Friday, August 16, 2013

FSTDT Forums...

A long time ago, in the mysterious times known as 2006, my younger self came across a website. It was funny, and it appealed to various interests that teenage me happened to be developing in that very moment. It was a website about making fun of stupid people, mostly stupid people that said stupid things in ways relating to taking religion waaaay too seriously. Seriously enough that one might call them fundamentalists, or even fundies. That website was called Fundies Say the Darnedest Things, or FSTDT.

One might simply dismiss it as a humour site, one of a billion that populate the webs, but there was more to it. It had a community of really smart people (or so they seemed, to me), who said things I hadn't known then and now find obvious, and yet it seems they still need saying. Even when I eventually grew tired of reading the quotes they collected, the community that lived in its forums kept my interest. It would be fair to say that if I hadn't met those people when I did, this blog would likely not exist, and I perhaps would be a very different person.

I've been in and out of this community, in the past. At times when I needed a break from the internet in general, at times when I grew disillusioned with the people, but I returned every time, because I liked it there. My latest return was earlier this year, around April. Not long afterwards, the current webmaster made an announcement that he wished to retire from administering the forum and focus only on running the website itself, so he was looking for a replacement.

This wouldn't be the first time there was a change in administration; indeed, he had taken over the website back in 2009 when the then-owner burnt out and rather unexpectedly shut everything down. She, in turn, had received the website from its creator, who passed away at an unfairly young age. That was before my time, though.

In any case, the webmaster started a thread in the forums asking for candidates, and said there'd be a more or less democratic process: those candidates that got a reasonable amount of endorsements would spend a trial period as moderators, and then maybe there'd be a general election. I submitted myself as a candidate, not expecting much but thinking I would like to see what people would say about me.

To my continuing amazement, I won. I was apparently the only candidate credible enough to make it to the trial phase, I passed it more or less uneventfully, and I became the forum admin.

Now, like I mentioned, the webmaster kept control of the website itself, I just handled the community at the forums. Which suited me just fine, since it was the only part I visited anyway. Being that it still was his website, though, he warned me that he kept a kill option on the forums if things went too far out of hand. I figured this wasn't something likely to come up.

So, retiring from his position as admin, the webmaster still kept posting as a regular forum user. He took the chance, after leaving the position of power, to say things on a couple of subjects that he really couldn't have said when he was in charge. I thought, sure, a chance to get past some old forum drama, this should be a good thing, right?

It didn't go well. People got angry at the things he said. He got angry at the things people said to him. At some point, it seemed the discussion might die down and we could all move past it, but no. Instead, it came to the point where he didn't want to associate with the forums in any way. Including having them in his website.

So he told me he was killing the forums, and gave me a chance to make a new place for them. After a period of lots of panic, and with the help of the people hosting us, I managed to secure us a new home. We even got to keep the forums mostly the same, with a different address and name being the most significant change

FSTDT continues to exist, but there no longer are any FSTDT Forums. Instead, Frequently Questioned Answers is now an independent community, which for some weird reason has me as an admin. I still feel like I'm not exactly sure how I ended up in charge, even though I just told you.

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