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Is Sonoma really the best of the best?: Another Hecitorial.

Discussion in 'UO Sonoma' started by imported_Hecubus, Nov 9, 2004.

  1. I'm gonna need a new word to look forward to this weekend. Debauchery was fun, no doubt, but one needs to be sparing wth it. An appetizer, and yet no meal.


    I hear it all the time. "Sonoma is the best of the best!" They say. "There's no shard like Sonoma!" Well- to be literal there really is only one true Sonoma shard. And rest assured, these fine Sonoma forums are still the best forums around, no?

    What I'm about to share with you isn't solely intended to insult you. And I'm not saying that there are no good people or thoughtful, creative posters on Sonoma. There's no question about that. People here are generally nice (well, except for this author...).

    A while back I wondered aloud on these forums whether the Sonoma forums really are still the best of the best, or, according to my suggestion, we are merely trading off the good name set forth by the wonderful posters and authors of days past.

    Not a popular opinion. Maybe I'm just one of those elitist vets telling all you "n00bs" to respect your elders. Or maybe I'm one of those who fantasizes about how good it used to be- when in reality it was no better or worse than it is now- the forums are still the same quality that they were then, and in fact maybe now that everyone isn't as "opinionated" or articulate that the forums have become more welcoming of the causal gaming crowd.

    Is it really? I'll let you decide.

    How bout a little excercise? An experiment if you will.

    Let's take a trip back in time, to those "good ole days" Hec is always preaching about. How bout umm...page 102 of these forums?

    Page 102

    If the link doesn't work, just manually flip to that page.

    "No wait" you say, "Maybe Hec picked a good page." Okay- pick 103. Or 104. How bout any page in 2001.

    Got your page? Good. Now- instead of hoping someone types "yay" or "lol" in reponse to today's posts- go back and pick a few threads from the page you're on. Give em a read. Pick different topics if you like- news articles, RP stories, pointed controversies...

    Still with me? Okay, have a look at today's threads.

    "No wait," you say "Today just happened to be an off day." Okay, pick page 2. Or page 3. Hell, pick any page from 2004.

    Now for you bean-counters out there: Count the average number of words per post on the 2004 page and compare it to the 2001 page.

    Am I being unfair? Probably. Am I being unrealistic about the level and quality of posts then and now? Sure.

    Hey- we're the best of the best right? I mean, so what if they talked more per post back then...we're sweet, we're nice...we say "yay" to some posts and ignore others altogether!

    "Okay" you say, "So they had good posts. They had Pluffy! They had these other folks who posted stories...they had 9/11 to talk about, they had Dor losing her shield...they had more things to talk about..." you protest.

    But even when they didn't have those things- they created. They inspired.

    So what am I saying? I mean, even if you do agree with my opinion here, what can we honestly do about it? "I'm no writer.." you think to yourself, "I'm just a happy-go lucky person here to share in the comraderie of these forums!"

    And there's nothing in the world wrong with that. But this author tends to think that there are some writers there. That there are people with opinions, maybe even unpopular ones, like not voting, or hating Samurai Empires, or even not enjoying waffles(NO!!!!), who would love to have a say about it.

    This author thinks that you don't say "Sonoma is the best of the best" by riding the wind in the sails of the past. The people who draw pride and fame from the percieved "quality" of this forum without doing their part ot maintain it are simply leeching off the good name and foundation of folks who were the real deal.

    I for one, don't feel I'm doing my part to maintain the quality of days past. I might be pissing off a lot of people, I might have some of the longest single posts in recent history, but I'm not in any position to claim that I'm better than anyone.

    I just want people to see things through these eyes, and hopefully gain a new perspective. My sincere hope is that even though you don't agree with my writings, that they at least cause you to evaluate your own opinions on things.

    That's how the exchange of ideas works. Not to brainwash people of anything, but that they may gain from a different viewpoint. And for those who really do want this place to be amongst the "best of the best", maybe we should think on ways to encourage lurkers to post, instead of primping one another. Maybe we need to get people to want to read and think about what they've seen here.

    Because if we aren't working to synergize creativity, and if we aren't challenging the norms, and causing folks to ponder, then we're really no different than any other forum.

