As an avid user of vintage Star Wars forums and a regular on Facebook groups, I have noticed several key differences between these two social networking formats. I like Facebook and I have a lot of fun in the groups; meeting other collectors, buying and selling vintage figs and having a laugh at some the hilariously creative memes. However, I feel the groups still have a long way to come before they challenge the collecting experience gained on the forums.
I may not be right and I know the forums are far from being perfect, but these are the top five things that I think the groups can learn from the forums:
1. Ban members for aggressive behaviour. I’m shocked daily by how group members treat each other on Facebook. While aggression doesn’t always immediately equal a banning on the forums, I know that the mods on forums like Rebelscum have little patience for this type of behaviour and are quick to issue warnings when things get a little bit too heated.
2. Don’t allow non-transactional comments on sale threads (To be fair this practice seems to be limited to Rebel Scum).
I get it, some comments are fine – such as ‘oh wow great piece, ‘I’d buy this if I had the money’. But some clearly aren’t, like – ‘I got mine for half the price’. I mean really, respect someone’s right to sell in peace without disparaging their sales.
I actually heard recently that other members will often hijack sales threads with a sales pitch for their own items. I mean really???
3. Encourage experienced collectors to get involved in discussions. These guys are quite active on the forums but don’t seem to be so much on Facebook, particularly in the larger groups. I can’t speak for them but it seems that the lack of respect for experience in the groups may be a telling factor. I’ve seen many an old school collector try to kindly contribute their knowledge to a thread, only to be abused, often by newer collectors. Why would they bother again if they are going to be treated like that?
I guess another factor may be that discussions on Facebook seem to be less technical than on the forums and experienced collectors are probably tired of reading posts like “How much is this worth?” or “What does COO mean?” etc etc. That said, these questions do have a place but I can understand why they wouldn’t be so attractive for a collector with 20 years of experience behind them.
4. Only buy vintage from trusted sources! Facebook is absolutely rife with scammers, yet people continue to deal with individuals they don’t know without undertaking any level of background checks. While scamming does occur on the forums, it is extremely difficult for a brand new member to pop up and suddenly start selling the blue Snaggies or VCJs they found in their parent’s loft. Forum members are quick to shoot down any obvious scammers and they don’t survive long. That said, of course there have been cases where known and trusted sellers have failed to resist the powers of the dark side.
5. Don’t post modern toys on vintage groups! This is absolutely frowned upon on the forums and rarely happens. Facebook on the other hand is a non-stop circus of modern posts on vintages; some are innocent but often it is intentionally done to antagonise so called ‘vintage snobs’. The thing is, a lot of vintage collectors don’t mind modern toys but they are members of vintage groups to see vintage! I once saw four posts in a row about modern toys. There are so many modern groups out there or great groups like ‘Batteries Not Included’ that allow both vintage and modern, why not go there! This whole issue is probable worthy of an entire post so I won’t elaborate too much here.
Well that’s my top five. Happy to hear if you think I’ve got any of them wrong or if I’ve missed out on something significant.
Thanks for reading.