For those who don’t know, we have a “closed” group of my fans on Facebook, called Sarah’s Diner.
It’s a place with definite rules, because my fans come both from fiction and non fiction, and widely separate streams of thought. So, no politics are allowed, and no religion and no…
In addition to that, there is a detailed, list of rules, like you can’t have a link to FB with a sales link. Most people find this pointless, and some people throw fits because my moderators take their ‘Harmless” amazon link to mugs, or toys or something down.
Yesterday a friend of mine told me that I have control freaks as moderators. Do I? Would it be easier/better if I let everyone do whatever and only had moderators to stop fights/kick out spam.
I started out that way…
The rule about selling links to Amazon, for instance, started because of ONE main offender, who not only found a way to link his book EVERY TIME in all sorts of unlikely circumstances (so we put in a rule about self promotion) but then found ways to have his friends/relatives/gullible acquaintances post links to his books apropos nothing (rule against linking books) and then started figuring out how to get them to post links to other things (that had his books in the recommends.)
We could have kicked him out, we could. Only you know, he hadn’t actually broken the laws. Also, there were three or four people doing the same thing, more subtly, and falling in behind every rule loophole he found.
So my moderators gradually became control freaks. Sure, I could have gone the other way and given them leave to just let anyone post whatever. But the problem is that writers are stupid. No, like, massively stupid when it comes to promotion.
Some of us — me — are embarrassed to do it at all. And then some people do promo in the most bizarre and unlikely situations. And I mean that. Like answering someone saying their spouse has cancer with “I’m sorry, that sucks. Now, in my book A Bright Promise, the main character has cancer and it turns out okay. You might want to read it.”
And groups with a lot of writers, which mine seems to be, partly because I support indie, can become nothing but a link fest. I don’t want that and don’t want to look at that when I visit.
Do the mods hate to have to police at that level? Sure. Because, you know, they don’t get paid. Do I hate to make them police at that level? Sure, because I’m actually very laid back.
So what does this have to do with communism? Socialists/communists/the left in general, suffer from the illusion that you can give people stuff for free, and people will take what they need.
No, seriously, ah!
Even without rule lawyering, people are STUPID, and some of the dumbest people are the smartest.
For instance I run the book plug here on Saturday and, with Charlie Martin, the PJM Book Plug Friday. We’re glad to do it. We don’t get paid. Well, we get paid for BPF, but only for the article, the links are our own idea and extra.
The rules are simple: send me an amazon link to bookpimping at outlook dot com if you want to be linked on my blog on Saturdays. Send us a link to Bookplugfriday at gmail dot com if you want to make an appearance on the Book Plug Friday post over at PJ. IF your blurb is really long, send us a 40 word blurb to PJ, where we’re crunched for space. DON’T send the same book more than once a month.
That’s it. I’m offering to do something for free to promo people’s books. People like promo, as I mentioned above. So they make it easy for me, right?
Right… Like, last week, I got: a message begging us to promo a book… with no link, no name of book. A book, in its entirety, including cover (and an apology for not sending a higher res cover!) but no link. A long, incoherent ramble about our “rejecting” a book for promo. I searched the mailbox. We never got the promo request.
Minor stuff includes doing everything right… except sending us the link, or sending us the link to a different book.
Other minor stuff which finally caused me to snap on FB today, includes pinging me on FB (seriously 7 a day) with links, or sending them to my email.
It probably sounds control freakish when I say, when you do that, unless you’re a friend or someone I REALLY LIKE you’re not going to get a plug.
It’s not. It’s just what will happen, not what I WANT to happen. Why? Because I’m doing three full time jobs (PJMedia, Baen and Indie) before I even start on things like household, making sure we don’t choke on dirt, and spending SOME time with my family and you know, making sure my husband remembers who I am. And that’s before the fact that my health has me at half power most of the time. If it’s not essential I’ll space it. Heck, indie keeps getting spaced, and that has to end.
Which btw, shows you the problem from the other side. When each is working “according to his abilities” with no compensation, even if you’re really conscientious and really want to do this, stuff will slip. You’re only human. Add to that that the people receiving things for free, even pre-rule-lawyering are going to do stupid crap. So much stupid crap, it will make your head hurt and make your job twice as hard.
This is before the rule lawyering. The group on FB has something like a thousand people, but ALL it takes is one rule-lawyer to make you generate a million more rules, and make your moderators (and you) way busier and pissier. Which is why every state that tries to give you everything ends up regulating everything.
So, basically yeah, we’ve never had “true communism” (or socialism, or heaven, or whatever you want to call it this week.) That’s because humans are humans, and there’s always that one guy.
Which is fine. The same things that make utopia impossible are probably the things that make us a creative and striving species. And anyway, if you got everything handed to you, you wouldn’t get anything done.
We must forgive other’s foibles as we hope ours will be forgiven. None of us is without sin, and it’s much easier to see how annoying other people are than how annoying WE are (and I guarantee we are, at least at times.)
I happen to like people, even with all their issues. Which means I’m okay with no utopia this side of heaven.
And people who want that utopia tend to hate humans with all their might. Because only angels would make their utopia work.