The Secret Codex Of The Spoiler Boards - Part IV - A New Sheriff In Town

The Secret Codex Of The Spoiler Boards

Part IV - A New Sheriff In Town

One must feel the taste of the lash before one can understand the power of the whip. So now I was banned. I probably shouldn’t have cared. I had been accepted onto the Ellipsiiis board and now had a quiet, peaceful home where I could spoil to my hearts delight. It didn’t matter. I was angry and I was frustrated. I don’t like being denied. There were questions that were still unanswered and I do not like unfinished business. I continued to hang around EZ. I could read the threads but I couldn’t post. The ominous message “You Have Been Banned from this EZ board” appeared under every single post. Actually, no one could post for nearly two days. EZ was completely locked down. More questions in the darkness. What I did not know was that soon I would start to find the answers to this question, as I would be given the janitor’s keys to the sewers of EZ.

One thing that did become clear immediately was that there was an early victim of the Great Bannings. Few noticed at the time. If they did, they were truly shocked and maybe they saw the handwriting on the walls. Just prior to the great uprisings of March 20, AtlantaFatMike was banned. AFM wasn’t around much any more; he had gone on to greener pastures. The reasons for his banning were unclear although it is assumed that he pissed off an administrator and that person brought the hammer down. He came back as El Diablo, joined the rebellion and was promptly banned again.

It was generally assumed that Vanillaslave was responsible for the Great Bannings. In the seething, boiling land of Hobietopia, she was burned in effigy and flamed without mercy. It would get worse.

During the days of great tribulation, I was in contact with Vanillaslave almost daily. She was angry, hurt and frustrated. She claimed that she was not responsible for any of this mess and the person who was would not say anything. A Faceless and Nameless force walked the now quiet corridors of EZ.

It was during these conversations that I started to learn the secrets of the early days. I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear anything about it. I had my own ball of anger buried in my stomach and I didn’t really care what was going on behind the scenes. Of course, curiosity will overpower anger any day of the week.

The most shocking revelation was how little direction the Administrators and Moderators had received. No one had ever told them how to do their job. They were given no guidelines. They didn’t even know each other. Vanillaslave knew redandblack and Beefjerky and that was it. She knew there were others but she had no idea who they were. All moderators had been created just like her. One day the title just appeared. They were given the keys to the kingdom but no roadmap.

For three solid days during the time of tribulation, EZ rocked and rolled. During all the madness, deleting and banning, a new forum appeared. The Rathaus. Rathaus is German and roughly translates to “city hall”. The connotations of Rat House were pretty obvious. No one knew what it was but they knew that when you clicked on it everything was written in German and it was password protected.

Vanillaslave explained to me that the Rathaus was going to be the place where Admins and Mods communicated with each other. It was created by the Faceless One. She was the first to post in it and asked why so many people were being banned. She also asked that I be made a Moderator.

I was a little stunned by this last piece of information. Here I was banned and now she wanted me to help her run the joint. Could it get any loonier?

Vanillaslave was convinced I would be made a moderator soon, so without asking anyone she gave me the password to the Rathaus. One of the first things I discovered was that she was telling the truth about the bannings. She was not responsible. The Faceless One had done all the bannings. Every single person I have listed was banned by him and not Vanillaslave. I later confirmed this once I figured out how to read the logs.

This pissed me off. As if I wasn’t already angry enough. Vanillaslave was the most obnoxious, rancorous person on EZ. She wielded her power like a chainsaw, arbitrarily cutting away posts and posters with glee. She was not liked and much of that animus was deserved. But here was proof that she was not responsible for the greatest atrocity yet seen and still the Forces of Darkness said nothing, allowing her to twist in the wind. As the only Administrator that was well known, she received all of the blame as well as the lion share of the emails. Aja was also being flooded with emails.

Aja had long ago given out her email address, in case anyone wanted to request a specific vidcap. I had even used it a few times. Now, every poster in the world that was staggering around looking for answers was emailing either Vanillaslave or Aja.

On 3-23, the board was finally turned back on. Posters wandered through the smoking ruins. Many wondered what had truly happened. Many wondered where had all the posters gone. Many questions still needed to be answered.

I wandered the landscape too but at least now I was starting to discover some answers. I also discovered that now when I signed on, there were check boxes next to all the threads. There was also a drop down menu at the bottom of the screen, which had options like move, close and re-open. There was also the same glaring message below each post that I was still banned. I had been made a Moderator but I will still banned. The Banned Moderator.

I guess it would be appropriate to use LOL here because when I realized that I had been promoted yet still banned, I literally fell out of my chair I was laughing so hard. The sheer irony of the situation was absolutely delicious. It was the best example of how completely and utterly disorganized the admins were in the early days of the Rathaus. I could move, close and even delete threads but I couldn’t post. Fortunately, I also could still get in the Rathaus where the rats continued to run blindly into walls.

Most of those banned gave up caring about the events on EZ. They were content to move on to other worlds and forget the nastiness that had occurred. The citizens of Hobietopia still railed against the tyranny, but having found a new playground, they soon became distracted by their old nasty habits. One that did care and was making it known was AtlantaFatMike. He had never received an explanation for his banning and like me; he is not a person that tolerates unfinished business. The moderators and admins made the whole situation even more comical by posting in public that AFM was not banned. Down in the sewers, they desperately tried to find out why AFM was saying this when they knew it could not be true. Meanwhile, AFM continued to come back under various pseudonyms and harass the holy living hell out of any admin who dared to show their face.

