I assume your first question is “What is a FOG?” (if that wasn’t your first question, then for the sake of this article we’re just going to pretend it was…try to cooperate here). You’ll see a lot of abbreviations and acronyms on the blogs, so let’s start with this one. “FOG” stands for F’n Old Guy (see how I cleaned that up there?). The FOG’s are the members who either founded the boards (now called blogs), or who have been there for a long time and have established themselves members worthy of being held in high standing. When a newbie does something out of line (usually inadvertently), the FOG’s are usually the first to call them out on it. Simply being a member of a blog for a long time doesn’t make you a FOG. Let’s elaborate:
What makes a FOG?
Again, the FOG’s are the members who founded the blogs. They’ve been there since the beginning, and without them the blogs wouldn’t be around now. They have seen many newbies come, and many newbies go. They can usually spot the trolls, price gougers, scam artists and thieves within a few posts, long before the rest of the membership can. Some newbies run into problems when they take offense to a FOG giving a hard time to a new member and try to stick up for the new guy. You’ve got to remember, when one of these scumbags show up, the FOG’s have seen his/her kind many times before, and they don’t usually jump on somebody without reason. They will act quickly in order to keep a scumbag from ripping off the members of the blog, or using it for personal profit. So if you, as a newbie, think a FOG is out of line for ripping on another newbie, just watch for a while before shooting your mouth off. You’ll find that most of the time, the FOG is right. The FOG’s make it a point to protect the blogs. They are generally very welcoming to newbies, and usually happy to answer any questions that haven’t been asked a thousand times before.
What doesn’t make a FOG
A FOG isn’t just anybody with a high post count. A FOG isn’t just a member who has been around for six months to a year, and seems to know what they’re talking about. A FOG isn’t just a member who has a lot of money and therefore has an impressive stash. The true FOG’s have been around for years (that’s years plural, with an s). There’s been some people who have joined up and after 8 months and 1000+ posts, they think they deserve the same respect the FOG’s get. Wrong. Respect doesn’t come from a post count, it comes with time spent on the blogs and your actions during that time. There are very few true FOG’s in the online cigar community. Pay attention, and you’ll find out who they are.
Ok, so what if I screw up and get called out by one of these guys? Can I fight them?
Really? I mean, it’s the internet. It’s not like I’d ever ACTUALLY fight them.
Yes, there are those on the internet who like to flex their e-muscles. Unfortunately, the cigar blogs are not immune from that. Newbies that get banned don’t get run off because of a little screw-up, it’s because of how they REACT to being called out. The occasional faux pas is expected of newbies. Beginning golfers don’t get kicked off the course just for stepping in someone’s putting line. If you commit a little breach of etiquette, it’s okay. Sure, someone may call you out a little more harshly than you think is necessary, but it’s not something that’s going to stick with you. However, if you decide to respond but putting on your big boy panties and puffing your chest out, then you’ll start to draw the ire of other members as well. Once you become “that guy”, then you may find yourself shut out of trades, cigar passes, and other benefits that come along with being a member of the blog. It’s not out of spite, it’s because member-to-member cigar transactions are entirely based on trust. If you exhibit the characteristics of a hothead hiding behind the anonymity of the internet, no one will trust you not to rip them off.
To sum it up: the FOG’s are there to help you get the most out of your cigar board experience. Don’t take offense to one of them guiding you in the right direction. If you think you no longer need to be educated, it’s absolute proof that you do. Be cool and enjoy all that the veteran members have to offer. More importantly, just be cool…
by Eric Shaw