I guess here is the multi-part question I'm trying to ask myself. I hope this helps clarify what's going through my head. Helpful feedback is always appreciated (via the Whatever forum). Anyway:
- Has BME — at least the public parts — served its purpose? Does continuing to add more and more to it add anything to the world in general?
It's hard to answer this because BME has played such a pivotal role in the popularization of body modification. In real life, when does a parent know that it's ok to die? Also, there's the question of the long game — will having BME be as monstrously huge as possible serve to sustain body modification as a societal norm? And, more ominously, there are a number of very low-end body modification sites online — will these morons fill in the void if BME left? Because that would be a huge disservice that I have to consider as well. I'm not just doing BME for “good”, but I'm also doing it to stop “evil”.
- Given the amount of physical time BME consumes, is this the best way I can contribute to the world in general?
Definitely not. At this point I'm absolutely sickened by what the Internet has become. I spend more of my time dealing with fraud, hacking, fake stories, stolen picture, complaints, fights on IAM, and trying to find my real email among thousands of pieces of ever-better disguised spam, rather than producing quality content. Now, I don't know what the answer to that is. Quite possibly, it's simply a matter of hiring someone to deal with the day-to-day crap… but I don't want to run a business.
In addition to asking myself if the web is the right medium for me, I also have to ask myself if I only want to contribute to the body modification community, and whether I have larger things to contribute as well. I'm not sure if I do or not, but I do know that as long as BME fills in most of my spare moments, it's very difficult for me to answer that.
- If I were to give up parts of BME, is there anyone that could take it over?
Whoever took it over would need to be willing to accept an enormous workload, as well as shouldering a five thousand dollar monthly loss, at least until they turned it profitable. In addition, there are very few people with both the technical know-how as well as the extremely specialized body modification knowledge and experience required (although I can think of any number of people that would tell you they do). I'm not willing to see BME bastardized by someone incompetent.
- What about selling BME?
Selling BME would be a massive betrayal to the people who contributed to it and I would never do that. I don't even like charging for what I do, so selling is simply not an option. I have turned down ever offer of this type, and will continue to.
- Is it possible to fully automate BME without having it fall apart?
I don't believe so. It's already very automated, and any further automation steps place enormous trust on the general public, and if I've learned anything online, it's that no matter what you do, a huge percentage of people will do their best to exploit it and damage it and it will sink to the lowest common denominator very quickly if there isn't a strong hand keeping that from happening.
- But what about all the people who rely on BME?
I'll illustrate this with a story. Last year, Delaney from TSD came up to Toronto and helped some local kids here do some hooking in my basement, and shortly after iWasCured was formed. That summer, iWasCured hosted suspensions and pullings for anyone that wanted them, from anywhere. As a result, many of those people went home, and started groups of their own, and continued the process. That is what it's all about — going out and doing good things in the world — not looking at pictures on a web site. Anyone who reads and enjoys BME has the power to go out and create these things on their own as well. (I'm not saying don't look at the website, I'm just saying you have the power to look, learn, and do.)
- What about IAM?
I have absolutely no plans to dissolve IAM. I think it's an incredibly positive resource and public service, and I believe it would be an enormous loss if it were shut down. I also believe that many of the functions of BME, at least in the longterm, could be moved over to an IAM model.
(Plus it's my homepage, and the homepage of a lot of people that I care a great deal for.)
- What about bme/HARD and BME/extreme?
I have absolutely no plans to dissolve these either. First, I personally enjoy these subjects immensely and would miss them. Second, I feel that I still have a lot to say and contribute on these subjects. Third, I don't feel that these subjects will go mainstream, so I feel that the existense of bme/HARD and BME/extreme is an “essential service”.