Anatomy of a Message Board
Blogs for Natalee (BFN) was the brainchild of Ian Schwartz (Political Teen) and was initially to be a collaborative effort with Dan Riehl (RWV) and Richard Bingham (Hyscience). Steve Huff (The Darkside) soon joined their efforts and BFN was off and running.
It began in late June of 2005 with a few posts taken directly from the headlines of other main stream media (MSM) sources. Reviewing the June 2005 archives and associated comments, it is clear that BFN drew its early audience from RWV and NataleeHolloway.net. By early July BFN was already getting 4,000 hits a day. As the news about the Natalee Holloway case became more and more rare, so did the input on the blog. Soon it became nothing more than the occasional cut and paste from other news sources void of commentary.
Apparently, the original plans for the blog did not work out and the four horsemen returned to their respective blogs. While still involved with BFN, young Ian went back to his first love, right-wing political commentary and re-surfaced with a new political blog “Expose the Left.” Dan Riehl continued with RWV, Bingham with Hyscience and Huff landed a gig with Court TV’s Crime Library.
One can only surmise that these equally large egos did not meld well together to produce the desired result with Blogs for Natalee. The cash from excessive advertising must not have been rolling in either, because a plea for donations was made by Ian in August, 2005. The blog’s technical problems and lack of original content left it lingering in cyberspace as a less than memorable entry into the Natalee Holloway experience.
Running in parallel with the creation of BFN was the introduction of the forum on July 5, 2005. It too had frequent technical difficulties, but its membership list continued to grow by absorbing members of what became the defunct NataleeHolloway.net board and disillusioned posters moving away from the increasingly unpredictable RWV.
October, 2005 Ian was searching for a qualified moderator to assist with policing some of the more controversial members at BFN. A regular contributor to the blog eventually filled that slot, first as moderator, then moderator/co-administrator and eventually as the administrator. This person has single-handedly shaped what the forum has become based upon her skewed opinions about what is fair and reasonable.
In its truest sense a “moderator” should maintain objectivity and only intervene as a peacemaker when needed and serve to keep the discussion within reasonable or proper limits. Granted, such a thing would truly be difficult to find on an internet message board and it would also be such a boring job that no one would want to waste their spare time doing such a thing. However, there are moderators and then there are moderators. Each seems to bring their personalities into these message boards to some degree and that becomes a dominating factor in the board’s development.
BFN’s leadership apparently graduated from the Coldwater School of Moderation, because of the similarities of style. She has her pets and she will defy all logic to protect those characters and promote them as something they have not proven to be over and over again. One of the biggest blunders I have seen occur on any message board was a thinly veiled attempt to give credibility to her private message playmates. She even enlisted the assistance of the step-mother of the blog’s namesake to bolster the reputations of some rather malicious trolls that frequent the board. I never understood why that was done and I probably never will, but that action caused a mass exodus from BFN.
Those members that had worked long and hard to separate fact from fiction in the Holloway case, while avoiding the constant barrage of one-liners thrown at them by a few ne're-do-wells were left aghast. A large group of them felt as though the final straw had been cast upon the camel’s back and left BFN. After some transitional stops along the internet speedway they went on to form their own private message board.
The “administrator” and her team of “moderators” have carte blanche to do as they please, which includes changing the content of a member’s post, reading PM’s and assuming the identity of posters. Not an environment conducive to peace, harmony and trust. I wish there was something positive I could say about BFN, but not one single thing comes to mind.
In summary, all message boards are made up of a cross-section of humanity discussing one topic or another. This particular form of communication can be both delightful and horrendous. Some members seek answers to questions and some members provide those answers. Some members seek camaraderie or a platform where they can expound upon life’s trials and tribulations. The beauty of the internet is that there is something out there for everyone regardless of the topic. Tragically, there are those that find great amusement in hiding behind anonymity and seeking out the vulnerabilities of others. Those trolls can be found on all message boards and blogs. It is merely a game to them and the more emotional damage they can cause the more proud they are of their accomplishment.
Enjoy the message board experience, learn from it and broaden your horizons, but forever be aware that there are entities swarming about in cyberspace like a bunch of gnats. They can’t really harm you, but they can pester the pure chat out of you!
"...to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction..."
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Anatomy of a Message Board
Posted by EasyWriter at 9:36 AM