Tribe needs a constuctive dialog

I’m reposting a comment from a tribe member. This is similar to many others posted here lately.

To those tribe members who have supported the service, buying premium memberships and putting up with recently low quality, I thank you and commit to do my best to fix it.

To those members like the guy below who believe they have been cheated I’d like to set you straight right now.

I can assure you all that the money people paid to support tribe and any ad revenue has all gone to paying to keep tribe running. Nobody, especially me, is walking off with your money.

I’m sorry that tribe has been down so much lately. Darren is working hard to fix that. we have ordered and begun turning on new sun boxes. ** If you care about maintaining your community, help us don’t hate us. ** If you want to be part of the solution, give useful input. ** Let your helpful voices be heard. ** Don’t let the angry cynical few speak for you.

Pls step back and ask yourself why i am bothering to fix tribe. Do you really believe that a site with 50k monthly members visiting, that barely generates enough revenue to cover its bandwidth costs is this vast profitable enterprise? Do you think I’m doing it to protect my reputation with people who regularly accuse me of stealing their money and running ponzi schemes?

What possible motivation could I have other than wanting to see something that so many have invested in for so long persist?

Without further adieu, here are the inspiring words a man self named ‘evil’…

“…why did any of us pay for gold star membership with tribe? was it for the t-shirts no one got? no! it was for the equipment and services tribe lacked. so where did all that membership money go? Mark, you remind me of a politician who promises good changes we all want to believe in, but then takes our money and runs. i feel cheated by you. “

14 thoughts on “Tribe needs a constuctive dialog

  1. I just want to say a few things about what I’ve been seeing.
    I have been a user of tribe for only a short time. It’s a place I’ve always been interested in but actually joined only recently. I believe in what tribe has to offer. It matters and makes sense to me. I saw it as a way to connect to people (as much as that’s possible on the web) who have the same interests and values. It’s a great concept and unique in the mostly superficial world of online ‘social’ sites. Mainstream has a different take on things and really doesn’t seem to value real connections. Hence Myspace and Facebook.
    The only real advantage these sites have is that they don’t go down completely. Only in part. If tribe were as stable as these, their existence would be irrelevant.
    I look around at all of the comments by of the users on tribe. What saddens me is the need to be negative and cynical on the part of some. It seems to be some sort of kneejerk response. I don’t find indulgence in cynicism to be very productive. To make broad accusations about the character and intent of people one has never met is easy, but rarely is it ever helpful or accurate. Imagination is one thing and facts are another so stop believing everything you think.
    Spending less energy with laundry lists and more time with compassion and understanding just makes all things a little better. I’m frustrated and a little angry too about what’s going on. But take a minute and think about what you say. Don’t make assumptions. Ask productive questions rather than accuse. Ask yourself what’s productive rather than assuming everybody else is either incompetent or taking something from you. That’s the paradigm of lack and inadequacy and doesn’t really get things done.
    I honestly wish there was something I could really do to help. First of all I’m pretty far away from SF (Utah) and I really have no technical skills, equipment or cash to offer. I don’t like feeling helpless so the best thing I can do is write this comment.
    I anticipate that with the current situation that tribe will still have a few hiccups and problems. It’s a complicated situation from what I can see. Is there a way that we (the users) can stay in touch and be informed of what’s going on in the form of a dedicated blog or email service? It would nice to have some sort of line of information, a newsletter or something that exists outside of tribe. even some sort of IRC chat location might be good. If there was a person (other than Darren) that could act as a liaison between the tech and the users that could answer questions every day.
    Which makes me think of another issue. I work in a very high volume customer service oriented business. What makes a difference in problem situations is the willingness to take real action. It’s the responsibility of every service representative to take on the problems they encounter head on and take action. But you have to have the people there to do it. The person has to have the time and be capable. One person can’t do 100 jobs and do them all well. Focus is also needed.
    It’s really a matter of the environment and mindset that’s created and encouraged. With the right supportive environment and the tools to execute, real positive things get done and people feel good about the power they have to do the positive things.
    I could say a bit more but I shouldn’t babble on so.
    BTW: I can’t log on to tribe anymore. I have sent a couple of emails about it and haven’t heard anything back. My profile still seems to exist but the system seems to think my email and password don’t exist in the database.
    Not hearing anything back is like being seated at a busy restaurant. I know things are busy but can you at least acknowledge my existence? A waiter who doesn’t at least say ‘I’ll be right with you’ and takes a while getting back to take the order is perceived a bit more positively than one that doesn’t acknowledge you at all. It only takes a second to acknowledge someone. You can finish what you are doing and get back to me.
    Thanks for listening. Let me know if you have any questions. I’d be glad to clarify.

