The Secret Codex Of The Spoiler Boards
Part IX - Off Topic Is The Place To Be
Elisabeth was gone and so was the hope of keeping EZ isolated from the raging board war.
The Ellipsiiis Brain Trust emerged as the only survivor from the night of spoiler armageddon. Jesus and the Boston Herald had both been wrong. They now joined the junkyard of blown spoilers.
With another correct prediction, indeed with the string of correct predictions, the EBT moved into the limelight. The Boston Herald publicly congratulated them. The rest of the press smelled a story. Soon there were articles about the EBT in the Dallas Morning News, the Washington Post and even USA Today. Fame’s flip side is infamy.
The rumors of EBT having a secret source had been swirling since SurvivorAntarctica’s strange post weeks before. With the correct prediction of Elisabeth, many were now fervently convinced it was true. We only had one episode to go and many doubted there was any way it would be spoiled. The lack of spoilers in this final week combined with the mystery of the EBT caused the storm that was quietly brewing beneath the surface to explode.
The match that lit the fuse was Colby’s mother. She had visited as part of the reward challenge. EBT had predicted this would happen in their summary and many people could see no way it could have been foretold. Possibly even more damaging to the EBT’s case was Colby’s shower. The verbiage of the EBT summary was just too damned close to what Colby had actually said. It was all too convenient for many citizens of EZ.
That night and into the next day, threads popped up all over exploring the EBT mystery. Some went at it like good spoiler detectives. Some went at it like evangelists on a crusade. The debate centered around three main areas: did they have a source? had they lied about having a source? would a source be ethical?
One of the real hard core chargers in all this was pheenix11. To this day, I don’t know if he was serious or not. His posts talked about EBT being part of a grand conspiracy, all part of a grand scheme connected back to Mark Burnett. Pheenix11’s theory was that the evil Mark was using the EBT to distract the Spoilers and would use them to pull the rug out before the final episode. It played right into the paranoia that had been lazily drifting around the board since the infamous final four picture.
There was talk of satellite feeds from Nova Scotia, Asia and even Australia. There was talk of super hackers tapping into CBS and stealing the show summary before it appeared on the site. Pheenix11 even popped up the theory that everything was controlled by Mark Burnett and was part of some crazy online interactive experience. According to him, Ellipsiiis, Uncle Camerman and all the angels were involved.
With so many weird characters floating around, it didn’t take long for some to come up with absolutely the most whacked out theory yet. Everything was a massive online role playing game. Seraphaem and Ellipsiiis were the key players in this super secret game. By an unknown method, they were keeping score and it involved the number and quality of their posts on EZ. As strange as this theory was, it made an insane sort of sense. It brought back memories of the EBT thread game, tied it to Seraphaem and packaged it all into the story of the wars of heaven and the fall of Lucifer. St. John stoned out of his mind on the Isle of Patmos couldn’t have written stuff this strange.
We knew we had a problem. In the past when the spoilers starting spoiling Ellipsiiis instead of the show, we simply chastised everyone and locked the thread. We deleted the truly rancid ones. It was pretty effective. Threads kept being created asking about Ellipsiiis but with a frequency that we could handle. This time was definitely different. The threads were proliferating with alarming speed and some big time posters were involved in both sides of the fight. We knew that if we locked these threads, a riot would ensue and we might as well shut the board down. There was no way to simply squash this event.
One of my favorite threads on Off Topic was the “Who is your favorite NHL team?” It just seemed so weirdly out of place. Sometimes I would just look at it sitting there on the front page of the off topic forum and wonder why anyone would ever start a hockey thread on a survivor board. You certainly couldn’t get more off topic. Pheenix11 correctly named the Off Topic forum the DEAD ASS BOARD. During the final week, the Spoilers forum was getting around 3000 hits and 300 posts a day. I don’t think off topic had put up numbers like that in any month. If ever. There was no one there. It was a ghost town except for the resident hockey nuts.
The Ellipsiiis conspiracy threads were threatening to eat the spoiler forum whole. By now, half the threads on the front page were spoiling EBT and not the show. It looked to only get worse. After a brief discussion down in the sewers, a solution arose. Why not just move them all to off topic? They were literally off topic and nobody went to the ghost town forum anyway. That would get all the mess off the spoiler forum and hopefully some of the more rabid posters would follow. With the zealots gone, we could get spoilers back under control.
On April 29th, I personally moved all EBT related threads to the Off Topic Forum.
That woke them up.
