There are many Pokémon websites on the internet. It's inevitable considering the depth of the games, the extent of the animé fanbase and the ever-growing amount of cards for the TCG. In theory, the sites should serve to transfer news and information to those who seek it.
In practice, however, it's much more than that. The people who work for sites will probably eventually feel that the site is more important than it actually is. They will want the site to do well; to earn hits and become popular. This is a minor dream of many site owners, and it isn't a problem. However, when the site DOES become popular, it can lead to trouble.
When PKMN.NET was started, it received few visitors. It was more of a fun project for the owners than anything else. However, as more people came to PKMN.NET, the expectations of it grew in number. No longer could we try something risky for fun and get rid of it if it didn't work; the visitors and members would expect things to be reliable.
We could have let our egos get the better of us, of course. After all, the site was gaining a lot of members. We could have acted as though the members couldn't live without us, using our powers to ensure that nothing was ever said against the site.
However, we didn't do that. We continued to do what we'd always done; we wrote content, we added news and we talked about the different aspects of Pokémon - all for fun. We like to think that PKMN.NET has the same atmosphere that it's always had; friendly, informal and fun.
Of course, everyone wants to think that about their site. It's not always the same in reality. In the forums, for example, there have been many bad episodes; arguments, betreyal and even blackmail have occurred in our past, each instance a direct result of the forums - a result of the site's visitors, in fact.
However, it'd be a lie to say that it hasn't been worth it; the forums are a great way of communicating with others, and often helps to improve the site by taking suggestions and occasionally hiring additional staff.
PKMN.NET is only one example, though. Many sites have become corrupt with the power given to them by their popularity. They stop focusing on the fact that they ought to be providing a service, and begin to focus on the fact that they have the power to influence the visitors. For example, a certain site's webmaster has been known to post negative comments about PKMN.NET on the PKMN.NET forums. The point he's missing is that it would not be the same if we posted negative comments on his own forums as we are not as popular; if Meowth346 - a very popular and well-respected member of the Pokémon online community - said bad things about his site, then many people would automatically dislike it. Such is the nature of popularity.
Of course, as a certain English playwrite said, while power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Let's take Azure Heights as an example. At first, the site was dedicated to intelligent people researching things in the game to help those who were not able to calculate the information themselves. By now, the only activity is in the forums, which mainly involves the now-elitist memebers who worked for the site mocking those of a lesser intelligence. That is certainly not the way to raise the average intelligence, but it's how the site now works.
To conclude, my worry is that more and more sites are following in the footsteps of Azure and its kind. Someone I met via the forums worked for a site that was once dedicated to its information but become focused on politics instead. I hope those reading this that have or work for sites of their own will be able to identify with some things I've said and will be able to continue to see their sites as fun and a service, rather than an entry for a popularity contest which should be designed to attract hits by whatever means necessary.
Page written by Psythor.
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