I have spent a lot of my spare time uploading information to Ravelry, now that I am actually in it! Mostly I am doing it for my own reference--it sure is handy to be able to quickly see where something I made came from, what yarn I used, etc., without having to plow through all the reference materials. It will also be nice to catalogue all my books, once that works (right now, well, not all the books I have are there, and I'm not talking about weird ones--I do realize that's not a high priority, and it's fine).
Also it's a bit altruistic. I like it that others can see my FOs, so they can decide if a project will work out for them, or read about what issues I (or others) had with a pattern or yarn.
I now have 87 projects catalogued and 37 balls of yarn in my stash photographed and described. Uh, yowzer, I still have a LOT of that stuff left. Who knows when or if I will take pictures of all that sock yarn?? I have run into old friends, made new ones, and learned things on the forums, even though I am no Miss Violet, who seems to post on EVERY forum.
Why am I going on about something many of you can't see yet? I'll tell you, but first go there and get on the waiting list. You do not have to categorize everything you own. There's lots of ways to use it. But if you don't sign up, you will only be able to browse once it goes live, not contribute. The waiting list is moving along briskly now, so you won't have to wait long to join! (And there are no special favors. "Famous" bloggers and designers had to wait just as long as everyone else if they didn't sign up immediately.)
You see, once upon a time I consulted with a company that built online communities. Did a lot of work for them. Helped them tweak the user interface, helped them tailor the content to the particular audience, wrote a zillion-page wiki help system for them...and it really seemed like it could be a nice community. They had guidelines, nice reasonable ones, and lots of options that, if they were used, could really enrich the lives of the intended users.
But, it didn't turn out that way, for various reasons internal to the politics of the organization where I worked. Now I hear of so many people refusing to use the community because they think the developers were spying on their private groups, or it was made by the wrong bunch of people...and that all made me sad.
So I was thrilled to get to participate in Ravelry. There are no private groups, and though that might cause some problems for people who worry that their interests might offend or upset others, it does avoid other pretty unpleasant potential issues. It's a heated debate right now, but I think the developers (sweet 30-year-olds with a cute dog) made a good decision to be as open as possible.
I have not stepped up and said, "Hey, I used to be an online community developer," because I have had enough nasty feedback and over-inflated expectations, but I do wish the volunteer editors and helpers well, and am happy to see all the support the knitting and crocheting community is giving. That is what I like to see in an online community. People who appreciate the chance to have one, and will help out if they can. By being able to contribute, you get ownership. That's a good thing.
I'll be out of blogging range for a couple of days. Please think good thoughts as I try to knit Shedir, finish that cardigan, and if possible, get close to finishing the Redwood socks!