Tag Archives: internet forum

WACCOE Watch: The Formerly Half-Decent Leeds Forum Continues to Decline – by Rob Atkinson

WACCOE - not exactly a thing of beauty

WACCOE – not exactly a thing of beauty

Ever since I was silenced – gagged – on what used to be one of the better Leeds United forums, I’ve kept an eye on the way things are going at WACCOE.com. This, remember, used to be one of the more obvious stopping-off points on the net, for anyone who wanted to hear the latest Leeds United gossip, or who hoped that they might thus become privy to some truly ITK inside knowledge. From those heady days, WACCOE plummeted to become a joke of a site, full of loud and gobby student types, right-wing boneheads, look-at-me merchants determined to present themselves as high-flyers and the most tragically desperate variety of attention-seekers.

At this point, I presumed to raise my voice in protest and, admittedly, some mild derision. Before very long, the policy switched from arguing with me or insulting me, to simply censoring my input. This was allegedly for abusing “fellow WACCOE-ers” – though as you can see from the screenshot above, if your eyesight is keen enough, there seems to be plenty of abuse flying about to this day. You might notice I’ve had to do some pretty hefty censoring of my own, due to the gutter language used.

My comment at the foot of the appalling example above was, of course, not published – after all, they gave up trying to deal with my point of view and style of expression long ago. But the point I was trying to make is a valid one – because the fact is that, on WACCOE, you can still seemingly get away with murder, or at least with vicious personal abuse – as long as the overly-hormonal moderators don’t take against you. And it’s really such a shame that what used to be an invaluable resource has sunk so very low.

That’s very much the way it is, though, quite evidently to anyone with the time and patience to trawl through all the rubbish. Plenty of regular contributors are now raising peeps of protest at the kind of thing I was complaining about way back: potentially interesting threads degenerating into childish quarrels and pitiful attempts to gain approval through puerile ‘humour’; the prevalence of right-wing, knee-jerk political views, with any more civilised opinions shouted down or ignored, etc etc etc. There’s no need for me to intervene on WACCOE now, even if they had the guts to let me; their own regulars are starting to realise how the whole thing has gone right round the U-bend.

I’ll still keep an eye on WACCOE, and I hope they’ll know that. They’ll pretend not to, of course – they affect not to notice when I refer to them these days, and they’re paranoid about the possibility of generating hits for Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything by acknowledging its existence. I do still get WACCOE individuals trying to post their abusive stuff on my blog comments – but naturally, they never see the light of day. Sauce for the goose, chaps. It’s all typically insecure, juvenile angst, anyway – and very funny on the face of it. But still, it’s tragic what’s happened to WACCOE.

There are, however, some very decent alternatives if you wish some adult, non-hypocritical coverage of all things Leeds. There’s the excellent We All Love Leeds, for instance, and even the hardly reconstructed Service Crew Forum is many a mile better than poor old WACCOE. And, of course – you’re always welcome here!

WACCOE: What to do When a Good Leeds United Forum Goes Bad? – by Rob Atkinson

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WACCOE – used to be good

For Leeds United fans of an enquiring bent, anxious to keep up to date with what’s being discussed about our great club, keen to be in the know as regards the latest rumour, scandal or joke – the internet forum is frequently the resource of choice.  Football fans of the last couple of generations are lucky like this.   It’s not always been so easy to communicate your point of view, or to take counsel of others.  Every football fan everywhere is more or less in touch with every other football fan these days; nobody who wants to be informed has to remain in the dark.  It’s all out there for the finding, and some pretty knockabout “banter” into the bargain.

Naturally, this plethora of information and opinion has its downside.  It’s quite easy for any football forum, fansite, call it what you will, to become dominated by “banter” to the detriment of information or serious discussion.  If you think about it, there’s a place for banter as there is a place for pepper on the dinner-table.  It’s a useful and piquant seasoning to the main course – but you wouldn’t want to just take the cover off the pepperpot and swallow the whole lot on its own.  It would be unpleasant and unseemly.

In some corners of the internet, some sites are falling prey to just this syndrome, and any attempts at moderation are proving inadequate to stem the prevalence of pepper over good wholesome fare.  The banter is taking over and – more and more – you find yourself having to dig deep for anything of any content or value.  Even items – “threads” – that start off by highlighting some real issue, or by asking some highly pertinent question – even these are swiftly pounced upon by a clutch of self-appointed wits, scrambling over each other to post some fantastically funny reply, busting guts to out-do everybody else in showing just how awfully pithy they can be.

