Graham of Anywhere
Graham's blog: politics, poetry, and introspection

Reflections on QA and community

Today I reloaded into localhost. It’s been 6 years since I’ve seen it in its final state, and it’s still frozen in time at 5pm GMT, Saturday 11 May 2014. I wanted to pull out some old writings from the pages table, but the database design is so quirky — having been built by my teenage self — that I couldn’t just pull the pages as rows. I decided instead to brave a trip down memory lane.

I found my series of Grum’s Words articles, 1 though 10, containing various poems I’d written. About loneliness, about insecurity, about progress, about boys. I’ve added them into this combined blog, messily using unused IDs very roughly around the right points in time. I guess I should order the entries by date rather than by ID, eh? Still, I have the articles in here now, mission accomplished.

What else was there to be found? A lot of evidence of a kid running an organisation. I guess it was largely unprofessional, but it was also visioned and pure. An ethos was nurtured and it was cradled and protected for years. The community was exactly what we’d all want our world to look like — with the caveat being “on the whole”. There was a warmth and positivity and an expectation that we’d continue forever. But, of course, everything tends to disorder.

My posts by 2012 were really showing the strain. I was at a really low ebb, I was on the edge. I didn’t have the energy or the interest to be managing QA by that point. But it was a job that I couldn’t quit. But by failing to find a solution, I was the problem. I possibly couldn’t, but crucially didn’t, provide sound leadership and despite trying, and trying again, I wasn’t able to develop. QA5 was to be the next generation and we had so many ideas. Designs and plans and ambitions. Yet it was an impossible dream with a founder who found himself lost.

It took me another two years of desperation and dereliction before I was consumed by guilt and fear and sadness and a reckoning that I could save either QA or myself, but not both. So I did what I had to do. I didn’t think too much about it in the years that followed but I’ve stumbled into these memories a few times this year. Maybe because 2020 is a year for re-evaluation, or maybe just because I’m finally coming to terms with it. Maybe it’s because I’m mentally preparing to lead once again.

There are still questions to be answered, or at least secrets to be rediscovered. What does it mean to belong and what does it take to create meaningful connections? How on earth did I manage to turn a personal homepage into a thriving community? And how did I let it fall apart? I’d like to think that I’ve lived and learned, and that I know now, but the reality is that reality is evolving around us. What you know today is what you question tomorrow. The only thing I can trust in is the paramount importance of actively leading -- with integrity, and clarity of vision.
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