From: Edmonton, AB, Canada (Lives in Brandon, MB)
A few days ago, I was giving thought to the quality, friendliness and decorum of the Forum community. I got sidetracked and didn’t post my thoughts that morning. I came to wish I had. That post would have been timely given what transpired in another thread later that day.
This forum is unique in my experience. I have belonged to forums devoted to hiking, bird-watching, botany, canoeing and other activities. These are communities I have strong senses of identity with. And, yet, over the years I have frequently been dismayed by the lack of civility (snarkiness being a good word) by so many regulars on those forums.
In some ways, the WitP:AE forum is a much more diverse group – especially in terms of national origin. With the language barriers and background differences, I wouldn’t expect the community to remain so decorous. I’d expect squabbles to erupt from time to time based upon political or military policy differences, language barriers, and societal differences in how we address one another and how to disagree with civility.
Somehow, this forum self-polices (usually before the Moderator has to step in). Almost always, forumites avoid or back down from political or religious topics. Somehow, a forum filled with men who have served in the armed services seldom if ever uses profanity (most members don’t mind profanity, but it is offensive to some of us). Somehow, vulgarity and lewdness are essentially absent. That’s even remarkable when you consider that most of us are obviously men who find lovely women lovely.
The collective knowledge of this Forum is remarkable. You can find credible information on so many topics. And because so many of us have known each other for so long, there is a reliability to opinions expressed and analysis given that seems quite wonderful to me. I don’t know a lot of you, but I know enough of you that I can ask (and sometimes have asked) questions about things unrelated to warfare. And from time to time I’ve had military questions for stories I’ve been working on, and gotten incredibly helpful information from the Forum. (A for instance: two years ago I needed help reading U.S. Marine casualty and fitness reports for a marine killed at Iwo Jima and got in-depth, insightful feedback in a few minutes that might’ve taken hours of days of research. And I knew that information was informed.)
Without the benefit of meeting a single Forumite or any of you having character references, you would be “go to” resources if I got marooned in your city or your country. All my money stolen in Aurora, Colorado? Call John III (for help, not because he’s a suspect). Need a tour guide in Italy? Greyjoy. Forget how to speak good English in England? Obvert. Wish to understand what kind of prairie woman would marry an ex nuke who tries to write novels? Bullwinkle. And on, and on, and on. The Forum is filled with quality people from all over the globe.
Some detractors will say that a post like this tickles ears and fosters nothing but a “mutual admiration society.” They’d be wrong. I can’t think of a Forumite that needs or wants their egos stoked. These are men (and an occasional woman) secure in who they are, what they know, and what they stand for.
I left AE three years ago today, indefinitely and, as far as I knew, permanently. I was gone for 2.25 years, but I never left the forum during that long sabbatical. Apart from the fun AARs, occasional humor, the mysteries of Geofflambert’s schtick, and the occasional annoyances, I couldn’t imagine not being a part of this great community.
Thanks, gents, for making this Forum what it is. A very fine community of good men (and the occasional woman).
Well said sir :)
I know that since joining this forum, all I have to say are positive things about the people that play this game. I occasionally will check out the other forums on this site and I don't think any of them come even close to this one in terms of usage and content.
"I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve"- attributed to Isoroko Yamamoto