One of the great things that I love (well, loved, I'm not really invovled in the community that much anymore) was how diverse it was. People from all walks of life, ages, races, socio-economic status were involved, and that was something that always made making friends at events fun.
The thing is...once you get onto the internet, a lot of the time all you have left is people's text. And because the crowd is so diverse, sometimes its difficult to have real, meaningful debate, or even discussion about anything. I don't mean at this board specifically, just in general.
I post on a lot of different message boards. I used to be a hard core Smashing Pumpkins fan, and even though I'm not as much anymore, I still post at a "General Topic" board stemming from an old Pumpkins board. The crowd is still diverse but you can still summarize that most people are
1. In their late teens/early 20's.
2. Highly intelligent (or at least they present themselves this way.)
3. Very liberal. Politically, but also in their lifestyle choices as well.
There are quite a few posters who don't fit those descriptions, but at the same time, it creates for some sort of cohesiveness to the board, a sort of reference point where 75% of the board starts from.
Go to your average coaster message board and you have 15 year olds posting right there with 50 year olds, extreme liberals mixing with extreme conservatives, etc etc. In a perfect world this would make things that much more interesting, but most of the time the result is just some sort of murky talk soup....without rhyme or reason, without direction, without any forwardness or plot.
Now using this board as an example, about once a month someone comes up with the idea of having a general topic board, and aside from giving the mods that much more to do, it just wouldn't work to begin with. Even the slightest glimmer of politics here, or alternative lifestyles, or whatever, has the potential to spark a pissing contest between some members (not complaining here, its like that at a lot of boards.)
I'm just kind of running here in a thought stream, the conversation I had with my buddy actually got into a lot of different topics, including message boards in general, and dynamics at real life events. I'm a communication major which is why I'm so interested in this sort of thing. :) Just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the matter. Or related matters.
Seriously, it would be nice if we could have some general topics to talk about, but honestly, the reason we are here is our common shared interest in riding coasters.
I do appreciate the contrasts in lifestyles, and personalities here. That's for sure. Where else can you find people you adore as friends, and find people that terrify you with their geeked out lives, and desires? Most of the time, they are the same people for God's sake. :)
Shockingly enough though, for the most part, the core community makes it through it. Sure, nobody changes anybody's mind, and nothing goes anywhere really, but it sure does make for lively discussion.
It actually slips in a lot if you nose around the boards enough. Luckily, things rarely get out of hand and it satisfies a need that would get out of hand with a general topic forum.
It works because the common bond here is amusement parks. We talk parks and often find the chance to throw in some personal or vaguely related views and opinions. I think there's some really nice balance struck here.
As much as some people like to paint Jeff as the Antichrist, it's exactly that approach to the site that keeps it from being the same mindless fodder that you'll find so many places. I guess the people that ***** about it enjoy spouting mindless drivel that goes nowhere and accomplishes nothing.
Typing just to be "heard" - doesn't 'playa have a theory on that?
Not to get into the technicalities, but its the moderation here that really keeps things from spinning into space. Because we don't really have a commonality otherwise - liking amusement parks is just way too vague to stick. Its like having a message board for people who....like hotdogs. It doesn't really mean anything after you get past liking amusement parks.
Its just like in the work place...when you're in an organization that is small, and with very specific goals, sometimes you don't even need a "boss" or "moderator." Not that either way is right or wrong, its just the way it is, and unfortunately me and my buddy are both in an interpersonal communication class so we talk about this sort of drivel all the time. :) Its just that its fascinating to read about it in a text book....and then see it perfectly in real life. Especially when I've been reading and posting on this board for years and never really seen any of this.
You make a very interesting observation. Coaster enthusiasm does bring quite a few different types of people together- people that, otherwise, would have nothing at all in common. Its like you said about the Smashing Pumpkins board, how the fans are all around the same age... I assume that there are very few 50-year-olds posting there because the Smashing Pumpkins aren't very relevent to that age group. I know that there are exceptions- I think my father (55 years young) likes the Smashing Pumpkins more than I do- but generally speaking, a specific "type" of person likes the Pumpkins. Coasters, meanwhile, attract people of many different ages.
Many times, it is complained that the majority of people on this site are kids- a fact that is blamed for a number of would-be intelligent conversations turning into nothing more than childish bickering. While I won't exactly disagree, I do think that diversity in ages makes conversation around here a whole lot more interesting. This site has people that remember days gone by and are more than happy to share their stories of parks like Riverview, West View Park and Palisades and their classic wooden coasters while "shunning" many new, high-tech steel coasters because they lack that "traditional" coaster feel. Meanwhile, there are younger people that are too young to know about Herb Schmeck's series of Wildcat coasters but enjoy talking about the rush that they get from rides like X and TTD.
While I have been following this hobby since I was eleven years old (I remember spending my allowance money to purchase the full catalog of Coaster World/Roller Coaster! back issues and a yearly subsciption to Inside Track), I have learned so much more just by reading comments made by people on this site, URC and RRC. Through these boards, I have talked to quite a few knowledgable people and have formed many friendships with enthusiasts that share my passion for all things park-related, including long-gone wooden coasters that many people never even bother to think about. While I am sure that not everyone gets from internet coaster discussion the things that I get, I like to think that, because of places like CBuzz, URC and RRC, there are a number of enthusiasts that are even more enthusiastic because they now have a place to discuss this hobby.
