Until recently the notion of joining an internet forum seemed an alien concept to me. Why should I need to post messages to a hypothetical board on a server somewhere in the world for others to see? Well, I never really felt the need to until I started vaping a year ago. Since no one I knew personally used electronic cigarettes, I turned to the internet to answer the many inane questions I had about vaping; How do I fill a cartomiser? What is the difference between an eGo and a Riva battery? What the hell is squonking? (I now believe it is squeezing the bottle of juice in a box mod for a bottom fed atomiser btw.)
Consistently I found that answers to the questions I was asking where being returned by a small number of electronic cigarette forums. So I started lurking on the sites, reading answers to the questions I wanted to ask but was to afraid to post. Eventually I plucked up the courage to start posting on some of these sites and quickly found them, on the whole, to be inhabited by friendly, generous and knowledgeable people.
However, more recently I have started to see cracks in the façade. People frequently post about groups within the forum memberships, classified hunters who prey on members by buying collectable gear up cheap and selling it at inflated prices and even derisory posts to one forum about another and its members and vice-versa.
Such a change in attitude in vaping forums concerns me, are we still members of inclusive communities that try to help each other out? Can multiple discussion groups co-exist in cyberspace? I really don’t know… Already vapers have distinguish themselves from the “smelly’ smokers and their use of ‘stinkies’. Just why this needs to be done is beyond me. Do vapers feel that they are the ‘illuminated’ ones and need to be separated off from tobacco users? Is it a knee-jerk reaction to try and prevent any kind of government regulation on e-cigarettes and e-liquid as being tobacco products? Or is it just that some vapers are as bad as the ex-smokers who complain more loudly than anyone else about the horrible smell from the smokers standing outside the pub door?
Now for the first time since posting on e-cigarette forums I had a thread that I created deleted by the moderating team because it linked to a discussion on another forum site. Whilst not particularly upset by that fact, and I understand why they felt the need to do it, it worries me that this must be the new status quo. Not only are we sub-dividing ourselves from smokers in a bid to be free of any legislation that may impact them, we are now subdividing our own communities into the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’, or the ‘carto’ and ‘rebuildable’ users, ‘noobs’ or ‘know-it-alls’ and it would seem potentially forum affiliations.
I personally do not look down on or complain about smokers, nor do I categorise myself as a particular type of vaper. I wouldn’t even say I have a preference for one forum over another. I pride myself on the fact that I try to remain neutral about all of these things. Given the pressure by legislators, pharmaceutical companies and tobacco giants be placed on vaping surely we must be a more united community? To quote the great man himself:
“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”
― Winston Churchill