Assignment 2: Intitial Observations (includes physical description of site and atmosphere)
Online DescriptionThe site has a lovely navy-blue border and titling to introduce it’s new members. There are large ads to the left to help newcomers find deals on mantis supplies, latest posts on the right, and a several subforums as one scrolls down. The site is overall quite visually pleasing.
A new member would join by signing up for an account and confirming their email. The site has a subforum for welcoming new members, for them to introduce themselves, and ask questions. One of the main keys to succeeding in the hobby is asking questions and this becomes apparent as many of the subforums are focused on informing their audience. There’s 11, 282 member accounts on the forum and more are joining each passing day. Despite being on the small side for a forum, it’s fairly active. A few threads are responded to each day by its regulars giving updates on their businesses, answering questions, or simply chattering.
I found this site nearly a year ago when my mother tossed a mantis in a jar and went, “Here’s your new pet.” As for how, I eventually stumbled upon the forum when I was searching for help on how to keep a praying mantis. The title made the site’s purpose obvious, and I was quick to create an account. It’s custom for regulars or active members to welcome new ones when they introduce themselves in the “Introduce Yourself” subforum. I was met warmly and had my worried eased when I was directed to general tips on mantis keeping.
The subforums contain plenty of information regarding mantises but also other insects/crustaceans. Many keepers also own isopods, arachnids, and other species of insects. Naturally there will be overlap in the hobby and discussion of other critters. The photography subforum acts as a place for a member to post silly pictures of their mantises or their over-the-top extensive enclosures. The main subforums for education are all separates into necessary topics for mantis keeping. Enclosures, nymph care, feeding/food, and care sheets are all found in their own individual subforums due to the extensive number of threads and knowledge for each topic. Overall, the forum contains many options to help newcomers settle into the hobby and enjoy themselves.
General AtmosphereWhen I first joined the forum almost a year ago, I was met with a surprisingly warm welcome. It’s tradition for the forum regulars to welcome new members and while there’s no pressure to do so, it’s still common for the regulars to do so. Considering there is a subforum dedicated to new members announcing themselves, it makes sense there would be people responding. People were quick to answer my questions and help me understand the need-to-knows of owning a mantis such as enclosure size, types of food needed, and mantis behavior. I never felt uncomfortable or excluded considering even experienced keepers are always learning about their pets. Newcomers are accepted with open arms because of how small the hobby is in comparison to reptile or even arachnid keeping. I made friends with long-time keepers after only a few months and got my foot in the door for my own breeding efforts.
As for future micro-cultural research, I’m confident that the curiosity and friendliness of the members will assist in any struggles I may have.