One of the first boards to split from Sucks, it is often not considered one of the splinterverse because a home was found outside of EZ Board. However, after several hacks and failings, it appeared back in the EZ splinterverse on various occasions.
Known as Voted Off or the Gator Board it survived, mostly as a spoiler board for close to a year before a series of civil wars splintered it further. Many of the VO splinters, such as Tim Hortons, ended up back on EZ.
It breathed its last breath in early 2008.
The CODEX OF VO
(as published at Gator's Retreat on EZ Board)
No Title IV
(2/17/02 12:24:10 pm)
My history… (prelude)
If anyone disputes the facts that I will begin typing, let them. I frankly don't care to get into a pissing contest. The fact of the matter is that this is based on the information to which I have been made privy. Based on that information, you can come to your own conclusions. I have come to mine.
I began at Survivor Sucks on PlanetSucks as a lurker. I stumbled across the site too late in the game to become a member. What drew me to the site was the pure wit that accompanied the imaginative spoiling. I don't recall any posts about bodily functions or hatred among posters. I had never been a member of a message board on any topic. I thought that they were the domain of hormonal adolescents and perverts. Survivor Sucks proved me wrong (for a short time).
After the first season, I wanted nothing more than to join the ranks of posters at the board. But the board was closed in the off-season and when I finally check in November of 2000, they had again closed the registration. I continued to lurk wishing I could chime in. On Feb. 15, I visited the board and my prayers were answered. There, right on the front page was a link to Survivor Sucks EZ. I immediately registered and jumped right in head first - kcmjester was alive.
Not having posted to any message boards, I knew nothing about etiquette. I had been searching the Web for information on the S2 contestants and began posting it on SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ. There was a post about Jerri's high school message board and one about Colby's arrest for failure to appear on a speeding ticket. Coachocd (I believe that is who it was) gave me my first reply, discussing how he/she had never seen that information and how it was interesting. I had made a connection and loved it.
I immediately learned my first lesson about message boards. Read all posts and look for duplicates. A poster by the name of vvicked pointed out that the same two posts were already up. They had fallen to page 13. Apparently, I wasn't the only one who had been waiting to speak. By vvicked's standards, his admonishment of me was rather tame, but I had learned my lesson. I began to read all of the posts and only posted when I had new information to add. Often times I was up until 2 a.m. reading the posts. (My wife was none too happy.)
But Survivor Sucks EZ soon became a breeding ground for miscreants. Decent posts were dropped several pages down in a matter of minutes.
On one day, toward the end of February, I was particularly interested in a thread that discussed the possibility that Keith would win a second straight immunity challenge after the merge. A photo from the previews surfaced with him supposedly wearing the necklace. The debate raged about if it was actually the necklace and if indeed it was a future challenge or the one that had passed.
I was very skeptical at first, but put the photo on my hard drive and began to play with it. The more I enhanced it, the more I was convinced he was wearing the necklace and that it was from a future episode. There were others who agreed with me, but every time we tried to put up our arguments, we were shouted down by pissants who had little to bring to the discussion other than "You're stupid. So there." And the thread continued to be bumped to the second page. Not to mention that I never figured out how to post an image on SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ and was having a difficult time making my point without the evidence.
While I became more and more frustrated trying to argue my point, a thread appeared out of the blue. It was from an old-time poster named Gatormeatisyummy.
Gator had split from the old SURVIVOR SUCKS board because he felt that they had become elitist toward the new bastard it had spawned. There were lots of remarks that referred to SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ as the "B board." They had turned their wit on those who most admired it.
Gator felt that the SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ posters had something to offer and turned his back on the other old-timers. Once he arrived at SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ, he quickly realized why it had become a laughingstock and I imagine he too had become frustrated. From what I have been told, he was approached by another SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ poster who used the name Sir_Viv_Or. His real name was James Roy.
James had quietly gone off and started his own board on Virtual Ave. He didn't think that he was well-known enough to ask people to join his board, so he asked Gator if he would do the honors and share the board with him.
Gator checked out the features of the board and liked what he saw. My seeing his invitation post was just dumb luck. I was frustrated with SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ and wanted to go somewhere quiet to discuss the Keith pictures. I immediately jumped at the chance.
If I had to do it again knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have followed the link and just stayed in obscurity.
To be continued…
No Title IV
(2/17/02 1:17:57 pm)
My history… (part 2)
Within 30 seconds of receiving my registration confirmation, I began to post at the new site, from work. (Where I was posting from will become important later in this story.) I was member #14.
My first post was a continuation of the SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ thread discussing the photo of Keith wearing the necklace. As soon as I hit reply, I saw that another poster by the name of GotaJaguar had posted a similar discussion, but his had photos. I realized that I could now post all of my PhotoShop work. I was in heaven. I suggested that my first post be locked and the discussion continue in Jaguar's post.
Over the course of the next several days we discussed the photo. I posted a blown-up, embossed image of the supposed necklace around Keith's neck. Someone else posted an image of the actual necklace, and sure enough, they were an exact match.
Other discussions that took place were a request to any Australian's to search newspapers for information on the contestants. AussieWattle took up the challenge, but was unable to find any information.
In addition, Gator and someone with the name BoardAdmin posted several times asking for suggestions on how to make the board better (I did not know at the time that BoardAdmin was James or that he was a he). BoardAdmin very rarely posted in public.
Several of the suggestions were as a direct result of frustration with SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ. An Off Topic forum was created, along with a Speculation forum, and a forum to discuss S1. This new board had lots of great features that made posting that much more fun. You could send PMs, see poster rankings, and you could see who was online at any given time reading various posts.
On Thursday of that week, we found out that our spoiling of Keith winning immunity was indeed correct. We were now a legitimate spoiling community. During the course of the week, our numbers had grown to over 100 and every day, more and more people frustrated at SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ joined us.
On the Friday following, Gator made a post that quite frankly began my long road as a moderator/administrator on these message boards.
He suggested that since the numbers had grown so quickly, we were in need of moderators. He did not like how SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ chose their mods at random and felt that the members should vote on who they thought was best suited for the task. In the same post he nominated Deeno, Jaguar and to my shock, myself.
