Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Fragile egos in model land

In recent days on Facebook there have been some, how shall I put this... rousing ... discussions about egos and "butt hurt" within the hobby.  It's surprising.

I don't want to get too deeply into the minutia of the drama, and I won't mention names or link to any blogs or channels. Short synopsis: One guy has a blog post where he complains that every video he loads to YouTube gets three dislikes within twelve hours. He seems to imply it's the same three well-recognised people each time.

This gets picked up by a modelling group which I am a member of, and which I massively respect.  And a lot of terms such as "butt hurt" get thrown about.

I dunno. My take is that maybe the blogger is a savvy marketer. He's getting lots of clicks and views, and as Oscar Wilde said, "the only thing worse than being talked about, is not being talked about". People are visiting his blog and viewing his videos to see what the kerfuffle is about.

What I did want to talk about is how surprised I am at how fragile egos are in the model making hobby world, and how catty it can be, particularly when the model makers are of a high skill level. This sort of palavaer doesn't happen with 16 year olds presenting their first modelling efforts.

I saw a similar fracas about six months ago, and asked my partner whether she saw this sort of thing on Facebook in the crafting / knitting groups she follows. Upshot is, she doesn't. But I have seen it with various model making groups on Facebook, and also in specialised militaria-collecting groups on the same platform.

Now I'm going to start generalising here.  And they are going to be big generalisations.


1. Most model makers are male
2. From what I have seen, most are aged 30-40 plus.
3. This seems more common in modellers with advanced skills.

So why the histrionics? My partner thinks it is a pissing contest, a number of guys want to be the Alpha Male.

I have a theory that it is like the pettiness of university academics: when you get smart people who are at the top of their game, in the absence of any real life problems the smallest issue can become a big drama.

I think also there is an element of competitiveness. Even though the people involved this week live on different continents, and most likely will have never entered models in a competition against each other, there is always a risk of sour grapes and a temptation to think "I would have won if the judges / crowd / YouTube meanies / Philistines weren't against me". Hell, I've walked away from an IPMS contest feeling robbed, and I literally don't give a shit about small plastic dust-gathering trophies.

Finally, I also think there is an element of shit-stirring. It's the internet. Trolls are abundant, and out for lolz at the expense of people with fragile egos.

The upshot is I am always surprised at how modelling can lead to bickering among grown adults. Do I have a solution? Nope. But build what makes you happy, screw the rivet-counters and remember: it's a hobby - you only have to satisfy yourself. It's not 9to5 work where you are accountable to other people, it is time off where you are only answerable to yourself. That should make you want to improve your abilities (who wants to build the same stuff for year after year and never develop new skills? Boring!) and there is most definitely room for constructive criticism to spur you to improve - in fact, that is essential. But build to a level where you have satisfied your own critic (this time at least) and enjoy yourself.

And don't feed the trolls.



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