The History of SummitPost, Volume IV

The History of SummitPost, Volume IV

Page Type: Article


Once upon an SP time, there were three awesome articles detailing the history of SummitPost (up until 2008 or 2009, I think).

Sadly, the author, a fine writer and once a highly prominent member of the site, deleted those submissions when he became angry with the site and deleted many of his pages and transferred some others. While most deleted pages here are no great loss in the grand scheme since they can be replaced or may not have had much value to begin with, the deletion of those articles was a real loss to SP because they were informative, well-written, and balanced. Newcomers have no good way now to learn the rich history of SummitPost, along with some of its greatest controversies, from its 2001 founding up until about 2008.


Update-- Fortunately, the author of those articles decided to resubmit them. Please read them in order:

This article, and the one that follows it, is not an attempt to recreate those previous ones. As someone who joined in 2004 and didn't really become active until the fall of 2006, I just do not have the firsthand knowledge to document what those articles covered. Also, this article is not going to go into every significant change and event on SP since the times those articles spanned. Instead, its focus is on one of two questions I and many others have asked many times:

  • What happened to the forums?

As someone who was a witness to and a participant in many of the events involved with exploring those questions, I am trying to be as objective as possible but realize there may be sharply different viewpoints. I encourage readers to read the comments as well, for there they may see some of those different perspectives.

From here on out, I will write from a third-person perspective. Additionally, I will not use the actual SP names of relevant members unless I know they are okay with my doing so. This means I also will not name but rather will only vaguely describe ex-members.

So here is "The History of SummitPost, Part 4: The Fate of the Forums":

What Happened to the Forums?

This article's publication date is the fifth anniversary of what was simultaneously one of SP's most-praised and most-reviled moments in its forum history.

Once, SP had a lively forum with a cast of characters ranging from respected to quirky to beloved to detested. The years 2007-2009 seemed to be the heyday of the forums here, and in addition to many good climbing threads, there were also classically fun spectacles such as Mel Torino's brilliant troll seeking advice for climbing Everest, "Has REI Gone Soft?" and the one about whether using goose down equated to animal cruelty, a thread that saw two of SP's hardest-headed climbers get into a fantastic flame war that drove the values of popcorn stocks to record highs.

Today, the forums are a ghost town in comparison. What happened?



Dead Tree




There are some easy, indisputable answers that partially answer the question:

  • Facebook and other social media sites

  • Getting bored or busy and moving on

  • Regional sites that attract more locals and have more up-to-date beta

  • Voluntary departures by high-profile members

  • A few obnoxious members who intimidated others (sometimes the same high-profile members, meaning their eventual departures did double the damage)

But there is more to it than that, much more, and here is where this article is probably going to generate some widely different points of view. There were, in this author's eyes, a series of events, with many members involved, that had a cumulative effect of all but killing off the life of the forum.

The factors involved:

  • Poor behavior by members

  • Bad decisions by moderators

  • Refusal to back off and take a deep breath

To this day, it remains true that only a few admit that both the first and second were in play; too many on either side still just want to point the finger the other way. The author of this article, who was a "regular" member until September 2010 and has been an Elf since then, will admit some of his mistakes and hopes that at least some others will admit theirs.

The Demise of PnP

If you joined after the spring of 2010, you probably have never heard of PnP. Many would say you're lucky; others would say you're not.

PnP was a forum officially called Prate and Prattle. It was described thus under its title:

Politics, religion, movies, and stamp collecting all belong here. This is SP's septic tank. What goes on in this forum stays in this forum.

Some called it the Sewer. Some loved it. Some hated it. Most ignored it.

It was always off-topic. It was frequently vulgar. It sometimes was ugly, sometimes very ugly. But it was damn fun most of the time, and sometimes it was beautiful (the "I believe" thread, now moved to Off-Route). With the only formal rules for most of the forum's life being not to post anything illegal, not to post pictures of full-frontal nudity, and not to make attacks on people’s family members, almost anything went. And it did.

