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Social/ community aspects of doll collecting: Help or Hindrance?

Jun 21, 2008

    1. I've been thinking about this discussion topic for a while and would really like to know everybody's thoughts.

      Please Note: When I say "the doll community" in this discussion, I am referring to the community at large, or various subcommunities in general (e.g. different forums, meetup groups, livejournal communities and interactions, etc.) and not to the Den of Angels forum or its specific policies. Therefore, when you answer, please make your comments general and do not use this post to debate the policies of this particular forum. That's not what I'm getting at (Den of Angels is just one part of the BJD community experience) and debating board policy is disallowed by the rules anyway.

      1) On the whole, do you think the BJD community or social aspects of the community are ever detrimental to your collecting and enjoyment of dolls?
      People have mentioned positive aspects to the community as being a good place to get information, a nice way to meet fellow collectors, a way to police against fraudulent sellers, etc.
      And people have also mentioned negative aspects to the community as being either elitist or too large/inclusive, as excluding certain dolls and aspects of their enjoyment, as sometimes being negative or critical, as being too focused on price.
      Even if you think that community activities and socializing with other collectors is, on balance a good thing, are there significant negative aspects and how have you addressed them in your doll activities (if at all)?

      2) Another thing to consider is that for many people, dolls may be intended as an escape from the pressures of having to deal with other people daily in work, school or social settings. To what extent does community/socialization simply bring the same pressures back to bear in what was intended to be a fun "break"?

      3) What role do you think socialization/ community should play in the BJD hobby? Some of the roles people have suggested in the past that a community should play include the following:
      - Provide places and events for people to meet such as forums, meetups and events, etc.
      - Be welcoming and helpful to all people interested in the hobby
      - Provide some quality control by screening "undesirable" people and practices - e.g. by discouraging people who are just interested in dolls as a fad, who don't want to do research, who buy cheap or substandard products, who are trying to make quick money, etc.
      - Provide helpful training and critique on how to do things such as faceups, clothes, selecting and buying dolls
      - Provide moral guidance, for example by emphasizing that practices like scalping and copying are wrong and not tolerated

      4) In light of your answer to (3), what role do you think the community actually DOES play? Is it pretty close to the role you think it SHOULD play, or is it different?

      I look forward to reading your thoughts. I have my own opinions on all of the above but I don't think there's any "right" answer, I am just interested in people's experiences of community.
       
    2. I really don't think I'd enjoy dolls as much if there wasn't communities that also enjoy them, people to share the fun with you know?

      Glad to know that other people like the same thing as me..

      What good is something if you can't share it with somone. :D Even if they are on the other side of the world and talk via the internet..
       
    3. I think of all the doll communities as very postive things in this hobby. Sorry I'm not answering your questions in numbers. But overall, my feeling is that doll communities are great because people can choose what they want and how much they want to participate/be involved in them.

      There are many aspects of doll communities, just here at DOA there are many different areas. People can choose which aspects of them to participate in and if they want to escape for awhile they can simple not visit.

      The BJD communites or social aspects of the hobby can only be detrimental or puts pressure on my enjoyment of this hobby if I let them.

      I think each of us should have a clear idea of what we want and what we love in this hobby. The online communities and the social aspects of this hobby are there for our support, they add a lot more ways we could share, learn, and enjoy our hobby. We take what we need and give back what we can.
       
    4. 1) On the whole, do you think the BJD community or social aspects of the community are ever detrimental to your collecting and enjoyment of dolls?
      I'd have to admit I do find the community frustrating in many ways...I'm really excited to have people who are my friends outside the hobby getting into it because I already know we get along and have the same sort of ideas and feelings. It seems so many people want to tell everyone else how we should feel and act and what we can and can't do/buy. These dolls aren't good enough, don't mod it too much, whatever. I don't like how involved so many people seem to want to be in what everyone else is doing with their dolls. I like that the dolls are meant to be customized differently by different people. I like to see what people do with them. I don't like being told 'you're doing it wrong'. Its not that people can't be sad about the mistreatment of a doll that's been sanded down to nothing, but if that's what I was going for then leave me alone.
      And I'm not saying the mass produced or fashion BJD or anything should be counted and accepted here, but the 'cheap' companies should not be looked down on and pushed aside just because they don't cost as much. That sort of attitude bugs me. Its like the people who buy Tommy and Calvin Klein jeans because they have the logo and then snub those who buy their jeans at Walmart because they like the look/fit of the 'cheap' jeans better. Its not about having the couture purse because its couture or buying a purse at Target because it holds all your stuff.

