While I have my share of disagreements with the way OutdoorForums runs their business and over-commercializes some forums, I would have to say that my impression of them is very much pro-gun (or they're at least willing to let us remain pro-gun while they profit). In my experience, they're also quite tolerant of existing "black eyes" and often just let them continue as-is (like the horrendously racist, bigoted, politically- and religiously-charged, over-the-top "Asylum" forum over at Marlin-Owners).
My biggest complaint is that, more often than not, rules are put into place that do not allow outside links to vendors that are not on the "supporting vendors" list. Additionally, links to any type of auction or classified is nearly always banned. So trying to give someone a heads-up about a good deal on ammunition, reloading components, firearms accessories, a hard-to-find firearm, etc. in any way that includes a link (or sometimes just the name of the company
) often results in:
A) A warning about breaking the rules. (And I have seen it eventually result in a ban for repeat offenders.)
B) The post being deleted.
C) A Moderator breathing down your neck while chastising you like they're talking to a 3 year-old.
I don't know that I've seen it with the OutdoorForums sites, but I've been seeing a rather irritating trend over the last 12-18 months, that I really hope doesn't come to pass here. Forums that are bought out and commercialized are, more and more often, having rules put in places that completely prohibit "speaking ill" of any brand or company - especially supporting vendors - even if you have proof
of your claims.
So... If, for example, you buy an aftermarket "match" barrel for your Springfield XD, and have the misfortune of finding out that it's a complete piece of crap and the company's customer service is a sham, you can't say much about it. You're warned, punished, or even banned for going much further than saying something to the effect of: "I bought a "match" barrel for my XD. It sucked."
Though not quite as much of an issue on gun forums, it has had a HUGE impact on hot-rodding and car building forum, where there are 900 different options for the same part, so people often ask for advice on which one actually work, which ones are crap, and which ones are truly awesome. At best, you can only offer advice on which ones work and might be able to say, "There are two good ones on the market. The other 8 are no good." But you can't say anything like, "The AMD tail panel is so warped and dimensionally incorrect that you'll have to cut it in 13 places to make it fit. Buy the Dynacorn piece, instead."
Hopefully things continue without issue, or actually improve in some manner.
I would hate to see another forum get killed by the transition, like the Utah Wildlife forums did a 4-5 years back. (Mandatory subscriptions to the company's two dozen newsletters. Too many ads too quickly. Too many new rules. And too many restrictions on discussions -- like not being able to discuss wildlife laws on a wildlife forum!!
) Within 3 months of being bought out, forum activity was down over 80%, new member registration was non-existent, and 90% of the continuing discussions were in the 'General Forum' in regards to ATVs and trucks. Even as a long-time moderator, I abandoned that sinking ship and haven't looked back.)