FanBBS

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Forum · Message Board
Name: Fan Works and Culture Anonymous BBS, or FanBBS for short
Date(s): July 2009-circa 2012
Moderated: Y
Moderators/List Maintainers: Yoshino in the Moonlight2, Becca
Founder(s): Yoshino in the Moonlight2
Type: Bulletin Board System
Fandom: All
Scope: Fandom and fanworks discussion, chat and offline meetups
URL: https://www.fanbbs.net/
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The Fan Works and Culture Anonymous BBS, or FanBBS, was a fannish Bulletin Board System founded by FanFiction.net user Yoshino in the Moonlight2 in 2009.

Its main focus was fandom and fanworks discussion, and getting fanworks creators together from all over the world to form offline meet-up groups.

The board was most active during late 2009 and 2010. During 2011 the level of activity gradually decreased, with less organisation apparent in the board's structure, and more spam beginning to pile up in various threads.

In 2012, a user named Becca took over as moderator and began cleaning up the spam in the forum and recategorising some misplaced threads.[1] However, by this time the board had already become much less active, and the activity slowly died off until the board was completely inactive.

History

FanBBS was created sometime in July 2009, with the first recorded snapshot of the BBS on the Wayback Machine dated 31 July, 2009.[2]

Its founder, Yoshino in the Moonlight2, was a fanfiction writer and FanFiction.net user who set about recruiting other fanworks creators via FF.net's Private Messaging system, inviting them to join his community.

Despite being based in the U.S. himself, Yoshino explicitly reached out to authors based in the UK and other European countries, going so far as to state that this was why he was contacting them. As a result, the discussion threads and offline meet-ups that formed over the first year were centred around various regions of the UK, and other European countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands.

From late 2010 onwards, Yoshino began to recruit fanworks creators from the United States and Canada. Posts from the users he contacted suggest that he focused on recruiting fanartists and fancomic creators with the intention of building offline communities around creating fanart and fancomics.[3][4][5]

At the same time as this influx of new users joined the site, Yoshino created regional subsections of the BBS for geographical areas such as Ontario and British Columbia. Some users were puzzled by the creation of these seemingly random regional subsections instead of more logical general regions like Europe, the US and Canada. However, Yoshino responded poorly to suggestions that he reorganise the site. After Becca took over the moderation of the site in 2012, she proceeded to create regional subsections for the Americas, Australia and Europe and move some of the BBS's past threads into these sections.

During 2011, the site suffered from a large amount of spam which put many users off posting in FanBBS, and coincided with a general decrease in the activity and moderation of the site. In 2012, a user called Becca announced that she had been given administrative access to the site, and pledged to clean up the infestation of spam and advertising throughout the BBS:

I don't know if many people log on here anymore, but if there is anyone there, hy! I'm Becca, and basically I've been given permission by our administrator to sort through this site and to rid it of all the adverts and stuff. So, hey! How are you? If you see any "Post was deleted by a moderator." that was me, and they are just adverts. I won't delete any posts anyone makes, even if they are being douchebags. I may do something to them if I hear enough protest. And once I figure out what exactly that 'something' is. But, hopefully people will come back to this site, I really enjoy it and am happy that I can hopefully restore it!

Oh, and if I missed any adverts or someone's being nasty or something along them lines, just post it here. I'll see it :)[1]

However, in spite of her best efforts, activity on the board continued to decline. In November 2012, a user named Elkkun created the thread "Is anybody still alive?", to which she replied,

The site only gets 20 views a day, unfortunately. People stopped coming about a year ago because of how slow it was, and how much spam was piling up.[6]

Since 2012, a user named Dr.Natas has made two posts to the thread 'Is anybody still alive?', both dated 14 April 2015.[6] A few other posts dated to 2015 can be found scattered about, mainly commenting on the BBS' lack of activity. The most recent post is dated to 2016, from a user named Adam The Chespin.[7]

Popular Threads

On FanBBS, threads were limited to a maximum of 1,000 posts before they were automatically closed, and the occupants forced to start a new thread for their discussion. Although the forum had many popular threads with hundreds of posts, only a handful of threads reached the 1,000 post mark, or came close to it.

