Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Evolution Of A Forum

Or; How The 29"er Forum On Went Sour

"I can't stop the music
I could stop it before.
Now I don't wanna hear it.
Don't wanna hear it no more."

Stop This Game by Cheap Trick

Okay, a bit of a rant here. So, grab yer mornings' favorite drink and get settled in!

I read the forum on 29"ers every day, sometimes multiple times a day. Well, using the term "read" is maybe overstating it now. More like skimming the headlines is closer to the point. The thing is, it used to be worth reading. No........really!

When I first discovered computers and the internet in the late 90's I came across It was a pretty happening place for mountain bikers to get connected, and get tons of info that the print mags just couldn't/ wouldn't deal with. One of the things that caught my eye was this thing about 29"ers. Soon there was a forum dedicated to the whole phenomenon.

I remember that there weren't alot of new posts everyday, but what there was, I would read. I mean every one of them. They all had great information back then. I learned alot from reading those posts and it was what eventually influenced me to seriously consider getting a 29"er sight unseen. Can you even imagine that happening in today's 29"er Forum on I can not!

First of all, the pertinent information is in the "sticky thread" for FAQ and isn't easily found any more. Of course, these questions come up on a regular basis on the forum any way. Then there are the things that don't have a thing to do with 29"ers per se that clog up the forum everyday and those things make gleaning out the good info that much harder. The sheer volume of stuff going through that forum now makes it virtually impossible to read all of it.

This isn't so bad, I mean, you still could find decent posts that were worth reading. Posts actually having something to do with 29"ers. That's not what is killing the forum, no. It's the attitude of a lot of the posters now that's killing the place. Take for instance any post on a new 29"er or 29"er part, (tires, wheels, forks) and if it is deemed by someone that the poster might have something to do with a company, or is getting paid some how by a company, or isn't buying the product, then the post is "spam", (an internet term for posting for monetary gain) and the "flame war" ensues. This effectively drives out potential posts that might be interesting because the folks wanting to share will get crucified for being "spammers" or worse.

Then there is the general overall bickering, lack of research, and rudeness that seems to pervade many of the threads that inhabit the forum that just gets tedious to the point of nausea. Maybe I'm just being overly sensitive.

I will be honest and say that a lot of what I write is based on things read on and I am certainly grateful for that. It still is a source of great information........currently. How much longer that lasts is a question worth looking at, and is what the point of this post is. How much longer before the forum is crushed under the weight of it's own angst? I know one thing. It's getting worse and not better!

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