HEY Y'ALL! DOINK! Final Fantasy Exchange 2013 is open!
It's been a hell of a couple weeks getting everything to this point (especially because I have excellent timing - sure, ACCIDENTALLY A HOUSE right as we are frantically getting all of our cats in a row to launch, clearly I am a professional!), but here we are! And this will mark the first round in years where all three mods are able and excited to participate -- that's awesome.
I pretty much welcome everybody who can to participate -- there are some new rules we're using on a trial period this year, just FYI -- DOINK time is one of my favorite fannish times of the year and I'd love for as many people to play as possible.
If you can't do the exchange bits - schedule, demand, etc - I also beg you to consider joining our pinch hit team. I honestly don't have the language to tell you how important our pinch hitters are to us every year -- so if exchanges aren't your thing, but you want to do something, that's an awesome way to help us out.
Every year I want to talk about the exchange more than I do; I'm a mod, and that means there's a weird line between stuff that I can talk about publicly and stuff I can't. This year has been no different; it turns out no matter how much discussion and communication and work you put into a thing, no matter how much effort you spend trying to be fair and decent to everyone involved, there will be people who think you are doing it wrong: strongly, vocally, happily. There will be people who blatantly disregard the spirit of the exchange so that they can do things the way that they want to, to get what they want. There are people who aren't malicious, but just lazy; there are people who don't care as much as we might think they should.
There were many years of this exchange where the mod team worked incredibly hard to make things fair for our participants -- forgetting (or not really forgetting; deliberately overlooking, maybe; making the choice to not prioritize) that we, too, are involved in this exchange, and the policies we choose need to be fair not only to our participants, but to us as well. There were many years of 3am email chains and desperate chats; years we endangered our sleep and health and our jobs to get things going because we had failed to consider ourselves as parts of our own exchange. "Fair and decent to everyone involved" has to also include the mod team - or the exchange becomes a miserable exhausting experience, and that means we fall short of our responsibilities to the fandom for offering it in the first place. Everyone loses!
But this is our exchange: I won't say we 'own' it, because we're doing it for fandom, not for us; but finally after years and years of doing this we're managing to strike a balance between making it awesome for others and decent for us as mods. I'm very proud of us for doing so; running an exchange this expansive, this diverse, with the amount of by-hand care that we take with everything - our matching is all done by hand with the help of some spreadsheet wizardry; all our assignments and communications and comment replies are done by us - is a lot of work, and I'm so very proud (and, selfishly, relieved) that we've come to a point where we can balance our own strengths and schedules and limitations with the way the exchange runs. Because every year when we gave it our all, there were still people who weren't happy -- this way we can make just as many people happy (if not happier!) and still save a little for ourselves.
This long rambling note isn't to call out any participants, though, or to complain about everyone. My point here is really to just re-announce, pretty blatantly, how much I absolutely adore my co-mods renay and justira and how much I love running DOINK!. It's hard as hell to get this started every year - I am not sure I could name two other friends with whom I would have as absolutely opposite of schedule/availability as I do with them *g* - but I am really glad we're all still working together and I'm excited as fireworks for this year. ♥
Anyway. Go play!