  2. Thank you for keeping us posted, Mark. Please know that not all of us are angry or feel cheated or anything like that. I, for one, greatly appreciate the effort you’re putting in to try to resolve the problems and make tribe a solid force for good in the world once again.
    It is because of tribe that I finally restored contact with my long-lost sister and niece, after nearly 20 years of being apart. It is because of tribe that I found my dream job on my 40th birthday (or, rather, it found me), just as I was told that I had to either move to Phoenix, or lose my job of 22 years. It is because of tribe that I learned that I *could* fall in love again, after my heart had been broken so badly I thought my time to love had passed forever.
    I can be as patient as need be, as long as I know that you’re still looking forward, still working towards resolving the problems, and not allowing tribe to go gently into that good night. Tribe has done so much for so many, and it will be a legacy that you can be proud of for the rest of your life if you can give it what it needs to live on.
    If I had any helpful ideas or useful skills, I would offer them unreservedly. But all I can do is ask that you contact me if there’s any way that I *can* be of service, and tell you how grateful I am that you continue to keep us informed, and especially that you are continuing to work to both resolve the current problems and find ways to allow tribe to thrive in the future.

  3. Hi Mark,
    Really glad you are investing time and effort on tribe. I guess my opinion overall is that the time for doing something more dramatic was back when you retook over tribe to ensure its real long-term success, work on upgrades, etc. Since then, its been a slowly declining degree of functionality every few months. I don’t know what good the Cisco deal did for anyone, but the only observable effect was to scalp tribe of all its staff. It went down to Darren and Wendy. Something breaks and its 50/50 if there’s a fix. We get timelines that are never met, promises that never get fulfilled, and two guys who own/CEO the joint who won’t even use the service. You want to know why people feel cheated? Look at what you’ve said vs what you’ve done. You are a big part of why the general sentiment exists. All we can judge by is what we see. Some people are more prone to crazier judgements than others. Still, the answer is in the mirror, bro. Since you need input from us to fix what you create, fine. Here’s how you fix it.
    Show more of your “give a damn” on a regular basis. I gather you may be at least willing to post updates on the company blog sometime down the line, and that’s great. You are still using typepad instead of tribe, which says you fully recognize its less than desirable as a place to blog. How much love can you have for tribe when you don’t use your own service? I have to say it more feels like you ignored the place until you had to take action or it would crash. Now, I don’t know the realities behind the scenes, quite naturally, but what kind of perception does that create for the users? Any negativity you are seeing right now is the direct results of: a lack of communication; communications which set expectations and couldn’t be met; communications which appear to conflict with each other; couple this with your lack of presence on Tribe, and what else are people going to think? As was said to Darren awhile back, how long does a quick blog note somewhere centralized take? SOLUTION: Tribe should establish a regular pattern of posting updates on the company blog (you, Darren, and/or “AT”–who is this guy who also doesn’t seem to post on tribe yet is the CEO?), AND establishing a consistant place to obtain updates when tribe is down (we currently have to stalk Darren across about 4 different social networks, and multiple tribes when tribe is running, playing Where’s Waldo with him, or camp your blog to see if you have any info). What we do get from you is vague, sets unclear or later incorrect expectations, and and otherwise confusing. And that’s from us dedicated users. How many of the 50k users you speak of even have clue one what is up because they aren’t as passionate as we are to track all this down?
    If you are upset by people’s perceptions, all I can say is I hope you look seriously at how it devolved to this point for people, and how that is a direct reflection of the tone you yourself have set. Now, granted, some people are overblowing things, but really, what I’ve learned in life is that with the absence of information, many people assume the worst. Talk more, walk more, if you are involved, be involved. Show it, people will then be able to see it. You’ve earned a lot of this negative image right now, ironically by not doing anything. Not that you have been totally ignoring tribe, none of us would really know that, but all we can *see* is that up until recently, none of your efforts are anywhere to be seen. No one even knows if we *should* expect to see your efforts. As far as replacing Darren goes, have you even put an ad on Craigslist? We wouldn’t know. I hope you get my point here. The efforts we see are mostly you asking us for help, which inspires exactly zero confidence in your leadership. Tribe has always had an extremely open door between users and management, and we get a lot more info than any other service would even dream of offering, and its very personal.
    People feel cheated because they were promised one thing, nothing was delivered, and very often there wasn’t so much as an apology from anyone, much less an update on what was really going on, even to say “oops here’s a timeline revision”, or if it was there, it was the lucky few who stumbled on to it, since it was randomly placed somewhere non-specific.
    When we say “get serious”, its not like we’re asking for a lot, just some regular, basic respectful communication somewhere we can find it when we want to know about it. If its on tribe, great, put it on the blog. If tribe is down, put a link to an outside update page or blog on the maintenance screen so we can find out what the hey. Sounds easy peasy to me. I think it would be a good start to restoring some of the lost faith and credibility that tribe sorely needs to preserve its membership about now.
    Oh, and ask Darren to make back ups more than once a month, will you? 30 day Data Loss sucks.
    Cheers, and good luck.

