UnMod's Deletion

On the evening of Saturday, January 6th, 2007, an event took place that would create much drama on several sites... the deletion of the Unmoderated forum.


It's safe to say, that UnMod was seen in very different lights depending on who you asked. Some felt it was a great place to go and hang out, some believed UnMod's heyday had long since come and gone (despite their continuing to visit the forum), some saw it as little more than a purposeless pit, and some just used it as a place to get porn. Regardless of their reasonings, many came and took part in the events and threads of UnMod. However, not all was a rosy bed of sunshine.

Since UnMod's creation back in 2002, there were staff members on OCR that didn't like the idea of UnMod. Some made their feelings quite vocal, and even went so far as to say they thought UnMod was a waste, and repeatedly likened those who posted in it to the forum itself. Such words would lead to comments by various so-called "UnModders", who had grown to have a similar dislike for the mods and judges speaking out against UnMod. Insults flew back and forth between these two vocal portions of OCR's respective areas, and this went on for several years. During that time, despite the fact that not all the mods and judges hated UnMod, and not all the posters in UnMod hated the mods and judges, heavy generalizations began being made. Somehow, with really only a few people on both sides of the issue making up the vocal parties, it became an “us vs them”-like situation. As the years rolled on, the “us vs them” animosity slowly grew, and reached a self-sustaining level of hostility that was fed by the constant generalizations on both sides. After a while, the only thing that many saw, was how much each side disliked the other, until the situation finally reached a head at a convention called MAGfest on the afternoon of January 6th, 2007.

Up to this point, it had been made widely known that UnMod was going to be turned into a moderated forum. The exact date wasn't given, and no new name had been mentioned, but the notion had been brought up several times. People knew the change was coming, but what they didn't know was just how abrupt that change would actually be. And it was at this particular MAGfest that djp, along with a large number of various OCR judges, mods and remixers, decided UnMod's fate. With no one at MAGfest speaking up in defense of UnMod, djp opened up a laptop, logged into his account, and deleted the forum. What happened next, was inevitable.

The sudden disappearance of the UnMod forum caused confusion at first, and then anger as people realized what had happened. Fueled by this, and in part by the rash of “retrobans” that had been happening for roughly a week by this time (the mods were now able to ban people on the new vBulletin boards, so those who were supposed to have been banned for past actions, but weren't due to djp not having the time, were now being banned), the Community forum (formerly General Discussion, or "Gen Dis") became the place where various UnModders let their feelings regarding what happened be known. Threads asking what happened sprung up (some polite, some not), as did threads and posts insulting the site and those running it. People wanted answers, but the only answer they got at first came in the form of an announcement in OCRs “Announcements” forum, stating that UnMod had been deleted. The threads, posts and insults continued, and much like the Sidebar incident of the previous year, a mass of bannings was the end result.

Eventually, a thread entitled “Where did UnMod go?” sprung up on the Community forum. But unlike a number of the previous threads about the removed forum, this one wasn't deleted. Instead, what took place was communication between the site's staff, and those who had been posting in UnMod regularly. Explanations for why UnMod was deleted were presented by djp, as were the reasonings behind its abrupt disappearance. djp felt that a quick deletion was best, as he believed it would make for the least amount of backlash over the incident by the posters of UnMod. This notion was backed by all those who were with him at MAGfest, and so that was the action he took. However, the exact opposite was stated by some UnModders. They felt that such an action likely caused more harm than it prevented, and that giving people warning would have made for less of a mess, allowed people to make back ups the popular threads (not being able to angered some), and it would have been more respectful. But the point was after the fact, as the deed was already done.

For a while, the thread continued to be used to clear up some misconceptions and generalizations that both sides of the issue had, with staff members speaking up on how they felt about UnMod, and some UnModders trying to get the outspoken "anti-UnMod" staff members to see what really went on in UnMod (despite their frequent statements of how bad the forum was, most of the "Anti-UnMod" staff members had never actually taken part in any of UnMod's activities or threads). But along the way, several instances came about that threw a wrench into that process. One, consisted of photos being posted of the people at MAGfest seemingly making light of UnMod's deletion as they gathered around the laptop djp was using (with photos of the laptop's screen just before the deletion, the people there laughing and flipping off the camera, and captions added under these photos effectively "rubbing it in the faces" of UnModders). Another, was how some of those who had been so vocal for UnMods deletion were “ready to move on”, which brought about feelings of “Of course you are... you got what you wanted!” from a number of posters. And of course, there were UnMod posters who let their tempers get the better of them, and they flamed some of the people in the thread. This would lead to the thread being moderated at first, and then later locked when it was believed to have run its course.

As a result of all this, the site http://www.unmod.org saw an even bigger influx of people than it had during the Sidebar incident. With a slew of new people that were banned, disgusted by the actions taken, or just not seeing a reason to post on OCR anymore, “.org” as it's called received a large wave of new members. A second site at http://remod.cakearmy.org also eventually sprung up. Like “.org”, it played host to a lot of OCR members, with the intent of creating an “UnMod”-like atmosphere for people to enjoy.

Though the bickering over what happened continued for a while on OCR, ".org", and in various chatrooms, it was beginning to settle when OCR got a new forum called “Off Topic”. This forum was seen by some as UnMod's lesser replacement, but at the same time, it was seen as something of a new beginning for the “good parts of UnMod”. This new forum is currently still in its infancy, but it's clear that thus far, it's not nearly as active as UnMod had been. Some say it's because of so many former UnModders leaving or being banned, others feel it's because of how much is no longer allowed by the new forum's rules, and others still believe it's because people are still in the process of getting a feel for the new forum.

It's unknown just how much of the air was cleared before the “Where did UnMod go?” thread got locked. The topic of UnMod's deletion comes across as something of a taboo on OCR sometimes, and various mods/judges and posters continue to put each other and the UnMod forum down when the subject comes up... which suggests that little actually came from all the discussions. But what is known, is that the four-plus year run that UnMod had on OCR came to a close in a most dramatic way. A piece of OCR history died, and some feel a big chuck of what made OCR a community died with it. Whether or not this is true, will be seen as more time passes. There's still animosity on both sides over what was done and said, but with any luck, what was envisioned for Off Topic will come to pass, and at least a small piece of what made people come to the UnMod forum will live on.

--The Coop