The Acorn Cafe
|Forum · Message Board|
|Name:||The Acorn Cafe|
|Date(s):||February 8, 1998–December 24, 2000 (Natasha Kashefipour's original Acorn Cafe on InsideTheWeb)|
December 24, 2000–December 29, 2000 (newly launched Acorn Cafe on InsideTheWeb)
December 24, 2000–March 9, 2001 (formerly Julie Bihn's R.O.A.R. Board on InsideTheWeb, rebranded The Acorn Cafe)
February 28, 2001–June 23, 2005 (on RPGBoard)
June 23, 2005–present (phpBB forum)
|Moderators/List Maintainers:||phpBB forum only, in alphabetical order:|
Chairman Kaga (tech admin; retired)
Dr. Indy (admin)
Mister Kerr (retired)
RangerReady23 (upgraded to admin)
Ray Jones (retired)
Winston (RRt Board only; retired)
|Founder(s):||Natasha Kashefipour (original forum on InsideTheWeb)|
Julie Bihn (R.O.A.R. Board)
(Dr.) Indy (2000 relaunch, RPGBoard, phpBB forum)
Chairman Kaga (RPGBoard, phpBB forum)
|Fandom:||Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers|
|Scope:||news, show/official material discussion, fandom discussion, fanfic/song parodies, roleplay, fanart, awards ceremonies (Plato Awards, Golden Acorn Awards)|
|URL:||https://www.theacorncafe.org/ (entrance screen)|
https://www.theacorncafe.org/phpbb (the forum itself)
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
The Acorn Cafe is the oldest and biggest English-speaking message board in the Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers fandom. The Cafe itself was launched on February 8th, 1998, and the current phpBB incarnation has been around since 2005.
The Cafe's users who refer to themselves and each other as "patrons", "Cafegoers" or sometimes "Cafers" like to think of the Acorn Cafe as an actual café where their online avatars, mostly a variety of fursonas, meet and interact in roleplay. Fanfics going beyond self-insertion by also inserting other patrons' avatars—while keeping them in-character—were a common sight, and self-insert fics taking place at the Cafe were sometimes posted by new users in order to introduce themselves.
Even though it is the biggest CDRR fan forum, due to the fandom itself not exactly being big, the Acorn Cafe is still small enough to have formed a tight-knit community. This may be one reason why it is still around after more than 20 years and going through several incarnations.
The Acorn Cafe is very aware of its own history and that of the fandom in general. Threads as old as the year 2000 have been archived. Some of the regulars, Dr. Indy in particular, have been around since before the phpBB migration or even since the Cafe's earliest days. Even if they aren't regularly active anymore, they may still return to the Cafe every once in a while. And some of the more recently joined patrons have developed a strong interest in the fandom's rich legacy and taken it up to themselves to help preserve it.
The Cafe as a forum
The original Acorn Cafe was founded on InsideTheWeb on February 8th, 1998 by Natasha Kashefipour. She was only 14, but she acted more maturely than some adults. Although she had to leave the Cafe on short notice in 2000, handing it over to Indy, she is still also referred to as the "Grand High Page Maintainer Lady". The forum itself was originally just named "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers", but quickly got its final name, The Acorn Cafe.
Unlike many other early forums, it could display threads as a whole. It didn't allow for subforums, so two additional forums for fanfic (The Story Board) and off-topic discussions had to be created. And while registering an account and logging in was possible, it wasn't mandatory, and many didn't take that extra step.
The number of threads a forum on InsideTheWeb could hold was limited, and whenever a new thread was started, the oldest one was deleted which was the reason for Kat to add the Tales from the Messageboards section to her website Gadget Hackwrench and the Rescue Rangers in 1998 already so she could archive interesting threads. Indy started doing the same in private at first after he had joined the Cafe.
On top of all this, InsideTheWeb itself was rather unstable and unreliable. Posts would sometimes slip into nirvana with no explanation at all. And on Christmas Eve 2000, the Acorn Cafe disappeared altogether without a trace except for the letters "gjk". The same day, two new Acorn Cafes were created, one was rebadged from Julie Bihn's already existing R.O.A.R. board, and one was created from scratch and deleted another five days later due to technical issues.
Nonetheless, the forums on InsideTheWeb were already a step upward from the newsgroup alt.fan.disney.afternoon and the DAFT mailing list, both of which the Rangerphiles had to share with all other Disney Afternoon fans. The Acorn Cafe, along with its accompanying forums, immediately became the Rescue Rangers fandom's primary focal point.