Mind you, it was not all garbage. Some of SP's smartest members posted there on a regular basis, and one could learn a great deal about history and science, for example, even if no one's mind ever changed.

Only a relatively minuscule handful of SP members participated, but they were passionate about it. With a few very notable exceptions, the players, as strongly as they sometimes disagreed with each other, and as heated as some conversations sometimes got, basically liked each other. Again, with a few very notable exceptions, members agreed that they'd be happy to climb together and happy to get a beer together.

But those notable exceptions turned into the thorns that overtook the garden. The forum became a battleground for them, and some of them, whether through calculation or desperation, had to take it outside that forum.

It really came down to five or six people, three in particular. One against two. Even though it was the Internet and none of them were using their real names, they hated each other. And that hate became virulent.

Two of the three are gone, both by request although one had been permanently banned from the forums by the time he requested account deletion. The third, also deleted once upon request, came back but rarely posts these days.

An early draft of this article discussed who the people were and went into specifics about a chain of events that began late in 2009, but a person who read the draft thought it might be seen as talking trash about people no longer around to give their accounts. Since that was never the intent, this article now relates the events in less detail.

There was a familiar pattern: someone would post, and another would attack.  Or one would make a post not mentioning the other but trying to provoke that person nonetheless. Sometimes the attacks were unfair and unwarranted; other times they were retaliatory.

This got to be a massive headache for the Elves because there was constant complaining by one side about the other.

Yes, it was supposed to be a minimally moderated forum and what happened there was supposed to stay there, but it didn't work that way. Sometimes offended members complained to the Elves through PM, and sometimes they violated the principles of the forum by airing their grievances in the Site Feedback forum, perhaps trying to shame the Elves into acting or perhaps trying to rile up other members against their enemies. To be fair, only one of the two sides ever took its gripes into other parts of the site (between 2007 and January 2010).

Meaning well, the Elves came up with what they hoped would be a solution: PnP Moderated. This was to be a nicer version of PnP, where personal attacks were not allowed and where certain members were not allowed to post. One view was that this was a good-faith attempt to provide a pleasant playground. Another was that it was an attempt to protect people perceived as whiners who would instigate controversies and then cry for the adults.

There is a cliche that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. PnP Mod, or PnP Lite (the other became PnP Dark), became divisive. It was civil, but it could be dreadfully dull, leading Bob Sihler to call it PnP Yawn, which led a former Elf, not then an Elf, to call PnP PnP Trailer Park, which the PnPers found funny instead of insulting. A few people went back and forth between the forums and got along well with everyone, but most picked a PnP and stuck with it.

Because everyone could see what was being said in the different forums, everyone could see the swipes people took at the other forum and its members. Most of the swipes were by PnP Dark because the members there knew the PnP Lite members had thinner skin and might be goaded into reacting, but there were deviations from that norm, such as the "Suck It" thread started by a member (also now gone) who was hounded out of PnP Dark and went to Lite for the main purpose of safely attacking the PnP Dark regulars. To the Elves' credit, he was banned for a while for that move.

From November 2009 into early 2010, things got uglier and uglier, and some members were banned or deleted.

On Tuesday, January 12, 2010, PnP disappeared. The Elves finally got sick and tired of all the forum warfare, and they hid both Drivel forums from view. In an ensuing Site Feedback thread that turned into one of the greatest forum train wrecks in SP history, one of the Elves involved in the decision shared this email from another Elf as a basic explanation of what happened: 

Increasingly, we think we have a hopelessly unworkable mess on our hands. As we see it, both PnPs have basically become battle zones. It's been building for awhile but during the last 3 or 4 months it has really crystallized. We have basically two warring camps, the P and P mods and the P and P darks. A few members cross over rather seamlessly but in each camp there are half a dozen or so folks who are constantly throwing rocks to the other side. The Darks bitch about any moderation and even seem to bitch about the existence of P and P mod itself: they are free to avoid it but seem to enjoy bitching about it or going over there and stirring the pot. The Mods bitch about P and P and how horrible it is. They could avoid it too but many don't. The problem is that a lot of time stuff happens in dark that directly mentions Mods, or people use mod as a way to “safely” take shots at the Mods so the battles begin. And those half a dozen rock throwers on each side have many other supporters who piss and moan about any perceived slight suffered by the activists. And right now, sensitivities have really become heightened. If things sound polarized, that's because we really think things are quite polarized and the soap operaish bullshit is quite deep and getting deeper.

