An Opinion Piece #2
Gather 'round children while uncle Chef rambles to himself
Gather 'round children while uncle Chef rambles to himself
What is TeamLiquid.net?
TL isn't just a website. TL isn't just its staff. TL isn't just a place you go. TL is an entity all its own, given birth by a couple of guys who couldn't have had any idea what a prodigy it would become. An indiscriminate prodigy that would nourish the hearts of all who wanted, and yet would also always be hungry. TL is the insatiable provider.
The relationship each of us has with TL is comparable only to the relationship one has with the person who saved his or her life. No matter how much you contribute to TL, how much you feed it, you will never repay your debt. You will never come close to everything that TL has given you. Yet you have never been asked, nor expected to repay TL. TL gave to you because it wanted to, not because you asked it to, or because it was supposed to. Because it wanted to.
TL is not its posters. TL is not the comments full of praise or disgust. TL is its content. Content gets old. It grows weary, and tired. It all but dies. Like a drop of water on a window pane, TL will shrivel up under the sun of stale years. Like a drop of water on a window pane, TL will survive if it absorbs more water. More content. Always more.
We stare at this water droplet in fascination, and we never grow tired. We grow attached to it. We start to worry about its fate. It's never asked us for help before, but we can see the clouds that had fed it before waning, drying up. We want it to keep living.
Why do we post?
We post because we are great, dark rain clouds full to the brim with ideas and everything TL needs to stay alive. We can never repay TL for everything it's done for us. We can't even keep it alive on our own. But we can do our best. We can join with other dark rain clouds and create a storm of creativity and content that could keep TL alive, if only a little longer. A little longer every time, as we wait for more clouds to come. As we wait for the clouds of old to restock themselves and come once again to rain on TL. Again. Again.
Why do we post? Because we want to. Because we can. Some of us have been giant dark rain clouds for years, without a place to shower our offerings on. At a boring job all day, or too shy to share what we have with friends. Showering only once in a long while, and feeling our potential wasted. Then we realise we have TL. TL is always hungry. TL will always appreciate what you have to offer it. So shower, shower, shower.
Still others have plenty of places to express their creativity outside TL. Why do they post? Because they love TL.
What makes a poster great?
My metaphor has gotten me all kinds of sidetracked, and this post has become convoluted. I apologise, and it's time to get serious.
A great poster is someone who keeps TL alive. A person who makes TL what it is, that insatiable provider that everyone is in debt to. The most flawless example of this is MyDigitalToss. Every post he makes, TL grows a little stronger, a little better, a little happier. He almost exclusively makes OPs, and each of them is filled with more content than a man who's hometown team just won the grand finals. That's some awful word play. Great posters make content that makes the TL audience content.
A great poster is someone who can turn TL into a place that makes everyone feel good. By telling jokes, or by improving our ability to enjoy StarCraft (translators, coders, livestreamers). Great posters are the people who make TL not just a website, but an ever-changing mass of function and entertainment. More than that though, great posters have a keen understanding of what can ruin a thread.
It was a good friend, Pwntrucci, who taught me to rarely, if ever reply in my own OPs. Replying to your own OP degrades it from being pure awesome content that TLers can take or leave at their own leisure, and turns it into a bartering system where you expect something back. It changes the OP from something people can just absorb, and discuss on their own, to something that becomes part of you, and no longer TL's. If you give your OP as a gift to TL, it will become a part of TL and be enjoyed. If you demand it back it will become a half gift and you'll have shamed yourself, as well as destroyed your attempt at generosity. A great poster doesn't ruins their gifts.
What is a bad poster?
Bad posters aren't just people who break the rules on TL. Bad posters are people who destroy good OPs, including their own. Bad posters are people who can't keep negative, nonconstructive criticism to themselves. Bad posters are people who try to get under other people's skin.
Bad posters are also people who let others' get under their skin. Who let bad posts they've read influence them to create more bad posts. Bad posters are both people who create the original bad posts, and the people who reply to them. No one needs to be 'put in their place' by anyone who isn't a moderator.
Bad posters are people who don't read. People who repeat comments we've heard a million times.
Bad posters are people who use TL like it's an object, rather than interacting with the evolving entity that it is.
But what am I really saying? That everyone should be 100% perfect? That everyone should review each post they make before they submit it, to see if they are really adding anything to TL? No. Sometimes you are allowed to take from TL. Sometimes, any one of us will be in some unfortunate state of mind and make mistakes, or act greedily. Anyone who has used the internet has been a bad poster. It takes a long time to learn each lesson it takes to be a good poster, and a great amount of maturity to implement them.
What is this about?
This is about why we're here. Why I think I am here. I am not a great poster. This is not a great post. I have been a bad poster, and I have taken so much from TL. I am posting this because I want to. Not because I owe TL. When you've read this, you will not owe me anything. You won't owe me praise or nice comments.
I'm here because I love the commitment to amateur entertainment, and because I want to be a part of it.
Why are you here?