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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