Every so often I'm told how terrific VFTD is but how much better it could be if I could be less negative. Sometimes they leave out the terrific part. While I have no problem at all with reader critiques--in fact I practically used to beg you lazy slackers to post something, anything--I think there's a basic misunderstanding at the root of that particular criticism. Or, you know, I could be wrong. (I say that in order to appear reasonable and even-handed but we both know I'm not. Wrong, that is.)
I will concede one thing: if VFTD was among the leading paintball sites online and lots of everyday paintballers got their info here I'd consider moderating my tone on occasion. However, that isn't VFTD and it's never going to be VFTD. I'm interested in competitive paintball and that's what this blog is about. (Including, occasionally, how industry and the broader paintball landscape impact competitive paintball.) And, as we are regularly reminded tourney ballers are a tiny fraction of all paintballers--ergo VFTD is highly unlikely to be unduly bringing ballers down. (Whoa, buzzkill alert.)
What I won't concede is the commonplace notion I like to call the Theory of Happy Face Paintball. You know, the feeling that if only everyone would be positive and say positive things why, pretty soon, things would turn around and really be positive. Which is fine. And to an extent, a superficial and transitory extent, it might even appear to work but what it really does is offer cover for the weasels, incompetents and the rest who are just plain mistaken. I will concede it doesn't make sense to swamp newbies with the minutiae or politics of the game and it's possible a few have dropped by and been psychologically damaged but hey, that's the internet for you. If you can find VFTD I assume you're capable of being responsible for yourself. (Yeah, that's kinda self-serving but it's not like I spend any time promoting the site.)
The fact is Happy Face Paintball never got anything accomplished. It never got a promoter to at least pretend to act responsibly and consider the players. It never pushed anybody to get serious about officiating or rules. Happy Face Paintball never held anybody accountable or told the average player what's really going on. It never started a dialogue or made anybody think. As one-sided as things may sometimes seem paintball remains in its infancy and there is a real opportunity to be a part of the game's growth and maturation.
Finally, I will confess a certain fondness for sarcasm and ridicule. But I see that as more a matter of humor than negativity. Perhaps negative humor but humor nonetheless. You might disagree. But it can be more than that, too. For example, I mock the MS in part because they've proven to be unresponsive to much of anything else but it's hard to ignore when you are relentlessly made fun of. (Even by a little old blog.) Besides, it's fun. And easy. And there's a nearly endless supply of material.
Not exactly a defense, I know, more of an explanation. And in case you were wondering if this means VFTD will make any effort to mollify the critics or reach out to the mob--that would be y'all--the answer is no. Embrace the negativity. Come over to the darkside.