I wanted to draw an image for you, but I don't has what it takes to do that. So, instead, imagine a bunch of dominoes toppling over into the distance so that it eventually looks like a tangled net.
I know, very M.C. Escher of me.
Through my wanderings around the blogosphere today, I was alerted to the fact that something was going down on the Forums. Curious, I started poking around. Now, I moderate my own little part of the Sonlight Student Forums, but I catch only snippets here and there from the "real" Forums.
It turns out that people were committing "infractions" on the Forums by not adhering to the guidelines. Once they had racked up enough "infraction points" (or whatever those are called) they were suspended for a few days. Unfortunately, one of the ways to get an infraction point is to bring up a post deleted for not adhering to the Forum guidelines (this was initially implemented to protect the original poster). Unfortunately, we homeschooler-types are a curious bunch, and so people started asking about why things were being deleted, which meant their posts were deleted, and that led to more questions, and...
Hence, the dominoes turning into a web.
As an insider trying to look at things from outside the company--and really focus on the user experience--I can see why this whole situation is so frustrating and out of hand. Because, it many ways, it is. That's why that particular part of the Forums where everything was imploding has been shut down. The tourniquet had to be applied. The bleeding stopped.
But now, those who are involved in helping the Forums run are taking this time to reevaluate how we do things so this kind of thing doesn't happen in the future.
Wounds are never a pretty thing, but I am very thankful for the people who are doing their best to graciously stitch things back together. The scars will still exist, and I wouldn't be surprised if some people decided they didn't want to hang around those areas of our Forums in the future, but I am consistently impressed with everyone--both those who work for Sonlight and those who use the resources--who makes the effort to make things right.
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father
One of the cool things about my position is that I'm good friends with both those who are inside the company and you on "the outside" ...so please feel free to email me if you want me to do a little more digging for you about a particular issue. I may not be able to get you a satisfactory answer--sometimes there isn't one--but I love opportunities to help people get more information and insight.