The Redwall Online Community (ROC) is an array of online media, inclusive of internet forums, news sites and e-zines relating to the books of Brian Jacques' Redwall series. As with other online communities, the Redwall Online Community is composed of a large group of people who interact in ways which form microsocieties composed of political movements rooted in morality related to various aspects of literature and anthropomorphism.
The ROC is constructed in a manner analogous to the geographic distribution of large and small settlements. It is composed of a few large sites and multiple smaller ones. Often members of the ROC will be involved in multiple forums on the various sites, sometimes using an identical (or similar) screenname everywhere they go within the community to identify themselves.
Sociopolitical aspects of the ROC
Mass roleplay is a phenomenon in which players act as anthropomorphised animals usually native to the British Isles within a 'game world' based on the world of Redwall. It is a bonding experience in the ROC, used more to hone writing talent than to escape from the real world. One form of mass roleplay which rose in popularity over the years following 2001 was the Survivor Roleplay. In such organised roleplays, a number of contestants were selected from writing samples and character drafts, then pitted against each other in an audience-decided contest of authorship and skill with language. Eight varieties of Redwall Survivor have emerged, and they are:
- Redwall Online Community Survivor
- Questors Bold
- Operation: Storm
- The Emperor's Decree
- Midnight Mossflower
- Redwall: Revolutions
Another form of mass roleplay is Location Play. This is defined as exclusive inter-character roleplay centered around a single location.
The ideological composition of the ROC is different from that of any country in that there are two themes uniting every member to some degree and the rest fall by the wayside: Literacy is the first defining trait, and is evidenced by the mass appreciation of literary works - obviously the Redwall books. Fandom is the second trait, and consists of each member's individual appreciation of the Redwall series. Both of these factors are of course varied between each individual, but they are present to some degree in all ROCers. A certain percentage of the ROC are furries; this is hardly surprising due to the anthropomorphic nature of Brian Jacques' characters.
The age composition of the ROC also reflects the distribution of fans across the globe: people between the ages of 10 and 60 have been or currently are active in the Redwall Online Community.
The Redwall Online Community is not without political intrigue. There are several large groups of members who share a particular opinion on one of the two main aspects of the ROC.
- Loyalists are those who believe that Brian Jacques was correct to focus on writing his Redwall novels, and find his material continuously enthralling and stimulating to read. They are a representation of those who side with Redwall and that style of literature.
- Dissenters are those who believe that though the Redwall series was magnificent at its prime, it should have been left alone and the author should have moved on. They are a representation of those who side with the concept of expanding literature for its own sake.
The Redwall Online Community was formed in the mid-1990s during the rise of the internet and the world wide web. This period is seen as the glory days - fansites stayed true to Redwall, ROCers were ever-present, and sites were updated continually. During this period clubs such as The Long Patrol, Dark Mouse's Cove, Sampetra (INSU), and Camp Willow had member rosters approaching (or more than) one thousand. The center of the community revolved around these popular clubs inspiring many off-shoot clubs and groups. When the new millennium arrived, the steady flow of ROCers decreased, and the large popular sites shutdown one by one.
As of 2011, the Redwall Online Community still exists, but the amount of fansites has significantly decreased, along with the ROC population. Many see this as occurring because the Redwall fanbase of the '90s and early 2000s has grown up - people who were once engrossed with the series when they were younger moved on and pursued other interests. Many of the older ROCers who ran sites in the past found they just did not have the time to dedicate to their webspace any longer. Additionally, many sites nowadays only consist of forums, where members discuss random "general" topics, not necessarily relating to Redwall. Furthermore, a lot of sites seem to be fantasy related, and not as exclusive to Redwall as they were in the past.
Another issue in the steady decline of the Redwall Online Community may also be the lack of exposure Redwall itself has to new readers. A dwindling readership makes for a dwindling online interest. Penguin's repackaging of the series for 2010 aimed to increase the audience for Redwall.
Please see the ROC Timeline article for details.
The following consists of prominent websites in the Redwall Online Community. Either currently, or some time in the past, these websites provided much to Redwall fans. Click for further reading.
- Redwall Abbey
- The Redwall Experience
- The Redwall Wiki
- Dark Mouse's Cove
- Dibbuns Against Bedtime
- Camp Willow
- Long Patrol Club
- Terrouge Productions
- Snowfur's Redwall Encyclopedia
- Redwall MUCK
- Antre de Loubia
- Legends of Redwall Abbey
- The Redwall Links
- Sampetra (INSU)
- Redwall Top 100
- Redwall: Warlords
The following people in some way made a large impact on the Redwall Online Community.