Topic RSS | Reply to topic
Author Post

Stephen Fry


Key Master

Posted Sat Oct 17th, 2009 12:26pm Post subject: Special message from Stephen Fry

Hello dear forum people. I wanted to write a word about things to you as it has been brought to my attention that not all is as happy as it might be in the world of the Fry Forum. You can imagine how much this distresses me. I am one who (to a fault, to a glaring fault, I am well aware of it) hates confrontation or unhappiness of any kind and so I tend either to pretend it isn’t going on or I run away from it. Well no good doing either in this case, so I shall take the bull by the horns, grasp the nettle and grapple the metaphor to the ground.

I understand from Andrew Sampson that we cocked up royally in upgrading the forum to WordPress. In fact many of you would regard ‘upgrading’ as quite the wrong word. Firstly, we never told you it was happening and secondly it altered the experience for you in ways that many of you found objectionable. Andrew works inexpressibly hard for and with me and is as committed as I am to making the site a good place for anyone to spend time, but he would also be the first to admit that his direct Australian manner can seem abrasive to more sensitive souls (myself often included!). It’s bred in the bone, part of the culture (and the reason for Australia’s unparalleled sporting success?) but is never meant to offend or to express contempt or impatience. He sees the shortest distance between two points and can straight-line his way there without passing the square marked tactful… a gift, but sometimes a tricky one….

You may wonder why I haven’t involved myself in forum governance. I will tell you. A lot is to do with sheer cowardice and indolence. It’s all I can do to keep my head above water with my diary as it is without involving myself in the political and housekeeping issues of the forum. I want people to be happy, but there seem to be countervailing opinions as to how that is best achieved and it would be crashingly inappropriate of me to “take sides” – it’s not my business to do that and would be so unfair on you. So I keep away from forum business and hope that you manage it well without me. After all, if I was there the whole thing would be a weird controlling vanity project, not a free arena at all.

I will certainly get out my chequebook and pay for the forum upgrade (without too much self-pity you should know that we’ve already spent six days on forum coding, at the cost of delays on other Samfry projects and there is still much more work to be done) but I would beg you to be patient. I know how large problems seem to you when you are inside the forum every day, and the solutions probably seem simple and easily achieved from your side. Oh, how I wish they were. The very success of the stephenfry.com site causes it to be very expensive to run and while work on the CMS and structure has enabled maintenance to be much more rationally undertaken it is still a formidable ask for a personal site that has only just started taking ads and which is still very far from paying its own way.

But above all I want you to be happy, and I hope you can be happy in the way one used to be happy in grotty student accommodation. We never complained in those days about stained sofas, stuck doors, creaking floorboards and drippy walls. As we age we tend to get a bit fussy about things – I’m just asking that for the moment you put up with a bit of inconvenience and hope you can regard it as a lark. It is certainly not a sign that we don’t care.

You are the most loyal of all the website visitors and this gives you the right to feel a certain kind of ownership. But I want the site and the forum to be welcoming to all. When new neighbours move in on the street nothing is more dreaded than the Resident’s Committee which lays down the law on “how things are done here”. A feeling that there is an elite is far from what any of us would want, I’m sure.

• Kindly welcomes
• Genuine friendliness
• Consideration and appreciation of others
• Acceptance and friendship
• Intolerance only of rudeness and unkindness

If you like my works and my deeds, what I say and what I do in the world, if you are admirers, fans or followers of my life and career, then I would hope you might feel that I try and stand for friendliness and openness, and that I can only be distressed by in-fighting, turf wars, possessiveness and resentments. I am not trying to overstate the problem, I am happy to note that the forum has not disintegrated – I am saying all this as a pre-emptive measure. To stop things going in that direction as I fear they will if we don’t all pause and consider.

It is all a result of your frustration at the unwelcome and mishandled changes and we accept full responsibility for that. Without Clare and the moderators things would have really been difficult and I owe them all a huge debt, as do all users of the forum. A hundred thousand unnoticed actions from them have kept things going. But let’s concentrate on making sure that the forum welcomes newbies, alienates no one and acquires – like Chesterton’s angels – the ability to take itself lightly.

