Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The tottering giant


Ever since I've been a proper wargamer, the miniatures page forum (TMP) has bestrode the virtual wargaming world like a colossus. It's been the place to go to for news, general info, chat, and good advice; the spot to meet like-minded enthusiasts, to share a recent thrill, post a link to a latest game report, or hear the things in wargameville that are exciting people.

Being myself physically distant from any other miniatures gamers, TMP and TMPers taught me most of what I needed to know about collecting, prepping, painting, researching and so on when I first got into the hobby. Of course, there were other good places too (and good people - thanks Luke and Pat), but if you needed to know something right now, or if you were facing a conundrum and wanted to see how others with more experience had handled that same issue in the past, or if you wanted interesting discussions, TMP was indispensable. In fact, I would not be a wargamer without TMP, and I owe it and its denizens a huge debt (in more ways than one, says my wife. Ha!).

So the fact that things have not been right there for quite some time, that periods of calm followed by bitter and seemingly unnecessary blow ups over peripheral things that have nothing really to do with the primary aspects of our hobby contrive to drive more and more people away, is a great shame.

I finished up my membership there in January or February of this year, for reasons which I won't go into, but I still drop by as a casual viewer.

All things go in cycles, and as I've said here before, there seems to be a trend in the hobby towards fracturing, but it's a shame to see such a formerly (and, for me, formatively) influential place in such a bad way. Maybe the editor at TMP has just been doing it too long and has had enough. It's hard to maintain enthusiasm and keep perspective on one thing for as long as he has; perhaps he's just worn out and hasn't quite seen it yet.

I think there was a tremendous amount of goodwill around TMP for a long time, but it seems to be running on empty at the moment. Some people with a bone to pick are glad about that, but I am not glad about it at all. It was a huge help to me and I don't enjoy iconoclasm for its own sake.

In the end though, it's only wargaming; it's no great matter. Still, for a time, it was about as good as a wargaming warren gets, and, being the place that nurtured me as a fledgling gamer, worth remembering with fondness and gratitude.

44 comments:

  1. I have seen others mention the fractious behavior of some of those on TMP. There is another forum that is supposedly much worse. Fortunately I have not seen much of that behavior. I am still a member, though I do not pay for the full membership benefits. This allows me to post there should I wish to There is another forum "The Wargames Website" where the members behave themselves. It does not have as many members as TMP at this time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that was my modus operandi for most of the time, too.

      Delete
  2. Ah, TMP! The latest kerfuffle seems to be a self-inflicted wound on the SYSADMIN, himself.
    Alienating BOTH sides of the Atlantic in two, separate posts, is a feat. Especially, when your livelihood depends upon viewers and advertisers.

    When you notice that most old posting have responses where most users are listed as "Zzz," that suggests trouble to me.

    I get dunning emails from TMP on a regular basis asking me to PLEASE become a supporting member. Sounds like desperation to me.

    I have not tried The Wargames Website...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very true. The introduction of the zzzz icon was, I think, counterproductive. It certainly doesn't help to give the impression of a bustling community.

      Delete
  3. I have similar views, and intend to visit TMP only occasionally, as it is a good site to mine for information on old rulesets (especially historical) and old figures.

    The Wargames Website is a good substitute although much more quiet. Also, Lead Adventure Forum is another, perhaps the best one-stop on-line site for wargamers of all stripes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've checked out both a couple of times, but the Society of Ancients forum, a few yahoo groups and blogs are my main points of contact these days.

      Delete
  4. My TMP status currently shows ZZZZZ since last September. A spat there resulted me in ending my blogging activity (common sense prevails and I am back at it now) and I just don't see that as being part of my precious hobby time.

    The pure wargaming side remains good, but the total package leaves me feeling that it is not a welcoming place.

    Quite frankly, there is so much good blog material these days and they generally seem to be positive and creative, so spending internet time in the blogosphere is a rewarding experienceand I feel like I am in the company of real enthusiasts and gentlemen / ladies.

    I like The Wargames Website as I like what Mike is aiming to do there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed, Norm. It's still usefulfor wargaming, but even there there was a noticeable drop off in quality and quantity in the areas I frequented. In the end I used to feel embarrassed posting topics because there would be so little interest that I felt I was imposing.

      Delete
  5. Your sentiments match mine exactly; I wouldn't be a wargamer if it weren't for TMP, but it's a total mess now.

    V/R,
    Jack

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your postings were what got me into Five Core, Jack. They were great!

      Delete
  6. Unfortunately when the editor defends the right wing lunatics, insults large chunks of the forum in a tantrum and then deletes anyone that disagrees with him it's time to move on.

    The Wargames Website is pretty good (for me at least) as it also has the advertisers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the self-inflicted stuff is a mystery. I can't fathom why you'd continue to do such obviously detrimental things to your own page unless you subconsciously want out.

      Delete
  7. I thuink MP is still the best of what's out there, and visit it daily, but it is indeed a shadow of its former self. eschewing politics and avoiding gratuitously inflammatory topics would help. The Wargames Website is OK, but the posting and response volume s too low to obtain "critical mass". The Lead Adventure Foprum is better in that regard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, agree on all counts, Gonsalvo, which I why a greatly lament its current state. Nowhere else has the same reach or the mix of people and interests it had at its peak.

