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
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
Back to the Table of Contents