VanderVault: The Grace VanderWaal Digital Archive

Major VanderVault Discussion Forum Change

New VanderVault Discord forum

We’ve had quite a run on our little discussion forum at the VanderVault, but unfortunately it’s time for it to end.

Did it have to end?

Yes.

Why?

Because, no matter how much we politely requested, scolded, or pleaded there has been a tendency, most especially when Grace-related news slows to a trickle, for a significant enough portion of the forums members to too often cross the boundaries of good taste and common sense, of not respecting Grace, and not listening to their better angels. It reflects poorly on both Grace and her fans and drags supporters who are normally above board down into the muck with them.

Why not ban such posters?

Because the infringements are not consistent, the bad behavior tends to be sporadic and random, and not to an extent where what is said is extreme enough to go to such lengths. The demise of the existing VanderVault discussion forum is very much a case of a “death by a thousand cuts”.

This brings me to the more awkward portion of this announcement, and quite frankly I hate having to “go there”, but I feel I must.

While CERTAINLY NOT ALL OLDER FANS exhibit problem behavior, it is an unfortunately frequent enough issue that it has become one we, as a fandom, should no longer ignore. I’m talking about several types of fan behavior:

  • The “concerned” fans who, despite this being the year 2022, can’t seem to perceive that it is no longer 1954. People are openly gay now, people like to have fun that sometimes involves imbibing substances stronger than ginger ale, and can sometimes (if not frequently) use language that won’t make it’s way into a Disney Christmas Special. These types of fans feel compelled (clinically speaking) to scold Grace every time she acts like a normal 18-year-old woman and it is tantamount to bullying. It should not be tolerated.
  • The “creepy uncle” fans who can’t seem to help making inappropriate comments about Grace’s looks, or who she is, isn’t, should, or shouldn’t date, or how they would date her (if they were X years younger than they are now), and refuse to rise above easy, and often gross, sexual inuendos. They often refer to her as “Sweetie pie”, “cutie”, or other completely inappropriately intimate terms of endearment.
  • Those fans of a certain age who can’t move beyond their adoration/obsession of 12-year-old “little Gracie”, or who constantly compare her to other little-girl-singers from TV talent shows of whom they seem to have an unnerving encyclopedic knowledge. The ones who refuse to allow Grace to grow up. This type of behavior, intentionally or not, often veers into the “creepy uncle” stereotype mentioned immediately above. This is usually the least offensive of the negative fan types, but it’s something that leaves a sour taste in the mouths of fans closer to Grace’s age who should, if the fates align, become Grace’s primary fanbase in the coming years.

When you gather together those fans mentioned above into a discussion forum setting they tend to alienate other types of Grace supporters, especially younger people, making them feel like they’ve walked into a dimly lit private club where the members, innocently or not, give off what they perceive to be “stranger danger” vibes.

It is because of all I’ve stated above that we are closing our existing forum.

That isn’t to say that the VanderVault will no longer provide a space on the Internet for Grace supporters (a much better term than “fans” or “stans”, by the way) to chat.

A new VanderVault discussion forum has been created and is hosted on a Discord server administered by people Grace’s age and they will not tolerate the slightest hint of the toxic behavior outlined above.

To lead by example I (Mark Lalonde), a fifty-three-year-old man, will not participate in the new Discord forum, either as a poster or act as part of its administration, and I hope that other mature adults will respect that this new platform is intended for younger supporters of Grace. If any of the “fans” identified by the behavior-types described above attempt to infiltrate the new forum you will not be successful. The new administrators can sniff interlopers posing as young people a mile away and they will be banned within minutes.

If you are an older supporter of Grace, but do not fit into the molds of the types defined above you have no reason to feel offended by either the removal of the existing forum, or the establishment of the new one, but still I would ask that you refrain from joining the new Discord forum. Please leave it for younger people to enjoy and feel comfortable discussing Grace, her career and her art in a safe place.

Yes, we are fully aware that younger fans can be total creeps and bullies as well and they will not be tolerated either.

A part of supporting Grace sometimes means staying out of her way. By constantly monopolizing the comments sections of her videos and social media, older fans, well intentioned or not, are alienating those younger fans she needs in order to grow.

Let’s give Grace’s younger fans the chance to control the conversation moving forward.

New VanderVault Discord forum

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