The things we do for you! A glimpse at the decidedly unglamorous life of your overworked Admin and blogger.
By Mike Peake
I’m fed up!
The girls are watching “I’m a Strictly X factor celebrity get me out of here apprentice come dancing” on the box and the groups are behaving themselves. So, I’m looking for something to do. My new metering needle for the Stromberg still hasn’t turned up so my carb rebuild is stalled. I can’t even finish my blog about it as there has only been one incidence of outstanding bumbling incompetence and a thousand word blog needs at least a couple to get full value. I can’t even have a row on Facebook as no one has put up anything stupid for at least 30 minutes.
So, to relieve my boredom and increase yours, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of life as a member and then an admin of a couple of large and successful Facebook groups. None of them were interested in sharing their experiences though so you shall have to put up with mine.
A bit of history first. I joined the illustrious EBMVBB1985 back in May 2015 as a refugee from another Facebook group about old British cars. I was completely fed up with the negativity and out and out rudeness shown there. Regardless of which British car was posted, someone would comment with a tired old cliché or just spew out and out vitriol and it was never long before the thread decayed into a bout of foul-mouthed name calling.
Now whilst I don’t deny that a lot of fun can be had baiting these sorts, even this pales after a while - especially when it is your own car that is receiving the abuse. So I was looking for somewhere a little more tranquil where the members were actually “enthusiasts” and we could enjoy and be enthusiastic about cars. Well the “clue was in the title” wasn’t it and it was time to see if it “did what it said on the tin.” (Sorry, but I was still living on a diet of clichés from the other group.)
Well, what an oasis of joy! There I was, scrolling through pages of posts of lovely British cars and no one trolling. Dare I? I did dare. I posted a pic of my car with a thanks for letting me join and I didn’t get abused. In fact, I was welcomed and complimented.
I did have a bit of a slip up on my first comment on another post. It was a “which do you prefer Mk1, 2 or 3 Capri?” post. Well as I’d had a poster of the 2.8i mk3 on my bedroom wall as a kid, I’d posted it in “the other group” and been roundly abused and called all sorts of a fool because it was German. Well seeing this post here, I innocently enquired if “the mk3 was allowed? Isn’t it German?” To which Gar commented “oh no! let’s not do this again!” Well I didn’t know what he meant so as I hadn’t chosen, my next comment was, “I’ll have the German one.”
Well imagine my horror when I returned to the thread to find my comments removed and an admonishment from Captain Sweeney himself saying “Mike Peake. You were warned!” I found out later that earlier that week, just before I joined, there had been a bit of a bad tempered discussion about what is and isn’t British.
It subsequently turned out that this group applied a "simple common sense" approach to questions of this sort, which I rather liked. Well I apologised profusely, promised Lemon Drizzle cake (It hadn’t won an award yet) and promised to behave myself. I was allowed to stay but the experience has left me slightly scarred.
(I'd just like to state for the record that I have no recollection of this exchange but since it resulted in cakey, who am I to argue? - Paul S)
I spent the next couple of months enjoying my time on Facebook much more than I used to, posting pictures and annoying Zebidee by pointing out the Heralds in every street scene picture posted. (It is almost guaranteed that there will be a Herald in every street scene photo or film taken in Britain between 1960 and 1980. It’s true, go and look.) Yes, this was the origin of “Oh look!”
In January 2016, Inspired by BL Dan Bysouth, I started what I thought would a short run of blogs detailing my trials and tribulations and joys of classic ownership. (Here we are on my 74th blog and 94,000+ words written. Sorry about that, but thanks for putting up with me for far longer than I ever expected.)
So, despite a rocky start I must have been doing something to get noticed in a good way as in March 2016 I was invited to help Admin the group and I was honoured to accept. (It was the cake, you fool! - Paul S)
I have to say, it wasn’t what I expected. There was no vast salary or corner penthouse office to come with the post. Apparently, the love of a well done job is payment enough, and I guess it is because here I am 2 years later.
The 1st task that the new guy is given is vetting member requests, which to be honest isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be. The thrill of nosing through peoples profiles soon wears off as most of you are pretty dull on the whole especially when you are wading through hundreds a month when we were growing at our fastest. However, there were one or two memorable exceptions.
“Wilma Sussies” was one such memorable potential member. His profile was full of adverts for women’s clothes in male cut and sizes but nothing that suggested any interest in cars. Whilst I have absolutely nothing against cross dressers in any way, I felt that he would only be joining our group to promote his business. His profile picture was rather “Racy” for our sensitive members too (and also how I know Wilma was a “he”). Wilma was confined to the Lift Shaft of Doom without passing Go and without collecting 200 cakes.
You may be interested to know that we currently have 3830 permanently residing in our LSoD many of whom have been sent there directly as a result of our vetting procedures. Of the rest, surprisingly, most are sent there not for transgressing our rules, but for arguing with Admin or throwing all their teddies out of the pram after we have reminded them of the rules and pointed out how their most recent post broke them.
Some of the levels of vitriol and hate shown can be rather surprising and doesn’t always end when the individual is cast down. It is not unknown for the arguments to continue over private messenger. Accusations of Nazism, aspersions on parentage and even death threats are not uncommon - and you should see what they send back to us too. You wouldn’t believe it!
Usually, a casting down the lift shaft of doom is a quietly done affair. However, if the transgression is serious or there has been a spate of lawlessness, we may make an announcement in the group as we have noticed that our members do love a good public hanging and it serves as a reminder and deterrent and results in quieter evenings all round for us Admins.
Of course it isn’t all fighting and conflict. I’ve had some great opportunities to represent our group at some of the most prestigious events at the NEC. The recent “panel show” was definitely an experience. Of course there has also been the onerous Awards dinners which are the most difficult to bear but I’ve taken it for the team and will do so again if required.
I do love these 2 groups though and I am extremely proud to be a part of them. Knowing that, under the expert guidance of our Skipper Paul Sweeney, I am part of the team that has made this a safe place to enjoy our hobby with proper enthusiasts gives me a real sense of achievement. In addition, watching us all grow the group to the point where we are taken seriously and mixing with the big boys of the industry is an honour and a pleasure.
Best of all though are the friends I have made here and transferred to real life. People I didn’t know 3 years ago, I now consider some of my best friends and make interacting in the group so much fun and our real life meets the very best car events I have ever attended. They really are like family gatherings. (even down to Grandad getting a bit frisky after half a pint and that weird Uncle everyone is slightly wary of.)
So as it’s that time of year again, I’d like to say thank you to our great and illustrious leader, Captain Paul Sweeney for his vision and determination in steering our good ships in the right direction and the fantastic job he does in designing and running our website. I’d also like to thank our founder, John Simpson for laying down the keels, our ever enthusiastic events and merchandise coordinator Gar Cole for a great job done and the rest of my fellow deck hands Zebidee Habib, Steve Favill, Edwin Feenstra and Andrew Tanner for stoically bailing the bilge.
Most of all though a huge thanks to all our members for all your contributions and making this such a great place to be.(except Mr Stock. He’s very rude to me.)
Well slushy bit over. Normal service will be resumed soon as my metering needle has just turned up.
Have a very merry Christmas, Saturnalia, Yule, Huneker, Ede or whatever you are celebrating and a very happy new year.
Fatbloke and Poppy.
Filter by Author
Filter by Month