    And our claim is invalid.

    I am Jack's Whispering Rose from Deathrage.

    - Hec
  2. Kolian

    Kolian Guest

    Allow me to play 'devil's advocate' for a moment here...



    Thanks for that great post Hec! Ya, things aren't the same without Pluffy, she was great! But we certianly aren't POLARIZING or anything! Ha ha ha! Hah! Polarizing! Hah ha! How ridiculous! It isn't as if, like, y'know, a concerted effort to deny something only exposes it further or anything, exclamation point! LOL!

    *shrug* I'm feeling satirical recently, I suppose...
  3. My thoughts...

    Disclaimer.. I'm not slighting your post in any way. I think it was well written. I think your heart is in the right place.

    But, in all the time it took you to write that, couldn't you have been doing something to "make Sonoma the best shard"?

    For example, you could have been at Despise tonite helping new players ease into the dungeon scene.

    That's just one example..

    To say that Sonoma is not the best shard without actually contributing something is kind of odd. Sort of like certain people making fun of the news, yet after checking the news mailbox, I see no suggestions or stories from those individuals.

    Get out there and MAKE Sonoma the best Shard.. /php-bin/shared/images/icons/smile.gif
  4. Kolian

    Kolian Guest

    Well, you do know Hec has been the force behind all kinds of player initiatives (ie: The Underground, the War Journal, Guild Con, the Sonoma Collaborations Forum)... He has the moral right to say pretty much anything he wants at this point, =P
  5. LadyMoriana

    LadyMoriana Guest

    Do you know hes not doing anything to make Sonoma the Best?
    Because Ive seen instances with my own eyes that have inspired me coming from .. yes him.
    Hes an old school Roleplayer who reaches out to not just his freinds but other groups to try to stimulate roleplay. I know this because Ive been to not only one but 2 instances of this happening.. and just because its not in the news.. and its not talked about.. Does not mean hes not doing anything.
    I just would like to say.. we need more Hec's and Miri's . Im not an avid roleplayer and I havent been around as long as either of you.. But you both inspire me. Please keep up what yer doing.
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest


    In the time it took Hec to write a thought provoking article instead of a self-promoting news story filled with hyperbole, he accomplished writing a thought provoking article about the quality of the Sonoma Forum instead of plugging his own event by *cough* inteviewing his fellow event-planner, under the pretense of ignorance of the details.

    In the time it has taken for some to decide that UO was worth a second shot, Hec has provided numerous unadvertised but enriching events that many guilds and individuals have benefitted from, engaging in campaigns lasting 6-8 weeks, with unique nightly missions typically lasting 30min-2h,involving elements of strategy, role-play, PvM, PvP, and old fashioned detective work....

    The planning and dedication he has put into this game is phenomenal... If Sonoma had 2 Hecubuses... Oh the marvels we would see!
  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Leurnid Hand for president!
    *taps finger against chin*
    Now where have I seen that before?
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Yes, Hec is one of the finer gentlemen in this game. He constantly makes the rest of us stop our mindless wandering around or accumulation in the game for a while and...PLAY IT.

    And yes, our boards may be a bit different, Hec but....you might just miss some of your old friends and let's face it, the posts were not ALL gems back then...I do remember a troll or two.
  9. <blockquote><hr>

    Sonoma Forum instead of plugging his own event by *cough* inteviewing his fellow event-planner, under the pretense of ignorance of the details.


    Ok, ok.. I'll let it be..

    As for "fellow event-planner" remark.. was not plugging at all.. just reporting news of an upcoming event.

    Again.. I look in to the news mailbox and it still sits empty.. hmmm... If you have an event you want reported, let us know... gets tiring running the entire shard doing an "All Names" to see if something is going on..
  10. <blockquote><hr>

    He has the moral right to say pretty much anything he wants at this point


    Of all people, I would never question the freedom of speech! /php-bin/shared/images/icons/smile.gif
  11. Kolian

    Kolian Guest

    I didn't mean 'freedom of speech'. I meant 'moral right' as in 'it would be unwise to criticize it', =P
  12. Since Kolian forgot how to scroll.. /php-bin/shared/images/icons/wink.gif


    Disclaimer.. I'm not slighting your post in any way. I think it was well written. I think your heart is in the right place.

