The History of a Society
The History of a Society
I am writing this as possibly the concluding chapter of my own story on this site and as a tribute to all those who changed my life. Like my friend Siblesz I entered this community a young (though slightly older) and ignorant boy of 16 who knew nothing about philosophy, politics or human nature. This place has opened my mind to the ruthless nature of humanity, the hypocrisy of mainstream politics and the futility of institutionalized faith. It was Siblesz who recently stated that humanity is divided into two, the minority of those who know and the majority of the ignorant. I’d like to think that because of this community I am in the minority and it will serve me well throughout my existence on this earth. Indeed many may well dispute whether something that exists primarily as a collection of data could ever be remotely be classified as a society. How can one call something which has no physical manifestation real? In my opinion there are two types of people that form part of this society, those who understand it, and those who don’t. Why would I, as writer of this story even dare call an internet based community a society? Ultimately one must ask themselves, if the site is deleted tomorrow, would that be the end of the community? My personal answer is no, within days you would see other forums such as Anagennese popping up feeding the members craving. One must also ask why many members are addicted to a point where it becomes a part of someone’s real life. I know of many who felt this addiction and I know that it’s an addiction that formed part of my own life for over two years. I could go into detail about the nature of reality, the concept of society and so on, but this is not the intent of this story. I am here to allow the members to view the community through the eyes of someone who has experienced all it has to offer and who ultimately destroyed himself (in relation to TWC) as a result of it. I will also use this last project to tie up some loose ends I left hanging after my sudden departure; I would like to apologize to the Eagle Standard Team for leaving them so soon after reestablishing the organization. Apart from that I have very few apologies as I did nothing wrong that I have not already apologized for. Furthermore I know that this will offend members and might cause upset but I have nothing to loose and the community has everything to gain from the lessons I hope to teach. I would like to conclude this by echoing the statement of Siblesz - I do not claim to know the absolute truth, and neither do I claim that my way is the right way, but I do claim that these forums reflect the World around us like a mirror, and that by analyzing the history of this forum one also learns about humanity in general.
Act one -
- The fall of the Last Real Triumvirate – Boris, Siblesz and Nick - The Final Solution – Crandar - Enter Maximus - The Pieces are moving - The Hacker Attacks - Civil War - Anagennese - Sulla and the Spartanknights - Jacobus enters Staff - The teacher and student - Archer and Maximus meet - Reform and Promotion - The Prince versus the Praetorian - The plot - The Betrayal - The “Resignation” - Entry into the Curia, the reforms - Information from the Top - The Decimvirate
- Christmas and the Constitution - The Republican Consul - The election - The return of Sulla - Self Exile - Family troubles - The Helios attack - Pro Curator again - Justinian for consul - Evading the veto - Accession to Praetorship - Quaestors and Urbanis - Souring of relations - The Boo thread - Cker - Area 51 - The Imperial Consul - Loss of faith - Work - The unwinding of the strings - Every man for himself - The plot - Accession to Admin - The final bow - The end
William Shakespeare All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players, They have their exits and entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms. Then, the whining schoolboy with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier, Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice In fair round belly, with good capon lin'd, With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws, and modern instances, And so he plays his part.
Friends, this is my tribute to you all, this is the history of Twc through the eyes of Belisarius
The fall of the Last Real Triumvirate – Boris, Siblesz and Nick The events leading up to civil war
This is possibly the most difficult period to reflect upon because the decline of the last true triumvirate started before I even joined. As a member in September of 2004 it was quite apparent that Siblesz was the one running the show. Indeed the inactivity of Paul, Nick and Boris meant that Siblesz was running the forum on his own with a skeleton staff of very experienced and capable moderators, though time and activity issues plagued the last true Hexagon throughout this timeframe. Regardless, the site flourished under the unofficial dictatorship of Siblesz and the fact that his will and energy were the only things keeping the site up is a testament to his ability and the community is forever indebted to him for this, and I say that being as objective as I can. Though he did apparently have some outside help, or so someone has told me, it is irrelevant. At this point I’d like to say that I do not know where Mi Lucia will conclude so our two versions might overlap and even conflict here, but I write this section as a prelude to the events I personally took part in; it’s not solid fact but should serve to answer the question “why?”
