Come Along, You Belong, Feel the Fizz...
Message Boards

Artwork by Karen Mollett

On April 27th, 1999, a self-proclaimed 'newbie' named Vornoff posted a message to the Acorn Cafe called "Please allow me to introduce myself." Within 24 hours, seventeen individuals had posted messages welcoming him to the board.

While there are Rescue Ranger related chatrooms, and some Rangerphiles use ICQ, the Acorn Cafe message board is the main hangout of Rangerphiles on the Internet, a place to post one's thoughts and feelings about the Rescue Rangers, as well as news and the like. This community of Rangerphiles is notorious (at least among its members) for its hospitality. Almost invariably, a new potential member is warmly welcomed to the group. Rangerphiles online enjoy the new viewpoints brought in by 'newbies,' and also love to watch these fans' enthusiasm over discovering a tightly-knit, welcoming community. A kind of pride in the Rangerphile community is cultivated simply by watching the positive reactions of newcomers.

"I have fled two message boards because of unpleasantness, but am very happy with this [community]." (Charity, survey question)

The online Rangerphile community at the Acorn Cafe generally does not go into flame wars like some other message boards do. This may be due to some sort of uniformity in the beliefs of the posters (see Statistics), but it has also been theorized that a lot of the friendliness is caused by the small size of the group. There is the feeling that Rangerphiles are a rare and special bunch, and that they need all the fans they can get. A larger group would be able to split into several smaller communities (Foxglove fans, those against Chip and Gadget becoming a couple, etc.) but a small group cannot afford to break into smaller parts. Thus, Rangerphiles must either get along with each other or leave the community; there is little opportunity for large splinter groups. However, the community is generally fairly easy-going, so this is not a problem for most members.

Despite the group's relative friendliness, however, some former members of the Rescue Rangers Internet fan community have left, usually because they no longer have time for the community or because they change interests. However, as a lot of the vocal members of the group are fairly conservative, Rangerphiles with more liberal viewpoints on how the characters should be treated (ie. those who are interested in Rescue Rangers erotica) may also feel unwelcome.

Other members of the community are a bit put off by the members' tendancies to treat the program seriously. Rangerphiles read a lot into relatively minor points of the show, with countless works devoted to Foxglove, a character who only appeared in one episode. This particular example will be discussed in the romance section. A very small number of Rangerphiles insist that the program is 'just a cartoon,' aimed at young children. However, most active members of the community take the show very seriously.

On January 27, 1999 , a Rangerphile from the UK, "Dale," developed cancer and had to stay in the hospital to get a lung removed. 20 members of the Internet Rangerphile Community scanned their signatures and e-mailed them to a common location, where they were compiled on the computer, with a piece of fanart, and made into a card. This card was printed and mailed to Dale, who was very grateful. Dale is now doing fine, and back posting on the Acorn Cafe.

This is perhaps the most extreme example of the devotion Rangerphiles feel to one another. Many Rangerphiles really do think of each other as true friends, and enjoy each other's company, supporting each other in times of need. Whenever someone has a problem and posts to a message board about it, they are met with sympathy and support, and advice, when possible. Overall, many members of the group genuinely treat each other as friends. These people are brought together by a shared love for a cartoon series, but their fandom develops into friendship. The off-topic message board is a good example of this; this is a place where Rescue Rangers fans talk about their other interests, and get good conversations going.

It makes sense that most people who participate in the Internet Rescue Ranger fan community are fairly content with the group, since, if they were dissatisfied, they could probably find another community (if not a Rescue Rangers related one) to join. Some fans see the community as something truly special and extraordinary, while others admit that it is pretty much just another Internet community, albiet one that generally does not fall prey to petty arguments as some other groups do.


Perhaps examining the makeup of the online Rangerphile Community can reveal more about this group.


Back to the Table of Contents