As I enter my first week here at Power Automedia in May, I was asked to write my first editorial and am given carte blanche to write whatever comes to mind. While I realize that this is not the same as the freedom we have on automotive forums, it is the topic that I would like to discuss: the freedom to join an automotive forum and to post our opinions.
I’m not advocating that automotive forums should be a free-for-all where opinions run rampant and flame wars develop into full-blown character assassinations. We have sites like Craigslist for that kind of stupidity. A few minutes in the “Rants and Raves” section of Craigslist and you’ll see real-live internet warriors who insult one another from the safety and anonymity of their keyboard. I realize that’s an extreme example, but it is one that teeters on the edge of what I have seen on car forums lately.
some people get too much into the “my dad can kick your dad’s ass” mode when they talk about their cars
We’re very grateful for the moderators on these forums, they have a tough job to do. They make the executive decision to prohibit someone from repeatedly posting their often maniacal opinions that have very little to do with cars. One could say that’s another extreme example, but this is happening too often. People are feeling too comfortable behind the keyboard and post comments they wouldn’t dare say in person. What happened to the camaraderie we used to have, like at car shows? If you don’t like a car, move on to the next one – don’t take it as a personal attack begging you to retaliate.
We’ve all seen the Ford vs. Chevy debates; big block vs. small block; restore vs. customize…the list goes on forever. We have our own preferences, and what appeals to us doesn’t always appeal to everyone else. If we’re lucky, the animosity that develops from these debates gets drowned out by participation from others who are a little more diplomatic. But too often it does get a bit heated and distracts from the intention of the forum: to share with others.
People join these automotive forums because they love their car; they want to share it with us and get advice, hear reasonable opinions, gain some knowledge and receive praise if it warrants it. Sometimes the person is just a kid who doesn’t know any better and other times it’s a seasoned professional with such incredible talent that it makes the rest of us feel inadequate. Either way, we are all there for the same reason. Nobody joins a car forum to be ridiculed or lamb basted, yet it happens way too much.
While I realize there are some awesome, incredibly helpful people on these forums, I find myself disappointed sometimes by those who felt the need to tell another person that what they did to their car ruined it, or that it was done wrong. Who says that it was done wrong when it’s simply a matter of personal preference?
I’m not talking about blatantly obvious destruction, I’m talking about things like when someone installs aftermarket wheels on a classic, or when they cut up a dashboard to install a full set of instrumentation. I’m talking about doing to our cars what pleases us because we are the one’s who are going to be driving them.
We are not bound by any rules or sanctioning body to like what everyone else likes. We build our cars for ourselves, we have the freedom to like what we like. Isn’t that, in itself, a great thing to have when it comes to our cars? In all my life I’ve never met a person who bought a car he hated just because he wanted acceptance from others. Car nuts like us just aren’t wired that way.
So I would like to leave you with this thought: try to remember what brings us all together in the first place – a love of cars.
So I would like to leave you with this thought: try to remember what brings us all together in the first place – a love of cars. No matter what you do with your car you will find someone who likes it, and unfortunately you will also find someone who hates it. That’s life, but that’s what makes having a car that is your own so rewarding. How boring would it be if we all had the same car, with the same engine and the same specs? People like variety; we should all strive to be unique – just like everyone else.