Online Social Communities / Message Board Forums

Forgot I had this blog, but since I continue to keep WordPress updated with every new version I may as well not let it go to waste. Going to look back and reflect at sentimental journeys. 😛

So I felt like being nostalgic and reminiscing about classic times I’ve had online over approximately the past 7+ years, however, I don’t expect to be able to remember all the details regarding my times at every community and so I’ll leave comments open if any of my old acquaintances wish to add their thoughts. Keep discussion civil and mature, or don’t comment at all. I know I’ve been involved in my fair share of drama, however, I was not the cause of every bit of drama either. I’m just writing all of this so people can try to understand why I’ve begun getting bored with new communities. I’ve been around so many it’s just started getting old. But I’m only going to write about ones I cared most about though.

My first experiences with managing and running an online community message board forum began in roughly 2004 (Aussie Ben can correct me if I’m wrong) with Next Tech. To my surprise the first one was a success in my book, and we grew rather large and active. We had a great staff, and even had a bit of uniqueness with radio disc jockeys and an online radio. We had a CMS (content management system) running our front page and had active news and news posters. I remember it was around this time my friends Chris123NT and BlueScreenOfDeath (Ryan Price) were brought over because they had closed down their own community, Next L3vel. We had a very solid group of staff members for this community. I can’t remember how long we had our good run (Aussie Ben might remember), but after a while we got nailed for the mistake of using piracy regarding our copy of IPB (Invision Power Board, our message board software) and our CMS and we temporarily shut down.

We soon re-opened back up as BetaXP somewhere around February 2005, if I remember correctly, and it was then I brought on-board my good friends, Nic and Thomas among others. BetaXP had a great run as well, as was also a bit more experience for Nic because Ben sold it to him after Ben decided to pursue other interests (he has a bit of a thing for cars, mainly Toyota Corolla). BetaXP continued having a niche with Jase’s “Naro Network” which at the time had potential by offering a suite of products and services (I don’t remember them all, one was an instant messenger, another was a web browser named “Pipeline”, and there was another one I still don’t quite understand what the heck it was at the time but I looked at it like a p2p network including media functions). BetaXP was also rather unique in its design with Jase being a very talented and proven coder and designer in my eyes and we never ran out of ideas for the cosmetic department for the site. Unfortunately, BetaXP and Naro parted ways due to differences in opinion, chain of command, and activity slowly begun to drop eventually leading up to where we lost our host due to security problems and again we closed up shop. Not only did our hosting company go under, but our actual host himself later died as well, unfortunately, so obviously it would be too awkward and uncomfortable restarting BetaXP.

After BetaXP, I believe I begun passing time and enjoying forum life as a regular normal member at other communities such as joejoe.org (I gained a bit more experience here as well for a short time as a global moderator) and my friend William’s The Vista/Win Forums (more experience in moderating here also) and JCXP until about March 2008 when I caught word of iWinUX. Now iWinUX could have been the next best thing for myself and Nic since Next-Tech. It was not a replacement for BetaXP or even a hostile take over. We didn’t ask for positions, but we did kindly offer our time and services, and Sam accepted us when he didn’t even have to. Why Sam actually did take Nic and I on I’ll never know exactly for sure… perhaps he felt bad we lost our past communities, or was impressed with all of our past experiences, or just really needed more staff at the time since iWinUX was still establishing itself. Times were awesomely great, and I continued the roles I had been doing since Next-Tech and BetaXP such as installing modifications to the board to add more features and services as well as general administration and moderation keeping the board organized and clean. Over the next few months, bad times begun to happen after we decided releasing inactive staff members who didn’t keep up communication with us. My own staff and members begun questioning my motives and actions and this eventually in time lead up to drama and stress which further lead to my decision to take some time off to get away from it all until it blew over… and so I demoted myself in our administrative control panel. Little did I know there would be an issue and big deal about bringing me back when I wanted to return and people would forever think I bailed out on them. This begun a downward spiral with more people leaving after I demoted myself, eventually including Nic himself as well as Sam the founder himself. I admit it was bad enough I made the mistake I did, but I didn’t want others to follow suit either.

