I'm a strong message board person because message boards have been so endlessly useful to me. I've found useful real-life connections over them - and I don't mean just the regular connection places, like Facebook and Linkedin. I've gotten use out of a variety of hobbyist and interest boards too, like Baseball-fever.com, and my first message board from Netjak, where I wrote for seven years.
The most useful message board I've ever been a part of is called Islamica. Their address is Islamicaweb.com, and they have a Facebook group to boot. I've made genuine friends there, and I also found my first apartment in Chicago there. Unfortunately, the place hasn't been without its problems: Its been given over to random, meaningless changes over the years which - while they made the place far more efficient - shut the place down for long periods. Unfortunately for Islamica, peoples' lives don't revolve around message boards, and the last shutdown a couple of years ago was terrible even by their standards. The result was a wholesale ship abandonment which rendered the once-active board almost completely stagnant. It couldn't have come at a worse time for me, because I moved back to my hometown of Buffalo, New York, a hub of bad memories and burned bridges where I could have really benefitted from a few (read: very, very many) new legs up.
I needed to find a new message board where I could connect with people, and quite by accident I stumbled into The Buffalo Range at buffalorange.com. Seemed perfect: Powerful local connections, wide range of topics, forum for buying and selling, members who seemed to know what they were talking about. The key word in that there sentence would be "seemed," though, because it wasn't like I was allowed a thorough scouring of the message board before getting locked out. That's right - outside onlookers aren't actually allowed a widespread glance at the material getting posted. I would think being allowed unlimited free looks would be kinda, sorta important because, you know, outsiders decide whether or not they want to join by what they see written in the fucking forums!
I put that odd little quirk behind me and opened an account anyway. Unfortunately, how open my account there really is remains a matter of the kind of linguistic debate which nets good corporate lawyers the big bucks. Now, to what little credit I can give The Buffalo Range, they didn't make me wait 4000 days to get the activation receipt. They sent it right off the bat. That, however, is still a strike against The Buffalo Range because they're still using the archaic email activation method before you're allowed to do absolutely anything else there. The activation emails contain two links…. Neither of which ever worked. One would take me to a blank screen, while the other failed completely. This left me in a rather precarious position: My account was neither opened or closed.
First order of business after something like this happens? Why, you stop back in the message board and let the administrators know something is up, of course! Obviously, the first department to visit was the help department, but, like way too many "help" departments, they had nothing but a pair of three-question faqs which all flew way right of the problem that I was having. So the next step was to contact them directly. It's a great convenience that they have "registration problem" as one of their subject lines, but it doesn't excuse the fact that after several complaint emails I sent, I never, ever heard from the administrators. Never. Not once.
It didn't stop the website from keeping constant touch with me, though, as if there was never any problem. I received a plethora of emails from The Buffalo Range, none of which ever addressed my problem. So I just said fuck it.
That all happened some two years ago. The Buffalo Range, though, never seemed to be discouraged from sending me emails. Recently, I chose to write them again, because not only are they bothering me, they're bothering me with a frequency that's actually increasing. I have no idea what else to do to handle these guys, because their clutter is bugging me. I can't send their emails back to them, so all I can do is tell everyone else how they treated me.
This is a damn shame, because the forums look like they're pretty well put together, and I haven't ruled out being a member. But for that to happen, they need to get over their apparent customer service hangup. Maybe I'll think better of The Buffalo Range if they're able to do that, and end up rewriting this whole review. Until then, though, this is one buffalo on a hunting range with a giant target on its back.