Change in life is inevitable. This is true of any life form, as adaption/reactions to environment are one of the key factors in determining if something is living, or not. How can an organism react or adapt to a stagnant environment? It cannot. It is obvious, therefore, that environments and circumstances change and that living things must change with them.
This is true, also, in the life of a forum and a forum community. Change on a forum, and in a community, is not possible to avoid. In fact, avoiding change often will become the death of a forum and its community. As circumstances change on the board and for the people who make up the site – HNZ must change as well.
Now for the most part change has been, and will always be, extremely welcomed on HNZ. On InvisionFree we changed from the InvisionFree default theme to a theme custom designed by Athene. This, a major change, was accepted for the most part quite easily. (There are always those who complain, but they were fairly quiet in their protest) Next, we had a series of new forums open (Character Development, Plotline Development, Guide to roleplaying). These too, for the most part, were welcomed with enthusiasm and are now an integral part of the forum today. Soon enough a domain was purchased for HNZ by Athene and after much frustration with trying to set it up, the domain simply forwarded and masked to HNZ. While this instance of change was not a complete success, the point of my mentioning it is that the members were entirely supportive and patient while things were fiddled about to get everything operational.
In fall of 2008 HNZ converted to ZetaBoards, with the support of most of the community. Then followed easily six months of transition in to the brand new forum software – trying out the codes that would best suit the board, removing them, about as much as you can imagine. Still, members were patient and supportive. Also in fall of 2008, HNZ was set up to its present domain of http://hogwartsnewzealand.com . This, too, took some time to set up properly but guess what? The site was still supportive and patient – this time it paid off and the board is still using its custom domain name.
The list goes on and on. Of large changes which were worked in to the board and generally accepted with ease. New lessons policies. New forums. Seasons being corrected to match those of New Zealand. Board codes being added. Different styles of updates, competitions, and events being tried over time. Still the board allowed it all.
There have been times when change was considered, opened to site vote, and then shot down. One instance of this that comes to mind, for instance, is the possible use of the ZetaBoards AIO (All in One) code which could have been the money system on the forum, because of its incompatibility with Internet Explorer. That had been my uneasiness with the code at the time, so I understood and respected the site’s decision. (Note, too, that that code has since been made Internet Explorer compatible but has not been re-propositioned to HNZ because I do respect the first decision made by the board and there are still other negatives to trying to install it.)
With all this in mind, at how exceedingly open the community of HNZ has always been to change, even if that change didn’t work out as well as we’d hoped, one might imagine that changing smaller things on the board would be welcomed evenly more openly/widely, or even just not noticed/commented on at all. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
As some of you have read in my blog “That Which We Call a Rose“, the recent change in name from “General Discussions” back to “Spam” in our random chatter-type topics was met with not insignificant opposition. I fear that opposition to such seemingly insignificant change has come up once more.
This evening a goal I have had for several months came in to effect: HNZ is now using only one set of emoticons. For quite a while, HNZ had been using three sets. I managed to reduce this to two. Then, Tony (out of the awesomeness of his heart) made a custom set for HNZ. This were all added to the board, but some of the other sets remained behind. We had three sets again. So, slowly but surely, I phased out emoticons of the other sets. Asking Tony to create replacements for the emotion being represented each time to ensure that nobody would be unable to express a meaning in their post with the selection of emoticons. This afternoon the final two emoticons were replaced: Console and Frantics.
The new emoticons for console () and frantics () are extremelyawesome and (dare I say it? yes.) cute, I think. However, they are:
- No longer animated
- No longer the exact same yellow emoticons
So this is obviously cause for uproar. My opinion is that the site looks more cohesive and professional on one set of emoticons – and these emoticons are special, made by Tony, and therefore unique to HNZ – unlike the generic IPB emoticons found on most forums based off of that system. I knew the change would be noticed, and disapproved of by many. But I also felt the change needed to happen, and that it would be small enough that people would just get over it – no matter how attached they may have been to the old emoticons. I loved the purple glomp. I also loved a few of the Yahoo! emoticons – but they’re all gone now, right? It’s not like I’m just doing whatever I like – I’m doing what I think best for the site, and when it comes to such small changes as this, I should hope that can be understood.
Here’s to hoping people understand and we’re able to enjoy Tony’s awesome creations together,