Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fandom Politics And The Art Of Falling Apart

I suppose I should say something further about the situation regarding The Doctor Who Forum, which continues to be THE major topic on the Internet this week, it would appear. It's curious, you know, because - apart from a few postings on the old official BBC board many years ago - I've never really bothered with any other online forums whilst I've had OG/DWF. There never seemed to be any point - Gally was the place. So, as far as I was concerned, the only things I had to compare it to were the likes of the usenet group rec.arts.drwho and a few mailing lists of my acquaintance. And, trust me when I tell you, dear blog reader, compared to those Gally was (and remains) the very definition of sanity itself. Better run, better policed, better structured, with a better spirit. Just better.

I've got to say, with regard to some of the reportage of DWF's forthcoming closure, I think there's a bit of serious agenda going down - as there often is in relation to fandom politics. I've been around the joint long enough to know that's pretty much a given where Doctor Who fans are concerned. Give 'em a reason to celebrate and some of them will turn it into an opportunity for a good old moan. It's often about silly little scores that somebody feels need settling but, which really don't in the great scheme of things. From what I understand many of the people who've been aggressively bad-mouthing DWF the loudest on various other fora and on blogs - and, in some cases, actually celebrating its closure, unbelievable as that might sound - have usually been people who've been thrown out of DWF for one reason or another in the past and are using the site's demise as, what appears to be anyway, a rather tacky and feeble way of getting their own back. As though anybody's in the slightest bit concerned about that. Load of utter nonsense if you ask me.

You see, the thing is with regard to Doctor Who fandom, a lot of the little fiefdoms that various people set up for themselves during the 1990s when the show was off-air - the DWAS, Big Finish, BBC Books, The Restoration Team, a lot of the online communites and, yeah, even OG itself, for that matter - aren't actually needed now. They're nice enough to have but they're not as necessary as they once were. We've got a show - and a very successful one at that - what do we need these off-shoots for? Most of those involved in such places have either realised this and moved on or they've accepted that their role has changed and changed with it accordingly, which is great. (Big Finish is a good example. So is The Restoration Team. And so is, or rather was, OG/DWF.) What we've had on the forum for the last eight years - and we didn't even realise it fully till this week - was a really good umbrella that we could all stand under that kind of (very kind of at times!) united a lot of disparate and diverse fan-groups under one, broad, roof. It was good, we could talk about Doctor Who but, also, other stuff - something you don't get a huge amount of on other Doctor Who forums, I'm led to understand. I didn't venture onto it a lot but where else within the chalk circle of something as often coldly insular as fandom are you going to get something like The Tenth Planet discussion threads? Or, my own particular favourite, the TV Ratings threads? It's one of those classic 'you don't know what you've got till it's gone' things, isn't it? But some of the ludicrous (often spiteful) nonsense I've been reading concerning the reasons for the forum's closure take the biscuit. Sometimes, I despair of people and their need to make a mountainous drama out of a mere molehilly crisis, I really do. Someone, who really should know better, described the decision to close the board as 'the definition of [an] ego trip.' No mate, I think you'll find the definition of an ego-trip is expecting someone to carry on doing something they're no longer enjoying just so you don't feel deprived.

Anyway, I back Shaun's decision to shut-up-shop totally to the hilt in so much as I consider him to be a good friend and I want him to experience whatever it is that will make him happiest in life. Gally's been a huge part of all of our lives for a long time but if you multiply that by several hundred, that's what Shaun Lyon's had to put up with. He's LIVED the place for thirteen years. I like Steve Hill a lot, too and he and some of the other staff have a plan to create Gallifrey Base, somewhere that is, if not a direct replacement for the forum then, at the very least, a useful way of keeping the majority of the forum's different factions together. So, I'm given them my support and whatever help I can offer by way of advertising the change (such as it is). The new forum might turn out to be a pile of shat and I'll be leaving after five days (I doubt it, though!) But, I'm certainly going to give it a chance to be the home to me that Gally once was. They deserve that much.

2 comments:

Ronnie B. said...

I'll miss the DWF when it's gone.

I've made a lot of good friends there.

Ronnie B. said...

I'll miss the DWF when it's gone.

I've made a lot of good friends there.