Venting thoughts + need advice + moving forward...

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Hey, it's been a while since you guys last heard from me - real life has gotten the better of me since I found a job within the last month. Figuring out a new work-life balance has been rough, but I'll do my best to tip the scales so I spend more time on dA again. 

I just wanted to vent a few things to you guys and ask for advice on what to do in this situation and how to move forward from it. This is mostly about my participation in a certain closed species group and then reflecting on how I run my own. If this isn't your cup of tea, I understand - no hard feelings if you're not interested in reading. 


So I'm in a closed species group that I've supported for a few years now, adopted many designs, and invested thousands of dollars into. However, I find myself very unhappy with it overall - and have been for a while now as well (2+ years). Here are my reasons why: 
  1. It is a highly exclusive species. You either have to shell out hundreds to thousands of dollars on a fast internet speed or have insanely good luck to adopt designs from this species... or both. I commend them for doing regular flatsale raffles, but common designs are increasingly getting more expensive, and baby designs still need to be "grown" via years of participation or (again) spending money for growths/upgrades. MYO slots are hardly ever available, too, which is something many groups use to increase availability and accessibility to interested parties. 
  2. Group features are (mostly) unavailable to players. I don't know if this has changed since I've distanced myself from the group, but as far as I'm aware, MYO's and baby growths have been unavailable for a little under a year now. The growth block prevents some members from fully being able to enjoy their characters, being restricted to designs that are most likely temporary, because there is an expectation to "grow" the baby designs as part of the game. 
  3. The owner is not receptive to feedbackI have heard time and time again of people voicing similar - if not these exact concerns - to the mods/admins/owner, only to be dismissed. I understand that the group staff members can only do so much, but it leaves a lot to be said about the owner to not even address the concerns of their member base. 
  4. The owner is irresponsible and hardly visible. I am a patron of this species, and have been from the very beginning. Updates used to be more frequent and made it worth it, but I can tell you 100% that it is not worth it currently. We can go months without an update, but the owner still charges their patrons monthly for subscriptions up to $15. When there is an update, it is usually a life update about mental health, real life, etc. Which isn't wrong to do - but when you're having so many issues, you gotta admit that you can't keep up with the patreon or the other commitments you made when you took your patrons' money upfront. And by that, I mean I am still waiting on a custom from over two years ago, for which I paid several hundred upfront. I also never received a response (or invoice) to a growth/upgrade purchase from early this year. 
  5. The culture is almost cult-like. The community is overall very cult-like. People rush to defend the owner when under heat or question, and overall, no one wants to speak up about their concerns about the species for fear of backlash. If you so much as voice concerns in the community, it's not uncommon to be brushed off by the staff members and owner - and no one bats an eyelash. This is really scary to me, raises super big red flags, and makes me very uncomfortable in the community. 
Because of these reasons, I've been feeling like leaving for a while now, but I just... can't. There are many things that tie me to the group, like my attachment to the designs I've adopted, the friends I've made, and the fact that I know I will not get these designs back if I sell them. BUT! I already sold a couple and don't miss them. I don't know if I should just bite the bullet and go... or if I should try to stay. But I can't justify having so much money invested in a species that makes me so uncomfortable/uneasy. But I love the designs. But money. I don't know what to do. What would you do in this situation?


Now... for a more personal vent:

Lately, I feel like I've become this type of species owner. I feel self-conscious because I, too, take a while to finish comms, I bite off more than I can chew, take random breaks from the internet, release content like once a year, etc. But my members still support me. It makes me feel really uneasy because I don't want to be this type of owner. I just don't know if my members are feeling about me like I feel about this group. I don't want anyone to feel like how I feel right now. It's not a good feeling. So please, if you're feeling this way about Mothcats, please come to me and talk to me. I own up to it that I haven't been 100% on my game for the past couple of years. Grad school took a toll, then real life, job, etc. I don't have the time I used to have to devote to the group, and I've had trouble rebalancing my schedule so that I can keep up with it. 

So... I need to bite the bullet. I need to stop making excuses and just Do Things so that my mind can rest easy - and my members as well.

