I have been online in the Rolling Stones internet community since 1995...which is very near the inception of the first Rolling Stones chat room. The first RS chat room I visited was an AOL chatroom, and I encountered even back then, a bunch of know it all mean spirited folks who couldn't answer newbie questions without belittling them. I took that as a lesson and left AOL and went to Stones World, the first chatroom outside AOL on the world wide web. Remember, these were the OLD days, LOL. There I made friends with some people in 1996 that I am still friends with right now, 10 years later.
My lesson from AOL was that even though I know a ton about the Stones, I am always willing to answer questions from people who don't...happily and without berating them. After all, anyone can be a fan, but not everyone is a die hard fan like myself. And there was a time that I didn't know anything about the Stones as well (hard to believe I know). Before 1996 I didn't even realize there were other die-hard fans like myself.
In May 1997 we held the first Rolling Stones internet fan gathering in Cleveland, OH at the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. Nine women and one guy (lucky man) met for a weekend of partying and Stones music. This was virtually unheard of in those days, as we were total strangers driving and flying to Cleveland from PA, OH, DE, NJ, CA & Canada! Most people's families asked "how do you know it's safe?" or "how do you know these people won't rob or kill you?" But we all survived & had a fantastic time. So much so that we all met many times afterwards on various Stones tours starting several months later with Bridges to Babylon.
Anyway, in those days, there weren't many Stones message boards and by 1998 I had met so many of the online folks during the tour that on the several boards that existed I knew just about everyone and everyone was friendly to each other. We talked mostly Stones, but we could talk off topic and talk shit too because we all knew each other in person.
Stones World eventually folded and our little group moved to Voodoo Lounge where we stayed for quite sometime. This is where the rifts first began & making a long story short some people left that board siding with one person and moving to another board called Backstage, while others chose to stay. Eventually Voodoo Lounge also folded and everyone headed to Backstage. And eventually flaming and flights began there too as the board grew with more and more fans. And then Backstage folded as well. By then, there were other boards coming along like Shidoobee, IORR, Stones Planet, RS.COM...and zillions of smaller boards like my Yap Yap Keith board.
One thing though became common, most boards could not prevent the childish behavior that some adults continually engaged in. Which, was and still is, bashing people on a public forum simply for the sake of doing it.
Does it make them feel big? Important? Who knows. They do it because they get a rush out of making someone mad with no recourse. Nine out of 10 of these people would probably never say to someone's face what they say online. Online they are anonymous and that's what makes it easy. And sad.
I learned early on that fighting back is not worth it. I did it a few times, and it dragged on and on and in the end of course, no one won. A few years ago I was personally attacked on a public forum with many nasty unthruths related to Keith and the Stones and the fan club.
At that point I left message boards for good for quite a while. It really wasn't worth it.
So now, several years later, new tour, I decided to make my way back onto a few boards. One of which is our own Stones Planet, which is safe because we can edit it. But I have also been on the official board at RS.COM, which recently is full of garbage and hateful comments too. I've posted on Shidoobee here and there. Most recently I joined IORR for the first time.
When I post these days it's usually because I have information to share with other fans that I feel is important or else I have been asked to get the word out about something. This time I was spreading the word to fans about 2 different Stones related things-the TOTA' 75 book by Genesis Publications and Blondie Chaplin's new solo cd that is due in July.
Wouldn't you know that within a week or 2 of joining a new board I have already encountered several rude or childish remarks related to my posts. I typically do not respond to rude posts, but I did tonight, very diplomatically. We'll see what the rude poster says tomorrow, but I am sure it will be something even more rude, as is usually the case. And I won't respond again.
Having said that, I was at the same time relieved to be welcomed to the IORR board by several fans, which was nice.
In the end, Stones fans have the Stones in common, but that doesn't mean we'll all agree, nor do we have to. It also doesn't mean we'll all like each other and we don't have to in order to like the same band. For as many idiots as I've encountered over the years, I have met or spoken online with 100x as many great, generous, fantastic people. I have made some lifelong friends.
And for tonight, that's the end of my endless diatribe on Stones message boards. May the good natured fans outweigh the bad!