Monday, June 11, 2012

Death of a Forum Pt.2 - Justus League Hip Hop Forum is Dead

"There's no Justus, it's just us"

Related to Elements: HH Forum 
See also: Death of a Forum pt. 1

Apparently music discussion forums (just like that cat "Church" from Pet Semetary) can come back from the grave. DJForums successfully pulled a zombie forum resurrection after the entire site was literally erased from existence.  After a long hiatus it was relaunched as the almost identical DJForums 2.0, and slowly but surely it is growing back into the huge conglomeration of DJs that it once was.  I'll admit, I didn't think they would come back, but they had the desire to move past the huge hurdles, and the loyal members to help encourage the come back.

DJForums never meant to go down, it was ultimately a series of bad mistakes and bad luck that took down the site for months at a time.  Now, unfortunately, it's time once again to mourn the loss of another community, this one strictly Hip Hop releated, but unlike DJForums, the Justus League's Hip Hop Forum "The Lawn" pulled the plug on purpose.  There were no server problems, on the contrary, the servers sat almost idle, basically waiting for member activity.  As a part-time contributor to the forum, I'd pop in and read the latest about Hip Hop releases and what real heads were saying about this or that.  The posts gradually became more seldom, until there were hardly any recent posts being made.  Some of the longtime members got bored of the inactivity and seemed to move on to greener pastures.  Eventually, talk of various positive changes to the forum went unanswered, and finally threats of shutting down the forum by the Justus League heads due to inactivity actually materialized.

(Don't even bother clicking this link>) THEJUSTUSLEAGUE.COM, it's gone, unlike the "coming soon" or the "server not found" messages, only the ad vultures will now get paid by your clicking that link.

The Lawn was a very unique Hip Hop forum, lots of true school cats dropped real advice and album recommendations daily, especially in their heyday.  It was a place where regular Joes could comment to Justus League crew-mates and coherts like, for example, Phonte, of Little Brother, about their latest releases.  Ultimately it became a huge knowledgebase of Hip Hop articles and comments by true fans, and now that knowledgebase is non-existant with the push of an off button.  Like watching your favorite library burn down in one day, all those books and any reference to them are now gone forever.  Using the waybackmachine to find the old posts brings nothing since they apparently blocked robots from searching them.  That was a dumb move, BTW, now it's as if the site never even existed except in the minds of the displaced members.

The forum was founded by one of the forefathers of North Carolina's Hip Hop crew, The Justus League, Cesar Comanche.  He promised that without growth and current activity he would pull the plug on the forum, because, after all, a forum is only as good as the members and their combined contributions.  Running a forum, is a heavy burden, a regular monthly expense, and dishing out money every month for a few regulars trying to hold it down and a whole heap of waning lurchers that are too timid to talk can seem like a waste of time and money.  Years ago, the Lawn was alive and well fueled by sometimes ridiculous internal beef, which made the site entertaining, but volatile and intimidating to others unaccustomed to this banter.  Apparently fed up with the beef, a thread called "A New Day" was created that graced every sub forum which essentially threatened to squash any beef before it started.  Lines were crossed, members were either banned from or got bored and left the online community. The new "treat everyone as a brother" philosophy that arose was certainly a good intention.  But lets face it, beef can be entertaining, and there are those who live by beef and will die by beef, and they become disinterested and jaded as soon as disagreements themselves became so closely monitored.  For the record, I don't think it was the lack of beef or too much beef that killed the forum, but I do think that in a way, it was the way beefs were handled that marked the beginning of the end for the Lawn.  Not to mention, the confusing layout of multiple sub forums where everything was neatly packaged into their own section and no one knew where the proper place to post anything was, unless you were a regular who reread the forum descriptions several times.  Of course, not everyone is that OCD, so you might have a member drop a video in the "Tape Deck with Auto-Reverse Hip Hop Discussion Board" and suddenly it's been moved to the "Media Place" since it's technically a video.

Another thing that killed the Lawn, probably moreso than anything else is the social networking giants like Facebook and Twitter.  Forums and blogs in general have suffered from lack of participants as semi-regular posters in a once small online niche community suddenly became focused on their own smaller cliques that seem to successfully stroke their own self importance.

Despite the quirks at the Lawn, (hey, we all have our quirks) they were a place I counted on to catch up on latest Hip Hop news, and read funny and interesting comments from real heads, real fans of Hip Hop.  I will miss the insight and banter that came from that community.  Many of the regulars there are now displaced, almost like Kung Fu, wandering from forum to blog to facebook and then twitter, looking for others like themselves to build with.

(Insert Shameless Plug Here but keep it subtle)

^Hey, look, here's a music forum with a few old regulars from the Lawn already signed up! is a crate digging forum by crate diggers for crate diggers. The Cratedigging Co-Op is a Hip Hop forum that caters to Hip Hop heads with a passion for a wide variety of music styles.  It's purpose is simple...  Crate diggers, producers, DJs, MCs, and general music aficionados dwell and build here.  No bells and whistles, just real music talk with good people.

Fellow moderator Uptownkid and myself along with other like-minded staple members would be honored to have any of the ex-Lawn members join and build with us if you haven't already.  We are still a very new forum and are always looking for good heads in the place.  Of course, we'll never be anything like the Lawn was, nor are we trying to fill those shoes, but just as the Lawn was, we are equally passionate about learning and building with real heads that want to contribute and learn as much as we do.  Please sign up and build with us.

RIP Justus League Forums!  Peace out, much love and respect!  I think I can safely speak for a lot of Hip Hop fans when I say I hope this doesn't mean the end of any of the great music that we have been graced with over the past decade or so.  Keep doing what you do guys best, stay busy, stay real.