|The burning question on everyone's mind seems to be "Is TVRage dying?" This question of course assumes that TVRage is living in the first place. Can a website be “alive”?
The conventional scientific definition of life sets forth the following seven characteristics as proof of life (copied from a wikipedia article):
1. Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, sweating to reduce temperature.
2. Organization: Being composed of one or more cells, which are the basic units of life.
3. Metabolism: Consumption of energy by converting nonliving material into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.
4. Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of synthesis than catalysis. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter. The particular species begins to multiply and expand as the evolution continues to flourish.
5. Adaptation: The ability to change over a period of time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity as well as the composition of metabolized substances, and external factors present.
6. Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism when touched to complex reactions involving all the senses of higher animals. A response is often expressed by motion, for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun or an animal chasing its prey.
7. Reproduction: The ability to produce new organisms. Reproduction can be the division of one cell to form two new cells. Usually the term is applied to the production of a new individual (either asexually, from a single parent organism, or sexually, from at least two differing parent organisms), although strictly speaking it also describes the production of new cells in the process of growth.
1. Does TVRage have a means to regulate itself to remain within acceptable internal environmental parameters? I would say that this relates to the guidelines we have put in place for acceptable behavior in the forums as well as the format guidelines for contributions to shows and people. We have internal mechanisms that check to ensure that the internal environment stays correct: the staff. That's a big portion of our function; to make sure everyone does things the same, within acceptable guidelines.
2. Is TVRage comprised of one or more cells? I submit to us all that registered TVRage members are the cells that make up this site. It should be an eye-opener to realize that you are TVRage and I am TVRage. It's not just some site out there that exists apart from us. We make it the way that it is: good or bad.
3. Does TVRage exhibit metabolism? To me, contributing is the bread and butter of this site. We take information from other sources and synthesize it into the site's acceptable format for use by the site's members and visitors. The other sources include television programs themselves and various secondary sources. There is a certain amount of energy expended by the "cells" of the site to make this happen but it creates even more energy for the life of the site when others see the results.
4. Is TVRage growing? As far as the number of guests and registered members is concerned, the resounding answer is yes! We are receiving more new people per week than at any time except perhaps during the first few months of the exodus from TV.com. We have show and people guides being added and updated regularly.
5. Is TVRage adapting to changes in its environment? Yes. But how effectively does it do this? Not as well as one might hope. The culture in the US and the world changes very rapidly and it’s hard to keep up. Even the way television is scheduled and broadcast is changing very fast. Fore example, even 5 years ago you could count on reruns of primetime shows during the same season. Many of them seem to have decided that they would rather try to sell the DVDs than air repeats (good luck with that during the writer’s strike!) The site could definitely do better on keeping up with the online culture.
6. Does TVRage respond to stimuli, i.e. react to pressure? There’s no doubt about this, since many members are getting involved in reading and even responding to the debate about the future of the site. But mere reaction can only get you so far. Open communication is good but the site needs more.
7. Is TVRage reproducing itself? Not in the conventional sense of creating more copies of itself but how about the members? As members of the site, we are creating new members through our actions. New members will be or become a reflection of what the site is, as time goes by.
By this we can see that TVRage is indeed alive because it’s much more than just a website. The members of TVRage are TVRage. If TVRage is good, we made it that way… all of us. If it’s bad, it is not just the staff who made it that way. Leadership can only give direction but it’s up to the whole “body” to make it happen.
In order to make TVRage better, each member needs to ask him/herself what needs to be done… and then do it, to the best of his ability. Too many people are sitting on the fence. The site needs people who are willing to step up and commit themselves to making the place better. This means making sincere efforts to get along with everyone as much as is possible. Passing over opportunities to pick apart the site or any of its members would be a good start. Choose only to engage in important battles instead of making every thread a battlefield.
Committing to make the place better also means getting down to work! The TVRage community exists in more than just the forums or blogs, you know. When you look up your favorite program or person on the site and notice that something is lacking or perhaps wrong, why not help fix the problem? Too often, I’ve heard that people just go to other sites and complain that TVRage is worthless instead of helping make it better. Also, look for things that can be done and ask someone if you just can’t figure out how to help. I know I am floored when I have members ask me how they can help out… and all without a special title to make it obvious to everyone that they are helping out! Just little help here and there from everyone would be much more effective than giving everyone titles and have them do close to nothing. It doesn’t have to be a big commitment every time. Just an extra half hour here and there from members would be a lot better than nothing.
Here’s a project that everyone can do in their spare time: pick just one person in the database and add all of his/her missing credits to the site. Take as long as it takes with your spare time but be thorough. Choose a person with a fairly unique name so that there isn’t as much of a chance of getting crossed credits when you’re using sources like IMDb. Don’t pick John Smith (IV), for example. Many actors have lists of their credits on their websites or fansites. Depending on the person, you might get to add some older shows to the site or do some other equally interesting things.
Remember, since you and I are TVRage, the site lives or dies based upon what we will do today and in the future. If we keep starving the site of our energy or feeding it bad stuff by picking each other apart and second guessing the direction it’s headed, do we really expect any good to come of it? What the site (us) needs is the right attitude. How do you feel about the site? Now how do you want to feel about the site? Start acting in ways that will make you and others on the site feel good about it.
Here’s a little insight: the staff chooses members more on attitude than ability. We’ve got plenty of capable people on the site but only some of them display an attitude that shows they have the site’s best interests at heart. I’m fairly certain it was my attitude that got me promoted to Global Editor. A good attitude goes a long way, as does a willingness to work.
Help us breathe more life into the site.