I’m not against web forums. I think they’re an interesting space to throw around ideas and find a collective that would otherwise be impossible. As an avid North supporter, I don’t know anyone who follows my club as much as me. But on BigFooty I can find a collective of literally hundreds of North supporters with a deep knowledge of my club, whom I can hear from whenever I want.
But it’s a slippery slope to bitterness. Web forums always seem to bring out the worst in people. Anger, rather than euphoria, seems the source of inspiration for most contributors, and slagging off is under the protection of anonymity. And it’s infectious. If you spend too long trawling through forums, you start to believe some of the vitriol that gets thrown around.
The latest issue on BigFooty is James Brayshaw’s public support of Laidley. Apparently it’s enough to question JB’s Presidential credentials?!? On one hand I can handle passionate North supporters debating Laidley’s future (as has been the case for some time) . But to stick the boots into Brayshaw for looking after his own is downright offensive. What do you expect him to do?!?
It got to the point recently where Eugene Arocca decided enough was enough, jumping on BigFooty and shooting down some particularly destructive criticism. It worked, with supporters coming out and backing Arocca’s comments.
But it didn’t last long, and it never will. While moderators take a hands off approach and commentors remain detached from the players and officials they attack, the BigFooty forums will revert to the poisonous discussions that they are.