How does one go from an ordinary customizer to the admin of one of the most popular Joe sites on the net?
To be honest, I'm not quite sure myself. ;-) Before that happened, I had helped out with posting the Group Projects on the Bivouac as well as helping redesign the site's menu. As for the full transfer, here's how it went down to the best of my remembrance. Dan wasn't able to update the Bivouac as much as he used to due to things beyond his control. I had set up a little side board for a handful of Bivouac members due to a little influx of trolls on the Bivouac message board (like 10-15 people were on it, many of whom are now mods here). At the same time I was needing a place to put my own customs and since I was trying to hone my PHP skills too, I figured I'd put something together to make it easy for me to add my figures to my site. I started thinking that through a bit and decided that I could code it so I could host other people's customs as well since a lot of people were stuck without anywhere to show off their work if the Bivouac wasn't updating. When I got this done, I sent a Dan a link to the board and mentioned the preview link since I didn't want to publicize it on the Bivouac without him knowing what I was doing. I didn't want him to think I was trying to overthrow the Bivouac. Wasn't my intention as I just figured I'd have a handful of people I'd let use the space since I was just putting it up on my personal site at the time (http://www.beavsden.com, which is long gone now). Here's his response email (I hope he doesn't mind my sharing this):
Hey, looks awesome! I've been trying for a while to find a way to do something similar that I could use, but since I'm a network guy and not a programmer or web developer guy, doing it myself wasn't something I had the time or option to do. looks wicked cool though! I also like the board, another thing I couldn't find without paying the cash out for :) I do have a question for you though, and I'll trust you to not spread this around to anyone else....but would you be interested in taking the site over? By that I mean taking the customs, the diorama's, etc and pulling it onto your own. I've tried to keep it updated as much as I could, but time isn't really something that I have a lot of lately, and if I can't do good by the site and keep updating at a regular pace than I'd rather not do it at all. Besides, 4 years has been a pretty good run I'd say, and I'd rather it not go stale like extensive enterprises (though it IS getting pretty crusty as it stands now) I'm going to keep the domain name, because I plan to take it in a new direction - mainly doing my own diostories. Not having to worry about trying to catch up with posting other peoples work would give me more time to work on my own stuff, which is something that I haven't been able to do for a couple years now (well....the last year and a half has been brutal with other things, but thats besides the point). I'd rather not have the guilt of doing my own stuff while others peoples' are sitting in the que. Anyway, let me know what you think. dan
I don't have my full response, but here's a bit dan quoted in his reply:
Again, it's an honor that you would offer this opportunity to me... I just hope I can do right by it. Would I just be taking the pics, etc over or will I be able to pretty much copy the whole site over to a new domain until I get a chance to redesign it?
Here's the rest of that email from dan:
Actually, that would be up to you. The best way would be to copy it over, I would think but like I said...depends on how you want to do it. I'm still keeping the site name, so if you do copy it I would appreciate it if you called it something else and changed the references from the bivoauc. As it stands right now, the site is about 142 megs of space, but a lot of that is iconoclasts which you wouldn't need to copy anyway since Tim has it on his own domain now. Plus, you could probably trim it down considerably when you drop out the duplicate customs that people have posted on their own sites now. Thats up to you, however. Let me know how you want to do it. Also, you'd be doing me a huge favor if you didn't let anyone know this was happening until its over. I do want to put a little 'fare thee well' up right at the transition (with a link pointing them to your site) At any rate, glad to hear that you'll take it over, I know you'll do one hell of a job :)
Now it's four years later and here we are. :-)
What has been the best part of running Joe Customs? The worst?
Best part? The people. Ok, not all of them, just the good ones (you'll see what I mean in a minute) ;-) . Seeing what this community will do together is amazing, both from a creativity perspective and a charity one. Thinking of what the community did during Katrina and the amazing stuff that went down when I just teasingly mentioned possibly funding my Canadian trip really warms my heart. Add to that the fun stuff guys did down in New Orleans when I couldn't be there. To be honest, I'd been pretty down about stuff and my position in the community in general around that time, but to see the adventures of Beav-bot, to get the awesome Shipwreck picture that zombieguide had everyone sign and then the Tim Seeley art that I just received from Kamakura that was paid for with a pot of member donations... it just reminds me how great the people are who come here and decide that this is a place they want to be involved in.
