I participate in a lot of different online communities, believe it or not (I mean, it’s not like I wrote a 50 page treatise on the subject or anything).
I’m a general participant on IRC over on the Aniverse servers (#applegeeks, #machall, #megatokyo, #utopianpigs, and #inquisition), but I don’t “connect” with the users all that much (for reasons I’ve gone into before, mostly a matter of a large percentage being teenybopper idiots who haven’t a brain in their head, and EVERYONE looking for a fight).
I’m a sporadic regular on the Penny Arcade Artist’s Corner (PAAC), posting regularly for a few weeks, then disappearing for a month or two. It’s not that I get bored or fed up or anything… I just get distracted and forget to log on for a while.
I’m an aging veteran on Avatar, having logged in literally thousands of hours there, both to play, to chat, and to administrate. I don’t log on as much as I probably should anymore, because the thought of logging on just makes me feel tired. Not sleepy tired, either. The weary aching feeling in your bones tired. I have a niggling feeling that I should retire, which is hard, since “Nadreck” has been a part of my life for going on 7 years now. One of my justifications in not retiring is the feeling that I should go out with a bang, write the very best area I feel I can, and retire as it is put in. It is an area that I have not yet felt capable of or ready to write.
I have Final Fantasy XI which, while I thoroughly enjoy, has not yet given me the feeling of cohesive community yet. Only time will tell on that on.
Why am I breaking these down? Because I am at the moment a little puzzled by the creation of a forum for UberCon. Not in the idea of the convention having a forum (an idea which I am in fact all in favor of), but in the content of that forum. There is a place to try and find rides, a place to discuss splitting a room, a forum for each and every type of gaming the convention offers, and how it relates to UberCon.
But no place to just TALK.
I emailed the management list about it, suggesting a general discussion forum where people could just talk about whatever. They responded by creating a “General Discussion” forum for discussing UberCon in general. I think they are missing the point.
It is my observation that unless it is a professional forum (ie a method for members of a team to communicate, or to act as a support forum for users), the goal of a forum is allowing people to interact and develop a sense of community. As much as our passions help define who we are, not providing a space for people to let down their proverbial hair will not encourage this goal. If you give them no place to talk about their day, or what’s going in their life, then they’re going to go elsewhere. It’s that simple.
Am I off base? I’m pretty confident about my opinion in this matter, but I’m certainly willing to hear counterpoints. Further, is it even worth worrying about, or should I just let it run its course and see what happens?