According to JRR Tolkien's, The Silmarillion, in the beginning, there was Nothing. He created the Ainur, which were the offspring of his own thoughts. He made many. I won't bore those who are not interested in Tolkien's work with all their names, but I would like to mention that one of them was Melkor.
Another, was Ulmo.
There is a cycle in the US Wizard Forums, a cycle that began long ago and continues to this very day. There are different parts to this cycle, and admittedly, most of the information surrounding its composition and timing is anecdotal. You're not going to find regimented study within my work, unless I'm citing a more established Professional. I am not a Sociologist or Historian. I'm just an enthusiast. And this is what I've noticed.
Occasionally, there is an individual, or two, or ten, who begin a discussion in the US Wizard Forum where they argue that the Forum is:
- Controlled by a select group of Individuals, usually labeled as the OGs.
- Not accepting of newcomers
- Quick to be combative with names/people that are not commonplace or known
- A "cool kids club"
Being as I am, I enjoy entertaining the other side of any given argument, and have landed myself in hot water a few times simply for arguing the "other side's" point of view. So about a week ago, I decided, quite succinctly and selfishly, that I wanted to know:
Are they right? Are the OGs as bad as they've been accused of being? How can I find out?
I decided that the best way to get a good answer to this question was to approach the OGs as a new person on the Forum, an undercover operation.
That's right folks, I lied to all of you. I created the, however brief, forum personality, Ulmo... and deliberately interacted with some of the OGs.
The first step in this process involved the removal of myself as 'Melkor', from the US Wizard Forum. Believe me, I wanted to maintain the illusion that Ulmo was a very real person, but I didn't want to go too crazy with this role play. I only wanted to do this for a day, for a number of reasons. The first reason was that I enjoy posting as myself! To not post on the US Wizard Forum is a bit unnerving for me. Secondly, I didn't want to lie to people if they started asking me why I hadn't posted as 'Melkor' in recent days.
Here are the results:
My first experiment involved starting a conflict with Yodatoy and the Forum Child, RobertVarga. Yodatoy is notorious for rustling feathers - mine in particular. You can read my attempt at agitating Yoda and FC, here: Ulmo picks a fight with Yoda
Result: This first experiment was a bit of a fail, but I can't say I learned nothing. Yoda's first response was to assume I'm European. Typical Yoda. As an outsider, this could be construed as offensive, but unfortunately, the topic just didn't continue to evolve and so therefore, much is left to speculation. The Forum Child seemed agitated by the newcomer, quickly dismissing Ulmo by stating that he understood what he was being told, and wished to get back on topic. Generally, the exchange was not negative. BDF showed up and questioned the Child regarding some vernacular he employed, but overall, a benign, uneventful thread.
My second experiment centered on responding to one of BDF's "blank" posts, asking how "Posting Blank" is accomplished. Check that thread here: BDF's Blank Post
Result: I am met with three responses. None are from BDF, and all are blank. None of the people who respond to Ulmo are OGs, however. As an outsider, this discussion would likely agitate me, as I asked relatively politely how something on the Forum is done, and I was met with more of the same material that I was inquiring about. This, as an outsider looking in, is a negative experience. However, this has nothing to do with the OGs.
Conclusion: I can see how someone would want to throw BDF into the fire here, but honestly, I blame those who responded to Ulmo, if I have to blame anyone... Again, a generally benign thread, nothing too offensive - but a little "un-inclusive" for sure. Nothing to get too upset about.
My third experiment involved starting a fight with Yoda...again See it here: Ulmo starts with Yoda...again! This thread was started by Nel, The... and honestly, this was the first substantial social experiment, in my opinion. In this thread, a YouTube video is linked and Nel compares Yoda to a Troll. As an outsider, I stepped into that thread and took a shot at Yoda, hoping to get some sort of response.
Result: The responses I got were...well, very kind. Yoda ignored my "nasty comment" and attempted to interact with me. He asked about who my favorite posters were. He engaged me and brought me into a discussion. Nel took the time to remind me that the thread was not meant to be malicious in nature. Emperormao even showed up (which he rarely does these days).
Conclusion: Both Nel, The and Yodatoy took the high road with a bickering, nasty troll (me). I felt included in the discussion. Yoda knew I was "temperamental" from the earlier threads, and handled me delicately. He didn't hold a grudge from the 1st experiment. He was a gentleman. I was thoroughly impressed.
My fourth experiment involved congratulating Changbooster on his new build, Ignitebird build: Static Vanguard, as well as thanking Dolynick for his infamous ROS: Wizard Tools. For Booster, I simply stated that the guide was great and that I didn't know Changbooster wrote guides in his thread. For -doly, I simply thanked Dolynick for the work and asked if he did it all himself. Simple enough.
Result: Changbooster didn't acknowledge me, but I can understand why, as he was deep in conversation at the time of my comment. Dolynick on the other hand, thanked me and gave credit to others for their assistance.
Conclusion: Just because someone doesn't directly acknowledge every comment someone else makes, doesn't mean that a slight was intended. I think some people have a tendency to assume that someone failing to respond to them is anything other than an oversight. Knowing Changbooster for some time now, I know his nature. Even so, for one to become offended by Boostuh's lack of acknowledgement would seem pretty fucking stupid to me, to be perfectly honest and blunt. Dolynick's response was textbook awesome. He was humble, kind, and modest. He wrote out my name. These things may seem small, but to someone who is either an "unknown" or a "lurker", these small gestures speak volumes.
My fifth and final experiment was the best one I could ask for, because it involved so many players, and it confirmed what I was already beginning to suspect, "The OGs are not a bunch of assholes". Here's the thread: Correlation b/w plvl and grfting?
In this thread, Yodatoy asks if there is a correlation between having more Paragon Levels and the ability to clear Higher Grifts. The thread is brief and is in fact a good read, so I suggest you check it out regardless of my part in it. Ulmo steps in and argues that Paragon levels are a stronger deciding factor of the ability to compete higher-tier rifts. There are a lot of names in this thread worth mentioning:
There are also some newer forum regulars.
Result: This thread is the strongest indication that the OGs are not the bunch of closed-off, self-entitled prats that they're made out to be. Not only is Ulmo engaged in discussion, one of the more prominent US Wizard Forum OGs, Boozor, actually sides with Ulmo. Why does this matter? Why is this significant? Well to me, it shows that there is no "gang-up", there is no "in-crowd". It doesn't matter "who you are" or "how geared you are". You can still have a voice. For fucks sake, Ulmo doesn't even exist in Diablo III. The account is registered to StarCraft II! And again, a healthy discussion takes place. Jaetch engages Ulmo, BDF engages Ulmo, etc. And they did this as gentlemen. And they did this while being completely and utterly in the dark.
Ultimate Conclusion: The US Wizard Forum is a place inhabited by the OGs. Do they have inside jokes? Yup. Are they sarcastic at times? Sure. Do they also hatch ideas, open discussions, and converse with "new folks" in a positive and inclusive manner?
Thanks for reading.
If you liked this blog post, please comment in the forum thread!