      2) To what extent does community/socialization simply bring the same pressures back to bear in what was intended to be a fun "break"?
      This...is me...>_> My dolls keep me company when I'm lonely and when I'm upset I cuddle them more because they are just there and don't want anything from me and don't make demands. But now and then I want to go try to make friends with people who also have dolls and I go to a meet up and feel out of place and shy. And then back to number one...if they don't like my dolls or want to impose their opinions and feelings on my dolls I feel even worse about saying no...its easier online because I don't have to see the people and if they get me feeling bad its easier to leave and not have to talk to them...

      3) What role do you think socialization/ community should play in the BJD hobby?
      The community is definitely helpful with news and information. I know I don't know all the companies and I don't have the time to surf the web to see who's got new things so I frequent the News sections of different groups and communities to see what's going on. I also love shows/conventions and I don't always remember when they are coming up. It's helpful too to know when I see a 'new' doll on ebay to know if its a knock off or a scam. And I like to see what other people are doing with their dolls and get new ideas for things to do with mine. I definitely like having places to go when I have a question about how to do something or if something can even be done.
      I don't think it should 'weed out' the people who aren't as good at face ups but want to do them themselves or the kids who are just learning to sew and so have cheap looking clothes with frayed edges and can't afford the $100 outfits or those who like the 'cheap' dolls. Weed out the scammers and people out to make a quick buck sure, but not the poor 'noobs'. They need love and help and if they get chased away without any help then they will never learn and get better and make you all proud enough to play with them.

      4) In light of your answer to (3), what role do you think the community actually DOES play?
      It does mostly. I get to find the info I want, but then I have to put up with the people who frustrate and irritate me...ah well...you can't have it all.
       
    5. I can really only answer for the online side of things in the relatively short term, but here goes nothin'.

      1. On the whole, do you think the BJD community or social aspects of the community are ever detrimental to your collecting and enjoyment of dolls?

      This isn't as much of a non-answer as I intend it to be, but: not in any significant way.

      The positives mentioned don't need repeating. I'll add that the simple fact that all of the weird things I'd want to try or experiment with but am nervous about have probably been tried by someone before, and that goes a long way toward easing my mind about attempting them.

      I think, ideally, elitism is only so much of a problem as we allow it to be. The fact that the community itself tends to turn a harsh eye on this behavior when it is overt or rude speaks volumes, and that is truly refreshing to see. It may not undo the damage done by someone making a snotty comment, but it can be quite reassuring. Additionally, even a polite difference of opinion that is not based on snobbery or an intent to be hurtful is quite capable of causing offense or hurt feelings, so I can't say "hurt feelings are the best gauge of whether a comment has crossed the line" in good conscience.

      The diversity of tastes, to me, is an excellent benefit. Sure, it means that someone out there is going to think my gorgeous baby is the most hideous thing to taint the earth, but it also means it is far more likely that there's someone else who looks at him or her and says, "Cool! I love stuff like that!" By the same token, it's entirely possible that someone very sensitive to any kind of negative reaction might not consider the balance, and only focus on the people who disagree with their concept of beauty or what is desirable.

      It all comes back to the fact that sometimes, whether it is intended or not, people will feel they are being judged, and when it comes right down to it, that's not a comfortable feeling for a lot of people.

      2. To what extent does community/socialization simply bring the same pressures back to bear in what was intended to be a fun "break"?

      I finally took the plunge and finally began investing in dolls because if I don't have a non-commercial creative outlet, I will explode messily some day. Unless I some day sell stuff online, and I really do not want to do that, it's not so much of an issue for me.

      3. What role do you think socialization/ community should play in the BJD hobby?

      Places to gather for discussion is a huge thing. Similarly, being welcoming and sharing information is incredibly useful, as is protecting fellow collectors from scammers and genuinely shoddy or dangerous merchandise. It is also incredibly helpful in letting people know what to expect -- shipping times, customs woes, the differences between tracking services, how their doll will differ from promotional images unless they choose specific options, and so on.

      I don't think 'discouraging people who are interested in dolls as a fad' is necessarily a good thing, and there are two reasons why: 1. they may develop an interest that goes far beyond that, and 2. who is any one of us to judge if their interest is really genuine or not? IMHO, it is just as likely that someone will lie about their interest and swear a fad interest is genuine as it is they'll lie about 'oh my friends all have one so that's why I wanted one' to cover a real interest, in case of disappointment.