Pheenix11 was the first to notice that all the threads had disappeared. He was now convinced more than ever that EBT and Mark Burnett controlled the board. He soon found his threads over in Off Topic and promptly started flaming away at the injustice of these threads being buried in a graveyard.
Of course they weren’t buried. They were right there. Still open. Not locked. Completely intact. In addition to moving all EBT related threads both the present ones and the future ones to Off Topic, we also decided that we would allow almost anything to be posted in off topic. As long as it didn’t cross the usual boundaries of decency, people could rail against the EBT, talk about conspiracies and even scream about how unfair the admins were. Everything would be fair game in off topic land.
I certainly got toasted a few times. I had my detractors and at time would even get “hate” mail. I found most of it pretty amusing. I kept my mouth shut and let them wail away about what a big meanie I was. The only times I would step in was when clarification was needed on an admistrative matter. For example, not long after the thread move, DeepKangaroo showed up stating that since EBT moderators controlled the board, the threads were moved in an obvious attempt to continue the obfuscation. I politely explained that it was an administrative decision since these threads were threatening to kill the spoiler forum. I should have seen DK’s arrival and his not so veiled flame as an indication that participants from both sides of the Board War were waiting to jump in the mix. Unfortunately, I missed the boat on that one.
I also found a new weapon. Humor. It was easy to get angry. Many of these threads were trashing me. I was used to it so I didn’t mind. Many were also trashing some very good friends of mine. That I minded a great deal. Experience had shown me that replying angrily would only reinforce the theory that the board was controlled by EBT. So I started using humor.
Stylemaster2001 also had a pretty good sense of humor. Although I did snap at him once, I knew that he was simply enjoying the whole conspiracy thing and couldn’t resist poking fun at EBT. Once he asked, if the EBT did no spoiling and just waited for their source to tell them what happened, what did they do all week? I responded that we all sat around and stared at the fire. It was a reference to a Colby line from the show. I don’t think anyone got it.
The Spoilers forum was finally coming around. Except for those damned angels and devils, it was comfortably coming back on topic.
Down the road at Off Topic things were rumbling, tumbling and getting weirder.
Ellipsiiis herself even showed up. The namesake of the mysterious board posted a link to the newly minted EBT FAQ. It was detailed. It explained a lot. It never denied the existence of a source. It was well intended but probably had little effect. Ellipsiiis didn’t post any more after posting the link.
At a neighboring board someone claimed to have a name of the EBT source. Now that name started leaking into all the conversations.
Back over in spoilers, Beefjerky was fighting his personal battles with the Angels and Demons. Finally he could stand it no longer. He started locking their threads. He didn’t move them to off topic and this caused some consternation among certain people. Frankly, we were sick of Serapheam, KronosHedron and their whole brood. Their threads would inevitably take spoilers off topic again and they refused to go away. They posted links to mystery web sites, they posted long ramblings and they posted material that we knew was patently false. It was like some massive game. Finally, Beefjerky reached his limit and let the axe fall. He banned Seraphaem, Kronoshedron, Asmodeus and their entire ilk.
It would be nice if the story of Angels and Demons ended there but it didn’t. Many had already seen the link to a website that was supposed to reveal all if you were able to solve the puzzles. We deleted the link but there was no stopping the curious. Several days later, the final Serapheam prank was pulled and it was a nasty one. The puzzle would allegedly be solved if you entered the correct password. Many tried and were met with a rude surprise. Put in the wrong password and browser windows started popping open until your computer froze and crashed. Word quickly spread. Some just couldn’t resist the temptation and continued working on the puzzle. The password was finally solved and it revealed, well the only way to put it would be a bunch of nonsense. More preaching and ramblings that didn’t make a lick of sense.
Stylemaster started a thread in Off Topic called Sunday Night Séance. Like Uncle Camerman and CBT before them, the off topic crew now had a central place to focus on the one thing they loved: spoiling Ellipsiiis.
Of course our resident witch couldn’t resist. Owen jumped into this thread with both feet, posting chants, wishing everyone a Happy Beltane and generally having a good time. There was talk about rituals and gay Disney cows and some other things that I still don’t know what the hell have to do with anything. Owen’s presence and willingness to play quelled a great deal of the actual nastiness surrounding the EBT source controversy.
With Off Topic under Owen’s wing, or maybe I should say cloak, I felt pretty comfortable just sitting back and waiting for the next explosion to occur. We were just days away from the finale and I knew it was coming. The only questions were where and when.
Continue reading in Part X