Thursday, November 20, 2008

Left and Right Can't Meet in the Middle.

I've been following a thread over on the V-Strom Riders International forum for a few weeks now and its been an interesting one, to say the least. It has nothing to do with sprockets or clutch baskets, heck they hardly even acknowledge that they're motorcycle enthusiasts in it. Its about the P-word: Politics.

But rather than a heated debate on Barack vs. McCain or Palin's qualifications (or lack thereof), its simply about the idea of bringing up politics in a motorcycle oriented Internet forum. You see, V-Strom Riders International (VSRI for short) has members from around the globe, with the majority hailing from the U.S. of A. I checked the membership a few minutes ago, and they're up to 5470 members. Its important to note that these are active members, as the administrators flush out inactive accounts on a regular basis. That's pretty good for a brand and model-specific forum. Not to mention that the V-Strom isn't exactly winning popularity contests in North-America, although Europeans seem to have caught on. But I digress...

A longstanding rule in the forum has been no politics and no religion. When you register, you actually must agree with the following statement: "By registering you agree not to post any messages that use vulgar or profane language, are impolite or disrespectful toward any forum member, that express political or religious views, anything about past or present wars, or about serious law offenses."

So why put limits on subject matter? Simple. I've seen too many forums and newsgroups go from great to crap once people bring up any fundamental issue where you have to pick sides. Forum members that used to get along suddenly turn bitter. Soon it gets personal, with cheap shots galore. Then you notice that many of the members aren't logging-in as often, and the ones who are still there aren't really contributing anything useful.

Luckily, the administrator at the VSRI forum (He who must be obeyed) came down on all evil doers and closed the politics thread. Good thing, too. We've all got plenty of politics in our day to day lives, when I'm browsing through a MC forum or website, I'd much rather do without.


James - said...

Good decision, but I might add a subject to your religion and politics ban. Browsers. You have never seen carnage until the Firefox converts start picking apart Safari in front of Mac addicts. And then the Opera folks chime in and all goes to hell.

Lucky said...

James - I hear ya! Luckily, most of the members on VSRI aren't very technical... At least, not with computers. Haven't seen the whole Browser Wars thing yet.

FWIW, two guys at work didn't talk to each other for almost three weeks after a Windows vs. Mac argument!

Oh, the humanity...


irondad said...

I totally agree that there's a time and place for everything. Politics is coffee shop fodder. If I want politics I'll go there or watch television. I participate in the political process because it's important. However, it's a compartment, or a section of life. Riding is another. Motorcycles are for riding and escaping such things. Or perhaps quietly contemplating heavy things in one's own mind.

Either way, I agree that motorcycle forums should be just that.

Ok, it wasn't such an eloquent comment but it was heartfelt!

Biker Betty said...

I'm a member of a Yamaha forum and that moderator is very strick about topics posted. It's only motorcycle related and main Yamaha.

Happy New Year!!! Wishing you a great riding season in 2009.