      While I'm not personally interested in selling things online, I think the community is a huge boon to those who are, especially those who create OOAK and small editions of things in their spare time. It really does help give them a much better chance for their work to be seen. Similarly, that the doll company artists and reps seem interested in interacting with the community is a wonderful thing, since it can help people understand what goes into their work in a much more personal way than it might from a posted notice or letter on a web site. Even something as seemingly simple as a group order is a great thing, and it would be hard to organize something like this without a community foundation.

      Inspiration is another huge factor to me. I don't mean 'here are things I want to copy', but 'here are the things that are possible'. It isn't quite the same as 'here is how to do this' -- it's more basic, it's 'you can do this'.

      4. In light of your answer to (3), what role do you think the community actually DOES play?

      #3 sums up my experience, but I'm sure my experience is not universal. I can imagine that a great many people may feel judged, or that others may drive themselves into debt by 'keeping up with the Joneses', and so on. These issues seem, to me, to be more individual than universal, however, and typify how an individual relates to the community than it does the reality of the community itself. It's likely these individuals would have a similar difficulty in other communities as well.
       
    6. 1. On the whole, do you think the BJD community or social aspects of the community are ever detrimental to your collecting and enjoyment of dolls?

      No. It's just another community and it has just as many pro's and con's as any other social group, so no, it doesn't affect it at all in a detrimental way.

      2. To what extent does community/socialization simply bring the same pressures back to bear in what was intended to be a fun "break"?

      I don't find there to be any pressure in the bjd community. I think people allow things to pressure them. It happens in all social venues. You can either take control of your experience or let others control it.

      3. What role do you think socialization/ community should play in the BJD hobby?

      The same role it does for any shared interest or hobby. To be a venue for sharing in the interest. I don't think it's really complicated. It's just natural for people to come together to share their interests.

      4. In light of your answer to (3), what role do you think the community actually DOES play?

      It does what any community should, it's a venue to share an interest in a particular hobby. I'm not sure what more anyone could expect from it. There are numerous forums and groups, so it's not difficult to find one or more that work for you. Then again, there is no pleasing some people and if a community doesn't cater to them, they throw a fit. It's entitlement and that certainly isn't unique to the bjd community, it's everywhere.
       
    7. 1) On the whole, do you think the BJD community or social aspects of the community are ever detrimental to your collecting and enjoyment of dolls?

      me- I think that it offers alot of postive aspects. Many which you already mentioned.
      I beilve that some of the negative aspects can come about when like anything the bjd collecting can become competitive or when people start getting jealous of what others have. But those are personal issue that each person needs to deal with.



      2) Another thing to consider is that for many people, dolls may be intended as an escape from the pressures of having to deal with other people daily in work, school or social settings. To what extent does community/socialization simply bring the same pressures back to bear in what was intended to be a fun "break"?

      Kinda of going along with my above answer is that when something ceases to 'be fun' and you get yourself in alot of 'drama' then a person should take a step back.
      We all have to be balanced. Also the last part of the my answer to question 4 kinda goes more in depth to this.

      3) What role do you think socialization/ community should play in the BJD hobby? Some of the roles people have suggested in the past that a community should play include the following:
      - Provide places and events for people to meet such as forums, meetups and events, etc.
      - Be welcoming and helpful to all people interested in the hobby
      - Provide some quality control by screening "undesirable" people and practices - who buy cheap or substandard products, who are trying to make quick money, etc.
      - Provide helpful training and critique on how to do things such as faceups, clothes, selecting and buying dolls
      - Provide moral guidance, for example by emphasizing that practices like scalping and copying are wrong and not tolerated


      me- I agree with all of these except --->e.g. by discouraging people who are just interested in dolls as a fad, and who don't want to do research,<----

      Really I think theses two over step the bondaries. (I know you are not saying this, just repeating what others have said )There are alot of people who dont do the research but its really not our place to judge. Some people are just not that enthusiastic about the hobby and dont want to invest the time. Also as far as people just interested in it as a fad, well in the long run more then likely it will be the sincere bjd collectors that benefit from this one since the fad people will end up selling their dolls to who? You guessed it. The remaining bjd collectors.

      4) In light of your answer to (3), what role do you think the community actually DOES play? Is it pretty close to the role you think it SHOULD play, or is it different?

