You read that correctly, this one isn’t an article about TF2, but about the official forum meant for its discussion. No, not the Steam Community User Discussions, I’m referring to SPUF. Or as some may call it, the Steam Powered User Forums, despite the lack of an actual “powered” noun anywhere in the title for the Steam Forums.
More specifically, by SPUF, I mean the TF2 section of the Steam Forums, and that distinction is something I’m going to be touching upon in this article.
To put it simply, it’s sort of odd that we as a community frequently refer to ourselves using the name SPUF, which would imply the entirety of the Steam Forums, even though we only make up a single section on the Steam Forums itself.
At the same time, it really isn’t all that strange. Why, I hear you ask? Well, to begin with, the TF2 section can be considered unique among the various “sub-forums” of the Steam Forums. To elaborate on that, we in the TF2 section can be argued to be the only part of the Steam Forums which maintains an actual community of sorts.
What that means is that the TF2 section is not only one of the most active sections on this forum, but one of the few which manages to maintain regular and meaningful conversation, possess a number of a regulars who act as recognizable names and faces in the community, hold its own organized events, and even have its own unique in-jokes.
The other sections of the Steam Forums are, and by this I mean this in the least negative way possible, primarily empty or simply contain various, random users making threads about the game which get little to no discussion. In other words, the sense of “community” in these other sections doesn’t exist.
Taking this to its logical conclusion, this also leads us to the fact that SPUF is also the only section which has arguably outgrown its original purpose.
Basically, while we are ostensibly the Team Fortress 2 forum, the regulars and community have brought about discussion in SPUF which doesn’t pertain to Team Fortress 2. While some of this is merely off-topic conversation, as the itsurblog thread (as well as its sequel and various derivatives made by other members) can clearly demonstrate, this is primarily referring to what I’m going to be calling “meta” discussion.
Or, in laymen’s terms, discussion about SPUF itself, rather than TF2. From another perspective, you could say that this discussion talks directly about the community of SPUF and its members, instead of discussion about the game for which SPUF was made to discuss.
For an example of this, look no further than many of the TF2 section’s self-referential jokes, often talking about the various quirks of certain members in the community or famous threads made in the past. These are things like the raid on the unofficial wiki, aabicus being a nude model, Hellfire x Wurm, etc.
One of the most commonly known, even to people who haven’t been on SPUF for very long, is Chesse20’s winger, just to give one instance of this.
Actually, this very blog and the rest of the SPUFpowered Network (of which I’m sure many people are familiar with the SPUFserver) are another good example of “meta” on SPUF. For actual threads on SPUF other than itsurblog and its brethren (for which I’m sure there will be another article written soon as a memorial for the recent closing of Urblog thread 2), we have things such as aabicus and Captain Blades going to Hawaii, Gyokuyoutama’s ratings on SPUF’s interests, and our very own SPUF Anthology podcast.
While the community has for the most part, recognized and accepted this, the official purpose of SPUF hasn’t changed in light of its development as a unique community rather than just a forum to discuss TF2. This will likely continue to cause mild frustration in the future among members when moderators close down certain community threads due to being off-topic, but SPUF will probably still remain intact at the end of the day, even after having been phased out by the Steam Community User Discussions (or as some may call it, SPUD or SCUD).
In any case, I think this would be a good place to end this article.