Sunday, January 25, 2009

RAF: Why we really ARE the best forum on the Internet

Hello, RAFians!

If I know this forum and its denizens as well as I think I do, then I am correct in the assumption that the vast majority of us consider RAF to be the best thing to happen to the internet since the invention of the hyperlink. Most of us consider RAF to be our "Home Forum", and even if we visit other forums sporadically, RAF always receives the greatest devotion of our online free time.


Why should this website, of all the websites available for our use, be the one that draws us most powerfully?

I've been doing some thinking on the matter, and I've managed to narrow it down to the ten biggest factors that, for me, at least, are why I can't stay away from RAF.

10. It is centred on books. As much time as we may collectively spend on the Bored Board, it was the Animorphs books (and to a lesser extent, Everworld, Remnants, and now GONE) that brought us together in the first place. Let's not forget that. Many other forums so easily lose track of what brought the members together, until only the newbies have a clue. The great thing about this: it means that we all love to read, at least to some extent. When many literate people of similar tastes meet as friends, amazing things happen.

9. The site has interests and conversation to offer for a wide range of age-groups. Whether you were born at the dawn of time or in 2000 Anno Domini, there is a place for you on this forum. Whether you're 26 or 10, there is someone here who'll be happy to talk with you. This is a rule without exception.

8. The background is a most soothing shade of blue. Oh, come on! I know you were thinking it! It's easy-on-the-eyes, which is conducive to posting more here than in other sites, where red letters on a black background give you a headache in three minutes.

7. RAF has supporting pages. Even when you aren't posting actively, you can still stay up-to-date with RAFian goings-on by visiting the blog, the chat, or the wiki. Even when life gets in your way, you can still maintain contact with your old online friends. It's a very user-friendly and real-life-tolerant forum.

6. The staff actually know what they are doing. Richard and the other RAFstaff are attentive, active, and fair-minded. When we need help, they are there. When we need to shut up or change the subject, they tell us in a nice way. When they make rules, they enforce them. They treat newbies with a kindness that isn't often seen in other forums.

5. The forum allows for freedom of expression while maintaining a fun, safe, and kid-friendly atmosphere. We all have opinions, and thanks to the open-mindedness of RAF's members, none of us is afraid to express those opinions. We know that there is a limit to what RAFians consider 'acceptable behaviours', and we respect those limits to the point that some of our members even invite their younger siblings and friends to join, knowing that the site won't offend them or scare them away. RAF isn't OCD about preventing heated discussions, and it isn't one big cuss-fest, either.

4. The members treat each other like family. Anyone who spends more than five minutes in RAF knows that the members genuinely care about each other. We can playfully rib each other, and nobody takes offence. We are there for each other during hard times.

3. Even beyond the books, the members share a wide range of common interests. Some of us write music, poetry, and fan-fictions. Some of us play in RPG's or haunt the Bored Board's games. Pinky and The Brain, H2G2, and the works of Orson Scott Card and Scott Westerfeld are just a few of the things that interest many of us.

2. It's a fairly 'small' community. Of our 400-or-so members, fewer than 80 are highly active at any given time. This allows us all to know each other on a username-basis, and we recognise each other and follow each others' posts. It encourages a strong sense of unity that cannot exist in sites where you might never see two posts from the same person in one thread. RAF does not NEED to be a 'large' forum. As the forum grows, all active newbies are welcomed with open arms, and the veteran members notice them and remember their names, which simply does not happen in a huge website.

1. We have Richard. Seriously, folks! Where else are you going to find an administrator like Richard? Anywhere else, the admins get in your face and 'put you in your place' before you've had a chance to post. Anywhere else, the guys in charge get an unfair high off of exerting control over others. Richard delegates his power and uses it fairly. Newbie or Veteran, you get his full attention when you bring him your questions. He gets his point across to you with a single sentence, instead of making a two-page lecture illustrating every last mistake you've made in an argument. The books brought us together, but Richard and his forum are what kept us together.
Well, those were my reasons for liking RAF more than any other forum. Why don't you all tell me your reasons? Thanks to Touquie, we now know why you STAYED, but why have you stayed LOYAL?
In your opinion, why is RAF the best?

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