Moving forward, I will do my best to: 
  1. Adhere to a regular release schedule, whether it is to post adoptables, lore, or just general quality of life updates for the group. 
  2. Balance my schedule so that there is time for personal stuff while still maintaining commission/group stuff. 
  3. Be more on top of answering growth requests, group submissions, and general contact. 
  4. Do my best to make sure that my members are happy and feel welcome to speak up when they have something to address. 
If you have advice on anything I said here, or thoughts, or anything, I have an open-door policy. Feel free to comment, note, DM me @ Misa#2222, or have a friend contact me if you're uncomfortable speaking to me directly.

Thanks for reading!


Journal skin coded by floramisa for Misaverse use only.
Published:
© 2019 - 2021 floramisa
Comments36
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Improbable-Tori's avatar
I know this is an old journal and you've made a decision on what to do, but were you able to find out if you can convert the characters you're keeping into personal designs?

if you can, then that would probably be ideal, I think...
GL selling the ones you still have available tho!

but honestly in terms of the MCs group and, having more experience now with other groups/sites, I wanna point out that you've always made an effort to self-reflect on your decisions (including getting input from other mods, etc.) and keep everyone in the group as updated as possible, which is more than I can say for some other owners.
it might seem like common sense or a small thing, but members VERY MUCH value that.
I think you're very approachable, even despite the issues I've had, and you've been very open/receptive to ALL members

another big thing to me is that, while sometimes auctions can be a little expensive with MCs (though from what I've seen, not only is "expensive" relative, but adopts/designs have generally only been $100+ for specific events, like the yearly charity event), the MYOs are VERY affordable and consistently priced, not to mention that there are other ways to work to obtain a MC...
I think that accessibility and the relaxed atmosphere of the group in terms of participation make MCs a good and BALANCED arpg group. Like, y'all are nowhere near "cult-like" (which I've seen in a couple of adopt groups) and while the Discord chat was sometimes clique-y (in my experience), when that was pointed out pretty much everyone was polite & nice and attempted to include other folks more.
Improbable-Tori's avatar
side note on the "expensive" comment:

I should have probably mentioned -- when I say $100+ is expensive, I'm looking at it from the standpoint of someone with little to no disposable income and also thinking about like... kids or folks who don't have the means to make their own money.

I'm not trying to shame you or anyone else who sells adopts/designs for $100+, but I know for me personally, if there's a species where the main way to purchase designs is by auction or smthng and prices immediately jump to $500+, it's a big discouragement bc I just don't have that kind of money in general.

also I don't think there's anything wrong with pricing your art / designs / adopts that way, ESPECIALLY bc artists are often investing so much time in their works, I just personally know that I don't and won't have it like that any time soon, THEREFORE having more affordable ways to obtain adopts or design your own MC for folks makes the group not only seem more welcoming, but it makes members who have a lot of MCs seem less like an "exclusive" group of people. (not that there's anyone wrong with having a bunch of MCs or spending a lot on them, but I've seen A LOT of cs groups where folks who have the most quantity of adopts and/or adopts with the most exclusive traits are put on a pedestal and I think you've successfully avoided that with the MCs group)
JiggyJaggy's avatar
I know what species you are talking about and honestly feel a little let down by it. A friend is waiting on a MYO Kittom approval so they can pass them to me (something pre-arranged) and when she commented the journal was open, but then a mod said the journal was closed and it would have to now wait (you might see there are only a couple hours between one commenter getting theirs through and my friend's being declined). Well that was back in February and nothing since. I even asked on the group page (after being ignored in the questions section on their discord) about what was happening as basically it locked me out of the species and as events were still going on I was missing out on being able to participate and also grow the Kittom. Although I did receive a response honestly it kinda boiled down to 'we hope it's open soon, but we can't guarantee that' which after so long waiting is kinda deflating to hear. I still love the look of the species and the events but this whole thing has kinda left a bitter taste in my mouth and at this stage I am not even sure I want to keep the Kittom Shrug emoji 
floramisa's avatar
Ah, yes, I am frustrated by the lack of a timeline as well. It's also left a bitter taste in my mouth, which is why I feel the same way you feel. I only really want to keep a certain few - my first one (and one I'm most attached to), my customs (because they were made just for me), and one that I jumped through hoops to get and don't plan on letting go of anytime soon, haha!
JiggyJaggy's avatar
Honestly it's so tempting sometimes to just buy one a  Kittom that has gone UFS for offer, like on your recent journal, just so I have a registered design and can get into the events etc, but then I think it's kind of silly that I have to do that anyway whilst I am waiting so long and have to stop myself lol.
floramisa's avatar
That's a mood haha. I understand.
trashcanime's avatar
i think i know what species ur talking about and i’d dump them, adopts are not life and death ... you can invest your time into another species with a better community and a creator that actually cares about their buyers. i think the exclusivity/time invested is what keeps most people around but i could never imagine willingly staying in such a poor set up, esp if you’re able to get your money back and move in to something that will probably make you happier in the long run. adopts are a hobby and at the end of the day if the hobby isn’t fun anymore you can’t let memories keep you there, it’s time to find something you can really enjoy. 
floramisa's avatar
This is true! I've been stressing myself out over something so mundane as adoptables on an art site. Thank you for your insight. It was really helpful in leading me to my conclusion.
mewhaku's avatar
Just want to put that out there- about being a closed species group owner, having a rough schedule- being away-
I have a lot of those same feelings. You aren't alone, but you can do things as you mentioned to help those feelings. 

