Monday, October 27, 2008

Gresham's Law Kills Off Another Bulletin Board

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.


Anonymous said...

I have to say that I will miss it, it had a bit of everyhting from digging to airguns to running dogs to falconry to fishing and ferreting. A good opportunity to browse all fieldsports. It was going downhill due to folks that added nothing and probably also the legal issues but it was an enjoyable site for stories and (international) contacts, with good pics of other people's dogs...


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there is a place for anonymous comments on the Internet. In my town, the political blogs (which have been adding some much-needed light into the process) have had to had to allow anonymous comments because TPTB are vindicative. As someone of some local prominance, I've seen these people at work and I will not sign a name to the comments I make on the political blogs.

I, like others, also keep moderation on the elists/blogs we oversee because these same PTB do try to hijack the dicussions. Since I'm married to a brilliant IT guy and have two other friends that are supposedly some of the "best of the Net", I've been able to track these TPTB when they tried to hijack my list and boy, were they shocked to find out it could be done! ;-) I'm now given a wide berth on the lists I run, but I still don't risk putting my name on a local political blog -- there are consequences and they are nasty.

Those with a little less political and Internet savvy have found that they need to moderate and the local bloggers finally banded together and put together a "code of ethics" -- if your post attacks someone else, rather than the concept presented and/or if it is completely off-topic, it will not be posted. This has pretty much saved the local political blogs and once again, we all have hopes that they will continue to be useful tools to help keep some light on the public's business.


Anonymous said...

It is up again...let's keep it up.


PBurns said...

Hope it works out, but I will not be holding my breath. The structure of these things is simply defective and not up to the job.