This shit is taking way too much of our time and energy and we don't think anyone is really happy. Most of the folks who are enjoying themselves there at all are drama-philes who like to see the pot stirred. We don't feel like catering to their juevinile needs: It's a climbing site, they can pack up and go elsewhere for their kicks. And I think the bad blood has reached a boiling point. We're in a no-win situation: we've tried moderating P and P heavily; we've tried multiple bannings, deletions etc. (but that often antagonizes things more, as shown by the countless "Why was ___ banned?" threads that pop up); we've tried wild west with few to no rules. We're in the same mess as before, except that the bitching has increased, and most of the threads seem to degenerate into attacking the other side. We've always joked that it's a cesspool, but that truly is its only value now. And all sides are pissed at us.

We are tired of it. We're being asked to do the impossible, to make P and P and P and P mod something for everyone. Frankly, the owners are probably making a fair amount of ad revenue from P and P visitors: that's really the only value we see.

Read the thread, if you dare, to get a sense of who some of the principal players were and where they stood. Unfortunately, some of the members are gone now, and their posts are gone as well, so there are gaps. Some of their posts remain in posts where remaining members quoted them. What was a 100-page thread is now 83 pages because of the missing posts; among the missing is one of the biggest thread hijacks ever on SP, wherein a former member posted several pages’ worth of climbing pictures, ostensibly to remind everyone what the site was about but more likely to hasten the thread to its announced 100-page limit. In this, PnP Dark members saw a concerted effort to break up the flow of dialogue and to take away opportunities for them to express their views. (Note-- the author of this article posted in this thread, and keep in mind that although his posts identify him as a forum moderator, he was not one then.)

In general, PnP Lite members were thrilled and PnP Dark members were furious. Soon, there was a replacement forum: Off-Route. But it was far from the same. Members could not start new threads, and Elves peopled the forum with popular but harmless threads from the PnP forums. Members occasionally started threads in the regular forums that they knew or hoped would get moved to Off-Route, and it was not until September of that year, when some new Elves had come aboard and decided to try opening things back up a bit, that members could again post new threads in Off-Route, which had more rules and clearer ones that nevertheless proved just as difficult to enforce.

And that’s in the next chapter.



Dead Tree

R.I.P. PnP



VCF

Much of the rest is really an illustration of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

In the aftermath of PnP’s demise, there were many predictions. Chief among them:

  • The site would die.

  • The grudge matches, without a place to contain them, would spill into the other parts of the site.

  • Members would leave.

The first obviously did not happen. SP is a content-based site, and the vast majority of the site's traffic is directed at the content. For as long as SP has had forums, there have always been forum participants who grossly overvalue the role of the forums here. There are other climbing sites that would be virtually nothing without their forums, but SP would be nothing without its content.

Still, some forum members are very passionate, and thus the other two predictions proved true.

But no one predicted VCF.

Something about the disappearance of PnP jolted into action the trollish genes of one Toxoplasmosis. Shortly after the departure of PnP, she started trolling hard, and some of the trolls were hilarious even if they were a little cruel since they often targeted a man who probably was mentally ill. One of the Elves who had helped kill PnP actually called her a “breath of fresh air” after all the repetitive PnP drama, and he would sometimes let her posts stay for a bit before another Elf came along and nuked them.

