The general theme, tone and usage of these forums have changed in recent times. Some might suggest these pages have evolved into a more chat-orientated style (one poster suggesting we're treating it like a bunch of friends rambling on at the pub - a positive slant); others might assert that there has been a move away from strict whisky discussion (a negative slant).
I'll put my hand up and say that I'm a little disappointed the way threads are fast becoming excuses to post silly gags, quick smiley faces, and quickly shift off-topic.
What do you think?
Admiral, Sir! I was not too serious when I suggested that kind of poll. (Yeah, I`ve had my lecture on German homour already. Did not want to turn that thread in such a way, but thank you for your remarks and comments, honestly!) On the other hand it could show us where we stand exactly. So ok, a poll to end all polls.
Could it be that we are about to prove that this kind of "chatty forum" is not too bad a thing? Let´s wait what the poll tells us.
The recent situation could be bettered by an "offtopic section" but that would require an active moderator team.
I've been experimenting for a while with a 24/7 IRC chat wich also had a interface on PeatFreak.com
In the end I decided not to go ahead with it as I didnt want to step on the same track as spiritofislay.net (if I got the domain correct) who have a weekly chat on wednessday evening.
But if there would be a sufficient interest for a true 24/7 chat ...
Not me, I just add some ice to my whisky.
Also the number of threads have increased dramatically in the last few months, could be that people are simply having trouble keeping up?
Where is the leardership of the Amazing Revilo when we need him most?
However on a more serious note I've noticed that this forum always comes back on track, usually after some gentle prodding from a member or two. I'm sure this thread will do the trick.
This post is Emoticon free.
Ardaíonn ár ngrá muid féin níos airde i gcónaí!
Would it help if I stop making Australian jokes?
Okay. I'm chief culprit and instigator. And to be quite honest, that isn't likely to change, unless I'm barred from the board. But I have enough respect for Admiral to listen to what he's saying. I'll even admit that, several times lately, I've felt a twinge of guilt when posting various bits of rubbish. If we can liken this place to a pub, then no doubt that certain behavior catches the attention of the bartender. He's been pretty tolerant so far, and no doubt he's watching to see if we can sort this out for ourselves before he resorts to calling the police.
Let us look for a moment at the maligned thread I started and titled "Tasteless". There was in fact a genuine and legitimate question there. Not an earth-shaking one, certainly, but not outside the realm of this forum. I noted that postings under the heading "Tastings" had dropped off considerably, and that I myself had not had a dram for several days. Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe those of us in the northern hemisphere are actually tasting less lately, because of the weather. It was meant only as an idle speculation, a conversation opener, to see if others were experiencing what I was. But it was admittedly not particularly important, and I didn't mind a bit if the thread turned into a ramble on other things. The attached poll was virtually an afterthought--it came to me as I was typing the words "Is it the weather or what?"--and was intended to spoof all the polls that provide inadequate answers, which is about all of them. I regard such polls as useless, in and of themselves, except as conversation starters. They generally mean nothing, and I don't usually even bother to look at the results. But they are harmless enough, and if folks want to use them to open a topic, that's okay with me. I just never bother to vote in most of them. I haven't voted in this one.
Anyway, the unfortunate thing is that the physical position of the Tasteless poll gave it preeminence over my idle musings and made the whole thread appear entirely frivolous (which, admittedly, it wasn't far from, anyway). Error on my part, and one which I'll no doubt make again: I never let anything serious get in the way of a gag. If that's a flaw in my character, it is one I've had all my life, and I don't see much chance of it changing.
It is summer, and we have been exceedingly silly of late. Okay, so we need to calm down a bit. But I'd really hate to see any sort of formal sanction on banter (and I'm sure you would not propose such, Admiral). We've had quite a lot of people join in here in the past six months, and we seem to be enjoying each other's company. 16 0f the top 35 posters have joined since September 2004. I know how obnoxious it can be when there's a loud and raucous party in the bar; I also know that sometimes you just have to move to the other end of the bar and bear it, and hope it calms down one way or another.
As for myself, for a number of reasons which are not particularly relevant, I have been home quite a lot in the past few months, and, in my characteristically obsessive/compulsive way, I have probably spent far too much time on this forum. It's probably the closest thing I have to a social life these days. How pathetic is that? Get a life, Tattie Heid! But it won't stay that way; it's circumstantial.
A certain amount of banter is normal and natural, and in my mind helps to lubricate the proceedings. Sometimes it just holds the place until someone has something pertinent to say. In any whisky bar I've ever been in, there's only so much talk about whisky; other things naturally come up. I'd bet that's so even at formal tastings, although certainly less so.
If Wendy posts a light-hearted story about Canadian and Danish military keeping their border dispute friendly by swapping bottles of whisky and aquavit, and it turns into a discussion of Rockall, why should anyone really care?
On the other hand, if there are folks who have serious questions and wish to discuss whisky in at least a semiserious way, they shouldn't have to wade through a bunch of nonsense to do it.
So I hereby resolve to try to refrain from hijacking any serious thread with silliness. That doesn't mean I won't joke at all while in such threads, but will try to keep my posts generally in the spirit of the thread. (Long-running, open-ended threads like "What did you drink last night?", though, are fair game.) I hope that pledge will suffice. I do not promise 100% success. I don't know that anyone can say definitively where to draw the line in any given situation; as in everything else, we all have a different idea. But I'll try.
And I still haven't voted in this poll; my answer isn't there. The correct answer is forty-two.
It only seems natural that as discussion evolves and friendship develops the comfort level and colloquial banter takes over from the formal tasting notes and simple polite questions.