The WACCOE forum is a tragic example of just this sort of problem.  Time was – and not so long ago at that – WACCOE was virtually indispensable as Leeds United fans tried to keep themselves up-to-date with the unfolding saga of the takeover.  A legendary thread called TOMA (Takeover, My Arse) extended to an incredible length over months and months, documenting each twist and turn of the epic battle for Leeds United.  Initially anonymous buyers were struggling to wrest control from the evil grasp of Uncle Ken, and TOMA readers followed the story for what turned out to be significant portions of their lives.

There was some banter, sure – but it served just to season the staple diet of information and debate.  Refresh buttons were worn out, sleep was dispensed with, coffee was imbibed by the vat full, jobs were lost, as fanatics out here in fan-land gave themselves body and soul to the outcome of this elemental battle.  Where would we have been without WACCOE and TOMA?  The mainstream press had nothing, the club was tight-lipped.  We relied on those allegedly in the know – the ITK-ers – and we rode a seemingly endless roller-coaster, elevated by the highs and cast down, crushed by the lows, time and time again.  It was a hell of a trip.

Before that – a few years back, we had a comparable event with the whole Minus 15 thing. WACCOE was seen at its best then, too – people with some knowledge and expertise in the complex issues behind the Leeds United administration and the subsequent actions of the Football League and rival clubs, were able to shed some much-needed light.  Again, our interest was captured, for weeks, months on end.

Despite the gravity and possibly disastrous consequences of those issues, they were great days for any forum, and particularly auspicious for WACCOE as it facilitated some quality work by the people who troubled to find out what was going on and to communicate this to the rest of us.  But oh dear me, what has happened since?

WACCOE now is merely somewhere to go if you have some masochistic need to grind your teeth to powder, or to have your blood pressure raised to unhealthy levels.  It’s a showcase for the yappy student type which used to infest – and for all I know still does infest – the BBC 606 site and its various spin-offs.  You get elderly idiots reminding themselves, each other and the poor bloody rest of us how tough they used to be and how hard they still are.  You get young, attention-starved look-at-me types, striving desperately to jump on some admired bandwagon in the hope of getting a “lol” or a “like” from some nobody who doesn’t deserve their tragic hero-worship.  The standard of repartee – never all that high – is plummeting downhill like a greased pig.  Egos abound, nobody feels able to let anything go without adding their own two penn’orth, and threads worth maybe two or three comments stretch out to page after agonising page.   It’s dreadful to behold and an awful indictment of the mindset we – the collective of online Leeds fans – seem to have sunk into now there is no more Minus 15, no more TOMA.

Maybe it will take another major issue to restore WACCOE to its former glory (a strictly relative term).  Maybe – because you just never know with Leeds – such a major issue is just around the corner.  It could be.  It usually is.  I have some hopes for the forthcoming January transfer window, which should be good for some debate, some sort of relevant, on-message chat.  I’ll have my fingers crossed and – if I’ve not been booted off the site by then, I’ll be ready to have my say, for what it’s worth.  But I have this horrible suspicion that, for far too many contributors, WACCOE is now some sort of cabaret arena for them to show off their own little party piece, or maybe try desperately to gain the approval of some other nonentity who has somehow managed to attract a following.  Then, it’s like watching some lurid re-enactment of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, as the yappy classes yap loud and long enough to be noticed, and the few dissenters find themselves savaged, Geoffrey Howe-like, by dead sheep.

It’s a pity, it’s even a bit of a loss.  But there are other forums out there and some excellent fans sites – these tend to be rather better moderated than the once half-decent WACCOE.  So, what DO you do?  Well, if you don’t want to grit your teeth down to gum level, if you don’t want to feel your head creaking as hypertension threatens to blow the top of your skull off – why, simply browse elsewhere, for the sweet voice of reason still speaks in certain quarters. Leave WACCOE to stew in its own self-adoring juices, let the yappers yap to each other, let the various bandwagons trundle on into an uninspiring sunset.  Give it a break, and maybe go back when lack of attention has starved the attention-seekers as the shortage of oxygen will extinguish any flame.

Whatever they might seem to think, it’s not all about WACCOE and its covey of self-regarding wits.  It’s still about Leeds United and those who want to talk about football – yes, and have a laugh, but not be too juvenile about it.  That’s how WACCOE used to be. I do hope it gets better one day.