First, I am finally getting my much needed break and I am also able to travel back home. I am flying to Russia this Thursday, in about 50 hours! :D Visas, permits, work, and other things were not letting me do this earlier and won't let me do this later at least for a while. I got this opportunity and as they say "I grab it by the balls". I should return towards the very end of this month.
Second, I regret to say it and will feel terrible after I say it, but if I don't I will be just fooling myself. It came to the point when I am starting to think that I may not be able to develop and support these tools any longer.
As the user base of these tools grows, the development and support demands are growing exponentially. Unfortunately, as a side effect, my life is starting to shrink dramatically. I am not sure if many can imagine the pressure. Most people are not aware of this, that I have 1 full time job, 1 part time job, and infrequent calls to on-site support as another part time job.
This website and the developed tools were started up as a result of having loads of free time while being in college, great ambitions and inspiration from friends. As time goes by, there is no longer such thing as "free time", great ambitions are being used by work, and inspiration - well, inspiration by it-self is just not enough to support this heavy load. At this point in time, support of these tools takes around 1-2 hours a day, each day. This time is taken out of my free personal time, which could possibly be allocated to the development of tools, or maybe simply for my own personal needs. Support and development do require huge amount of effort and strength.
Maybe it is my own fault that these tools take soo much from my life. Maybe I am just too responsive to people. From my personal experience, I know that authors of even commercial software are not even partially as responsive. I always tried to help and satisfy the needs of as many as possible, but this tactic doesn't seem to help me any more. In some cases, it provokes people to bring even more load onto my shoulders. Just to offer an example: Today, after work, shower, dinner, a quick chat with friends, and I sat down answering support emails and responding to new posts on forums. It took roughly 4 hours, so by the time I was finished with it all, it was 1am. How's that for a hobby.
Many of you know from experience that I give every suggestion a fair trial. I weight all pros and cons, taking many different factors into consideration. It is not feasible to describe in details all the reasons, but I always try to give a brief reason for either implementing or not implementing a feature/suggestion. This may sound ironic, but I had several cases which almost led to a fight, where a user was offended by my decision regarding some particular suggestion. I truly had enough of such attitude. Even if we put my experience, research and logical reasoning for my decisions into the trash bin, I am still the author of these tools and I decide what I do with them. I do not charge people for using these tools or even for requesting support. I defiantly do not have an obligation to satisfy everybody's needs and wants. To make matters worse, some people are not willing to spend an extra minute of their own time to help me answer their question faster, making me spend 2,3,4,5 times more effort to answer a question.
I am truly shocked by this whole situation, as you can see. I do not blame anybody. I know that most of you are simply trying to improve these tools. I believe it is my own ambitions which led to this situation. I don't know yet where we are going from here. One thing is for sure, I want my holidays to be spent on me and not the work. I guess we will find out how this situation works out when I get back...
I apologise for the harsh words, but it seemed right at the time of writing.