10 January 2013
State of the Forums - Comradery, Discussion, and Trolling
I, like a lot of the respected voices among our community have been here a long time. I've seen the fluctuation in attitude and tone over a fair number of years. On the whole, the Trollblood forums have been haven of kind, introspective voices eager to help people and further the knowledge of the faction. I've seen eagerness to help newer players just starting out despite the constant inability to recognize we have a sticky thread that's designed exactly for them. (Sorry newbies, we love you but, L2R) I've seen teamwork during leagues and an open discussion about ways to make models and the faction work in new and different ways. These things I have seen have endeared me to these forums and this community much like many of our players. So the point I am making, rather longwindedly, is that seeing all this I cannot help but wonder WTF is going on in our forums right now. This is a place to nurture ideas and conversations, not tear one another down constantly. So, I hope you can understand what I am going to talk about here does not come without a bit of perspective.
I think that the main problem we are having right now outside of blatant Trolls poisoning our boards, is there is a broad lack of respect happening. The forums are there for us to put up ideas and discuss them without fear of someone yelling, "Hey, ur ideas r stupid! I'm right and ur not, blah blah blah...." But, it's deeper then that. It feels like a large number of people don't want to have that conversation at all. They don't want to defend their points and have reasonable arguments. They just want to be right. This is not terribly unreasonable. Everyone wants to be secure in their ideas and have reinforcement. The problem here is that doesn't take into account that someone else might also be right. The problem is there is a blatant lack of respect for other people's opinions. The Mountain King thread is a perfect example of this. Especially the pandering we have seen on a very specifically divided topic. And, while this can be a great open conversation we have instead seen a number of people who simply cannot let it go. They cannot respect the opinions of others and cling to their own ideas or those of others and just shut their eyes and cover their ears whenever the conversation go against them. This is just not healthy for the community.
As and example, Petegrrr and I often disagree on points regarding a numbers of things and yet we can still keep that conversation open and rib one another about topics without truly getting on one another nerves or being to hard nosed about our opinions. This is because I respect Pete's opinion, much like a do a great number of other Trolls. I respect his opinion because I acknowledge that I may be wrong or if not wrong that I can at least have a different tilt on what we are discussing. But the core of this is respect. A little goes a long way to having some good will in conversations.
New players are the heart of our game. Not us veterans. We've bought into it already. New players are what will keep this game fresh and moving forward and supporting our new players, as oblivious as they may be, is important. So when you look at a person asking questions or expressing and opinion and the first thing you look at is their post count and are dismissive, you are no better then any other Troll plaguing our boards. Just causeless you have 1000+ posts on the boards doesn't make you any more right or important than a guy starting out or who doesn't post much. Use your tenure properly and help foster a good relationship with new players to keep the community strong.
There is no way to impart a tone of voice on what you are writing on the internet and it is very easy for someone to take what you are saying the wrong way. Whether is be sarcastic, rude or condescending tone can be a persons worst enemy in discussions on the boards. So take a moment to try and be civil in arguments. Read what you are trying to say and see if it can be misconstrued in any way. If there's a grey area where it may sound rude, just change it, even if you have to edit afterwards. Civility is the first step to respect in this area. It's common manners when speaking in the real world. It shouldn't be a stretch to apply it here.
These principles are going to be the core of what's going to keep our boards the best place to voice your opinions in the PP boards. They aren't hard to understand but, so many people seem to just forget and fall into the bad habits that cause so many unnecessary arguments. I think Wil Wheaton said it best. "Don't be a dick." Learn it, Live it.