I started TheChocolateLife back in January 2008 as an on-line community to share my passion for chocolate. That passion was ignited back in 1994, led to my starting chocophile.com back in May 2001 and to getting a book published in 2007, and to enabling me to travel to many interesting places and make a lot of very good friends.
But it almost didn't happen that way. Very early on, one of my first members (Casey Meshbesher of the now-shuttered The Chocolate Note), posted a review that did not meet "my guidelines." Casey pushed back saying that if I was going to try to control what people had to say - and how they said it - I would not be very successful in growing the community.
Very good advice, indeed, and I think that some of the success of the community - which is fast approaching 6000 members - is that I try to encourage a generally very positive and forward-thinking attitude in my writing and in members' discussions. Many members are surprised to find out that I spend more time behind the scenes corresponding with members than I do creating my own original content and contributing to others' discussions.
All of this came to a head over the past few days as a new member pushed back on some recent discussions I started. After taking the discussion off-line, it became apparent to me that I was at the kind of crossroads I was at back in early 2008 when Casey whacked me upside the head (metaphorically speaking).
As the community is now thousands (and not tens as it was back then), it makes sense for me to stand back and take stock of what my goals and mission are for the community. At the same time, it makes even more sense for me to ask you what you want to see in TheChocolateLife over the next four years.
So - tell me: What am I doing that you like (and don't like) and what would you like to see more of (and less of) on TheChocolateLife. I am constrained, somewhat, by the software platform, in what I can do and keep the site free for all to enjoy, but I will do what I can to learn from the spirit and intent of what you have to say - positive and not so positive - in order to help make the community work for ChocolateLife members around the world.
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
updated by @clay: 04/12/15 12:45:30AM