So I hope mentioning that you're not alone helps you feel a bit better? I totally get your position- and I hope you can do things that continue to make you feel happy and put together/more scheduled. You've always been communicative as a group owner (at least in my opinion) and open- and that's what counts, you know?

I've always appreciated working with you/having questions for you that you've helped me answer inside/outside of group.
You're awesome to be handling so much, Misa! I've never felt this way with Mothcats. 

--

As for your species issues- that's... hard. I've usually just converted species based designs that I'm no longer in the community of (or its dead) to other species or original characters. I'm not sure if that's allowed for your particular species.

The idea of having patrons and promising a reward but not completing it does bother me too- as a species owner (who has a very inactive Patreon) I wouldn't make promises I couldn't keep. That's a show of bad faith, in the sense that you should keep people updated or show that you are making progress to make things up.

So that's hard. If it's making you unhappy though- I'd definitely explore the possibility of making them original characters from the species based designs. Start making your own world with them. Or, leaving them as they are, just sorta do your own thing? Maybe not buy more, but just enjoy what you have and worldbuild as you can without needing group input. 

EDIT: Considering the money spent- I'd probably try to thin down if you go the turn them to OC's route though. 
floramisa's avatar
Thank you so much for your kind words. They really mean a lot, and I'm relieved to hear I'm not the only one who feels that way (though I wish none of us felt that way!).

I'll probably try to turn some into regular OC's or Mothcats for sure, but we'll see what I do with the rest of them I'm not as attached to.
mewhaku's avatar
You're welcome. And well, its true! (but yes, ideally one wouldn't feel that way at all, haha- I'm just personally so glad I'm done school!! Even if I work a lot...)
I'm just thankful I have such supportive friends and staff around- and that is so encouraging to try and do more you know? =)
You'll get there. Just keeping on doing and pursuing what brings you happiness. 

-
Good luck on those decisions as well. I know it must be hard. Sometimes it really is about ripping the bandaid off too. >_<;; Best wishes in your endeavors Misa!
MowenDesigns's avatar
You definitely have to do what's best for you. Think about if the situation is still the same 3 months from now, 6 months from now, a year from now, etc, would you be happy with the situation? If not, is there a level of involvement that you would be comfortable with if the situation is still the same a year from now? Or do you think it'd be best to just completely cut ties? When you're emotionally invested it's always hard but you have to do what's best in the long run, and accept that you can't control the situation / make the situation be what you want, or else you'll drive yourself crazy.

