Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Ten Years of Posting on TMP


"Right you lot!  No more mead or pork crackling for you if you can't touch your toes!"


Much to my surprise I have discovered that today is the tenth anniversary of my first post on The Miniatures Page.  When I thought about writing something about this I was going to post all about the good things concerning it but then, of course, I had a grumpy attack!

The topic I posted on was:

Music to inspire scenarios...

My post was:

Mario Nacscimbene's soundtrack to The Vikings inspired me to go and buy a longship to do Viking raid scenarios. It's that great horn fanfare! Previously all my Viking/Saxon skirmishes had been between forces already established in Britain. But the music made me buy a ship...

Needless to say the ship in question, a Gripping Beast resin longship, still sits unpainted in the loft! 

If you had asked me how long I had been a TMP member I would have guessed about six years.  This is an exemplar of something that I have noticed increasingly, once I passed the age of fifty: Everything happened 40% further back in the past than you think it did. It could even be Legatus' Law!  


10 years ago this week


Ten years ago today the Legatus (far right) was in Riga, Latvia.  Two of these people are dead, two have retired (the ladies) and one I was in Colombia with (more on which shortly) last week.  I'm pleased to see that I have lost some weight since then and the non-dead (undead?) chap has aged a lot worse than me!


10 years ago last week with JA who became rather more than just a cute infrastructure journalist for a couple of months.  I was always happy to give her a good, er, quote or two...


I still look at TMP pretty much every day but I find that I am commenting on it a lot less.  In 2013 I only wrote a dozen or so posts.  Largely because if I post on wargaming topics these days I am most likely to do it on other people's blogs.  Increasingly, however, the site is starting to annoy me and I really only look at the news section now. So what is good and bad about TMP for the Legatus?  My thoughts will, as ever, be completely lacking in balance!

Good

1 The news section.  I find out about all sorts of new periods I could start and figures I could buy.  In particular, by highlighting foreign products I would not have seen in the UK magazines, which were previously my only other source of news about new releases. 

2 It is a quick way to get answers to some arcane question without having to buy an Osprey.

3  Through it I made contact with Mike Lewis (now of Black Hat Miniatures) who invited me to my first proper wargame since 1978, at Guildford Wargames Club.

4 I saw my first blog (Giles', I think, and look where that led to!) via TMP.


Bad

1 The news section.  I find out about all sorts of new periods I could start and figures I could buy.  It must have cost me thousands of pounds!

2  Hearts-on-sleeve stories by (mainly) Americans about non-wargaming issues in their lives.  Now I like Americans, they are much friendlier than British people to strangers but they do have this odd tendency to tell people they have only just met intimate details about their lives.  Alright if it is positive news ("my new girlfriend is a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader") but there are a large number of disaster stories.  Not humorous disaster stories but things such as: "I've lost my job", "I've got cancer", "my mother has just died",  "my boss is trying to get me sacked", "I've crashed my car" etc. etc.   Why on earth do they feel that it is appropriate to talk about things as personal as this on a wargames forum? I don't care about your life's disasters!  I'd never dream of inflicting any of mine on the world at large!  Peculiar!




3 Tango01.  An Argentinean who carpet bombs the message boards with dozens of (often non-wargames related) new threads a day thereby pushing hobby related ones down off the front page.  He just starts the threads and then leaves them, never saying anything useful or commenting on someone else's thread. Some people think he provides useful links.  I think he is an arrogant, selfish, inadequate whose smarmy sign-off drives me mad.  I also suspect he is about fourteen years old.

4 The Lounge.  Available to TMP subscribers only, it is full of some of the most inane and juvenile nonsense I have ever read.  This is usually started by a small number of members who are very close to being as annoying as Mr Argy Bargy above.

5 Having to read which of the editor's new Filipina assistants (what is the wargaming writing equivalent of a sweatshop?) have edited a particular news item.  It's just clutter.  I really don't care.




6 The fact that articles remain on the (rarely useful) workbench section on the front page for months.  I am sick of looking at these, actually rather uninspiring, palm trees, which have been on the front page since June.  Commission more workbench articles or at least cycle them around!

7 You can search message boards but you can't search news items?

8 Despite more editors than Newsnight some of the news item headlines are completely opaque. you have to click on them to work out what on earth they are selling.  I much prefer Wargames News and Terrain for wargames news now.

So, I will keep looking at the news items but the whole site now looks very tired and old fashioned.  There seems to be a disproportionate number of people posting just for the sake of it; probably because they are not creative enough to have their own blogs!

Grr!  I feel better now!  Time for a glass or two of Wolf Blass Cabernet, I think!

12 comments:

  1. Congratualtions [I think!] on reaching your 10th TMP-versary. I had to check after I read this and I reach mine in February next year.

    A lot of your thoghts on the site ring true. It can be a fabulous resource where you can get a good answer to most topics very quickly. Like most fora it does have its share of 'interesting' characters...just as a question on the Napoleonic section and watch them spontaneously combust!

    The recent growth in 'editors' is really quite weird, not least for the reaction of some of the posters who appear to have never met a woman! Likewise the endless debates about Tango clogging up the front page with very random posts and about 'stifling' people because you can't cope with what they're saying.

    I also find myself visiting it less and less although it does still have its uses.

