So what's my beef with forums?
Before I got into blogging, much of my contact with the wider "hobby" community was through forums. At best, they can provide good discussion, brief and speedy answers and a good little community. Some forums very much offer this, and dissenting voices are in the minority.
My general experience more recently, having visited them after some time, has been a little different however. (They do say you can never go home...).
For starters, many people just don't read your actual topic questions. I accept that I have a tendency to waffle but it is still clear most people just read the title (where it's not always possible to word your question fully).
Secondly, related to the above, people don't read the rest of the thread. Of course I have been just as guilty of this at times, but I at least try and read all the posts if there's around 3 pages, and get up to speed if there's 5 or 6 pages. What are you achieving by stating something that the original poster has already said themselves - other than increasing your post count (I suspect this may have something to do with it at times).
Thirdly, and again related, most information that people provide is irrelevant and not what you asked for. In a lot of cases the thread becomes a pissing contest as to who knows the most, even if what they're providing is only vaguely related to the topic.
Lastly, and again I'm sure I'm guilty of this too, are the high-to-industrial levels of nitpicking and pedantry. On certain topics, it's just not possible to write out every exception to the rule or known variations. Generally, the gist of the topic, it's title and contents, should give the replier an idea of what you meant in context. Instead, this context often gets ignored and people plough on regardless. Forums generally seem to bring out the worst in people, and this almost certainly applies to me too.
|I know we've all seen it, but it just felt so right to share it|
In short, the sci-fi/fantasy gaming forums seem to be the hobby equivalent of a one-night stand. It's the eats, shoots and leaves of the gaming world.
I remember hearing long-term forum founders and administrators talk about the life cycles of forums. On a roughly six month cycle, the active membership will be replaced by an almost entirely new one, giving the forum a completely different feel based on the "personalities" there. I think there is truth to this as I don't remember them always being like this (some have always been better and worse than others, each certainly has a different feel). But maybe I'm the one that's changed. Maybe I'm just a sleep-deprived old duffer mumbling and muttering to himself at the bus stop about life's injustices.
Where forums seem like they can bring out the worst, blogs often seem to show the best. From just a year of active blogging (well active-ish) I have found the blogs to has more of a genuine community feel, there is more of a respect for and investment in the work of others. Feedback has always been constructive, everyone has always been polite - and genuine. There's not been anyone yet that I wouldn't like to meet in person and have a game and/or drink with. Perhaps there is a difference in demographics. It's a little harder to tell with forums, but I suspect they may be the home of the younger, teengae elements of the hobby - they may be the future but they can be irksome (Victor Meldrew hat...).
So, that's it for now, the Victor Meldrew hat is off. So in the spirit of discussion, do you agree with any of the above? Am I being too harsh, too general, are your experiences completely different. Does it really depend on the specific forum, and even discussion area, or is there a more general trend?