First of all, why do I call this the last true Triumvirate? The answer is simple, all other “Triumvirates” after this are and were nothing more then smoke and mirrors and what is most unfortunate is that some admins couldn’t even grasp this fact! One of Newton’s laws states that when opposing forces are positioned in such a way as to cancel eachother out then they are in equilibrium. The idea of a Triumvirate is three equals sharing total power. But from the time of the Hacker attacks Ogres.net have taken a prominent backseat position in the running of the site and thus have always appointed one designated administrator. Archer, Sulla and all other designated admins taking on a Triumvirate role did/will in effect stop it being a Triumvirate. You cannot have a Triumvirate where one member is all powerful and can fire the other two; it’s simply not how a triumvirate works. As a member of Hex this became painfully obvious, yet my opinion was in minority. A Triumvirate and any system where there is not one designated person to take power when staff and the community in general is so heavily influenced in politics is bound to fail. The present system will fail and it wouldn’t surprise me if it does before I even finish this. In effect we have a true Hexagon but it too is bound to fail, telling you why now would in effect spoil the ending of this so bare with me, your going to have to wait for more analysis on current situations. I promise I won’t disappoint! I will however quote Tostig, who quoted Thomas Hobbes, “In the first place, I put for a general inclination of all mankind a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death. And the cause of this is not always that a man hopes for a more intensive delight than he has already attained to, or that he cannot be content with a moderate power, but because he cannot assure the power and means to live well, which he hath present, without the acquisition of more.”
Now Siblesz was practically dominated by TWC for months and soon he became frustrated and began to seek ways and means to either share the workload or remove all inactive staff. Removal of staff was a risk because with a smaller community where the Civitates were all linked to a member of staff, mass removal would have caused a situation similar to the mass exodus and subsequent civil war. Thus a gradual change was seen as the best strategy where the new would gradually outpace the old. Siblesz found many prominent and intelligent members namely Spartan, Sulla, Smack, Crandar and later Profler. I am sure Siblesz will tell this story better but it is apparent that soon these members were elevated into positions where they could share the burden -but- at this point lack of moderation was overtaking Siblesz and an extreme situation had to be found to batter the community into order.
James Shirley -
Victorious men of earth, no more Proclaim how wide your empires are; Though you bind in every shore And your triumphs reach as far As night or day, Yet you, proud monarchs, must obey And mingle with forgotten ashes when Death calls ye to the crowd of common men.
Devouring Famine, Plague, and War, Each able to undu mankind, Death's servile emissaries are; Nor to these alone confined, He hath at will More quaint and subtle ways to kill; A smile or kiss, as he will use the art, Shall have the cunning skill to break a heart
Spartan showed his ability in administrative tasks and was a prominent member in the total war and modding community thus Siblesz selected him to eventually form part of a new triumvirate. Sulla who showed his ability in the curia was to replace Boris and Crandar was to head moderation as a Praetor. But as we know, this didn’t go according to plan in true TWC style. The above system (excluding Crandar) would have been both stable and profitable for TWC because Sulla as a Curial Triumvir in a community where there is no external pressure and internal conflict could have gotten the curia elevated to a prominent position with elections taking place. Need I remind the new members that the Curia was nothing more then an advisory body but actually did have more power then the current? They did not elect people but the power lay with the influence they had within hex with most members being patronised by Hex. This is a situation that repeated itself with the House of Caesars and currently does with the House of Wilpuri. Whether this is intended or not is known only to Garbarsardar and co, but as long as it is of no danger to the community the Curia should embrace it as an opportunity to gain more power. I will, later on go into more detail. As a final note on the proposed “new Hex”, I might also add that Boris and Nick were still respected members but lack of communication and inactivity meant they had to go, it was for the good or TWC, peace be with her. Ultimately Nick vowed to be active and Boris left as part of a complicated deal which roots itself further then the known resignation thread deal, Boris is indeed a hero of TWC but is also partly to blame from the later events, more about this in, “the pieces are moving”. The treatment of Nick is indeed a mystery but it is one I am hoping to solve as I write this and sum up all the accounts I have of events. Needless to say the future was bright but a smooth transition was needed. If only.
Other then this the Curia was passive and the conflict that destroyed Aden’s changes of regaining his position as an administrator had long since passed. Nevertheless Aden, within the Curia, was at the height of his power as leader of the opposition and his views were respected and his council eagerly taken in times of change. Members such as Garbarsardar, Torment, Myself and many other well respected members were, at the time, mere posters who had nothing to do with the politics, we were normal. The “old guard” resided within the Symposium and the spammers, flamers and noobs were running amok in the general community and TWC was increasing its status after its troubled times with CA and so on (refer to Mi Lucia).
Robert Burns But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane, In proving foresight may be vain: The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Gang aft agley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, For promis'd joy!
