What happens when several thousand people belong to an online group that has a long-standing set of rules, and then the rules change mid-stream? A paradigm shift.
I have just watched this happen. I have belonged to an online group that has become my internet “home”. But because of the paradigm shift, it no longer feels like home.
Let me explain. The term “paradigm shift” was used in the book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. He described a paradigm (in science) as what was observed, the kind of questions to be asked, how the questions were asked, and how the results were interpreted.
In business and the Social Sciences, however, it refers to sudden changes in perception, or a sudden change in point of view. It usually means this change is positive, or progressive; as opposed to negative or regressive.
So in MY little corner of the world, here is what happened.
Site owner got angry because their toes got stepped on.
Owner banned a member.
Other members got angry that said member was banned.
Membership is restless and asks questions.
Things are said in “public” that should have been private.
“Inside” business info is shared with the “outside” world by owner.
Owner now looks totally unprofessional.
Membership starts to balk, stall and choke.
Owner now asks for “help” with making NEW RULES.
Membership complies by offering suggestions.
Owner balks, stalls and chokes.
Members start leaving.
Owner makes up own set of new, harsh rules.
More members leave.
Owner sends out rules to membership with ultimatum: obey rules or leave.
Gee….. wonder what next step will be ???
See? A paradigm shift. Many of us thought the site was “safe, fun and educational”. Thought we could agree to disagree and learn from each other. Appreciated learning about new products in our industry, regardless of who sold them. We never thought of it as advertising, but as learning. We thought networking was a good thing, thus shared our blog addy, websites, who was a good teacher, who to buy thread from, who had a hot deal this month on pantographs, who was going to be teaching at the upcoming show. None of this is allowed now. And one has to wonder what the next step is??
The paradigm shift that saddens me the most is this. We used to believe in each other. We knew we could count on each other. We knew help was a quick posting away, or a phone call or email.
The shift is that with moderators that are “hidden” and “secret”, with “private” forums to discuss who has posted something today that they shouldn’t….. including on PRIVATE OFFSITE BLOGS……members no longer know who they can trust.
This particular paradigm shift is not positive or progressive. It is negative, regressive, oppressive and downright censorship. It has all become so ridiculously tiresome, paranoid and STUPID, that frankly I DON’T GIVE A DAMN anymore.