I sent him an e-mail and said I would be happy to assist, he just had to let me know what was expected of me. It was March 14. I had been on message boards for all of one month and was now being asked to help baby sit one of them.
I wasn't sure I would be of much help. I was told that all I had to do was make sure everyone posted in the correct forums and that there were no duplicate posts. Sounded easy enough so I accepted and asked to be named a moderator in the Speculation forum. (I figured that if I made any mistakes they would not be magnified as much as the would have been in Spoilers.)
Soon after, Gummiwormz, PinkRoziz, and others were nominated and named moderators. Each forum was given two moderators and Gator and the mysterious BoardAdmin were named moderators in each. I teamed up with PinkRoziz in Speculation.
By the next week, our numbers had exploded. If I recall, we were quickly over 400 posters. A Board Tribal Council was created so that the moderators and admins could discuss issues concerning the make-up of the forums, difficult posters, and the course of the board. The old SURVIVOR SUCKS had tried a BTC, but it caused a lot of problems. We explained to the members that it was only a forum to discuss board policies and not a forum to remove anyone's membership.
In BTC, we had more fun than anywhere else. Jokes flew back and forth and I often found myself spending more time in there than on the rest of the board. During this time, a poster by the name of NoSaltonthemargarita had taken over the Off Topic board. She had a signature that cracked you up, "I said, no salt, no salt on the margarita." Every few days, she would change the signature, but it always referred to margaritas. It became a running joke in Off Topic.
When we decided that we needed a moderator for the Off-Topic forum, I nominated NoSalt. I further suggested that the name should be changed to the Margarita Lounge in honor of her. (Yes, I am taking credit for the name.)
An issue soon arose in BTC. Our numbers were growing out of control and we would soon be in danger of crashing the board. A decision was made to stop allowing new posters and to stop advertising the board on SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ until the bandwidth issues could be resolved.
But it was too late, the proverbial cat was already out of the proverbial bag.
To be continued…
No Title IV
(2/17/02 1:45:47 pm)
Re: My history… (part 3)
It was in BTC that I first learned about the EBT. I had known about the EBT boot sheet Web site, but did not know that there was another message board that was comprised of most of the original SURVIVOR SUCKS posters.
Gator had been a member of EBT and had some sort of falling out with them. (To this day, I'm not completely sure about what happened.) He was very bitter and paranoid toward them. I soon learned that most of the other mods had applied for membership at EBT but were denied because of their involvement at VO. They too harbored some hatred toward this other group.
I had never applied for membership there and I knew little about the situation so I refused to get drawn into politics that were out of my control. But it was clear that many of the other mods had problems with this group. Deeno was one of those mods. He vaguely referenced an e-mail that he had received and changed his name to OnceBittenTwiceRotten (or something thereabouts).
Every day there was a new thread in BTC about what "they" were saying and doing. We tried to keep these discussions in the BTC, but they occasionally seeped into the other forums.
We started a Fantasy Outback team and the competition really began. A member named Gopher was named the moderator of the newly created forum devoted to discussing our FOB picks. We now had two forums that were not open to the general membership. We should have just painted a bulls-eye on our backs.
We faired well the first couple of weeks in FOB, but we were getting blown away by EBT. Somewhere about this time, Gator made a suggestion that they had an inside source. He claimed to have proof, but since I really had not paid any attention to the problem from the start, I do not recall what the proof was. Besides, most of Gator's posts on the subject were often vague and full of venom rather than fact.
A new moderator with the name Snewser soon arrived. BoardAdmin had told us at the beginning that he wanted to get him to join as a moderator and that he was going to hold a spot for him in the Spoilers forum. When Snewser finally agreed, he was made a mod in spoilers and Jag was moved to a lesser forum.
Snewser, who was the web master of a survivor news site, seemed to know a lot about the EBT. He and Gator began sharing notes in BTC. It all seemed a bit weird to me. Why were so many people so concerned over another message board? To this day, I still don't understand the paranoia that sprung forth. I chose to live and let live and did not pay attention to what was going on with the EBT.
During the three weeks I had spent at VO, I had begun to visit SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ less and less. There was nothing there for me. During this time, they had the great purge, the mass exodus to Hobitopia and the shut down of the board. I can not offer any inside information on those events.
But when SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ reopened, a poster using the name uptohere began posting a link to our new home. We were already filled to capacity and were waiting to find a way around the bandwidth issues. I went into SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ to do battle.
I quickly began bumping his (yes it was a he) posts down to try to bury them. Others, including NoSalt, were with me. We were fighting a losing battle. Every time we got it off the front page, he would bump it back, and it seemed that the SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ mods could care less. Soon he named me as a conspirator in one of his posts. In his ramblings, he mentioned that he was mad at Gator for starting a new board that was supposed to be open to the masses and then closing it.
I assumed a new name, TimesUp, and began to bump him down again. He eventually gave up that day, but returned a few days later and did the same. We now had enemies out in the open and our numbers started to grow again.
On March 27th, around 11 a.m., the world of VO came to a screeching halt.
To be continued…
No Title IV
(2/17/02 2:18:08 pm)
Re: My history… (part 4)
For days, I had been trying to figure out who uptohere was. It was clear from his posts that he was a member of VO. I began to run Web searches on various members, trying to see if they used the name elsewhere.
Gator and other were convinced that he was a member of EBT trying to sabotage our new board. Soon various moderators began to receive information that we were not alone in BTC. I believe Snewser was first to find out. Through one of his sources, he somehow had access to the EBT board and discovered that they were discussing information that about VO that was only available in BTC.
The paranoia now took hold of all of us. We began to post more guarded in BTC and with less frequency. Deeno all but disappeared. On March 27 at around 11 a.m., I was composing a PM to BoardAdmin. I had narrowed down my suspects as to the identity of uptohere and was letting him know who they were. I used a simple way to find it out - who was posting at the VO board during the times that uptohere was posting at SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ. I figured that whoever it was would want to watch the chaos they were creating.
