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The Trails and Tribulations of a Breakaway
With the discussion started by the member Sepp Blatter here, which invoked a private discussion with a moderator of this forum, and a reflection back to my previous blog entry, I thought that I would share my memories of a previous CAF breakaway saga that many of you probably don't know the full details of. I'll put a disclaimer here first though stating that these are my memories and that the dates will probably not be entirely accurate, including the chronological order that it happened in; some of the names might also be wrong, but I doubt that's so important, they can sue me. Most of the CAF archives about the incident are also dead and buried when the old General Forum was abandoned to suck up to Google. This tale is both funny and sad at the same time, but highlights what can happen when moderation of a forum is too lax, the forum attracts what can only be described as the mentally ill, and then forum moderation becomes too harsh to deal with that. It also serves as a reminder that forums can co-exist and that the "parent" forum is part of the history of any breakaway forum whether people see it as such or not. Glazer his hated, yes, by many, yet some of those that ran of to FCUM and wiped their hands of the real United went too far. Some of you may be interested and some of you might not, but all in all, removing Google from the equation, it does go some way to explaining how and why moderation policy changed on the CAF from its lowly beginnings to the behemoth it is today. Hope that some of you enjoy it and apologies to those that don't.
Once upon a time, there was a poster called WeasteDevil - a newbie to the CAF (without a newbie forum). He was a happy go lucky type of chap that had recently moved to Spain from his home town of Manchester and had trouble adapting to both the way of life and the language spoken in a city that never saw any tourists at all. So, in order to have some sort of social life in his own language, in June 2001 he joined a website that we all know as The CAF. All was well, banter was great, there was no newbie forum (although new registrations were vetted in an open/closed window system), most people knew what they were talking about in regards to football and United (apart from the scousers obviously, who were there to laugh at, or in the case of some like Davo, laugh at and with). I then went to Ireland to work in 2003 and never posted for 8 months or so. When I finally did return, there it was, a newbie forum! "what the fuck is this?" asked Weaste, and was soon after given access to it. Eight months is a long time to be away from a forum, and in that newbie and just recently promoted to the mains were a group of funny but strange posters, the Top Reds as they liked to call themselves; another term was the Warrington Massive (or something like that). This group of posters included the likes of Big Andy, Wobbly, Shane, Ground Side, French Henry, Looking Busy, WelshRed, Mozza, Murt, K-Stand, Duabai Devil, this strangely likeable but frustrating arse of a Tottenham fan called Slabber, and more - many of whom turned out to be unsavoury as we will see.
At first they started off harmless enough posting pictures of their matchday jaunts together, photoshops of them with bottles of Corona up their arses, and so on. Then they started with the Top Reds shit, going after and abusing OOTers as not real fans (strange really as two of them at least were from Warrington and St Helens - almost scousers in my mind), then started attacking the women with the infamous post-line "gashout", which at one point is all that they would ever use to reply to a female poster no matter what she said. Unsurprisingly a few of them fucked off. Previously there was a refuge site called Hypersky, which was owned by Raoul and was very similar to this one in a way (although not public, it was invitational only) where people would run away from the muppets in times of outrage. It had some good posters, including some of the oldies like UKBob, RedPat (now sadly deceased), EdTheRed, etc. - it was also called a clique on the CAF when its existence became known. When Raoul shut that down (I think because he went off to War in Iraq or Afghanistan as he was a US Reservist if I remember), Livvie and some others set up another refuge using some free forum website, but I can't remember the name, and that was used instead, and was the place where the females retreated from the gashout gang.
In the meantime, back over at the CAF, the antics of the Warrington Massive (or whatever they were called) was starting to get out of hand and moderation started to become stricter - for the better in this case. At this point I was not an Admin on the CAF, just a normal poster with a rather large post count, or at least it was back then, some people have already surpassed my once mighty post total in the era when Davo was still the king of posts. I digress however, but this heavier moderation caused a little bit of a rumpus and Slabber decided to start the first thread for the election of a president that would represent the interests of the posters with the admin (there were no moderators at this juncture), and the admin for a laugh even offered to let the winner into the Admin room/forum as a guest to monitor their decisions. Anyway, round one went by, round 2, etc. until the very final round.
My Election Campaign PosterAs I always thought that the late Slabber (he was alright I suppose, just a bit mentally warped and prone to chucking his dummy out of his pram for nothing very much) was a bit of a turd, on the last night of voting in the final round he was late with the results because he was getting pissed down the pub. Interestingly I had already counted them as I was making the graphs, so I thought I'd have a bit of fun. What I did was change the votes a little so that Slabber didn't win (he did get the most votes) and Big-Andy did instead. I then made a post along the lines of "I have been nominated by the mods to count and declare the votes in Slabber's absence" and posted the false results. Livvie, god bless her, then naively locked the thread and Big-Andy was declared the president, until Slabber came back drunk and threw a hissy fit, including saying that he'd never post again unless I was banned from MehCafe (was never going to happen). This was the result....
