Let me preface this with stating a few facts. I have no involvement in running RTUK. I have no intention of getting involved with running RTUK. I am very much on the outskirts of the group in general. I am good friends with Craig. This is my opinion and you can take it or leave it, but please respect it.
I believe RTUK is broken. In essence I believe the people who run the group are no longer running it in a way that represents the community. Let’s go through my history with the group.
First off I joined the site back in 2012, I had no idea about RTUK (RvB UK as it was back then) until maybe a year into being a part of the community. This is because the group weren’t particularly active on the site. I finally found out about the yearly event they did in Leicester, only because I wrote a journal saying there should be some sort of big UK event (thinking “maybe I could do that?”) and got a reply telling me about it. I replied saying it doesn’t seem very active and was told “it will when it’s nearer the event”. I was left with the impression that it wasn’t a very active group and left it at that.
By the end of 2013 I was pretty active in the community with RT Radio and I made friends with some people from around the UK. In 2014 I went to my first RTX, there was a meetup of UK people and it was not done through the community group. Later that year I went up to Inverness for a RT Scotland meetup. I was curious about RT Scotland because I thought to myself “If there’s an RvB UK group are RT Scotland part of that or a separate entity?”. I was told of an interaction between the 2 people who ran the groups at the time (bare in mind this is one side of the story, but this is what I was told) UK wanted Scotland to be part of the UK group. Scotland would cease to be and the leader of Scotland would become “the UK rep for Scotland”. I felt that was a case of “Hey, Scotland you’re doing a good job and making us look shitty because we’re really inactive, so join us and make us look good”. I didn’t like that. Over this period I tried on and off to keep up-to-date with what was happening in the UK community. I found this hard because the RvB UK twitter account was used as a personal account as well as a community account. I believe this is a key failure in community groups. It makes it about the individual, not the group. I’ll come back to this later.
I’d like to state again that these are just my opinions.
Now, in 2015 there was a change in RvB UK. Firstly, they changed who ran the group. Secondly, there was the switch to RTUK. Thirdly, the twitter account was no longer used as a personal account. And finally, it was welcoming.
That’s the key point. Welcoming. A community group should, above all, be welcoming. It can have faults (all community groups do), but by being welcoming you’re starting on the right foot with the members and creating a good environment to grow. I noticed more and more activity from the group. They organised in a really nice way with ambassadors for different areas of the country to help organise local events and welcome members in their areas. They created sub groups for gaming and cosplay. Basically, they became A COMMUNITY.
After the yearly event in Leicester in 2016, things changed. This time for the worse. The person who had been organising the community for the last year was ousted and a committee of select individuals took over running the group. It was a bad move. I am sure there are more issues than those I’m choosing to highlight but these are the ones I want to concentrate on. Firstly, they abandoned the Facebook group with 3000+ members to start a new one which the called the ‘official group’. The new group has a couple of hundred members, the old has 3000+. See the difference? Now here’s the big thing for me, the Facebook group was the hub of the community. Events, fan art, reaction to videos, random posts, conversation starters. It all happened on that Facebook group. Then it was no longer the ‘official’ channel. So what happens? It’s left to it’s own devices of course. It’s still very active but it no longer has the care, attention and moderation a feed like that needs. The community was abandoned.
Secondly, last week, the committee decided that all the ambassadors would have that position taken away without notice and they’d open applications for new ambassadors. Now, I can understand having to replace ambassadors. Maybe, they’re not doing a good job or they can’t dedicate the time anymore, these things happen and so a small turnaround in ambassadors makes sense. Replacing all of them in one big lump makes very little sense to me, not informing those members is down right disrespectful. These people are VOLUNTEERS. They don’t get paid. They dedicate their free time to help in the community they love. My second issue here is the taking applications part. Like I just said, these people are volunteers and members of the community. This is not a company filling positions. If you need new more people to help, you ASK your community.
I said earlier about the individual vs the community, here’s where that comes back in. To me, it seems that members of the committee no longer see this as a community but rather a vehicle to reach their own goals. This position has led to the abandonment of the community I mentioned. I think it has also let poor attitudes go unchecked, and led to some less than savoury comments about RT’s coming RTX announcement that were seen earlier. It’s called community MANAGEMENT for a reason. The community needs to be managed!
You may be wondering at this point (if you’re still actually reading that is) why I haven’t mentioned names. Well mostly it’s because I’m doing this on my own back and if people don’t want to be mentioned then I shouldn’t put them in that position. I will though mention someone, and that’s Craig. He was the guy that helped change RTUK for the better. He’s the one who made the community a welcoming place. That video of Burnie that lots are sharing again of the ‘Maybe…maybe? Maybe” for a UK RTX? That was Craig who got that. Craig poured his heart into the community and every single day I see how much it’s hurt him being pushed out.
Finally, I run a community group, generally, I do an ok job. I would never say I’m without fault when with the way I run the group. I’m sure Craig had his faults with the way he ran the group, but in his case the positives way outweigh those faults. In the way the committee run the group, the negatives seriously outweigh the positives.
That’s all I have to say, so I’ll sign off with saying once again, these are my opinions and observations, feel free to disagree with them but please respect them.