The Quilting Bee was a ‘pixel trading club’. Established on February 18th 2000, it was the first and original trading club dedicated to trading pixel web graphics between members. Members could collect and trade pixel patches to “sew” onto their “quilts”, creating a colorful network of friends and activities.
How it worked
Personal website owners would create their quilt “patch” – a 40 x 40px square that represented them – and a starter quilt to indicate their interest, and would then sign up to the * quilting * bee.
Applicants would be vetted to ensure compliance with some basic guidelines – demonstrating some basic creativity, an ‘about me’ page in English to ensure potential for trading within the community, etc – and if successful, would be assigned a membership number which would entitle them to trade within the community as well as access to a huge directory of free*bee images, and later a closed bulletin board.
Incentives for participation
As well as receiving a membership number, users were incentivised to participate with special patches for things like:
- Time in the club
- Achievements like ‘bee of the week’ and ‘creative patch’ awards
- Contests and activities (participating / winners)
- Contributing to the free*bee directory
Participants in the * quilting * bee were overwhelmingly female, ranging in age from early teens upwards. Male members were welcomed, but the personal web scene was dominated by women in the 00s.
The demise of the club
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and the * quilting * bee was no exception. Managing the club was incredibly time consuming, requiring hours of moderation spread across membership applications, e-mail, the bee*bee*s (BBS/forum) as well as encouraging member participation and creating engaging activities.
As well as the moderating members acquiring full time jobs, families and responsibilities – which made dedicating time to the club difficult – the personal website scene started to fizzle out, which meant a drop in membership numbers and participation. The club finally stopped operating circa 2014.