TFH, TFP, TFA….how many studios for forumers need there be? All of them have become a mess. Drama, people repeatedly creating clone studios…all for a group of people who do stuff on the Scratch forums for fun.
(DISCLAIMER: All of this is my opinion. I do not intend to cause any more trouble, I want to express how I feel with all of the forumer stuff.)
For me, I started foruming wayyy back in the long-forgotten year of 2020, and I never knew that there was a group for the very 3l33t people who had thousands of posts and were literal ninjas and SOMEHOW buried your posts before you even posted at all. Of course, without knowing all of this, I posted on the forums, and gradually continued to get better.
About a year after my first forum post, I submitted a The Forum Helpers application after procrastinating on it. I had met the requirements a long time before, but I didn’t jump on it immediately. I was accepted, and I joined the studio shortly thereafter. And well, nothing really changed.
And then came the Forum Participaters. It initially started as a parody of TFH, but shortly became a group for those who could not join the actual forum helper group. The requirements for joining are a lot less strict. I joined because, hey, it’s good fun!
Even, later on, came The Forum Assistants (the name choice tho), created by a TFH reject. I received the invite for it just out of the blue, and I joined because…well…who knows at this point…
First off, HOW MANY FORUMER STUDIOS ARE NEEDED? TFH is for the high-level forumers, and TFP is for those who are forum users who want to be part of a group. Of course, most people don’t care about this and will just join for the status symbols, but for those participating in these communities…
I am ever trying to reduce how many studios I curate, meaning I leave studios when I feel I don’t interact with that community much anymore or the studio is not relevant to me (or it’s just not relevant anymore at all, like what happened with Whirl Cat). Of course, I joined TFP for the funny hahas and shortly thereafter stopped interacting with it. TFA…I don’t interact with it at all because I already am a part of a forumer community that is larger. I may casually open the studio now and then in Firefox to see if anything interesting has happened, but most of the time…nothing. And most of the time, most people who are active in the studio are often in other forumer studios like TFH. I don’t like jumping between several pages to continue a conversation, but when conversing with the same people in 3 DIFFERENT STUDIOS, that’s a problem.
Another major issue is the drama. I’m no stranger to this, particularly because the Mineral Fish fandom experiences minor bouts of this often (two particular people warring over op perms in our IRC channel, forum character profile griefing, roleplays between “villains”…), but TFH experienced two major moments just a few weeks ago.
The first one was a list of “annoying” forumers that was posted onto a GitHub repository. This was supposed to be secret, but from what I can gather, someone (who we will be getting into later) leaked the link in one of their posts, resulting in a nuke being dropped on TFH. Although the original repo was deleted sometime during the drama, someone else has created another repository and reuploaded the list, alongside a video. The video contains a slideshow of comments from the TFH chaos set to the “I fought the law and the law won” song. After watching the video, it made me think about why this group exists, and how one list of “annoying” users results in literal fallout. Like, not only was it complete chaos, the repository description calls itself “the list that caused TFH to crumble”. That moment really made me rethink what this group is all about. It went downhill for a bit when someone’s ego was damaged a little bit. Oh sure, this list was pretty rude, but couldn’t this just be reported to GitHub instead of being brought up on Scratch? That would have stopped this mess.
The next one is hard to understand, and it was hard for me to get information other than scrolling through comments in the studio alongside forum posts. The same person who leaked the list also was rejected from TFH for not having enough posts and decided to try and get an exception, which of course, did not work. So now, they assumed the studio was all against him, and well, chaos ensued. I can’t really put my finger on it, but this was a screwup. It got most people thinking, was this a studio for forumers, or “professional, constructive, perfect” forumers? We are all unpaid people, who are browsing forums on a children’s coding website. Should there be more room for people to join and learn from others? Or are there going to be actually good forumers, who can’t join this coveted group because of a few minor mess-ups? Of course, this person didn’t just have a few mess-ups, but…it still made me think how lucky I was to be even accepted into this group.
The same thing happened rather recently, with the creation of The Forum Assistants, which was created by a TFH reject on July 22nd, as stated earlier. However, the reason for rejection isn’t very clear, but apparently poor constructiveness and attitude? Of course, those are things that mean a lot on the forums, but the rejection reaction was, a little overdrive, and the reject created a whole new studio, and there a system for applying, but if the owner sees you around the forums, thinks you are good, you are invited? O….K….? Now, this I don’t think was needed. The Forum Participaters had a valid reason for existing and was actually pretty funny for a while, but The Forum Assistants was just created out of spite of being rejected. Of course, I have since left.
But all of this has an over-arching problem: are we, the forumers, those who have our own culture, words, and concepts, taking this too seriously? Again, we are all unpaid, browsing and posting on the forums of a children’s programming website. Should we be more open to those who are joining this culture, and help them, and ourselves, or are we going to do nothing, and continue to let the forum helper concept go up in flames? We all have our issues, but we need to know how to fix them, learn from our mistakes, and be better than we were.