Personally, I have had some great laughs reading through some of this harmless (and often mindless) fun.
As many have pointed out - the world of whisky attracts all kinds, but for the most part, collectively, it's a great bunch, always willing to chat and share points of view (serious and otherwise)... bring on the bird guano and let's build our own Rockall.
Anyway, if there is an interest to experiemnt with soemthing like that, I practically have all still in a working setup. If anyone feels like having a go or wants to help out with it ...
Its all based on IRC but I do have a Java applet on the site for those who dont know much about IRC and/or dont want to =)
The old days of slainthe.org's chat wee always highly amusing. Were all enjoying the chat with a dram (or two). Distilelry oriented online tastings and so. Would be cool to see if there is a base for soemthing like that again =)
All the participants from the slainthe.org chat will agree with me that it was heaps of fun. And also the distillery chats which were announced a week ahead of time were always working out very well.
Was worth a shot =)
I'm grateful to Mr T for his honesty and sincerity (hell, it saves me pointing the finger hee hee, just kidding! ) and I appreciate his analogy that if a raucous group starts making a bit of noise at the bar, others sometimes have to just move down the other end and hope it quietens down.
But my take on it is this: This is a whisky forum. There are a million things that each of us try and squeeze into our day. My passion in life is malt whisky, and so I come here to discuss it.
If I want to show off my ability to construct puns or to swap jokes, there are a million other places I can go to on the internet to exercise this. But I come here to talk about whisky. If I want to share in some silliness, I'll happily put on my Monty Python or Blackadder videos. But I come here to talk about whisky.
I don't mean to sound facetious, and I mean no offence or ill-will towards anyone here, believe me. But when you log on to discuss whisky, and have to wade through non-whisky-related stuff, I do wonder whether I'd be better off looking elsewhere.
Allow me please to share something Bond posted on the "Tasteless" thread:
One side effect is that some of the more knowledgable people on this forum have turned less prolific in their posts, ostensibly because very few posts catch their interest. I personally owe a lot of whatever little I know to several such people on this forum.
We stand to lose a lot if this turns into a relatively non-serious whisky forum and complels some of these folks to look elsewhere.
I fully agree with and endorse these comments. Many of the knowledgeable and previously-regular posters whose thoughts, comments and participation around here were very valuable have been much less vocal in recent times. Now I'm not suggesting that that is entirely due to the recent change in forum usage - there could possibly be other factors also. But where is Erik? Lex? Ruduloph Hucker? Tom? rOb? Gate? BruceCrichton?
Again, I echo Bond's sentiments....we stand to lose a lot if this turns into a relatively non-serious whisky form and compels some of these folks to look elsewhere.
I come here to talk about whisky.
Cheers and regards to all.
I was wondering where Lex was, alright. Lex has the most comprehensive knowledge of whisk(e)y of anyone I've encountered.
Then again, we've got valuable new members, like TNbourbon, who knows almost everything there is to know about bourbon. Of course, everyone's a valuable contributor.
Things have been hectic around here lately, wich is why I havent been very active on the forum.
This post is probably a necessery evil. Hopefully it wont be blown out of proportions but it doesnt look that way.
Like everything it seems this forum has evolved with time, Like many said here it seems to be more chit chat then serieus whisky discussions. On itself thats not too bad I guess. But I share Admirals findings nevertheless. However If this is how the forum naturally evolves than so be it, I still like searching here for the newest whisky gossip and must say that I value some members input more then most whiskywriters' opinions.
The only thing that is seriously disturbing is the incredible rate of changing the subject in any given topic. It renders the whole point of having topics invalid, Also it makes searching for relevant information a hell.
So the only thing I would ask is if we can please stick to the topic. Naturally one topic brings ideas linked to another, so then why not start a new topic instead of changing the contents of another. I personally find this frustrating for both readers and starters of a topic.
For the rest, this is as good as it gets if you like discussing and sharing with genuine whisky enthousiasts.
Edit: When i say hectic around here i ment at home, not here at the forum.
There is One last thing I would like to get off my chest. It is relevant to the topic because i dont believe this would have happened in the beginning I was here.
What the people here did with Oliver is IMHO out of line.
He's gone now so I may be too late to say this but attacking someone because he is against certain events is not fair at all.
There are things that happen in the whiskyworld that are not nice at all. Everything has a bad side, including whisky and everything around it, It would be hypocrite to only bless everything and turn a blind eye to the bad things that happen. Oliver was perhaps too verbal and too eager to share his annoyance with the Edrington Group, true. But to form a collective group and attack him whenever you see fit in whatever topic simply because he stood alone was ,well cowardly.
I for myself very much care about the negative opinions just as much as the positive, and I am sure with the vast amount of knowledge some members here have they could have pursuaded Oliver to stay open for the positive things the edrington group does. instead everyone simply kicked him like he was a dogg that bit his boss.
Well thats it, I am glad its out of my system.
Tom, long before I joined this forum, Erik was hounded out of it for the heinous crime of putting his trust in Edrington Group during the counterfeit Macallan scandal. (What is it with Macallan? It's a perfectly good whisky, but some people are just loopy over it.) I reread a lot of that discussion shortly after I joined. He was naive, perhaps, but all he ever did was ask people to wait for the evidence before making a judgment. As it happened, he was wrong, and spectacularly so; maybe he left out of sheer embarrassment. But he didn't deserve the mountain of crap that was heaped on him. In my mind that was a far uglier incident. You'll note Erik's name above in the list of folks Admiral says are missed.
And congratulations, you've succeeded in changing the topic. It's not very hard, is it?
May I suggest that we all let those episodes remain in the past and try to keep things more friendly this time...
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