If I were a corporation who made money from this website I would be duty bound (if I was an honourable corporation) to hire the five or six full time staff necessary for the running of the forum and the recoding and maintenance of its tools and environment. Sadly I am not a corporation and (at the renewed risk of self-pity) I just don’t have the time or the resources. The more Andrew can concentrate on new revenue streams for the site, the more we can pour into improving it. Which is all we want to do.

So I hope, for my sake (he squeaked forlornly) you might do your best to enjoy the forum as it is for the moment, being as forbearing and friendly and patient and good-natured as you can be. If you have what builders call “snagging lists” (this tap drips, that banister is loose etc) then by all means present them, but I hope you understand that we can’t leap in and fix every problem – big as it may seem – at a moment’s notice. It’s a huge site, and as you probably know, the amount of traffic it deals with involves complexities of hosting and server clustering of a kind that make one’s poor head spin.

Well, that’s it. I should have dropped in earlier I expect. Apologies for not doing so. My love and thanks to you all.

To the future

x Stephen


Sx

Back to top

Andrew Sampson


Administrator

Posted Sat Oct 17th, 2009 12:28pm Post subject: Special message from Stephen Fry

Hi guys,

Further to Stephen's posting. I've formed a list of actions that we'll begin to act on over the next two weeks. I ask for your patience as we start.

The best way for me to manage the project is if I can stick to the list and complete that before we add new things. I cannot guarantee that every fix required will be possible but we will do our best. Our list is below. Some of the items might not be your priorities. For the moment, let our list be our priorities and then we'll get to anything we've missed.

* Fix PMs
* Fix issues with users having multiple accounts after the merge
* Fix so community can view recent posts
* Fix so community can preview before posting
* Fix so community can edit posts from the past, rather than the current 1 hour and then it's closed to editing
* Spam. Largely resolved but will be adding ways to mark people as non-spammers to avoid the innocent getting caught.

During this time and beyond, please respect the Moderators and their decisions. It is vital to the success of the forum to have objective and occasionally assertive leadership. Offence musn't be taken when they make a decision you don't think is right. We have appointed each Moderators to be impartial and unemotional when needed. The forum is under the leadership of Clare, Nick and Katy.

The forum fixes project will be run by me and Simon Wheatley will make the code changes. Simon is one of SamFry's lead developers. He works for me and is not responsible for decision making. That is my job.

That's it for now. Please be patient as we make the changes. We won't be checking in every hour or indeed, everyday but we will be monitoring via the Moderators.

My ultimate aim is for the forum to run itself once again.

Thanks for now and best wishes,

Andrew


Back to top

katysara


Moderator

Posted Sat Oct 17th, 2009 12:39pm Post subject: Special message from Stephen Fry

I just want to add that in my role I will do all I can to help the forum I love. I know how hard these guys work behind the scenes.

KSx

I am an administrator on this site.

"Having a great intellect is no path to being happy."
~ Stephen Fry

See my website: www.katysaraculling.com

Back to top

monochromeprincess


Member

Posted Sat Oct 17th, 2009 1:27pm Post subject: Special message from Stephen Fry

Stephen and Andrew, thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I don't know about everyone else, and I wouldn't want to speak for anyone else, but it means a huge amount to me. Perhaps it's because I'm overly emotional (and perhaps because I just slammed my finger in the door) but I shed a tear or two reading that.

I want to say that perhaps things have got a bit out of hand recently and I profusely apologise if anything I've said or the atmosphere that I have fed into has in anyway caused offense or been counter-productive. I'm sure it has. We are by no means mean spirited people and I think the state of where things are at the moment has only been borne form a profound love and appreciation of this site. People's lives have been changed by this place, mine included. People - the Fluffettes - love this place like a second home, and I personally will be eternally grateful for this space of friendliness and love and compassion. I think what with the 'move' (if it can be called that) it created a lot of feelings in a lot of people. But knowing now the state of everything, I feel so much more reassured. I think, sort of, what I wanted to know was that it would be dealt with at some point, whenever that was. I'm sorry. I feel like I should have kept my faith in the two of you and the wonderful team that helps support the beams of this haven.