  13. Threnody

    Threnody Guest

    I have always loved those moments where people reminince (sp?) about the good ol' days. I hear that quite often on this forum/shard. Its been my experience that the good ol' days are days just like today and yesterday its simply that we are not looking at it from a future perspective yet. Hindsight is 20/20 they say, though to me I think its blurred as even today's posts may be referred to as the good ol days in a couple years.
  14. Kolian

    Kolian Guest

    "I don't mean anything by it, but you're a jerk" is still "You're a jerk", /php-bin/shared/images/icons/laugh.gif
  15. You're right Spyder.

    Me posting complaints never accomplishes anything. All these threads do is stir up the pot, for no particular reason, and no meaningful dialogue or direction ever comes of it.

    The posts themselves never really spur any result or action, just like this complaint I lodged once...

    Nothing to see here

    People thinking and acting on a post? Never heard of it.

    I am Jack's in before the lock!

    - Hec
  16. *coughs*

    Hecubus has been here from the beginning, and has poured more continuous effort and thought into Sonoma (in any given month) than others may accomplish in a year or more.

    I think that I can safely call Hec one of the founders of UO Sonoma. Hell, he predates Pluffy. He was one of the very, very few who were here when I arrived...and that was awhile ago. :)

    He has never stopped working. He has never ceased being an annoying catalyst, a champion of thoughtful, creative discussion, a flinger-of-ideas as if they were so many skeet...*grins*

    Perhaps the reason that he oft goes unnoticed (or ignored) is because he does not trumpet his own horn - unlike what seems to be the norm for posts these days. He is not advertising anything, least of all himself. He's just busy adding to the community in his quiet, busy way, year after year, rather than trying to sell it anything.

    As mentioned before, Hecubus is also annoying as all get-out, because of his continous attempts to provoke thought--and dang it, thinking is HARD! *grumbles*
  17. Guest

    Guest Guest

    <font color=green> I believe he doth protest too much....

    That being said.. a quick note to Hec... I for one, as I have said many times, love to read your posts.. sometimes I dont agree..other times I do. This time I am torn.. as I know " the good ol' days" are not always as good as you think they were.. nor is the present as bad..

    I also agree with others.. Hec has done some wonderful things for the Shard.. I taged along on a few... was great fun!

    Also agree, most news is found, not placed in your lap with a pretty ribbon on it.....
  18. Alarcon

    Alarcon Guest

    Oh but Hec, don't you understand what this message board is really about now days? It is about propaganda and power. Pure and unadulterated, people come to this board looking to increase their power, and status. The name of the game is winning friends and influencing people. The one with the prettiest house, the one with the deepest pockets, the one that can bring the crowds together and help enlighten everyone around them. You see, it is about homogenization. We don’t need lots of different guilds, or opinions. Differences only cause trouble, dissension and make it entirely too hard to organize. Yes, a homogenized, polarized culture is truly what brings about “the best of the best.” We come here to stroke our own egos and to make sure that everyone can see how truly special we are. Never mind the idea that really there are only a handful of regular contributors.

    Have you ever given thought as to why so many of us don’t bother to post around here? I have, and in my estimation it has to do with the fact that if it doesn’t come from the “blessed ones” it just isn’t valid or real. We are great at shutting down derision, opinion, new ideas, and anything that doesn’t go with the style of the week. The great Sonoma boards have been reduced to a place where the self-proclaimed elite can watch over and protect their images. Just take a sampling of the postings of any given week, and that doesn’t even begin to address the buying/selling threads. At one point, it was against the Sonoma community guidelines to do this—but the powers that be claimed that going elsewhere to post their wares was just too difficult, so our dear moderators caved.

    I used to practically worship the Stratics boards. I loved and respected the “leaders” of the community. As a young Sonoman, I used to dream about how I wanted to become like Jerry or Johnny. They were upstanding people, people with good ideas, and lots of creativity. The good were good, the bad were bad. On any given day they may have been fighting it out much to the mod’s dismay, but at least it was interesting. People had real opinions, and people made LONG posts explaining how they felt.

