Note: This was originally posted August 31, 2007.
Let me start off by saying this: I love Nascar message boards. I participate on a couple of them, and read a ton of them. It's like the old fashioned telephone party line of racing. Everyone gets a say, and opinions can be expressed. News and rumors can be posted. Pictures and links to articles can be posted. I find it a fantastic source of fan opinion and news as well.
On one of the message boards that I participate in, I find the posters there to be way more on the ball than that news and rumor guru, Jayski. Up until a few years ago, Jay Adamczyk has been my main source for Nascar news and rumors. These days, I go to message boards to find it first. Jay is a one man show, and my hat is off to him, he's done a great job for over 10 years now, but one person can only do so much. Message boards on the other hand, have dozens, maybe hundreds of fans searching the Internet for articles and pictures. As soon as someone finds something they find interesting, they post it.
Message boards offer something that I, and I think Nascar will find even more important than news. What do the fans think? The best way on earth to find out what the fans think is to read the message boards.
There are great message boards and there are horrible message boards though. Some boards basically are just a forum for posters to childishly attack each other and the drivers they don't like. I avoid these. There's not much of use for me to learn from people with the maturity of 4 years old calling each other names. Most of the bad boards simply require a user name to post.
The better message boards require an e-mail to be sent to the board owner or moderator, ln e-mail address that is associated with an IP address such as Charter, Juno, or AOL. Hotmail and Yahoo e-mail addresses are not allowed. This provides the moderator of these boards with solid information, such as the user's IP address in order to ban problem posters and not allow them to reapply under different name after they have been banned. I think this is the only way you can run a successful board and keep quality members. Freedom of speech is great, and if you stay within certain guidelines on these boards, you have that freedom. If you abuse it, the moderator will pull the plug on you, and this is entirely their right. This makes perfect sense to me, because if I'm footing the bill to provide you a forum to sound off, then you adhere to my rules, or you find somewhere else to vent your views. If I were to moderate a board, I will give you freedom of speech, within limits. You have the freedom to make a fool out of yourself but once, and then you'll have to find another place to do it. Lord knows there are plenty of places on the Internet to do that anyway.
A few tips on posting on a message board: You may disagree with popular opinion, especially if you do it tastefully and not in an insulting manner. Adults can have a discussion, even a heated one, as long as it does not resort to name calling or personal attacks. If in doubt about how your next post will be construed, then think about it before you post. Personally, I tend to err on the side of safety. I'd rather keep my opinion to myself rather than set off a firestorm that might get me jacked up more than I already am. Discretion is the key here. If what you are reading makes you mad, go elsewhere for a while. Take a walk, cool off. It's not worth getting yourself into a situation that you will later regret.
The most important advice to give to anyone joining a message board is this: If you join a message board dedicated to a certain driver, Don't join that board and start trashing the driver. I've seen this happen so many times, and I've never understood why anyone would be foolish enough to do this. The next most important tip I can give you is never, get into a war of words with the moderator. That's a quick ticket to have your posting abilities disappear in puff of engine smoke.
Finally, most of the readers of my blog know who I am and where hang out, but in case you don't, let me tell you what in my opinion is the best Nascar message board on the Internet, hands down. Even if you're not a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan, virtually anything racing related is discussed here. The board is one of the most active, the people are friendly, and so is the moderator. Anyone can read it, and it's not difficult to join, even for non Earnhardt fans. A word of advice though, and see what I wrote above. You can post about just about anything, but if you're not a fan of Dale Jr., find some other place to bash him.
My favorite message board, bar none, is the Dale Jr. Pit Board