The announced complete shutdown of InsideTheWeb in March 2001 necessitated what became known as The Great Migration: The Acorn Cafe, the Story Board and the Off-Topic Board were recreated on RPGBoard. Eventually, in June 2005, the Cafe was relaunched one last time as a modern phpBB forum, but with a read-only archive of threads dating all the way back to 2000. This relaunch wasn't universally welcomed, for not only was logging in now mandatory, but the Cafe also introduced a very strict set of rules (see Criticism).
Unlike most other forums, new user accounts aren't activated with a link sent by mail. Instead, an admin has to activate each new account manually. This also makes welcome threads possible: The arrival of a new user is announced before the user can write anything, so the welcomers get a headstart.
Since subforums weren't possible within the rather simple forums on InsideTheWeb, the Acorn Cafe, dedicated to discussion about the show and the fandom, got a number of accompanying forums within the first year, representing what would be subforums now, but not all run by the same people.
The first three forums were "carried over" to phpBB, so-to-speak:
- The Acorn Cafe (this is still the name of the subforum for all discussions on the show, merch, the fandom, fan works etc.)
- The Story Board (originally a separate forum for posting fanfic, now a subforum for the same purpose)
- The Off-Topic Board (originally a separate forum for the Acorn Cafe patrons to discuss non-Ranger things, now only named Off-Topic)
The fourth forum was the Chat Pack, launched on December 5th to keep chatting off the Off-Topic Board. Once the Chat Pack was around, the chats evolved into roleplaying, a tradition that was taken over to the new phpBB forum while the Chat Pack wasn't. While not strictly speaking Round Robins because there has never been a defined posting order, this term was used for the roleplay/fanfic hybrids that appeared on the Story Board before they got their own sub-subforum.
Julie Bihn's R.O.A.R. Board (centering around the Rescue Our Animated Rangers campaign), also hosted on InsideTheWeb, was mostly separate from the Cafe and did not get a phpBB successor, but it became part of the Acorn Cafe history when it became the new Acorn Cafe proper in late December, 2000 when InsideTheWeb had become increasingly unstable. It remained the Cafe for two months until the "Great Migration" when Acorn Cafe, Story Board and Off-Topic Board were relaunched on RPGBoard and the Chat Pack was relaunched on voy.com after InsideTheWeb had announced its final shutdown.
Originally, the phpBB forum had only four more subforums under the Archives subsection, all being read-only:
- The Acorn Cafe Archives (the archive of old threads from the pre-phpBB Acorn Cafe)
- Story Board Archives (the archive of old threads from the pre-phpBB Story Board)
- Off-Topic Board Archives (the archive of old threads from the pre-phpBB Off-Topic Board)
- The Golden Acorn Awards (a subforum where past Golden Acorn Awards ceremony threads are relocated from the Story Board)
2006 saw the arrival of two more subforums to reduce the cluttering of the main subforum:
- The RRt (art) Board, added on February 24th (a subforum for fanart after ever-increasing amounts of it landed on The Acorn Cafe; the term "RRt" for Rescue Rangers fan art had been around for a while already)
- The Cafe Foyer, added on August 1st (a subforum for welcome threads for new members; when someone new joins the Cafe, usually someone starts a welcome thread before the new member can start an introduction thread, therefore there are hardly any introduction threads at the Cafe)
Further sub-subforums that were added over time:
- Round Robins (sub-subforum of the Story Board)
- Celebrations (sub-subforum of Off-Topic)
2018 saw the addition of two more subforums to commemorate two anniversaries:
- The Acorn Cafe 20th Anniversary Week (in which Rangerphiles could write about their own history in the fandom and at the Cafe; now archived)
- GA Awards Anniversary (2018 was also the year of the 15th anniversary of the Golden Acorn Awards)
The latest new subforum is The Realm of Fanon, launched in November 2019. Inspired by the Tolkien-style fandom lore fic The Rangerillion, it was the Cafe's reaction upon the end of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, of which not exactly few Cafe patrons had long since become fans. Like Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, this show was now over, too, and the entire fourth generation of My Little Pony faced abandonment by its creators as of 2021, if not even earlier if Pony Life had to be considered a separate subgeneration. So it was just fair to add Equestria to the mythical land called Fanon described in The Rangerillion in which the Rescue Rangers characters have been residing ever since Rangerphile fanfic writers took over their storytelling from the show staff.
A lot of fanfiction on the Cafe's Story Board and Story Board Archives is not available anywhere else. Sometimes, other places where it was published have gone down since, but more ofte, it has never been published elsewhere in the first place. This is not limited to small and unremarkable fics, but it actually extends to award-winning stories.
So although all fics have been posted by their authors (or translators if originally written in a language other than English), the Acorn Cafe may also count as a fanfic archive.
