Here’s something that I have been thinking about that I wanted to throw out there to see if anyone else has some thoughts…
It’s been what now, something more than five years since the formation of the Ballroom Village? When the idea was originally pitched to me, I was told that the intention was to foster a sense of community among those of us who liked ballroom dancing enough to spend some time writing about it. Perhaps along the way that sense of community would potentially even evolve into friendship among us writers as we talked to each other and shared our journeys through this world of dance in the prose that we put onto the web. I was asked to join the Ballroom Village by the Beautiful Girl in the Ballroom, like many of the original members of the village were all those years ago.
These days, as some of you other long time residents of the village have probably noticed, a lot of the houses in the village have become abandoned. Only a handful of the sites listed on my Ballroom Village page are updated with any regularity any longer, and the few others that still seem to have the lights on are only updated once in a blue moon. I took it upon myself a couple of years ago to try and maintain the “master list” of sites because the village founder had seemingly abandoned her own home in the village. At the time, I mostly took it up just to prune out a few of the sites that had been taken offline, which is the majority of the maintenance that I have done to the list (though there were a couple of requests to be added to the list since I started maintaining it).
I’ve been wondering lately if it is time to let go of the Ballroom Village experiment. What do you think? At this point in time, I never really use the list other than to check whether the sites listed are still online every so often… which is not really what the original intention of creating the village was. The community that the list was supposed to help create seems to have gone by the wayside, and there really isn’t much of an ongoing conversation between the owners of any of the sites. The last person who asked me to add their site to the list never even copied the list and put it on her own site, which leads me to believe she merely wanted free promotion for her own site rather than to join the community in order to keep in contact with the rest of us.
If you happen to be one of those lucky people who know me in real life, or you have read enough of my writing to have an understanding of how my mind works, you can probably guess that I pulled a bunch of data before writing any of this down. I originally started by going through the list of sites in the Ballroom Village merely for the sake of seeing if any updates were needed, but then I opened up a spreadsheet and started noting other facts that were of interest. There are a few changes that need to be made – I haven’t finalized the changes yet in order to post them, but I can let you know that there is one site that is now offline since the last time I checked the list, and another site that has changed the URL they use. Those are the major changes I was going to make before I started down this path.
The rest of the sites are what I pulled the data on, which I’m going to share with you so that we are all on the same page. There are twenty seven links in total, but if I filter out all the sites that haven’t updated within the last year that only leaves eleven. That’s right, only eleven of us have had anything to say about ballroom dancing (or any other topic) that was worth writing down within the last year. Out of that eleven, only nine of those sites have updated within roughly the last month (that number is accurate as of Tuesday night when I wrote the draft of this post).
As for the sites that appear to have been abandoned for the longest periods of time:
- Two of those sites last updated in 2014
- Two of the sites haven’t been touched since 2015
- Three of them last had something to say in 2016
- Three more were last updated in 2017 – among those is the ‘Beautiful Girl in the Ballroom’ site
With these numbers in mind, I kind of want to open the floor up for a discussion among those of us still living in this virtual community. What do you think about this? Is the Ballroom Village idea still worth hanging onto, even though 60% of the ‘homes’ in the village appear to have been abandoned? Should I put in the effort to clean up the list again and post the changes for everyone? If I do clean up the list and let everyone know, should I leave the links for all these sites that have been abandoned for years, or do we prune out the sites that haven’t been updated for years? What about any sites listed as members of the Ballroom Village who haven’t posted a copy on their own site to promote the community themselves – should they stay or should they go?
Don’t feel like you need to answer all my questions, I am just throwing them out there as a place to start. If you want to drop me a comment, or send me a private message if you want to have a more one-on-one discussion, I would love to hear from you. I am hesitant to just close the shutters on the Ballroom Village idea, but I think that if no one cares about the community anymore, the village may just fall apart on its own anyway. I guess it would fall on the shoulders of those of us who remain active to help bring the Ballroom Village back to life as an actual community if we want to keep it alive.
I had other things that I thought about writing this week, but after reading through this post to edit things I feel like this should stand on its own. Hopefully I get some feedback. If not… I don’t know. Maybe that means the Ballroom Village is actually a ghost town instead of a community. Do we put in the effort to put it back together, or just take all the pieces and put them back into the bag?