      I think that the role of the community does play all these things mostly positive but a person has to be balanced and not become obessed with it.Like anything it is not healthy to become overly concerened with other peoples dolls, what you have or dont have , what someone said that might have hurt your feelings on the board (either about you or your dolls) etc.

      The most important thing is to not forget that this is a hobby for enjoyment. I realize that there are alot of different types of personalities that take part in this commnity in general and like everywhere not every one is going to get along. There have been people that have tried to take away my enthusiam for bjds just by popping around the boards and being their annoying self or making snide remarks when they are not wanted but again its all about balance and just moving on and trying to contribute in upbuilding ways to the bjd commnity oneself.
       
    8. 1) On the whole, do you think the BJD community or social aspects of the community are ever detrimental to your collecting and enjoyment of dolls?

      Not particularly detrimental to the enjoyment of my doll, but sometimes I don't feel I get as much out of the doll community as others do. Obviously the things like news and warnings of good or bad companies, and information about how to care for my doll are great for me. But I'm not that active here or on LJ and I think I haven't really got the full social community aspect that some people do. I tend to get that mostly from the people who live in the area, some of whom I am friends with outside of BJDs. The online communities are nice but I often feel I am sort of standing at the edge... :sweat

      I do also sometimes feel I'm a little excluded by not having "in" dolls. My dolls are both from companies that are sort of moderately popular. They're also both young girls, and it seems a lot of the dolls here in particular are attractive boy dolls, or mature female dolls. Not to say that my dolls are totally on the outside, since both companies have quite a few fans (especially Bambicrony!) but I do occasionally feel like I would probably fit in more if I had two attractive CP boys or something. I know it's totally a stereotype but I do see it a lot! :lol: Among my local friends, one has two boy dolls, but most of the rest have girl dolls, some of which are young girls like mine. So I think in the local group my dolls fit in more. There are a lot of people who live near here who I've only met once though, and they were a wide range of ages and of doll types so that previous bit only applies to the smaller group I knew first... ^^;


      2) Another thing to consider is that for many people, dolls may be intended as an escape from the pressures of having to deal with other people daily in work, school or social settings. To what extent does community/socialization simply bring the same pressures back to bear in what was intended to be a fun "break"?

      Hm. Sometimes reading responses of people in threads is frustrating to me if they have a viewpoint I really really disagree with (or in some cases, people who ask what I consider to be obvious or dumb questions irk me as well- the kind that would be answered by looking at the stickies in the top of that forum or by reading the pages of responses in the thread they posted to the very end of [this has irked me in other hobbies as well, both other types of dolls and completely different hobbies]). But like I said in the first question, I don't have as much of a social connection with the BJD community, so I tend not to be as bothered by it. I may write a fired-up response to a Dolly Debate thread, but after I turn off the computer and go home and talk with my husband or non-doll friends it doesn't haunt me or anything. :lol: If anything, I have to admit I see Dolly Debate as a bit of stress relief sometimes, because I sit at a desk being nice and inoffensive all day (I'm a receptionist) and in the Dolly Debate I can sort of go off on a rant about doll "pornography" or doll debt or what have you. :lol: The local in person group of friends I have don't really talk about that kind of stuff much, though we do occasionally talk about things like how annoying it is that Volks won't release some of their limiteds into FCS so you can get them in white skin or what have you.

      3) What role do you think socialization/ community should play in the BJD hobby? Some of the roles people have suggested in the past that a community should play include the following:

      I think the things communities are probably best at are providing a place for social discussion, information transfer, and yes- moral judgments within the hobby. I DO think that hobby communities should be sort of moral police in some ways and try to warn people off of buying bootlegs, cheating others in transactions, etc. This is not only by just saying "Don't go buying a bootleg doll or Mr. Shigeta will cry!" but also by saying "User X has sold 4 dolls saying they're in great condition with original parts, when in reality they have been poorly modded and are on cheaper bodies, don't buy from her" or "User Y has filed a paypal claim for the doll I sold her, even though I saw a photo of it on her journal!" or "eBay seller Z is selling bootleg dolls, if anyone is found to have these dolls they will have posts of them deleted" or whatever. Though some people may not like it, I do think that one of the purposes of a community, especially a large one, is to try to keep its members in line and to keep them from doing bad things. Maybe it's not as directly helpful as a page listing all the different optional hands from a company or a tutorial on restringing your doll, but I guarantee that having some level of "policing" like that makes the hobby more enjoyable for everyone who just wants to have a good time and not cheat anyone else out of money, items, services, etc.

