Nearly seven years ago I accidentally stumbled across a vibrant dog community named Molosserdogs. I was truly stunned by the rich abundance and diversity of ongoing discussions. At any time there were dozens of live forum threads with so many daily posts that one could barely keep up with just a few selected threads. The picture gallery was just as lively, dozens of uploads within hours, sometimes hundreds of comments on a single day created "twitter" like mini-discussions in real time. Lastly, the website had the broadest collection of breed profiles anywhere in the world. I learned about breeds that I had never even heard of. I joined. It was awesome!
Back then, Molosserdogs had another important feature. The chatroom. The public chatroom was often so crowded with several discussions going on in parallel, that one frequently had to resort to private chatrooms to connect with dog buddies. The latter turned out to be the most valuable aspect of all. It created personal bonds among members and so during this time I made many friends across the US and even abroad. Somewhow most of us managed to eventually meet each other in person and transform virtual friendships into real ones. Best of all, Gary the site owner himself became one of those close friends. We all shared many exciting events and stories and also lived together through the worst personal tragedies as well. In short, we became a family.
Fast forward to today, things have changed. Most of the old members aren't here anymore. Meanwhile the moderators I called personal friends have left as well. Slowly but surely, a new guard has taken over. What's more, the vibrant discussions have somehow faded. I so wanted to hold on to the former glory of MD, but in recent weeks I began to observe the site without my prevalent positive bias from old times and came to a realization. I have virtually nothing in common with the new members of this site. This is not meant in a judging way, in itself it is neither good nor bad, it just happens to be what it is. I used to come here and share thoughts with great dog men, who often challenged my world views ... and once in a while I may have challenged theirs. We all learned a lot from each other in the process, despite (or maybe because of) very different backgrounds and experiences. Today, instead I feel like being worlds apart from the other MD members, like I am talking Swedish to a bunch of Chinese. Rather than being part of a community, lately I feel like an "odd duckling" in a foreign culture. My world view almost seems antithetical to the prevailing consensus, appearing strangely incompatible instead of being a part of a heterogeneous compilation of a variety of philosophies. Sure, I still consider Gary a good friend of mine and there are certainly people who I really like and respect. But Molosserdogs as a community just isn't what it used to be. Not even remotely.
That may very well be a subjective view, as others may feel perfectly at home right now. And there would be nothing wrong with that per se. However, there are also objective indicators, which remind me that things have changed. When I look at the photo gallery, I see less than one(!) image upload per day, hardly any comments anymore. The forum isn't in any better shape either really, there may be solitary heart beats of life here and there, but the variety of discussion topics has already flat lined.
I have always been a very private person. Molosserdogs happened to be my one and only guilty pleasure online. Otherwise my real life is way too busy to crawl the web and waste valuable time. For those reasons I never participated in social networks, don't frequent other forums, I don't even have TV at home. Instead I have the very best job in the world and find myself surrounded by phenomenal human beings, awesome wilderness and fantastic dogs. I believe it is time for me to end this chapter of my online presence and focus more on the important things in life. For now I have a new litter of Sharplaninec puppies on the ground that keeps me entertained enough (nope, none are available, they are all spoken for and will be placed on various Montana ranches as working LGDs). I also have a fascinating young dog that seems to have huge potential, so I decided to spend a lot of my spare time working with him.
It is important to me that I clarify that there is no frustration on my part whatsoever. Molosserdogs was always a source of outstanding entertainment for me, a good way to spend some leisure time reading meaningful information. If anything, I am very grateful for the good times I had in all these years.
I decided to close my account at Molosserdogs. So I would like to wish everyone all the best in their respective lives and dog speed of course. Most of all though I want to thank Gary as well as the remaining and former moderators for all their efforts and hard work that made this place so awesome. For those of you who would like to contact me, my email will remain astibus(AT)sharplaninec(DOT)com.
So long, and thanks for all the fish,
P.S.: I may leave the account in tact for a short while, as I don't know what happens to a thread once the OP is deleted.