The first thread to reach 1,000 posts was a TV shows discussion thread called 'The Lair', which reached 1,000 posts just 11 days after it was created. However, when the thread approached 999 posts, there was a configuration error which prevented it from being closed, and the thread eventually reached 1,020 posts before it was finally closed.[8] The error caused some problems with posting threads in the subsection 'Pleasant Chat' until the code could be fixed.[9]

A number of forum game threads were created in the 'Pleasant Chat' subsection, of which the most popular was 'Good News/Bad News', reaching 1,000 posts on 8 August 2010.[10] Another popular game was 'Wish Corrupter', which reached 820 posts.[11]

In the 'Offline Meetings' subsection, the first thread to reach 1,000 posts was 'Zuid-Holland', the main hangout for the Dutch meetup group Team Retard.[12] The Dutch group subsequently reached 1,000 posts in two other threads, 'Nederland'[13] and 'TEAM RETARD IS AWESOME!!'[14]

The regional thread 'Anybody near London?', which was the main hangout for the London-based group The Neo Writers, was the second thread in the 'Offline Meetings' subsection to reach 1,000 posts.[15] The London thread approached 1,000 posts on the same day as the 'Zuid-Holland' thread, and the two groups engaged in a race to see who could reach 1,000 posts first, which the London group lost by a margin of 31 posts.

Another popular thread in 'Offline Meetings' was a discussion about printing out fanfiction with a front cover to bring to offline meet-ups, which reached 814 posts in total.[16]

Offline Meetings

One of the central aims of the FanBBS community was to create offline groups in various countries and regions where fanworks creators could meet up to discuss fandom. Yoshino in the Moonlight2 recruited countless users to the BBS with this aim in mind, although there is no indication that he joined any of the meetups himself (and most of them took place in countries far away from where he lived), preferring instead to orchestrate them from afar.

Dozens of regional threads for the UK, Europe, US and Canada formed with the intention of creating local meet-ups, of which a few resulted in actual meetings; but only two groups stood the test of time with multiple meet-ups taking place over the course of a year or more. One was a London-based group called The Neo Writers, while the other was a Dutch group known as Team Retard.

In 2010 and 2011, the two groups seriously discussed the idea of having a crossover meet-up in which Team Retard would come to London to meet The Neo Writers,[17] although plans eventually fell through as the Dutch group (which consisted of about eight members) weren't willing to go unless all of them could make it, which proved too difficult to co-ordinate.

The Neo Writers

The Neo Writers is the name of the London fanworks group which was founded from the FanBBS thread 'Anybody near London?'. The thread was created in October 2009, and a number of users from London and the surrounding area responded positively to the idea of organising a meet-up.

A 'test meeting' was arranged for 29 November 2009, in a Caffè Nero on Charlotte Street. Only two users, Scourgeofthegalaxy and Allys, actually made it to the meeting and successfully met up. The two created a blog to post updates about planned meetings, which was originally called 'fanfiction-central' and then renamed to 'Neo-Writers London'.[18]

After the eventual success of the first meeting, Scourgeofthegalaxy and Allys took the lead in organising subsequent meet-ups. The first few meet-ups were held at Caffè Nero on Charlotte Street, before moving to a Starbucks in Tottenham Court Road that had bigger capacity and longer opening hours. Allys left the group at this time, and in February 2010 moved to Edinburgh, where she was involved in trying to set up a group.[19]

Other regular members of the Neo Writers were Holden Caulfield, who became an organiser of the group; Rayokarna, who was also involved in organising meet-ups; TearThePetals, enchantedsleeper, TV Geek and Lin Waddell. Sunday became a regular day for the meet-ups, which averaged between 6 and 10 people. The meet-ups were organised via the FanBBS thread and the blog, and a Facebook group was also created. The meet-ups mostly consisted of spending time in Starbucks, chatting and occasionally working on art or writing. Occasionally the group would also go on 'field trips' to nearby places like Trocadero, an arcade in central London, and Forbidden Planet.

Over the summer of 2010, the group died down, and meet-ups were mostly attended by TV Geek and TearThePetals. Meetings picked up again in the autumn and winter of 2010, and the group organised a meeting to celebrate its first anniversary on 21st November 2010, held at the group's original meeting spot in Charlotte Street.