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  2. Wow - time flies; I think I first visited in either 2004 or 2005, myself. I used to go on daily. Now, I can't remember the last time. Somewhat like you, I tend to visit personal blogs far more often - daily, if I can. I also agree with Tango1 - nice guy, I'm sure, but what a way to bombard the forums. Anyway, Congrats - I suppose. I've even let my "paid" TMP membership expire - don't plan on renewing it. I think times have changed and blogs are currently the way to go - nice to see pictures! Warm regards, Dean

    P.S. I admit to posting some personal tragedies on my blog - but mainly to explain why I would be absent or infrequently posting. I understand the sentiment though.

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  3. Certainly with you on those palm trees. Sick of seeing them!! Congrats for 10 years on TMP.

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  4. Congratulations on your 10th anniversary of your always interesting blog.

    Re TMP: Whilst I overall still like TMP (it is usually the first call in my evening's browsing routine), I agree with the things you dislike ...

    However, in a kind of add way, these things that I dislike actually make it more interesting! Sort of like being entertained by car crash videos.

    I think part of the problem is TMP is a victim of its huge size and following. With so many contributors from every part of the wargaming spectrum, it means you have far more weirdos than smaller sites.

    One advantage of the large size, however, is that it represents a variety of factions. This means TMP never feels as sycophantic as some smaller threads that are made up of people who generally feel the same way about things. More factions means more tension, of course - but as mentioned above, that oddly adds to the entertainment!

    Lately, though, Tango's multi-posting has really been getting on my goat. Especially after he reposted something I had originally found and posted a couple of days earlier, and he got all the kudos for being good at finding things ...

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  5. Another amusing post Legatus, had me chuckling to myself at work. Have to agree with most of your points. It's also a relief to discover that someone else thinks that the 'smarmy sign-off drives me mad'. Thought it was only made me cringe.

    Regards,
    Matt

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  6. I'm around TMP much less. It's partly the move to blogs, and partly the vibe there. The moderation has recently gone from worse to worser. And Tango1 is doing my head in, too!

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  7. A brilliant article, it had me chuckling to myself as I read it (my work colleges must think there's something wrong with me today).

    I love your observation about things in the past being 40% further away than you think… so true. Or maybe its just that once you pass 40, time seems to pass 40% faster... can it really be Christmas again? Already! Time is a harsh master.

    And as for TMP... you are absolutely on the money. It’s a fantastic resource for getting wargame or painting related questions answered quickly and (for the most part) accuratly. And as a source of industry news it still plays an important role. But the growth of non wargaming and miniatures related posts on the site is a major distraction and utterly irrelevant. If Bill must hire a growing harem of young Pilipino editors then surely some of them could be employed deleting all this irrelevant rubbish.

    And as for the site itself, it desperately needs an overhaul to bring it into the 21st century. At the moment it looks like it comes from the land that time forgot and its user interface is painfully antiquated. The problem is Bill has actively encouraged the idea that the users somehow ‘own’ the site and can shape it and use it as they see fit. He buckles under pressure far too easily and the endless debates about whether a new Board should our shouldn’t be created drive me crazy. I suspect that any major changes to the look of the site (let alone changes of functionality) will create a completely disproportionate howl of disapproval that, as usual, has nothing whatsoever to do with the sites stated mission to be “The home of miniature wargaming on the Internet”.

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  8. Your post prompted me to look at my own details on TMP - I started September 2004 evidently. And apparently I have a ratio of one "stifle" per 27 posts - I'm not sure whether this is good bad or indifferent!

    Agree with you 100% on "Mr Argy Bargy" - especially as he keeps posting stuff that has already been on the Boards several times.

    As for Americans and their personal tragedies - I'm not too sure why they need to put it on TMP but I think posting it on their blog is perfectly okay.

    And I think those Filipina editors are quite fit! Much better looking than our IT people at work (but then our IT staff come from Basingstoke or Guildford so it is only to be expected).

    And generally agree with you re the usefulness of TMP - although it is an excellent place to waste an hour when I should be painting...

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  9. Yes, I think you are quite correct about TMP. It is great if you do not find an arcane detail or do not want to buy a resource. Tango is strange, but really does not bother me too much, I have to admit I am curious on what he actually does.

    There are some really a...holes in TMP, it is amazing, but I am never really surprised with what is out there. My profession over the last 25 years has well acquainted me with the soft underbelly of life and the bottom feeding filth that populates it as well as the administrative class that runs the system.

    It could always be worse.

    John

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  10. I find I skim read TMP now, most of the topics aren't that interesting. I still get a lot of hits from it on my website - so a useful source for advertising, etc.

    I also post a lot less as I have to restrain myself from telling the truth to some people...

    Mike

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  11. Hi, just stumbled upon this post through my blog. Glad you like the wargame news I supply on a daily base. This is the second post in a day I read on TMP. I must say I totally agree on the workbench and showcase pictures on the frontpage which seem to stay there forever.

    I have contacted the editor in the past to write some workbench articles on terrain but never received an answer so I have dedicated a section of my blog on terrain tutorials which you can find here if interested: http://wargameterrain.blogspot.be/p/scratchbuild-service.html

    Kind regards and thanks for mentionning Wargame News and Terrain!

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  12. Thanks for the interesting comments. I think blogs are really now the only "message boards" I look at and the interaction is that little bit more personal. I think that making personal news comments (good of bad) on blogs is quite a different thing as, in a way, you are speaking to a group of virtual friends rather than perfect strangers.

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