The suspects I had were inconsequential (I was wrong anyway). What was important was the fact that when I hit send, I got a strange message. I was told that the board was unavailable. Figuring it was just temporary, I went to SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ to read up on old posts. After being there for about an hour, uptohere again appeared. He asked if anyone knew what happened to the Gator board, as VO had become to be known.
It is ironic that he started that thread, because it soon took on a life of its own as all of the VO posters chimed in that they could not access the board either. Rumors began to fly. EPMB had issued a cease and desist order because we began using names from Survivor to identify board rankings (this was concern that was brought up in BTC before the rankings were ever brought to the membership).
As the day wore on, it became clear that something was amiss. It turns out that someone had set up another board on SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ simply named "Legal Department" (or thereabouts). This person sent an e-mail to BoardAdmin and told him that he represented the Virtual Ave. legal department. The person said that CBS had asked them to pull the plug on the site because we had violated their copyrights. Wow! We had made the big time.
In the meantime, NoSalt decided to create a new EZ board where we could all go to hang out and not be bothered by the unwashed masses that we all felt inhabited SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ. Griftd had provided us with a temporary forum, but we knew we could not stay there forever.
She was new to EZ and asked a VO poster by the name of MaskedMarvel to help her set up the board. MaskedMarvel was known by the name TheSociologist on SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ. The two of them worked through the night and into the next day setting up the board (the very board we are on right now). Meanwhile BoardAdmin and Gator had all but disappeared. They were only heard from by an occasional e-mail. Gator was spewing venom about EBT, but again it went over my head.
Within a day, the new board was ready to go and we all joined up again. All the mods were back in place but for Deeno. He had disappeared.
At the new Retreat, as it was dubbed, in public we went about spoiling as if nothing had happened. But in BTC, we were pissed off. As it turns out, CBS did not put us out of business. We were the victims of a denial of service (DOS) attack that was coordinated with the fake cease and desist from the phony Legal Department board. Virtual Ave decided that we exceeded our band width and would not let us back.
Speculation soon turned on EBT as the culprits behind the DOS. We really had little recourse though. What were we going to do, call the police?
We knew that they had access to some of our BTC messages, and that they took us out. Everyone began to cast a paranoid eye at each other. Gator received an e-mail (that I wasn't privy to until a while later) that played right into his suspicions. The anonymous e-mail told him that he was responsible for the DOS and that he would do it again. It was signed The Social Guy.
TheSociologist, or Soc for short, had become a mod at the Retreat due to the fact that he knew how to build a board on EZ. NoSalt had used him to help and made him a mod, without the consent of the other mods.
Gator now had his suspect, but he was not sure if it was totally true. He decided to leave the board, because as his post alluded, he did not trust another one of the mods. He chose to share this information with a select few of the mods. I was not one of them. I too was a suspect.
At about the same time, a new EZ board showed up, called the Security Board. Most of the forums were not open to the public. The one forum that was open was for registration. Only EBT members were admitted. Most curious of all, one of the forums was named "Discussion about the Gator Board." We were now being spied upon and it was clear that the spies were the EBT. Maybe Gator had a right to be paranoid.
I began searching for information on all of the mods. I went to other Survivor message boards, under the name TimesUp, and tried to stir up trouble to see who would bite. At Hobitopia, I got my first nibble. I posted a link to the security board and wanted to see who tried to bump it down. A newly registered poster by the name of KissMyBigArse (not sure who it really was) showed up and obliged.
I felt that if Soc was a mole, I did not want any more association with this stuff. In less than two months I had gone from a message board virgin to embroiled into a spy game. It was too much for me. I resigned as a mod at the Retreat and went about my merry way.
I couldn't get out that easy though.
To be continued…
No Title VI
(2/19/02 8:09:02 pm)
Re: My history… (part 5)
One of the drawbacks to being a moderator on a message board is that you soon forget what it is like to be a member. I don't mean that you immediately become a tyrannical dictator, you simply forget how to have fun at the board. You forget the reason that you joined the board in the first place. It is kind of like being the kid in elementary school whom the teacher asks to write the name of the troublemakers on the board when she leaves.
Now, I was free of this burden and beginning to have fun again. I posted at the Retreat as if I was a regular member. I even nominated several members to replace me (suckers!).
I knew nothing of what was going on in the background, but because I am an idiot, I would soon learn. I had sent Gator and NoSalt e-mails outlining my suspicions of Soc. Neither replied. I gave up my search and released my paranoia.
While at the Retreat, we started to gain new members from SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ. We weren't advertised, but we weren't hidden either. Our numbers there never came close to the over 600 we had at Virtual Ave, but we were still growing. After about two weeks, a post appeared in the password protected FOB forum. It was from Gator and it invited us all to the newly created VO Board.
As I would learn later all of the mods who had resigned, Gator, BoardAdmin, and Snewser included, had gone off and started a Yahoo Group called Rotted Spoilers. At Rotted Spoilers they continued to discuss EBT, the DOS attack, suspected moles, and other board business as if they had never resigned.
I knew nothing of this and was just happy to have the old board back. I went off and strutted my stuff. I showed up at SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ as TimesUp and posted a link to the Security Board. A good many posters now saw the board that the EBT had created and paranoia was rampant. To further show my disdain for the group I felt AT THAT TIME was responsible for shutting us down, I went to their doorstep and had a Margarita party. (In an EBT post that Snewser or Gator had secretly obtained, we had earlier learned that one of their members, Liquidstar, had made light of our penchant for virtual margaritas.) I was quickly banned from the site.
When I found my way to the new VO, the first thing I did was send BoardAdmin a PM. I asked if I could return to my position as a moderator in the Speculation forum. He obliged and I was back in the fray.
** Back at the Retreat, everyone had left for the new board, except for Soc. He occasionally posted there to let everyone know that he applied to the new board, but was denied for some unknown reason. (In hindsight, it was kind of sad actually so read some of the posts.)
Within about a week of being at the new board, I quickly realized that something was different. When I posted in the BTC, nobody would reply. It seemed as if I was the only one in there. In particular, I remember posting a PM that I had received from TrueDorkTimes asking if I had a list of names of individuals who had been let into the security board. When I posted the information in BTC, not one person replied.