To sum up, it is my opinion that the inactivity and burden on Siblesz caused the staff breakdown and the second hacker attack (but only was an indirect cause of the first hacker attack). Did Siblesz make mistakes? Yes. The Achilles heal of Hexagon always has been, and will be, lack of communication. It was this that broke up the last triumvirate. The break up put four talented people with ambition in the middle of a struggle and this was a recipe for disaster. Siblesz could have done his homework on Crandar but you can’t really blame him. What would you have done? It would be rather Marxist of me to state that within TWC society a revolution is needed for a change, but this theory has an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting it. I cannot further explain the events but more will become clear as I take you through the Hacker attacks.
The Final Solution – Crandar The beginning of the first end
It is hard to truly classify the account Crandar as villain, political tool or just an unsuitable mod. What has become apparent to me is that Crandar was not a character or person, Crandar was nothing more then an account and the person behind the account was, for the most part, irrelevant. To understand Crandar one must intimately understand the politics and to do that one must have been there at the time. Crandar is symbolic of an element of “real” society which is a key player in today’s world. Indeed he or rather, it represents extremism ranging from Nazism to today’s religious extremism. The only time a society would ever embrace extremism is when confronted with instability and decline. I bring forward the rise of Hitler within an economically crippled Germany as evidence to support this theory. TWC, at its heart, was unstable and due to the decrease in post quality was also in intellectual decline.
Crandar provided energy where there was none, structure in a system ground down by apathy and a solution to what was blamed for most of the decline, the spam. Furthermore I do not call him “it” to demonize him, he was an account and nothing more, his motivation was to accomplish his task and do it by any means necessary. His perverse extremist view of what TWC should become was the blueprint to his actions and if you put his ideas within the context of a real society he would have even resorted to genocide to remove the “corrosive elements” which were in his opinion, bad for TWC. One such example of this was his need to eliminate the Manji family and effectively castrate it, but that; I will go into more detail later on.
What is strange about Crandar is that he is one of the only political characters who goes against a pattern, or rather, the blueprint that can be applied to most, if not all political players in TWC. One notices a gradual rise where a well liked character moves up the ranks with ideas and dreams for him and his fellow members. Then one observes the gradual shift and the realization that those below him care not for his person but only his ideas and what he can do for them. Feeling unsafe the person solidifies his position and becomes a member locked up in an ivory tower looking down at the masses knowing that when he is done, he will be nothing. The member both accomplishes something and as a result is honoured with title and allowed to fade away, or alternatively, is removed in solemn silence and indifference. There are those who manage “both”, but for them, with the title comes the understanding that though the mob cheer, it is game over. In a real society almost all of us want is to be remembered in some shape or form and this is also true in TWC. Crandar is different. Within TWC Crandar was almost always impersonal (unless sharing his fetish for high heeled shoes with Sulla in the staff forum) and never established a personal bond with the community. He rose to the top because he was the solution and was needed fast and his reputation never mattered to him and nor did the community politics, he had bigger fish to fry. He was a tool, he was the tool of Siblesz and ultimately as his signature suggests he did what his “noble master” wanted. He established a form of order and helped reform an organization unable to keep up with the times. If fate was on his side he could have been the savior of TWC but he underestimated its complexity and ability to stand up for what it believes in. Ultimately Crandar’s nature is what made him valuable but it was also his nature that destroyed him. His fame is unique because he (as stated above) breaks all the rules.
So what did Crandar do? Well, on a positive side Crandar helped restructure and give actual meaning to the Patronage system and also had significant input in things regarding the network and the Signature/avatar rules. I wonder if the intervention of Ogres.net and Crandar’s position in staff were coincidental? It might be possible that he was the one who showed the network admins the waste generated by the community’s relaxed rules of signature and avatar limits. Though the more accepted theory is that the rules were already there and ON just noticed they were not being enforced. Unfortunately there is (or was) chronological evidence of all Crandars activities in a thread somewhere in admin storage but due to my abrupt and untimely departure from staff and subsequent self exile I have been unable to bring forth enough solid evidence to back up any theories regarding Crandar while he was Quaestor. What is clear is that he knew more about Staff and hexagon then a Quaestor should ever know and that he deliberately attacked and essentially trolled target members of staff as a result of this.