Finally, an admin found that during the Great Bannings, someone had banned several people by email address as well screen name. AtlantaFatMike was one of these. So was I.

On March 25, I was unbanned. I had the powers of a moderator and now I had my voice again. My first action was to quickly get into a fight with Beefjerky.

Beefy welcomed me with open arms and pointed out the freshly minted guidelines produced by the Forces of Darkness. I promptly threw it back in his face. I was still angry. Still upset about the way things had been handled. After sitting for two days watching the people in charge run all over themselves, in my own hubris, I decided that they simply did not have a fucking clue.

The main bone of contention that I had with the new guidelines was they instructed admins and mods to be neither seen nor heard. Most of this was the result of Vanillaslave becoming a lightning rod during the recent troubles. Of course, it didn’t take into account the fact that she became a lightning rod because she was the only one that was trying to answer anyone’s questions. The Forces of Darkness wanted her to give up the name Vanillaslave since it was now so infamous. She could come back under another name and silently admin the board from the dark shadows. Stubborn and ornery to the end, she refused and told the Faceless One that if she could not do it her way, she should be stripped of her powers and would go back to being a regular user. Her wish was granted and the reign of Vanillaslave the Adminstrator was over.

There were others that were refusing to be silent. Stealing back under the cover of pseudonyms, Rodgerfan and Madwoman both began asking why they were banned. Both had been stunned by the apparent capriciousness of the actions of the Forces of Darkness. Rodgerfan stated his case rather succinctly and then moved on to other places. Madwoman would not be denied. In her usual loquacious manner and with a venomous pen, she railed against the system. She would not be satisfied until she was reinstated. She posted again and again with alarming speed and frequency. Patience was not her strong suit. Eventually her voice was heard and Madwoman was the first regular user to be reinstated. (Author’s Note: You can still find many of these posts under the nic Iamstillwaiting in the FAQ forum.)

I refused to play by their rules. I felt that the greatest mistake made by the Forces of Darkness during the great tribulation was not coming clean on what happened. I agonized for a while over whether to use these new powers or simply walk away. It’s not an easy thing to be an outcast and then be asked to starting using that same power that was used against you. I was finally convinced when the Faceless One explained that the purpose of moderation was to keep the boards free for the vast herd of silent lurkers who only wanted to read spoilers and had no interest in the other issues swirling through the system. I had once been one of those lowly lurkers and this hit close to my heart.

Still, I set out to do it my way. I would not be silent. I would not be unknown. I would not lock threads without explanation. I certainly would not ban anyone. I was convinced there was a better way.

My first public post following my banning was to let the Spoiler forum know there was new sheriff in town and that things would be different. Some were glad to see a familiar face. Some were horrified that one of the members of the rebellion had succumbed to the dark side. I didn’t care what they thought, I started going about my business. I began locking and moving threads; always careful to remain within the standards I had publicly stated. Those standards weren’t much different from the ones Vanillaslave had established long ago.

It wasn’t long before I ran into Cygnus. Cygnus and his partner Mel had hit the board when it was turned back on. He was the webmaster of another Survivor site and he claimed to have a list of bootees that was correct through the first eight episodes. He began repeatedly posting this fact along with the link to his board in the Spoilers forum. He was trying to attract spoiler posters to his board and this list was the bait. It was a good ploy since the board was still reeling and many posters were jaded. They were ripe for the plucking.

The precedent of posting no links had been firmly established during the great tribulation. Cygnus’ posts were quickly either deleted or locked. Soon, Mel showed up with the same tactic and the same result. Neither would give up. Despite being repeatedly banned by the Forces of Darkness, Cygnus kept coming back under different ghost nics and posting his link.

I ran into him during my first full day of moderation. I didn’t have the power to ban him and I had seen how fruitless it was to simply lock his threads. So I took a different tact. I just deleted them. Over and over again. As soon as I had one deleted another would appear. Cygnus noticed what was happening and began addressing me personally. He claimed to have several computers at his disposal and threatened to overrun the board with spam. I kept deleting. After about twenty minutes of this stalemate, he finally tired of the game and left. He would be back.

I was definitely reaching a peak after crawling from the lowest point. I had moderated Spoilers for nearly two days and my method was working. People still screamed bloody murder when their threads were locked. I even started receiving hate mail. I was having a blast. The spoilers forum was coming around and starting to recover from the recent events. It was staying clean and people were posting spoilers again.

On March 26 at about 4:00pm, I walked away from my computer for about ten minutes. Spoilers was quiet. Not much going on so I decided to go grab some fresh air. When I returned, hell had erupted once again. I didn’t realize what had happened at first. I stared at the screen and tried to understand why every thread appeared to have been born early that morning. I had been on the board all day and people had been posting in the afternoon. Then it hit me. Someone had wiped out an entire page of threads. An entire day was gone. It was like when you are sleeping and you think you have awakened only to realize that you are still in the same nightmare.

I started screaming to anyone who would listen. I needed to know what was going on. I had been working hard and felt I had made some headway. Now it was all gone. All ruined in a ten minute period. The spoilers were on the brink of bloody rebellion once again. Once again, no answers were forthcoming.

I was jaded. I had been through this before and didn’t have the energy to do it again. I had been a moderator for two days and I was already burnt out.

Continue reading in Part V

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