Round One Voting
Final Round Voting (forged)
Slabber Going Nuts with WeasteA few days later he ended up in the forum I mentioned earlier, the refuge to the CAF that Livvie had set up. It was there that I apologised (I think) and asked him why if he and his cronies were so disillusioned with the CAF, why didn't they start up their own forum. Of course he had no clue how to do this and asked me to do it for him, to which I agreed and created this...
Early Screenshot of RDR, what was to become Red Republik
Slabber, Spoony and I (Super Admin) were the administrators, and Slabber and Spoony vigorously set about gaining members and spreading the word by PMing people on the CAF, and one by one they all came over and had a forum in the fashion of exactly what they wanted; it even had a hardcore porn forum, it was anything goes really, and they were happy. Unknown to them all however, I had created a back door into the forum where the CAF admin could monitor them and what they were up to without actually being seen (they could even see the admin forum and watch Slabber and Spoony's recruiting campaign unfold - PMs at the CAF were turned off for some people due to this). In the meantime I had been invited to become an admin on MehCafe (same time as Sultan as it happens), and I announced this in the RDR admin room. Obviously Slabber went nuts, asking for my resignation and demanding the Super Admin keys, to which I refused - this is what then sparked their plan to breakaway again and created what became RR (Red Republik) to be built by a rather boring CAF poster who claimed that he was highly experienced in Linux server administration and paid for by all of them. After a few days though I gave Slabber the Super Admin keys anyway and was promptly banned from the website that I created for them. Such is life!
Unknown to them however, all of the graphics were stored in my Photobucket, so I actually change the name of the banner GIF you can see above and renamed another one to that used by the RDR website. It was this, which I will leave as a link (the reason why will become quite apparent when you click on it)
Clearly that made the site totally unusable for them, and took their members with so-called computer experience several hours to realise what had gone on and fix it. This caused much rage and started what is now remembered as the first forum war. As I said, they were an unsavoury lot, and Photoshopped modified photos of some members, including me and GB, were posted on a regular basis, generally depicting me as a paedophile and GB, who had unwisely posted photos of his trip to Thailand (many contained him with his arm around some bird he met there), as an under-age tranny fucker. One by one they were banned, and bit by bit skat porn started to flood the newbie of the CAF. Moderation went into overdrive mostly spearheaded by me.
Over at Red Republik however, another game was afoot, and due to the general unsavoury nature and mental instability of the members there a massive argument ensued, leading to another breakaway forum called Surgical Aplomb and led by the likes of Slabber, Revelz, and R2D2. The war was now a three way thing with the CAF getting it from both of them (Skat porn to regular DNS attacks) and RR getting battered from Surgical Aplomb. The administrator of RR that I mentioned above however wasn't really that good at what he did, certainly not up to the standard that he led them to believe, and it was promptly hacked into from SA, something to this day still blamed on Revelz (Who incidentally is alright and is on my PSN friend list - total Playstation junky, seems to be playing 24hrs per day with it). All sorts of things were changed, admins kicked out, secret forums accessed etc. It was there that it was found out that RR itself had had another split as one member (can't remember who) had been shagging Looking Busy's bird and some had taken different sides. From that point on almost all attacks on MehCafe ceased from the direction of RR and only SA were left to carry on with their childish antics (some of which still go on to this day), but even that died down to basically a nothing - but it is the main reason why the newbie on the CAF will never be taken down - one reason why I deleted myself as an admin.
What am I trying to get at here anyway? Well, breakaways as a concept are not necessarily a bad thing and can be a good thing as long as there is no resentment towards the "parent" website (as is the case here and was with Hypersky and the one that Livvie set up), and unsavoury sorts with a twinkle in their eyes that just want to watch the world burn are kept at bay - this is dangerous in itself however, because as the multiple RR splits show, Internet warriors can turn on people who were previously their bestest e-mates in the world. Which leads us back to the begging paragraph of this rambling of history and what Sepp Blatter has been trying to promote. Get too big, be too lenient, and at one stage something ugly will inevitably rear its head, and never forget where you're coming from, respect your parents, and don't shit on your own doorstep (definitely don't go shagging your mates' wives or girlfriends - it won't end well).
A Classic Unstable Forum Poster
That is the very last entry in this blog that I will ever make on this topic, but as an afterthought, this was me and Big Andy during happier times.
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