Gwlad isn’t shit

Nearly 13 years ago, a young Welsh rugby fan called Rhys decided to use his knowledge of the fledgling world of the internet to create a website for like-minded rugby fans all over the world. He called it Gwlad. At first the website consisted of Rhys’s scribblings about rugby and links to reports and features all over the web.

The site attracted a small, faithful band of followers, but what really launched it into the wider Welsh rugby consciousness was the addition of a Chat Room, hosted by insidetheweb.com. It was free, and very rudimentary, but it did the job. It was the first of its kind, and to many it is still the best.

The site has changed beyond recognition since then. Rhys recruited a bunch of drunkards from London Welsh RFC, and a vineyard owner from Ystradgynlais, and together they kept Gwladrugby.com going through numerous iterations.

The current site has been around for a few years now, and apart from the occasional funding crisis, it has continued to prosper and is held in high regard by the rugby fraternity. Hell, even Will Carling likes us, so we must be doing something right. The unique humour of Gwlad goes way beyond the world of rugby in its reach; some of the funniest people I’ve ever met are Gwladers.

Of course, even a virtual village has to have at least one idiot, and it would be a dull place without them. But there’s a difference between being daft and having a laugh, and just being downright rude, offensive, irritating or moronic. It’s like the difference between the slightly merry bloke standing at the bar telling jokes, and the sweary pisshead throwing pint pots around in the skittle alley. Every online forum has their fair share of these people. But for every boorish Andy Gray and Richard Keys, there’s an eloquent Eddie Butler and Brian Moore to balance things out.

The problem with success is that eventually it breeds contempt and complacency. Sure, you’ll get the odd newcomer who doesn’t quite understand the house rules and throws their weight around, but the natural order of things means they’re soon sent packing by the regulars. But there’s another kind of cyber-pest who’s far worse: the gnarled old regular who takes pleasure in winding everyone up and shoving his views into every thread he can find. I’ve been guilty of this behaviour myself. I took a break from Gwlad and came back (I hope) with a more optimistic view of the place.

Out in the real world, I’m often drawn into conversation with people on this very topic. Most are full of praise for the site, but the one issue that keeps cropping up is they are often put off by the level of angry, hostile abuse which gets dished out. For this reason many people lurk or just stay away altogether. It’s a real shame: imagine how much better the site could be if people felt they could post their views without fear of being flamed by the nasty old git in the corner.

“Use the Ignore button” is the often-heard cry at this point. The problem is, that never quite blots out everything you’re trying to ignore.

Having tried and failed to rid Gwlad of this kind of behaviour many times, you might think we’d be tempted to give the whole thing up. Quite often we are. The lights have gone off several times and we’ve not particularly felt like switching them on again. The constant nit-picking and abuse is tiring and we’ve all got real lives to be getting on with. “Gwlad is Shit” as we often observe, half-joking. But it really isn’t, and that’s why we’ve carried on this long. So we will continue to try to preserve what makes it good, and to eradicate what threatens to make it really shit.

How can you help? There’s a few ways. Firstly, if you read something you don’t like, report it. Please don’t run away. Bad behaviour will no longer be tolerated. If we think your complaint is valid, we’ll act upon it.

Secondly, if you think you can write something better, do it. Either on the forums or on the Front Page. If you fancy a go at writing for the front page, email us. We’d love your help.

8 thoughts on “Gwlad isn’t shit”

  1. Too many pompous, old bullies on the site. They need to get a life and let younger fans have their say.

    Ger

  2. Dan

    Used to post from about 98 to 2002, great site then until the obsessives arrived and ruined it with foul abuse. I couldn’t be bothered with all the super heated quarreling and trivial point scoring. Hate the idea of having to adhere to the Gwl@d line where anyone off message was and is regarded as a ”troll”.
    I heartily dislike the majority of the clique and if they were representative of the majority of Welsh fans, which I am glad to say they are not, I would be supporting whoever Wales were playing.
    Thankfully, the clique are an eccentric bunch with few identifiable Welsh qualities so their opinions can be ignored, they are not rugby people and are mostly clueless re the game.

    There are a few more needing bans before I will return as a poster.

    Good luck with your purge, better late than never.

    David.

  3. Excellent article.
    Even though I very rarely post anymore, I still log in for an occasional read and thoroughly enjoy looking at some of the little gems left by the regulars.
    Since Ebbw’s relegation I’ve been busier than ever and have found that running my site in the first division is five times as hard as it was in the WPL. This shows just how valuable the knowledgeable posters on Gwlad is (especially the excellent contacts I made on here), and what a fine community of people (loons in some cases) this is.
    I found myself posting less and less over time as the threads became more and more convoluted with petty personal squabbles which littered the board to the extent that it became hard work to read, and harder work to find a thread which was left unsullied.
    Being a soppy peaceful old thing (99% of the time) I thought it best not to get involved regardless of my thoughts on some of these debates, as they frequently went from being hotly discussed topics to heated exchanges, and when it goes that way, I just can’t be @rsed.
    That aside, this is without a doubt, in my opinion (which is always correct except when my wife says different) the home of Welsh rugby debate.
    Great work mun.

  4. Well said Dan. It gave me my wife, who in turn gave me our children and for that I will be eternally grateful!

  5. Dan,
    I’ve written this sort of reply a number of times, usually to Terry or Fox.
    Gwlad is shit, as is everyone on it and may this always be the case. But I for one (and i know im not alone) would be gutted if it went away.
    I hope you guys do understand that for all the shit, all the grief (apart of the legal stuff) and all the moaning that there is a large number of people who are very greatful for the time effort and energy that you guys put into this site.
    I wont go on (fox told me i was getting too poofy the last time i wrote one of these).
    Cheers
    LoRD

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