how about creating a Scrivener support chat channel on IRC?

Dear Scrivener Community –

I am very excited that Scrivener has taken on a dispersion and adoption rate that far exceeds Keith’s original expectations for the software, and looking back I am proud to say that I had the opportunity to be a part of witnessing Scrivener history as it unfolded.  I can remember with unparalleled clarity the excitement that coursed through me the first time I took version 1.45 – (though I’m certain the more that I dwell on it that I must have the version number wrong…  at any rate, the first version of Scrivener I used didn’t have the option to use a square cursor or turn off cursor blinking) for a spin and realized with a growing sense of awe what the software might be able to accomplish if only I asked it nicely, and off I went on the Adventure that each of us embarks on whenever we choose to do our best to learn an application inside and out.  Some take days, others weeks, a few take months, and in the case of Scrivener, if you truly want to know everything about 2.0 and all  it has to offer, including all the nuances that separate the casual from power user – who knows how long it’ll take, but for those of us that simply can't imagine life without it, its all a matter of time and dedication.  In the spirit of the (near) never-ending quest truly mastering Scrivener silently demands without apology or shrouded motive I would like to take this opportunity to offer a solution that takes a large step forward, throws off convention, and fosters camaraderie…  it’s a solution that would require a sizeable investment in effort and time, but time is something I have in excess and the opportunity to give back to the community that has given me so much is simply too enticing to pass up.  

What I’m suggesting ladies and gentlemen is that we start a #Scrivener IRC chat channel. I’ve already spoken to the leadership of the Freenode IRC Network (the digital equivelant of geek heaven – there are thousands of users that visit on a daily basis, and hundreds of channels that span the gambit of subjects- everything from Xcode programming to installing and using the growing list of popular versions of Linux). Now – connecting to the network requires that you download and install an IRC client, but google has plenty of resources already available on the subject. However – if Keith and the Scrivener leadership – give their blessing and allow this to happen I would have no issue whatsoever with writing up a step by step set of instructions that would include screenshots and all the information needed to get even the most computing-challenged up and running in as painlessly a manner as possible.

The major problem however, is that maintaining a chat channel dedicated to Scrivener would be a huge undertaking, and require a gargantuan investment in time and patience; while I’m sure there are lots of folks better qualified than myself, I guarantee that NOBODY has the amount of free time that I do. For those of you that aren’t aware, I’m severely physically handicapped – and my condition progressed recently to the point that I came as close to dying as any person could without all the slow singing and flower bringing that goes along with truly becoming metaphysically challenged. As a result, I haven’t gotten out of bed in four years, have no girlfriend, no job besides novel writing, can’t get the help I need from Medicaid to be properly rehabilitated because I was born handicapped which means that I have a pre-existing condition, (which further means a miracle not withstanding, a come back under such circumstances is statistically in the same ballpark as winning the lottery and getting struck by lightning in the same day) and quite frankly have nothing better to do with my time as a result. I would be more than happy to work for free (forever and ever), and would consider the donation of my time to the Scrivener community a labor of love – and is something tangible I could fill my days with that would allow me to give back in the manner that lead to the genesis of Scrivener to begin with. I suppose one of the Scrivener Gods would have to fill in the gaps in my understanding of 2.0 to make me truly effective, but writing is something that I do 7 days a week, 12-15 hours a day, 365 days a year. I carry on at this relentless place because – well – call me delusional, but I can’t imagine doing anything else, and that’s a pre-requisite for making professional daydreaming a paying profession.

Naturally, all this pre-supposes that Keith and the Scrivener leadership dig my idea; in the end, it may very well go down in a blaze of flame and glory as a total and utter failure – but if we spread the word, and people showed up it could very well cut down on the number of emails Scrivener staff have to answer, and that’s got to be appealing at some level. Beyond that, I know from experience that getting answers from a flesh and blood human being has a profound effect on the bottom line… and at the very least a whole bunch of writers would have a common place to congregate, a new reason to procrastinate, and a new conduit through which to form bonds of friendship that no forum can replicate with any degree of true success. And hey – if nothing else it would give us all an opportunity to interact with Keith himself directly on occasion – what could possibly be cooler than that?

In the end, if Scrivener leadership deem this a bad idea, then so be it. But I’ve already gotten my ducks in a row – U’ve already spoken to the Freenode IRC network leadership and it wouldn’t cost anything to create or maintain the channel, nor cost anyone who uses it anything at all. Freenode is and always will be free to anyone who wants to use it, and from the word go, I can have the channel up and running in less than 45 minutes. The step by step instructions on how to connect to the server and use IRC would take a day at the most to put together, though there are several different IRC client applications available for the Mac platform – but a majority are free and at their core, function in exactly the same way. If you can I.M. you can use IRC. I’ve been using it for well over 15 years and would consider it a great honor to be given the responsibility of running and maintaining it, and if you’d rather someone else take charge – I have no qualms whatsoever with following someone else’s lead that’s better qualified than me. I serve at the pleasure of Scrivener Staff, and will not move a muscle without their blessing, but truly and honestly believe it’s a great idea and merits at least a trial test period of a few weeks, and am willing to shoulder the responsibility of its success or failure.

Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you. I am thankful for Scrivener and the entire community that gives it meaning and wish you all the best this Thanksgiving holiday.

Most Respectfully,
Christopher Ryan

p.s. I own my own webspace and am toying with the idea of creating a blog dedicated to all the applications that constitute my current writing application workflow. (Scrivener 2.0 for draft creation, Word 2011 for research and development of concepts and weaving together the timelines and all the aspects that constitute a complex detailed plot line along with Character development & plot momentum into one huge outline document; and finally, when outlining in word ultimately fails (and it has consistantly due to the complete lack of detailed info on how office 2011 for mac truly works… Wouldn’t you know it – I was dumb enough to upgrade and now have to relearn EVERYTHING i once knew which was actually quite extensive) As a result i have found myself turning instead to omnioutliner 3 pro while i wrestle what i need to know out of the Mactopia forum leadership. How many of you would benefit from tutorials and a blog dedicated to those three applications and their features?

p.p.s. Keith & David – I pay for far more online resources and bandwidth than i actually use - would it help if I donated some to the Scrivener website? I simply want to contribute something useful and ultimately help you so badly… if its mine to give - ask and its yours!