She got banned and deleted, and her IP address was banned as well. Her husband, an SP member who participated in the forums, ended up banned and deleted also, not because he did anything wrong but because the Elves wanted to block Toxoplasmosis from the site.

(It didn’t take her long to learn how to use proxy IP addresses.)

At the same time, another website was growing. It began almost right after PnP vanished and was started by a member who was more PnP Lite than Dark but who was deeply unhappy over the lost forums. To that site went the PnP outcasts; they were like the fallen angels regrouping in hell after being cast from heaven. Soon, most called the site PnP Alternate or Alternative PnP.

For reasons those members still don’t really understand, the site creator shut it down, but Toxoplasmosis stepped up and brought Virtual Campfire (VCF) online in April 2010, and the outcasts headed there. (For the record, the author of this article was a member of both of those sites.)

Although there was more to VCF than just trolling, its strongest appeal early on was, for many, as a safe place to complain about SP and its members. In a way, this was therapeutic, but it also kept the bad feelings going and at times spilled back onto SP.

By this point, most people referred to Toxoplasmosis as Toxo, and thus she will be for the rest of this article.

Back in the post-PnP world, the forums had not instantly died. Actually, they stayed fairly lively that spring and summer and into the new year, but something of the life of the site was sorely missing, and some popular members had departed or drastically reduced their presence in the forums. Even so, there were times that PnP-style forum activity enjoyed a brief resurgence, such as the time a thread intended to honor veterans at Memorial Day went to hell after a polarizing member made a comment that many found highly offensive.

But over that spring and summer, things that would have a wide-ranging impact were going on behind the scenes. Essentially, there was a war of sorts between two SP Elves and two VCF members. Some of it played out through trolling in the forums, but other parts played out in email and PM. And it got very personal and the animosity became deep, just as deep as the animosity that had poisoned PnP.

Most of the details about this, and about its resolution, have to remain private, so the focus here is on the fallout.

Come September 2010, three Elves wanted to step aside or at least drastically curtail their involvement. Two of them were fed up with dealing with the VCF members; one was fed up to the point that he wanted to step down as an Elf entirely and had come to see the position as a curse.

Two new Elves came aboard. The first was dadndave. Shortly thereafter, Bob Sihler joined him.

Both were chosen because they knew the site and its members, they knew the forum history, and they had a reputation of being diplomatic and generally staying above the fray when it came to the forum wars.

Neither came without some controversy. Some saw dadndave as sympathetic to and friendly with the PnP Lite crowd, and some saw Bob Sihler as sympathetic to and friendly with the PnP Dark crowd. So there was balance, so to speak.

As one of the site’s leading content contributors, Sihler had a deep interest in site content and quality and wanted to make that the focus of his “elfing,” but he also wanted to see some of the old PnP life come back, and he had what turned out to be the naive belief that his reputation of communicating and working with people on both sides would enable him to bring back the good without the bad.

He was wrong. Not long after he and dadndave, against the advice of the other Elves, opened Off-Route to new threads and made it something between PnP Dark and Lite in the moderation, many of the old PnP headaches returned: feuds, arguments over interpreting the rules, etc.

That was frustrating but did not cause a blowup. In general, while there were always some gripes, the “new” PnP was going fairly well, even if it was a somewhat faint shadow of its predecessor.



Remains of a Giant

Remains of a giant, and a visual metaphor for Off-Route



Then, starting in October and going into November, things did blow up. Spectacularly.

Ironically, it did not start in Off-Route. Instead, it was in Site Feedback, where in actuality many of SP’s biggest forum fires have burned.

And it all began with a picture, followed by a misunderstanding.

Toxo posted a picture of a porn actress about to do something degrading. Although the picture itself was not pornographic (the actress was about to be forced to lick a toilet bowl), it was unquestionably inappropriate and designed to generate a reaction.

A reaction is what she got. Upon seeing the picture, a member took great offense and made an angry post about the picture and about Toxo’s website. While she was writing that post, the Elves had spotted and deleted the picture, so when the offended member’s post appeared, it looked like an attack on VCF members in general, and dual SP/VCF members took it that way and responded quickly and harshly.