The first two notable target members were Manji and Eothain who were both Urbanis Legio (At the time they were not purple and looked almost identical to Patricians barring a cooler badge). Manji opened up a thread about Crandars conduct and moderation also mentioning the “how to become a civitates thread” which, funnily enough, has disappeared from all records after the hacker attacks. This resulted in their activity being brought into question which resulted in their eventual removal. The second attack was brought up against Boris by Crandar in an audacious move to highlight his inactivity. The thread in question, “Is Borispavlovgrozny derelict of his duties” resulted in a brief and heated discussion during which Boris (or Nick) made the comment which in my mind is symbolic of Crandar at the time, “I see the mouth moving but all I hear is Sibs voice”. The implications of this thread were to reverberate within the Hexagon forum for the next few weeks. There were also attacks on Wilpuri and (again) Boris. One key attack of great significance was Crandars condemnation of animated avatars and his disgust that an administrator would advocate their use! This was a significant event in relation to the hacker attack. Furthermore it was within staff where Crandar formulated his plans and opinions of members such as Manji and where he started to analyze and evaluate people. His ideas were to reap havoc in the wider community as time progressed.
What is interesting after working and moderating for the site for well over a year is the fact that if Crandar was to moderate today, the effect and shock would be nowhere near as terrible as it was back then, and I say that with the deepest certainty and sincerity. Crandars enforcement of the signature rules, trolling and flaming as well as his ability to deal out “warnings” for minor offences is today common practice amongst some well known moderators. Yet it would be unfair to tar or in any way tarnish, taint, or tamper with the well earned reputations of those beckons of moral sanity, civility and saintly serenity known as, “the present day moderators”. Such a crime would undoubtedly result in dire consequences and the gradual grinding down and escalatory tentative tarnishing of ones own righteous rambunctious and resented reputation. But it is the game that one plays and ultimately it is the game that deals ones fate. It would also create a divine paradox seeing as I apparently paved the way for many notable transgressions and acts of moral and legal indecency. Yet through the sarcasm it is true that no present day moderator could ever be called Crandar. This is because he took particular pleasure in dealing out warnings to those who were opposed to him. What made Crandar a bad moderator was the fact he removed anything that didn’t conform to his vision of community perfection. Fist it was threads, then members and later staff! To be frank, noone has the balls to moderate like Crandar, and if they did, noone has a sympathizing admin who gives them practical immunity. There is no cause for a Crandar, today. But who knows? It is my belief that the next Crandar is already a prominent Patrician. Am I correct? Will the Civitates realise before it is possibly too late? I sure as hell am not getting involved!
Enter Maximus The beginning of my Community Career
My early months in TWC were quite uneventful; I was a member from September to about late January. I met Torment, Aden, Lord Tomyris to name a few and we became internet mates. Aden was rather strange on MSN at first and has not given up the crusade to turn me to the queer side! We formed the BWT (British warriors of TWC) and the Irish formed “Na Fianna” (excuse any syntax error there) which had threads and the odd fights. It was quite fun! Also, Torment and I were known as “Bubba” bashers because there was one member, Bubba, who was rather “silly” and a few of us took great pleasure in ripping apart his arguments. I would liken it to what many members did to another recent moderator, though that was mostly uncalled for and unfair. Moving swiftly on, I was convinced that I was made civitates around early December yet Simetrical had assured me that it was late January. I was made a civitates because I had produced a few notable threads such as a remembrance thread for Auschwitz and a donation thread for the Katrina victims, (No, not victims of Katrina’s moderation seesh, the Tsunami obviously). It was a post in a poetry discussion which attracted TranceCrusader to me as his first potential client. We chatted and I gratefully accepted his offer. The fact he was great mates with many members of Hexagon did also help but the main point is that I was made a civitates. This was the start of what was to be a very interesting career.
I really didn’t do much of anything as I was not part of the inner circle of Civitates and staff that basically ran the site and Curia. I don’t remember any Curial discussion or Curia business before Crandar (BC) but its safe to say it was, as it is now, quite boring. I debated in the Mudpit and it is there I changed politically and matured. The Symposium was somewhere I was afraid to post because the discussions were so intense and well thought out that I was unable to even grasp how I was to tackle one of the old guard uber posts. But I doubt any of this really interests you so I will move on to the interesting parts.
Crandar was rampaging though the community mercilessly gorging and engulfing anything that was the slightest bit against his pseudo utopian fascist dream of order. He had even culled massive parts of the say cheese thread *gasp*. I was one of many who did not approve of the actions. However I was powerless and confined myself to offering opinions and the odd named support and vote. I had not been moderated but early on Crandar did notice that he and I shared conflicting opinions on everything. I then put myself up for the position of Urbanis, and was denied outright. I then, thanks to Aden, got involved in minor political activities aligning myself with Aden and Tomyris; it is funny that Aden brought me into politics as his supporter when you consider later events. But the point is Crandar had already decided that Manji was a threat and thus deducted that Trance and I were also threats. At that time Manji, Trance, and I (and another who I don’t remember his name, something Greek I think) were the only members of the House of Manji, infact, houses did not even exist at the time. That is something I will discuss later as discussing it now will throw me off a timeline which is already hard to remember.
