Irish online gaming community; Zombie or something?

It’s about this time of year, roughly a month or two before Gaelcon when there are rumblings about the “online community”. Controversy and flame wars generally follow. See here for the beginning of those storm clouds.

But that got me thinking again. What is an “Irish online gaming and roleplaying community”? Seriously?

We have a mailing list, forums, a wiki and a blogging community. Most of the time these things are very very quiet, with occasional flare ups or the passing around of information such as convention details.

You’ve got to remember that the web is non-geographical. If you’re looking to discuss or read about roleplaying and gaming, there is a great multitude of sites out there for you. So it begs the question why would you go to an “Irish” mailing list or forum first? The only answer is to talk with friends that you’ve probably physically met at one time or another. As for getting info about conventions and local groups and clubs, people go directly to the web pages. Not to some abstract greater “Irish” online community. That’s why people post on their local college club forum first. As for getting content and contributions… again it either goes global (like rpgnet or theforge) or very local (like their clubs forum or local convention).

That’s the problem. The online community is just a bunch of people who know each other plus some interlopers. It’s just a social thing. I lamented the fact that the forums went very quiet, only to discover people moved to livejournal (see here). But it’s natural. Livejournal is a social site about making personal links. It’s not really an active community but more an honouree badge. Getting the “community” to participate in something is like herding cats, because there is no true bond there. Sure, we’re Irish, we’re Gamers and that’s it.

Many of the efforts in the previous years failed or went quiet because they thought the community was something else, a group of people who care about the hobby and wanted to do something with it in the national sense. I don’t think we have enough people for that. That isn’t what the community is. If people want to create services for Irish gamers, they gotta ask themselves, why make it so local when you’ve got the whole rainbow of the web?

Look at the wiki… all the information on it is about local, Irish specific, stuff such as conventions and clubs. People come to the community, not to find scenarios or people to help with a potential RPG project, but to find info.

What say ye? Am I out of line? Do I speakth the truth?

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