This is one of those, fraught, protracted wordwalls of a very Oldhammer-specific nature that will interest only a very small group of people. Please consider yourself warned!
I recall seeing an episode of Borgen, a Danish political drama telling the story of Birgitte Nyborg who, against the odds, becomes her country's first female Prime Minister. It reminded me of Oldhammer, well, this particular episode anyway. You see, a brand new political party had been founded from scratch. As a result though it was new, exciting and full of energy it lacked identity. People from across the political spectrum clamoured to be a part of this new 'movement', whether from the left, centre or right, whether disenfranchised, optimistic, ambitious or exhausted by the status quo, the prospect of something new reinvigorated the jaded and excited everyone with it's freshness. Like I said, the new party lacked identity as a result. This particular episode Has Birgitte call everyone's attention to the ideas board in the party HQ and she goes through it with them. Everywhere there are different and often contradictory or mutually exclusive ideas for a party manifesto. Clearly, the attempt to blend political ideals from all quarters isn't working and quite a bit of nonsense from the extreme left and right doesn't have any chance of implementation in a month of Sundays. Birgitte concludes by saying that crunch time has arrived and sends everybody home. Not all of them will be invited back.
So, what does this have to do with Oldhammer beyond one or two vague parallels?
Oldhammer doesn't have an identity. Not once in it's first years of growing publicity or in the wilderness years before that has anyone been able to define what Oldhammer means to other people, to themselves, but not to others. Oldhammerers appear to lack empathy.
"No identity or empathy?!" I hear you cry, "surely it's not all bad?!"
No of course not, but things aren't all great if we're honest either. I'm not implying that Oldhammer is the wargaming equivalent of a political party, though once I foolishly wished it could be capable of changing make-believe wargaming for the better, but I am suggesting it is the chaotic HQ that was heaving with competing ideas and boundless enthusiasm before Birgitte took charge and cleared the room. Our problem is that so many of us seem to harbour the desire to categorise Oldhammer, pigeonhole an inherently anarchic concept, bringing order and discipline to a chaos-fuelled riot. When we do this, we change Oldhammer back into what we already had, what we were so bored with that we rebelled. Whereas Birgitte's party needed her leadership at that moment, we don't, we should all hope to preserve the bubbling primordial pool of creativity that has been revealed to us. That much is clear, but we have to accept that as a consequence friction between members or (dare I say it) factions within Oldhammer will give rise to negativity and conflict. This negativity needs to be dealt with in an adult way, even if this is the internet and not a medium conducive to grown-up behaviour.
Having reached this conclusion, I find myself with a few things I need to get off my chest so that I can be seen to practise what I preach. (We all know you love it when I preach).
First, the forum community really annoyed me a while back. When things needed to get done and things needed to be said the vast majority just put their head down and kept quiet. Anything for a peaceful life, just here for the minis thanks. Well, someone has to do all the technical work (for free) and others have to offer themselves to that person and do their dirty work, perhaps even acting as a lightning rod, so in future perhaps you should do a bit more to contribute or at least slow down and try to understand those who do. Worse, a small minority were outspoken in pushing their own agenda (on both sides) and often spoke rashly from a position of ignorance.
That said, I apologise for the mistakes that were made and my part in them and forgive all things.
Second, wargaming can be very crass sometimes. Whether it's the insidiousness of Pony Wars (which as a rational human being and wargamer is a game I choose to despise) on the Oldhammer forum, the preponderance of WW2 German armies weighed down with SS Tigers at my club or the grotesque glee I witnessed recently as a miniature woman clutching a baby was killed in a game of Warhammer I GM'd, the hobby can stray into areas that offend to some degree. Perhaps be aware of this just a little bit, it may be your God-given right to be ignorant and uncultured but if that's so then it's mine to point it out. That said, if ever I do take offence you may be sure I will forgive and forget very swiftly, moving on to deal with the world as it is, not as I would wish it to be.
Third, my involvement in the online gaming community has been one of the most positive boons to my life, outdone only by my marriage and the birth of my son. However, I have also met some rather awkward fellows who have tried my patience to it's breaking point. I have tried being nice to all of them, most blank me now but one in particular contents himself with being snide and provocative at every opportunity. I will continue to recognise my failings and apologise for any offence I have caused, I will not vent my frustration publicly any more so as to avoid hypocrisy and I happily forgive them utterly. You sir, have a clean slate. Yours to do with as you wish.
All of this means what exactly? Beyond a catharsis for yours truly? Initially it will merely herald my return to the Oldhammer forum to finish my commitments regarding the Trolltooth Wars. Long term, hopefully it will be the first, small step on the long road to a contented Oldhammer community and a reunion of the developed cliques which have sprung up. Please don't mock me for trying! I just want to be one of those wiser, cooler heads instead of part of the problem. There is a long way to go before any understanding is reached within the community regarding what is 'allowed' and what is 'forbidden' but I think that I want to be one of those who expresses a lot of positives and no negativity, hence my own personal exorcism which is the permission I grant myself to be a better Oldhammerer.
Borgen actually translates as 'castle' or 'citadel' funnily enough.
Thanks for stopping by!