      4) In light of your answer to (3), what role do you think the community actually DOES play? Is it pretty close to the role you think it SHOULD play, or is it different?

      I think it's pretty close. Sometimes I think people don't realize WHY it's good to have so many rules and a sort of "name and shame" system for bad transactions, but I think it helps keep things from becoming too chaotic. And I'm not just talking about DoA there but also places like Bad Dolly Deals and other forums that have feedback and warning sections. I think that he community is also a very social and generally very welcoming place, which is good, and there's certainly a lot of info around, but I think that for DoA in particular it is sometimes difficult to find it if it's not in a sticky, but that's just a DoA thing, I think sites or even YouTube video tutorials are great :)

      I've probably rambled a lot.... haven't had my morning coffee yet....:|
       
    9. i don't need to answer the questions because Piyoko practically summed up all my feelings for me.

      i also agree with Skwerlie about 'popular' dolls. i see so many posts by people who have the same brand of doll (now, i'm not saying that's a bad thing before anyone goes off ranting at me!) so i sometimes feel a bit left out.

      generally, i think there is a lot of elitism in this hobby compared to some other hobbies, but then when i look at sports as a hobby or other model-making themed ones, there is a LOT of competition between those who enjoy the activity.

      for me, dolls are a project and for my enjoyment only. i really couldn't give a crap if someone didn't like my dolls.
       
    10. I don't know that I'm actually qualified to answer these questions since I have yet to experience the real "community" here.

      I've been here a couple of weeks, and made, oh, 30 posts? And have had about 4 or 5 responses to my comments/questions. Now, I'm not saying that after two weeks I ought to have a new bff from the doll community, but in general, this is one of the colder communities I've joined.

      For various other hobbies and fandoms, I find that the people involved in the forums and message boards/journals are much friendlier, and they are more welcoming and tend to related to other fans faster.

      Doll communities (I've joined two) tend to make me feel left out and not good enough because either A) my doll was cheaper (not cheap on my income, for sure), and not as fancy, or b) I only have one bjd, and I'm therefore not technically a "collector" yet.

      I'm not saying that DoA is like that. I haven't been here long enough to know that. However, I do think there's a more defined social tier structure based on which dolls a collector owns, and where they rank in terms of status symbol.

      At conventions, as well, my AoD doll was brushed over several times by other collectors. Whether it was because it wasn't a Volks or DIM or some other more expensive company, or because I did my own face-up and made all my own clothes for it, I don't know.

      It has been an interesting social experiment, though. And I've learned a lot about this hobby and the other people involved that I'd never considered before.
       
    11. For me I find there is a great difference between the real life, local community, and the greater online community. The local community is wonderful, I have made some great friends with beautiful dolls of all different kinds, and amazing skills that they are more than welcome to share with others. They have made the experience of owning dolls and creating characters all the more fun and fulfilling to me.

      The online community varies. While there are plenty of lovely people, there are also plenty of not so wonderful people who taint my view of it all from time to time. When I am tired of the fandom (as opposed to the hobby itself - I never stop liking my own dolls, but at times I don't feel like participating in the greater community), it is because of some aspect of the online community. As I said before, there are plenty of great people out there, just there's also people who I find in the real world I wouldn't associate with if I didn't have to, who I guess 'rub me up the wrong way' (for lack of a better term).
      But the good thing about them being online is that I can walk away from the computer and them, and go and play with my dolls. ;)
       
    12. I think that's an issue that often comes up in online communities. If you know someone in real life and spend time with them, sometimes it's easier to put their comments made online in context. Whereas when you just read someone's thoughts in a post and don't know the person, it's easy to come away with a feeling like "what did she mean by that, huh? " Of course, some people are just going to rub each other the wrong way regardless, but I found on other communities that when we actually got to know each other a lot of remarks that might otherwise be taken wrongly suddenly were better understood.
       
    13. 1) On the whole, do you think the BJD community or social aspects of the community are ever detrimental to your collecting and enjoyment of dolls? Occasionally I get sucked in and say something stupid or negative and then feel like an idiot later, but overall I really enjoy the social aspect of the hobby. I've collected dolls all my life (first antiques then artist dolls) and I feel most at home with the type of people who tend to be attracted to the ball-jointed dolls. There seems to be an extra dimension to most of us I haven't encountered in most other doll collecting areas. I think more of us have artistic sensibilities, and I think in general that's a rare thing.