One of the things that I feel makes CBuzz the most "successful" coaster forum is the fact that conversation about outside topics is generally prohibited and therefore prevents diversity from becoming too much of an issue. I know that age differences sometimes do make themselves known, but on the average, discussion here is all about coasters, and that prevents other issues from creeping in and turning good discussions into the flame wars that regularly occur on RRC.
-CO *** Edited 1/21/2004 6:54:38 PM UTC by CoastaPlaya***
And to add to LG's post, that common bond is also evident in the way we joke and tease each other, which is something I really enjoy about CB.
You know, honest to God, that's the only reason I read any more. :) Its just interesting that very few people here actually participate in it, although it would have been very easy to predict that in the beginning days of the board.
Isnt' it about time for a penis joke, anyways? *** Edited 1/21/2004 7:06:54 PM UTC by matt.***
Most of the newbies who come in with no grammar skills, and just type away on and on about their homepark and their favorite coasters and try and make "vs" topics to put down others for their opinions are either quickly subduded (sp?) or don't return after a few posts. I know that's why I enjoy this so much - not only is it something to break up my day at work, but I can learn something, plan a trip, talk about an issue here and there, and laugh at the inside jokes which, although I don't usually participate in, I generally understand enough to get a giggle (or guffaw) out of them.
Sometimes enthusiasts scare me, but for the most part, being free to talk intelligently about parks and not get laughed at or shot down for conversation on the butt of the month or something every day (not that conversations about the butt of the month are all bad mind you ... ) is a nice break. Long live Coasterbuzz and all that crap ...
How many forums have you seen where there's tons of posts, but never really any *discussion*. People just typing their little responses and "me too" comments that fill up thread after thread of stuff nobody every really reads.
(note: Top 10 lists and favorites lists become this type of thread by default - it's just the nature of the topic. Everyone wants to give an opinion but no one is really reading anyone else's responses.)
Around here I feel there's more of a back and forth nature to most threads. An actual exchange, if you will.
Most other boards get a topic started and then everyone just mindlessly chimes in without really reading other comments. People not reading and just typing for other people who aren't reading and just typing.
Somehow it validates them to have their ideas out there in cyberspace floating around for nobody to read.
These are also the type of people who fall flat on their face here at CB, then declare to the rest of the world (who still aren't reading their comments on the other forums) about how Jeff, the mods, the site and it's members are all...
then from there it turns into Mad Libs with various adjectives being changed.
In fact, CB needsa a generic form that people can just fill out to complain on other forums (in bold type, of course):
Hi, my name is (your name here)
Coasterbuzz sucks (adverb)!!!! Jeff is a (adjective) (noun) who is probably gay! I posted a topic about (coaster name) being the bestest ever and it got closed. The mods there are all (adjective) morons who need a (noun) (verb) up their (body part). The members are all (adjective) (plural noun) who take coasters way too (adverb)! I hate all the ads there too - one time I got like (number) pop-ups all at once. But the joke is on Jeff because I use (name of pop-up blocker) and don't have to deal with them. I can't afford to pay for the site because I'm only a (animal) ('ing' verb) for a living and use my money for other things even though I still live in my (relative)'s basement.
Thank you for listening to me.
I find that we end up taking about everything within the context of coasters anyway.
Wanna talk about beer? Beer in parks.
Politics? How about city taxes on parks or safety legislation.
Grammar? Just read some of my messed-up posts. ;)
Design? Coaster logos.
Sociology? Choose any of the snob topics.
Work? "I'm getting a job (at a park) this summer, what should I do?"
Humor? Ask Playa.
Alternative lifestyle? "Who's going to Gay Day at such and such park?"
Humor AND Alternative lifestyle? Ask anyone when they plan to open M:TR ;)
You made my day with that last paragraph. I am still cleaning off my desk from the coffee that sprayed out of my mouth from the laughter. :)
janfrederick sez: "Humor AND Alternative lifestyle? Ask anyone when they plan to open M:TR"
Happy now, Matt?
On a more serious note - and yes, I can be serious - I've seen lots of threads where good, intelligent discussion leads to tomfollery [nee, Hijacking] only to have the discussion return. I've seen threads where both coexist. And then there's the threads that scream for fun and jokes.
The reason I post to CBuzz more than any other forum is many-fold:
1] Great people
2] Discussion w/o flaming
3] General acceptance of other's opinions
4] Lots of humor mixed in
5] Great people
It's hard to find that anywhere else ;)
Most of the newbies who come in... .....and try and make "vs" topics....
The people here are pretty diverse in age, but really there's only three styles of posting on this site.
1.Noob. 1337463 and CAPITALIZATION.
2.Normals. People who could be described by the Theory of Nobody sometimes, or intelligent people that post rarely.
3Peanut gallery. Witty, Witty, witty.
I guess that was just a shameless plug for my first Post, and how much I've learned about online stuff.
CoasterBuzz turns four a week from tomorrow. I'd like to think I've been doing something right to keep it up this long. And I don't think that expecting a certain level of thought about what you post is all that unreasonable.
I for one don't think that the site is overwhelmingly kiddy-occupied. I still think that there are adults who are far more childish than any 14-year old kid.
Why bother opening it? When I installed the RCT version of the ride (thanks Teckno!) in my park, all of my guests' comments were "I want to go on something more intense than M:TR"
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