The conversation started off friendly enough, but like so many others, led to personal attacks and “all caps” keyboard pounding in the blink of an eye. The subject at hand had to do with a feature story that had run a few months prior. The reader had contacted me via email to explain that the info listed in the spec list, specifically the exterior section, was inaccurate. Here’s a piece of the original email:
“Hondatunning, u wrote the front lip is mugen and your wrong!! thats teh wing west lip, mugen never made a lip even close to that. if you don’t know your facts, you shouldn’t work for the magazine. Just sayin.”
Hey, everyone makes mistakes, even the robot writing this. So I took a look at the article he was referring to, which happened to be one that I’d written, and it was indeed an authentic Mugen lip. I politely responded with:
“Hi *****, thanks for dropping us a line. I took a look at the article and that is in fact an original Mugen front lip, designed for the 92–95 Civic, though Wings West did offer a similar style. The WW version actually fits under the bumper, rather than wrapping up, and into the front grille like the authentic Mugen version you see pictured in the article. I know it can be a little confusing with so many ‘style and replica’ parts on the market, ha-ha. Hope that helps clear it up, and thanks for reading.”
His response back involved a pretty shocking number of curse words combined with comments about me, my family, and he even stated that I probably drove a Prius. Off topic, what exactly is it about the Prius anyway? Every time I’ve been attacked online or by email, the person almost always resorts to saying that I drive a Prius. So weird. Anyway, he also stated that he’d been working on Hondas for well over four years, and he knew what he was talking about. The whole conversation sort of struck a nerve. Not because of the berating, but rather how things got to this point. I did a quick Google search for “Mugen lip” and “Mugen EG lip” and of the images strewn across the screen, less than 5 percent were actually authentic Mugen. Ironically enough, most were replicas of the Mugen “EK” lip that were molded to fit just about every Honda known to man. I know, big deal, right? Well, if you’re looking at this from the perspective of a new Honda enthusiast, it really is sort of a big deal.
Just Ask and You Shall be Flamed
Most enthusiasts are using the Internet to research and figure out what parts they want or what might look good on their new project, and they’re faced with a mind-blowing number of options—some good, some bad. Oftentimes they’ll post up photos or questions in regard to their builds on the forums, and they’re typically ripped apart by the guys who have been around for a number of years. This in turn will have them lashing out (similar to the nasty email I received), or they’ll simply move on to something else with a bad taste left in their mouth. It’s a cycle that I’ve noticed for quite some time, but it seems to be getting much more intense at this point.
A Little Help Over Here?
My thought is, maybe the guys who have been doing this for a while should forgo the insults and noob-bashing, and instead educate them a bit, offer some insight so to speak. It’s certainly a fine line to walk since stating facts or even personal experience can often be interpreted as sarcasm or talking down to someone, especially on the faceless, emotionless web. Nevertheless, lending a hand takes but a few keystrokes and probably won’t keep you away from that new episode of the Kardashians for too long. Who knows, you might even change someone’s entire outlook on this community with no more than a few seconds of your time. Am I asking you to hold hands and be a big brother? Absolutely not, but keep in mind, like any community (that’s what this is, by the way), the elders are usually relied upon for guidance and answers.
What about the guy who emailed? Well, I ignored the insults and just responded with a few photos from an old Mugen catalog that I found online along with a few photos of a Wings West ad that I’d scanned and pointed out the differences. He apologized, and actually ended up being a really nice guy. We’ve emailed back and forth a few more times about wheel and tire sizing options for his S2000. He admitted that he went overboard on that initial email back simply due to the excessive negative comments he’d received during discussions online. He felt that my email was in some way making fun of him, when that certainly wasn’t my intention at all. Nothing more than a miscommunication, the sad part is this seems to be happening more frequently these days. I think it’s time for everyone to take a deep breath and rediscover that this is supposed to be fun, not a keyboard battle to the death. We were all new to this at one point and it took some time to learn, just like anything else. Just remember that in one way or another, we’re all on the same team.
“Whoa, Big Gulps, huh? Alright… Welp, See Ya Later!”
Well folks, this is the last issue of 2012, and of course, we’ll be back in January to start the new year. As always, thank you very much to each and every one of the subscribers, readers, and supporters who continually keep Honda Tuning Magazine alive and kicking. See you soon, stay safe out there…