Then the day Pope John Paul died I replied to a comment made by Sulla with something along the lines of, “imagine the successor is a black female lesbian pope”, Crandar warned me for trolling. I had recently become patrician (I was in the second group of people to be awarded the official rank by … Crandar and Profler) and the vote for my first client, Torment, had begun. I chose Torment because he was honest, rude and lived in Amsterdam which gave him brownie points in Sibs books. The vote thread in staff had an interesting discussion which I will get to later but the warning didn’t affect Torment. But, it’s understandable to say that I was pissed off, so much so that I made it my mission to remove crandar and get into staff to show people I was not an “idiot troll”. It was go time.
(A note – I was going to change the name of this chapter to “A state of play” but that would not be representative of that period in time. The Society is constantly embroiled within a state of play and even I am still in a state of play, and will be until the conclusion of this, “novella”. Currently I would like to make some comments –
I chose to release the main sections gradually and not all on March the 15th as originally planned, this will give me time for revisions and alterations with numerous facts coming to light even now.
Another point on objectivity, ultimately it is impossible for me to be totally objective as I play the central character in this History. However many think I will use this as an attempt to strike out at people I personally dislike. I would like to note that in many respects it might be seen as lashing out, but it is not. My account is dead and I have nothing to gain from destroying anyone’s reputation. I know my status and situation. The only thing members have to fear is the truth, and only the guilty fear the truth!
Another note, when I chose not to reveal an identity within my text please do not assume it is a person and then post that in public. When I choose not to reveal a name I do so with good reason, one reason being I could be wrong. I put much thought into what and who I write about.
The Pieces are moving
It would be inaccurate of me to state that this was the start of my “want” to climb the steps of the oligarchy. My motives have always stemmed from my admiration of people like Siblesz. Ultimately when I look back I note that I had one constant personal agenda. I guess in the end I simply wanted to achieve equal status to Siblesz. In my eyes through all my work I failed in the end, and now I am where I am at present and never got to retire and attain equal rank to Divus. Yes it is selfish of me, but when one devotes hours of his free time to the service of others, one is allowed to be selfish. To state I was selfless would be a lie and if I am charged to tell the truth then I should be decent enough to start with myself. Yes it was my plan to try and earn the next Consul position, it was my plan to retire in late February and finally get the status. (I had a legal loophole that because I was staff twice, I served as Senatorii and could have had an instant vote, someone should fix that). In the end I did sacrifice it, but you can never predict history, only reflect and learn from it. Perhaps this story will make a few deserving Divii and maybe prevent some who are not worthy. I am not saying this now for pity or as some political hint or maneuver, but rather, I want to pass the message that it is better to make your personal aims and objectives known to all then to allow speculation and conspiracy grow and fester within the mob. There is nothing wrong with personal agendas as long as they come second to what is good for the wider society.
Thus the first game began. I started with some sporadic MSN meetings with people I hardly knew where we discussed a plan. Lord Tomyris and I were the main culprits in the conspiracy with Aden and others taking prominent side roles. Finally, in a fit of rage at having received a warning, I opened up the famous thread – “My Case and Petition against Crandar” where I was the first to speak up of Crandar in a political and community orientated manner rather than just moderation. I then rallied Tomyris and Aden to contact their friends. Their friends contacted others and we created a snowballing storm of complaints and drama. It is interesting to note that Siblesz’s comment along the lines of “Bad timing GM, really bad timing” was referring to the other dimension of the battle, that of Hexagon. Wilpuri, Boris and Nick had, almost simultaneously, opened a Crandar thread in staff but the discussion was somewhat overshadowed by the turmoil in the community. For the first time in ages the community had rallied behind one banner, an insignificant patrician, and flooded him with messages of support. However it would not be objective of me to state that I was the force the toppled Crandar, indeed I was too insignificant. I was lucky to have my name attached to the whole fight to the point where a Civitates of 3 months was being called Old Guard! I opened the thread and I gathered support and thus applied pressure on the discussion in Hexagon. I wish I could show you the thread, but I lost my copy of it and it is nowhere to be found on TWC.
To Be continued