Finally after another week, my answer finally arrived in the form of an invitation to join Rotted Spoilers. The invitation was cryptic at best. I did not understand what it was. I had now become a member of approximately four message boards and did not wish to join another, so I ignored it. Another invitation came and I ignored that too.
Finally Gopher and Tanzer (who I believe was named a mod shortly before we got DOS'd) both sent me PMs and explained what Rotted had become. The other mods were still wary of BTC's privacy and had turned Rotted into an off-the-board BTC. It was started on April 2. I joined on April 20 and there were over 500 posts already I had a lot of catching up to do.
The important information that I learned was that Liquidstar had admitted to "hacking" Virtual Ave and using the name and password of several members and moderators to find out information on VO. This is how they received protected information from the BTC. As part of his penance, he was asked to tell how he did it, to which he obliged and the holes were plugged. He never admitted to the DOS attack. To this day that still remains a mystery, but I have my suspect.
Liquidstar had also approached TDT and inquired why he wanted to know who was in the Security Board. Since I posted that information in the new VO BTC, I had been a suspect.
A few people apologized to me when they learned the truth, but many did not. I let bygones be bygones, overlooked the paranoia, and went about my business of moderating my forum. I also learned that a new moderator had been named. On April 19, SnowWhite was named a moderator at VO.
All was back to normal… for about two days.
To be continued…
No Title VI
(2/20/02 7:06:34 pm)
My history… (part 6)
It seemed as if all of our troubles were behind us. Liquidstar admitted to spying on us and we had buried the hatchet with some of the more prominent EBT members.
The one major problem was that there was no more spoiling going on. The EBT, as they later admitted, had a source and everyone was just waiting to read their summaries every week. While Jesus, Seraphaem, and UncleCamerman kept everyone amused, spoiling as it had existed during S1 had ground to a halt.
(Editor's Note: I know all of the claims of EBT members that Darkrivers (their source) did not provide all the details and that they did some spoiling on their own. I am sure they did. They are/were a very talented and resourceful group. But at this point there is little to change my opinion. If you gave me three numbers in the PowerBall Lottery, I'd have a lot better chance of winning the jackpot. Enough said?)
SnowWhite at first seemed to be just the right person to moderate the Margarita Lounge. She was very personable and cared greatly about the community. She had joined the community shortly before we were DOS'd at Virtual Ave. I am not sure, but I believe she never even posted there. She was a lurker, just like the rest of us when we started.
She has subsequently told me that when she received her initial registration from Virtual Ave., she struck up an e-mail correspondence with BoardAdmin (James). From all accounts James thought that Snow reminded him of his fiancée Anne. James and Snow became instant friends and Snow even began corresponding with Anne.
When we moved to the Retreat, I believe Snow began posting and she may have even received several nominations as a moderator. But since all of the original mods had left and began Rotted Spoilers, they did not feel an obligation to honor the votes from the Retreat. The feeling basically was that all of the mods needed were present, just not visible.
At Rotted Spoilers a poll was started. It asked how we should name new moderators. In a 12-0 vote it was decided that all new moderators would be voted upon in BTC. Those receiving a majority vote would be allowed in. Even James voted in favor of this idea.
So on April 19, when PinkRoziz announced that Snow had become a mod, it took many by surprise. In the grand scheme of things, I believe it was well within James' rights to name whoever he wanted as a mod. But I don't think it was politically a wise move. My guess is that people immediately began to question he and PinkRoziz about the new mod being named despite our agreed upon procedures, because a few days later there was an explanation post from PinkRoziz. She explained that it was James' decision.
He thought that we had all liked her and that there was no harm in making her a mod. Besides, the post went on, it was his board and he could do as he pleased.
I'm sure this did not sit well with Gator. Gator was a very good spoiler, quite intelligent and mature for a 19 year old. (He was quite mysterious and guarded about his personal identity. As near as anyone could tell, he was a 19-year-old college student.) But like most 19-year-olds, he felt that he knew how the world should operate.
It was his opinion that the board should be run democratically and that if it was impractical for all of the members to vote on every issue, at the very least the mods and admins should have a vote. Add that to the fact that he fancied himself the owner of the board (it was called the Gator board after all) and the stage was set for a show down. All that was needed was a spark to start the fire.
The spark was provided in the form of an individual who in my opinion was very deranged - Jaguar.
(Editor's Note #2: In the following description, I shall be slightly guarded in my words. Please forgive me. I did not witness all of the behavior and can not say, therefore, that it actually happened. All I can do is explain what I was told. I am in no way saying that any crimes, no matter how small or great, were committed.)
Jag, previous to the troubles that began the downfall of the original VO mods, had always purported himself in a very friendly manner to me. I had never had any problems with him and I actually liked him.
The events that follow caught me quite off-guard. It was late in the afternoon and I was getting ready to leave work when I received an urgent e-mail from PinkRoziz. It said that all of the moderators were requested to go to chat immediately to discuss a most pressing matter. I thought, "Oh no. Here we go again with the EBT."
I did not chat. I was chat-phobic. But the urgency of this message caused me to download Yahoo IM, sign up and join in the chat. Not everyone was there, but I was filled in on the basics. Several female moderators had begun having discussions over the previous few days. They had all shared their experiences dealing with Jag. They came to realize that, in their words, he was sexually harassing them.
There were accusations that he had been sending unsolicited sexually explicit material to SnowWhite and had made NoSalt and PinkRoziz feel uncomfortable at various times. I had to leave work and could not participate in the full chat with the rest of the mods, but I did receive a transcript of the chat later that night. From the transcript, it was clear that several felt very uncomfortable around him. The males in the group, for the most part, were not in favor of kicking him out.
To the best of my recollection, it was decided that he should apologize to anyone he had offended and we would move on. The next day, his apology appeared at Rotted Spoilers. It was brief and slightly insincere, but he had apologized. But that was not enough.