  4. Mark..thanx for keeping us up to speed here..
    I think some of the Anx is because of the great love some of us have for Tribe, and the fear we are going to lose it!
    I honestly understand..not pulling profit from a business..and barely being able to keep it afloat ..because of the dedication to the meme that it is!
    We have our own culture here on tribe!
    We have our own expression here on tribe!
    We have our own on tribe!
    and I for one..very much appreciate this place..
    and will hold tight..till you folks are able to sort it out..
    and angry anx..gets us no where..there is enough of that in this world..
    as long as We know you folks are trying and not going to dump tribe..
    and thanx for these updates too!
    and Darren..thanx for ALL YOUR HARD WORK!

  5. Let’s see if this gets though …
    > What possible motivation could
    > I have other than wanting to see
    > something that so many have
    > invested in for so long persist?
    I suppose you could be planning to stage a failure so you could pocket the premium subscription money without anybody saying “embezzlement”. Almost anybody, I guess. But that’s not what I’m here to write about.
    I am seriously annoyed by the fact that you just used this post as a platform for taking a cheap shot at “Evil Chris” whose Oct 11, 2008 7:36:45 AM comment on the “Help us fix tribe – 1 intensive week” post.
    “Without further adieu, here are the inspiring words a man self named ‘evil’…”
    Christine – Chris is a woman, Mark – deserved better than that. Encouraging people to respond in a ignorant, judgmental way to a Playa name may be a more indirect way of throwing a little mud in the direction of a reasonable critic in the hope that it will stick than is seen in the average trolling, but it is mudslinging all the same, and it is low.
    You’ve just gone from being a sympathetic figure stumbling in the dark, to being a lowlife doing a terrible job.

