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.
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).
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.
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.