Sunday, June 29, 2008

Forums, Blogs, and such...

OMG.... The latest and greatest from the small but vocal group of dissenters on is that the AFA is somehow behind the times and inadequate because the new AFA website doesn't incorporate a discussion forum, blog, or newsgroup for members and non-members.

I'm not an expert on internet forums, but I do have a modicum of experience with such beasts. I was on dial-up bulletin board systems as early as 1978, and I've been a participant/observer on web-based forums since 1996. Back in the days when I thought forums could be positive and productive, I was one of the earliest and most prolific contributors to, and I only recently reached such a point of total disgust that I asked Baron Taylor to remove the old references to myself as their "Resident Farrier." Anyway, I feel that I've got a little knowledge as to how this works....

So, if the AFA is out of touch and archaic for not having a discussion forum, we're in good company. I've checked a number of equine-based breed and non-profit organizations, and I can't find a bunch of forums on their websites. The USET does not have one; the AAEP does not have one; the USDF does not have one; the AQHA does not have one, even the youngsters at the USPC don't have one.

Why could this be???!!! Why would all of these major associations not utilize public discussion forums?? Maybe because forums tend to be fraught with vitriol and negativity.... Maybe because they more effectively spread disinformation than information.... Maybe because they simply seem to attract and promote less than professional behavior.... Maybe because they're a great venue for spreading rumor and gossip.... Maybe because they're a magnet for those who are bullies (or aspire to be).... Maybe these associations don't want to be perceived as the National Enquirer of the equine community....

In any case, most of the forums I visit tend to provide the frequent posters an opportunity to ride their hobby horses, while denigrated and haranguing with those who have a different view or perspective. Some of those who engage in playing the devils' advocate and who choose argumentation as their preferred form of entertainment are honest about--e.g., Phil Armitage saying he likes to "stir the pot" or Rick Burten referring to his argumentative approach as "entertainment." But that doesn't make it better in my book.

The bottom line is that I've not visited a positive forum. Sure, when valid questions get presented, there's often a valid response offered... You simply have to be willing to wade through the mire of mud, feces, and personal attacks to look for it. Ultimately, I've got no faith in forums...

Hammer-In / Invitation

Now that we're moving into summer, I find that I actually have a few weekends at home. I'm scheduling one of those for a get-together, so mark off your calendar for a hammer-in on Saturday, July 26th. We'll get started around 10 or 10:30 and go until whenever.

I should have the paddock fence rebuilt by then... and the oak that took the fence down cut up into firewood (ugh). Pack yourself a noon lunch or snack, but don't worry about an evening meal; April and I will provide some sort of good cooking and beverages for the tee-totalers. Please give me a call if you're planning on coming, so I'll have an idea of how much to cook.

I've got a few extra forges and anvils if you don't want to bring your rig, but do bring your own hand tools. I can wreck my own punches enough without any help!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yes... I'm Alive

I've had so many irons in the fire that I somehow managed to forget that I had this blog. I was reminded of it when I saw that Andrew Elsbree, AFA President, had established one as well. If you've not checked his blog, do so! It's found at