Recently a person who had been banned some time ago from the AFI forums wrote to demand that he be let back on the forums. Never mind the fact that he was warned multiple times before being banned (and the fact that almost no one goes far enough to even get banned from AFI) or that he continually goes to other forums to trash talk me and others here. What gets me is that he somehow thinks we are trampling his rights by not letting him post his rants here.
His rights?!? Let’s get something straight: this is my website (and Daniel Pickett’s, and our mods). If you break the rules, we throw you out. You have no rights. The rules are there for a reason. Why is this something that happens over and over and over again, in every forum across the web? Seriously, somehow people think that being on the internet means that they can say anything they want, insult anyone they want, and whine, bitch, and complain about everything but when anyone disagrees with them then suddenly you are taking away their right to "voice my opinion".
When this happens, I tell them the same thing I’ve always told them (when I can be bothered to actually respond to the many trolls out there): build your own damn website! Why keep trying to get into someplace that doesn’t want you? In this day and age, it’s pretty darn easy to set up a website for next to nothing. Heck, I’ve done it four times: from my original AF Archives, to Raving Toy Maniac, to ToyOtter, and now AFI. It’s easy.
I’m writing about this partly because of the ex- forum member referenced above, and partly because of a message board that I was pointed to this week: Critical Mess. Back when I was at RTM and my partner and I started the first toy forum, it really was the only game in town. When we had the inevitable troublemakers on the buzz, we played "good cop, bad cop" to keep the perps in line. But it was tiresome. Over time, some folks who wanted an alternative that was more in line with their way of thinking set up their own sites rather than deal with the clowns who never seem to get the message. Folks like the Fwoosh, AFHub, RingOfCollectors, LOG, Doosh, AFI, and yes, Critical Mess. These guys wanted something else and instead of endlessly bitching that they deserved to have things changed to fit them, they went out and did their own thing. And that thing is great!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking RTM. It still outpaces pretty much all other toy sites and is just as popular as ever; Bobbi & Rob have kept it minty fresh over the years. Heck, I probably post more over there than I do in our own forums! But I applaud the folks who did it their way, instead of trying to impose their views and disrupt peaceful communities who like being what they are. We may not always agree with them, but we sure respect them. The web is more than big enough for everyone, and is probably still not big enough quite yet.
So next time, before you think you need to question why a mod has deleted your post for the 20th time, why not look into a nice domain from GoDaddy with one of their introductory packages? Because if you build it, they will come. Trust me (unless you’re Shocker Toys. I think that’s a lost cause at this point) But please get the hell away from here first. Go try Doosh; they take anyone!