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Mission Statement

Postby Roland

My name is Roland and I love snooker. I mean I really love snooker! The first time I ever saw the green baize was the World Final of 1981. I was 6 years old. Steve Davis beat Doug Mountjoy 18-12 and from that moment on I was hooked.

My parents realised I was fast becoming obsessed and borrowed my uncles 5 by 2.5ft slate bed table which was gathering dust in his garage. Needless to say I wore the table down to dust and suffered a “misspent youth” as adults seemed to refer to it whenever I beat them. I used to play my friend who lived over the road almost every day and we were both at Stephen Hendry standard, one chance stuff and total clearances all over the place!

I didn’t get chance to play regularly on a full size table until I was 15. My dad took me the odd few times before that but generally it was for one hour at a time, and certainly not frequently enough to get to any decent standard. By the time I was 16 I had a top break of 72, and like most people into snooker at that age dreamt of winning the World Championships. But ceefax at the time was telling me of two players called Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins and what they were doing finally hit home that the dream was over – I would never be that good!

So I did the usual things and went to uni, got a degree and a 9-5 job and it’s pretty much stayed that way. I played a fair bit in my 20’s which at its peak involved two nights a week and all day Saturday or Sunday, and I played in local leagues and pro-ams but I never won any event of note. I reached a few semis and finals but the most frustrating aspect for me was losing to kids who had dropped out of school and spent their entire lives in the local snooker club. I would get my bottom kicked, but I knew if I had the same table time as them the boot would be on the other foot because I knew the game more than them, I just wasn’t sharp enough to compete!

So that’s a brief history of me to give some background. Now to how Snooker Island came about.

Being obsessed with snooker meant I would bore friends and flatmates to death by talking about snooker all the time. I’d monopolise the tv remote during a televised event and give running commentary to anyone who would listen. Obviously there were friends at the snooker club who shared the enthusiasm but the discovery of internet forums meant I could carry this on at home and chat with like minded people about the players and the styles and the shots and the history, and hopefully not bore everyone to death in the process.

I’ve posted on various forums (not only snooker but also music and film etc) and the decision to start up my own forum was triggered by events on another one, but since making the decision a reality I’m not looking back.

I’ve learned from other forums about what works and what doesn’t, and what sort of vibe is a good one to make people enjoy posting as well as being informative for the casual browser.

I’ve also learned about the darker side of internet forums. It’s inescapable that with anonymity everywhere, people adopt different personas and say things they would never dream of saying face to face. I’ve fallen into this trap myself many times, getting frustrated at work or feeling bored and shooting my mouth off at some poor soul who has said something to trigger a few harsh words from my keyboard. It can be embarrassing reading things back at a later date, but that’s the nature of forums. You say your piece, hit “submit” and the world can read your thoughts at that moment in time.

I’ve also had experience of the darker side of running your own forum. This has entailed derogatory remarks on other forums referring to the site and its content as well as the members who have already joined and the moderators I have hand picked at my own discretion. I realise now this goes with the territory but all the same it’s frustrating when you’re trying to put together something for the fans and give something back to the game that you’ve followed all your life.

I’m afraid that “flame wars” and arguments all go with the territory of forums and this is the case everywhere. I’ve seen forums which try to counter this by way of ultra moderation, but all that’s left is empty spaces and tumbleweeds with people scared to say what they think for fear of being warned, and the fun is gone. I don’t believe this is the way to deal with the issue. I’ve also seen forums where anything goes and then there is disorder and libellous and personal comments which just enrage members even more and put other people off joining.

The balance I’ve struck at Snooker Island is to do the following:

1) I’ve set up a forum called The Junkyard where quite frankly anything goes. This section does not appear in the “Active Topics” list (the option at the top of the board index which allows you to view instantly all new posts since your last visit) therefore to read anything inside this section you must deliberately seek it.

2) I’ve set the swear filter to “on” by default. This means that in order to see posts containing swearing you must deliberately go into your personal settings and switch the option off. (User Control Panel, Board Preferences, Edit Display Options, Enable Word Censoring). The swear words have been filtered so instead of saying **** implying a swear word, they reference animals for the benefit of any children who may be reading.

3) All off topic posts from other sections of the board will be dumped into The Junkyard. The destination topic is selected at random. Deleting posts is an option only to be used if absolutely necessary as this is yet another gripe prominent on other forums. Some admin and moderators remove posts without good reason and this annoys the purpetrator 10 times out of 10. I've even had a member leave this forum because one of his posts was accidentally deleted by a moderator and it was seen as proof of a dictatorship supressing views! You see how hard it is to run a forum?!

4) When a current tournament is being played, there will always be a topic dedicated to the event round by round. In these topics it is perfectly tolerable for members to post off topic remarks as these are generally busy topics of a chatty nature and always eventually get back on track. The same goes for certain less serious topics in the Islanders' Banter section of forums, for example “what is your favourite food?”.

5) Despite the relaxed rules around The Junkyard, members may report posts they take particular offense to and the moderators will act accordingly. However people who do this must understand the nature of this section.

6) Members who complain about swearing will be asked to switch the swear filter back on as they must have deliberately switched it off in order to read the swearing. Swearing is all about tone and intent. Threatening posts and personal attacks will not be tolerated, swearing or no swearing. However members are asked to develop a thick skin and brush aside remarks from known wind up merchants (people who get their kicks out of causing torment and annoyance to others). If these posters are prominent and are judged to be bringing the site down to an unacceptable level, they will be warned and eventually banned by the moderators.

So those are the forum rules in place to counter typical forum behaviour and so far they seem to be working.

What is Snooker Island all about?

The answer is that it’s a site designed for snooker fans by a snooker fan, and is intended to be a cool place to hang out and talk snooker. Snooker fans of all ages can come here to talk about the game they love, gain useful information, meet other members maybe for a game or at a tournament instead of going alone, and whatever else you want to make of it.

I aim for this site to be informative and for fans from all over the globe to pass on their knowledge and insights to others. Snooker is a sport in which there is no ultimate knowledge. I am still learning nearly 30 years since first clasping eyes on it.

One of the things I wanted to do when setting up the forums was to create a section dedicated to snooker history. I grew up reading stories about Joe Davis, Walter Lindrum, Fred Davis, John Pulman and the generation I was lucky enough to catch the end of – Alex Higgins, John Spencer, Ray Reardon, Cliff Wilson, Perrie Mans, Eddie Charlton, Patsy Fagin etc. The prominent names from these eras should never be forgotten therefore I want a database full of stories and memories from people who remember them. Naturally such a section of forums will be kept immaculate and contain only relevant information, as well as comments relating to each article.

The other aspect of snooker I want to focus on is the technical side of snooker. Shot selection. Which shots to play and when to play them. This is something crucial to understanding snooker and understanding the difference between the top players. There is a Snooker School section which will be expanded in due course to encompass this in more detail.

There is a blog which will contain well written articles and reports and I hope in future will contain articles from guest writers. I will also set about interviewing players in due course in which I will field questions from Islanders as well as posing my own questions to get the more inside aspects of how the interviewee's snooker brain works.

I hope you enjoy the site!