Last week, I regaled you with an account of how great the community on Hogwarts New Zealand is because of just how welcoming it has been for years, and continues to be to this day.
The other thing that springs to mind when I try to consider what makes HNZ’s community so special is how passionate you, the members, are.
Passionate about Harry Potter, yes.
Passionate about writing, naturally.
Passionate about a whole lot of things unique to your individual lives, undoubtedly.
More importantly than all of these things for our context, however, is that the people on HNZ are also quite passionate about HNZ.
Perhaps this is why we’re as welcoming as we are: we care about HNZ a lot, and we want to help others see how special it can be. If ten seconds of our time will make the difference between somebody throwing themselves head-first into the beautiful quagmire that we call HNZ or them turning away and missing out on something we’ve all come to know and love, then it’s worth our ten seconds to share just a little piece of the magic!
It’s easy to participate in something and not really care about it at all: to do something because it does something for us, or is a way to kill time, or because our friends are part of it, or because it’s what we’ve always done… and that shows, it’s quite transparent. But when somebody genuinely cares about what they do, when they’re excited about what they take part in, that shows too – and it’s attractive to other people. It’s exciting to be in a place where other people are excited! HNZ provides that space for us. Even when we’re maybe not as excited as we used to be, we have friends on the board who are and who quite easily reignite a fire of excitement within us. A new plot! A new character! A new forum game! Something catches our eye and we’re back at it – all of us, passionate for a community and an experience – all of us, ready and willing to share that excitement with everybody else.
Cyndi can attest to the fact that, over the past little while, I’ve been digging through old topics and posts. Most long forgotten, almost all of them hidden away. One of the topics I found was a topic where a user had joined HNZ for the express purpose of putting it down, of talking about all the things they didn’t like about it and how awful they felt the people were. Apparently no staff were near at hand when this occurred, because it soon became three pages of users coming to HNZ’s defence. This anecdote makes clear that while maybe not particularly wise in their decision to feed the troll, the community on HNZ is undoubtedly devoted to this board. No matter its flaws or failings, we love the site and want others to, as well.
We’ve all poured something into the board and left our mark on it – HNZ is different for our having been a part of it. It sometimes amazes me how many people I can recall from our community who spent, in the grand scheme of things, a fairly short amount of time with us – but they were excited when they did! They participated, they were noticed, they shared their passion with other people: and that’s what stuck around. Even they left HNZ changed. It’s no wonder that so many users from ages of the site long gone return so often – a piece of them is with us on HNZ. It was a part of their lives, and for however long they were on the board they were a part of ours and that doesn’t change, even though the site does. So many users remark on how different HNZ is from what they remember and knew: and it is different, because as each member of our community comes and goes the site itself changes with that flow – but I think they’d all agree something recognizable and true to the HNZ they loved remains. The mark our enthusiasm left on the site is still there. Perhaps a little faded with time, or difficult to recognize at first glance, but there nevertheless, and that’s special.
“Crackwarts” was a name for HNZ almost from the very beginning – people recognized the site as addictive. In reality, though, there’s nothing unique or addictive about a forum on the internet. Topics and posts in themselves are quite mundane. Even roleplaying sites themselves can be something easily passed by. I think what makes “crackwarts” truly into “crackwarts” is that we’ve made it our own, we care about it deeply and that keeps us coming back.
You’ve cared about HNZ, and it’s crackwarts because of you.
Thanks for all your passion, it keeps us all going!