Watershed moments in SDMB history; or, the SDMB Anthology Project

I’ve been upping my posting average quite a bit lately and reading a lot more posts than I used to. Basically, my Dope addiction is getting worse and worse. (Did I say I was complaining?)

I love the sense of community here, but I wasn’t around for a lot of things, even though I did post once or twice back on the AOL board. So, I want to hear from some of the more experienced posters on what events made the SDMB what it is today, answering questions like:

What was the event/development?
When did it happen?
Why was it important?
What has been its aftermath?

There’s a few events that I know of that I’d like to hear some stories about. Namely:

The inception of the board on AOL. (Anyone still around from this?)
The move from AOL to the Web.
WallyM7’s death. :frowning:
The JDT incident(s)
The Exile/Diaspora (I remember this very well, but I’d still like to see people discuss its significance.)

I’m sure there are plenty of other things I’m forgetting. Perhaps some other bannings, or even significant threads or the development of new forums. I wanna hear it all, especially things that contributed to the sense of community (like the first known DopeFest, for example). In the end, maybe this thread could become a handy reference (speaking of, there’s a Doper who could probably contribute a lot) for newbies, or just provide for a nice nostalgia trip for the rest of us.

So that’s it. Compile The Authoritative History of the SDMB. I await your input.

Significant epochs:

The first DopeFests,
Melingate, which, along with Don’t do that, Opal spawned the Fathom board,
The troll wars of early 2000, which overlapped,
The Left Behind skirmishes, as well as did in multiple moniikers.
A couple of board hiatus, one of which resulted in a temp board.
And you’ve mentioned WallyM7’s passing.
Phaedrus’ tenure far outperformed JDT, and came near the end of the time when multiple identities were legal.

Just some first-pass thoughts.

The troll wars had their own periods, one of which was Scrote Willie’s usurptions of bona-fide users’ names; I believe Osip may have been the first victim; if not the first, he was early-on.

And there was also the faux CrunchyFrog distress thread, perp as yet unknown (boo-boo?), that came on the heels of Wally’s passing. With a similar thread title.

As well we picked up a sympathy freak, I can’t remember her name. And then Sqrlcub went and shot himself in the foot.

Man, there’s so much more. This is wearing me out.

Okay, I’ll ask, since the old timers seem reluctant to cough up…

What were the Troll Wars of 2000 and the Left Behind skirmishes? What was Melingate and Don’t do that, Opal? Who was Phaedrus? What was the faux CrunchyFrog distress thread? When, why, and how did Sqrlcub shoot himself in the foot?

Please provide links, if possible.

Here’s my entry into the history book:

Jack Dean Tyler, also known as JDT:

JDT was the quintessential one-trick pony. His particular idée fixe was male circumcision, which he opposed with an unprecedented level of fanaticism. A self-proclaimed expert on the penis, JDT made many incredible and outlandish claims which he supported with his “research”. He was active in November and December of 2000, after which he was banned for abuse and name-calling.

Here are the two threads that made him famous:
Circumcision Debate Part 1
Circumcision Debate Part 2

And here is one of the many pit threads he inspired:
Jack-ass Dean Tyler

Oh, and here’s a recent thread about Wally, for those who want to learn about him.

The problem is that some of these threads are gone, swallowed up in the uub(?)/vB conversion (the board switched software).

I know for a fact that most of Phaedrus’s output vanished, including his insane last thread and the infamous “Flat Earth” thread (so when researching, don’t waste your time on those two. They’re gone)

Phaedrus was on his way out just as I was discovering the Board, so a lot of this is from memory and from what I’ve gathered.

Phaedrus was a kook who disguised it well for quite a while. Some bits I’ve gathered (and I’d like clarification, actually) were that he pretended he was an old man with mental health issues when he was caught lying about something. Then he claimed to be a he also claimed to be a lawyer who argued before the Supreme Court and a mycologist (sp…a fungus expert) He was a creationist with secret proof that “scientific creationism” was real. And he’d post it tomorrow.

He also believed that Gaudere was someone else’s sock puppet(???)

He was involved in a GD thread called “The Flat Earth” thread (which may have to do with the “scientific creationist” secret evidence…that he’ll post tomorrow. Really!!) that spun off lots of Pit-Threads, and under pressure, he created a sock-puppet called Formeragent (that’s not the right name) demanding that we not argue with Phaedrus for matters of national security and if we did, he’d arrest us all!!!

Eventually, in his final series of posts, in the Pit, he posted a legendary psychotic rant that degenerated into a several thousand “word” babble of made-up words that he claimed was one of the American Indian languages, but apparently wasn’t (like this: Ho-ne woah cha, con-ho le wingo! Yo no ho lo fo sho nanna-nanna fo fanna me my mo manna… that went on for thousands of words.)