      2)To what extent does community/socialization simply bring the same pressures back to bear in what was intended to be a fun "break"?
      When that happens it's definitely time for a break!! XD I am not a socially-oriented person IRL, so I bring all my incompetence on that front with me here. ^_~ I do my best, but ah well, I try not to worry about it that much! Unlike some people, who go out of their way to crow about how unimportant their social life online is (while, curiously, spending so much time on it), I don't mind being honest and saying it's important to me. I enjoy it very much and get a lot out of it. I also try to contribute as much as I can.



      3) What role do you think socialization/ community should play in the BJD hobby?
      I think the most important role is information! Whether it's database owner photographs, tutorials or discussion, information is always a good thing!




      4) In light of your answer to (3), what role do you think the community actually DOES play? Is it pretty close to the role you think it SHOULD play, or is it different?
      It does all of the above and more. Compared to other communities I've encountered, we do a lot more to support and protect each other. Sure we squabble and bicker occasionally and people get wrapped up in their need for outbirk, but overall I think things are as they should be.
      Occasionally I get embarrassed for the community when someone is unnecessarily mean to a noob. I don't like to see new members treated badly. *Laughs* I've made all the blunders of noobness in my time, but I don't remember anyone being mean to me about it.

      I believe overall, the community is a tremendous help, but like many things in life, it's what you make of it. I can't imagine it as a hinderance, except perhaps to scalping and scamming ^_~

      Raven
       
    14. I wouldn't say DoA is especially "cold" or unwelcoming. I'd just say that it's BIG...

      When you have a forum with as many members as this one has, and that moves as fast as this one does, it takes awhile for people to start to recognize each other. It just doesn't happen instantly or without some effort on the new members' part. There are just flat-out too many people here for everyone to keep track of them all. :lol:

      That aside, to answer to OP's questions... I think that the communities are, on average, a Good Thing. They're useful, and on a good day, a lot of fun to participate in.

      BUT

      I'd also say that participation in the community should come with fair warnings about a Minimum Recommended Thickness of Skin. It seems a lot easier to enjoy them if you keep a healthy perspective on things and grow a bit of rhino hide. The "fandom" (Yes, my hate of that word burns with the fury of a thousand suns. But, anyway- :|) is apparently a cruel and terrible place for people who are hurt or offended easily. Even a "kittens and rainbows" site like DoA seems to be too harsh for some users. :sweat

      So... as they say over on RPGNet, YMMV ("Your milage may vary". ie: Individual expereinces may be different from the experiences of other users.) and any given community could tick you off and cause more stress than it's worth. But you'll never know until you check it out.
       
    15. I do second what Brightfires says - I only check this forum maybe twice a day on average, unless I'm involved in a thread. So that's maybe glancing over two subforums and maybe three threads before I run off and do something else.

      It isn't that people don't like you, but the post traffic is so fast that stuff gets bumped off the front page a lot and it's hard to notice things.

      This forum is huge, and I have trouble keeping up with it sometimes.

      - Mel
       
    16. 1) On the whole, do you think the BJD community or social aspects of the community are ever detrimental to your collecting and enjoyment of dolls?
      In the beginning of my doll-collecting I found the doll community on the internet being helpful, fun and overall very pleasant. I wouldn't even have gotten my first doll if not for all the helf I got from people in these dollie-communities. However, now, three years after my first doll, and the growth of the hobby and the commonity I find that being involved in the internet-based doll comminity is bringing me down. Makes me feel guilty whenever I don't follow certain unwritten rules. Some parts of the fandom makes me completely pissed of to be completely honest, and that is why I am no longer active except for very rare gallery-posts and my sales-thread. ANd ofcourse, this post, since I want to state my opinion on this.

      2) Another thing to consider is that for many people, dolls may be intended as an escape from the pressures of having to deal with other people daily in work, school or social settings. To what extent does community/socialization simply bring the same pressures back to bear in what was intended to be a fun "break"?
      This is exactly why it's not fun anymore (for me) Because being involved in the doll community online makes me feel preassure. It makes me feel that I have to follow certain rules and this in turn makes me feel guilty whenever not playing with my own dolls wich is just stupid, since they are in fact my dolls, my hobby and mine to do as I please with, but still I feel guilty and preassured. I can't say why. It's really sad though. :(

      3) What role do you think socialization/ community should play in the BJD hobby?
      It should be an open playground for people, wanting to meet and share pictures, ideas and trade hints and tips. I definitly do NOT think it should be a judge on who is right and who is wrong in this hobby.