In 2011, it became apparent that FanBBS was being less well-moderated or organised, and interest in the group was waning again, with fewer new members finding their way to the Neo Writers via the BBS. enchantedsleeper and TV Geek decided to relocate the group from FanBBS to a new, public Facebook group, which was created on 5 July, 2011. While this limited the group to members who had accounts on Facebook, it gave the group its own space to spread out and organise meetings as well as post files and photographs (the blog having fallen inactive by this time).

During the summer of 2011, enchantedsleeper made a concerted effort to promote the group on various relevant communities online, including on various fan forums and deviantART. Other members of the group added their friends, and by March 2012 the Facebook group had 19 members, of whom about 13 were actively involved in attending meetings. shadow2k was made an admin of the group in 2012, and he and TV Geek ran the group while enchantedsleeper was away in China between August 2012 and June 2013.

The Neo Writers also set up a Twitter in February 2013, and used it to tweet about upcoming meetings and anything related to fandom and fanworks.

On 30 December 2013, enchantedsleeper stepped down as an admin of the Neo Writers in order to focus on university and other projects.[20] shadow2k and TV Geek remain admins of the group, which as of November 2016 has 27 members on Facebook, and meets up once a month.

Team Retard

This article or section needs expansion.

Need to go back through the old threads for this bit (although they're mostly in Dutch!)

Anonymity

One of the board's key premises as a community was the ability to remain anonymous while posting. The full name of the BBS ('Fan Works and Culture Anonymous BBS') clearly shows that it was intended as an anonymous community, and the first line on the BBS' main page states: "There are no registrations or user IDs."[21]

As most of the site's users were from Fanfiction.net, they commonly identified themselves by their Fanfiction.net handles, and could also link their username to a personal website or profile page. However, many others chose to post without a handle, and were identified as simply "Anonymous" with a randomly assigned ID next to their name. There were a few incidents which involved users impersonating other regular members of the forum by using their handle, with only the fact that they had a different ID to give them away.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 New Moderator! on FanBBS, posted 8 August 2012 (Accessed 29 November 2016).
  2. fanbbs.net on the Wayback Machine, snapshot taken 31 July, 2009.
  3. Was everyone referred here by Yoshino in the Moonlight? on FanBBS, posted 4 July 2011 (Accessed 29 November 2016). Post #11: "Yoshino-san told me about this site. She actually told me about a group we could form for fan-art, manga's or just plain drawing. It was actually a pretty good idea. We meet here, and then meet in a public place for a group like that."
  4. Fan comic group in Phoenix metro area... on FanBBS, posted 21 November 2010 (Accessed 29 November 2016).
  5. ATTENTION ALL FANCOMIC WRITERS! on FanBBS, posted 4 November 2010 {Accessed 29 November 2016).
  6. 6.0 6.1 Is anybody still alive? on FanBBS, posted 23 November 2011 (Accessed 29 November 2016).
  7. Hey folks on FanBBS, posted 12 December 2016 (Accessed 30 April 2018).
  8. The Lair on FanBBS, created on 11 December 2009 (Accessed 29 November 2016).
  9. We seem to have a problem.... on FanBBS, posted 22 December 2009 (Accessed 29 November 2016).
  10. Good News/Bad News Forum Game on FanBBS, created 15 December 2009 (Accessed 29 November 2016).
  11. Wish Corrupter forum game on FanBBS, created 12 December 2009 (Accessed 29 November 2016).
  12. Zuid-Holland on FanBBS, created 9 May 2010 (Accessed 29 November 2016).
  13. Nederland on FanBBS, created 8 May 2010 (Accessed 29 November 2016).
  14. TEAM RETARD IS AWESOME!! on FanBBS, created 4 November 2010 (Accessed 29 November 2016).
  15. Anybody near London? on FanBBS, created 11 October 2009 (Accessed 29 November 2016).
  16. Idea: Printing out Your Fanfiction with a Front Cover on It on FanBBS, created 18 October 2009 (Accessed 29 November 2016).
  17. People you've met via BBS on FanBBS, created 30 August 2010 (Accessed 30 November 2016).
  18. Neo-Writers London on Blogspot, created 29 November 2009 (Accessed 29 November 2016).
  19. Anyone In the Scottish Borders or Edinburgh? on FanBBS, created 22 January 2010 (Accessed 29 November 2016).
  20. Facebook post on The Neo Writers, posted 30 December 2013 (Accessed 30 November 2016).
  21. FanBBS Main Page (Accessed 29 November 2016).