From what I gather, he was nuts and annoying, but not a troll in the current sense. I’d like to get more of the backstory, though (like I said, I came onto the boards just as he was leaving)

Two of the surviving Phaedrus threads are here and here. Don’t bother trying to follow the links in the old thread as they were done in the old UUB system and don’t work.

The “Left Behind” skirmishes actually tie in with Phaderus. There was an inoccuously titled GD thread (Something harmelss like “Hey look at this” but I can’t find the thread and don’t remember the title) that “hid” a group of people who were saying “tee-hee! Lookit those lusers on the Left Behind Message Board” (a board devoted to people (mostly Christian Right-types) who were fans of the dreadful Left Behind novels)

A group of Dopers went to argue with the Left Behinders while making fun of them in the SDMB thread. Eventually, someone (Phaedrus I think) ratted the “conspirators” out at the Left Behind board. Whoever the rat was also left the impression that it was a planned invasion as opposed to a small group of people screwing around. A group of Left Behinders flooded in here, posting Bible verses everywhere and starting angry “How dare you invade our message board” threads and such. Eventually detente was reached, wrists were slapped and several Left Behiders stuck around (Wasn’t Navigator a Left-Behinder originally?)

I believe that Boobooslittletigress/Honesty/Little Tassie were responsible for the “Crunchy Frog (who was Bratman at the time, IIRC) is in the Hospital” thing as well as the “LittleTassie’s baby is dying of cancer” thing. (notice a trend?). I think there was a third one as well.

The “Crunchy Frog” threads can be found here, here and here.
and the LittleTassie crap can be found here, here, and here, and both incidents are wrapped up together.

(The upshot was that this poster (apparently Crunchy’s one-time girlfriend under another ID) posted a “Crunchy’s dying and in the hospital!!!” thread. After much concern and unhappiness, it turns out that Crunchy wasn’t in the hospital or sick or hurt, etc. She was just pulling a scam. It should also be noted that Crunchy was completely cleared of any wrongdoing and was another victim of this poster.)

Sqrlcub posted a creepy thread around last Halloween saying “There’s someone trying to get into my apartment and I’m all alone. I’m gonna go check it out and I’ll post a follow-up.”

He then took off on vacation. Panic and worry ensued. Turns out he thought it would be a fun Halloween prank and claimed he didn’t realize that people would worry. He was banned.

Regarding the Melingate thing, this thread has the best summary of the whole issue and discusses it in detail as neutrally as possible, with links to the original threads. (If the whole issue were to be summed up, however, these two original threads Ed’s/the SDMB’s
are probably the best way to read more about it.)
And before anyone asks, the Freakfreely thread for which the term “meltdown” was invented can be found here

My questions: Nowdays, Phaedrus is “He who shall not be named”, but some of the really oldtimers (like Opalcat) who were around in the AOL days have said there was an earlier (and apparently much worse "He Who Shall Not Be Named) who was named “PerkyDan”. I know NOTHING about him, except that his name still invokes horror from the remaining AOLies. Can anyone give some background/context on him?

What was the “Flat Earth” thread about? Everyone in the surviving Phaedrus threads references it, but what was it? Was Phadey arguing that the world was indeed flat? I’ve gathered that “Scientific” creationism figure in too, but how?

My other question: JohnJohn/Cyberian != Mark Serlin, right? Or are they the same person?


PS: I think we’re gonna find that SweetWilly (“I hate Jews!”/“I AM a Jew!”) will end up as another legendary SDMB psycho in time. Opinions?

Happily I think the sense of community here comes not from the major events but more so from the day to day posting and some heartfelt threads that touch us and (… this is corny but) make us feel better about people in general. Like Coldfire’s thread about WWII. I’d give more examples but I have a terrible memory.

Another important thread is this one about the terror attacks. I reread it just before the crash and it was just incredible to get the minute by minute reaction to it. It’s a thread that I actually think has a historical significence beyond this board.

What’s interesting about the board crash is that there were two groups of people, those who went to the temp boards and those who waited for the REAL board to come back. But I think as a whole it had little effect on us. Maybe a little longing among some for Smashie and a reminder why several posters were banned but nothing long term. Surprisingly so.

I’d be inclined to say that the Loverock chronicles need to be included somewhere on this list.

At the same time, it sure seems like the only things mentioned are some pretty crappy experiences up to this point.

