Just to add my thoughts....albeit I'm not sure how much my experiences will help here, as what has bothered me involves situations that I'm not sure a moderator can do much about.
I would say the worst incident that made me become scarce here was when, admittedly after I had posted some FAR too over the top comments about Justine, He Who Must Not Be Made (WELLLLLL, let's just say, the name rhymes with "Bust") posted some truly ugly comments about me. Which pretty much led to nobody coming to my defense. Which was the final nail that made me go, hmmmm, this isn't the place so much for me anymore. It taught me much of what I had suspected. And, I just don't allow myself to be treated that way, especially when I'm aware of not much if any concern from a group after such rudeness. Which is understandable, since it appears that some like me just keep fading and fading.
Also- and admittedly this is I suspect is inevitable with any group- BFTP has become cliquey in a way that feels like it excludes some- including many of the "old-timers." To be fair, maybe this didn't bother me so much when back in the day I was more in on (if not truly ever fully part of) "The Clique." On a more positive note, I've truly actually gotten some morbid humor about posting stuff now and then (my sense of humor is, ahem, eccentric), and then being effectively ignored. It does give me a feeling of a strange kind of freedom- HECK, post whatever I want, I'm just That Crazy Aunt in the cellar everyone tries to ignore anyways, who cares?!?! But, it doesn't exactly also make me feel like posting a ton. So, in other words, I do feel that this group could stand to confront itself at least now and then and ask, do you wish to remain a group of a certain set # of folks who just continue to talk with yourselves- or are you open to expanding the group talk? If so, it would help to acknowledge more folks. AND of course, this doesn't apply to everyone here. Sadly, this message will probably only impact the "wrong" people- the folks who don't exclude others.
I've also suggested before that, perhaps it would help to have a thread or two to discuss anything and everything?!?!? This has worked well on other forums. An inherent problem with BFTP can be that- let's just say that, after awhile, there's only so much that can be said about Tracy Austin's pigtails or whether or not Chris' lob over Betty Ann Dent was hit with a Continental or Eastern grip in the 1978 Lynda Carter Spectacular, before you run out of things to say. (Until Anne Kremer retires, and then the conversation briefly ignites yet again.....) Sure, now and then Chris and Martina can be counted on to help us out with their respective Old Skank "marriages"- but even that, bless their old trollopy hearts, can only get you so far when it comes to ongoing conversations.
Certainly, we former BFTP Deities will continue to lurk about in our Miss Havisham fashion when, say, a poster like the terrific Iain (apparently currently working on His Own Private Miss Havisham status, bless his heart
) brings some much needed energy to this place. I'll always keep checking in now and then to see how The Old Gang is doing- when we of course can somehow manage to shake the dust off or our 19th Century wedding dresses long enough and post again. Plus, you KNOW the great Nancy Richey means I'll keep checking in- and, bring on more of the Wendy Turnbulls and Virginia Wades and Peaches Bartkowicz and Julie Heldmans and (etc., etc.) to post- and you won't be able to get rid of some of us. (Hint, hint.)
Also, it's impossible to keep everyone happy. I'm sure there have been times when I've been part of the problem. For example, some just don't like it when you dare to joke about players. My attitude is, HEY, I'm not on Roger's/Venus'/BJK's/Monica's payrolls or anything- and last I looked, I'm not Roger or Venus or BJK or Monica (.....or AM I?!?!?
)- so, all's fair when it comes to the players- as long as you don't go TOO far over the line (as, again, I know I have in the past.) However, again, some do not want anyone to have fun at any players' (and/or their favorite players') expense. Who's right, who's wrong? Who knows?
PLUS- talking more about me being part of the problem- some just don't like, ahem, LONGGGGGG posts. To which all I can say is- OOPS.
SO- Rollo, please know that none of this message has been directed to or at you at all- you've always been terrific at what you do- but to the group as a whole. A group does not sink or swim because of a moderator- all of this is truly the responsibility of the group. Perhaps all of this is inevitable. Almost all groups have an expiration date, and then it's time to move on, and there's not much you can do about that? We shall see.
In any case, Rollo, thanks for this opportunity to vent- which, apparently, I needed to do more than I realized. It's IMO always healthy and a good idea to ask a group to check in on its status now and then. (AND, at least all of this is a shot for some more morbid humor for me when even THIS novel somehow inevitably manages to get ignored.)