    Someone may claim that looking to the past is a bad thing. Well, aren’t we supposed to learn from it? Are we not supposed to appreciate our heritage? Yes, some things in the game are constant. But is the sole game about how to make myself look better in the eyes of my elite friends? Is it all about buying and selling? Is it all about only promoting those event that we really feel are worthy of being promoted.

    Stuff happens all over this game. Maybe we all need to get out of our damned shells a bit and take a look. It isn’t all about me or mine; it should be about us and ours. This author thinks that Sonoma has a lot of really shallow people on it, who are too afraid to get out of their comfort zones and try something different.

    One thing for sure, I don’t read 90% of the topics on this board. News or otherwise, there simply isn’t enough meat. We should stop whiting the outside, while the inside is left to fester and decay. Eventually it will begin to stink!
  19. Kolian

    Kolian Guest

    What makes the difference between a 'complaint' and an attempt to improve ths shard, anyway? If negative input were a crime, we'd have a fundamentalist government.

    Let's face it, folks. 'Everybody super happy!' just doesn't work.

    I, for one, don't believe that EVERYONE should have a strong, diverse opinion on everything. However, I do believe that everyone should have at least a concise opinion on most things. Why? This is a forum.


    n. pl. fo·rums, also fo·ra (fôr, fr)

    1. The public square or marketplace of an ancient Roman city that was the assembly place for judicial activity and public business.
    2. A public meeting place for open discussion.
    3. A medium of open discussion or voicing of ideas, such as a newspaper or a radio or television program.
    2. A public meeting or presentation involving a discussion usually among experts and often including audience participation.
    3. A court of law; a tribunal.


    People should come here to exchange ideas, or else read others' ideas. The idea is not to pick the best perspective and start flaming around it, nor is it to flood the forums with a bunch of hogwash that waters down interest, thus leaving only one viewpoint remaining. We're looking for the best idea, but certainly not by any means necessary.

    Information has slowed to a trickle. Likely posters will be turned off by this, and the 95% of posters who aren't necessarily interested in kissing themselves in the butts will post less and less frequently. Clearly, it's a decline.

    The obvious solution is to post things. Anything that demands a reasonable amount of thought and isn't directly linked to enormous societal and ethical taboos will do, as far as I'm concerned.
  20. The Fog

    The Fog Guest

    The good old day are gone Hecubus. What you are remembering, is when the game was exciting, because it was new. So stop glancing into the rear view mirror. Those days are long gone. Focus on what you can do to help some of these event.

    Mudslinging at the reporters is not going to help. Sonoma has very few reporters these days. I'm just glad they write a story on something so, we know whats happening on the shard.
  21. Ztal

    Ztal Guest

    1. Hec: Great thought provoking article. But I would like to add my possibly different take on the "Sonoma is the Best" proclimation. I have, on occation, made that proclimation myself. In fact there was some talk of taking a line from one of my posts as our tag line; "Sonoma rocks...don't you forget it!", or something like that. However, I always assumed we were referring to Sonoma vs other shards not "New Sonoma" vs. "Old Sonoma". So I took it upon myself to do the "Page" test with a few other shards. I went back more pages on the larger shards to get the same time frames, but I found the exact same thing. So I think the argument you are actually proving is that UO has lost some of its glory days, not simply a shard specific occurance.

    2. Spyder: Why do you insist on taking shots at people who's opinions do not match your own? State an opposing opinion, make a solid argument against or simply keep quiet.
  22. <blockquote><hr>

    People thinking and acting on a post? Never heard of it.


    That was not my point.. I think the stratics forums are a wonderful medium for communicating with the community. As I mentioned, I thought your original post was excellent. I was only adding my own $.02, not negating your actions all together.

    Keep fighting the good fight Hecubus... whether that be here or in-game.
  23. <blockquote><hr>

    Also agree, most news is found, not placed in your lap with a pretty ribbon on it.....



    Exactly. While I believe you were coming at a different angle, I agree wholeheartedly with you. So, when there is no news to report one goes out and gets what they can.