Other than the Golden Acorn Awards which ran for 15 years from late 2002 to mid-2017, Dr. Indy sometimes runs caption contests in which he posts a screencap from the show with one or several speech bubbles edited in, and the patrons may suggest what the characters say.
Also, the annual RangerCon is planned at the Cafe. Starting out as East Coast RangerCon in 2008, around a time when there was also a short-lived EuroRangerCon and an attempted West Coast RangerCon, it is more of a meetup of Cafegoers over several days than a traditional convention. But due to the small size of the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers fandom, even small meetups are often referred to as RangerCons.
In 2007, 2008 and 2012, Mister Kerr ran three RR Marathons in which Cafe patrons watched the same episodes at the same time while chatting with each other online. This had been made mostly possible by the releases of the first two CDRR DVD packs. The schedule included all 65 episodes and only a 15-minute break every five episodes and continued all night otherwise, so watching the whole show made pulling at least one all-nighter necessary, but the episodes scheduled over night in America were those which weren't available on DVD. The RR Marathons always started at 7:00 a.m. MST and ended around 12:02 p.m. the next day. Coincidentally, "Good Times, Bat Times", one of the most popular episodes by far, always landed on the midnight spot.
The Acorn Cafe is often criticised for its very strict rules, combined with built-in word censoring, both introduced with the migration to phpBB. The intention was to keep the Cafe family-friendly and therefore G-rated (fanfics may be rated PG because a G rating would have ruled out most genres popular in CDRR fanfic, but nothing beyond that). The Cafe had been G-rated before the phpBB migration already, and its moderators were to remove all inappropriate content. However, when the Cafe was moved to phpBB, a more detailed ruleset was required. This led to very conservative rules that actually kept many Rangerphiles who had been Cafe patrons until 2005 from registering an account at the Cafe and thereby drove them out of the active fandom altogether since there was no alternative to the Cafe.
I used to be heavily involved with the Disney Afternoon fanbase back when I ran the DAFT mailing list. The CDRR fan community I knew of then, The Acorn Café (which is still going strong) was acrimoniously divided over such matters. They actually had organizations like RAGE (Rangerphiles Against Gadget Erotica) with buttons and banners people could put on their sites to declare their opinion on this vital matter to the world. I could shrug about that; everyone has their opinions. However, their main fan community is heavily religious and homophobic. Religion I don't mind, but religiously-justified bigotry is poisonous, so I left. (Couldn't remove my account, so I just deleted all my info and stopped going to the board.) Again, everyone has their opinions, but I'm not obligated to stick around for 'em.Slackbot
In particular, a wide scope of sexual topics is banned. This ranges from explicit contents in fanfic and fanart, including linked but not embedded images, to sexual discussions and—this is what is criticised the most—also includes the entirety of the LGBTQI+ spectrum. This particular rule may have been created to keep smut out, but it also made the Acorn Cafe one of the very few fan forums that are "homophobic by rules".
3. No Sexually Related Discussion. You will not request, link to, or post information about or references to RR pornography or erotica. You will not post anything relating to homosexuality, homosexual relationships, trans-gender relationships, alternative sexual lifestyles, or any other topic deemed sexually inappropriate by the moderators.
Within fan works, intoxication is banned, too, be it by alcohol or drugs. That said, if it is clearly pretended by a character as part of a theater play and adding to its general hilarity, it seems to be okay.
6. No Inappropriate Depictions Of Characters. You will not post fanart, stories, or other works that depict RR characters involved in drug or alcohol use, sexual situations, or graphic violence. Such posts may be removed by the moderators if deemed to be in extremely poor taste.
Also, profanity is not only banned down to mild swear words, but it's also automatically filtered and replaced with more harmless words. However, many people don't like forum software to automatically "edit" their posts, and be it to cut down swearing. Besides, the rules themselves are posted in a regular forum thread and thereby used to fall victim to the word filter themselves. Examples of words forbidden at the Cafe were confusingly or even hilariously replaced with words that are not only perfectly okay but actual outcomes of the word filter such as "heck", "darn" and the universal expletive stand-in "(bleep)". So "heck" is not banned; "hell" is banned, but even the rules aren't allowed to spell "hell" out without it being auto-replaced with "heck". This has been fixed meanwhile by removing the "examples" altogether. (NB: Many Cafe patrons have started replacing "heck" with "Hack", inspired by Gadget's alleged but never canonically confirmed last name and Ronnie Rabbit's fanfic Broken Glass. It is not uncommon for a Cafegoer to utter, "What the Hack?")
4. No Profanity. This board is intended for all ages. You will not make use of profane language. Basically anything that couldn't be said in the show itself is considered in violation of this policy. The moderators reserve the right to delete or edit any posts that violate this policy.
