Aarin’s Spectacles & Jazz-Hands – 20/20 Vision Or Same Old Myopia?
Posted 12th September 2009
Aarin’s Spectacles – the website with the accompanying forum board Jazz Hands – to replace the Vox site she abandoned in mysterious haste – has now been running since 31st August 2009. Almost a fortnight later, has this beckoned in a brave new world for Sims3 fans as promised, a refreshing alternative to the faults of the official Sim3 board? Or has it proven to be little more than the St Helena for her Napoleon complex?
Before we proceed, these are the bare facts: Almost two weeks since its launch, and despite being plugged by Aarin’s groupies over on the official forum, by the close of play on 11th September it still has less that 100 members. For someone we have been so regularly told is the ‘guru’ of the Sims3 world, there is no escaping the fact that this has been a bitter blow – the Sims fan world has far from beaten a path to her door.
One excuse for this lack of numbers is the rigid requirement to register merely to even look at the board. Given Aarin’s supposed status within the Sims3 community, one would have thought that presented little obstacle for most. Certainly the rival Sims3Rich forum has no such problems (over 300) – which one supposes might go to explain the Cult of Aarin’s rather mysterious frequent bone-picks with Sims3Rich on the EA official forum. Indeed, at the S3R forum, one has to await the far stronger criteria of awaiting their approval of your request to join.
Given this rather dire state of affairs, why ask people to become members just to be able to see the board? There are thousands of web forums where people are still able to view it without membership – surely being able to see what’s going on might tempt more into joining. The ‘official’ explanation is to discourage the ‘drama queens’ (which considering some of the members takes some swallowing), but a more cynical view is the purpose is to artificially boost the membership, as people have to join in order to just look in the door and have no way thereafter of deleting themselves.
Of the 96 that have joined, 37 have failed to post at all. So almost 40% of the existing ‘membership’ in fact are people who either simply like lurking or didn’t like what they saw and have not bothered to return since. Whatever the case, it does beg the question as to whether the true membership is 59.
Of the rest, another 10 have posted only once, 6 have posted only twice, 2 have only posted thrice times and another 4 are only one away from the magic end of their ‘probation’ where your first five posts are subject to the admin’s approval before being allowed to appear – Aarin being a firm believer that people should not treat her forums to start dramas the way they did on the official EA one. We’ll skip over her own culpability for their encouragement.
So in other words 37 from the start, and a further 22 thereafter decided that Aarin decided the place wasn’t worth bothering any further with to get out of ‘probation’– a whopping 59 ‘members’ out of 96.
That leaves us with 37 members who can be remotely considered ‘active’. Does quality make up for quantity? Again the figures aren’t encouraging. Out of 2604 posts, Aarin has made 660 – just over a quarter of all the posts made: hardly auspicious.
Of the rest comes Subucni on 296 and Velcroshoes on 280 (both about 11% each, and both with plenty of time to post having been banned from the EA board), next Chyla on 213 (whose abrupt absence from the EA board has been the cause of suspicion, although it is claimed this is due to business, some believe it to be a feign), next another familiar on the EA ban circuit since Sims2 days Lawlorface on 211. Put together these four alone account for 1000 of the 2604 posts made.
The next six are the final ones to have made over 100 posts, accounting for a further 887 posts, amongst them being the perma-banned Makeitwork112, who despite famously laying down her EA forum life and being one of AS’s founder members has seen her post rate decline markedly of late – her enthusiasm clearly waning.
So to conclude, a mere ten members outwith Aarin account for about 72% of all posts made. Add Aarin’s and that’s about 98% of all posts for the entire board coming from a mere eleven people.
It is somewhat damning that amongst the reluctant to post brigade is Shadow, who despite telling anyone who will listen (an ever decreasing list c/o his habit of falling out with everyone within trolling distance) that Aarin’s forum is ‘where the party’s at’ (shortly before being banned yet again from the EA forum) has managed a measly six posts – less that he manages over at Gossip Girl Sims in a single afternoon (and that’s just under the name Shadow as opposed to his 101 alias). Even now serving out the latest 3 day ban from the EA forums, his absence from the forum is noticeable.
