The importance of having Harv

June/2005: PeeJ Stuff - Back in the ol' days, people used to say I don't like anyone. Pre-PeeJ, I didn't like too many people online. Spent time picking people apart in chats, writing negative articles on ABrokenCrate and in general, raising a little havoc in my little haunts of the internet. I doubt there's anyone that would have said prior to everything happening that I should be running some huge national internet organization. Hell, even I would have scoffed at the idea.

PeeJ has always been an experiment. Like I've said in countless interviews, there was not a set plan to be a national organization. Never was an idea to do even a newspaper article. Working with police? Furthest thing from our minds for the first year. The main thing in the mind was to clean up Yahoo! Portland. Once we felt we did that to a great extent, we moved on... not because I wanted us to move on, but rather because the contributors wanted to see what was up in Cali... and then Washington... and then... you get the point.

When we became "big" in August of 2003, nobody was more surprised than I. I was downright shocked. People started asking questions we never had even considered. Law enforcement involvement? Hmm... interesting. Media? Okay... sure. The people poured into the forums and pushed us towards moving in bigger and better directions. Someone had the idea of a phone verification staff. People starting doing what is now known as "FU" on these guys in General Discussion, making a second forum necessary... that got more popular than the main forum!

All of these things occurred because the public, you guys, pushed for them.

Individuals have played a great part in expanding what we do. DMO with technical wizardry. Frag with pure effort and heart in his first year. Phoebus and Beef with backend and frontend improvements. Jay with his creative trolling mind, creating new kinds of profiles. Yet, as much as people should be thankful towards their willing involvement, nobody has had the effect on PeeJ that the person you know as Del Harvey has.

There was no person pushing for LE involvement more than Harv. I had started "Information First" as an idea in early 2004, but didn't put the brunt of my efforts into it. It was small, a victim of my divided attention. It was Del that came along and asked for more work to do, so she got delegated the task of Information First coordinator. The role has suited her to a T. Handling law enforcement requests like a seasoned pro, we can pretty much thank her for solidifying and nailing down over a hundred different agreements with LE across the nation. It's something I could never have done, wouldn't have had the patience for it.

Her ability to step up and handle LE without any hotheadedness remarkably changed the way we do things. Yet, it's beyond that. There could not have been a person created more perfectly to get along with myself in advancement of this endeavor. I'm not by nature a social or friendly person and it takes a very rare person to be trustworthy enough for me to choose to delegate tasks to them. (But woe to they who become so trustworthy, because then they get a ton of tasks delegated :)) Harv was able to ascend the hierarchy of the website quicker than anyone before or prior. It's because she has applied herself to the project as much as anyone can. Thinking proactively, creatively. Coming to me with ideas rather than coming to me asking for ideas. These traits have served our organization well. She is the energetic memory-rich organized ying to my disorganized yang.

There might be those who are cynical and think that I would not praise Harv if I didn't get along with her. It's simply untrue. She has had to prove herself in regards to the site. At first, I thought she might have been some sort of heroin user, since I had pre-judged her as I do everyone I come into contact with, online or off. She not only had to break that pre-judgement, but also had to definite herself through the ranks of thousands upon thousands of new visitors. Perhaps it's not often considered, but think of what it takes to become a PeeJ contributor.

You come into the forums. You have no reputation. Your past accomplishments outside of possible LE employ, are pretty much meaningless. On the day you joined, probably 10-25 other individuals joined the forums as well. So many join that most new users are a blur. Out of 19,000+ forumites, there are only around 30 contributors. Just 30. Almost each and every member of those boards would like to become a contributor, yet at this time, only 30 have been selected. It's hard to imagine a more exclusive position.

The work to become a contributor is done. Then... you have to rise up through the contributor ranks to be delegated those tasks. And that's with the site owner initially thinking there's some hardcore drug use going on, and everyone knows how I feel about hardcore drug users. Not only that, but the opinion of site contributors is also a large factor in someone finally becoming a contributor. Each forumite considered is scrutinized not simply by myself, but by each contributor. Each person looking for a negative, a flaw that would disqualify someone from being invited up. You're not just impressing one person, you're impressing a collective.

It's an accomplishment to make it. It's more than beating out 20 other people for a job... because it is an act of defining yourself amongst thousands of others in order to do something that has no monetary benefit. Then, doing it so well as to change the way the site operates at a core level, all the while picking up early convictions in two different states.

For perhaps what was the most unplanned and unexpected organization in American history, that's invaluable. That's the importance of having Harv. Someone who took a look and decided to establish herself to help build and solidify not only the foundation of our group, but to shape it's focus like a laser on working with law enforcement.

The mad soup that is is of course more than any one person. Yet certain ingredients factor heavily into the mix and everytime you sample one of our convictions, the work we've done to educate the public... you're getting a large sample of el Del, whose dedication to the website has improved it in vast ways far greater than anything originally imagined.