    I seem to remember a number of posts complaining that there were not enough news stories for Sonoma and that we needed more reporters. Well, we now have new reporters but the news isn't good enough. Hey, I'm new to the gig.. let me know what kind of stories you'd like to read about! That is what I meant by an empty inbox.. Tell me what you'd like to read, not write me an article to publish.. that'd be no fun at all! I looked thru the Skills gump and didn't see Clarivoyance as a trainable skill. Perhaps it shipped with SE? /php-bin/shared/images/icons/wink.gif

    I'm gonna wrap up my participation in this thread by saying this. Hecubus, you're posts are for the most part, incredible and I enjoy them immensely. I never questioned your deeds of the past or your impact here on the forum.. that an assumption of the Peanut Gallery. I was simply commenting on your post, which I assume was your intention.. generate thought?

    *makes mental note not to offer opinions unless they are the same as everyone elses* /php-bin/shared/images/icons/smile.gif
  24. <blockquote><hr>

    2. Spyder: Why do you insist on taking shots at people who's opinions do not match your own? State an opposing opinion, make a solid argument against or simply keep quiet.


    That was not my intention.. my apologies to Hecubus if it came off that way. No "shots" were intended.. I thought my argument (was meant to be more of a pep rally "common Sonoma, lets go MAKE it the best" rather than an argument) however was pretty solid.. so perhaps you meant to say "make a solid argument only if your opinion matches everyone elses"? /php-bin/shared/images/icons/smile.gif
  25. The purpose of the original post appeared to me to be a pep rally in my somewhat biased view. /php-bin/shared/images/icons/wink.gif
  26. <blockquote><hr>

    The purpose of the original post appeared to me to be a pep rally in my somewhat biased view.



    If any new events occur as a result of this discussion, by all means, let me know! I'll be happy to participate and/or report on it. In the meantime, I'll concentrate on the events that are actually taking place. /php-bin/shared/images/icons/smile.gif
  27. Bronwyn

    Bronwyn Guest

    Hecubus, you are right. But the "change" in the style of posting, for truly that is what it is, is not about Sonoma losing it's glory or the glory of yesteryear..it is about losing the players who contributed to it. Several of those who posted those deep, thought provoking posts have left us and that has left a gap for some of us in what we used to see and enjoy on these boards.

    I do believe they are for advertising Sonoma events for the most part and keeping each of us apprised of important happenings. But, what a plus it is to log in and see a great thread with people exercising their mental capacity and posting thought provoking essays on their evaluation of the thread or their opinions. Even the so-called griefers or expert trollers did their part to spark a thread.

    It is nice to think of the days gone by, with Pluffy and Bob McDeath and others and their thoughtful posts which invoked passion and deep feeling responses, but as was said...that is the past...feel privileged to have lived it and never stop hoping for better. Perhaps bringing this to the attention of the new posters here will help them to understand what it used to be and they may like it. But also, they are part of the new culture here and cannot be discounted.

    "Is Sonoma really the best of the best?" Yes it is. But Sonoma is not these boards. They are only a small part of it. The information part, the part where people come to get to know each other or ask a question or get help. What makes Sonoma the best of the best is what happens in the game. People helping each other selflessly and anonimously. Random acts of kindness and generosity that never make it to this page.

    What makes Sonoma the best is people ... and it is good at what it does. How many of you have been hear three years or longer...five years.... six years....seven? We have people returning after long absences, they return to a familiar, comfortable place known as Sonoma. They walk the roads feeling as if they have come home...all of which has nothing to do with these boards.
  28. Rotte

    Rotte Guest

    Another view is that the mods have become much more leniant and allow buy/sell and alot more off-topic articles to be placed on the forum, rather than moving/deleting them.

    Looking at the dates and times, I see that page 102 of the forum covers almost a month of posting in 2002, whereas in 2004, page 1 barely covers half a day of posting.

    So on page 102 we have several RP topics per month, vs a few RP topics per day with dozens of adverts and mundane topics mixed in here and there on page 1.

