I've been a rather silent member of this community for about two and a half years. The number of journals I've posted and commented on has declined, and the number of groups I was active with has diminished. I say this to establish precedence; in the eight and a half years of my being here, the previous quarter has been substantially less active.
It's no secret that for a while, the Rooster Teeth community at large has been perceivably changing in ways that some of the more tenured folks would say is for the worse. Rapid expansion in regards to company outlook, projects, and overall presence has moved the company in a state of natural, albeit quickened, progression. The fact of the matter is, Rooster Teeth is not the same organization it was 5 years ago, or 10 years ago, or 13 years ago. The mistake we, as a community, have made is assuming it would stay the same. We found a home in a tight-knit community and believed it would stay that way so long as we did. That is no longer how things are, and it is not at the fault of Rooster Teeth; it is our own.
Rooster Teeth, as a company, has strived to keep promises made to us, and from my perspective, they have succeeded. For over thirteen years, they have delivered content to us that has been both good and bad. It has entertained, drawn criticism, made us happy, made us cry, and maintained a consistency that cannot be often matched by major content production corporations. They have continued to provide a website that, while faltering at times, is still here with the necessary means of keeping in contact and forming new connections with fellow users. This site has outlived some of the largest names in early 21st century Internet user-to-user networking history, and that is a very strong testament to its fortitude.
I will not lie to you and say it's been nothing but great success for 13 years, and this is from an outsider's perspective. Rooster Teeth has had to adjust from a company of less than two dozen people making videos in a second-floor studio to an internationally-recognized corporation responsible for almost two hundred employees in three established locations creating content on par with feature films and documentaries. This is not an easy transition. This is a move that requires major overhauling on literally every aspect of the organization's foundation. A constant throughout this, no matter how we perceive it, is the recognition of the community. Any other wildly successful group would recognize the blunt fact that they do not need their original community once they have amassed a following in the millions. The people they once catered to are now few and far between, and they have larger audiences to satisfy.
This is not something Rooster Teeth has done. They have not abandoned their community, despite the functionality of the website or the lowered level of responses from the administration to that community. They are still here, and we are still here, and so long as we both agree to be here, that is not something that will be destroyed. But let me put this as bluntly as possible: Rooster Teeth is not indebted to us. They do not need to dote on our every wish and demand. The community contributed to their foundation, and in turn, they have given us a place to call home. That is a mutually-beneficial relationship. That is what we have. The mere notion that we are owed a fully-functioning website devoted to making specific groups or forums work like they used to is a false-footed thought that shouldn't be entertained, because we are all adults capable of keeping in contact with the people we have connected with without having to rely on a single form of communication to maintain that connection.
The receding functionality of the website's core community aspects is not what might be causing the community to decay; it is us. It is our own unwillingness to nurture the community from the inside. It is our inability to adapt to a new environment alongside the company we have so dearly loved. We are the tree and Rooster Teeth is the one who planted the seed. That does not mean we should expect them to be the only one to water us after we've sprouted. A testament to this community is its ability to endure. If we are able to keep ourselves intact and host community events and meet with each other and love one another, we are able to transcend this imaginary requirement of a digital group or a digital forum, because those are not what make us a community. Those are tools we have used in the past to foster bonds and relationships, to create the families we belong to today, are not the only tools available to us. We are able to keep moving forward together.
If you believe in this community and in the people in it and in the people who helped create it, then you should know better than to attack Rooster Teeth and say they're the architects of our decline. Rooster Teeth gave you a place to find yourself among like-minded individuals. They shouldn't have to hold your hand and keep you from letting that place wither and die. There are community groups active and lively today and I am proud to be a member of one of them, because it is within these groups that the true definition of community shines. It is when the people band together and stay together that longevity is achieved. If we are truly the lifeblood of the community, it's time we acted like it and stuck together under a company who dared to ask us over a decade ago, "Do you ever wonder why we're here?"
It's time we recognized that a community is not defined by where they congregate or how they communicate; it's defined by who we are. We are Rooster Teeth.