If there is any way in which I can help, I will gladly do so. I mean I have no idea what that might be, but I feel like I want to do something to help. Even if that is to instill the same feeling of appreciation and willingness to wait that I feel right now in other people.

Ultimately, I love you guys, and this place, and it seems silly now, looking back, that there has been any friction at all. When we are all sort of hold the same values and ideas in mind. I just feel so sorry that I didn't help heal things before now, that it has got to this point. Stephen, absolutely the last thing we wanted was to cause you distress.

Well here's to going forward positively!

much love
Debs xxxx

@dreamingshadow

Back to top

fryfan20


Member

Posted Sat Oct 17th, 2009 1:29pm Post subject: Special message from Stephen Fry

I think you all do a great job here. I know you all do your very best to make everything here the best as possible and just want to let you all know that I really appreciate it.

although I know just as much about computers as Stephen does of dancing, I love to help out. so if you need a hand or two just tell and I see if I can.

xFF20

I am what I am

Back to top

loris_sl


Member

Posted Sat Oct 17th, 2009 1:40pm Post subject: Special message from Stephen Fry

As a Fluffette, this forum is my home and I love it tantissimo. Thank you all for doing everything is humanly possible for us. The last thing I want is to cause Stephen (and to all the staff) distress

loris_sl on twitter as well
Italian author and international publisher

Back to top

taluta


Member

Posted Sat Oct 17th, 2009 1:49pm Post subject: Special message from Stephen Fry

Bless you all for everything you do here. I have met some of the finest and loveliest people I know in cyberspace thanks to this forum and shall continue to do so, I know.

Stephen, I empathise, I walk on the opposite side of the street if I suspect confrontation may be around. EDIT: Your kindness may be your own undoing I fear... but know that we love you for it.

Andrew, since most Aussies are ex-Saffers including much of my own family... No worries, we love you for all you do, seen or unseen xx EDIT: (in retrospect, that made no sense...!!) A simple thank you would have been fine.

Katysara, we all stand together

'Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,' he said.
......
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.

The Listeners
by Walter De La Mare

Back to top

inckognito


Inactive

Posted Sat Oct 17th, 2009 1:53pm Post subject: Special message from Stephen Fry

Dear Stephen and Andrew,

I would like to say thank you to you and the whole team working within the web site! And it is more than just my good manners!

The new web site version is incredible! I'm a newbie here so maybe that's why I haven't complaint of any changes that hurt my feelings or double accounts issues, etc. I can however, understand the rest 'old' ones..

I dared to reply because after having come to this web site I started feeling an absolute happineness because I found the people who understand the reason why I'm here!

I'm grateful because you all make me feel HAPPY every single day I'm here or on Twitter!

Good luck to the whole web site team and thank you all once again!

xxx

Elena (inckognito)


Back to top

Eigernordwand


Member

Posted Sat Oct 17th, 2009 1:55pm Post subject: Special message from Stephen Fry

There's been friction ??
Well I hope it's soon sorted, this is a nice warm place to be, an escape at times from the coolness of the outside world
I'm just a newbie so may be I haven't been around long enough to notice friction

If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

Back to top

FuzzyDuck68


Member

Posted Sat Oct 17th, 2009 2:04pm Post subject: Special message from Stephen Fry

My first day here and a Post from Stephen Fry on top of meeting him yesterday getting my 4 books signed. How very nice


Back to top

tito


Member *

Posted Sat Oct 17th, 2009 2:33pm Post subject: Special message from Stephen Fry

monochromeprincess,

You haven't done or said anything objectionable that I've seen.

I'm like you, I get the strength to say what I feel and then apologise for it.

