The Secret Codex Of The Spoiler Boards - Part V - We Are Switzerland

The Secret Codex Of The Spoiler Boards

Part V - We Are Switzerland

It was indeed strange days in which we lived. So many events happened in such as short span of time that minutes seemed to turn into hours. Many things seemed jumbled and things never seen before took place.

AtlantaFatMike was reinstated and had a surprise waiting for him. For the only time in EZ’s history an apology was issued to an individual poster. A mysterious new admin named SS posted this personal apology in the brand new FAQ forum. AFM was probably as shocked as anyone by this concession and he was equally shocked that he had been made a moderator. He certainly had never asked for this and he made everyone very aware that he didn’t care and would take no action with this new power.

Others such as Rodgerfan under the guise of Phoenixarising continued to ask for an apology or clarification about what had happened and were met with a ridiculously simple post calling the time of the lockdown a “cooling off” period.

I had put most of the events of the tribulations behind me. I was trying to get Spoilers under control and also learning what my new powers allowed me to do. Then the deletions hit again. Someone deleted an entire page of threads in the spoiler forum. It was like a specter from the past reaching forward to twist fate again.

It seemed like a cruel joke and that’s exactly what it was. We later learned that a malicious poster had obtained the password of a moderator and had used the opportunity to wreak havoc. The situation was corrected quickly and has never happened again.

I was disheartened. I didn’t know what was going on other than the spoiler board had been wrecked again. I wasn’t sure if it could recover this time and I was ready to give up. That night I actually wrote out a resignation post. I decided to take a day to think about it before I posted it. The next day, I decided to take one last look around EZ. I hadn’t really decided if I would quit or just take a break.

As I was wandering through the forums I noticed something strange happening on a thread titled "Question — No link so please don't delete". It seemed to be growing rapidly with new posts being added almost every minute. It also had an intriguing name, so I just had to take a look.

Everyone knew there were other boards out there. They were like neighboring cities that we occasionally read about in the news, but they didn’t really affect the daily life of EZ.

Following his vanishing act from EZ, Gatormeatisyummy formed his own community. It was soon referred to commonly as the Gator Board. Everyone had heard rumblings about trouble between Gatormeatisyummy and the mysterious Ellipsiiis board but no one knew what was going on. It mostly sounded like the usual childish bickering between two boards.

The Ellipsiiis Board was a mystery to most. Everyone knew it existed but few knew exactly what it was. Apparently run by the mysterious Ellipsiiis, The Survivor Resource Center had been around for a while and the spoilers on EZ gleefully used its photo archive, episode schedule and boot sheet. The only thing that was known about the message board itself was that it was invitation only and had correctly predicted Jeff Varner as the first post merge boot.

Neither board had many dealings with EZ at this point other than the occasional member posting. They were both happy in their own domains.

I peered into "Question — No link so please don't delete" thread and was surprised to see many posters I knew as Gator board members posting there. They were highly agitated. It appeared that their board had been completely shut down. There were many rumors and innuendoes. One line that seemed to be taking hold was that CBS had sent a cease and desist letter to the Administrator of the Gator board and he had no choice but to shut down.

I was stunned. This was certainly a twist that I didn’t see coming. Here I was about to take my little vacation and gators were swamping EZ. Many of them were also my friends and I wanted to help. I quickly posted that I would make sure the thread stayed open as long as they promised to remain on it and not start any new ones. After the events of the previous week and the mysterious deletions, I wasn’t even sure I could make good on my promise. I then moved the thread to off topic where it would be less visible to rogue administrators and also wouldn’t disturb the spoilers.

The Gators continued to congregate during the afternoon. They were dazed and still not sure what was going on. I posted what was happening in the Rathaus and the Forces of Darkness were just as clueless as anyone. None of us really thought CBS would have shut down the Gator board. Hell, wouldn’t they shut us down first if they were on a rampage? Obviously something had happened because the fact was no one could access that board.

I asked that no one lock the thread where the gators had gathered. Without a central place to hold them together, I was afraid they would simply scatter to the four winds. The Faceless One did something instead that surprised even me. He set up a new forum called The Temp Gator Board. In this forum, the Gators could gather, posts and sort things out for as long as it would take. I knew the Faceless One had good left in him; I just had to find it.

Even with this comfy new room to play in, the logistics were still going to be tricky. Anyone could access the forum, anyone could post and I didn’t know how to identify the Gators as they came pouring in. I needed someone on the inside to help me. Gummiworms had been a frequent poster at EZ and had migrated to the Gator board once it was formed. She had become a fairly prominent member there. She and I had chatted before so I felt confident in her ability to be reasonable under fire. I asked the Faceless One to make her a moderator and he did. Now, she could monitor their forum and take care of any threads started by non-Gator board members.

