The State Of The Site

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Posted by Rich/Mohican Press on March 21, 1999 at 06:40:31:

This is an attempt to clarify, reassure, enlighten, and otherwise muddy the waters created by the reaction to Elaine's, my colleague, post regarding our future involvement with this Web Site. Ready? Get yourselves a BIG cup of coffee (hear me, Jo?) or whatever it is you drink ...

Much of what I'll be saying is rehash of stuff I've pointed out over the course of the past two years to you. It's for the benefit of newer folks, as well as an aid in tying it all together. Though I'm attempting a total picture here, I know I will fail miserably. One thing I've learned during this time: No matter WHAT I say, SOMEONE will misinterpret it ...

Our little site checked in at a mere .4MB on April 7, 1997. It was, from day one, a commericial site. I had my guide booklet to the film's locations to sell, and that is the reason the site came into existence ... in the beginning. The site comprised, then, what is now the "Pathfinding ..." section of the site. That was it, plus a few links to people who helped us get started like Tony Hinde & Kristy. It wasn't long before we decided to expand & make it much more comprehensive, adding the Musings, the Script - slowly, scene by scene - the History section, and the Board. Later, we added the Gift Shop, then the Chat Room, the Off The Beaten Trail, etc. The site grew, space-wise, to it's current nearly 100MB (we have 200MB of total space, our own secure site, 2 working boards, etc.). I was telling someone in an E-Mail this week, for the two years the site's been up, there were maybe 10 weeks where we didn't add new stuff. Nearly every week we'd put something new together, sometimes 2, 3, 4, or even 5 major new additions. This week is no exception. It has been a frantic pace, but we set it for ourselves. It's been extremely time consumming and very expensive. The main reason we originally opened the Gift Shop was to recoup some of those expenses of time & money and make the site financially independent. Simply, raising a family of 8 children on ONE income, as we have chosen to do, makes it financially impossible to keep this site going WITHOUT selling from it. And, we're not talking the books here. The guide book is still paying for the money we outlayed to have it printed! Bottom Line? This is not, contrary to a lone voice's demented "opinion," a money making operation. Hopefully, it IS a money RE-COUPING thing, but that's about it.

All that said, we wouldn't have done it, or still be doing it, if we didn't LOVE it. It simply wouldn't be worth it! Love it we do! It's our BABY (like we NEED another?)!! Elaine, who puts as much into this site as I do, made her comments based upon conversations we've had over time, more so of late. We simply CAN'T keep going at the same rate we have been if for no other reason than we've covered so much already. That is not to say there isn't more that we want & can do. We will probably forever keep adding a Musing now & then. We will never turn down a good interview, and, in fact, are pursuing one or two currently. The History Section will never be complete, but right now a history of the Mohawks is sorely lacking. The Gift Shop will expand, and the Off The Beaten Trail, particulary The Courier, will always be crying out for new material, at least as long as The Board keeps thriving! Plus, who knows what new things & ideas lay along the still unexplored path? I believe it was Curtis Gaston, Soldier #1, who was the first LOTM-vet to contact us and offer material. It's been a long line ever since. The site could never be what it is without the input of those involved.

So, we have no intention of abandoning MohicanLand! As I said, we love it TOO much! It's a passion. We've made some really neat friendships, developed relationships with some rather interesting personalities, learned a lot, laughed a bunch. The Site continues to thrive. No matter how many blows we suffer, it keeps rolling right along. Just wait till the next TV airing of LOTM, or, better yet, The Director's Cut release (just hoping here; no news)! If there ever is a DC of LOTM, this place will be a-hopping, I assure you! Two Gatherings have been nurtured, two DC Drives ... So then, why would we say we need to pull back; maybe do away with the Weekly Update? There are 4 concrete reasons. I'll enumerate them now, for you:

