I've been playing rpgs for about 28 years now, though I was on a bit of a hiatus for awhile till I got back into them in 2006. At that point I started reading various rpgs forums, such as rpg.net, enworld.com, and the forums at wizards.com
One of the things that I really missed at those other forums was that you couldn't thumb anything because a lot of great ideas could be passed around, but you never got a more clear picture of "geekgeist" of various positions.
Now, I have to say that bgg's forums are some of the best I've encountered in my 14 years on the net, in terms of admin, structure and users. What I'm kind of fascinated by is what is going to happen when the rpg community starts to show up in this style of forums and the rather well vetted admin structure.
The thing is, while we're all a bunch of geeks here in geekdom, there is still some demographic style differences. Boardgames are in a way pretty easy as a subject matter as the medium itself doesn't lend itself much to interpretation. While you could make some houserules here and there for a game, ultimately there are so many boardgames which are designed to achieve a specific result, that people tend to just play by the rules.
Rpg's however are basically red hot glowing bars of metal, ready to be pummelled into a shape that suits a individual or game group's taste. It's pretty much expected that something is going to get adjusted, ignored or over emphasized. When you get a situation like this, where every game is open to being played for wildly differen tastes, it's going to bring out the crazies, and there are lots of them in the rpg crowd!
Boardgaming definitely appeals to a lot of people, but there is a healthy representation of analytic engineering types that like order and precision. Boardgames work well to give this effect with their limited scope rules that are normally dealing with abstract game mechanics.
RPGs however bring in a whole different crowd. Lots of liberal arts/theater types who are going to wrap themselves up emotionally with their games in ways that don't normally flow in the boardgame world. Now when you get these people on forums... if you thought that euro vs ameritrash battle was tumultuous then be prepared... there is sooo much more to argue about passionately with rpgs. You aren't just playing abstract games, you're expressing yourself, and that is fertile ground for touchy subject matter.
Look forward to the "version war" that still burns with the release of D&D 4th Edition. There is plenty of nerd rage still going with this development. Gaming groups has dissolved over this and massive flamewars, "threadcrapping" and other delightful drama awaits...
Look forward to the "indie vs mainstream" debates. This is probably the closest thing to the euro vs ameritrash debates here. The indie rpgs could be argued to be analogous to euros in that they tend to be shorter and are more "highbrow" in the roleplay/rollplay distinction. On the other side is the mainstream (D&D and other veteran lines of games) which doesn't care about the indie "elitists" and their narrativist nonsense.
Branching off form the indie scene, you've got the tension between "rpg theory" and people who don't want to hear it and evidently seeth with rage if GNS is mentioned.
All of this drama has led to a lot of very heavy handed administration on other boards. It looks like Aldie and Co. have figured out a good balance in how to handle nonsense without going overboard with invasive and anal interventions. Still, the passion that rpgs stir is probably going to create a few more stress tests with the forums.
RPGgeek is going to be fantastic! The BEST resource every for rpgs EVAR and I'm eagerly awaiting the gravity shift in forum communities as it becomes the black hole for all things geek.
All roads will lead to geekdo!
Back! Away from ChitChat you go! Don't you know there is no game-related talk allowed here?
But yes, I completely agree with what you're saying. The infusion of new blood is going to be extremely interesting.