Since the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers fandom is not very widespread across the Web, and the Acorn Cafe is still its most important forum to the point of being taken for the only CDRR fan forum, it gives the appearance that all Rangerphiles who are neither Gadget porn artists nor Russian Gadget cultists are that conservative. This impression is enhanced by at least a vocal minority of US-based Cafegoers including members who are both well-known and quite active being very and openly religious, frequently starting and accordingly replying to threads asking for prayers on the Off-Topic board. (The annually-recurring "Jesus' Final Passover Week" threads are a tradition by a Mexican who is more famous for his award-winning fanfic Death Of A Comedian.)
In this light, the question sometimes arises why the Rangerphile community doesn't openly rebel against these rules. For one, the rules used to be even stricter, if not by a large margin. This included a rule created in the wake of a fall-out with a drunk and disgruntled member that forbade any and all criticism of the rules or staff decisions. Speaking up against them could get anyone banned on the spot. This rule has been revoked, but especially long-time members may still remember it and fear that it could come back if necessary. And if they have to choose between adhering to super-strict rules on the one hand and being thrown out of the quiet, cozy, tradition-rich forum they call home and falling out with people whom they may even call friends on the other hand, they pick the former.
Besides, while not all Cafegoers live their entire lives according to these rules, a common attitude is that "there's a place for everything", and that the Cafe simply isn't a place for certain things. For example, the rules kept the Story Board and thereby the Rescue Rangers fandom's core from being plastered with slash-for-the-sake-of-slash fic, instead concentrating on the styles and genres that came up in the early heyday of CDRR fanfic in the late 1990s. And the Rangerphiles Against Gadget Erotica campaign is a good indicator for many Rangerphiles being opposed to the abundant Gadget porn, not because they are uptight conservatives, but they regard it inappropriate because they see Gadget as a character and not an object of lust.
Amongst the positive things said about the Acorn Cafe and the Rescue Rangers fandom in general is that few other fandoms, much less animation fandoms, have preserved so much of their own legacy. While younger fanfic readers may find two-decades-old fanfics outdated style-wise, the Rescue Rangers fandom's rich history can be valuable to fandom historians.
- February 8: A message board called "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers", later to be known as The Acorn Cafe, is launched at InsideTheWeb, led by Natasha Kashefipour, then 14 years old. Before this date, the newsgroup alt.fan.disney.afternoon was the only online meeting-point for Rangerphiles.
- February 14: The young Acorn Cafe becomes a battle location when the St. Valentine's Day Massacre goes off. It is the second and last ship war after the 1997 Ranger War I, both about the only disputed shipping the the fandom, and thus it is also known as Ranger War II. The Rangerphiles eventually "agree to disagree" to keep this from happening yet again.
- Late august: Tad Stones, creator of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, replies on a thread about the color of Gadget's hair. 
- November: The untimely loss of Darren "Sabrewolf" Perlongo hits the still young but already very tight-knit Acorn Cafe community hard.
- December 5: Chris "Dale" Birkett, Indy and Chipette launch the Chat Pack after they had severely misused the Off-Topic Board for chatting.
- July 5: To honor the Rangers' 10th anniversary, the Plato Awards ceremonies are held.
- February: Deborah Walley, voice actress of the popular one-shot characters Lahwhinie and Foxglove, appears at the Acorn Cafe herself and posts.   Later, Dev Ross shows up at the Cafe, too. 
- June: Framwinkle and Chipette's wedding. They've found each other at the Acorn Cafe.
- Fall: Natasha Kashefipour is forced to leave the Cafe due to private issues. Indy takes over.
- December 24: A severe crash reduces the Acorn Cafe to the letters "gjk". A new Acorn Cafe is set up at InsideTheWeb after deciding this step on the still running Off-Topic Board, and Julie Bihn turned her R.O.A.R. Board at InsideTheWeb into an Acorn Cafe—all at once. For about five days, there are two Acorn Cafes. 
- December 29: The newly-launched Acorn Cafe, having to deal with problems, is shut down again, and the former R.O.A.R. Board stays the one and only Acorn Cafe.
- February 18: Marty Holton, Deborah Walley's agent, informs the Rangerphiles about her illness. 
- February 28: The Great Migration. After InsideTheWeb has announced its complete shutdown, Chairman Kaga relaunches Acorn Cafe, Story Board and Off-Topic Board on RPGBoard. The Chat Pack moves to voy.com.
- March 9: InsideTheWeb shuts down and with it the previous Acorn Cafe that used to be the R.O.A.R. Board. Technically, there were two Acorn Cafes again for a few days, but the one on InsideTheWeb was abandoned.
- May 10: Deborah Walley passes away and leaves the Rangerphiles to mourn.