SnowWhite claimed that she was now receiving some disturbing and threatening e-mails. They were video clips of a female porn star at work and a real life photo of SnowWhite was pasted over the porn star's face. The e-mails claimed that they would be sent to her parents as well. I believe that James was sent one as well. (If it wasn't sent directly to him, it was forwarded to him by someone else.)
James made a post at Rotted that he was tired of dealing with nonsense and he was quitting. That is when Gator and Snewser stepped in. Another chat session was held to discuss the latest developments. It was clear that Jag's apology was not enough - more drastic action had to be taken.
Again, I did not participate in the second chat session, but did receive a transcript. PinkRoziz seemed to be guiding the conversation. She wanted to run it like a real life trial. All sides would get to present their arguments and a vote would be taken to decide his fate. The options were; to do nothing, demote him as a mod, or ban him altogether.
During the course of the conversation, as chat sessions often do, it continually wandered off course. PinkRoziz continued to try to focus everyone, but in the end the trial never happened. Snow continuously pointed out, in all CAPS, that she would accept nothing short of banning him.
No evidence, in my opinion, was ever presented that warranted his banning and I felt slightly uncomfortable with the decision. Nonetheless there were several female mods who felt uncomfortable around him and in an anonymous vote, he was banned.
It was a nasty mess, but one, with the benefit of hindsight, provided the right decision. The mess it created though, was another one entirely and much larger.
To be continued…
(Edited to fix typos - kcmjester)
(Edited to fix additional typos - kcmjester)
Edited by: kcmjester at: 2/20/02 8:38:38 pm
No Title VI
My history… (part 7)
Posted: 2/23/02 11:02:31 am
Jaguar's banning at VO was a tense time for everyone. When most of the members were at the Retreat and the mods were at Rotted Spoilers, Jag, PinkRoziz and James were off building the new VO home on the macinsearch server. I don't know how much Jag helped set up, but it was enough to make James nervous about security.
But as luck would have it, he went quietly (at first). He simply faded away from VO. Being in public relations, I have a knack for writing long explanations that say nothing. I took it upon myself to draft an explanation for the membership regarding Jag's departure, but nobody asked for a couple of weeks. When someone finally did ask, we put the explanation out there and it mostly satisfied all parties. The crisis had come and gone with little lingering effects.
The real fireworks started soon after Jag's departure. It is my understanding that Snow, PinkRoziz, NoSalt and several of the other female mods maintained a very friendly existence and chatted quite often. While some of the mods were upset that Snow was named without a vote, it seemed that she was being accepted.
We were still using Rotted Spoilers as our BTC, but James was growing weary of this. He was sure that security at VO had been corrected and wanted all discussions to continue at VO. Partially, I think, because he did not have control over Rotted.
James Roy was 24. He lived in or around Montreal, spoke broken English, and was engaged to his life-long girlfriend, Anne. James had informed us sometime in May that they were expecting their first child. He was very excited about this and often talked more about the yet-to-be-born child than VO.
James also had a serious heart condition. He alluded to his illness occasionally, but none of the mods knew the true seriousness of his condition. I certainly never imagined how serious it was.
Maybe because he was to become a new father or maybe because he was just tired of taking a back seat, nobody knows the real reason, but James, almost out of nowhere, suddenly began to assert his authority over VO.
As I have said before, since he owned the board, that was well within his rights, but there were certainly better ways to gain control than the ways he chose. I honestly believe that some of the problems arose from his poor English. His e-mails were very choppy and abrupt. I don't think he meant them to come out that way, but he was at a disadvantage communicating in a second language. I think his abruptness was taken as a sign of arrogance from some of the mods who previously had never heard much from James.
Mostly though, the split at VO, in my opinion was a long-brewing power struggle between James and Gator. On May 27, James made a post at Rotted. He asked that we cease posting there and move all of the discussions to the BTC at VO. At the time, it seemed innocuous, but looking back, I think it was James' way of saying he had had enough of not having control of HIS board.
Immediately following that post, he put another up. He suggested that we name Soc as Jag's replacement. Soc had all but disappeared in public, but as I later learned he had maintained a dialogue with James and Snewser. The two of them felt he had been seriously wronged in the whole EBT fiasco. He was accused of being a mole, removed from being a mod, and never given an explanation.
I, and other mods, were against it. But there were some in favor as well. I felt that, in the off-season, we did not need another mod and I was still not too sure if we could trust Soc.
Snow, was all for it. After becoming a mod, I don't think she ever really respected the rest of the group. While the rest of the mods posted all decisions or concerns at Rotted for discussion, Snow went directly to James for his decision. Increasingly her posts became more and more supportive of James, no matter what the content.
On the other hand, many of the mods had taken it upon themselves to discuss possible board improvements and directions without including James in the discussion. Somewhere along the line there was a break down in communications. Rumors, accusations and behind-the-back insults began to be traded between Snow and the other female mods. I don't know which ones were true and which ones were made up. There are two sides to every story. It doesn't much matter what exactly was said. What matters was that there were now two distinct camps within the VO mods.
You were either with Snow and James or you were with the others. Those of us who tried to remain neutral were soon forced to chose sides whether we wanted to or not.
James began posting cryptic messages, stating that he was sick of dealing with petty personal items. He suggested that he wanted to pull the plug on VO. In stepped Gator. He had been mostly quiet, occasionally putting his opinions in, but I think he was still steaming over the fact that the EBT had come out on top of the whole secret source matter. On May 30, he made a post at Rotted. For the first time, I became aware of a serious problem between Pink and Snow.
I don't know the whole story of how they had a falling out. (Again, the exact reasons aren't necessarily important to me and neither side really convinced me that there was enough to get so upset over.) But what it had led to was a lot of behind the scenes bickering. James, Gator and other were receiving e-mails accusing one another. Gator's decision, in his mind, was simple.
He started a poll in Rotted. "Should Snow be demoted from moderator to member?" In my mind, not being privy to the difficulties between the two, I felt this was a bit extreme. It is also my opinion that a moderator should not be demoted because they have a problem with another mod. Let them work it out, or demote them both. By naming Snow in his poll, it was clear which side Gator chose in the matter.
