The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Don't Back Down

So it’s the end for Doctor Who Forum. Formerly known as Outpost Gallifrey. I can’t say I’m surprised or altogether disappointed and can only agree with Shaun’s decision to shut it down. It’s just not the fun place it once was.

Seems to me, it’s the recurring pattern of the internet. A small group of friends get together, on a bulletin board, newsgroup, yahoogroup, internet forum or wherever. They have larks. Gradually the group expands until it stops being a group of friends and becomes a group of strangers. The signal-to-noise ratio decreases and the in-fighting begins. People lose patience, they niggle at each others’ nerves, arguments get entrenched into ruts and by this point the small group of friends who started the whole thing have long-since departed for greener pastures. Or start writing blogs instead.

I don’t know what the solution is. Gated communities, probably. Invitation-only members’ clubs. There are just too many damn idiots out there and they shout too damn loud.

Regarding Doctor Who Forum, I’m surprised Shaun kept it going for this long. If I was in his position, I’d have shut it down permanently after the whole Christopher Eccleston leaving brouhouha (where one ‘super-fan’ memorably described the actor playing the Doctor as being ‘lower than a cockroach in [their] estimation’). I’d have shut it down again after the unholy and unbalanced reactions to Daleks In Manhattan and Catherine Tate’s casting – it’s one thing for fans to let off steam in private, it’s quite another for them to do so on a public forum which is being trawled for scandal by tabloid journalists. It’s because ‘fans’, for so long, have been used to slagging off actors, writers and producers on the assumption that their subjects would never get to hear about it. Well, no more.

1 comment:

  1. Here-here.
    And I wasn’t surprised either - I weaned myself off the forum soon after the first announcement was made a couple of years ago. Found a couple of other places - one of which recently lost my support for all the fighting.

    Too many times I came across a forum 'thread' where one member seemed to have no greater pleasure than shouting down another for simply having a different opinion, or for mistyping, or having the wrong avatar - and the whole reason for 'being there' (as in “a fan” of X, Y or Z) is completely forgotten. Then there’s that dreaded ‘one-upmanship’, and I have a greater post count than you, therefore, what I say goes, etc., etc., etc..

    Debate is good: that is after all what a ‘forum’ is for - but as the numbers grow, like you say, the community is lost, and it becomes a ‘them and us’ fight for survival, with the original fandom being the first casualty.

    Oh, and who said you could put that piccie of me on your blog, eh?