear about it from us first and have an opportunity to offer feedback.
That was our first mistake. Finding the right artist and hammering out a design that everyone would ultimately approve took time. LOTS of time. The long lull from our initial news to actual updates rubbed several people the wrong way, pushing them to point out our silence compounded concern they held our approach in not just managing the re-brand, but our efforts in general, is insufficient. Suffice to say, we shared the news too soon and brought too many people into the discussion, backfiring on us spectacularly.
By this time Crash, Syconawt and myself had developed a close friendship and we happened to be chatting amongst ourselves at the time these complaints surfaced, and I relayed these concerns to the group after reading through the commentary. This lead to my second mistake: I took a light-hearted jab at pressuring us to reveal new information before said information existed by grabbing a white canvas photograph and sharing it with our groupchat to present as the progress update.
Whether I meant it lightheartedly, or as an attempt to sooth my friends reactions to the feedback was moot, as the act had immediate repercussions that would resonate long after they transpired. Unfortunately, the joke tickled Crash so much that he posted it to the team’s social media, igniting more needless tension at a time when we needed to keep our heads down and get a job done.
Ultimately, the team had to reign us in, with community management focused member Romcomm specifically reaching out to us and making it clear unprofessional taunting wasn’t cool or something we should let happen again. I did not comment at the time(because there was little that need be said; he was right, and we were chastised appropriately) but I took it to heart and never let myself be involved in that level of foolishness again.
While this situation itself was not the catalyst for the broad changes that would rear their head in the next year, nor a true kaleidoscope view on how things were done, I do think it showed that while not all was rotten in Denmark, some consideration had to be taken into how things were done going forward. Ultimately, through a course of events with much broader circumstances team ownership, membership, and management would change, culminating in Crash’s exit.
I won’t pretend to be privy to information that could spell out exactly why everything went the way it did. That healthy distance I mentioned before? It insulated me from situations like this, and allowed people on tiers above me to work out what they needed to do without interfering in my ability to present a warm face to the community and keep them informed without tainting anything I might say.
When word came down that Crash would be exiting, I wasn’t sure what to think. He’d brought me on, and while I enjoyed working for the team my first loyalty was to him. Meanwhile, it took some convincing for the team to adopt the idea of WYK having a staff on hand … would his exit be our exit, too? My experience with other things had taught me that it wasn’t unusual to cut everything around an exiting leader as a means to move forward cleanly.
That brings us, roughly, to the fall of 2019. While the staff was retained after things shook out, how we did things would eventually change permanently, and I would face my next major question:
If my role and value here has peaked, what do I do next? To be continued…