as with most my ideas, i was reading at the time. my moments of clarity come when i'm at the most distracted from the problem at hand it seems. i was reading the basebook for vampire and the background "mentor". for those who do not roleplay, this means that you have someone who is well known and respected who watches over you, helps you, and chastises you in private rather than in a public forum. this was perfect. having the oldbies teach the newbies how the malkavian mind set worked. letting them know what other malks are like so that communication could happen.
that morning i posted the idea to the malks.... it caught on like wyldfire. people were happy to help and others were happy to be helped rather than have abuse hurled at them. some who doubted the concept grudginly tagged along. it was good. a lot of people made friends and gained respect for each other. even when mentee and mentor didn't always see eye to eye, they talked about it rather than yelled abuse.
but things never last. in our human guise we recognise this and even in our vampiric mode we know that things change beyond our meager control... the first whispers of dissent happened a few months in.
now for some reason i've always noticed a desire in malkavians to help each other. even if the help comes in the form of multiple whackings and shotguns to the head(and that's when they like you). there seems to be an underlying sense of helping you're fellow malks to better themselves. to take concepts that are foreign and make you accept them even for a second. in some respects this help is not asked for and is not tolerated. the fact that the attempt was made should be enough.
one day one of the newer malks on the list who had been menteed for less than a month asked that they be allowed a newbie of their own. the flames started almost immeadiatly. status was dragged out of the thread closet once again. people demanded proof that the person in question would be able to do the job. despite protests the newbie had adopted a newbie.
i was on irc a while later when i overheard some of the oldies talking about their newbies. it was like they were talking about trading cards. it was like they were parents of compeating sport stars on the same team. it was like they were proving something by having the better newbies. it was the newbies who where proving themselves with a little guidence.
time passed and newbies came and newbies went. some oldbies dropped out of circulation and other returned. status was argued over as oldbies announced that their newbies were freed of being mentored and had the right of midlbie bestowed upon them. more newbies took on newbies and where so damn eager to be seen as doing the right thing so they could be known as "mentor of" rather than just doing the right thing. the desire to be accepted is a strange force. people will do what ever they can get away with to be liked and respected by their peers. the object of helping someone seemed to have fallen to the wayside.
It was at this time that several of the oldbies voiced their concerns. i had to agree with them and had been thinking the same way for many months. good intentions and all that where dragging the list down to where no one wanted to see it go. it was time to call the grand social experiment a failure and to move on to new ideas. some still cling to the idea of mentor and mentee. somethings will never change. but they had to change to make it that way in the first place.
what was the problem with the adopt-a-newbie program? the answer is shockingly simple. the idea had become institutionalised. the idea was that those with experience help those who are just testing the waters. the problem was that it became something that had to be done. it's like sending kids to school. they have to go and hate it. but they still can't wait to spread the knowledge they gained. try explaining a nuclear bomb to a ten year old. then watch him go and try to make one.
mistakes are there to be made. if you can't learn from them then there's no point in trying to teach anything else.