      4) In light of your answer to (3), what role do you think the community actually DOES play?
      I think the doll community as a whole (aswell as many other communitites surrounding hobbies) are elitist, providing informatin on what is right and what is wrong. What is acceptable and what is not, Wich I find insulting and rude. Turning people off, saying they are not worthy of these dolls simply because they want cheap dolls that they might play with for a month or two is just wrong in my opinion. THese dolls aren't religious idols to be worshipped. They are chunks of expencive plastic that we play around with. There are no rules, and there should be no rules what so ever, though the doll community online provides these rules and thus makes it less fun and enjoyable for those who feels inside that they might not fit within the frame. This is a hobby, not a religion, it's not politics. It's dolls wich we dress up and play with. The community makes certain ways of playing with these dolls "wrong".

      Example A) A young girl finds a picture of a pretty doll on the internet. She goes to see if she can find a cheap version of the doll since she doesn't have the energy or methods of saving up $600. After loads of effort she finally manages to find an old, slightly broken but still pretty doll. She shows it off to all her friends and places it in her room

      Example B) A young girl finds a picture of a pretty doll on the internet. She goes and looks up loads of information on this doll, how to get it and what accessories to get. How to paint faceups and how to make clothes. She saves up the $600 and gets the doll. Plays with it every day and posts loads of pictures.

      The first girl migth have gotten turned down immediatly if she so much as spoke out the words "cheap doll" in the doll community as it is today. She migth not even have gotten her doll since some people find her way of dealing with the dolls as "unworthy". This is what disgusts me with the doll community today. The eletism that makes people judge others based on rules that shouldn't even exist.
       
    17. From my newbie experience on the forum:

      1) On the whole, do you think the BJD community or social aspects of the community are ever detrimental to your collecting and enjoyment of dolls?
      Not really. Ofcourse I get irked at times, but after 7 years online I've learned that online annoyances need to be approached with a "whatever ignore it" attitude. I enjoy my doll and love it all the same with or without approval of the community.

      2) To what extent does community/socialization simply bring the same pressures back to bear in what was intended to be a fun "break"?
      Some people might feel the pressure to keep up with the big spenders or feel like they have to get the monthly Soom release to stay with the crowd though. I haven't really felt bothered by unwritten or written rules for that matter. My doll, so I do whatever the hell I want. Sometimes I do feel though like some sculpts need to be customized alot better to get just as good a response as the more "beloved" sculpts in their simple up-do.

      3) What role do you think socialization/ community should play in the BJD hobby?
      Information, encouragement, discussion. Information also in the way of news about copies, fakes and frauds. I do not think though people who made mistakes should be as looked down upon and talked harshly to as I've seen happen here.

      4) In light of your answer to (3), what role do you think the community actually DOES play?
      I think it does pretty well. There is ofcourse elitism around, but all hobbies involving expensive things have that. I've gotten a thick skin from my years in the horseriding hobby (The flak you get for having a yellow saddle pad and green bridle ;)) but others might feel a bit threatened by some comments I've seen posted here.

      It really depends. For easily impressed people DoA might be a bit too fierce at times and I do think there is at times a bit too much moaning about other people's dolls. Other than that, DoA is doing an okay job I think.

      I might have repeated myself a bit...questionnaires like this are always so hard to answer...
       
    18. 1) On the whole, do you think the BJD community or social aspects of the community are ever detrimental to your collecting and enjoyment of dolls?

      sometimes I feel a bit like a bad dolly mommy when I hear people going on about how embarrassing it was that there were stray hairs in their photos, or how worried they were when their dolls fell down, or how it's been a struggle to get a perfect carrier and locate a face mask to protect the faceup and find a place in the house where the sunlight rarely reaches...because I have one messy-curly-wigged doll and another with a tiny chip out of the sealant on her nose (didn't blink when she faceplanted) and both of them come along in whatever backpack or purse I happen to be carrying at the time. but most of the time, it's not something I feel from the community, as much as me thinking "well, if THEY feel so strongly about it, why don't I? must be a personal flaw!"

      actually, I have more trouble with this offline than online, because I don't have too much trouble ignoring what people type, or just not spending much time in certain threads, whereas when I'm at a meet and feeling like my doll looks a little frumpy, or I'm not sure if I'm following proper etiquette in one way or another, I can't get away from the feeling just by opening a different webpage.


