I was sent the following note about a working terrier bulletin board in the U.K. that has just closed down after several years of operation:
As of 21:00 on 26-10-08 the forum will be closing down, its been misused for long enough, the forum is for FRIENDLY hunting discussion, not arguments, petty comments, violence, and illegal posts that will and can be used against all out sports.. We are all in this for the same reason, we love or should love hunting and its related fieldsports, we should stand together not drag each other down... Its been real good whilst it lasted anyway and i've made some great friends for life on here... Good hunting everyone, hope this seasons a good one for you! - Ian
First off, hat's off to Ian for trying. It was a good effort to try to build community, and the reason it failed had less to do with his efforts that the nature of the beast: online communities always attract folks who have too much time and anonymous posts simply encourage trolls who get their jollies through defamation, vandalism and provoking endless fights.
In the case of terrier work in the UK, of course, there was another concern, one I voiced more than a year ago when it became clear to me that the board was being used as a "honey pot" operation to try to draw people into talking about illegal activity (i.e. fox hunting outside of the narrow confines of the law, and badger work anywhere in the UK).
It did not help, of course, that the board attracted an endless parade of young fools who dug little or none, but who were always anxious to get into an endless round-robin about hard dogs and various cocked up theories about breeding and breeders.
Did the board ever have solid information on how to use a locator collar and box, how to find quarry, how to do at-home vet care for an injured dog? No, little, or none.
Not too many people had any real knowledge, it seemed, and those that did could not be bothered to put it down.
And why should they, when that effort would soon be lost under an endless parade of blather and petty fighting, which are always promoted to the top of these Internet bulletin boards?
And so another online working terrier bulletin board has died.
It is not the first, and it will not be the last.