The History of X-Ville: Our Humble Origin

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Title: The History of X-Ville: Our Humble Origin
Creator: John A. Coffin and others
Date(s): 1997? 1998?
Medium: online
Fandom: The X-Files
Topic:
External Links: via wayback
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Contents

The History of X-Ville: Our Humble Origin is a "brief history of X-Ville compiled by John A. Coffin, Flukeman and myself with help from the writers of X-Ville."

Excerpts

The beginnings of X-Ville remain obscured in the rose colored glasses of old fogies who were around when it all happened. It is impossible to pinpoint the exact dates or events that, when connected together, reveal the hidden picture that is X-Ville. The two things we can be sure of, though, are that gizzie (aka: Coleen Sullivan-Baier) was at the center of it and that we had nothing to do with it.

To understand the origins of the beast, which is to understand X-Ville itself, one must familiarize oneself first witht he comings and going of a place formerly known as alt.tv.x-files, the cultural soup from which X-Ville was fissioned. A.t.x-f is a place where all opinions are welcome, although not always. It is a place where fierce polarity over significant issues can rip neutron stars apart. It is a place where whether or not David Duchovny dresses to the right or to the left can be a significant issue.

The summer of 1996 saw anticipation for the new season crescendo to a climactic frenzy very much like the orchestral bridge in "A Day in the Life." Some of us toughed out the Summer months. Without any new episodes to discuss, we had a chance to get to know each other. Thank to Doc Aay's "Idle Thoughts on an Idle Afternoon" post, many of us did. The news group began to feel more like a smoking room where friends get together and gossip than a conference room where scholars discussed angels dancing on the heads of pins. gizzie would refer to the news group as "the pool" or "the playground." Eventually, she referred to it as our neighborhood.

With the combined popularities of "The X-Files" and the internet, the new Fall season opened the floodgates to record posting on alt.tv.x-files. It was crazy. The season premiere inspired upwards of one thousand posts witihn a few hours of its airing in North America. Everyone had questions, and answers, and opinions, and counter-opinions, and gossip about future episodes, and gossip about Winona Ryder, and opinions about gossip about Winona Ryder, and opinions about people posting their opinions about the gossip on Winona Ryder, and get rich quick schemes, and trading cards to trade, and questions about the "X" on the window, and squidge moments, and opinions about people who post about squidges, and nit-picks, and webpages, and a whole bunch of other things to discuss.

It was beautiful.

As a witty response to the unprecedented traffic at alt.tv.x-files, gizzie posted a "Cyber Trafic" report. It referred to such things as ""the corner of Samantha's Alive and Why did Mulder Leave Scully" in a town called "X-Ville." It was undoubtedly meant as a comment on things happening in alt.tv.x-files and indirectly as a tribute to the fact the "The X-Files" was very popular and doing very well-something that most of us enjoyed seeing for our favorite show-and not meant to incite people to create a virtual on-line village.

gizzie, who knows a good thing when she sees it, knows that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing more than once. Such was the case with her Cyber Traffic reports. As high traffic levels continued, she continued to report on traffic, all the time developing her repertoire. Others who got the joke started to refer to the comings and goings in X-Ville. With the high traffic levels, the community feeling which had developed during the Summer was missed, and small reference posts from here to there helped bridge the gap.

The inside joke was not appreciated at all. There were those who disliked the idea of community; the news group, they felt, was for the discussing of stuff relating to "The X-Files" and not for dicussing each other. Even if these X-Ville posts did refer to things loosely associated witht he show, these "X-Villains" felt that the posts were somehow ruining the fabric of alt.tv.x-files, clogging up an already busy news group and just plain silly.

All opinions, welcome or unwelcome, get heard at alt.tv.x-files. This is arguably one of the great strengths of the internet, Usenet and alt.hieracy itself. It also gives rise to pigheaded rivalry.The X-Ville vs. X-Villain rivalry was one such situation. The gist of differences of opinions lie in deciding whether or not X-Ville posts are in essence "The X-Files" related discussion, for if they are not, then they should not be posted on the group. However, this was never directly argued.

It started with "The X-Ville people are idiots who are ruining my news group. You should all leave" posts. These were often answered and counter-answered in a Monty python-esque argument style. Nothing was resolved. Polarity was created. Then some people came up with the brain storm that just didn't like these X-Ville posts, and therefore they shouldn't exist. These were countered with the "If you don't like it, then don't read it" posts. Then the rationalists came in with the "X-Ville takes up space and I have to pay to download" posts. It should be noted that all posts take up space at alt.tv.x-files and not just these "X-Ville posts." However, by isolating the issue at hand, whether or not X-Ville posts are "The X-Files" related or not, we were able to disagree a great deal on how much space these X-Ville posts actually took up, what "bandwidth" actually meant, how news groups are run, whether alt.tv.x-files should be moderated, who is or isn't a loser, and who does or doesn't own the news group.

Finally, a compromise of sorts was suggested: all X-Ville posts should be labeled so that they can be kill-filed, thus allowing those who like them to continue reading and writing them, and those who don't like them (and who may be paying for download time) to eliminate them without having to read (or download) them. This wasn't a very good compromise in a sense that the X-Villains wanted X-Ville posts removed completely from the news group and were not completely satisfied witht he solution; the question of belonging had never been resolved. Small skirmishes were created regarding how to label the X-Ville posts so that they could be best kill-filed, but all in all, most people were compliant in labeling their posts.

It can be argued that this counter-action did more to mold and shape the course of X-Ville from an inside joke to a virtual village than any other thing. A joke grows thin after a very short time, no matter how developed it becomes. Undoubtedly, the Cyber Traffic reports would have died off as the traffic eventually did and gizzie would have gone on to her next schtick. References to this thing called X-Ville would have decreased until they were non-existant. Even David Letterman can only beat a joke so far into the ground before it ceases to have any use. With posts isolated all across the news group, this undoubtedly would have been the result. Fencing off X-Ville posts by requiring them to have an "XV:" label in essence created a vacuum needing to be filled.

And filled it was...
At some point, the enclosure was deemed a failure, and we were asked to move. Alt.tv.x-files.x-ville was born. Specifically, it was on Tuesday March 11th 12:06:25 1997 that Andrew Richardson created a mighty stroke of a post to alt.config, the township we all know and love (thanks for the research Isabella). John's original FAQ was written about this time. Somewhere towards the end of the summer, the castle was host to a Goth Ball where the citizens got drunk on Absinthe and made out with Krycek clones. The punch was spiked with Prozac. At some point towards the end of the ball, thew Splugorth invaded and the DAMU went off to fight 'em. The war leveled the town, but the UN graciously rebuilt it (I think the Observatory's still down). An unremarkable orphanage with thirty kids also burned down at this point. I offered to host--er baby-sit--the kids until better accomodations could be found, but this idea was shot down. Savage Brutality formed an Army of Darkness and threatened havoc on the town if his ISP (AOL at the time) didn't allow access to the newsgroup. The UN disbanded the DAMU, but they've reformed as the Fifth Business. The OBSSE relocated to Castle M during this period . They were headed by Reverand Mother Nancy, no clever sig. Sister Myrke was in charge of the kitchen crew. Then El Mundo Gira aired.