The vote was never allowed to conclude. (Actually, as of this date, the poll is still live. Maybe it is time for me to cast my vote?) Most of the mods, including me, refused to vote at all. Without any evidence as to what transpired between the two of them, it was very unfair to ask us to choose sides. Both PinkRoziz and Snow tried to make their cases in subsequent posts, but to me it just seemed to equal more bickering. It was clear that this would not be resolved. One person had to step up and make a decision. The question was, Who?
Gator fired the first salvo. James had been inconsistently absent in the weeks leading up to the split. Any decisions from him often took days or more. We later learned that this was due to his illness, but at the time, many viewed it as incompetent leadership.
"Enough Already!" was the title of Gator's post at Rotted on May 30. In a long diatribe, he insisted that he be given full control of VO. He likened himself to the CEO of a company and James to a shareholder. He threatened to leave and bring as many members with him as possible if James did not relinquish control.
On the one hand, it was a bold move and one that, in a different context, may have succeeded. On the other hand, it was very hypocritical. Here is a man who helped start a board so that everyone could have a say. Now he wanted to be the lone authority. The post stated that he would make all decisions from that point out and that nobody was to question him. To me, it just did not sit right.
James gave in and demoted Snow, or so it seemed. What he actually did was demote the name SnowWhite, but granted her another name and made her a mod under the name CatWoman (I believe that was the name).
I think it was PinkRoziz who first discovered this. It must have launched a flurry of behind-the-scenes discussions. We were now in full-out rebellion. Tanzer and Talisman (both relatively new mods) posted vicious, personal attacks on Snow in Rotted. They seemed to indicate that they felt there was more of a relationship between James and Snow, than we were led to believe (never proven, and I don't think it had a grain of truth).
The VO mods who eventually left, felt that Snow had been unfairly manipulating James and to a lesser extent Gopher, Snewser and myself. I thought that point was ridiculous. I hadn't even had a discussion with her outside of the public message boards. I refused to join them simply because I thought the whole thing was silly and petty. And the personal attacks, in my opinion, were unprovoked. They succeeded in finally pushing me to James' side of the battle.
Prior to the days leading up to the public explosion, James had sent me an e-mail. In it he stated that Gator and other mods had begun to build a new board and he wanted to know if he could count on me to stay. I informed him that he could.
On June 12 and 13, I was out of town on business and did not have Internet access. In a sense, I am glad that I missed the final showdown. Friends and people that I had respected on both sides of the issue acted very immature. What I learned is that caanie had gotten wind of the turmoil that now engulfed the mods. She made a small post inquiring about it and soon the mods were out in the open airing their dirty laundry.
James, Snow, Soc (who had been named a mod) began to delete the posts. When the continued to appear, mods began to get banned. Members began choosing sides in the dispute and the split began. (I don't think it was fair for any member to have chosen sides in the matter. They really had no idea what the whole dispute was about. Heck, I wasn't and still am not sure.) The fact of the matter was that many of the members had followed Gator and they would follow him again.
When I returned on June 14, I was greeted by the whole mess. I tried to read as many posts and e-mails as I could. Neither side made a convincing argument to me. Again, it all seemed so petty to me. So I decided that I did not want to move homes again. I was staying put. Besides, Gator, the more I got to know him, struck me as a very rash and irrational leader. He is not the type of person I was willing to follow.
James, on the evening of the 12th, sent an e-mail to the mods that remained. He stated that he had named us all admins and that Soc and Snow were now in charge. He was meeting with lawyers to discuss possible legal actions (what they were, is beyond me) and he would be out of contact for awhile. We closed registration, and manned the delete button until James returned.
Tragically, that was the last I heard from James. Sometime on June 13, 2001, James Roy passed away in his sleep, succumbing to his heart condition. In his absence, the remaining mods (who did not learn of his death for about a week) were left to sort out the mess as best we could.
To be continued…
No Title VI
Re: My history… (part 8)
Posted: 2/24/02 11:08:45 am
After I got over my initial shock of the whole mess, I jumped right in and tried to do my best to keep the board under control and functioning.
It was difficult. All of the mods, who were now admins, had no idea how to run the board from a technical standpoint. It was trial and error. We now had access to the control panels, some functions we had never heard of or understood.
I began to elaborate on the rules that were already put into place. I included a set of rules for moderators and admins. Something I felt had been sorely lacking, and might make it clearer to the membership where they stood.
Anne had banned a good number of people on her own accord and a lot of those people began to show up under various names and continue the questioning of James. They were not aware that he had passed away and neither did we for that matter. I tried to answer the questions as best I could, but no matter what answer I gave, it did not satisfy some people. They were just trying to bait Snow.
As I would later learn, members were banned because Anne had received hateful, negative or misleading e-mails from them. Some of them were very personal and bordered on disgusting toward James. She did not tell us that fact for some time. She didn't even tell us that she had banned these people. (This does not mean that everyone was banned for this reason. Those who sent the e-mails know who they are.)
We set up a system for how to deal with the trouble makers. When a thread that was out of bounds was posted, we issued a general warning. When it continued, we issued a more specific public warning to the offender. If they continued further, they were warned via IM or e-mail. If they stepped out of line one more time, their posting rights were removed for one week. In BTC, we referred to it as Muting a Poster.
The Ambergirlz (a group of VO members who sided with the mods who left) were the biggest offenders. They came and intentionally tried to push Snow's buttons. I mostly enjoyed their style, but even when everyone learned of James' passing, they continued. It all seemed very tacky to me.
In PMs, several of them asked that they be banned. I was not about to ban people in private only to have them run to the Retreat seeking martyrdom. I put up a post and asked that anyone who wanted to leave, and did not have the will power to do so on their own, should let it be known publicly. I think a total of 10 members asked to be deleted. They were, but most of them returned under other names. (We always knew who they were.)
I also learned that the Ambergirlz were investigating whether James was really deceased. As best I could piece together, Gummiwormz had told them about an e-mail that James had sent to several of the mods prior to the split. In this e-mail, he stated that he had been approached to spoil Survivor for money and he asked them to join with them. Gummiwormz felt that there was a possibility that James faked his death in order to keep all the money for himself. She had gone off and gotten the Ambergirlz to do her dirty work and investigate.