      Delete
  8. I use it on occasion for questions,but mostly just frequent it for the marketplace. The variety is better for historicals than Bartertown.com, and I find stuff moves faster when I put it on TMP. I never really spent time on the discussion forums, as I found that blogging has somewhat eliminated the need. (I rarely purchase wargames magazines now for much the same reason.) As Ed pointed out, this is a far more creative and positive environment. I have yet to be subjected to the internet equivalent of the button counter at shows.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, have to agree that the marketplace is a great feature.

      Delete
    2. I finally found out what the fuss is all about. I am in awe. The editor looks like he is trying to destroy his own business over meaningless clickbait. And given the number of responses blog posts like this are getting, I think it is working. It's too bad as the site has been popular enough that it has survived despite the use of a circa 1998 user interface.

      Delete
    3. Hard to understand, isn't it!

      Delete
  9. I gave up on it a couple of years back and my account went zzzz, but then logged on again just to look around without having to read the multitude of posts by one person. But I haven't contributed in a very long time, and very rarely frequent it now. It started going downhill about the time Allen Curtis died. Blogs and magazines -and now facebook - give me my wargames fix that I crave.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping by, Nathan. There are certainly a lot of places to go for wargaming stuff on the web these days, that's for sure!

      Cheers,
      Aaron

      Delete
  10. Thanks to everyone for their kind words about The Wargames Website.

    It is very important to me to make sure it is as pleasant and as useful an experience as we all in this wonderful hobby of ours deserve.

    Did I need some commas in there?



    Michael.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michael, thanks for dropping by, and best wishes for TWW.

      Cheers,
      Aaron

      Delete
  11. For the first time since 2000 (yes 17 years!), I am contemplating a new forum. I read the farewell thread from Phil Dutre. There were some very supportive comments for Phil and while negative, not all together wrong sentiment about TMP. I went back a while later and found about 5 of the posts were deleted. For me, it is not the self inflicted wounds. It is not the various controversies that pop every summer but the fact that the editor is censoring benign posts that he does not agree with. That to me steps over the line. LAF is a front runner for me. The people seem friendly and reasonable. The topics seem all about wargaming. I'll have to check out The Wargamer's Website. I've tried WD3 but the crowd seems to be made up of all the unruly folks that left TMP in a huff. So I am not inclined to choose that one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi John, I see what you mean about the censoring.

      Delete
  12. Have to agree with all the above. On the other hand, considering the advantages of visiting TMP as opposed to boycotting, I still visit on a daily basis.

    Avoiding posts about fractious issues, politics, etc. and block ones by a certain prolific poster limits the distractions and angst about stuff I don't even care about.

    I very much enjoyed posts by Allen Curtis. He had an amazing amount of information and was most generous about sharing but he could also be brutally acerbic at times. I do miss his insights, cool or white hot.

    The ZZZZZ icon was put in place so current posters might not wait for an expected reply from someone who hadn't visited lately.

    From time to time the Editor runs off the rails and refuses to get back on track while he still has a few wounded, smoldering toes left. I can only imagine how much "stuff" he has to deal with that is behind the scenes. Obviously not a job for me!

    I find the good will is still there but you have to look away from some areas so that you're not blinded by the flames.

    In the end, it is as you say, its only wargaming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good points, William. Thanks for your thoughts!

      Delete
  13. Howdy Aaron,

    I fell off from TMP page several years ago for no other reason than I just lost interest. I pop in once in a while from a google search asking a question seeing it already answered on TMP. I was a supporter for a long time and TMP helped fill a spot for what new product was coming out. Just like the internet, all those years ago, connected me to untold numbers of fellow gamers I never knew existed, TMP connected me in the same way to what's out there.

    But now a days TMP isn't a key tool for that anymore. With Blogs, YouTube channels, and the like I get better information and news this way.

    Also a while back TMP had a big problem with sock puppets and I learned a valuable lesson on how to avoid getting engaged with inflammatory comments etc after getting burned.

    I don't dislike TMP and think it still has a useful purpose, but now she's like an ex girlfriend that just doesn't interest me anymore;)

    Cheers
    Kevin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The question is, I suppose, do you still keep the number in your phone? ;-)

      Good analogy, and I think your experience is probably not uncommon.

      Thanks Kevin, always nice to have you drop by!

      Cheers,
      Aaron

      Delete
  14. 'The Wargames Website is OK, but the posting and response volume s too low to obtain "critical mass"'

    And therein lies the problem, people that won't use it because it is quieter than other (much older and longer established) sites could fix that problem right away.
    If everyone who said it was too quiet to bother posting on, actually posted on it, it would be heaving by now.
    It is a catch 22 that should be easy to break if people would only have a go, trust in their fellow gamers to come and join in, be a leader, a doer, a winner!

    Ok, so that was a bit passive aggressive / cheesey?

    But it is a fair point, if your only real objection is that not enough people use, then use it?!

