Poe’s Point > “…its wings were stretched from wall to wall…”

Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer has a blog post about the online action figure collecting community, explaining why they recently banned a forum member (I don’t know who, nor does it matter). It occurred to me that I’ve been a member of said community for nearly ten years now (fifteen if you count my early days on the Prodigy bulletin boards as a member of a Transformers fan club).

My first real online action figure community was the Spawn.com boards. Eventually those boards got a little too contentious for my taste and, as Geyer suggests in his post, I founded a website (or rather, was talked into joining the founding of a website) with two other Spawn.com expatriates. Over time, I found I was less interested in writing toy reviews than I was in just commenting on the industry as a whole (plus I’m a control freak and wanted my own site), so finally, at the beginning of this month, I unleashed this blog upon an unsuspecting and uninterested public.

I think the issues Geyer brings up apply to pretty much any online fan community, from toy collectors to football fans to philatelists. Last week, I was thinking about an argument I’d had, and it occurred to me that when you’re in an argument with someone about something that can’t be decided by a quick check of a dictionary or Wikipedia–that is, an argument of opinions–you have three options.

1.) You can accept that you and the other person disagree, which many people don’t do. I think this is because it’s unsatisfying to their sense of self and their understanding of the world to think that there can genuinely be two ways of looking at things–most people hate thinking in shades of gray.

2.) You can come around to the other person’s point of view, which does happen with more frequency than the media (sports commentators, political talk shows, daytime TV) would lead you to believe.

3.) You can try to change the other person’s mind. This is easy when your argument is about the spelling of “segue” or how many touchdowns Dan Marino threw in 1992. It’s harder when it’s an opinion, and most people tend to dig in. When they argue, it becomes less about determining a fair assessment of the topic at hand and more about bringing the other person around to your perception of the situation. This validates

With toy collectors, the reason for the sometimes ferocious arguments is pretty simple, I think: people spend money on these things and they don’t like the idea that what they spent their money on might not be good. And so you have the strong feelings for and against Hasbro’s Marvel Legends–some collectors defend them, while others say they’re inferior to Toy Biz’s earlier work. I know I’ve defended certain action figures (McFarlane’s Movie Maniacs III Ash, anyone?) that, in hindsight, really were not that great. But at the time, I defended them because I wanted them so badly, and wanted them not to suck, so I tried to convince myself that they didn’t–and in order to that, I had to argue with those who said it did suck, because in my heart of hearts, I knew they were right. If only I could convince myself otherwise–!

On a far larger and more significant scale, I think this kind of thing applies to politics, except people take that far more seriously and personally.

All that said, I do like the comment of “DC Biased” on Geyer’s entry: “Are we really at the point where we’re talking about one action figure forum taking shots at another action figure forums? Really? Wow. No wonder everyone thinks we’re all nerds.” A little glib, yes, but as someone who writes a blog about toys, I appreciate the reality check.

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  • I for one liked the concept of the MMM SIII Ash… thats a helluva Acronym… but yeah it was great in concept, the look of it and this 18 inch successor are not so good. I would settle for nice 13 POA Ash anyday in ML scale. I even have the NECA version of Medieval Ash and a couple of the Sideshow Toys 10 inch(?) sized figurines, which are rather gorgeous, just never opened them to check out the articulation.

    Anywho, I myself had some involvement with someone ditching the Wizard Universe boards. They go overly excited over a quip I made and when I tried to explain I didn't mean anything by the joke. Anywho they went and created their own boards over it. Which , now that I think of it, pretty fair of them… although I just wish they hadn't have left over an everyday comment in a comedic thread that I made. But eh… not everyone is an Esba-fan.

    You keep on trucking I dig your site.

  • The 18" Ash has a pretty decent likeness, but neither of them have good articulation. I'd kill–well, at least maim–for an ML-style Ash (preferably with a decent headsculpt).

    As for forum wars, I don't think I've ever been banned from anywhere–my posts are usually too tame. I try to argue with overwhelming reason, which of course means I'm mostly ignored.

  • I like the 18" Ash, I've had that for a while, and I've had nothing but fun with it. It isn't 100% accurate, but its a heck of a conversation starter! 😉

    I've been online since '97, and I could count on one hand how many boards I've frequented. During the last Summer with all of the Transformers excitment I started lurking at a few TF sites and those people are animals! Its easy to get aggrivated at people online, esp. when they're being childish and immature and the anyonimity of the Internet gives them more freedom to be jerks.

  • Yeah, it seems the more insulated and specific a toy board becomes, the more reactionary and defensive its members get. I've noticed some people have issues with the Fwoosh, but I only visit the DC and General boards over there, and those are fine. Very little fighting or flaming, and when it pops up it's quickly squelched.

    The other boards I frequent–AFI, ToyBuzz, and OAFE–are relatively sane too, compared to, say, the worst periods of my later time on the Spawn boards.

  • Yeah I'm nitpicky on the 18 inch… mine just doesn't have "whites of the eyes" so he kinda looks posessed by Eclipso or something.

    As for other message boards I post at Newsarama but ONLY in the Power Girl Appreciation thread. Now if only DC Universe would put out a 4 Horsemen Kara Zor-L, although she just might be a bit too "bursty" for the 5 and up crowd.

  • "With toy collectors, the reason for the sometimes ferocious arguments is pretty simple, I think: people spend money on these things and they don't like the idea that what they spent their money on might not be good."

    I'd like to add that a lot of toy collectors have issues when it comes to communicating with other people. It's a problem that affects all levels of nerdly endeavors.

  • @Paul–well, I think that goes without saying. I just didn't want to rehash the conventional wisdom 😉

    BTW, does anyone get the reference in the post title, or have I out-geeked the geeks?