Of the threads created, most of them seem to go very rapidly off topic, largely in self-congratulation about what fine fellows they all are to leave the riff-raff of the EA board behind (in fact many still post there).
Without any irony, there is also a thread for those to announce that they have been banned – the potential connection of one to the other not quite sinking in.
It did result though in the following hilarious exchange, too good to be left out!
There is also plenty of grovelling praise to Aarin, like she is some sort of minor deity…
…who of course has wasted little time in subtly telling her members that they are to think as she thinks if they are to remain in her favour.
Has she proved to be as helpful as she was in the official forum? Exactly the same. In other words don’t ask her if she’s having one of her bad days:
As well as bitching off at the EA forum for daring to run their board as they see fit – again a concept lost on Aarin – Jix2993 has come for some stick from the usual suspects, including of course Chyla.
One wonders whether this obsession with hating one board member that’s done nothing to anyone else is some sort of unrequited crush turned poisonous. Whatever the case, it is frankly disturbing.
And of course there’s always time to bitch about other custom content makers:
Outside of this are threads where everyone says what scars they have (!), what fashion tips Aarin can give their Sims (making pretty pixels makes you the next Trinny Goodall and Susan Constantine, apparantly) and only the most fleeting of mentions for The Sims 3 in comparison with the rest of the board. Which for what is supposed to be a Sims 3 board smacks somewhat of everyone missing the point of why they’re there, but never mind.
Some posters have said they like the fact they can talk about anything at this board – forgetting the fact that – once upon a time – they were able to do so over on the main board. What stopped them? Let’s take a little time to refresh our memories that it was Chyla and a handful of other future HoNF acolytes reporting anyone for daring to post off-topic (in Chyla’s case taking a certain pleasure in letting the person know they were doing so, which resulted in encouraging a lot of other wannabe troublemakers to do the same). Or rather, to post off-topic about any off-topic they didn’t like.
That this small group of intolerant malcontents have now somewhere else to play and leave everyone else in peace would be something to welcome, if only it were that easy. As has been pointed out before, a large section of Aarin’s devotees are anime/fantasy fandorks, and the trouble with fandorks and their view of the world is they’re always looking for someone to be fandork at. Like people who go around exposing themselves, it matters little the level of disgust at them, just so long as they’re noticed.
Those familiar with lunatic fringe religious groups or political parties (or for that matter that secret club you formed with your friends when you were nine years old) will know a common displacement tactic when it is clear things are not going well is to start seeing conspiracies against themselves everywhere.
It’s a common psychological defence mechanism amongst groups that know they are being ignored, but want to kid themselves on that they are in fact incredibly important – it’s just that it’s all a big conspiracy – shhh! They might hear! – against them. And the best thing about an invisible conspiracy is that you don’t have to prove it – any mishap, any setback can be attributed to this wonderful all-pervading nemesis ‘out to get us’.
It also, of course, justifies any future boorish behaviour and attempts to cause disruption elsewhere as being merely defensive against this ‘great conspiracy against us’, doesn’t it?
When it leads (inevitably) to bans, this can be taken as further proof of the all pervading evil against themselves they are oh-so-reluctantly-but-duty-calls fighting – all fitting the fandorks’ childish fantasy perception of the world, but no one’s else’s.
Despite the fanfare and self-written accolades, Aarin’s Spectacles so far has proven to be little more than just another vanity website, tenuously linked to Sims3 and ever diminishing even in that.
Now facing the grim reality of not being as popular as their own minds would have it, there is the worry that some denizens may take matters into their own hands outside of their childish name calling on the Gossip Girl Sims blog, with little discouragement from a self-appointed ‘guru’ who knows subconsciously that those saying she wasn’t as worshipped as she liked to kid herself were telling the truth all along. What a pity it took her falling out with so many to discover it.
And all in all, we find it rather sad. So much energy dissipated in ego.