"Why are you even on this site if LP isn't your favorite band?!" This is something I've seen lately with the usual album release cycle and the influx of new members that come around during that time. And it's an issue I feel needs to be addressed. First, some background: The LPA has been around in various forms since the beginnings of the band. Some of us have been here for just as long. I, for instance, joined the forums over 11 years ago. I was 15 then. It was a different time. Social media was in its infancy. MySpace had just joined the internet that August. Most people had LiveJournals, Blogspots or Wordpresses and kept up with fandoms through forums and blogrings. LP fans in particular had a few avenues of communication via the LPU and LP forums (God, that was a bad time) and fansites like the LPA, LPTimes, Pushingmeaway, et cetera. Suffice to say, it was in terms of the internet and our generation in general a long time ago. I make note of how things were back then because this is obviously not the case anymore. Things have changed on the tubes we call the world wide web. And like those things, people have changed too. I was in the middle of my teens when I joined this site and outed myself to the internet as a hardcore Linkin Park fan. I'm in my mid-to-late 20s now. If you were to compare my life then and now, quite a few things would be drastically different. I'm no longer in school. I hold a salaried job. I can drive, drink, and smoke legally. In regards to the internet, we have so many more methods of discovering music. And on that note, I've had more TIME to discover new music. 11 years since I joined the LPA. That's only 4 years shy of the age I was when I joined the site in the first place. I use myself as a primary example because, well, I'm me. I'm the best source on how I've changed through the decade of being a fan of the band. I implore other members, old and new alike, to think about how they've changed since joining the forums. The point I'm making is that musical tastes change. They evolve and grow with time. The band you loved 5 years ago may not be a blip on the radar 5 years ahead of today. Shit, that's easily noticeable by looking at the history of the forums. Do me a favor: go to the top of the forums and click "Community". Select "Member List". Then choose to sort by amount of posts and take a look at the names you see. Will. Andrea. Chris. Debus. Tomi. Marj. Linja. Christopher. Do you recognize any of these posters? Have they posted lately? Let me tell you that some of these people used to be admins. Keep going down the list, you'll see some ex-mods. Tomi used to be the most PROLIFIC poster on the forums. Where did they go? People grow disinterested in bands as they age. Or sometimes they find better places to stay on the internet. Sometimes both. These are all examples of change. Of how a community grows and shrinks based on the members it consists of. On the environment around it. This site will first and foremost be a communications hub for those who are interested in Linkin Park. One does not need to consider them their #1 band to participate. So back to the main question. "Why are you even on this site if LP isn't your favorite band?" For some of us, there was a time when LP WAS our favorite band. I'm neither guilty nor ashamed to say that I used to think that. But as my tastes grew, I found music that better resonated in my soul, that engaged me in ways I never had with LP. Does that mean I should leave the forums? Of course not. A forum is, and always will be, a place for discussion and a COMMUNITY. The social connections you make on here, I believe, can be as strong if not stronger than the connections you make with people in person. So we stay for the people. For the discussions. For the continued news on a band we care about, if not as much as others. And a more general point I want to make in regards to fandom of a band: Just because you make criticisms, doesn't make you NOT a fan. I've seen a fair share of outraged users on here disparaging about how freely a lot of members can point at flaws in songs, albums, or style of LP. "Why are you even on here if you're going to talk shit about X or Y?" Being a fan does not mean blindly accepting and praising everything anyone does. You can still be a fan of the band and hate Meteora. You can love a band to death and think ATS is shitty techno. It's okay to criticize the elementary nature of Mike's raps or Brad's guitar skills, or rag on the declining vocal ability of Chester live. Yes, it's possible to still enjoy the band and criticize them, and I feel like lately that's becoming a heated point of discussion among newcomers and those who have been here a while. Remember, at one point in time every single person you see trashing the chorus of Somewhere I Belong decided it would be a great idea to join a forum dedicated to the discussion of Linkin Park. Somewhere down the road, each person here was (and probably still is) a fan of the band. But tastes change. Opinions change. People view things differently. And that's okay.