Movie Poster Talk Closes
It was with great sadness that this morning (April 21) Movie Poster Talk closed its online doors. Early last year, when we first stopped and looked at Jon Warren's forum, it had been in existence for 2 years and had about 160 members. It was exactly what I had envisioned a movie poster forum to be .. very friendly with everyone anxious to help beginners and wanting to talk about collecting movie posters, divided by threads so you could read and respond to only those topics that you liked.
When I talked with Jon about adding his forum to the LAMP recommended sites, he agreed to change the name to Movie Poster Talk to make it recognizable to all poster collectors. Within a few months, it had trippled in size and with that fast growth came growing pains. One of the first major problems was dealers bombarding the forum with their inventory. Jon did an excellent job in trying to control the growth.
Since Jon already had his poster price guide online, Jon tried to create a movie poster community which included the forum and divided off the dealers listing the items for sale and collectors looking for items to try to help maintain the forum as a discussion group about posters and NOT a selling site.
Even though there were grumbles from dealers wanting to use the audience as a platform to sell their wares, everything seemed to move back to discussions except for one major thorn in the side. With the growth of the site, there were several collectors and dealers that had joined that also wanted to enlighten other collectors to bad experiences they had and discuss dealers that they didn't deem 'worthy' for any collector to deal with.
Jon tried valiantly to quell the 'finger pointing' and instituted rules about posting negative comments about any individuals. LAMP took the position (and still maintains the position) that NOTHING good can come out of publicly criticizing and admonishing other dealers.
The last few months had seen additions of members that were more vocal and critical than before. Even though Jon tried to institute moderators to help keep negative threads from taking over, the nicer, more helpful collectors and dealers that made the forum so wonderful slowly became the quiet majority and the new vocal and critical members slowly took charge.
I must admit, that we even stopped almost all participation because of all the negative posts and threads.
Well the vocal, self-appointed righteous group that were determined to impose their opinions and criticisms onto the rest of the hobby.... WON!! They achieved their goal!
I know that it has to be painful to Jon, who worked tirelessly in trying to build a GOOD platform of communication for poster collectors, to only watch it destroyed by these few self-centered, narrow-minded individuals.
The hobby has lost a major asset.
Because of the speed of the closing, many collectors didn't get a chance to read Jon's closing letter. Here it is in it's entirety:
Well. I don't know where to start. It has been fun, until recently. The amount of knowledge sharing, the new friendships, the comaraderie...all of it has been a very worthwhile endeavor.
However, the forum has become a source of pain for me. I can't be gone for a few hours to eat dinner with my family without all hell breaking loose. I was away all day yesterday (April 20) and could not be contacted and what happens? One of my own moderators breaks my rules to post personal attacks against someone. Someone else posts an anti-Catholic thread in clear violation of our no politics/no religion rule, and a moderator APOLOGIZES for deleting it. I am a devout Catholic, so I am at least comforted that I didn't have to read the post that got deleted. I only learned of it this morning when I read the apology.
I don't blame Bruce, or Tom Loce, or any of the other dealers who have contacted me to lodge complaints. If I were them, I would feel the same way. Their irritation is completely understandable. If Bruce Bukantis at Movie Collector World printed letters from collectors and dealers which attacked one particular dealer, and did this continuously over a period of time, it would be the same thing as what I have been doing recently with MPT. Think of MPT as an online MCW, but without the editorial control. A newspaper publisher can throw hate mail into the trashcan, and no one screams censorship. Every piece of trash that I receive here at MPT immediately goes public. And there seems to be no way to stop it.
I have grown weary of receiving lawsuit notices, or emails threatening to sue me. I am not talking of anyone in particular, there have been more than one lawsuit threats recently from several dealers, so I am not singling any one dealer out. I am tired of ALL the threats, not any particular one.I am tired of being responsible for the hidden agendas of others.
It's not fun anymore.
So, unless and until I can think of a way to host a forum without all the hassles and liability, I am taking MPT offline. This is the final thread until further notice.
Those friends of mine who have my phone number, please call me to discuss this decision. If you can help me sort out a way, then I'd really appreciate it.
Those of you who do not have my phone number, and would like to help with ideas and suggestions on ways to run a forum without any criticism of any one at any time, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You know, I have been involved in a lot of hobbies over the years. I started in stamps and from there have dabbled in a little bit of everything, comics, rare records, coins, first edition books, and on and on. Out of all these hobbies movie posters has unquestionably the most hostile, vicious, underhanded, back-stabbing bunch of dealers I have ever seen. No other hobby even comes close.
And don't kid yourself, with only one or two exceptions ALL of the attacks and criticisms of Bruce H and others have been fired by DEALERS.I have allowed DEALERS to hijack my forum to use it to attack their competition. I hereby publicly apologize to Bruce Hershenson, Tom Loce, and all the others out there who have been harmed by my forum. It was my responsibility to enforce my own rules and in that job I failed.
Since I can't do it right, and since I can't seem to throttle the diatribe from the anti-Bruce group, I have no other choice but to say goodbye.
I'm not the smartest guy around, but I sometimes have flashes. Perhaps I can conceive of a way to do this forum without every post immediately going live. If I can do that, I will be back online.
That way, I could do like any good Letters To The Editor editor at a newspaper, and throw the trash in the can where it belongs without it getting published.
I am really hurting about all of this, so please email me with ideas and suggestions.I am sorry.
Jon R. Warren
Warren's Movie Poster Price Guide