Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Forums, Readers, and Amusement

Message boards are very interesting entities. I almost believe they take on a life of their own. As folks gather to discuss their common interest, sometimes they become either Happy Happy Kumbaya societies, or living, Fire-breathing Monsters. Many are somewhere in between, yet each displays their own unique personality. Many readers of this blog belong to message boards (aka Forums) of different drivers. Some participate in “Official” or not so official boards, and some participate in multiple boards. Some members have a ‘one size fits all’ personality that is the same for all forums, and others choose different personas based on the nature of the board. A great example of this variety lies in the beginning of the NASCAR season.

The first six weeks of the NASCAR season are on the books. So far, we have had restrictor-plate racing, 3 intermediate tracks (all as different as night and day) and two short tracks. The Car of Yesterday and the Car of Today have both been on the track. There is a new manufacturer, and several repeat manufactures. And the NASCAR fans participating in various message boards all have opinions on what is going right and what is not! You can generally judge how the driver is doing by the dialogue. Some boards are giddy with excitement, as their chosen heroes are high on the point scale. Others are filled with fans that seem morose, angry, and negative. And yes, there are some between those two extremes.

The boards of the struggling drivers are the ones with the most to discuss. I have been amazed at the number of fans that feel the need to throw SOME ONE under the bus when bad things happen! (Disclaimer: I have discovered this on more than one forum, so any resemblance to your own forum may, or may not, be a coincidence!) Some target the driver, some target the crew chief, some target the owner, and some target the manufacturer. Some folks call for wholesale firing. Invariably, it turns into a fight between the Realists, and the Kool-aid Drinkers! Each claims to “know” the driver’s, owner’s, crew chief’s or the sponsor’s thoughts. Some even go so far as to need medication to get through the next impending disaster, whether legal or not!

Part of this is enhanced by the technology available. It is no longer a case of enjoying the race from the grandstand or just watching the TV broadcast from the comfort of the couch. At the event, we have access to the entirety of the broadcast on both radio and TV, and the conversations of the drivers and crew members, and access to any communications with NASCAR to the teams. From home, we can see live timing and scoring, and can hear the exact same communications of the driver from our computers or satellite radio. Some drivers also are part of special television packages where the driver’s in-car cameras are available during the entirety of the race. The technology allows the most intense scrutiny of the drivers and the teams.

The slightest inflection from the voices on the scanner gives opportunity for great speculation from the fans. When that speculation hits the message boards, it can cause endless debate on what did the driver really mean….did the Crew Chief really say THAT? Or WTF is THAT supposed to mean! Why does the Crew Chief just say 10-4 when his driver is begging for changes?

Discussion continues, lines are drawn in the sand, and board members form factions. The factions are based on the two or three most prevalent views on the board. However, the factions are fluid, and can shift and reform based on actions of individuals. Don’t forget, it is allowable for the board members to bash away, but don’t let an outsider take part in the same name-calling and bashing, or the outsider will see the board form a united front against the outsider.

Forums will continue to be a source of information for many readers. They will also continue to be a source of amusement for many of the same readers.


On another note, there were three people with a common link to one particular driver’s message board. At various times, each of these three was opposed to the other two. We are not quite sure how it happened, but we three now all find we have many common views mixed in with the divergence of opinion. We will be attempting a joint blog. A work in progress, we hope to provide discussion, controversy and amusement for the readers! Wish us luck, pray for our safety and check us out at Three Wide.

1 comment:

Racefan57 said...

Isn't technology grand!?