Note: I started writing this blog on Christmas Eve, but am only finishing it now – on December the 28th. So that should explain some of the time shifting between the content of the post and the date it actually gets posted. Enjoy!
This blog post was inspired by another blog which I tumbled across recently, when I heard a TEDx talk from the creator of the blog. The blog is 1000 Awesome Things in which the author identifies the small, awesome, things that happen now and then which we might not notice, but when we do we really appreciate just how great they are.
I must admit that I do have a knack for getting annoyed with things on HNZ. It’s often the small things, and those small things being repeated over and over and over again, which really get me – and then I blog. Normally it’s some insane rant, where even I have to wonder if I’ve finally lost my mind, then I get a handful of supportive messages from various members of HNZ, nothing really changes, life moves on… until the next blog.
With inspiration from 1000 Awesome Things, and the Holiday Season fully upon us, I figured I would take a break from the usual type of rant, and mix things up a bit. ^_^
Now, I know identifying 1000 Awesome Things about HNZ would be quite ambitious of me – especially considering that this is Christmas Eve and I fully plan on having this blog post up shortly. It could be done, undoubtedly, but it’d be a little much for me to just sit down and do right now – so instead I’ve resolved to do 10 awesome things. 10 awesome things about HNZ, big or small, that I often take for granted but truly appreciate, and they make me feel happy when I take a moment to stop and realize how truly awesome they are.
- Banner Makers & Graphics Requests
These are superbly awesome, but so often taken for granted. We’re a Harry Potter RPG – not a graphics community at all, but there are members in our community who have talents the rest of us severely lack and are willing to share their abilities openly, with anybody who asks, in a formal system like the Graphics Requests Forum. If it weren’t for people like the banner makers, HNZ would probably be a lot uglier of a place… or be filled with all of those dolls from ’07. *shivers* Banner makers are definitely something awesome which I fear many of us take for granted.
- There’s always an open roleplay
Plenty of roleplaying boards are full to the brim with “experienced” roleplayers who have strict plot maps for their characters, and very closed ideas for what is to happen to them. The fact that HNZ isn’t like that, and hopefully will never be like that, is pretty awesome when I stop to think about it. New members always have the option of joining a plethora of roleplays with established members. Not only that, but this also means that a certain amount of the roleplays on the site are somewhat spontaneous – and it’s these spontaneous roleplays which often turn out some of the most enjoyable results. I don’t like to imagine how stiff HNZ might be without those roleplays.
- We welcome new people excitedly!
Most welcome topics that are posted on HNZ, get three or more welcomes from various members. There are a handful that only have one or two – the ones that slipped through, I call them, but on the whole – we make sure new members know what to do, where to go, who to talk to, and most importantly: that we love that they’re on the site. As basic as this principle is, welcoming new members, it’s actually in short supply on many other forums. Even the most popular of forums, with tens of thousands of members, seem to have serious trouble welcoming new ones. On one forum, I posted a welcome topic and waited a week before even one person welcomed me. I then got a lot more attention when I pointed out how absurd that was. :tut: . So we’re doing pretty well (though there is always room to improve! ).
- We’re not just a HP RPG Forum
Some days, it seems like we’re not an RPG at all when the off topic board and the forum games area are getting much more attention than any roleplaying at all. But that’s kind of awesome, that despite the focus of the board being something else, we all make sure to get connected to one another, get to know the people behind the characters we’ve roleplayed with, and real friendships are forged. The community has evolved from the somewhat tenuous one of 2007, to one where 800 to 1000 page “spam” topics are ripped through regularly, we all seem to have each other on messenger and Facebook, many of us have met up with others and had a grand time, and the community continues to grow. While the growth of a community might seem natural on forums, I think HNZ does it in a way which still truly awes me. The fact that members have met on HNZ, then gone out of their way to meet in real life and their friendships have continued on, stronger than ever – that’s awesome. I can’t say I’ve ever actually considered meeting somebody from the board, but I’ve made tonnes of good friends, and met tonnes of amazing people on HNZ – and I think that’s something that I don’t always realize: how awesome the people on the board actually are, and how close-knit many of us have become.
