Friday, July 1, 2011

Old Man: On Forums

I've had the tab about forums on the side of my blog for quite a while. I like forums. It was where I got my start in this style (see my first pictures here - maybe a glimpse of pre-mustache). Forums are good because you get lots of different opinions on stuff instead of a blog where it's a top-down approach. That could also be the trouble with forums (in some ways). For example, AAAT has lots of discussion, and lots of that discussion is extremely trite and hard to get through. The Curriculum has much less discussion, but most of it I find interesting. FNB TI is a whole other level, but I like to read there every once in a while.

(warning - Ask Andy side rant coming up - skip to the * if you want to)

Maybe the problem many have with AAAT is that they are advanced in the style and want the kind of discussion that goes on at The Curriculum (where most people have experience with the style). But AAAT is filled with people like me three years ago who have no idea what they're doing. Everyone needs a starting place. The more experienced people run out of things to talk about and move on to blogs or other forums, or stop posting altogether. Then the next generation comes in and it starts again. The problem is when you expect the JV team to play up to your Pro level expectations. And now, the advanced people won't even go into AAAT and answer the same questions they had years ago, so people get away from "the curriculum," which makes the pros even more upset and want to go there even less. So the up and coming AAAT membership is new, with questions, and without guidance from most of accomplished online members of this style. A bad situation that's going to get worse.

Now The Curriculum has it's own problems. Fewer threads (which I don't mind) mean less traffic and slower days. But forums exist for traffic. So more people are being let in. They still have to be vouched for, but for how long? Hopefully it doesn't become another AAAT.

The other option many have pursued is making a blog. This lets them talk about whatever they want. I would never make this a thread on any of the forums, but it's what I feel like talking about so I'm doing it here.


But I'm probably as tired of forums as I am of blogs. Every forum wants more traffic, more threads, more interest. This creates inherent competition, and some - albeit small - level of animosity between advocates of one or the other. You can probably feel it in this post. I prefer The Curriculum more than any of the other forums. So whether I mean to or not, I diss AAAT and FNB whenever I talk about this stuff.

This animosity creates unfair biases. Here's a good example.

This thread on FNB shows pictures of Jim, who has been the lead persona of Russell Street for a while. The RS saga is a long one, and he has turned many people against him, and I'm not going to try and sum it all up here.

But I really like Jim's look in the second picture down. It isn't groundbreaking or anything, and he looks much more normal than many people probably thought, but it's a simple outfit. And that's what the style is: simple. An oxford shirt, khakis, and (probably) some loafers. Anyone can do it. I don't appreciate all his trolling, but it isn't going to keep me from acknowledging that he put a good outfit together. And since he's been at it for decades, it's probably second nature to him by now. And I can appreciate (and aspire to) that.

But lots of people can't get by the online persona and the abrasive nature of his posts to say that it's a good outfit. But if I put a picture up of an outfit that well put together, I'm sure those same people would compliment me on it. So the stupid high-school level drama (on both sides, mind you) is more important than the clothes. And that defeats the true purpose of the forums.

Anyways, more rambling. Hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you think. More pictures this Sunday (hopefully).

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