- October 14: Paltiel Goldstein and Candy Courtnier's wedding, the second one of Acorn Cafe patrons. 
- December 29: The first annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremonies are held.
- January 12: The link to the fan-made graphic novel Of Mice and Mayhem appears at the Cafe. Its impact is such that Rangerphiles demand some of the 2002 Golden Acorn Awards be revoked and given to Of Mice and Mayhem instead because it had actually been published in late 2002 already.
- August 13: The Rangerphile community loses Andy aka MOnty.
- December 29: The second annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremonies are held.
- January 30: The Acorn Cafe's URL changes to what it still is today: www.theacorncafe.org
- December 29: The third annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremonies are held.
- June 23: The brand-new phpBB Acorn Cafe opens its doors.
- January 5: The fourth annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremonies are held. Preparing the Golden Acorn Awards over the holidays had proven increasingly difficult, but this time, the ceremonies had to be delayed by several days. This was the last time they took place near their old time slot.
- February 24: Fan art gets its own subforum: the RRt Board.
- May 4: Sir Salazar Ovid Spumoni, with a membership of a bit more than two months, starts the HIST101 thread and invites those long-time Rangerphiles who were still at the Cafe to share their memories of the fandom's earlier days with everyone in this thread. His fellow fandom historian Midnight Man, also the next fan after Spumoni to join the Cafe five days later, will keep inviting returning Rangerphiles to this thread. Increasingly rich in fandom history, this thread will play a key part in the creation of Spumoni's Rangerillion.
- May 7, 8: The Acorn Cafe gets its own unique color theme.
- August 1: The Acorn Cafe Foyer is inaugurated.
- September 15: Custom graphics (such as acorn buttons) are added to the Cafe and the color scheme is slightly changed again.
- January 13/14: First RR Marathon.
- February 28: The Cafe suffers from a severe breakdown when the 2006 Golden Acorn Awards ceremonies are to be held.
- May 24: The First Annual Poetry Night special event is held on the Cafe Chat, beginning at 2100GMT (9:00 pm Greenwich Mean Time).
- August 21: The Cafe is switched to phpBB3, with lots of problems and bugs resulting that have to be fixed in the following days.
- August 31: Many of the bugs are fixed, and the color scheme and buttons are changed yet again to feature the Rangers themselves.
- January 19/20: Second RR Marathon.
- February 29: The sixth annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremonies are held.
- February 27: The eighth annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremonies are held.
- March 5: The eighth annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremonies are held.
- February 25: The ninth annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremonies are held.
- March 2: The tenth annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremonies are held.
- May: The Rangerphile community loses Desert Mouse.
- June 17: Only about three weeks later, Greyhound Bus passes away.
- November 10/11: Third RR Marathon.
- March 1: The eleventh annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremonies are held.
- March 27: Another loss for the Cafe, Bubbles' Big Brother passes on.
- February 28: The twelfth annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremonies are held.
- March 13: The thirteenth annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremonies are held.
- February 26: The fourteenth annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremonies are held.
- May 28: When spending his birthday at MomoCon, Tad Stones receives a birthday card from the Acorn Cafe.
- March 25: The fifteenth annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremonies are held.
- The Acorn Cafe celebrates its twentieth anniversary with several special posts by Dr. Indy, memories shared by several long-time patrons and a caption contest.
- April: The sixteenth annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremonies are held. They celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the Golden Acorn Awards themselves, and they are accompanied by videos for the first time. But they are also the last Golden Acorn Awards. The declined creativity at the Cafe doesn't justify the humongous effort that comes with annual GAAs anymore. Another reason is lack of time on Dr. Indy's side; it was him who has always done most of the work on the GAAs.
- November 21: The Realm of Fanon is added to the Cafe.
- Chairman Kaga retires as tech admin and hands the Acorn Cafe fully over to Dr. Indy.
- March 29: Dr. Indy announces the Cafe Reunion Week in order to gather as many patrons as possible in those hard times, especially those who have been absent for a long time.
- April: The long-due modernisation of the Cafe commences with Chairman Kaga's help. A first step is the switch to HTTPS.
Round Robins, especially the Poke Thread
Roleplay has a rich history at the Acorn Cafe, having started as early as 1998. One of the first examples is the Magic Bus Ride which has been archived at Kat's Tales From the Messageboards in its entirety. After the creation of the Chat Pack in December 1998, some roleplay was relocated from the Off-Topic Board to there, leading to the creation of places like Chateau Pax or the Fairwoods.
