The way the rollout happened wasn't great.
Aspects of the negative response have felt... very unpleasant and disproportionate and misdirected and poorly handled and really really fucking sad. Lim is not perfect, the OTW board candidate who was as far as I can tell from the outside directly supervising her on the skins project and on the rollout isn't perfect and the people who are unhappy and angry in various forums are also sure as hell not perfect.
All I can think to say is:
I am very very sorry about the amount of flak you've gotten about the rollout of the new AO3 skins, and even sorrier that this has led to your withdrawal from the project.
I felt neutral about the new skins but in your vids and other projects you have created some of my very favorite things in fandom.
In creating them and in offering your site templates and in your production notes about various projects you have made many wonderful things.
I'm extremely, sincerely, fucking impressed that you did all this by yourself, having taught yourself.
I suspect that with people saying negative things about the skins it may for the moment be hard to feel proud of any of the work you did and amazing things you produced. But I hope you still are or will be again: you have made fabulous stuff. You are more than good enough. You are amazing.
And I am so, so sorry to hear from your post that a place of refuge for you isn't one anymore.
I don't even quite know what to say except that I hope that even if not with the AO3 you find another place and way that offers you distraction and activity and lots of validation that you are awesome.
The rollout of the AO3 skins wasn't perfect. The skins may not have been perfect. But neither of those things is something for you to feel responsible for or guilty about in any way.
Not only is code almost never perfect on first release but people's aesthetics vary wildly. When working on a project that will have a lot of very public, very visible impact it is important to work with other people to try and make sure multiple viewpoints (and frankly, points of fail) get thoroughly incorporated, but that can be immensely, maybe too hard.
More importantly, your supervisor on the project should have worked more with you to ensure a smoother rollout and encouraged more (other-eyes) and wider beta testing before release, but if for whatever reasons that didn't happen you are not to blame.
Shit happens. And people aren't perfect.
Just trying really hard -- you doing so or your supervisor on the project trying really hard to take on a lot, solo or near solo -- sometimes isn't good enough for other imperfect people and people lash out or blame or show more imperfection.
Which sucks, enormously. But all the work you did on the skins is very impressive. It is more than good enough, you are more than good enough, and just from the outside looking in I'd say the AO3 is losing a fabulous resource in you.
You are awesome. Lurkers support you.
Fandom is full of people who deal in words a lot.
That means that, as with any situation in any part of life in which there's drama, there is a lot of written drama. That lasts. And seeing it again at some later point may make it hard to feel great about how all the passions erupted and things were unhappily phrased at the time. Such is life. Especially in a words-documenting, internet-archiving culture.
Me writing some of these things up, mere tiny unnoticeable drops in a giant pond, feels scary and weird and I am absolutely certain that I am putting my foot in my mouth all over the place.
But I am doing it anyway.
Because seeing people write things more angrily than I do or loudly assigning blame in places where I think it doesn't belong, or seeming to not remember to give credit where credit is due -- lim and the OTW founding board member and returning candidate, they have done and built and made amazing stuff that many, many people enjoy. And however fucking imperfectly, they did these things, more than certainly I have ever done and I am immensely appreciative and thankful for it even if execution or communication or whatever have sometimes been points of fail -- that makes me unhappy enough to come out of my shell and say something.
I always want there to be dissenting words, ideally of a more-constructive-than-not-kind, on record, on everything.
But also I want as many people as possible to remember to feel good about what to me are real, amazing accomplishments.
People -- by trial and error! -- teaching themselves to write and make art and run things. People teaching themselves to code. People coming together to create various resources intended for all. People creating places to talk and squee and disagree and dissent and critique and ideally, overall, appreciate parts of what other people did.
Fandom, in all your prettiness and pettiness and niceness and harshness and imperfection, I love you. Your freewheeling parts, and also very much any and all of your infrastructure and the builders and makers and volunteer supporters thereof.
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