One thing I’ve just been reminded of his how incredibly stale Internet forums can become.
I’ve been on the internet since around 1997 and on FidoNET before that since around 1993. I’ve been in a lot of forums based on a lot of different subjects including bands I like, computers and software I use, TV shows I like etc. I’ve made a lot of good friends in those forums and there is nothing better that the community spirit in a good forum…
But it doesn’t last. You lose interest in those bands, the TV shows get cancelled, you find a different OS or piece of software to use… You move on. Some of those people move on with you. It’s important to do this. Life moves on. If you stay in one place it gets stale. The same people talk about the same things. Familiarity breeds contempt and those that stay behind become over protective of anything that threatens the “community” that they have learned to derive comfort from.
Like any relationship it can be hard to leave when it’s obviously no longer of a benefit to you, when it’s no longer healthy.
New people who come into the community with a new interest in the subject then find it populated by the old guard. Those that feel the place is their home and if not openly hostile to new-comers they can at least be defensive to anyone attempting to bring change. They resent people asking the same old questions, at least questions that are old to them. Recycling the same old debates and arguments, at least to them. And generally finding the new in something that they now see as old.
I’ve been on both sides. I’ve hung out too long and derided the “noobs” in a shamefully patronizing way for my own self-indulgent pleasure and I’ve felt the frustration of coming into a forum for the first time and being descended on by arrogant beard-stroking elders who have dismissed my naive questions and enthusiasm as passé.
Reminds me that it’s always good to watch out for those signs that it might be time to move on. Life is too short to spend it in the toxic air from a decomposing past.