Despite the state of shock, everything seemed to be going well for the homeless gators. They were now starting to realize that it was not CBS that had shut down their board but an apparent Denial Of Service attack by unknown hackers. Information was still very hazy. The leaders of the Gator board were trying to sort through the details as well as build a new home. They stopped by to give information as they discovered it. One leader that was missing was Gatormeatisyummy. Apparently he was away and unaware of what had happened.

Since things seemed calm, I went out to grab a bite to eat.

While I was gone something very strange happened. DeepKangaroo was a poster associated with the entire Suvivor world but lately he had been heavily involved with the Gator board. Early that evening he posted in the Temp Gator Board forum a copy of an actual thread that originated from within the mysterious Ellipsiiis board. For the first time, the world could see what was happening in that closed cabal. It was not a flattering picture.

Some Ellipsiiis members had been offering to help the Gators throughout the day. This purloined post however showed that behind their closed doors a few Ellipsiiis members were talking very poorly about the Gator board and its members. They were making fun of the situation at the same time they were offering support in public. It was not a flattering image.

For the first time, EZ saw that what most thought was just a simple board rivalry was actually much more. The origins started long ago when both boards were first formed and it was obvious that the wounds had never healed. Not only was the Ellipsiiis Board exposed in public for the first time, but so was the distaste both sides felt for each other. Some were bemused that adults would take something like this so seriously. Some were a little disgusted that both sides were obviously employing moles and spies.

The Faceless One quickly deleted the post and he issued a statement in the Rathaus to all Mods and Admins: “We are Switzerland”. We all knew what was going on. We had admins and mods that were members of both boards and most knew the entire story and just how heated the conflicts had been between these two boards. The official stance of EZ was that no matter what our personal affiliations, we would be neutral. We would not take sides. We would not tolerate open conflict within our own territory. The Gators were welcome to stay until their new home was ready. Ellipsiiis members were welcome to post but any sign of fighting would be squashed immediately.

Of course the damage had been done. The Gator members were in a high dither about the situation. Many had seen the Ellipsiiis thread and their anger seethed close to the surface.

I returned home feeling pretty good about myself. What had been a disaster with the deleted threads had turned into something positive with the rescue of the Gator posters. I was feeling pretty full of myself. I was brought quickly to earth when I saw what had happened in my absence. Despite my sudden feeling of sadness at the animosity that was building, things seem to have settled down again and I hoped that it was just a blip on the screen.

Gatormeatisyummy arrived at about 10:00 that night.

Having been informed about the destruction of the community he built, he was highly agitated. Being informed about the duplicitous posts of certain Ellipsiiis members raised the bar even higher. With Gator, the conflict with the Ellipsiiis board was intensely personal. What happened next would intertwine the fates of four boards for the next two months.

Gator received more stolen posts from the Ellipsiiis board. These posts showed that the Gator board was not the only one participating in spy games. The stolen posts exposed that an Ellipsiiis board member had accessed the Gator board private forums. Gator went nuts. With allegations of hackers and DOS attacks swirling around the circumstances of the death of the Gator board, this new information that unauthorized access had occurred was the match to the tender. The copied threads were immediately deleted but everyone had seen them. Gator began screaming for justice to be done. The community he had worked so hard to build had been destroyed and now he had evidence of mischief by another board. In his mind the two were too coincidental to be unrelated and he wanted blood.

It’s a toss up as to who actually deleted the incendiary threads as there were several administrators pointing and clicking as fast as they could to keep the conflagration contained. I desperately tried to contact gummiworms. Finally, she and I hooked up on IM and agreed that the situation had to calm down. Open warfare would only result in more destruction. Gummi wisely advised the Gator members to stop any posting about the Ellipsiiis Board and through back channels the Ellipsiiis members were warned to stay off EZ. Someone also contacted Gator and convinced him to edit his inflammatory posts.

It was brief and it was vicious, but now it was over. No more threads were started in the Temp Gator Board about the situation with the Ellipsiiis Board. No Ellipsiiis members showed their faces on EZ. Some things, however, could never be changed. Every one on EZ now knew that their neighbors were involved in a vicious little conflict. Also, everyone was now very aware of the existence of the Ellipsiiis Board.

I was too wired to sleep that night. I stayed up most of the night just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Fortunately, it never did. The next day, I got an email from gummiworms. The Gators had created a temporary home on another EZ board and were moving out. We decided to keep the Temp Gator Board up for a few days with all the threads locked so stray Gators could find their way home. She and I locked up all the threads and that was the end of it. As I looked at the now abandoned forum it reminded me of a house where the residents had moved. All the furniture was gone, no pictures on the walls, the cupboards were bare. But you could still feel the presence of the recent occupants.

With the Gators gone, the controversy went with them. We now had peace in our time.

Continue reading in Part VI

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