In time, all the mess became water under the bridge, and by the Autumn/Fall months that same year (2008) iWinUX was being run by Chris and Ryan (Price) and they were running it well. I was back into an administrative role as a supervisor and things were going well until about the winter when they decided to move on to GeekSmack to pursue other interests and opportunities and then eventually Nic and myself regained control over our site. However, GeekSmack and iWinUX were basically competition and conflicts of interest to some people, and rumor had it GeekSmack was pretty much an iWinUX replacement. iWinUX never did re-open with its second clean state and restart in December last winter because of this since Nic and other former staff were enjoying life anew at GeekSmack and having great potential and success there. I was actually happy for them, and proud of them that things were going rather well over there. Drama and stress seemed slim to known… on the outside anyway. Even I was happy there as a smaller role as a news poster… I couldn’t argue with whatever staff spot I had as I saw it as more experience to learn and gain and always something fun to do. My role as news poster didn’t last, however, since I had little to no previous experience with said position, and that was okay because it was still good times in my opinion. I continued being an active member regardless and still had responsibilities at The Win Forums where Nic was also having a wonderful time as a pod-caster.

Progressing on to 2009, Nic and Sam wanted to reboot iWinUX a third time and I was “invited” to come back… but come back as what exactly? There still appears to be a bit of paranoia… I don’t want to say trust issues just yet, but paranoia indeed. Sam was no where to be found and hasn’t replied to my email. Nic was going to be selective about staff and only start off with “certain people” until it grows back up again. I might have possibly returned in a global moderator role again, but probably not anything in administration again. Perhaps it’s most likely time to move on, maybe I’ve burnt out and gotten too rusty… or maybe there are trust issues and too much doubt and people too afraid to be honest with me. I don’t know, and to be honest, I don’t care either. I’ve been around message boards and forums for almost ten years now and it’s just more of the same over and over again since 2001 when my true first experiences with online communities began with Neowin in 2001 as a regular normal contributing member of an online society and carried over into Next-L3vel shortly after where I got my first moderation experiences and learned what it’s like to be part of a website’s staff. It’s not that I am concerned or worried about repeats of history and having more failed projects, it’s more of I am just bored and tired of it all. I still believe in Sam and Nic and wish them nothing but the best of luck and sincerely do hope they are successful this time around (third time’s a charm?) and I might still register and visit from time to time. But as far as being staff, I just don’t know any more. If anyone knew me well enough as a good friend and a reliable and dedicated and trustworthy staff member, it’d be Nic and Sam, but to say they don’t want me to be a founder again this time around just kind of hurts and maybe I do take some offense. But I’m not going to sit and debate and argue their decisions because iWinUX is Sam’s site as he’s the original founder and creator and Nic is the current domain owner. I’m not even their host any more, therefore I don’t have any say in anything since I don’t hold ownership to anything any more. However, the point was we used to be a tight knit group of friends, in some aspects we were a family, we had gotten close. I don’t quite follow their mindset 100% just yet as to why they’re calling the shots they’re calling. I guess I’ll give it time and cross said bridges when I come to them and wait and see what the future holds. If they want my help again, they know where to find me. As for now, I’m staying back and watching from the sidelines. Nothing’s set in stone just yet, so I hope the left hand can know what the right hand’s doing this time around.

There’s other things going on in my life right now, most importantly college and work and a relationship. I have a life outside of the internet that gets top priority, and even when that’s settled I’d rather enjoy my leisure in an online gaming community because I often find that more enjoyable and less stressful. Nic and Sam, for what it’s worth, you have my blessings and support with iWinUX, but I hope you both can understand if I don’t exactly come running back with open arms any time soon… it’s nothing personal at all… I just felt it may be time for me to let it go and move on. Don’t get the wrong idea, as I said, I may still register and be an active normal regular member, and I’ll probably gladly accept a staff role if I’m offered one. However, due to so many differences and disagreements over the years I’ll take my time in joining and I’ll wait out the first few months until the bumps in the road are patched. I do have a reputation and tradition to uphold with the portable traveling wallpaper topic anyway. 😀

