To be continued...
Kaolian Drachensborn was created as an Everquest I Character at the beginning of that game in 1999, and still exists on the Bertoxxulous server as an active, if somewhat neglected account. A ranger from the beginning, Kaolian was one of the origional 132 people who mastered all languages in the game across all servers (as per the first Sony article on the subject.)
His first post was in the old UBB allakhazam forums, enquiring about where to find Thorny Vine ranger armor, under the username "Kaolian from bertoxxulous in June 2000. That account was abandoned after 2 posts for a more contemporary "Kaolian" account ont he same UBB forum. This was the primary Kaolian account until the great UBB crash of May 2001, in which several accounts ceased to exist. The origional post count from that account, along with all posts were lost, and later re-estimated when the account was recreated. the recreated account would later go on to be the first account to reach 4,000 posts. (previously, the 1.000 post record was tied for by Praetorian and Usna, Angry Hippo took the 2,000 post mark, and Deleron hit 3,000 first. Angry Hippo later again took the 5,000 post record. Kaolian later took the 7,000 and 9,000 post records, however was edged out for the coveted 10k mark (although by that time he was the first Admin to hit 10k posts)
Forum history More later
Current State of the forums:
The instance that precipitated the decline was the buyout. Prior to that, we were reaching server capacity, and struggling a little, but upgrades were happening, and the community at large was supportive of us. We could do no wrong, and the site was one of the last percieved bastions against RMT out there.
The buyout of us was beyond botched. Asde from the core issue of a tenuous connection to the hated IGE, immidiatly after they delayed our new servers for almost a year. That delay alone lost us 75% of our traffic. Even now we aren't back to where we were. That, coupled with the proliveration of workplace internet filtering sites blocking us, and we lost a huge pocket of our potential forum lurkers and posters.
This didn't affect the core usage of the asylum and OOT as much as it did the other forums, but what it did do was dramitcally decrease the number of potential asylum lurkers by a huge amount. No lurkers, no future mainstay accounts. Many of those people are gone forever, off to competitor boards, never to return.
At this same time, the OOT, which had mostly lain fallow since the split, suddenly was discovered by a group from FFXI. The core group was fairly low post count, and started out mostly with the usual "new oot forum stuff" like forum games, "what color do you like" posts, etc. Easy fodder posts that lurkers can get drawn into. They grew in numbers quickly, at the expense of the Asylum.
The Asylum was in their "Death to all who oppose or condone us!" phase at the time. Part of the problem was that we have all done the standard threads to death by now. You can only do a "what is your favorite music" thread soo many times before someone snaps and kills everyone in the room with a mallet. So we turned instead to flaming. Lets be honest here, in it's peak, Asylum took it to an entirely new artform, and for a time that drew lurkers and newbies eager to try thier luck. But eventually the regulars got bored with the newbies. Its also hard to get in a knock down, drag out argument with someone you have met in person and shared a beer with.
The asylum turned inwards, to politics and somewhat more mature topics than had been the norm, and turned somewhat more isolationist.
Meanwhile, the OOT was still growing in numbers. Spurred on by encouragement from some Admins such as Magi, they grew bolder in their posting and post pharming. For a time, there was a very "Anti certain Admin" sentiment in OOT, which in turn caused certain Admins to either refuse to go in OOT, or to treat them with some disdain. The pot was being stirred behind the scenes, as we would later find out, but this is where the whole "Asylum Favoritism" fiasco began
At the same time, The asylumites saw the OOT regulars rocketing up in post count. Where our model had been maybe 1k, 2k posts per year, but many people contributing. OOT initially was a core of maybe 12 people who, lets be honest, spammed the crap out of the forums and rocketed up in post count to the same post count levels of the people who had been here for years. This caused resentment amongst some of the long term regulars. There was also resentment against what was percieved as Admin inaction against people who were "cheating" the system. In truth, at the time our hands were really tied. A premium member was pretty much untouchable, and after the first few times of blatant post pharming up to thousands of posts, they knew it.
