Leaving 9rules

One of the changes in the lat­est ver­sion of equiv­o­cal­ity is the removal of the 9rules leaf from my footer, mark­ing my offi­cial depar­ture from the network.

The com­mu­nity served me well in the past, and I’m proud to say that 9rules intro­duced me to many awe­some peo­ple — Dave Seah, Edrei Zahari, Nils Geylen, Joe Lencioni to name a few — some of whom I’ve been lucky enough to meet in per­son, and oth­ers I still hope to meet one day. I can say that just know­ing them has made my time with the com­mu­nity worth it, even if I got noth­ing else out of it.

But even­tu­ally there were sweep­ing changes. A revised mem­ber­ship agree­ment con­tro­ver­sially stated that par­tic­i­pa­tion in the pri­vate forum (the “Clubhouse”) was required, but it went stale any­way. At one point there was an exo­dus of very promi­nent and active mem­bers who were big names in web design and devel­op­ment. 9rules even got bought out, and years ago this news would have made waves in the web com­mu­nity, but when it hap­pened, there wasn’t so much as a ripple.

Most trou­bling, how­ever, was the behav­iour of the upper ech­e­lon. They refused to be crit­i­cized, and instead of rolling with the punches or respect­fully dis­agree­ing, they would often write long posts, rudely bash­ing any uncom­pli­men­tary arti­cles point-by-point. In a way, I under­stand. If I put that much energy into some­thing, I’d want it to be uni­ver­sally praised. But that’s never going to hap­pen with some­thing as big as 9rules.

Soon I learned that the triad thought they were above fault. I saw it in the forums when a mem­ber would opine about a change. The triad would take offense, close the thread, then open a new one, explain­ing their actions and look­ing for sup­port from other mem­bers. Others learned that dis­agree­ing with the triad could get you sum­mar­ily dis­missed. A per­son leav­ing the com­mu­nity was taken as a per­sonal insult, and they’d respond snidely, even when the per­son had every right and good rea­sons to leave. The lead­ers of a com­mu­nity rep­re­sent their mem­bers, and when they do things that embar­rass them­selves, they embar­rass the mem­bers as well.

Eventually, I decided to con­tinue as a non-participating mem­ber and dis­tance myself from the over­all net­work; 9rules would get as much out of my con­tent as I did from being a mem­ber of such a com­mu­nity. But after the last few rounds of accep­tances, I found the qual­ity of the pages to be extremely low, and I no longer wanted to be asso­ci­ated with the con­tent or the peo­ple of 9rules.

I’ve tried to turn a blind eye to many things in the past, always hop­ing there would be new lead­er­ship and inno­va­tion around the cor­ner, but too much of 9rules has left a bad taste in my mouth. It makes me sad to see a net­work that once won the Best Community Site of the Year award at SXSW dis­in­te­grate into this, but there’s no rea­son for me to stay anymore.


  1. Wow.

    I just stum­bled here by absolute chance when I clicked on the 9rules ban­ner from another blog. I clicked because I remem­ber 9rules was the exclu­sive elite web­site in which every­one wanted to be listed way back in the day (I’m talkin’ ’07/’08) and after that it just fell com­pletely off my radar.

    When I saw your post title, I ini­tially thought it was some­one who worked for 9rules leav­ing the com­pany, but to find that a 9rules mem­ber is leav­ing the site has me a lit­tle taken aback, not to men­tion for the rea­sons you cite. Looks like 9rules has taken a nose­dive over the years.

    In any event, I wish you the best of luck mov­ing for­ward. And let me be the first to con­grat­u­late you on stick­ing to your principles…a qual­ity that seems to be taken for granted all too often.

  2. I stopped try­ing to get into 9 rules when my per­sonal blog that I put so much energy and time into got rejected while my food blog that was slapped together with generic shit got accepted.

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