Tuataria, Two Months In

A few months ago, John Green put a tuatara on his wall above a pile of boxes.

That tuatara started something we’re not sure even he could have anticipated.

In the last two months, we’ve had almost 2100 Nerdfighters join us to solve Cluesday puzzles, to write parody songs, to do koalas, and to launch a bunch of projects and pieces of original art and lots of emojis and endless inside jokes.

As a community, that kind of growth is both exhilarating and exhausting. And for all the awesome this community has produced, there has been a significant amount of difficulty along the way. Nothing grows without conflict or friction. No lasting change is created without turmoil and confusion.

Building a sustainable community where people feel loved and supported has been one of the most challenging things this admin team has ever done. All of us bring experience to the table, and for some of us, even community management experience. Many of us bring discord-specific knowledge and skills to the team, and some even bring extensive background knowledge of computer programming.

But no prior experience prepares you for the challenge of building Tuataria. This is not just a situation where we could make a static set of rules and enforce them. It’s also not a situation where we can be laissez-faire and hope that everyone will not forget to be awesome.

The challenge we’ve faced is this: there are currently 18 of us from around the world on the admin team. We speak a dozen languages and live in eight different countries and at least eleven different time-zones. We range from just starting college to being more than a decade into a professional career. And yet we work on a consensus model. Even in the beginning, before we had a million docs and a constitution, and meetings, we worked on consensus.

Sometimes, consensus has been hard to define. And it’s often been hard to reach. But when we started, we committed to making it work. And for the most part, we have.

There have been definite missteps along the way, and times when we failed to understand other people complexly. We have failed to be clear, or kind, or transparent at times. And every time we’ve failed, we’ve learned from it. That doesn’t guarantee that we didn’t make more mistakes, or prevent against future mistakes. Those are going to happen! But what will also happen is that we will learn from those mistakes and work together to figure out how to not make them again, and how to make amends to those affected by our mistakes.

Along the way, we’ve enlisted a diverse group of mods to help us. Many of them are younger than the admin team, and we have benefitted from their maturity, wisdom and input tremendously. Their passion and hard work has been such a blessing to this community and we’re really grateful for and to them.

We’ve also tried to balance the hard work of building a community with the fun parts. The last month has really been brutal for the administrators, but because much of that has happened behind the scenes, we know that most users are probably not aware of it. While we want feedback and we really care about input, we’ve definitely struggled to find a way to communicate clearly about that input, whether we implemented it or not.

And there will be times where we will have to enforce rules that people don’t like. That is true for almost any leader in any situation anywhere. Hell, there will be times that we enforce rules that WE don’t like, but that are for the benefit of the community. That is part of the responsibility of being a leader, and one that we take very seriously.

What we’re asking from you is simple, but it’s not easy: we’re asking for your trust. Trust that the 18 of us debate major policy changes and language extensively, and that no one voice is privileged over another.

Trust that we listen to your feedback and advice.

Trust that if we get it wrong, we’ll acknowledge it and try to make it right.

Trust that we love this community and so are devoting our time, our energy, our money, and our talents into making it the best we can.

Two months ago, John created us. He gave us a challenge and a reason to organise. But now WE – all of us together – are building this place, and the decisions we make will continue to shape the future of Tuataria and even Nerdfighteria. That challenge is something we are both humbled by and freaking excited about. We hope that in many years, we can all look back and remember the start of this great nation with fondness and say that whatever we sacrificed to make it happen, it was 100% worth it.

We can’t wait to see what comes next. Thank you for being part of this crazy experiment.

May Koana Lisa continue to bless and keep this great nation of Tuataria.

Signed, your trusty admins
Ali (alipeli), Allison, Andy (andythewestie), Becky, Cheryl (guster), Emily (ylime), Lily (charminglily), Cody, Erin, Jessie (jessieinez), Jonathan (Jonathan), Jonathan (BoedJ), Katie (Alaska), Katherine (pullingakatherine), Simon (rith), Rowan (sir ro), Sharon (skye), Tim