But, my love, we shouldn't really. If we hadn't said anything about the state of the forum then it may have been left in a mess, at least lots of things may have been missed, pm problems for example and advertisers may have been unimpressed, user numbers might have dropped, all sorts of things might have happened.

Don't feel badly about it. And like you point out yourself, it's time now for us to move forward.

Thou art a sweetie, and haven't done or said anything to reproach yourself for.

Love Tito xxx


Back to top

marzgirl


Member

Posted Sat Oct 17th, 2009 2:38pm Post subject: Special message from Stephen Fry

Thank you Stephen, Andrew and KatySara who I am in contstant contact with. I have had minimal issues with the site and overall very happy. Computers and websites in general will have gliches from time to time. My yahoo, facebook and twitter also don't always function properly. Issues are not unique to the Stephen Fry forums. Thank you for doing your utmost to to stay on top of the issues and reduce them. I have found friendship and commonality here, and I would hate for that to go away. Special congrats to KatySara! And thank you to Stephen and Andrew for taking the time to write an extra messege of reassurance.
XXX

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
~Martin Luther King Jr.~

Back to top

marzgirl


Member

Posted Sat Oct 17th, 2009 2:42pm Post subject: Special message from Stephen Fry

A side note....Andrew's way of expression is softened for me somehow because he resembles Dave Matthews a bit. HMMM.......Perhaps not in person, but on the avatar pic.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
~Martin Luther King Jr.~

Back to top

Stephen Fry


Key Master

Posted Sat Oct 17th, 2009 2:45pm Post subject: Special message from Stephen Fry

Oh dear, now you’ve made me all weepy too!

Darling, you have - to echo Tito - absolutely nothing to reproach yourself for, but thank you for such a graceful, affectionate and open-hearted post

S xxx

monochromeprincess said:
Stephen and Andrew, thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I don't know about everyone else, and I wouldn't want to speak for anyone else, but it means a huge amount to me. Perhaps it's because I'm overly emotional (and perhaps because I just slammed my finger in the door) but I shed a tear or two reading that.

I want to say that perhaps things have got a bit out of hand recently and I profusely apologise if anything I've said or the atmosphere that I have fed into has in anyway caused offense or been counter-productive. I'm sure it has. We are by no means mean spirited people and I think the state of where things are at the moment has only been borne form a profound love and appreciation of this site. People's lives have been changed by this place, mine included. People - the Fluffettes - love this place like a second home, and I personally will be eternally grateful for this space of friendliness and love and compassion. I think what with the 'move' (if it can be called that) it created a lot of feelings in a lot of people. But knowing now the state of everything, I feel so much more reassured. I think, sort of, what I wanted to know was that it would be dealt with at some point, whenever that was. I'm sorry. I feel like I should have kept my faith in the two of you and the wonderful team that helps support the beams of this haven.

If there is any way in which I can help, I will gladly do so. I mean I have no idea what that might be, but I feel like I want to do something to help. Even if that is to instill the same feeling of appreciation and willingness to wait that I feel right now in other people.

Ultimately, I love you guys, and this place, and it seems silly now, looking back, that there has been any friction at all. When we are all sort of hold the same values and ideas in mind. I just feel so sorry that I didn't help heal things before now, that it has got to this point. Stephen, absolutely the last thing we wanted was to cause you distress.

Well here's to going forward positively!

much love
Debs xxxx


Sx

Back to top

gadgetgirl


Member

Posted Sat Oct 17th, 2009 2:47pm Post subject: Special message from Stephen Fry

Gosh. Thanks Stephen and Andrew for taking the time to write such detailed responses to us. I do appreciate the work that all the forum staff do - without you all we wouldn't have this place. If I came across as ungrateful then I'm sorry. I'd hate to think that anyone has been put off visiting by some moaning, particularly given why a lot of us are here.

I also think describing this lovely forum as a grotty student pad is rather harsh, perhaps we were all just a little surprised with the new appliances To extend the metaphor to breaking point, if I can assist somehow with the build up of junk mail through the letterbox then please let me know!

That would be me.

Back to top