Despite debating the pros and cons (I called it The Gift Versus the Curse) of the internet on hobbies, I probably fall more on the pro side. Especially where message boards, or forums are concerned.
For those not in the know, the aforementioned forums or boards are places where (in this case) hobbyists can go and exchange information. They are as simple, if not simpler than, email. Not only can you post questions and get answers, but you can read other people’s questions and answers as well. In addition to the answers, you might also get photos which better illustrate the point the person was trying to make.
I belong to several boards. I belong to nscale.net for my train hobbies. I also belong to scale auto enthusiast forum for my car models. For a time I belonged to a forum for remote control cars, but sadly they went out of business. In addition, I have checked out other forums for my various hobbies. If I didn’t join, it is more likely that I got what I needed without having to post my own question.
My experience has been very positive. Many people have helped me, patiently answered my questions, given solid advice, and sent many helpful pictures. I haven’t come across any insulting behaviour or obnoxious people. Okay, in truth, once a guy lowballed me on a price for something I was selling, but not in an rude way–business is, after all, business, and like most of us, he was just looking for a deal. When I suggested he was lowballing me, he wrote back and candidly admitted that was the case and made me a better offer.
I guess that my positive experience is due to both the majority of good and helpful people who make up the hobby and the wisdom of the moderators who keep the haters and the trolls at bay. I estimate it is an 80/20 split, with 80 percent on the side of good people making up the hobby.
If you have never joined a message board, or forum and are into a hobby there is probably a forum out there for you. I suggest joining, and increasing your circle of like minded hobbyists. If it isn’t for you, you can always “unjoin” or just never go there again and ignore them like I do when a salesman comes to the door.
Anyone with a good story of joining a forum, or associated wisdom, is invited to comment.