Hello everyone ,
When I was having fun reviewing Peter Nash’s book I was confronted with the fact that a lot of it played out on Facebook. I am not on Facebook. But many members of the German helmet collector community are and so the word got out there anyway.
I have always felt that a collector must not stand alone , in fact he needs to find the best and biggest bunch of German helmet collectors on the net and join them. While communicating with each other privately and in small groups via Facebook is enjoyable. I find forums and in particular one forum to be the best online venue for anyone interested in German helmets.
That forum is German Helmet Walhalla.
What can you expect from this forum :
- You become part of the largest international community of German helmet collectors.
- Anonymity , you can check in under a nickname. A true participating collector will soon be known by all members. No neighbours or relatives or work colleagues have eyes on what you are doing.
- A forum has structure and that structure works like chapters of a book. It makes German Helmet Walhalla a fantastic resource with years and years of data. Many times have I browsed and looked at topics posted 10 years or more ago. It is but one reason why a forum like GHW should be supported.
- GHW has 5 subsections for German helmets and a host of others for members also interested in other military items.
- Dedicated moderators and admins really add something , they help shape it and steer discussions in the right direction.
- The power of the community brought together by GHW triggered interesting projects such as the lot number list , the study of liners , leather markings and dome stamps even some members published books on German helmets. Furthermore the Champagne rune fraud was revealed by admin Doug B and XRF facts x-ray business model was outed as a travesty when it was first deployed to the public.
One other big important case to make for GHW is that it is online for 12 years without dealer sponsorship. This for the sole reason that there can never be a conflict of interest. It speaks volumes for admins past and present that they persevere in their dedication and also to its members that have always kindly provided donations to keep the forum “in the air”.
One of the younger members on GHW wrote a fine post on the forum about the downside of Facebook. Here’s what he wrote.
It’s very simple to start a Facebook group. Much easier than starting a forum. Anyone can make one, and start inviting everyone they know. There are some MAJOR shortfalls to the groups:
1. The topics fall down the page quickly. They are hard to archive, hard to find, and very easily edited and or deleted by the users.
2. You cannot easily view topics by members. Here on GHW2 and WAF most of us judge who’s who by the other topics they post, for example if I post an M43 cap and someone comments on my thread saying it’s good or bad, I will often go look at that persons other posts to see if they own any or if they’re knowledgable on the subject. I think it’s something we all do. On Facebook anyone can comment, and often people who know NOTHING about militaria will comment out of boredom or maybe they are just a *** disturber and there’s no way to really see the quality of their other comments or what they have posted. The search function is very basic. The typical quality of replies is very low.
3. People can remove their posts or comments whenever they want. If someone posts photos of a fake or is selling a fake, it can be easily removed later.
I’ve been watching a lot of Facebook groups and to be honest it seems like we’re taking a step back as collectors. What is most upsetting is seeing a lot of items for sale on there that would never pass muster on here or even WAF from people who know better. Often these people have appointed themselves as “Moderators” and “Admin”. Some groups truly feel like a dumping ground of fakes. Some groups are okay, and some are really awful, most have at least a few con artists.
In some groups only “admin” are allowed to sell items, and only “admin” are allowed to comment if items for sale are real or fake. You can immediately see the issue there.
Collectors need to stick together for the simple reason of safe guarding our knowledge on German helmets (which is also the purpose of this website).
A splintered community is a weak one. So if you want to spend your time efficiently and not on several different mediums there is just one spot. See you there !