I've been quite disheartened recently to realize that a lot of the articles going into the Times are Whyvillians talking about how they're "drifting away" from Whyville or how it's not what it used to be. For a long while now I don't think anyone has written about their positive experiences in our town so I thought I'd break the mold.
Whyville the Community
Back in the days when we had 100 people and 5 chatrooms, everyone knew everyone else and could name the City Workers and staff of Whyville off by heart. Now we have literally millions of people but everyone still knows who you mean if you say "scylla" or "coole" and most people have probably talked to one of them at some point. The City Workers are always friendly and chatty (even if some of us act like right pains!). Whyvillians help Whyvillians through Y-helping and we have our friendly Times Writers and Senators to look up to. Any Whyvillian, however young or old, can contribute through the Times and the BBS. This undoubtedly beats other kids websites where your voice is lost in the masses. Kids who use Whyville are not "users" or "customers". They are Whyvillians and part of the community.
"Educational" is a curse word when it comes to most kids. I think Whyville has been and really has the potential to get rid of the stigma attached to anything that might even vaguely teach you something through it's games and talks. However, the thing that, in my opinion, really sets Whyvillians on a path to something great is the Whyville Times. I look back at my articles from 2004 and I am horrified. The Times helps kids learn how to express their opinions in an imaginative and concise way and I think the Bulletin Board System is key to getting writers to improve their work. Writing articles for this wondrous paper really made me understand what I wanted to do with myself and I'm not even exaggerating for dramatic effect! I also firmly believe that the Times has done this for many other people and I have already got the Whyville Times on my CV (resume).
Whyville Gives Opportunities
Personally, there are so many things that I'd never have experienced if I had not joined Whyville. I live in England and to this day, apart from in Whyville, I have never talked to anyone who lived in either Canada or America. How cool is that? And that's not it! I've been interviewed for the LA Times, led a club, hosted an awards evening and got to interview a Whyville outsider (a visitor)! Many of these things are personal but the ordinary Whyvillian has the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds, publish their opinion in an online newspaper, mentor other people (always useful) and take part in unimaginable extra-curricular activities. No one can say that Whyville gives you the same humdrum feel.
Whyville is so amazing that you won't find anywhere else like it anywhere on the Internet. No other website has grown up like Whyville and being on it is a unique experience. Many of us, myself included, have been over-critical of Whyville and though this can help to create a better Whyville, I think it has blinded us of how utterly amazing this website is. I can't imagine how much work has been put into this website and however much other Whyvillians and I criticize it, I'd like to let the City Workers how eternally grateful everyone is. Thank you.
I don't care if this article sounds to you like I'm sucking up or being overly positive. I really am proud to be a Whyvillian.