When I learned of it, I put a post up at VO warning that if any of it began to appear in public, the person(s) responsible would be banned without question. I received several e-mails, IMs and PMs from various Ambergirlz. Each blamed another one of their members or Gummiwormz. I confronted Gummiwormz in IM and she blamed the Ambergirlz. Regardless of who was to blame, I can say this - James is dead. I did not attend the funeral, but judging from the occasional e-mails we received from Anne I have no doubts in my mind. You can not fake that kind of raw emotion.
Soon a more menacing threat began to rear its head. Jaguar was back. At SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ a post appeared from a mysterious person who claimed to be a hacker who had taken over Jag's account at VO and started all of the trouble. Jag immediately appeared and a discussion ensued. You don't have to be on a message board for long to recognize when someone is having a conversation with themselves via a ghostnic. It was a pathetic attempt, but he was not finished.
Several of the departed VO mods started sending us IM conversations they had with Jag. In them, he discussed how he was going to release a virus on the VO control panels, seek out several people, including Snow, in real life, and generally cause mischief. I thank the mods who gave us the conversations, but some of them made me ill. It appeared as if they were baiting him to get even with VO, when it was they who voted to ban him in the first place. Again, they were trying to get others to do their dirty work.
When we learned of this, we immediately told Snow to contact the proper authorities. It is all fun and games until someone threatens to bring it to real life. While no action was ever taken, I am informed that the FBI did look into the matter.
As I have stated in previous posts, we learned of a serious security hole at VO. Anyone who wanted to could view all conversations in BTC, PMs and passwords. I'm not sure if the hole still exists, so I am running the risk of allowing anyone to see it, but here is how it worked (mind you, I still don't completely understand it). The ftp log was wide open and available to anyone who knew how to access it. By simply typing the correct URL into a browser, all files could be viewed.
Not only was this available, it was clear that some people were taking advantage of it. A ghost began to appear in Who's Online. They would show up with the name "XXXX is a bitch" or "XXXX sucks cock" (where XXXX was Snow's real life name). They had a faked IP address and could not be traced. When they appeared in Who's Online, they brought a link to Survivor University with them. It was never proven who did this, but I have my suspect. After the FBI got involved, it soon stopped anyway.
Snewser tried to work with the gentleman who owned the server, but as we were not generating any revenue for him, he could care less. We decided to switch homes again. Snewser procured the software and the server space and built the place from the ground up over the course of a few weeks. Votedoff.TV was born.
(Flash back) After the split, we tried to keep Snow in the background as much as we could. I knew that she was a lightning rod and there were many people who were just looking to set her off. But as many know, she does not take too well to being told what to do.
James had left the board to Snow AND Soc. They started off attempting to jointly run the board. But it was Snow who had Anne's ear. In BTC, we tried to run things as democratically as possible. There were five of us - Soc, Snow, Snewser, Gopher and myself. All things were decided by majority vote. But any time that Snow came out on the losing side, she would begin accusing us of voting against her just to spite her. She was full of paranoia, more so than any other person I had encountered on the boards.
She would then tell Anne how we were all against her. Soc and Snow's disagreements soon turned to personal attacks. I tried to mediate the differences in chat sessions, but when I would comment that I understood and was sympathetic to both sides of the issues, Snow's paranoia took over. She was right and anybody who didn't agree 100 percent with her was an enemy.
She started to question my loyalties. She suggested that I was a moderator at the Retreat with the mods who had left. She asked that I take an oath of loyalty to VO and stop posting at any other boards and she began disagreeing with me on every issue.
The event that pushed me over the edge at VO is one that to this day remains a concern. I was at work when I received an e-mail from Snow. I don't remember the exact wording, and have since lost it, but I can give you the gist of it. (I repeat, this is not verbatim.)
See, I told you they were talking about me. We should just ban them all and be done with it. There are others like this one.
A Private Message from VO
I'm so glad you told that Snowbitch off in that thread. She makes me sick. I'd tell her off myself, but I'm sure I would get banned.
It was clear that Snow was reading personal PMs from members she was paranoid about. Soc had mentioned to me previously that she knew all of the admins' passwords, but I had brushed it off. Now, I did not feel safe on a board that I was an admin. She had clearly violated a sacred oath as an admin and her paranoia had gone too far.
I told her that what she did was inexcusable and that she should step down as an admin. She told me that Anne had asked her to read the PMs and that she was just doing as she was told. That was a poor reason. She started to back-peddle and say that was the only one she had read. But it was clear that she had been reading others.
I was now on her bad side. I stuck by her through all of the mess and she was now turning on me for no reason. In BTC, she suggested that we needed more mods because S3 was approaching. I agreed with her, but when she suggested that the new mod should be female, we butted heads. In my mind, a new mod should be named not because of their gender, but because they would be right for the position. Snow felt that she, being the only female mod, needed to have someone else to speak with. (In behind-the-scenes chats, Soc and I found this point very amusing. She wanted more females, but when we had an even mixture, she had had the most problems with the other females.)
We began nominating mods. Snow nominated Bewitched (formerly AussieWattle). Bewitched had been with the board since the start at Virtual Ave, but had been absent from the board for almost three months. All of the posts she did have were in about two threads in the Lounge. I nominated Clewless and Guy.
Snow accused me of being against women in general because I did not nominate a female member. How absurd. Clewless was unanimously voted in as a mod, but Snow was not done. The votes for Bewitched were three against (Soc, Gopher and myself) and two for (Snow and Snewser).
Snow decided to pull out her trump card. She sent Anne an e-mail, a grieving woman, and asked her to vote for Bewitched. We never saw Anne's reply, but only Snow's statement that Anne was voting for Bewitched. Without discussing what to do in the event of a tie, Snow named Bewitched a moderator.