      To what extent does community/socialization simply bring the same pressures back to bear in what was intended to be a fun "break"?
      I suspect that anyone who finds those pressures to be problematic enough in their other life to warrant some escapism is probably going to have the same problem in any hobby--people are people no matter what they're talking about. so yes, the pressure is there...whether or not you find the hobby to be a "break" is not about the community as much as it's about you.

      3) What role do you think socialization/ community should play in the BJD hobby?

      I think the role of "socializing force" is one that people don't really think about the community playing, but one that's both important and unavoidable. people learn how to play with their dolls through the community, and I think we all need to occasionally remind ourselves of that. for example, taking a look at what debate topics there are can give a new member a very good idea of what issues are important in this community...the first one definitely appears to be money, considering that there are many threads discussing topics from scalping to cheap dolls to selling gifts (this is also supported by a glance at the "memes" section). after that, maybe a toss-up between identity ("do dolls compensate for something?" "dolls and reality" "real bodies and the ABJD aesthetic" etc.) and, er, scandal, for lack of a better term to sum up the connection I see between "boys in dresses," "porn vs. art," "photographing child dolls," and "dollie drug use." when new members learn what the important topics in the community are, they are likely to structure their interaction with the community around those topics. and...I think that's great, and I think it's not something you can really determine in any way (even if you COULD settle on what the important issues ought to be). but sometimes I think if we were a little more aware of the fact that we're socialising new hobbyists through our own interactions, we might choose different ways to approach things--for example, there was a rant thread a while back about how many dolls/doll items are labelled as "lolita" when followers of the fashion/lifestyle don't think they fit the style at all. a thread like that teaches readers that lolita is a touchy issue, that they're liable to be insulted if they try to incorporate the style, that the hobby can be divided into people who Are Lolita and people who Have No Clue. on the other hand, out of that thread there eventually arose another thread where people who consider themselves in-the-know could make information available to people who might be curious, which teaches readers that the fashion does have rules, and that there are experts/resources to whom they can come for information if they want to experiment with the style.


      tl;dr version:
      I don't think the community should be a gatekeeper (except in the case of scammers and scalpers), but I do think we should all be aware of what the things we talk about say to someone just entering the community/hobby. the community should provide information, but it shouldn't be presented in terms of "right" and "wrong."

      4) In light of your answer to (3), what role do you think the community actually DOES play? Is it pretty close to the role you think it SHOULD play, or is it different?
      I think the community is pretty close to the role I'd like to see it playing. there's a lot of information here, and most people are reasonably open and friendly. we've still got things to learn, but then, who doesn't?


      I'd like to agree with what Brightfires and MelWong have said--having been part of a couple of other very large communities, it does tend to take a bit more to "break in"--and also to add that some of the difficulty in making friends may be because of the strict on-topic rules. most forums have at least a sub-forum devoted to off-topic chat, and while I certainly love how little "thread rot" happens here at DoA, I sometimes wish there were more opportunity to pursue non-doll-related thoughts that come up from time to time. for me, that has contributed to the sense of coldness--but there's warmth there if you persevere. ^_^
       
    19. Just to look at this issue from a slightly different perspective, if you come on a community like this wanting to make friends it can have the issues you and others noted. You may feel forced to investigate other avenues, such as meets, LiveJournal communities, other smaller or localized forums to make friends. But on the other hand, the fact that DOA is so big means that if a person just wants to come here to seek information about dolls, or browse the marketplace and galleries, without wanting to socialize a lot or at least not at first, it's relatively easy to just come on here and look around, talk a little bit, without feeling like you have to be everybody's buddy in order to just hang out in the room. If you do want to make friends you can make an effort and pursue that, whereas if you're shy or if you really just want to learn about the dolls and not emphasize the social angle so much you can also do that without feeling like people are going to get put out because you're "not friendly".
       
    20. IMHO the community adds to the enjoyment of learning, sharing, making new friends etc. It wouldn't be as much fun without that part of the experience. It keeps amazing me that I live in an area as big as Atlanta and no one thus far I have encountered in my realm understands what a BJD is. So, if it weren't for the BJD community at large, where would I share?