Oh Be-Jeepers…Aeclectic Tarot Forum Has Gone Bye-Bye

 

Say it isn’t so! One of the main online community and discussion platforms for tarot enthusiasts has said ‘farewell,’ leaving thousands of tarot aficionados in the lurch for a place to jam with their online homies about the art of the cards.

 

The archives of the forum, apparently, are to remain up online as a reference to the hundreds of thousands of posts and conversations of Aeclectic’s membership. But this is undoubtedly sore consolation for those looking for active responsorial discussion, and to those who made invested online friendships with other long-distance tarot enthusiasts over the years.

 

Screen Schot Notice: Aeclectic Tarot Forum Says Farewell

 

I have to admit that I was not a member of the Forum. I thought about signing-up and diving into the fray many, many times. But ultimately never gave myself the final ‘push’ to create a forum identity. I’m a lurker, you see. I certainly was always pleased to read some of the contributions and discussions, read about new decks that were coming out, reviews of decks that were recently published, and to try to catch snippets about forthcoming tarot conferences. But forums—an older platform style for community dialogue, a sort of precursor of social media—can be a hassle and a burden to try to filter through. And the information one eventually finds sometimes isn’t exactly contemporary reference material.

 

And there are always going to be issues with trolls—no matter what type of platform one happens to be using. Aeclectic seemed to have a varying number of moderators, some more stringent, some more persnickety, some more lenient than others. And ‘reading’ people and personalities online is a tough task. There certainly are people who felt snubbed, and unjustly censored, or even denigrated and demeaned by the Forum. A moderator’s life is not an easy one. Sometimes you have to rely on a hard-and-fast set of rules, even when giving a little wiggle room or sway to account for the variance in cultural and linguistic differences among participants might be better practice. So people who use various forms of language that might be found ‘offensive’ by another subset of participants, are subject to expulsion, even though that language might have been the only method of expressing frustration in an online forum where it’s not possible to use one’s tone or volume of voice to infer frustration, or sarcasm, or humor…as opposed to the strictly uncouth nature of the words themselves.

 

As far as I can determine, there was no official reason provided for the Forum coming to a close after seventeen years, which begets all kinds of conjecture from all of its members and from various corners of the tarot world. It also raised questions about why the Forum owner/administrator didn’t feel like she could transfer the responsibility to another operator (or even operating company).

 

The Emperor (reversed), from The Ostara Tarot (Krista Gibbard, Illustrator)

The Emperor (reversed): “Perhaps your vision of the city and your days of building empires are over, and it’s time to hand the reins over to the next iteration of civilization.”  (card image from The Ostara Tarot, Krista Gibbard, illustrator)

 

In this post (link), the administrative operator, ‘Solandia,’ sounded as though she might just be at the point of burnout, and didn’t feel like she had the energy to train anyone else in the nuances of the Forum that she wanted to maintain. Fair enough. But company transfers happen all the time. Non-profits hire new CEOs every day. There certainly are techies out there who know how to run a platform like Aeclectic in their sleep. So why the drama? …Well, it’s hard to let your baby go. After you’ve spent seventeen years building something up and designing its specifications to your preferred and desired minutiae…it’s hard to think of someone else tweeking it, or expanding it beyond the parameters of what you envisioned for it all those years.

 

…If that’s the case—and I have no right to assume that it is; I am just an ignorant lurker, after all—then it is a sad case. We have to realize that the world will continue to spin on after we are gone. (That’s what the Death card [XIII] is all about right? Memento Mori, and all that…) The next generation has its own insights and inspirations and brilliant conceptions and ambitions just as much as we did when we were young. The next generation is going to mold the world to fit their own dreams, whether that means they make devastating mistakes, or they build new empires. Whether they take the advice of history and the past and use it to advise their future (known as the virtue of Prudence), the choice belongs to them.

 

Death and Prudence, from the Deck of the Bastard by Seven Stars

Death (XIII) and Prudence (II), from The Deck of the Bastard by Seven Stars

 

And some of them seem to be stepping up to the plate. In addition to a well-rounded list of other forum sites in one of the Forum postings, I’ve already run into some new forum sites that members have already started (such as here and here). Perhaps now, there will be a bit of jostling while the new crown princeling finds his or her way to the top of the heap. Online traffic and social networking seems to be a rather direct method of separating the chafe from the flour, so to speak. …Which is great; it’s comforting to know there will still be places to lurk.

 

As an ode to the now defunct Aeclectic Tarot Forum, the video blogger, Holly, of the handlebar name “Cape Cod Creatures” on YouTube, has done a “Goodbye Reading for Aeclectic Tarot Members” which is really rather sweet and poignantly interpreted in this video… so enjoy, and thanks to Holly for her well-done farewell…

 

 

…With gratitude to Aeclectic Tarot Forum and its stewards over the past seventeen years—thanks for creating connections across the internet ether among sympathetic souls and tarot lovers alike. It was a moment in historical time that many will treasure.

 

 

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. Hi! You said this in your post about the Aeclectic Tarot Forum going away:
    “But forums—an older platform style for community dialogue, a sort of precursor of social media—can be a hassle and a burden to try to filter through. And the information one eventually finds sometimes isn’t exactly contemporary reference material.”
    Which leads me to believe that maybe you understand how to filter through social media to actually find information you need? Do you have any advice about how to do that?

    I’m probably showing my age by saying this, but the way social media is replacing forums makes me crazy because it seems impossible to do anything but just see whatever people are talking about today. The way that stuff is archived is almost useless, as far as I can tell. It’s not organized. I don’t think of tarot as something where I need up-to-the-minute information. I like to be able to draw on all the many smart and interesting things people have said across time.