Roleplay at the Acorn Cafe has always been quite different from typical roleplay. It is usually carried out by patrons who are also fanfic writers, and so the borders between traditional online roleplay, Self Insertion and Round Robin fanfic were torn down immediately, creating a unique mélange with barely any rules in which everyone wrote about everyone while still keeping everyone remarkably in-character which can be as entertaining to read as it was for the participants to write.
The term "Round Robin" was eventually adopted for these roleplay/multiple-author fanfic hybrids. However, whereas Round Robin normally refers to stories written by a fixed set of authors in a fixed order, none of this applies to the Acorn Cafe Round Robins.
Some Round Robins have a fixed topic while it's still up to the writers how to handle it. A few like The Seven have separate threads in which they're planned. Others make up their topics as they go.
The most infamous example for the latter kind is the Poke Thread. It started at the Cafe itself when Rikirk posted a Flash animation of a poking penguin, and UrthQuake began poking random patrons, causing them to poke back. By the point when this had evolved into a full-blown paintball battle royale, the Poke Thread was relocated to the Story Board (from which it was eventually transferred to the Round Robins sub-subforum). The paintball war devastated the Cafe but turned out to be a virtual reality game. It was followed by a real paintball war that happened to coincide with an invasion of Von Neumann machines. And this was only the beginning. The Poke Thread grew into one of the longest threads at the Cafe, standing at 631 pages as of October 24th, 2018.
There were several occasions on which new Round Robins were launched. The Golden Acorn Awards were accompanied by multiple Round Robins: Live from the Red Carpet, first launched in 2007 by Jeanette Isabelle, was a small Round Robin in which Cafe patrons described how they arrived at the GAA ceremonies prior to the ceremonies themselves. And starting in 2006, there were post-GAA Round Robins of varying length. The longest one by far is Returning home from the GAA's! which followed the 2009 Golden Acorn Awards which were held aboard the Disney Wonder and reached 86 pages. There were also Round Robins for holidays; the Christmas Round Robins would usually start with the usual mayhem, just Christmas-themed, then lead into a race to the North Pole between the Polar Express and a United Aircraft Turbotrain and eventually turn into a mystery case on the North Pole.
2011 saw the official introduction of so-called "Private Round Robins" or "Limited Round Robins". Everyone who wanted to take part in one had to apply for it; a typical procedure on roleplay subforums at other forums, but it was new to the Cafe. This was done in order to keep Round Robins from being derailed by new participants. Also from 2011 on, it wasn't uncommon to see ponies appear in Round Robins.
The Ranger Coffeehouse
The Ranger Coffeehouse is something unique itself. It is a series of Round Robins again, but replacing self-/mass-insertion with a mixture of canonical and original characters from already existing fanfics.
The Coffeehouse itself is a place created by TheBoz on the Dragon Planet where fanfic characters, both original and canonical, go when their Writers don't use them in fanfic. While TheBoz has copyrighted the Dragon Planet and doesn't allow anyone else to write about it, the Ranger Coffeehouse is kind of free-for-all. The other major rule of the Coffeehouse is that Writers, i.e. the fanfic authors' self-insertion avatars, are banned from the Coffeehouse. It still allows for interaction between OCs from stories by different authors that otherwise take place in separate verses, and there are usually several instances of the Rangers and other canonical characters at the Coffeehouse at the same time.
Acorn Cafe Adventures and other self-/mass-insert fics
From the roleplaying Round Robins emerged eventually a new form of fanfiction. Although created by only one writer with few exceptions, these stories work similarly to the Round Robins.
Technically speaking, they are self-insertions. What makes them stand out from self-insert fics in other fandoms, however, is that the authors also insert other Cafe patrons' fursonas as both main and supporting characters, keeping them in-character to the writers' best knowledge. Instead of just self-insertions, one could call them mass-insertions. The majority of these stories take place mostly or entirely at the Acorn Cafe (see The Cafe imagined as a café).
While some stories are just simply self-introductions with mass-insert barely going beyond Dr. Indy, if at all, this genre took off in late 2005 when RangerReady23 started his Acorn Cafe Adventures series. It essentially adds the mass-insertion of Cafe patrons to his own verse. The circle came to a close when the The Seven, the first Private Round Robin and the first Round Robin with a separate planning thread, emerged from this combination.
The Magic Sword
Julie Bihn, self-proclaimed-and-never-challenged Queen of the Antis and founder of the R.O.A.R. Board, used to own a magic sword that could be used for mind control. It later surfaced in Campisi's possession; he used it to stir coffee to a green glow (see Iridescent Colored Coffee). It shows up every once in a while.
Insane Gadget Plushie
The Insane Gadget Plushie did not start out as a regular "Gadget plushie", i.e. one of the quite sought-after Gadget dolls manufactured by Applause, but as a human-sized custom plush sewn by Julie, Natasha Kashefipour and TheBoz in the same Magic Sword thread and eventually brought to life (and insanity) by Julie. However, a regular Gadget plushie was involved. (Bit of trivia: The same thread inspired the very creation of Tales From the Messageboards.)
