We'd originally planned to post this on Friday to give everyone time to comment, but as there's clearly some effort in the threads to come up with some new systems, we think this might be a good time to suggest our ideas a day early, as we think it might fit in very well with what people are saying. We must first assure people that nothing will be done that breaches confidentiality and every effort shall be made to preserve posts and comments. Also, thanks to the people who are volunteering, and particular thanks to those who acknowledged all the hard work we've done over the last year and a half.
Looking at the amount of volunteering, it looks like there are still some possibilities left, but the move is towards more communal writing and, looking at how much people say they could do, it doesn't look as if we could maintain the blog at the levels of content it was set up for (especially because real life always intervenes and illnesses, family business, work crises and so on mean that there are always a proportion of contributors able to write less than they'd planned).
In addition, we know from exhausting experience (and you all know from frustrating experience) that handling roundtables with TBAT as coordinators can take ages, and to be honest, we're burned out on that process. If people want to work together, there's no reason why they should have to go through us; it would be a lot less unwieldy.
So, it looks as if the proposed plans are something better handled by the community as a whole than by us as organisers - which fits in with what we've all been feeling lately, which is that we'd like to move on to other projects. We believe it was the right thing to do to withdraw from commenting on this blog - changing from regular commentariat members to administrator-editor-mods was a very problematic way of taking on mod status, and the repercussions were probably never going to go away no matter what we did (off-board, there was drama about it right from the beginning, well before any open controversies, and again, we've just had our fill of it) - but it's pretty unrewarding for us to simply edit and code-crunch on a blog we can't join the conversations on. We'd like to call it quits, part friends, and wish everyone else the best of luck in making something out of it.
So, here's what we want to do: hand over to a more community-based approach.
Here's how we think it could best be done technically:
1. Handing over the 'keys' to this place would, given some of the confidences we've received since beginning here, create some serious privacy problems. Shutting it down entirely, on the other hand, would lose everyone's posts and comments, and leave old-timers looking for this place lost. It would, though, be technically doable to freeze this place as an archive with a redirecting link at the top, which would avoid both problems. Were it frozen, it wouldn't require any more money to maintain.
2. We can set up a new place for the community that allows for a more broad-based way of editing and contributing content. Depending on how people choose to organise themselves in the future, we could either set it up for newly-selected moderators or have it open to contributing content from whoever asks us to e-mail them the password. (Assuming they're known community members, obviously, not just any old troll.)
3. We think we should move to system that doesn't require donations (in other words, something free), as that gives everyone a level playing field and removes the ticking clock that financial pressures can create. Again, this is perfectly doable.
4. Some of the other things suggested could be done very easily (for example, suggestion boxes and prompt lists.)
5. The community will decide amongst itself whether it wants to elect one or more new organisers or proceed on a more open platform. Should you want to have an election, we can put up voting buttons if needed.
So, to sum up: TBAT is resigning, wishing everyone the best. Nothing is perfect, but we'll help you set up a new system that should avoid most of the potential problems of a hand-over and can be tailored to your preferences before we go.
The Board Administration Team
(hapax, Kit Whitfield and mmy)