This led to a few weeks’ worth of back-and-forth flaming during which the angry member also called out Sihler and accused him of supporting and protecting his VCF buddies and being unfit as an Elf. Her claim was that whenever she posted, a certain group would swoop down on her and that Sihler would let them get away with it, but the other side pointed out that she could never resist lashing out at them, sometimes without any provocation at all. In truth, both sides were correct to some extent but incorrect to another. (The author won’t comment more on that lest he be seen as defending himself.)

Finally, the angry member decided she wanted to quit. She asked for account deletion but then asked the Elves to wait so that she could transfer some of her pages to other members and delete her pictures. Although they were eager to see the drama end, the Elves agreed to the request, but then she started making angry forum posts during the process. After conferring, Sihler and dadndave just deleted her account.

That was not the end, though, not by any means. Sihler almost instantly regretted the deletion and the way the whole business had gone down. He felt that while the deleted member’s behavior was way overboard, she had some legitimate gripes.

Not able to undo what had happened, Sihler began talking with her through email and PM (she made a new account). Again against the advice of the other Elves, he let her come back and start posting pages again.

At the same time, he came to think that his dual membership as an SP Elf and a VCF member was untenable so long as there was such tension between members of the two sites, and so he posted on VCF that he was leaving that site.

What happened next, like what happened in the PnP days, is open to various interpretations. Believing that the trolling and antagonizing were continuing and actually ramping up, Sihler, shortly before Thanksgiving, came out hard against the VCF members in a very long locked post in Off-Route that detailed a perceived list of complaints about a set of VCF members, and in that post he threatened to delete those members from SP. One was, in fact, deleted shortly afterward. The deleted member had no content since he had angrily deleted it (just a collection of pictures, not beta pages, so no real loss to the site) after the end of PnP, and thus the deletion was more about sending a message than about wiping out someone’s time and effort.

This (the post) began a war both between the sites and on SP. Events and players were many, and the particulars don’t matter so much now. In the process, a few new Elves were recruited to fight the trolling that was almost relentless in December and January, and several dual members were banned or deleted. The Friday Night Massacre in early February 2011, during which five members were banned or deleted, was the highpoint, or lowpoint, of this war, at least in the forums. Not too long after that, some of the people involved started talking, and the talking ultimately proved productive.

Sihler had miscalculated in thinking he could bring peace to the forums. He also overcorrected (overreacted) in the wake of the November flameout. But his former friends, some of whom are now his friends again, also played their part. Everyone, mods and non-mods, dug in and got so damn stubborn that the only thing anyone was really accomplishing was damage.

The SP vs. VCF chapter finally ended in the late spring of 2011. Events got so personal between certain people that they spilled into real life and found their resolutions there (no violence, sorry). Finally, the sites all but completely parted ways.

Today

Today, Toxo freely posts on SP under that name. Who let her in? Sihler (well, there really was no keeping her out, but he ended the deletion campaign). She and Sihler are friends again, and he is a member on her new site: Mountains'n'Stuff. Two years ago, she and Sihler, along with Toxo’s husband and another SP member, got together to climb Clyde Minaret in the Sierra Nevada. No one killed anyone else, though Sihler was reportedly a little embarrassed by the females’ butt-bumping on the summit. And Toxo is friendly with dadndave even though the two used to detest each other.

A former VCF member who was on the infamous “Douchebag 8” list (the VCF members threatened with deletion) is an elf now. Some formerly banned VCF members post regularly.

Not everyone is all kumbaya, but things are a hell of a lot better than they were. 


What happened?

People took a step back and talked. They laughed. They realized it was a website. They moved on.

Often, this author wonders how much damage could have been avoided if people had done the same in January 2010 or November 2011. No blame assigned…he just wonders.