  6. i still feel cheated.
    ask yourself why anyone on would possibly feel that way and then you will understand why you had such a strong reaction to my post.
    mark, i have been a very strong supporter of yours. i guess you don’t remember all the nice comments i’ve left here to encourage you.
    this is not hate, i do not hate you. i am disillusioned. i believed in you when you said the gold star memberships would help tribe. i believed you for over a year, and they didn’t help. tribe got worse, and is continuing to fail.
    i’m sorry that you are feeling hated. i’m trying to express my frustration. since you can’t be reached anywhere but here, please tell me how i should feel?
    how would you feel if you were the end user?
    you may be unwilling as a leader, yet that is what you are. we are under your dominion if we want to keep using tribe. you are the man in charge of tribe, yet i have to plod all the way over here to your blog which is not even on tribe to ask you wtf.
    moderation problems on tribe? too bad, we have other things to do just to keep the site on. listings broken? too bad, we have other things to do… can’t download a picture? too bad, because there is only one person doing the work so we can’t actually fulfill the promises we made to improve this site’s regular features- *******let alone add the new one’s we said were coming.*********
    every time tribe goes down there are 50k people wondering why mark pincus doesn’t give a crap… even if in your heart you actually do.
    my parents taught me that action means more than words. so far, all i have seen are words, and none of them are even on, which makes me feel your disconnection from tribe even stronger.
    i’m sorry that this hurts your feelings, mark. my intention is not to hurt you but to make you think about how you’ve made me feel. the end user. you couldn’t even be bothered to look me up and notice that i’m a woman! again, your disconnection proves to be the only consistent behavior you have shown to the tribe membership.
    i would like to think you can change, as much as anyone else can. you are a perfect stranger to me, and i would like to think the most positive of things for you, but what you have actually shown me is not congruent with positive emotion. you ‘setting me straight’ does absolutely nothing for the problem, which is stabilizing tribe and delivering the positive changes tribe needs to continue to thrive.
    there are a plethora of people out there just waiting to kiss up to you, because you are in charge. i would hold you to your responsibilities and in fact hold you to your word because you are in charge. there is a difference. my loyalty is assured, all i ask is that you follow through with the positive changes you promised your 50k following.
    my dissent is not helpful, i’m again sorry about that. but nothing seems to help! not money or encouragement, and so the end result is…. negative emotion.

  7. Thanks so much for the dialogue and information.
    FWIW, I produce the BURNcast podcast entirely by myself. With the thousands of downloads I get people seem to think I make a mint off of my requests for donations. I don’t. What I get from my followers in terms of financial support would barely cover a couple of cups of coffee a month. Fortunately I have a patron who subsidizes my hosting and bandwidth costs, but all the late night hours of recording, editing — not to mention the video/audio hardware and accompanying software and upgrades are a burden I shoulder alone.
    I only say this to qualify my experiences and sort of compare and contrast them with yours. Of course, there is great deal of difference, but the common thing that you and I have created is an on-line destination that fosters community. It would be great to break even. And yes, like you I sometimes ask myself why I do it.
    At any rate, having said all this I just wanted to let let you know that you have my continued support.

  8. Hi,
    A friend shared the link to your blog entry.
    Tribe is a labor of love. There will be ups and downs with hardware and software, that’s the nature of the beastie. Too many people have become spoiled with instant gratification, even me.
    I did mildly gripe about not being able to keep up the crucial networking I had begun to rely on through Tribe, but I knew you and your team would eventually find a way to make things work again. Having a little patience was the only way I could help. If I could afford to chip in for a higher membership, I would, when I can, I will. I don’t need the T-shirt, a working Tribe is more important.
    I have a true story to share with you.
    Last September, I posted a comment in a tribe I belonged to about wanting to change certain aspects in my life. I received a reply from a gentleman the very next day. We clicked immediately and a week later, he invited me to visit. A week after that, he asked me to stay with him. He is now my Husband and Best Friend Forever.
    Keep up the good work, and thank you for enriching my life with Tribe.

  9. Mark,
    I just want to say Thanks for continuing to make Tribe happen. It’s one of those things that means a lot to those of us in the community and I suspect that’s why you may see a lot of emotional responses when it comes to it’s continued existence. I’ve been a supporter and will continue to be. I realize that it can’t be your main focus and appriciate the resources you do put into it. Keeping it alive has allowed me to make and keep contact with many friends and I’d hate to see it go away.