Concluding with 2010, and our last attempts at anything pure and decent with William’s sort of ‘reboot’ of “The Vista Forums”. Against my better judgment, I decided to try another message board forum, even though I knew what’d happen. The same old usual people can’t be trusted and have no respect and are immature and unprofessional. I joined a place called “The Super Bar” which was a replacement for my friend William’s “The Vista/Win Forums” they started after some shenanigans with “iEntry” regarding some advertisements. Well, I wanted to give some people who I thought were my friends benefit of the doubt and trust them to not make me known because I joined under a different name than I usually do because I didn’t want to be known or become active yet until I gave Super Bar some time to grow and establish itself. I felt this request was perfectly valid based on past reputation and history with other communities… why bother becoming anything yourself as an active member if the community hasn’t done the same yet? Plus I still remembered how Vista/Win forums staff insist on thinking I left/quit them for another community so I knew at least a few of them were still conceited. Another staff member disrespected my wishes and brought me up and so it proved that you just can’t trust some people. So I ended up having my account deleted practically the same day I set it up. Like what’s the big deal that I first of all simply joined and second of all didn’t want to be known? It’s like they imply I was going to start trouble and felt it was necessary to alert the rest of the staff. It just really surprised and disappointed me… people who I thought were my friends. And then there’s this one other guy who’s always had a holier than thou attitude and is very egotistical and enjoys complaining who is still around and he just starts tripping balls because I had joined. Well after seeing these reactions I decided it’s not worth it. There are no more pure and decent online communities any more, in my opinion. Nothing good ever comes out of them. People enjoy making assumptions and labeling you and never really take the time to get to know anyone. Clearly there’s still mutual lingering feelings of shenanigans from well over a year or so ago with iWinux and GeekSmack. People always talk about “moving on” but I don’t think they actually do it. There’s still continuing unprofessionalism and immaturity. Neowin seems to be the lesser of the evils, although I equally hate them as well, but at least they can actually keep steady and up to date news flowing. No one will beat their growth. 😉

Last stand in 2011, I come to find a “closing down” notice topic over at the Super Bar regarding inactivity and what appears blatant advertising spam for inviting people to GeekSmack. Shortly after discovering the topic, later in the same month, the board is actually closed (set to offline mode) with the same notice and spamming/advertising for GeekSmack. I guess both communities were desperate for activity… sad to see Super Bar lower themselves to that… may as well put up a redirect index file. And then shortly after that, the domain for Super Bar dies, and GeekSmack removes their forums. Message board forums are beginning to come to the end of an era, blogs maybe making a come back. Nic had also turned iWinux into a news blog for some time until I also hear good news he was picked up for a more professional news role at a place called “Thinq” (a British U.K. technology site). My Australian friend, Ben, is also doing well starting up a new online radio station named “Radio Fiber”. Thomas is still pursuing a busy and active college education.

So it would seem a few of my good friends have returned back to their roots, which is great, I am very happy for them. Personally, for myself, I had begun a new job back in January, keeping me busy, and in my spare time I continue playing co-operative multi-player video games online. Life is still going well, although for some of us, our adventures have come to an end… for me it got repetitive and old… time to move on and pursue other interests. It’s not that I hate what’s become of online communities, and for the record I don’t hate any community I’ve been a part of… I just sometimes question the judgment of certain people at each one and their motives on how they choose to run their communities. I have no ill will or grudges towards Neowin, joejoe.org or even GeekSmack or Super Bar… as I’ve said in my writings, I’ve just become worn out, some of us probably just cling to the past too much and can’t let go, or just don’t want to stop acting like we know someone when we really don’t. I think that’s what my problems with some of these communities are. All it took was me wanting to take my break during a stressful time at iWinUX and it was a never ending downward spiral from there. I felt betrayed and used, and after trying a few clean and fresh starts else where and seeing that some people just don’t ever change, I just didn’t want anything more to do with it any more. I had begun serving a purpose and a role within the Steam community, as I said before earlier, in online co-operative multi-player videogames and managing a few servers for this service, and that was overall a more pleasant and enjoyable and contributing experience. This is the last “social community” I’ll most likely definitively be seen at from here on out. 🙂