Epilogue 1

Back to first-person voice…

Sometime after the fall of 2010-- I’m not sure exactly when-- forum activity on SP virtually died.

I’m still not exactly sure about why that happened.

Clearly, I made some new-mod mistakes that may have driven some people off, and the Elves probably did moderate too much at that time, but most serious posters in Off-Route are not serious posters in the other forums. So it can’t all, or even mostly, be about my overreaction to some events back then or about the role of the Elves.

Quite clearly as well, a few members drove others off with their belligerence. This was confirmed not only through PM conversations but in real life as well; I've actually hiked or climbed with SP members who named other members whose forum behavior deterred them from posting. Still, it can't be all or even mostly about them, either.

One of the key participants in the PnP wars left shortly after I became an Elf. I’ve always believed, through some comments he made, that he felt that his enemies had been given the keys to the site and would run rampant. He was wrong, as it turned out, but he probably had no faith in that then, and he had quite a following here on SP. When he left, his followers gradually stopped paying attention. Few noticed this, or at least few noted it publicly, but I noticed.

Another key participant in PnP had a real following as well. To this day, many miss him and wish he would return. Most who really liked him did not leave the site, but they have scaled back their activity since he left. For them, he was more or less the life of the forum.

I also think some members just lost interest in SP after PnP went, and they went their separate ways. In addition, PnP had a lot of lurkers who rarely posted in PnP but did sometimes post in the other forums; maybe they had less interest in the site after PnP disappeared.

And then there are those other reasons listed way back. They probably explain why the forums still don’t have much life when new members don’t know the history and when there really is not much moderation in the regular forums these days. SP has a huge membership, spread across the world although concentrated in the U.S. and Europe, and it can’t compete with regional forums that make it easier for interested people to find partners and information about current conditions. People seem to like asking a question, getting a few responses, and moving along; lost to oblivion are the days when a simple question about what size gear to use on a route might explode into a multi-page shit-slinging contest over ethics or style.

There is no question that we have lost some colorful characters who did drive some away but also pulled others in.

And there is little question that the sordid history of the PnP and VCF days turned off some who thought it degraded the site and some who thought the mods were degrading it in response.



Bighorn Ram Skull

The forums today?



Epilogue 2

In a way, the last part of this article is my own apology for mistakes I made early on as an Elf. To those I may have alienated, even if I didn’t much like you, I sincerely apologize. Now, through experience, my style is much different. You still wouldn’t agree with me all the time, but you would respect my approach more.

I know that some of you erstwhile members still lurk here. If you see this article and want to make an account and post a comment, you’re welcome to. My advice is to stay out of the forums in case one of the new Elves deletes you and thus erases your comments.

So...those nuked at the whim of an elf or upon your own, you’re welcome back, at least for this article, as far as I’m concerned. If you want to tell your side of the story, you can, as long as you tell your side instead of slinging shit. I've tried very hard to be neutral, have all but kept names out, and have pointed some fingers my own way. Try to post in the same spirit.

And I’d still be glad to climb with you or have a beer with you. After all, this is just the damn Internet, not serious business. It’s a website that’s free for members to use, and most of us don’t even use our real names.

Those of you who are reading this and never knew or cared about any of this must be stunned to learn that so much drama among so few caused so much fallout. Well, it did. Even though it’s the Internet and not serious business, some nevertheless take it very, very seriously, and those folks tend to make a lot of noise.

Enough.









Comments

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Viewing: 1-20 of 43
Matt Lemke

Matt Lemke - Jan 13, 2015 2:33 am - Voted 10/10

A good read...

I actually have copies of Aarons old history of SP articles on my old laptop. I read them all and was quite impressed. Regarding the forum stuff, I can say I am glad I joined in January 2010, and didn't become active until January of 2011. I am actually happy all that nonsense is gone The forums however are not dead. Many great articles, both informational and about climbing, are still posted daily and people ask good questions all the time. This is what the forums are meant for. Believe me, the way it is now is much better, even though I wasn't here during all that nonsense. Like you said, this site is about the content, not the forums. We should all be happy.