We were eventually able to introduce the "mute" system to counter much of the post count spamming, as well as easier methods of post count reduction, But the damage was done, and led to the creation of "the sanctuary"
There was much debate about what to do about the sanctuary at the time. The OOTers had their secret forum posting locations, so at the beginning, we decided to let it be and see what happened. It did not go well in the end, mostly due to the presence of the same type of rate camping that was occuring in the OOT. The problem was it was percieved that we cracked down on OOT, but not on the sanctuary/asylum posts. In truth, the sanctuary as a whole was hammered much harder than the OOT was being, mostly because the participants should really have known better. most of the worst threads were locked and nuked to prevent reuse, and most of the posts inside were so far below the filter that non admins couldn't see them even though they were still technically positive numbers.
So resentment pooled and built on both sides. OOT posters who ventured into the Asylum were karma bombed. OOTers regularily karma bombed entire Asylum threads. Admins were pulling hair out and considering mass bans. But eventually, the OOT started shifting more into the draditional OOT forum progression, and slowly, inexoriably becoming more and more like the Asylum. A few overture posts by both sides occured, and both sides started to see that the others weren't really that bad.
About this time, the OOT experianced a sharp decline in female posters. Most of us admins were baffled as to why it happened. One admin apperently knew exactly why, being at the core of it. Magi did mroe harm to the OOT than any one person in there before or sense, but the incident did serve a purpose, in resolving many of the issues the OOTers and other admins had with eachother.
Prior to the Magi fiasco in the fourms came to light, we had been dealing with the @#%^ in Admin IRC for a few months. Now our IRC work environment is not your typical office environment, and some of our conversations in there might raise a few eyebrows if they occured in a brick and morter office, but there are definite lines and we all know where they are. Magi didn't. He was really adept at manipulation though, and managed to turn the situation to his advantage, shirking his work, blaming it on others, turning admins against other admins by heresay and inuendo. It was not a good time. He is the only admin I have ever been outright overtly hostile to, and while I am not proud of that, I am even more annoyed that I did't find out what he was doing to our forum members earlier. Had he not been fired for conduct in the forums, he would have likely been fired shortly after due to a sexual harrasment lawsuit and a mass exodus of Allakhazam employees.
The drama generated fromt aht incident really sparked an improvement in OOT Asylum relations, at first due to curiosity on the part of the Asylum to see what had happened, then later due to the ASylum people having mostly decided that the OOTers really weren't that bad, though few at the time would publicly admit it.
After that, The OOT began to enter what I like to call "we hate you all and wish you were bagels" phase (in memory of Angry Hippo) and began turning on themselves, and newcomers. Partially due to natural progression, partially due to having somethign to prove, and more than a couple chips on their shoulders. They seem to have moved on past that point by now, in part due to some gentle behind the scenes taser action, and just starting to mature more as posters.
Where we are today, is really the OOT has the numbers and the newcomers from the feeder forums, but they lack some of the estableshed poster background that Asylum brings to the table. Asylum on the other hand has that long term membership, but no growth. Asylum also has more of a tolerance for newbies than they once did.
I suspect a forum merger between OOT and Asylum would be a turbulent, but ultimatly productive and benificial move on our part at this point. But we don't really want to do anything drastic without careful thought.
As to my own roll in the periodic rise and decline of OOT and Asylum, in Hindsight I might have done some things differently. We needed the ability to temporarily mute individual posters far earlier than we had it. I needed to consolodate Admin authority earlier than I did, but at the same time, the methods I used to accomplesh it the first time might have been too harsh in some cases, and that might have led to a few more people leaving than otherwise might have occured. If I had had the ability to temp mute dracoid, etc for a month or so the first time, who knows what would have happened by now? At the same time, there were a few people we lost, like Stok, who were just not going to quit makeing sockpuppets, or skeet, who went batsh*t insane that we were going to lose regardless (and good riddance).
I keep reevaluating how I admin. Do I post too much as an admin? Was that the right call? Did I make things better, or worse? Overall I stand by most of my calls, and all the major ones.
The viewer numbers in OOT and Asylum have actually been going up. we are in a bit of a slump at the moment, still recovering from hollidays, but that is normal for here.
There are a few things we need to do to revive things further. A mobile phone version of the forum is in the works, and I think that will help immensly. Other things we need to do are draw people back. E-mail notification on PM reciept. E-mail notification on reply to threads you are monitoring options. A quick reply box at the bottom to make it easier for logged in people to add that extra post. A modernized interface in line with other forums. Some of these things are in the works. Many of them are pending more programmers. Some might never happen. Who knows?
Long and rambling, I know. But that's where I think we are and how we got here.