Much later, the Insane Gadget Plushie reappeared, but this time plushie-sized. AndY found out she could be brought to relative sanity with four glasses of Chardonnay, after which she snuggled into his bushy squirrel tail. She is now rather referred to as the Formerly Insane (But Still Rather Mischievous) Gadget Plushie. The Insane Gadget Plushie Liberation Front (IGPLF) made it their goal to get her out of AndY's tail.
Iridescent Colored Coffee
Certain Cafe patrons may serve you coffee that they've brought to a colored glow by some means. Caution is always advised. The following colors are known:
- Green: This is the original iridescent coffee. The green glow was originally achieved by stirring the coffee with the Magic Sword. It makes people temporarily Anti. That is, it tends to have strong side-effects when ingested by very dedicated Pros.
- Red: Only Campisi made this and only for himself. He added a few drops of a non-descript red liquid to it to give it its glow. Now, Campisi's fursona is a bat, but he claimed not to be a vampire bat.
- Blue: This was created as the counterpart to green coffee. Midnight stirred it with a miniature copy of Obi-Wan Maplewood's lightsaber, and RangerReady23 brought up pills that dissolve in the coffee. It makes people temporarily Pro.
- Brown: It is unknown how iridescent brown coffee is made, but it makes both Pros and Antis temporarily neutral.
- Pink: This variant is created with dissolving pills again. It was created in 2011, and it turns people into ponies. The effect may last longer than that of other iridescent coffee concoctions.
- 2004 Golden Acorn Awards: Best All-Time Website
- 2005 Golden Acorn Awards: Most Informative Website, Best All-Time Website
- 2006 Golden Acorn Awards: Best Website Maintainer (the admins and moderators), Best Website, Best All-Time Website
- 2007 Golden Acorn Awards: Most Informative Website (tie with the Ranger Wiki), Best Website Maintainer (the admins and moderators), Best Website, Outstanding Website Achievement (phpBB3 upgrade), Best All-Time Website
- 2008 Golden Acorn Awards: Best Website Layout, Best Website Content, Best Website Maintainer (the admins and moderators), Best Website, Outstanding Website Achievement (the Cafe's 10th anniversary)
- 2009 Golden Acorn Awards: Best Website Layout, Best Website Content, Best Website Maintainer (the admins and moderators), Best Website, Outstanding Website Achievement (tie with the growth of the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers page on TV Tropes)
- 2010 Golden Acorn Awards: Outstanding Website Achievement, Best Website Maintainer (the admins and moderators), Best Website
The Cafe imagined as a café
Inside the fandom, the Acorn Cafe has taken on the collective mental image of being a proverbial café, complete with drinks, tables, booths, a live music stage and a comfy couch in front of a 46-inch plasma television. Further revisions have included such additions as the stairwell from the RMS Titanic and an archival library. However, every patron has got another picture of the Cafe and its facilities in their imagination, so answers to this question tend to differ.
Structure and location
There is no consensus about what the Cafe looks like from outside. It is mostly seen as a building of sorts, but Jon Lemerond's Acorn Cafe group portrait, for example, placed it inside a hollowed-out tree similarly to Rescue Rangers Headquarters.
Generally, the Cafe is believed to be located in a big city, but again, there is no agreement on the city itself. As of the release of The Rangerillion, the Cafe is in the Realm of Fanon.
The Acorn Cafe's regular barkeeper is named Max. Little is known about him other than his name as of yet. Since the Cafe is open 24/7 and Max can't work there all the time, patrons often take over tap duty, sometimes also the occasional Ranger, usually Monterey Jack who can also be seen working in the kitchen at times. The kitchen is open for regular patrons as well. There are other staff members who tend to remain unnamed.
Menu/Food and beverages
The Cafe's menu is quite big, and still it isn't uncommon to get something that isn't on the menu. Some patrons even store their own supplies at the Cafe. The list of hot beverages is especially impressive. Other than many flavors of tea and hot chocolate, there is a large choice of coffee variations.
Some beverages can be acquired in unusually large vessels. Venti, the regular size of a coffee at the Cafe, has been topped by Midnight when he acquired a set of 20-gallon coffee mugs, now known as the Superventi. Also, the Cafe has Coke glasses which can hold 2 liters at once. Hardly anyone else than AndY has ever ordered caffeinated soda at such sizes, though. Coffee
Below is an incomplete list of coffee and coffee-related beverages available at the Cafe.
