I'm doing it... the old "What is Oldhammer?"
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking: FUCK. YOU. But bear with me.
My answer is... I don't fucking know what it is, but I know what it is not. Specifically I mean the way the Oldhammer community is misrepresented on Facebook by a certain page. We all know the one.
So two things happened last week that got me all... thinky... on the inside. It's weird and I try not to do it, but it happened. As is wont to happen a little more often than I think is necessary, someone got banned from "that" trading page and then went on to the community page to vent about the injustice, to which I then responded with the sarcastic tone which has become expected of me. I joked about getting the post deleted by replying with "What is Oldhammer". That's when it got juicy...
Another individual associated with the banned person started a chat with me because he thought I was an admin on that page.... And then we talked about how the Facebook page is giving everyone in this community a bad name.
Now I normally wouldn't care about what other people think about me or what I choose to do in my spare time or how I choose to do it, but i'm bored and mildly irritated that other people are causing other people to think i'm an asshole. I prefer for people to find out that i'm an asshole on my terms. I enjoy watching the realization on their face.
But let's get back to the point.
A separate chat with a person who for all intents and purposes is a "Newhammer" kid brought up what I had suspected all along. The Facebook group makes people think the Oldhammer community is full of assholes.
This is the single saddest statement I have ever read about our community:
"Well I'll put it like this. If I was introduced to Oldhammer via that page, I probably wouldn't be interested in it."
We went on to discuss the reason he did become interested in the Oldhammer community, which was that I had introduced him to "it" and a style of play that was so different from what was going on in the current 40k scene, and generally the competitive attitudes people have towards wargames in general... pretty much covering the old "this is Oldhammer and this is not" but really reinforced the prior conversation about the banning and specifically how the Facebook page has created the notion that the Oldhammer community is full of assholes, which is terrible because so many of the people I would consider huge contributors to the community have been banned from that page anyways.
As Whiskey Priest points out in his seminal piece on shark jumping, there are thousands more members on the Facebook page then are registered on the forum. As he points out "As people are attracted to the group the personality of the group will change". I believe the personality has changed into the form of a giant belligerent asshole.
Does that personally bother me? No, but that leads me to my point: the Facebook group is discouraging people from participating in the community, and that is sad. Unlike in the UK, we New-Worlders are literally travelling thousands of miles, or more specifically trying to get more people to travel thousands of miles to take part in our events. That means taking time off work, paying for a hotel room and travel, basically losing money, and no one is going to do that if they think the people at the event are a bunch of elitist douche-bags. And yes, some of the admins are total douche-bags. Banning people without warning, deleting posts that "violate community rules" and then go on and violate those same rules in front of everyone. It's not as if people don't notice.
There are other Facebook groups out there that don't suffer from the same problems. Probably because the admins are more selective about who they admit and those people are all forum people, but also because those pages have the same attitude as the forum and more accurately reflect what the attitude of the community is really like.
The sad reality is that the Facebook page that bears the name of our hobby and forum represents us to thousands of people on the periphery of our hobby. It is likely that the first time a person encounters Oldhammer will be through the Facebook page and people don't realize that the forum and Facebook page are two different entities. It pretty much boils down to two admins making everyone on the internet think that we are a bunch of dickheads, and that is what actually bothers me.
So yeah, that's my serious post. Hobby posts to resume shortly!