|Purred: Wed Jan 22, '14 11:17pm PST |
|Bruce, you make a wonderful plea. I hope someone at SAY Media is reading this thread and can put themselves in the shoes of the many humans who feel that with the euthanizing of the Catster Community they are losing their safe space, their resources (both emotional and practical, in terms of tips from experienced fellow cat lovers), and a TRUE community which is interactive and open-ended. The Catster Community has never been simply about content generated by someone else, that we then respond to and debate without really knowing the other respondents, like a magazine or newspaper article's "comments" section. It has rather been about whatever concerns our pawrents have in relation to us, their beloved pets, and their feeling of cameraderie with a group of trusted, understanding FRIENDS they can turn to when they need to voice those concerns and try to find solutions.
My Mama isn't yet depressed about this, probably because of her meds. But she has a terrible amount of anxiety over trying to salvage some of the things she treasures about Catster - our pages, our diaries and the comments from our beloved friends, the thousands of loving messages contained within our rosettes, and - very importantly - the helpful and extensive health-oriented groups she admins. There is a treasure trove of material here on Catster, input by thousands of members over the years, that is truly irreplaceable. We are stunned that SAY Media does not comprehend the value in that material and cannot find the means or willpower to archive it for future cats and pawrents in need of advice or support. We view this website as a worldwide cultural artifact, and the question of whether to archive it is not simply one of a business bottom line, but of ethical responsibility and willingness to do right toward living beings.
We love the Catster community of friends, and we will not let it disappear in entirety without first doing what we can to salvage some of the valuable information and treasured relationships it has spawned. But we are highly plugged in daily, not just on Catster but on other social networks where many, but not all, of our friends are known to us. Not all Catsters are like us however. Some only have occasional internet access. Some are bewildered by other social media, or don't trust it, or are simply too young to utilize it safely. Some are oldtime Catsters whose original-member pets have gone to the Rainbow Bridge, so they visit the site less frequently now but still treasure the community they found here. They may be unaware of the termination of the Community until it is too late - and when they try to come back, perhaps to reflect on a pet's page and reconnect with old friends on a birthday or Bridge day, or to look for advice on how to tempt an ailing pet's appetite from those who already have experienced the trials and blessings of caring for a medically fragile animal - their pages will not be here, their groups will not be here, their pets' visible memorials will not be here. We can only imagine the psychological devastation they will then endure.
It is unbelievable to us that SAY Media would not consider these intangible but very human and humane factors, and make some accommodation for, at very least, archiving the existing Community content, facilitating transfer of original content back to its creators (US!), and establishing some "town square" means for their longterm customers - their "cherished members" according to one newsletter posting - to re-connect off Catster, even if they no longer value us on it.
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