It is my great pleasure to hand over the airwaves to friend of the blog, matt rowntRee, who has graciously agreed (after a great deal of cajoling and mocking) to share his wisdom on the current state of MOCpages. With any luck this will not be his last article for the Manifesto, but for now lean back and enjoy matt’s take on a topic that has been burning up the comments section.
First off, let me welcome you aboard the cruise ship here, pay no attention to the hole. Or the slight tilt. But the band is playing down on the Lido deck and we’re still serving drinks, albeit without alcohol much to Lloyd’s displeasure.
But that’s so we can include the kids in our little voyage. I mean, why would you NOT want to include them unless you’re admitting that you’re a godless pornographer looking to destroy impressionable young minds. Is that what you want, sicko? Is that why you’re here reading this drivel knowing full well who wrote it? Is that why you are morbidly curious about this “fine” vessel? Is that why the Shirley Temple you just ordered tastes like Kool-Aid with a hint of almonds? Yes, remember folks that on this voyage we have to take into account the fragile minds of children.
(That one’s just for you Keith. 😉 )
Sound fun, constant reader? But wait, there’s more!
Here are your monogrammed towel and rose colored glasses because our only port of call is a fine little island that goes by the nickname Castle Rock. There you’ll find such wonders as a pigs head on a pointy stick with flies buzzing around it, a young man that talks to it, several tribes at war over a pair of glasses, and one boy named Piggy wearing a boulder for a hat. Don’t worry if he doesn’t feel like talking, he’s just dead. At the end of our time there, we will have ourselves a glorious little bonfire which may attract some curious soldiers on a transport to wonder how these children could become so feral and violent. Don’t mind the warship, it’s only irony.
You want an update on Mocpages? Curious as to what’s going on there? Want the latest scuttlebutt about a site where I can’t say “scuttlebutt”? Wondering why someone that you, constant reader, here know to be zealous about artistic freedom would have some insight as to the social experiment that takes “LEGO Dark Ages” literally?
Well, you’ve come to the right place then!
But as with all things on Mocpages, I am the man to ask only by default. All the lifeboats were filled and most everyone rowed to bigger, brighter, less sinking sites. Good for every one of them! You as well, constant reader, if for some reason you find yourself to be included in that wave of saved souls. However, I have to ask why you left. Was it the glitches like the INactivity bar? Was it the comical Bonk, Smash, Thud-ism prevalent during contests with timeframes? Was it the uploader that never ever EVER works, even though it does? Was it technical, or was it something else?
You see, constant reader, I have to tell you honestly that I don’t believe you when you say that it was technical issues for one reason: They really only exist as minor annoyances. Does Mocpages need upgrades? Abso-fucking-lutely! Without any doubt, the site is stuck in 2002, and it painfully shows its age. It’s why many rowed their way to Sweden Flickr and Facebook. At least that seems to be what they have said when asked, as if being courteous and non-confrontational, respectful and mindful of other points of view as if avoiding any sort of boat rocking on this unsinkable vessel. The problem is that those sights are not Mocpages, that perfectly suited page set up ripe for conversation and display, that hive of active groups engaging in contests and community, that premier site devoted to the one single bond shared by every one of us: Sharing our LEGO creations. Hell, that’s even the motto at the top of the page there! So what is it that made you flee a sinking ship? Was it even sinking? Had it hit the iceberg just yet or is it still blissfully full steam ahead? If Mocpages is archaic, slow, and technically annoying, then why does anyone care?
I have the answer to that as well.
It’s simply perfect. And you all want it to work. It’s beautifuuuullll!
But just like Pantera’s Box it cannot be closed. We have all seen that Mocpages is the best platform for what the community needs and wants. However, it is broken. Well, sort of. Not really, but it has issues. Fixable, but seeing that everyone has pretty much left the liner, there is little reason to patch the hole that doesn’t seem to be taking in any more water, if it even was in the first place. No ballast, no hole below the waterline. Or I may simply be imposing my bias towards the pages there as they better suit my own style of building, a concession I would readily admit. But something as open to all styles like that should by design be open to evolving and expanding, welcoming all manner of expression to freely converse and hopefully improve. Again, I would freely confess that my expectations are far greater than actualities. But as Keith’s art school girlfriend, I think they should be.
Now I think it’s time for a bit of updating as you all have been patiently and anxiously awaiting, likely begging even with baited breath no less. That nervous tick of frustration compels you to know, like ripe fruit in front of you. So close. So very close. Or you are just simply bored going through your daily routine in the morning before setting off to your job and want me to get to the damn point because you have some shit to say about Mocpages and this jerk keeps yammering. (Don’t worry, I know that answer too.)
So, are you ready?
Are you sure?
Then in the immortal words of Herb Tarlek, “Mmmmmokayfine.”
Nothing has changed.
Yes, you heard right, folks, and you heard it here first! Not a goddamned thing has changed with Mocpages! Still the same old glitches, still the same old uploader, still the same old spectacular cast of dozens (except of course those that are rowing vigorously), still the same castaways on their little island nations looking for power with Piggy’s spectacles regardless of who broke the conch shell (c’mon guys, read your classics!), still the same rose colored glasses, still the same man behind the curtain (shhhh, don’t wake him), still the same Pandora’s Box open to the world, and still the same rowntRee fighting the only causes worth fighting for, lost ones.
(God, I hate that sappy movie.)