Cyberian/JohnJohn very much not the same thing as Serlin. Different pet issues, for one. Different styles altogether, for another. Serlin is a mentally ill (IIRC) man who had like eight usernames his first go-around. One of the things he’d do would be to argue with his various SNs in one thread. There is, somewhere (I think), a detailed explanation of all the screen names he used and how he’d sign on with one, then sign off and sign on with another, etc. When he was caught, he claimed it was research ("Lynn Bodini; study wrecker, or Serlin exposed). Or maybe that was the second incarnation … I registered enough after the original “onslaught” that my memory of his first few infestations isn’t really clear. I do know that Prism02, which was IIRC his third main incarnation, got banned after it was discovered that he was Serlin. His last few posts were in this “look at me I worked in a sex toy shop!”, which got turned into Arnold Winkelried’s experiences working in a Christian bookstore. If you ever see a “Hi, Mark. Bye, Mark.” in a thread, that’s almost always someone who recognized his posting style (Serlin’s) … his two big topics are “those were the good old days [with references to things like race. He capitalizes … White, Black, etc]” or “I like women with poofy hair who spray perfume in their crotchal area.” Not a big fan of fat women, either.

One of Phaedruss deals was that he was CONVINCED that Gaudere, andros and one other person were all the same. Supposedly he had evidence of this but couldn’t post it because it’d be damaging information, or it was stuff people could use nefariously (SSN? I dunno). He had bet someone (manhattan, IIRC) $10K that A) they were all the same person and B) he could prove it. When he finally couldn’t prove it he said “okay, I’ll have my accountant write the thing up for you, but you have to keep it all yourself. You can’t give it to anyone.” That last bit was the result of a thread called “Who wants to be a Phaedrusaire?” or something similar. Phaedrus specified that Manny had to keep it all himself or some dire legal action would be taken.

JDT was … quite another story. Obsessed … OBSESSED with foreskin. Convinced that the world’s problems rested with those who did not have their foreskin and thus were angry at the world or something (he blamed the middle east conflict on circumcision). His cites all came from cirp.org, or something like that, and as such were inherently biased. He was also a big fan of the whole “can’t prove a negative” business, which was entertaining for about three seconds. He claimed to have studied astrophysics at UCLA, among other things. But he started slipping up, tossing ethnic slurs at Jewish doctors in GD and insulting people (myself included) beyond the call of duty in the pit. Actually implied that Esprix was a child molestor and posted what was called “the most non-apologetic apology” in response to repeated requests for an official apology. Basically it was him saying “don’t ban me for being a jerk.” After he got banned, he tried sending some folks a virus or website with funky coding on it or something like that…I never got the email so I don’t remember what it was.

We’ve had several troll infestations…none of the ones I’ve witnessed were anything I’d call a war inasmuch as me beating the living shit out of a piece of toilet paper isn’t assault with a deadly weapon. Trolls in a battle of wits almost invariable are unarmed, and if they are armed it is pathetically easy to get them to shoot themselves. CDMilk and the British invasion was like last summer, and every once in a while we’ll get some punk kid or idiot adult come and try to start shit. Pit thread ensues, pile-on starts, thread usually gets locked. Doesn’t last for more than a month, mostly. On occasion someone with passably above-average intelligence will stop JUST short of blatantly breaking the rules, and they will go under radar for a while. I think that was the case with Sweet Willy; he was a jackass, but he wasn’t really clearly violating board rules enough to deserve banning until it was really REALLY obvious that he was trolling. Then his ass got banned.

Oat Willie (as I remember him, anyway…) discovered a trick in the vB code… you could register “iampunha” and " iampunha" as different names/accounts/whatnot, and they would both show up onscreen as iampunha (except when you use the quote function). He manipulated this to create several socks that looked like the person (I remember Oat Willie socked Ayesha, so to speak, and someone socked Minty Green TWICE in the same thread on the temp board). Banned, banned, banned, banned, BANNED.

I wasn’t here for Melingate or the LBMB war, so I won’t say anything on that except that they weren’t exactly fun times. The LBMB still exists, sort of, as the Pizza Parlor, and several dopers who post regularly here also do there.

puNHa: Thanks for the Cyberian/JohnJohn - Serlin clarification. I knew they were different but I couldn’t remember what Serlin’s gimmick was. (I didn’t know that “I worked in a sex-shop” guy was Serlin!

One other question: one of the two of 'em is (or was) obsessed by Hillary Clinton’s butt. ( he had a ton of “Lookit Hillary’s fat ass” threads). Any idea which one it was?

And a bit more info on the FORMERAGENT thing:

Here’s one of FORMERAGENT’S* posts, and in addition to possibly being one of Phaedrus’s socks(?), I’d forgotten that Formeragent had a sock of his own: After posting this bit of phlegm, Finder who was another super-secret spy in the same super-secret building but on a different super-secret floor appeared, warning FORMERAGENT that his VERY LIFE was in danger!!!

Apparently Finder’s warning was more serious than we thought, since after a brief spate of posts, neither has ever posted again!

:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

Fenris, fascinated with Board history


Amen, Osiris.

Mind you, seethruart’s “Tiny Anomalies…” thread should be enshrined as an example of tinfoil thinking.

Oops: the correct link for Finder’s dire warning and the full consequences can be found here instead. (The thread was moved to the Pit after only a few posts and it showed up as two different threads. The one linked in this post is the complete one)

I was here for the kaykay thing…

Basically the had one topic and that was kinky sex and most of her threads were about subjects of that nature

What I seen of it was some people was chiding/making fun of her topics the tried making other topics but returned to her usual ones

Coimments were made and it got nasty and she was banned

Theres some debate as to wether there was a unfair pile on against her or not …

Now as for the poster that needs to retake english from first grade on well thats me heh

Since i can make my opwn pit rant against my self thats another post

It’s kinda like NASCAR. Nobody remembers the really good driving, all they remember are the fiery crashes.

So, when are the Wildest Bill Chronicles going to make an appearance here?

And here’s a link to the aftermath of the Left Behind invasion.

Loverock? Who dat???
Anyway, here’s the thing to me: There’s so much general niceness on the SDMB that it’s hard for any one nice thread to stand out. (One that comes to mind was during the Pay-to-Post explosion, someone…Eve perhaps?..said that if it were Pay-To-Post, she couldn’t continue posting and a large discussion begain as to how best to set up a fund.)

The reason the train-wrecks, the psychos and the weirdness stand out is that they’re the exceptions, not the rules.


Melingate involved a fairly popular moderator being banned for threatening to sue the SDMB over something I just can’t recall at the moment.

Don’t Do That, Opal referred to the SD’s bizarre (IMHO) request that she not use “The Straight Dope” name at her Teeming Millions website…a real shot in the foot (again, IMHO).

Going back, waaaaaay back, there was a MONSTER thread on the old AOL board that went literally into the 500+ post area. It was called Who was Mr. Ruda Duda? I never read it, but man, there has to be some someone here to explain that thing. I was always curious, but never wanted to wade through all those posts.

Who (that was here) can forget Mark Serlin/Nitwatcher/RainbowCSR/etc? That troll was a head case and a half. He’d make some obnoxious comment (he had a thing about overweight people–phoo!), then come back under one of his incarnations and agree/support himself. No matter how obvious it was he had a drawer full of sockpuppets, he denied it to the core. (I put him on my Buddy List–and would watch him sign on as Serlin, sign off, come right back as Nitwatcher, sign off, come right back as RainbowCSR, etc.) Then one day he tried to pull this ridiculous (and hilarious) stunt, saying “Ha ha ha! You are all fools! I was doing a psychological experiment with you! Ha ha! Really! YOU are the puppets!” Our resulting laughter and mockery–not to mention demands to see a copy of this “study”–resulted in him disappearing from the boards. He’s still around, though; I see him on AOL from time to time and am tempted to torment him. Alas, I haven’t allowed myself to succumb to that temptation.

Hey now! There have been some upsides. Great threads have passed through here. One I remember was an OP that asked about our grandfathers.

I guess the historic moments have been those that engendered changes, and those changes have generally been responses to percieved weaknesses.

Ok, now that someone’s mentioned {b]Wildest Bill**, we’re gonna get the “O I miss him. He was so cute” posts from people who only thought of his faked bad syntax (the mosquito thread title will be mentioned).

To pre-emptively deal with it, here’s a few examples of the not-so-cutsie Wildest Bill that the “I miss him” types seem to forget.

“Old people are smelly and useless. Let’s kill 'em” with follow-up Pit thread

A thread responding to Bill after Bill took “Mexican fat burners”, sped through town during the lunch hour and was bitching that he had 10 cop cars chase him. here. Be sure to read where he accuses Guin of sleeping with her teachers to get good grades after she argues with him. :rolleyes:

response to a thread where WB made a comment to the effect of “Jews are all good at business because God’s on their side”

And a masterpiece of a thread by Esprix about WB, with tons of links to his anti-gay posts.

(The reason I focused so much on Pit threads is that most of these threads have TONS of links to other WB threads. Plus they show his less “Garwsh! Im juts plane folke lik yew” personna that some inexplicably find charming.)


One that sticks with me is the Satan/Heather affair. He must have been doing some pretty potent stuff to have become that involved with her. She gives sluts a bad name.

I’ll depend on someone with more available time to search the archives.

Until he survived that one and came out of it a better man, he really confused me. His great humor and intelligent posts seemed directly in opposition to his Heather-related posts.

He was ultimately banned, IIRC, and moderated the BMZ on Fathom for a while.

Don’t know if his marriage to DrainBead is still pending or if they’ve tied the knot by now.

He’s one of the past-posters I miss.