- If something is amiss… chances are somebody knows and eventually I’ll know
As much as I may complain about being PM-spammed for things I already know, there are times when I don’t have a clue about things. Or when I genuinely forget and just need a gentle poke. Or when members pick up on something and do it before I even get that far down on my to-do list. If it weren’t for PMs like times like those, I think HNZ quite possibly would have drowned a long time ago. So never fear to PM me if you think something might have been legitimately forgotten (and you’re up to date on all the announcements, FAQ posts, and blog entries – where I might have admitted to knowing and being a bit late on things) – because such messages are really helpful, even if I don’t reply to you right away, and truthfully – quite awesome.
- A thank you is never too far away.
Even the simplest of things, like changing a new account’s group from “unsorted” to “member” seems to get a thank you. While it annoys me sometimes (because I’ve cleared out my PM inbox then suddenly I get 10 more PMs with a simple ‘thanks’), it’s really pretty awesome that gratitude is acknowledged and these things not just always taken for granted. If I had to choose between not getting any thank you replies, so my PM inbox could always be neat and tidy, and getting replies which might mess up my inbox, I think I’d take the thank you replies, for sure. Even though I often get annoyed by them, or take them for granted, they’re really nice, and I think I’d be more annoyed thinking nobody cared at all.
- Everybody is ready and willing to congratulate other’s on their accomplishments
This is really exemplified in how the latest character spotlight has more replies to it than the latest Bi-Weekly Update does. In fact, it currently has twice as many replies. It’s really cool, I think, that despite the spotlight being chosen every two weeks (or whenever we remember, whichever comes later), and despite it only being one person, everybody acknowledges how deserving that person is and takes the time out to congratulate them. Every member of HNZ is probably deserving of the character spotlight for one reason or another, but getting around to every member with only so many spotlights in a year will take a while, so it’s pretty great that while it may not be them for a while, everybody’s a great sport about it.
- Inside Jokes
While I may bemoan their uses in spam between two members who know each other outside of the forum, I think that inside jokes from HNZ itself are quite awesome. While they may make some newer members feel excluded, they also present an opportunity for those members to become a part of the community and help to crank out some of our future inside jokes. From alpha-bites to Kingy being – what is it? 700 years old? – to the Nicktator and Slaves to the Nicktator – these are just a few thing that I’ve been a part of (or the butt of) and always make me happy to think of. I know, too, that there are many more which I’ve forgotten, or was never a part of, but are just as much a part of HNZ’s community. I think jokes like these, and the ones that will surely come in the future, are something which I often just take for granted, but are really quite great.
- People are interested, and take part in decision-making when they can
While it seems to be the trend of democracy for people to take no interest in government, and HNZ is by no means a democracy… we do have a Nicktator, after all – but when a vote is posted (whether it be a giant site poll that we do once a year, or a poll about a major change/upgrade to the site, or just a poll added to a suggestion which we’d like to know the whole site’s take on) tonnes of people get involved and take the time to cast their vote. I trust that people are honest in their voting, and don’t use a plethora of accounts to rig the results in their favour. HNZ could be in a spot where, despite being active, absolutely nobody took an interest in the operations of the board or future changes to it, entrusting all such decisions solely up to the staff (decisions which they might later begrudge). Fortunately, we’re not. We have a community that is ready to take part in keeping the site together, and influencing the site’s directions for the future.
- People don’t ask to become staff.
Ok, so I’m not ending on the biggest one imaginable – but this is something I don’t normally think about, but when I do I reallllyyy appreciate it. I can’t care to count how many forums I’m a part of, or I know about, where people continuously request to become an administrator, or a member of the moderating team, or anything like that. Doing that often just eliminates people from being considered at all, and it’s pretty frustrating for the people who are staff. (Note: I must admit at this time, that I am guilty of having offered to be staff on HNZ in the very beginning – but it was more of a “You obviously need help, and you say nobody is willing, but I would be if you wanted…” sort of deal and totally got shot down. ) So the fact that we don’t have that problem, at all, on HNZ is super awesome amazing sweet. It lets us worry about other things, and hand-pick staff whenever we think it’s time for another promotion. (Speaking of which… :r … I jest.)
So there’s my ten things about HNZ which I often take for granted, but think are super-awesome.
As I said above, there are obviously tonnes more, but I’ll leave those to your own imagining.
I hope everybody has had a very awesome Holiday season, and will have a safe and happy New Year!