Is it sad to know that Pandora’s Box actually gives us all a bit of hope? Yup, I can see it’s still at the bottom of the Box there. And it’s why I haven’t completely jumped ship. I have been over there for actually five years now (had to look it up) and have been riding the meteoric decline since. The great exodus was right in front of me and I still saw that the site was worth the effort of sticking around (Surf Chernobyl!) And over the past couple years, there has been a revival of voices (the remaining ones, that is) that have all but demanded that Sean wake up and fix the technical issues. The hope is still there and I even have proof! We started a group where we could gather ideas and suggestions (hence the name) to present to Kelso to present to Sean, all done in the hope that Mocpages was worth saving. There were some great ideas fleshed out into feasible positives and a host of easy changes to operations that could be tasty and attractive. Even for Sean! Yes, we took into account that it had to appeal to him rather than be a whine fest of MP denizens demanding more now.
Well, Sean rolled over a bit. And then promptly went back to sleep. Apologies, Mr. Kenney for disturbing you, we’ll genuflect softer next time.
Actual changes can be summed up easily with LukeClarenceVan the Revanchist (Lachlan Toal) and Chris Roach being made site wide moderators to help Mark “I’m pulling out my hair with all this bullshit” Kelso and Chris “I’d pull out my hair if I had the time” Phipson.
So, four people now occupy the prestigious position of Mocpages moderator. They have all been granted complete power to enact changes and control issues, they can step in and take action under any circumstance to affect results in Sean’s absence, and they can repair all the technical problems as Sean has granted them full access to do so as necessary. Okay, all that was complete bullshit as it is just four mods left to clean up the mess that opening the Box created.
There is only one other change of note. The occupancy/activity has been reduced from over twenty pages (28 mocs each) when I joined to what is now four pages at best. And most of them are filled with, yep, you guessed it, firetrucks. Yes, you know your site is doomed when firetrucks invade the homepage. I’m pretty sure it’s one of the signs of the apocalypse, the eighth seal perhaps, real wrath of god type stuff.
So where does that leave us, constant reader? Because if you’re really interested in what’s going on over at a FREE website, then why aren’t you over there interested? You all know it not to be LUGNET, it obviously was more than an exclusive sounding board and offered pics to share. You know it wasn’t Brickshelf, it allowed more depth than a simple photo dump. It was the best of both worlds; Flickr became the clubhouse by default. But why is that?
My experience on Mocpages was tame by most standards and I’m not compooter savvy enough to know otherwise; it likely afforded me a bit of wiggle room when throwing in some sound reasoning to any argument. It still however did not prevent me from getting booted out of a group there for pointing out their bias. But I know that Vitreolum and Bricks Noir have both been “chase(d)…round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition’s flames before (they’ve been given) up!” Seriously guys, read the classics, but if you insist:
So that’s it. All that is going on over at Mocpages is the same. And it’s been the same over the past fifteen years. And it’ll be the same over the next. So, you want to know more? Then get over there. If everyone’s so curious, then go check it out. But the only thing that really has changed in all the years is that everyone left. For whatever reason, no one stays. Blame Sean, he’s certainly culpable in letting it fall into ruins. Blame the bands of roving mobs dictating policy based on their juvenile sensibilities, they are definitely the loudest voices since no one else there is speaking, let alone against them. Blame me for trying more indirect approaches after seeing that kicking down the front door only let more flies in to swirl around the rotting pig’s head. But if you’re not there actively engaging, then I’m not sure how anything I say will be enlightening. There are no more players and there is no game, the lights are on but there’s no one home.
I tried here as well, constant reader. I was tasked with writing an article about Mocpages, but I’m afraid that although I have a unique insight, there just simply isn’t anything worth writing about. Gertrude Stein would call it the Oakland of the interwebs, there’s no there there. I am not one to call to arms and go fight the fight as I don’t see anything there worth fighting for. Lost causes are one thing; Mocpages has simply devolved into a mob ruled monarchy. And no matter how many moderators are put in charge, it’ll remain that way until Sean is out of the picture.
Or we take it back. I mean what can they do? Kick us out of a site we aren’t really on in the first place and certainly one we’ve been forced to not care about. But for some strange reason, we still do. And out of my own morbid curiosity, I am wondering why everyone will not give it a second glance. For academic reasons, I want to know that if all the technical issues were fixed then is it possible for a migration back there. Would the prodigal community be welcome by the locals? Is a new uploader, all shiny and chrome, important enough for anyone to go back? It seems to me that we’ve all adapted to Flickr relatively well, would adapting to Mocpages be out of the question? If so, why? We all seem to harbor fond memories of the old gal. Yeah, on occasion she can be a bitch, but there was in fact something there that isn’t anymore. Maybe it’s just us that aren’t there anymore. And if it is more Mobpages than Mocpages, maybe it’s just the wrong mob. Have we all been on that cruise long enough and are just simply sick of shrimp and Shirley Temples? Should we just wish it a fond bon voyage from our own island?
As I said, constant reader, I am not one to call to arms. But there she sits; same old Mocpages where nothing has changed. But now you have an article telling you not only something you already knew but also absolutely nothing worth reading and somewhat indicting in its tone. Apologies and you’re welcome. Will any curiosity drive you to take Mocpages back or is the ease and features of Flickr enough? Is community there at all appealing in comparison to community on Flickr? Is there an obligation to one over the other? Is there any hint of responsibility to this medium that compels you to help the next batch of builders to not make the same mistakes we all did? Anyone else just simply enjoy a good fight? Is matt going to relent with all these fucking questions?
Just one more: Is Mocpages worth starting the fire of revolt over or is simply setting it ablaze the best option?
Either way, thankfully there are enough firetrucks to prevent it from getting out of hand.