(Flash Forward) It was about this time that we moved to the new board. When we arrived there, Snewser and Snow were the only admins. The rest of us had been demoted without reason or explanation. For about a week, we steamed in the background. I finally asked Snewser why this had been done. He explained that in order to placate Snow, who Anne had since granted full power to, he demoted us. I respect his decision, but disagree with it to this day. He could have at least told us that was the way it was going to be from the start.
Snow immediately began working on the new mods. I don't know what, if anything, she said to them, but anytime a vote came up, they sided with her entirely. It was clear that we (Soc, Gopher and I) were now in the minority.
Snow's new-found power only served to push her further into paranoia. She began to openly call for Soc to resign. We made one last ditched effort to stay. We held a chat session with the three of us and invited Snewser in. It was clear to us that Snow was not acting rationally. She wanted to get revenge on all of the people who had spoken ill of her. She was violating some serious board rules, and we all felt she should step down. She had viewed PMs, and had even set up another account for herself (another rules violation that she was caught on). And she began to delete threads and posts by some of the other admins.
We needed Snewser to side with us if our coup was going to work. He also had Anne's ear, but was reluctant to bother her in her time of grief. He understood all of our concerns and for the most part agreed with them, but was not about to become involved in another split. He had promised Anne that in James' absence, he would help see VO through to the end of S3 and he planned on honoring that pledge.
Without Snewser, we knew we had little chance of succeeding, but we proceeded anyway. Soc sent an e-mail, in which he copied me, to Anne and outlined all of our grievances. I replied that I agreed with all of Soc's points. Anne never replied to either of us. Instead she showed the e-mail to Snow and our mini-coup was out in the open.
On August 29, what would have been James' 25th birthday, all of the Survivor message boards shut down for 25 minutes in his honor. I had set this tribute up and had intimated to some people that I would be stepping down as an admin when it was complete. I had enough. Every time I wanted to get out, another crisis arose. It was unending.
James' tribute was seen by over 20,000 members at various boards. (SU and the Retreat chose not to participate because I asked that the decision not be put up to public discussion.) On the evening of the 29th, we held a discussion in BTC. Several of the old VO mods had wanted to become members at the new board.
I felt that in order to put all of our past troubles behind us, this would be a good gesture. Snow disagreed emphatically. She insisted that they all publicly apologize for their actions. We were eventually able to talk her into a compromise. If they apologized directly to Anne, we would let bygones be bygones.
First up was Tanzer. Snow asked that I contact him, explain the conditions and handle the mater. Tanzer agreed to apologize to Anne, but I got the feeling that he was not comfortable with Snow being the one to transmit his message. I offered to send it to Anne directly and did so.
After I sent the e-mail, I made a post in BTC that included Tanzer's comments. Snow immediately went ballistic. She had always insisted that she be the only one to contact Anne. In an IM conversation that can only be described as delusional, she told me that she was my superior and I should do as she said. She insisted that I resign as a moderator.
I obliged. But before I went, I posted the entire IM in BTC for everyone to see. She immediately deleted it. I replaced it and sent each mod a copy of the conversation.
I was removed as a mod and Soc and Gopher quit right behind me. We debated whether to bring the whole issue to the members, but in the end decided instead to just leave quietly.
I was free.
To be continued in the Epilogue…
(Edited to fix typos and improve clarity - kcmjester)
Edited by: kcmjester at: 2/24/02 11:27:04 am
No Title VI
Re: My history… (Epilogue)
Posted: 2/27/02 6:58:20 pm
When the three of us left VO, we thought it might be a good idea to start our own board. Ours would be different from all the others. But I think, as we got about the work of setting up the board, we realized that message boards are designed to be a chaotic mess. (And partially because we were just plain apathetic toward the whole thing.)
Why have I waited many months to write this "epic?" I'm not exactly sure myself. Certainly, this is not a board suicide. I plan to stay around for at least another season.
I wanted to separate myself from the events in a manner that only time can provide. Also, as I looked around the boards a few weeks ago, I saw a lot of the same mistakes being repeated - paranoia, power struggles, abuse of privilege by moderators and admins. I figured it might provide everyone a diversion from the problems as well as a view toward some of the causes.
Anytime that you bring together thousands of people from divergent backgrounds with varying view points, you're bound to have differences. How those differences are handled is the important matter.
When all is said and done, these are just forums to discuss a television show that will probably be off the air in two-three years. Five years from now, these boards will all be but a distant memory. What we have all battled over (myself included) amounts to a few words on a server that will soon be obsolete.
As for me, toward the end of my stay at VO, I became a moderator at SURVIVOR SUCKS EZ. I know that it is now considered a laughing stock, but from a moderator's point of view, it is heaven. In the almost seven months that I have been associated with them, there have been numerous problems with various groups of members. Interestingly enough, none of the moderators or admins has ever uttered a disparaging word toward another.
I think it comes from the fact that the board is owned by someone who, for all intents and purposes, has disowned it. Nobody has visions of being in charge of the whole thing, and nobody is concerned that if they make a mistake, they will be removed. The sword of Damocles had been removed.
That is not to say that I haven't experienced some problems there either. Shortly after arriving there, it was discovered that some members on another EZ board had discovered a glitch in the system whereby they could find out IPs and e-mail addresses of anyone who had a global account. I was one of the posters who got investigated (see ezGlitch and The OT3)
I have never been able to prove it, but as soon as this information was brought forth, my boss (at the time) called me into his office. He fired me because I spent too much time on message boards. He even brought up information from posts that I had made on one of these boards, over six months prior to my being let go. (I know that there is software and various other ways to see where I was posting, but believe me when I tell you, these cheap bastards wouldn't buy the software and they barely knew how to turn on a computer.)
I believe somebody exploited the glitch and sent an e-mail to my company. I can't prove who it was, or that it even happened that way, but I have my suspect.
Which brings me to my next point. The paranoia that was responsible for many of the problems that I have mentioned, also had its effect on me. There were times that I did not know who to trust. The inherent anonymity of these message boards and the Internet is not always a good thing. I'm sure many of the people in my story are perfectly sane, normal people in real life. I might even have a lot in common with them. But give those same people the cloak of a screen name, and they revert to childhood.
I for one, no longer choose to be anonymous (to a certain extent).