The Snail(tm) was the origional Allakhazam forum Mascot. Grown to enourmous city destroying size by the radioactive waters of Houston, Texas, he made a living eating plants, forum trolls, and mid sized cities for many years before eventually passing on of old age. His ghost still haunts the darker layers of the forum, and many a missing poster has dissappeared in a strange, glowing pool of yellow mucous. I'm told it is entirely coincidental...
Wombats are cool. And instrumental in future plans for world Dominion!
While not the longest serving admin, Kaolian is the second longest site tenure current admin after Allakhazam. Most of that time period was spent as a regular forum user, making Illia, Darkflame, Danalog, Fleven, Ralius, Rale, and Pikko longer serving in admin capacity.
Kaolian currently has the highest ban, rate up, rate down, and nuke count of anyone.
I blatantly stole this section from Fewyn.
Case Thermaltake Eureka
Motherboard Asus P6T Deluxe V1
Processor Intel Core i7 975 Extreme Edition quad core with hyperthreading (for 8 logical cores)
Ram 12GB DDR3
Video 2X Nvidia 280 GTX in SLI mode. No plans to go to 3 as I do not run a big enough monitor to be worried about it. \
Sound Soundblaster X-FI PCI express
TV Tuner ATI HD TV tuner card
HDD 2x 150 gb 15,000 RPM SaS (Serial Attached SCSI) drives on motherboard Marvel controller, also 2 1TB drives as data storage. Capacity and hot swap bay for 4 additional 2.5" drives for fuiture expansion. (As soon as the intel X-25E solid state drives come down below $300, i'll be adding a few of those)
Optical 2x 22 speed DVD RW with lightscribe (SATA) Why 2? Why not.
Power supply Enermax 1000 watt
Cooling System Koolance INX 720bk cooling system with an extra 120mm radiator
Monitor Dell 2407 24" wide
OS Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
Perephrials Logitech G15 and MX Revolution Mouse, Thrustmaster HOTAS Cougar joystick throttle and Elite rudder pedals, 7 port Belkin USB hub, Pinnacle Video in interface, HP scanner, HP photo printer, Logitech Quickcam Orbit, 4x6 Wacom tablet. Netgear ReadyNAS, Sony Locationfree TV interface, Linksys dual band gigabit Wireless N router with integrated FTP host, Creative labs 7.1 Surround sound speakers, etc.
This is the "Work" PC. I use it for forum moderation, IRC, wrting things, etc. The other is mainly for gaming.
Case Thermaltake Eureka
Motherboard Asus Striker 2 Extreme
Processor Intel QX9650 quad core
Ram 8GB DDR3
Video Nvidia 260 GTX
Sound Onboard 7.1
HDD 2x 70 gb 10,000 RPM Western Digital Raptor drives, also 2 500 GB drives as data storage.
Optical 2x 18 speed DVD RW with lightscribe
Power supply Enermax 850 watt
Cooling System Koolance 510 internal cooling system.
Monitor 2x Samsung 20" 931b
OS Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
Perephrials Microsoft Wireless mouse and keyboard, 7 port Belkin USB hub, HP photo printer shared with the main box, Netgear ReadyNAS shared with the main box, Linksys dual band gigabit Wireless N router with integrated FTP host shared with the main box, Creative labs 2.1 speakers for IRC noise dingage.
This one is just for playing movies and music, and occasionally working downstairs so I can still see IRC.
Case Silverstone Media PC case with 3.5" touch screen
Motherboard Asus P55n-D
Processor Intel Core i5 750 Quad Core
Ram 8GB DDR3
TV Tuner Older Hauppage winfast tuner. slated for eventual upgrade.
Video Nvidia Geforce 6600 gt (yeah, yeah, I know)
Sound Onboard 7.1 (slated for an X-fi someday)
HDD 320 gb WD hard drive with a 500GB secondary. Both slated for upgrade someday.
Optical slotload half hight Blue ray player
Power supply Enermax 720 watt leftover PSU
Cooling System Air, 2x 80mm fans, stock processor and PSU fans. Plenty of rear ventalation. May add a top 250 fan someday, however at this time heat is nto a real issue.
Monitor Samsung 46" LCD TV
OS Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
Perephrials Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, wireless lan adaptor until I can get the house wireing finished. also ties into the house audio 7.1 speaker system via optical connection.