    It seems wrong to moan about others not posting there enough, but then not being willing to post yourself as you suggest others should?

    I am going to go now, I am getting overly passionate about it.
    I am very invested in making TWW everything a great games community should be and I get a little disheartened when the activity issue comes up as it is so easily sorted.

    Hope you take that in good faith and not as me calling you a bunch of poopholes.


    TWW will be waiting whatever you decide to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No insult was intended, Michael. I joined TWW quite a while ago, but don't have much to add to it at this stage. I've almost gone into semi-retirement; the virtual equivalent of walks shorts, socks, and sandals!

      Delete
    2. No offence taken, it is a fair comment.

      Delete
  15. Echoing much of what Kevin has said above, we found TMP helped us reach a wider customer base, especially in the USA, but more recently have found it has lost focus and we are getting much better success through other methods.

    What concerned us more was the editor's constant attempts to drive up interest in a sensationalist, popularist fashion by encouraging or even posting topics that were unrelated to wargaming (even in a veiled capacity). When I questioned the wisdom of this approach he turned on me personally calling me homophobic. At that point I decided to withdraw our advertising. You don't attack the people who pay to keep your site running. That's poor business.

    I stayed there because we had customers there. I was able to answer questions and do what I set out to do, to help wargamers.

    The recent spat was again down to the editor stirring things by encouraging stereotype anguish between members, resulting in flame wars and several members being banned. When I again suggested this was not a wise direction my account was locked, so I "was not tempted to post again". it seems that freedom of speech is narrow minded and protectionalist.

    QRF is no longer on TMP in an active capacity. We still advertise on The Wargames Website (TWW) and are finding traffic increasing rapidly from there and other sources.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely understand your frustration, Geoff. As I said before, there was a lot of goodwill around the community that had built up over many years, which was why people stuck around, but that seems to be evaporating due to come increasingly bizarre and erratic behaviour.

      Anyway, you have great products and service, and I think it's probably more beneficial for your business to not be associated with TMP.

      Cheers,
      Aaron

      Delete
  16. I decided to leave TMP as well. Over the years, the quantity of my contributions fluctuated - but I still visited frequently, and stuck to a few well-chosen boards. I recently rediscovered a review I posted on TMP back in 1996, that's over 20 years ago. The internet was still young and naive back then ;-)

    Anyway, I always tried to stay clear from the social media aspects and all the drama, but at one point, you have to think about whether you still want to be associated with a site at which the editor sees no problem in starting a thread about "British Wargamers". That was the final drop for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry it's come to that Phil; and 1996, that's a fair while ago!

      I stayed away from the drama as much as possible too, but it got increasingly harder to ignore the drop off in quality and the reasons for it.

      Anyway, all the best, and will drop in on your blogs now and then.

      Cheers,
      Aaron

      Delete
  17. I used to post on there as Weasel.
    In a discussion, I was accused and suspended for something I didn't do (and which multiple posters attested to)

    When I posted that I'd take a few days off, Bill personally insulted me repeatedly and let the poster I'd debated with do the same.

    So I am out, like several others.

    Apparently the people coming to my defense triggered the whole anti-British escalation that's been raging on there since.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it was that incident that prompted this post actually. Such utterly self-defeating behaviour that I don't believe he can be thinking straight. Possibly time for him to step away for his own mental health, I think.

      Anyway, thanks for popping by Ivan, best of luck in your rules-writing endeavours, and I really must get a copy of Dungeon Scum one of these weeks!

      Cheers,
      Aaron

      Delete
  18. Ah Ivan I was one of your many defenders.

    It is all quite sad as Aaron and others have noted, and I agree TMP has been in a long incremental decline.

    I suspect that TMP no longer generates much of a business return especially since TMP4 was exposed as a phantom upgrade.

    That said, we can all benefit from a well run and civil international Wargaming forum and so I've joined the wargames website and will post stuff there in future.

    If others do so too we will have all the benefits and none of the nonsense.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It looks like this incident was the final straw for a lot of people, really. See you on TWW then.

      Cheers

      Delete
  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I realized that pretty much zero of my sales traffic comes from TMP, so it was less of a loss than expected.

      Appreciate the show of faith brother!

      Delete
  20. Another one of those people who got the boot for questioning the utility of the current editor-induced 'discussions'. Was a member for 15 years and still found the actual gaming forums kind of useful, but at this point there's plenty of sites with the same utility and less drama.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There seem to be a lot of people in a similar position!

      Delete
  21. Aaron: I agree with all of your thoughtful observations. I was new to the hobby in 2004 or so, and was still stationed in Korea. TMP opened my eyes to how large the community was/is - figure/terrain vendors; rules; painting/building techniques; etc. Not to mention some of the informative and good natured dialogue - some from members no longer with us. I stopped visiting several years ago - not only for how some of the comments had become, but for personal reasons not related to the hobby itself. The only tie I may ever read a topic there now is when I'm Google-surfing for a subject and its one of the links. But, it may be a case of burnout - not only on the editor's part. Who knows, but life is too short to participate in something that leaves you worse off than not.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...