I’ve watch the CD forum and tigerbolt chat for months and months, usually shaking my head from time to time thinking, “Why are people doing this?” At the end, after months of frustration and disappointment, I took the easy way out and ignored most parts.
But then I start thinking, how can I believe in the benefit of the forum and chat room when I don’t even go in there anymore? How can I recommend them to fellow FIRST participants when I don’t even want anything to do with those places anymore? And, as a mentor in FIRST, am I really doing others any good by introducing them into such a hostile environment where they only learn to talk the same way with the same attitude?
Then I hear people like Joe and Carolyn and others blame themselves for what happened, and keep hearing them talk about leaving… I can’t help but wonder, should I blame myself for what happened too? After all, I did tell everyone to go to the forum/chat room if they want to talk about FIRST, and encouraged people to express themselves even though they might not agree with everyone else. But… shouldn’t that be the way it should be?
I started reading for forum again trying to figuring what’s happening… And I sure saw a lot of people expressing themselves freely about their own opinion all right. There were lots of ideas flowing around, and passionate discussions about this and that, inspiring more people to catch on and make sure their voice about the issue is heard. These are the exact same description I would use back when we all though the forum/chatroom were such a wonderful place… Yet… something is different. People aren’t making friends the way they are supposed to… Experienced members got frustrated and decide to want nothing to do with this anymore, and new members coming in thinking, this is the way to do it.
I remember the good old times when I was eager to go into the forum and chatroom and see people talking about interesting issues. I was too afraid to post replies, and was silently reading posts after posts learning whatever I can to prepare myself to enter one of the most exciting places in FIRST community, arming myself with basic knowledge of just about everything, and making sure I sort out my own line of thinking/feeling before I form my voice. And it was a wonderful experience. I ended up posting 2nd most at the 2001 season, and made lots and lots of friends here and there online or at competition. I heard many similar comments from lots of those friends. And I thank all the other posters on the forum for showing me how wonderful the CD forum is.
But now… somehow, all of those seems to have faded away. Well, I guess I can’t say all, but definitely a lot of them. Is it because most of those people decided to move on? Maybe… Is it because they don’t like sharing ideas and inspiring others… Maybe… But if the forum/chatroom are like back then when everyone is so excited about it, would the people have stayed? Well, I have to say, Yes, they probably would’ve stayed. After all, it didn’t take much time to post replies on the forum, and you had so many to gain with the little time you spend every week.
I start thinking about the role I want to take in FIRST and in other places, and I remember how much fun it was to inspire people, and teach them new things. It was truly exciting when I show the students the competition, the robots, the forum and chatroom, and maybe other neat stuff in FIRST. I really believe education and inspiration is the path of life I want to take. But… how can I be a believer when I told people about this place and how good it is, while I don’t even believe that myself…? How can I inspire people when I know that won’t happen when they come in and see all the arguing and bashing of other people? What kind of a role model am I when I just sit aside silently, and do nothing to convince the students that it is worth while to come in and spend time?
Believe it or not, when we register for this forum, and posted the first word in one of the forums, we took on a little of the responsibility of showing others what’s the right thing to say. Lots and lots of viewers who come in here to read the forum look up to us for good ideas and data, because when we started showing our voices in the FIRST community in the forum/chatroom, we became sort of a role model, for newer members to come in and see, what’s the proper way to have intellectual discussions about something we are really excited about. The newer members look at what’s posted/said in the forum/chatroom to see how people are supposed to expression opinions and communicate. In a way, we are all teachers from the beginning we stop being a reader and start being a poster.
Now, I understand not everyone want to take on the role of being a teacher… After all, we all have different goals in life. But hey, we are not exactly full time teacher in a high school… Compare what the real teachers have to do, we are only giving very little part of our time. But, that isn’t an excuse to take our job lightly. For those of you who wants to continue to be a teacher in the forum/chatroom, and for those of you who still believes in the CD forum and tigerbolt chat room, I urge you to take a look at what’s happening here. Some of the finest people in FIRST are going away from this place and lost hope because we fail to show others what posting/chatting really should be. These aren’t just some names on some website… These are our friends in FIRST we are talking about.
I urge you to look into your heart, and ask, “Do I really believe in how good the forum is? Do I want all these to become better again?”
If your answers are “Yes”… Then start posting and show a good example to others ;-). We all have a job to do, if we want something to happen the way we want it to. I always though, “if you want something bad enough, you can work hard to make it happen.” Talk to people, have interesting discussions, show your voice in the good ways you are supposed to. Start influencing and inspiring others by making an example. There are lots of teams out there waiting for the season to start again, and waiting to benefit from the CD forum just the way we benefit when we started.
It is an important task we are taking on right now, whether you realize it or not. The subtle ways in which we express ourselves forum a voice in the FIRST community that others look up to and learn from. If we just leave this place alone or continue the arguments and bashing, it’s only going to get worse. So please think about this, and decide what you want to do.
If you decide to move on and pursue something other interesting things in life, I commend you for taking up the courage to face changes. However, if you decide to stay and try to improve things, THANKS!!!
Its going to take a while, and we aren’t in season yet… But, I really do hope we can restore this forum and the chat room to what they are supposed to be… Places for intelligent discussions about this competition, really good ways to meet others with similar passion, and a fun learning experience where we can learn, share, and inspire ourselves and others.
And that continue to be my wishes…
Please note that, it is not up to yourself and yourself only to make things better. After all, the forum and chat room are formed by many people when they wanted to share their experience with others. Not anyone of us can be expected to change the way everybody acts… But get this: if EVERYONE of us want it enough, it will happen.
I have never had such strong emotions about these sorts of things… I just never realize how real it is until friends around me are getting hurt…