Did you know that, in April, the Forum will be 16 years old?
Petulant, cocksure, abusive, self aggrandizing, impulsive, impatient, energetic, optimistic and powerful. Sound like a 16 year old?
If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve heard me say that, in creating the Forum, our goal was to give to Polk owners and hobbyists a place to share their passions, knowledge and enthusiasm. Where friendships can be made. Where old friends can stay in touch. Where visitors can find help. Where newbies can find a home. I’ve intentionally minimized Polk’s participation over the years because I didn’t want the Forum to be a “company store.” Well congratulations and thank you. The Forum has succeeded and endured beyond anything any of us could have imagined.
As many of you know, teenagers are a handful. This teenager, the Forum, has in the past 12 months seen more turbulence, more trouble and more complaints than any sustained period I can remember. I don’t know about you but it’s wearing me down. I get a half dozen emails a week from those who say they were insulted, abused or driven away by Forum members and that they were no longer interested in Polk since we obviously condone this behavior. The old adage in business is that for everyone that you hear from, there are ten with the same experience that you will never hear from.
Self policing is clearly not working. Old timers act like they own the place and want to close the door behind them. There are others that prey on the thin skinned. There's more toilet humor and profanity that at summer camp. Worst of all, there are those that throw hand-grenades just to see what happens and then claim innocence. I am perpetually amazed that an otherwise normal cordial person can get behind a keyboard and become Savonarola. We have many.
Patrick and I have talked about solutions. I’ve considered pulling the plug, but that would be a tragedy. I’ve considered closing the clubhouse since most trouble starts there; I’d hate to do that. I’ve considered enacting “police state” rules but, even if I chose to, we don’t have the eyes to evenly enforce them. So I am at a bit of a loss.
The Forum belongs to all of us and, if you care one iota about it you ought to be working to save and protect it. I’m just like you in the quagmire. Except I have a responsibility to Polk Audio and I have the plug.
“Yea right…I agree…you go Al” doesn’t cut it. The only thing I can promise you is that within the next two weeks, the tone must change or I must force change. Do you want to be a part of this or do you want to exit? Those are the only choices. Maybe you have some concrete ideas. If so, I want to hear them now. If not, stay tuned. Change is coming.