Inspired by Megan and while working on the background stuff for my Know Your Blues series (and for the record, that is still in the works - but I am trying to build up enough backlog of posts from various CMs to be able to get a better feel for their posting personalities), I've been spending a lot more time on the WoW forums. I've done this in the past, getting involved on the forums in little bursts, so it's not entirely new to me but recently I've been struck by the fact that... well... the Priest forums? Are suddenly awesome.
I don't know when exactly it happened, because I'd been absent from them for about 6 months. The snarkiness and constant bickering over Flash Heal versus Greater Heal, the accusations of people gemming like an idiot, blah blah blah really got on my nerves. To me, the forums should be a place to really provide some info and advice for new players of your class, and to be a fun community place for people across different servers to get to know one another - and instead it was becoming a giant snarkfest.
But when I started popping over there a couple of weeks ago, the entire attitude was different. I discovered Paolo was a regular poster, that Nethaera was there offering up advice and general goofiness as well, that all these people on the forum felt they knew one another. Half the time they aren't talking about Priesting per se... they are just socializing.
And that, my friends, is part of building a community.
I attribute a lot of this to Nethaera, though I may be wrong and just be showing my fanboi colors. However, I think it's her job to foster a sense of community as a community moderator. I don't know if the CMs have "assignments" of different portions of the forums, but the Priest community seems to be hers. 6 months ago, there were never any Blue Posts in the Priest community, and now Nethaera posts little comments, and joins in on fun Priest discussions on a near-daily basis.
And then there's Paolo (who sent me an in-game tell the other day... I was completely starstruck or something. Also, terrified he was going to lecture me on my DK-birthing gem selection >.<), who is very involved in the Priest forum community. There's even a facebook group just for the group of Priests who goof off in the daily @DayoftheWeek thread.
Now, I don't know what the forums for other classes are like. But the one for Priests is unbelievably awesome. It is exactly what Class Forums are supposed to be - a Class based community.
If you're a Priest, and you haven't stopped over at the WoW forums for awhile out of pure reluctance, dip your feet in and at least say hi to Paolo. Go post in the @Tuesday thread and join the party. Everyone is welcome!
What if the Priest bloggers completely took over that place? Would we clean it up? Or have Nethaera and Paolo and countless others whose names I do not know already done that? Put aside whatever you may have thought about the WoW forums, and walk in with an open mind - just try reading and posting there for a week, and see if the recent changes can change your opinion of the WoW forums.