Register - Login
Views: 85649903
Main - Memberlist - Active users - Calendar - Wiki - IRC Chat - Online users
Ranks - Rules/FAQ - JCS - Stats - Latest Posts - Color Chart - Smilies
09-22-17 03:09:45 PM

Jul - General Chat - Acmlm's Board and Jul's history as an LGBTQ "safe space" New poll - New thread - New reply
Next newer thread | Next older thread
Xkeeper






Posted on 10-08-16 08:19:04 PM Link | Quote
This post is cross-posted to my tilde-town page.

This is a post about something I've been thinking about for a long time. It might just be bias from this being one of my few "permanent" homes, but this community (and the historical ones from years ago) seem to have had a higher-than-normal rate of transgender, genderqueer, and generally atypically-oriented people. I've thought it over a few times trying to figure out what made this place so appealing to people on this spectrum, though I don't have much in the way concrete thoughts, here are a few:


1. Places for acting "out of gender"
Acmlm's Board, the original, actually had a forum basically dedicated to this [archive.org]. While I would wager that most of us weren't really familiar with the concept of "transgender" at that point, the forum was mostly centered around just being goofy and ... well, feminine. (It's probably worth mentioning that there wasn't any masculine counterpart to this forum just because most users were male.)

This forum actually existed for quite a while, though after a few years it turned more "mature" and less "silly"? It's hard to really put into words.


2. Encouragement of experimenting with self-presentation
Most forums consist of only a few things:
- Username, often immutable, or at least with changes "discouraged"
- Avatar
- Signature, usually size-limited or text-only

Acmlm's Board, on the other hand, was far more liberal; usernames were changed frequently, often with themes; usernames had colors based on the account's gender option and administrative level; signatures were in reality full layouts, designed to envelope posts in a design that could be as simple as a typical signature or as elaborate as a fully-designed wrapper with art or characters. Previous designs were also saved with posts, so a historical view of them was possible, compared to most forums where the current signature is appended to all posts.

All of this combined to allow users to change their presentation radically, adopting a new appearance, theme, and name just by making a new design and requesting a name change; in some cases, these would sweep the forums at once, especially around holidays (e.g. Christmas- or Halloween-themed names, avatars, and layouts). Sometimes they would spontaneously appear; one of the more often-occurring spontaneous change was that to "opposite gender" appearances, sometimes accompanied with a little change in posting style to fit a more "feminine" appearance.

(More typically for the time, there was no verification of who you actually were behind the user, so things like "full names" were entirely optional and very rarely seen. Modern systems, especially the likes of social media, trend more towards using legal names, or at least connecting the pseudonym to the person behind it.)


3. General strictness towards personal attacks
This one is a little shaker because it is relying entirely on my memory, but for the most part the community wasn't tolerant of ... intolerance; disagreeing opinions were seen as okay, but attacking anyone or any group of people was generally verboten. This meant that people had a wider range of being able to be "open" without being attacked for who they were (or weren't) — while this policy didn't always work, it was at least present. The old forum Officer's Club was available as a sort of "serious space" where any sort of personal attacking was met with punishment, allowing people to open up and air their thoughts without risk of being attacked for them.

I don't actually know if this was ever used to vent these sorts of things; it's difficult to search a dead, offline community, but the environment at least existed, which may have led to people sticking around.


In closing
These are just thoughts. While I don't fall entirely into the LGBTQ spectrum*, these are some observations gathered from being around a lot of people from this community over the last 15 years.

We're a quiet place now, but I'd like to think that over that time we've helped people become who they are, safely.
Nicole

Disk-kun
Level: 138


Posts: 6380/6392
EXP: 31214243
For next: 448738

Since: 07-06-07
From: Boston, MA

Since last post: 15 days
Last activity: 5 days

Posted on 10-08-16 08:31:13 PM Link | Quote
I've definitely had similar thoughts about the old Acmlm's Board... it was definitely one of the earliest places I remember really being able to play around with gender presentation without any real fear of being attacked.