My recommendation would be that if the answer to the above questions is no, to sell most of your adopts of this species, and maybe keep 1-2 that are on the lower end investment-wise, so that you can still participate / engage with your friends that you are attached to in the group. Especially since you've already sold a couple and do not regret it. That way you still have a way to interact with your friends in the group and if the group improves in the future you can always increase your involvement then. I know I've felt this way about some groups / species before and it does really drag down your enjoyment when you feel like you have so much invested in something that doesn't seem to be going the right direction. It is probably best for your sanity to at least reduce the amount you have sunk in it to a level where you feel more comfortable. 

Regarding the "cult-like" aspect I find I feel this way about a lot of adoptables groups. I'm not sure why but these communities can get pretty white-knight-y, maybe just art followers in general... I'm not really sure how much the owners can do about it because they can't watch every interaction, and I've seen owners ask people to stop white knighting but it still happens... @_@ I think probably what would help is other people speaking up when they feel someone is being shut down, but it is a tricky situation and I do wish adoptables communities in general saw feedback as less of an attack and more as well, feedback :P
floramisa's avatar
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words. The hypothetical questions you asked definitely helped me come to the conclusion that I have about what to do. Your thought process is exactly what I needed to get through to my conclusion.

As for the cult-like aspect, yeah, I don't think there's any way to fully solve it but I also haven't really seen efforts from the owner to curb such behavior. (Which is something I've openly and actively done in my group to prevent it.) I had some people share with me their experiences of receiving backlash for suggesting a mere opinion. This kind of behavior isn't right and should at least be addressed by the owner in order to at least try and steer it in the right direction. An effort is better than none at all.

But yes! I agree. I wish feedback was seen more as... just feedback. I think that's the core issue I have with the group is that I don't feel like it is receptive to it at all.
MowenDesigns's avatar
You're welcome! And yeah I'd agree @ owners should do what they can to curb that sort of thing and invite honest and open feedback etc. I'm all about that.

I hope you feel in a better place after cutting back <3 Also hope to see you around in some manner with the babies you decide to keep /cough xD I'm sad you feel it has come to this but at the same time wholeheartedly support you doing what's best for you and what feels right to you.
MajikkanBeingsUnite's avatar
to be honest you seem like the opposite of that :meow: after all there's a pretty big difference between "takes hiatuses and isn't active daily" and "crazy money-hungry cult leader" :XD:
TBH you are pretty much the nicest species-owner.
also I can't use money on the internet without risking losing my anonymity, but I've got Astra, Zara, Blue, Dreamer, and two florabun MYOs (a won one and the free one) just for being active in the group (Ace was a gift from Arquerite) :meow: so no, you're not like that at all!

~Cat~
floramisa's avatar
Thank you for your kind words, I really appreciate it. ^^
crobatz's avatar
can you convert your designs to other species? like AU so you can keep using them in your personal work? and then ollie out on a cool skateboard? the point of cults is 2 stay in the cult and it doesnt seem to be a healthy place 2 be so id just gather ur friends and dip
floramisa's avatar
I'm not sure if I can or not, but I don't really want to take out a like $5k+ in designs just based out of attachment. Wish I had the freedom to do that LOL 

But yeah, idk. It's a # struggle.
crobatz's avatar
its fucked up that you paid 5k for something you cant do shit with
this was one of the reasons why i avoid closed species because the money vs your ownership is very fuk't and weird.
floramisa's avatar
Ohh, no sorry I didn't mean it that way. My ones that I don't want to use because they're all temp designs are on the cheaper side of that 5k. I just can't justify keeping the 5k when it leaves me with such uneasiness. :/ But also I want to keep them. But it's 5k. kinda thing
crobatz's avatar
LMAO ohh i seee

yeah its a rough situation regardless :^{ i guess you can just shove everything in storage and think about it later. is there a reason to do it sooner vs later?
floramisa's avatar
yeah! I have been pondering abt this for a few years now and I feel like it's finally time to put my foot down. idk or maybe not

that's the difficulty in it all
crobatz's avatar
sends u good vibes... good luck, whatever u choose will bring happiness (hopefully)!!!
floramisa's avatar
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