1 - The constant badgering & bad-mouthing we receive from a tiny little segment of Eric Schweig "fans." This wouldn't be too bad if the accusations and lies were thrown OUR way. We know the truth, we can refute, positively, every one of their nasty little pieces of BS. Or, we could simply ignore it. That, though, becomes very hard to do when it is thrown about, almost nonchalantly, to the PUBLIC. Not here, of course, they'd be chewed up & spit out in no time. Rather, it's done in other forums - boards, E-Mail lists, & chat rooms ... always getting more & more secretive, because, you see, we always learn of their presence! Someone invariably alerts us to the manure spreaders. Thank you! At this point, we have PAGES & PAGES & PAGES of things we've copied that have been posted publicly and are nothing more than malicious, vulgar, blatant pieces of libel. Thankfully, too, we've heard from legal sources who have spelled out some options. Yes, MohicanLand is a WONDERFUL place! If someone were to come forward, at some point, and they were to say that they didn't purchase one of Eric's masks BECAUSE of this crap, the bad-mouthers will then, for sure, disappear! We are VERY close! It's all been very disheartening and draining, though, & sometimes makes one feel like, "Why bother?"

2 - Feedback, or, lack of. One of our goals is to write, or present, stuff that gets folks to think, resulting in discussion on The Board - feedback! Not of the "You guys are great" variety, though we love to hear compliments, as well. We're talking dissection, interaction, critiques, opinions ... stuff like that. It does happen, but considering the shear numbers of people who access this Board, it doesn't happen all that much. So, we are left wondering, "Is it us? Does anybody care? Why bother?" Same conclusion as #1, though certainly it doesn't weigh as heavy. We get bunches of E-Mail, many of which, if posted, would likely generate good solid conversation. Feedback stimulates the creative process. Without it, it all becomes more of a chore.

3 - Other projects: Elaine has started a site called TeaThyme & I have my Against All Odds site. Both require time, which often is allocated instead to MohicanLand. We need more than 24 hours per day, that's the ONLY solution!

4 - Stress from all of the above, particulary #1, spills over into our family life. That cannot be.

What's the solution? We have to cut back, if only a bit, from this site. Take ourselves away a little bit more. Think about how much time each of you spends here. It is miniscule compared to the long hours we have to spend creating & maintaining it. Elaine, the night owl, is often up til 3 or 4 AM working on the site.

But then, as Victoria wisely asked, could we really stay away as we try to colonize the entire New World? No. We can't. Nor do we have any intention of doing so. Again, WE LOVE IT TOO MUCH! It has become an addiction. Couple that with a passion for the creative genius of the the film maker & the lure of the times, and we really couldn't stop doing this. Besides, there's all of you good people we've met through the site; so many other people we would never have met without it ... from cast & crew to authors & agents & historians & so many others. Things are always happening. Right now, there's a little project that will soon be on The Eric Schweig: Actor & Artisan part of the site that came out of the blue. It is ALWAYS is like that.

As for the Weekly Update, that started by accident. I tried to stop once, afraid of being looked upon as "pompous", but it didn't work. I have found that people, generally, enjoyed it. I enjoy it. I look forward to getting up on Sundays just to chat with you all for a bit. The facts are, though, that the less we do, the less there would be to tell you about. Every once in a while, today not being one of those :), I have to force it. Rather than do that, I'll just not post that particular week. So, The Weekly Update will continue, it just might not be EVERY week. We'll see - week to week - what the situation demands.

To sum up, there are great frustrations associated with running this site, along with family considerations and an already comprehensively covered subject, that could cause us to devote less time than has been customary to On The Trail Of The Last Of The Mohicans. We are NOT going to abandon MohicanLand. We WILL continue to expand. The Weekly Update will continue, though probably not every single week. In no way will The Gathering be affected.

We want to thank each and every one of you for your continued visitation & support AND for remaining untainted in the face of some withering attacks we have had to endure! It is MOST appreciated!

Now, I'll have a REAL Weekly Update a little bit later on. I didn't want it to get lost amidst this post.

Thanks for listening.

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