Being locked down at home for weeks as a result of COVID-19 — and probably many more to go — has me pining for the dieselpunk and steampunk communities we used to have online.
I wonder if others feel the same way and it’s worth starting a new message-board community?
I know there are active dieselpunk and steampunk groups on Facebook, but:
- Few are moderated effectively, allowing bullying and insults; and
- They don’t make it easy to participate in discussions longer-term. Everything that’s older than a few days gets pushed down the feed.
Facebook’s mysterious algorithm will also hide some replies, showing only the most “popular” on lengthier discussions. Not to mention the company’s disregard for the privacy of its users and its complicity in spreading fake news.
Traditional message boards have additional advantages, from allowing users anonymity to better formatting options to a vastly superior search functionality.
Of the message boards we used to have, only The Steampunk Forum at Brass Goggles is still fairly active. (Although it is currently down.) Spare Goggles is, as the name suggests, only a backup for the Brass Goggles forum. Club of Clockwork Gentlemen and Dieselpunks.org are still online but inactive. Welcome to Steampunk has a small forum, but it doesn’t have a lot of activity either. The Gaslamp Bazaar, Retrofuturist Society, Steampunk Empire and Wings of Steam are all gone.
What do you think? Is it worth giving it a shot? Please let me know in the comments, and feel free to share any other thoughts or advice with me.