Thanks for posting this Bob, although you may be surprised how little people probably care about all that haha

Josh Houser

Josh Houser - Jan 13, 2015 4:43 am - Hasn't voted

Re: A good read...

While things have been peaceful these days, Bob is absolutely right. I used to get many laughs from the forums. I had to pick my threads carefully of course because some were land mines full of all sorts of mayhem. ;-) Also it was a time period of great trolls that have never been replicated since. It was fun to watch the frontpage get taken over as well as other internet crazies swoop in to stir up the crowds. This was back when people used to eat pop corn while using the internet.

Matt Lemke

Matt Lemke - Jan 13, 2015 7:29 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: A good read...

Josh I disagree...although I'm not sure what point you are trying to make. This entire qualm should never have happened, and I'm glad it's gone. The site is better now.

Josh Houser

Josh Houser - Jan 14, 2015 11:39 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: A good read...

Now how am I supposed to have fun now that everything is calm? That's like hiking on a blue bird day, friendly and boring. ;-)

Nanuls

Nanuls - Jan 13, 2015 1:23 pm - Voted 10/10

Interesting

Interesting article Bob. I drifted away from SP at about the time these events took place, but I can remember them quite well (my drifting was nothing to do with events in the forums though).

Now that I'm back it seems that SP is quieter than it once was and not just in the forums. There seems to be less content creation and less interaction with that content... I wonder if that's the case, or am I just imagining it?

Bob Sihler

Bob Sihler - Jan 13, 2015 2:45 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Interesting

You're not imagining it, and that topic is actually the subject of Volume V.

BeDrinkable

BeDrinkable - Jan 13, 2015 5:28 pm - Voted 10/10

Nice stroll ...

... down memory lane there Bob. Although I am very, very rarely on SP much anymore, it was nice to relive some of that. The original PnP debacle isn't what drove me away entirely, but it played its part. Interestingly, it was one person in particular who bothered me, but not any of the three referenced.

It is strange to think that something which seemed so infuriating at the time can seem so insignificant now. I don't know what any of this means, I guess.

Bob Sihler

Bob Sihler - Jan 14, 2015 11:23 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice stroll ...

What it means is that lots of people, including me, should have taken a deep breath and laughed, especially since so many were taking things so personally when they didn't even use their real names.

I'm curious to know who it was that bothered you. We could also have a different idea of the free. Feel free to PM me. I promise not to publish what you say.

Deltaoperator17

Deltaoperator17 - Jan 14, 2015 9:43 pm - Voted 10/10

Humor to Difuse

That's why I wrote this.... http://www.summitpost.org/a-petition-to-outlaw-summitporn/539081

Stefan - Jan 15, 2015 3:39 am - Voted 1/10

Bob serious?

Bob I have the feeling this whole article is `The Bib Bob Sihler Show`. Aaron wrote pieces which were giving no opinion and just gave facts. This feels like you and only you saved SP?

Bob Sihler

Bob Sihler - Jan 15, 2015 6:15 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Bob serious?

Then you have vastly misunderstood this whole thing. Much of this is about my own mistakes and failures.

Stefan - Jan 15, 2015 8:06 am - Voted 1/10

Re: Bob serious?

Than you should have gone for another title, by setting the current title you give the impression that this is a continuation of the ones written by Aaron while in no way they are somehow linked ...

Bob Sihler

Bob Sihler - Jan 15, 2015 8:31 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Bob serious?

Well, there is an explanation of all that, and the purpose of this one as well as the next one I am working on. You are entitled to your own opinion and expression, though.

MarkDidier

MarkDidier - Jan 15, 2015 9:21 pm - Voted 10/10

I miss those days!