    I’m not really sure why I’m asking you this specifically, but it really frustrates me, and you said that, and I thought, maybe? Anyway, feel free to ignore me if you like. Thanks for all the work you do!

    Best,
    Tess

  2. Hi Tess,

    First I want to thank you for coming by my blog, and also for asking what I think is a really great question! After thinking about it, I have quite a bit to say around the subject, but am going to try to curtail myself from writing a dissertation here and just make a few points…

    You’re correct that forum material, by its nature, would seem to be somewhat more amenable to archivalism. But I guess I would still hold to my original opinion about its content being dated. Of course, it depends on the kind of forum discussion and material that one is looking for that gives the resulting data its character of either relevance or post-relevance. For example, the kind of data you stated as appreciating maybe referred to card definitions and interpretation—information that wouldn’t necessarily go out of date or out of style. …As opposed to trying to look up tarot conference information (which, being on specific dates would become obsolete after they occur), or trying to look up information about obtaining certain tarot decks (which, if they are out-of-print or if the Go-Fund-Me campaign has ended, becomes obsolete information).

    You’re also correct in that more contemporary forms of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc.) are precisely meant to “just see whatever people are talking about today.” Several of these platforms discourage search engine fishing for several reasons: (1) Because it can be considered a matter of privacy for the person who posted the material; and (2) it’s against the social media platform’s interests to provide backlogged information. Social media platforms—particularly the scrolling variety like Facebook and Twitter—are designed specifically to addict members/users to interface with the information. There was a 60 Minutes segment earlier this spring (April 2017) with correspondent Anderson Cooper that really pulled the veil on this little known secret. (You can read about the segment here: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/brain-hacking-tech-insiders-60-minutes/ )

    What I think is fascinating about this—and these seemingly manipulative social media platforms—from the perspective of tarot reading, is that from a philosophical zen perspective, we tarot readers are often trying to draw our clients into the here-and-now…into the present moment in order to appreciate what is right in front of us…in order to be more conscious of the actions we are taking now so that we can appreciate the virtues of our decisions as they might unfold for us in the future. But the addictive nature of these platforms, and the incessant need to imbibe more and more immediate data, takes us out of the holistic timeline perspective…because we’re ALWAYS focused on the RIGHT NOW. Does that make sense? Luckily, we tarot readers have a lesson right in front of us within our tarot decks—Temperance (XV) admonishes us to participate or imbibe of all things in moderation; we should equally be observing our past…so that it can inform our present decision making…so that the choices we’ve made can provide best opportunities for our future. (Taking these three time perspectives altogether in order to inform our choices is another of the Cardinal Virtues: Prudence.)

    …So that’s my little rant about social media—of which I am not the least of its victims. But to speak to your specific question about how to filter through some of the social media platforms… for forum sites, you should simply be able to use any search engine (Google, for instance) in order to look up specific topics. If you know the name of the forum, type that in first, then the subject you are looking for.

    For other platforms, life Facebook or Twitter, it’s a bit more complex. Twitter, in particular, created the hashtag method of grouping information together. Virtually anything can be categorized and virtually any topic consolidated by putting a “#” symbol in front of it (usually with no spaces, however). So “#HurricaneHarvey” would consolidate every Twitter post in which someone used that particular hashtag-phrase. I haven’t found the search field within Twitter to be that helpful, though. and I haven’t yet found a way to filter several conditions for a search, though more techie-aficionados could undoubtedly enlighten us. Ditto for the Facebook search field. But again, you have to remember that it’s not in these platforms’ marketing interests to provide dated material. Not to mention that users of the platforms have the option to delete their own material whenever they want to—meaning if you’re looking for a post that you remember from a year ago, you might be looking in vain if the original poster of the information deleted it a month later.

    There are, in fact, several apps that have been designed by Silicon Valley-types that are specifically meant to filter and search through social media for “mentions” and for observing data analytics. But those are probably too invasive for what you are looking for, and some of them are considered “Dark web” information sites (they don’t advertise their services to the general public so much). Several of them have come and gone, and even I myself have a hard time keeping up with ones that have gone by the wayside, and what the latest best data sites are that have launched.

    Finally, you should know that your local librarian is probably highly adept in search engine literacy, and if you have specific search questions, or even would like to get a tutorial from your librarian, they are usually more than happy to help. I’m a huge advocate of librarian services. And I can tell you that most librarians LOVE a challenge when it is brought to them.

    All the best to you, Tess. I hope that wasn’t “information overload,” but I hope you can find the things that you’re looking for!

  3. Thanks for sharing this tip and the link, Dee! Having clicked-through to the site, I wasn’t able to find an “about” page or any introduction to determine anything about the creator/moderator (who apparently goes by the user-name “Little Fang”). Maybe if you find out additional details, you can let us know more about this community. But in the meantime, I’m happy to know that there is another budding forum that draws together our collective tarot wisdom…

    Cheers!

  4. Little Fang use to be on AT and when it closed, she created the “Tarot, tea and me” forum, as a labor of love for the tarot community. It’s pretty friendly over there 😉
    Here is a blurb: We are a tarot forum for tarot enthusiasts! We offer sections for tarot deck studies, spiritual sections including mediumship and astrology, oracle deck studies, and more! We welcome those who are professional tarot readers, hobbyists, and even those learning the cards for the first time.
    Hope this helps…
    Dee.

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