    Could almost say that we have about the same RP content in many ways, but because of all of the extra fluff topics roll off quicker and so the forum doesn't look as focused as before.

    Now, is this good or bad? We have alot more topics and more people are posting, but more of the topics are of the "mundane" sort of thing, rather than stories and tales of derring do.

    You could also say that the boards have become less of a "clique" thing, so people feel more comfortable posting (even if they aren't of the RP mindset).

    There are many ways to look at it, and there can be many reasons put forth on why things change, you have alot of people dropping UO after the release of AOS and that shook up the status quo a bit also.

    I like my time spent here on Sonoma, I've made many friends here and I think that their are many more approachable groups here than on the shard I used to be on. I also think, despite our small population, that we do have alot of things planned and going on weekly. We also have one of the most active message bases on stratics (with Europa and Siege being just above ours.

    I will also say that I enjoy the RP posts when I get a chance to read them and think the RP groups put a lot of work into their "enjoyment" and wish them the best of luck in continuing.
  29. Drex NThrak

    Drex NThrak Guest

    I'm biased; I believe Sonoma is the best because I was born and raised here. During the first Beta, I played on the "West Coast" shard; after the game was released (and I allowed a couple months for therapy - spending 75%+ of my time on a chat room waiting for the Beta servers to come up was hard...) I came to Sonoma.

    But then, I've never really been a "community" minded person. I've been in guilds; learned to actually RP and enjoyed it, ran guild events...but rarely have I run a more open event for the community. Until this year, I never really paid attention to the forums beyond a source of information on "how do I gain (insert skill here)?" or "why isn't my (insert item/skill/whatever) working the way it's supposed to?" type things. Any other posts I made, thoughtful, RP, events, otherwise were on private guild forums - and even then rare because in general I hate forums. They're addictive. They take time away from game play. Unless I'm at work now, and then I can't be playing the game anyway.

    I do see what you mean though. Not necessarily in posts; but what you said a few posts back about the "generations" of UO. I remember when banksitting wasn't as derogatory as it is now; you would go to the bank and advertise that you wanted to go hunt Hythloth for Balrons, or you needed a tailor or smith's services. You don't see that much if at all anymore; everyone either A) Keeps to themselves, B) Advertising buy/sell's, or C) Is engaged in such pathetic and meaningless dribble that sounds like sex-starved teenagers who can't get any in real life. (Sorry for dissing on the teenager's roleplay.)

    Part of this is EA/OSI's fault; they created things in such a manner everyone now has their own personal crafters and has no need of others unless they're just feeling lazy or, much more rarely, actually appreciates the value of RP - in which case usually their inquiries can expect some sort of rude "build your own damn crafter" reply.

    I'd write more but I need to get my butt to work (see...it's eating into my game time...damn forums).

    Keep up the good fight for us Ancients, Hec. /php-bin/shared/images/icons/wink.gif

    And while you're at it...know any taverns that serve waffles?????
  30. Ascension

    Ascension Guest

    Hec has tried to do more for Sonoma than most people will ever aspire to do.

    I can't really say what I want to w/o flaming a half dozen people, and for that I am sorry.

    I keep typing this post, but it invariably turns into flaming. haha

    Anyway, some of you "new" people think you are hot [censored], and you really aren't. But either way, I really want to thank you for keeping the spirit of Sonoma going.
    Despite some of the annoyances that some of you can be, you're really a lot better than people of most any other shard that I have visited.

    Long live Sonoma. I am sure going to miss it.
  31. Guest

    Guest Guest


    Tell me what you'd like to read, not write me an article to publish..that'd be no fun at all!


    <font color=green>I see... others should not write.. just hand to you to write up?

    **thinks ribbon**
  32. Kolian

    Kolian Guest

    I'd give him a break, here. He wants to know what we want to read - that's reasonable.

    Here are my personal preferences as a reader of news:

    - If I'm reading an 'interview', I want to learn about the person being interviewed, not the event they're pushing. If you do an article about the event itself and quote the given person, that's acceptible, and I can use my judgement for whether or not I want to read it.

    - I want to learn something that I don't already know.

    Naturally you can see why I didn't much enjoy your first article, =P