So I guess William has already spilled the beans about me taking the lead over. My name is Artashes and it is with great respect to all the members here, I would like to say hello and introduce myself more formally in this public forum instead of the staff one. It is not an easy thing to do because I have only done this once before (back in 2003 with HostingDiscussion.com). I feel a bit like Obama coming into the office after years of struggling activity. So what do you say when things are not at their best?
I watched TalkFreelance community grow since its inception. I’ve had not one chat with the original owner back in time, Anthony. I think at some point our forums were even link exchange partners (TF had a different skin back then: blue, green, white – I remember I really liked it). It was hard not to notice TalkFreelance – it had a very unique rhythm and it was literally glowing with energy. It was definitely a place any webmaster would want to be, it was on its way to become a very powerful community. That is, however, how I remember it. I fell off a tree for a while and focused full-time on developing HostingDiscussion.com into a respectable web hosting community, investing countless hours and money into making it a nice environment for all. Sure we have some competition (who doesn’t), but it only makes us work harder, stay innovative and invest in applications and services other won’t.
I’ve been running HostingDiscussion.com since 2003 (part of staff as moderator since 2002). At the time it was an unknown dead board that the previous ownership gave up on. I think we had roughly 300 registered members – scattered from all over the place. Zero activity, no traffic, just a tiny lit bit of traction with the name itself. From this perspective, it makes it more comfortable to work with TF as it already has a strong following and it has sustainable traffic.
So, what do you really say when things are not at their best? I guess I am asking to give me and TalkFreelance a chance. One of the prevalent factors why I was very interested in taking the lead was You – the community itself. I saw an inspiring loyalty among some of the members who kept coming back (and still do) to the site daily in hopes things are turning. I saw an incredible group of staffers who were literally keeping this place alive artificially. That to me is a sign of a true community – no matter the overall condition it is in.
I was very sad to read about Salathe, Village Genius and Garyrae resigning a couple of days ago. I believe that if it wasn’t for them, this place would have been dead months ago. To be brutally honest, if I were Salathe, I don’t know if I had the stamina to go on for as long as he and others did. Every community needs active attention from its leaders, and if an owner starts to drift away (most often not because they want to, but due to other circumstances), it then creates an effect of a ghost town, and consequently it turns people off, with spammers the only ones partying. However, I sincerely hope that the mentioned big trio (Salathe, Village Genius and Garyrae) will reconsider joining the team back. Their guidance, advice and knowledge might speed up the rise of TalkFreelance. They will probably judge me based on actions, not words, and that is more than fair with me. Those who are currently a part of staff, I sure hope to meet you all soon and get to know you better as well so that we can understand how we'll work in weeks, months and [hopefully] years to come.
Given my passion and experience with a troubled community, I think we can really turn this place around. Two things are for certain: 1 – it won’t be a “quick fix” turnaround. It will probably take a few months to start noting a real difference, with some changes being radical, and 2 – I definitely won’t be able to make it without your help, so please please pretty please with cherries on top – stick around! We ain’t going anywhere but up.
In the coming days, with the help of all the staff and members, I will announce a short-term plan of where we’ll take this community next.
In the meantime, I welcome yours suggestions and feedback on what you would like see.
PS: Just please allow few days for my orientation of the surroundings.