Not that I posted in PnP...I just lurked occasionally. But back then SP had a lot more energy then it does now. Even the regular forums had a lot more activity and made for some awesome reading on a Friday night...with a few beers in hand. Correct me if I'm wrong Bob, but when the whole PnP thing went down I remember you making a post - and I'm paraphrasing here - that SP would continue to be an awesome site for beta, but that it would now become stale. I hate to say that you were a prophet, but you were. Stale may not be the most accurate adjective, but not too far off the mark. There sure are a lot of former (or inactive) members that are gone that I sure do miss...

Bob Sihler

Bob Sihler - Jan 15, 2015 9:35 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: I miss those days!

I think you're correct, Mark. That wasn't the only thing that did it, but it was probably the catalyst.

I don't claim to have had the proper solution for all the problems back then, but the demise of PnP definitely set some things in motion.

Bubba Suess

Bubba Suess - Jan 16, 2015 1:20 am - Voted 10/10

Re: I miss those days!

I agree. I think that Summitpost's elan has long since dissipated. The old characters, the camaraderie and even drama that defined the site early on made it a lot more vital. The meet ups (not that I ever went), the inside jokes, the BS and even the flame wars made seemed to all combine to make the site a community rather than just a site. Now it is a bland cracker with lots of great beta. I'm not on here much anymore for a few reasons but the loss of the personal aspect is certainly one of them.

Bubba Suess

Bubba Suess - Jan 16, 2015 1:21 am - Voted 10/10

Re: I miss those days!

Your write up was good too, by the way.

Yury

Yury - Jan 19, 2015 3:19 pm - Hasn't voted

Energy went down the drain

I am not a regular user. My Summit post use pattern is ~ 2 years on/2 years off. However even I was able to notice that there is no energy on this site anymore.

I believe that inconsistency of moderation killed the old Summitpost. People believed that it was unfair when similar tone/words/phrases were tolerated in posts of some members and were not tolerated in posts of other members.
So people who felt that they were not treated fairly left this site.
It has nothing to do with the level of nastiness of forum discussions. People can adjust to any level as long as they perceive moderation standards as fair.

mvs

mvs - Jan 20, 2015 3:17 am - Hasn't voted

A precursor to current events

Thanks for the entertaining history Bob, but I think there was more going on.

In the last year, the world seemed to realize that the internet can be toxic for women with GamerGate and other controversies. I learned about that here in, I guess 2011 or so. I was amazed at the viciousness of the trolling against a female climber on this site, and when the Elves asked me to join them I did for that reason.

I understand where Bob is coming from, and his story here is well told and interesting. But the real sadism apparent in that trolling that went on is not shown. It all seems to be just some good old fun, and what were we so excited about anyway? I saw Toxo write things about people that mean I could never share a space with her.

All of us, me, Bob, the other elves, moderated the hell out of this place, and made it "no fun" for certain kinds of fun.

Lots of people seem to like the idea that "on the Internet" you can be one kind of person and another in "real life." Well I think the Internet is real life. Do you expect to get on the phone and become a "different kind of person?" If this means I represent a rear-guard kind of actor who can't get with the program and possibly helped kill all the good old fun in the old days, so be it :).

Gangolf Haub

Gangolf Haub - Jan 20, 2015 8:53 am - Hasn't voted

PNP Lite ...

... sure was a bad idea. Not sure who came up with it. Bob?

By the time we deleted (wrong: when I hid) PNP dark we had become so fed up with what was going on between the lite and dark side with us elves in between that basically every elf agreed to get rid of it. We knew we were brewing up a storm but I guess quite a number of our fuses had been blown before.

However, I think SP would have gone the same way regardless of what happened to PnP. It might have accelerated developments but I don't think so. Attention has been drawn towards other sites which developed more quickly. Maybe the concept of "owning" stuff on the internet is just not up to date anymore.

As for the forums, I guess we all agree that they were intended to support the site but during the heyday of SPv1 and SPv2 they became the main reason for many of us to visit SP. Those times are gone. But maybe there are more important things to do? As we suspected way back then already?

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