- Acorn Roast: Chai Eggnog Nutmeg Mocha
- Blackberry Latte
- Chipper's Choice: A caramel mocha with a shot of acorn syrup, whipped cream and grated acorn sprinkled on top.
- Cinnamon Mocha
- Nutmeg Mocha
- Six-Shooter (only available as a Venti and stronger than regular coffees of that size)
- RangerReady23 and Gadget's preferred coffee is Maxwell House 1892. RangerReady keeps his own stash of it that nobody but him as Gadget may touch.
- In case that everything else is too weak, Neal_Wolf introduced DSF ("Drink the Stuff Fast") which is five times as strong as regular coffee in The Case of the Abducted Arabica.
Further indoor amenities
Increasing interest in the Rescue Rangers fandom's history led to the addition of an upstairs archive.
Also upstairs from the Cafe itself are several guest rooms.
The Cafe's Web server runs in the basement. There one can also find portals to trans-dimensional destinations such as Chateau Pax, a Western town created at the Chat Pack with additional portals in the hotel basement, or later even Equestria. Other dimensions may be reached via the Rangergate which is the Cafe's own stargate.
Not only does the Acorn Cafe have its own airfield, mostly but not exclusively used by World War II warbirds, but it even has a spaceport, seeing as more patrons have spaceships than aircraft in roleplays.
The Christmas Round Robins also established the presence of a railroad depot. It is home to a choice of vintage rolling stock including the Polar Express, and it is at least partially equipped with a third rail.
Acorn Cafe entry and rules page from 1999, part of Natasha Kashefipour's now-defunct website Rescue Ranger Zone; archived copy on the Wayback Machine
Kat's Tales From the Messageboards with notable preserved threads from the pre-phpBB years, some of which are too old to be found in the Cafe's own archives; most recent archived copy on the Wayback Machine with working links
Kat's Song Parodies from the Messageboards, a spin-off of her Tales From the Messageboards to gather a few dozen lyrics-only song parodies; most recent archived copy on the Wayback Machine with working links
Kat's Acorn Cafe Glossary, a 2011 addendum to the Tales From the Messageboards which explains the jargon of the fandom in general and the Cafe in particular; archived copy on the Wayback Machine
- https://muppetcentral.com/forum/threads/most-obnoxious-fandoms.58776/page-2 Muppet Central Forum "Most Obnoxious Fandoms"
- https://www.theacorncafe.org/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=10520 The Acorn Cafe Rules
- https://www.theacorncafe.org/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=10520 The Acorn Cafe Rules
- https://www.theacorncafe.org/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=10520 The Acorn Cafe Rules
- Kat's Tales From the Messageboards: Gadget's Hair
- The Acorn Cafe: HIST101; Dr. Indy talks about the creation of the Chat Pack and Chateau Pax
- Kat's Tales From the Messageboards: Deborah Walley Posted HERE!!
- Kat's Tales From the Messageboards: Ms. Walley Came Back!
- Kat's Tales From the Messageboards: Dev Ross's Question
- The two Cafes in December 2000, illustration by Mister Kerr
- Kat's Tales From the Messageboards: Marty's Bad News
- Kat's Tales From the Messageboards: The End of Inside the Web
- The Acorn Cafe: Oi, we're married!
- The Acorn Cafe: New Site (unspectacular link to a spectacular piece of fan work)
- The Acorn Cafe: HIST101: Introduction to Cafe' Studies
- The Acorn Cafe: RR Marathon Official List
- The Acorn Cafe: 2008 RR Marathon Schedule
- 2012 RR Marathon episode list and schedule
- The Acorn Cafe: Sign Crash's birthday card to Tad Stones :-)
- The Acorn Cafe: Cafe Reunion Week
- The Acorn Cafe: HIST101; Dr. Indy talks about the creation of the Chat Pack and Chateau Pax
- The Acorn Cafe: The Poke Thread
- The Acorn Cafe: Returning home from the GAA's!
- Kat's Gadget Hackwrench and the Rescue Rangers: Ranger Coffeehouse
- Kat's Tales From the Messageboards: Julie's Magic Sword
- Kat's Tales From the Messageboards: Julie's Magic Sword
- The RRDatabase: Jon Lemerond's Acorn Cafe group portrait
- The Acorn Cafe: Acorn Roast created by Live2dream
- The Acorn Cafe: Acorn Roast named by Campisi
- The Acorn Cafe: Chipper's Choice created by Live2dream, named by Campisi
- The Acorn Cafe: Cinnamon Mocha explained
- The Acorn Cafe: A Venti Cinnamon Mocha cost $3.77 in 2005 according to Campisi
- The Acorn Cafe: HIST101; Dr. Indy talks about the creation of the Chat Pack and Chateau Pax