As I recall, a lot of these elements became much reduced as I1 turned to I2... no coincidence my activity collapsed in that era, I think...
Xkeeper






Posted on 10-08-16 08:35:47 PM Link | Quote
The environment of the forums and community has certainly changed over the years; there's a reason I sort of refer to I2, 3, and b2 as "the dark ages" (at least to myself). I know at least part of it was this bizarre desire to purge "stupidity" (which was also quite a bit my fault later on), but I think the frustration with some things was a little misdirected. :/

I'd like to think Jul has been better about that (especially later), but it's a little too late to really mean anything.
Ailure
Member
Level: 12


Posts: 21/25
EXP: 7630
For next: 291

Since: 07-10-07
From: Schweden

Since last post: 24 days
Last activity: 13 days

Posted on 10-08-16 08:38:01 PM (last edited by Ailure at 10-08-16 08:58:37 PM) Link | Quote
It's intresting cause you can tell there is still bit of a legacy of what you're speaking on that can be seen (or was seen, most communities are dead now) on spinoff communities such as Kafuka board. Such a shame that communities died in favor of big mega centered ones like redddit and social networks. :/ I kinda regret not being active on JUL earlier, I was staying away cause the Board 2 drama hurt me on a personal level but now the drama seems so stupid. Then later on I created a TF2 server community TFP which is still around, and some of the Acmlm board experience proved useful in terms of handling drama and whatnot. As well that the furry fandom is very LBTQ friendly (for the most part).
Originally posted by Xkeeper
3. General strictness towards personal attacks
This one is a little shaker because it is relying entirely on my memory, but for the most part the community wasn't tolerant of ... intolerance; disagreeing opinions were seen as okay, but attacking anyone or any group of people was generally verboten. This meant that people had a wider range of being able to be "open" without being attacked for who they were (or weren't) — while this policy didn't always work, it was at least present. The old forum Officer's Club was available as a sort of "serious space" where any sort of personal attacking was met with punishment, allowing people to open up and air their thoughts without risk of being attacked for them.


Unfortunately this is probably the only part i only sorta agree with, mostly that while officers club was a nice safe space (saying this is as a good thing, it's a support forum), personal attacks was usually overlooked especially if it was towards "stupid people". And while some people were lazy and refused to google, it was... a little bit too elitistic and rude how people acted. This is something that was bit of a normal on older communities, especially from usenet and all that but I don't really consider it a good thing. I was on the receiving end of it a bit during my early years, as my English wasn't the best and got heavily flamed as one of my first threads on the Acmlm board forum was about the mew glitch in R/B/Y.
Lunaria

Moon Bunny! :3
Level: 127


Posts: 5248/5327
EXP: 23678836
For next: 47730

Since: 07-28-07
From: the everfree forest

Since last post: 17 days
Last activity: 1 hour

Posted on 10-10-16 03:09:15 PM (last edited by Lunaria at 10-10-16 03:09:25 PM) Link | Quote
From my understanding, based on the few things they have said on the matter at the transexual diagnosing place here in Sweden, trans people are over represented in tech fields in comparison to others. So there might be an overlap there too which plays a part in the history? :p
Vinnyboiler
Catgirl
Level: 62


Posts: 1026/1028
EXP: 1965755
For next: 18931

Since: 12-27-07
From: London, England

Since last post: 78 days
Last activity: 10 days

Posted on 10-27-16 07:27:23 PM Link | Quote
I think it has something to do with people being open about themselves which encourages others to be open too. I doubt people necessary join because of any kind of reputation the forum has just that people stick to where they feel most comfortable.

I think this forum when it was active was more tolerant all around. This was one of the first internet forums I started frequenting and lurking around and after awhile I got feel for the users here and got more of a idea to the people behind the usernames and avatars.

It's something larger communities like Reddit has't really done justice because it's harder to even really notice anyone other then the most frequent members of the community.
Next newer thread | Next older thread
Jul - General Chat - Acmlm's Board and Jul's history as an LGBTQ "safe space" New poll - New thread - New reply




Rusted Logic

Acmlmboard - commit 2f1bc75 [2017-08-27]
©2000-2017 Acmlm, Xkeeper, Inuyasha, et al.

27 database queries.
Query execution time: 0.175916 seconds
Script execution time: 0.009444 seconds
Total render time: 0.185360 seconds