  10. Dear Mark,
    Firstly, I really would like to thank you for having this forum … for those of us who cannot get onto tribe, as subscribed and non-subscribed members but still devotees of the site, we wholeheartedly thank you because we know that you have other, really exciting projects on the go.
    So please please please don’t take this as an attack on you .. it’s really not. I really appreciate the fact that you suggested emailing darren, though it came to nothing … i have also tried emailing wendy and other employees etc whilst inviting them to be my new friend on my latest attempt at creating a profile, eurynome parte deux, since i have not received the confirmation letter STILL! and yes, all spam blockers are off, which is fun … i luuuurve waking up to naked whores in my inbox! i’m straight with a kink, just like my hair, but NOT that kinky … sheeesh!
    I think that many of our comments comes merely from frustration and the lack of those who are being paid to run tribe doing so properly.
    i wrote to you earlier on my acct yet am still having the same problems.
    I did email as you suggested, but heard nothing back ….
    i have tried over and over again to retrieve p/wds and this same error msg comes up EVERY TIME!
    something VERY WRONG is going on at Tribe’s end … its looming demise is what i think it’s called.
    all i want is to retrieve passwords for these accts … and maybe, just maybe get a verification letter from tribe so i can actually start joining tribes again, if these others aren’t going to work. (this must be another acct i set up hoping to get bk into tribe thru the back door door as it were)
    can you offer any other suggestions for those of us who really rely on tribe?
    apparently wendy has a facebook acct which i do also, and most people only get responses from her there …
    i just wonder what is going on with the empayees? i understand it must be an extremely difficult task, shooting off emails, hell, i still havent received a confirmation/verification email for eurynome parte deux … does anyone there know how to email?!?
    their lack of concern for us, especially for those of us who do have a subscription is utterly ridiculous … just as the titanic hit the iceberg, the band played on .. i just want my band back!!!!!
    if you have any more suggestions on how to reach people in the know, please let us all know. It has now been 18 days since I have been able to get into eurynome’s acct and i miss her!!!!!! I know it sounds odd, but she is the place (she and spacegrrrl3) where i am the most free with my prose, my poetry, baring my soul etc …
    her light remains on, there are new friends who have been aready added but arent showing up, and my inbox is going to be flooded with the typical ‘where are you’s?” “How are you?” “This is my real life address so you can send me timtams and vegemite for xmas” and the awful ones “have i offended you? i havent heard from you and your light is on so you must be there” …
    i feel awful not being able to tell my friends in boston (the reason i joined in the first place) and the new ones i have made who i really have strong rapports with and have become real life friends with.
    ps the same msg also keeps appearing when i try to retrieve the p/wds … as i try to submit them, this error msg pops up, you try to explain what you were doing when the error happened, and then it tells you that the connection to the server was being reset over and over again …
    how many times does is need to be be reset btwn 6.58am and 7.30am adelaide, australia time? but this same msg appears no matter what the time of day/night i try … any suggestions for getting found that loophole?
    anyway, i really hope i havent offended you, you have been a great support and if it weren’t for this blog of yours, many of use simply could not voice our fears or our frustrations. Tribe has gotten worse since i paid my subscription but i love it so much and have so many tribes and friends that support me that i simply feel like i’m going down with the titantic.
    i thank you for taking the time to read this very verbose letter .. as a phd candidate all we can really do is blather on .. and waitress!
    cheers mark, and thank you.

  11. Sure, Tribe needs constructive dialog.
    It also needs strong leadership and management, and someone to listen to the dialog. Some of us have been wishing for this for five years, but it’s been about as effective as wishing for a pony.
    Right now what Tribe needs is serious triage. Does it not bother you even a little bit that it’s impossible for new users to sign up for Tribe, and has been for weeks? If I were king of the universe, that would be really damned close to the top of my list of things to fix.

  12. >> Some of us have been wishing for this for five years, but it’s been about as effective as wishing for a pony. <<
    hmm …
    Pincus showing up on tribe to constructively dialog
    Pincus showing up on tribe to constructively dialog
    Pincus showing up on tribe to constructively dialog …
    … bet pony.

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