Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Last Manilow Outpost: alt.fan.barry-manilow



In the early 1990s a personal computer came into my life. It was amazing at that time to go online. Even more remarkable was finding Manilow message boards. Prodigy and AOL were among the first fans boards I knew about. No official fan sites or email strings existed but there was one more place - alt.fan.barry-manilow, better known as “the newsgroup.” All those old boards are gone. Several official fan sites and tons of email strings are available for Manilow fans to join. The newsgroup is still alive and kicking, as much as some people would wish its demise.




Not much good has ever been said about the newsgroup. It is a place that fans warn other fans to venture into at great risk. Discussions take place on the newsgroup that involves subjects about Barry considered taboo. These discussions, in the past, produced flame wars to end all flame wars. What causes the newsgroup to have such a bad reputation that persists until this very day? The answer is simple; the newsgroup is not moderated.




Some people have a hard time understanding what it means when the newsgroup is described as not being moderated. No one owns the newsgroup or runs it. It is just out there on the Internet. No TPTB to turn anyone into to be banned or rules to follow. No topic is off-limit. The ability to discuss anything causes problems among some Manilow fans, especially if they don’t care for the subject being discussed. Usually these topics include anything considered by certain groups to invade Barry’s privacy or they don’t agree with. On the newsgroup there is not a darn thing anyone can do to stop any discussion. Take my word for it, people have tried.




Reformers fail when they attempt to change the newsgroup. The always positive, I love Barry Manilow, the sex god doesn’t fly on the newsgroup. People who post regularly on the group tend to be more mature and articulate than other places in the Manilow web circuit. Not only do they tackle subjects not welcomed on fan and official sites but members of the newsgroup believe that TPTB of the Manilow camp want to get rid of alt.fan.barry-manilow because they can’t control it. Personal experiences are cited to back this opinion. While this theory can’t be definitely proven, it is strange how often issues on the newsgroup seem to show up and be addressed by the Manilow camp.




People find the newsgroup. Usually they find it after something takes place to change their view of the Manilow world. No one is ever thrown off the newsgroup, but not everyone makes it as a regular poster. I lurk there and I feel like I am in the company of a great many fellow lurkers.




Like the old Wild West, the newsgroup is the last frontier of Manilowland. Members can be compared to outlaws; they fiercely guard the newsgroup as the last outpost of free expression for Manilow fans. It is not a place for the faint of heart, so if you visit, be careful. Foolishness is not tolerant. As for me, I say, long may the newsgroup thrive to provide intelligent discussion. It’s a place very much needed in the Manilow world.



To check out the newsgroup for yourself, go to: http://groups.google.com/group/alt.fan.barry-manilow/topics

4 comments:

Reb said...

I actually prefer the honesty of the news group. never been a barry net poster and never will be.


thanks for thinking of us though ;-)

Sheron said...

Thanks for mentioning the newsgroup to potential new readers as it will never be advertised on any of the official sites.

Although afb-m (as it's affectionately called) has been through the ManiWars over the last almost 15 years, it's still standin'. Hopefully some new people will decide to come out of lurkdom and join in the discussions. :-)

you begin again.... said...

"Hello, I'm YBA and I'm an afb-m lurker."
(Mumbled response from smoke-filled room) "Hi YBA".
Maybe it's just an inherent personality trait in many successful musicians or other artists that there is an (over?) reaction to what fans or admirers post on the internet if it isn't completely glowing. The Stiletto TPTB aren't even close to the first or only artist management and Barry isn't the only artist that has ever reacted harshly to a fan for any reason. Every musician or musical act with some modicum of success has fallen into the same trap at least once. They think they can "make an example" of someone - and I've seen that work. Problem is, I believe some think they can eliminate the idea by silencing the person with it. It don't work that way, boys......

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