Now, on the other hand the worst part would be the times that I have to do the mod thing and do either a warning or a ban. I know there's this little joke around here that I help precipitate about me being a tyrant. It does help lighten the mood when things come around, at least for me, but I hope people don't really believe that I try to live up to that image. It's like a defense mechanism. In all honesty, having to do that stuff ruins my day, sometimes my week. I don't want to have to ban people. I'll do it for the comfort of the site, but it boggles my mind why some people do what they do and why they think it's something that's acceptable for a site. Why can't they put their pettiness or insulting comments at the door and use the site as an escape instead of a battleground or place to air whatever obnoxious side of their nature that they would normally have to hide lest they get a punch in the nose in real life? I hate conflict. You guys should interview my wife just to see exactly how doing that part of my job affects me. ;-)
The work that sticks out the most in my mind is your 4 Horsemen team, what inspired you to make those customs? Do you think they influenced the use of copper in GI Joe customs afterwards?
I felt like making a custom team and the picture of the Four Horsemen from Revelations being personified in Cobra felt right. Nothing more, nothing less. I doubt I influenced anything. :-)
If anthropomorphic Beav had to fight the Ninja Turtles who would win?
The Turtles. For one, there's four of them and they're ninjas. Plus, beav's more interested in the finer things in life like fine drink and relaxation, not fighting.
Is there any one work from someone else that sticks out in your mind that inspired you or that you really admire?
Evilface, sgartz, iwbeta, DavAnthony, Teknokyo... they're my customizing heroes. Their work is art and something I would like to aspire to if I had the patience or artistic talent. Dusty Hayes/salvodeli's art also strikes a chord with me due to his offbeat style and approach as well as nova's same approach for his Crystal Ball customs.
You've been acknowledged by the community with a very respectable 6 Joe Custom Awards, as well as, the 1st Joseph Colton Lifetime Achievement award and 2004's "Nicest Ass". Is there any back burner project you have up your sleeve or do you think you've hit your peak?
Custom-wise or site-wise? I have nothing planned custom-wise at the moment though that doesn't mean I might not have a moment's inspiration that makes me a Howard Hughes-esque recluse for a few years while I work on the magnum opus of my customizing career. Site-wise, all the ideas I've had are posted in Site Stuff stickies for the day when I can get around to them. I think both the tagging idea and the parts database would be crowning achievements for the site. Tagging since it'll finally get those people who nag about "I only want to see customs that use parts from 1985-1987 since anything else isn't really Joe to me" a way of seeing customs like that as well as providing the public a way of adding their own classifications to the customs as they feel like it. The parts database just because I think it may save some people some planning time when they can get an idea in their head of what they want their figure's base parts to have already molded on the part and then find all the parts who would meet that need, like finding all torsos with a chest holster. Instead of browsing Joe Index or YoJoe or digging through your fodder bin for a few hours, you'd check off your needs and have a list within seconds. I think it'd be great if I ever get it coded.
Is there any advice you can give to the fledgling web admin or novice customizer?
Yeah: It's harder than you think. :-) It's easy to sit and throw stones at the way a site is run. It's much harder to do it yourself especially once you count your members in the hundreds. There's point of critical mass where you, as admin, will never be able to run the site so that 100% of your membership will agree with everything you do and be 100% happy all the time. You just have to go with your gut. Make yourself happy and let those that are happy with the same stuff come. Let the membership fit the site, not vice-versa as those that don't feel that your site is a match for them can go find a place that does fit their personalities better. To mangle a Lincoln quote: "You can please all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot please all the people all the time."
What would you say the biggest change to customizing or the community has been since you started Joe Customs?
Sculpting. It's gone from a rarity to something I think people feel they have to do anymore. There's some great sculptors out there and I'm not one of them. I'll stick to the basics. ;-)
So let's say that you are trapped alone on a desert island with plenty of food and water. What two Joe figures and one vehicle would you want while you were there? Why?
Shipwreck's a must. Second would probably be Cutter, Topside or Keel Haul if only because the vehicle I'd have would be the WHALE. I'd say the FLAGG but it'd almost be useless without a jet to go with it. At least with the WHALE I could float it in the ocean or maybe I could use it as a floatation device on an escape raft. :shifty:
If someone wrote a book about the online Joe community and dedicated a chapter about you, what is the one thing you'd want everyone to know and remember.
That I still have the nicest ass in Joedom. Suck it Hawk.