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Evil Figment

Ten years later

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by , 29th December 2012 at 05:35 PM (1769 Views)
Since evkl kindly reminded me, and since it's been a decade for me too (a decade and a day, technically)...time to reflect on the past ten years of Bulba...

The pokémon community was in a pretty sorry state, back in late 2002. The completely abysymal early Gen III games (yes, FR/LG and Emerald would later improve the generation a great deal), coming after a long wait with no game release and the death of the pokémon fad, had pretty much left the fandom a shadow of its former self. The old sites were all dead, dying, or run by petty tyrants). Serebii was growing, but (phrasing it nicely), its management style did not agree with a lot of people - tastes being what they are.

This is around when I heard through the grapevine (I think it was Zak who told me) that Archaic was planning to restart the old Bulbagarden. Now, you have to appreciate my relation with Archaic at the time. I thought he was a childish little troll. He had a long history of being a rule-breaker, of yelling at mods when they enforced the rules, and of organizing gigantic spam-filled thread (aka shippers proms) and then declaring war on website that had the nerves to close them. I, on the other hand, was a very active moderator on a number of site that he declared war on. There was basically only one thing he and I agreed on: the fact that Little Pikachu (then the administrator running Pokemasters, who was my boss), and Serebii (who was Archaic's boss) just weren't the sort of people we really wanted running our pokemon websites.

It did manage to get us to work together, and that actually turned out pretty well, given that I got put in charge of lots of things. In a few months, he decided to put me in charge of everything, since he had very limited availability.

I don't think I appreciated back then how sysyphian my job really was. Looking back, it's clear that short of a miracle/stroke of genius, in the situation the fandom was in back in 2002, there just was no room to establish a new fansite. No amount of actually building a pokedex of our own, of original forum design and ideas, of forum games, and so forth, would have changed much of anything to that in the post-Ruby/Sapphire fandom. Not even Bulbapedia, alone, would have done much at the time, because interest in pokemon was as low as it's ever been. The best we could do, much like the fandom as a whole, was survive. For us, that meant a variety of small project and reorganization that revived the site for a few weeks, then fell back down. For the games, that was FRLG and Emerald. But between me, @evkl; and many others, we manage to keep things surviving. There was the World project, Evolutions, the Diplomacy Game; there was a series of forum reorganization...and probably many other things I'm forgetting. None of them lasted very long, but each of them got us busy for a little while, for a little time, and kept us going another week, another month.

The downside of it all was that it was - very - draining mentally. Add to that a fair bit of obstructionist staff, and constant conflict with Serebii (which is probably the single thing that helped us the most: Serebii constantly getting into fights with us, which both advertised our existence and positioned us as the anti-Serebii site), and by 2006 I was just drained. The fact that Archaic relied on me to get everything done, but refused to actually let me do the things I felt needed to be done, didn't help either. I wound up slamming the door, denouncing his inaction, and stepping outside.

I spent the next few years in a weird position in regard to the site. I talked about site things a lot with evkl, and others, and I had quite a few mods who kept me posted on most anything that was going on among the staff.

Meanwhile, my old job went to evkl who did most awesomely at it, and, thanks to Gen IV, was able to do what I never could : grow this site into a successful one. At first, he had the same role I did: being in charge of everything as Archaic's second in command, and running the forums. Eventually, though, as the other project got more and more important (see: bulbapedia), that job ended up being split. evkl retained his role as second in command to Archaic (first as chief of staff, then as vice-webmaster. He still has that job, though he now shares it), while he eventually passed the task of running the forums to SaturnYoshi, then on to Musashi (both of whom kept the name "head administrator").

(I should also mention the importance of Zhen Lin and Magnedeth. The two of them brought a lot to Bulbagarden especially with Pedia, and there is a *reason* why they have those silver bars next to their name, too).

I talked, once or twice, about coming back to help, but nothing came of it - until, at some point in what I believe was 2009, Archaic started teasing me about staff secrets and asking if I knew and "Oh, well, I suppose you'd have to be staff to know". That's around when I said "Oh, just make me staff already if you're that desperate, geez" (or words to that effect), and stepped back in as head of the Real World section. Well, head of the Real World section in theory. In practice...not so much. In practice, it took about a few weeks after I came back before Archaic, evkl and I got back into the habit of running things together. It took us another two years to finally admit it and create the vice-webmaster rank. (I'm sparing you the loooooong list of ranks and titles we tried to invent to describe things in-between). 0

So here we are, ten years and a full circle later. Bulbagarden has grown many, many times larger. The staff outnumbers what we had back in 2002 on the order of 10-to-1. We often get as much post in a single day as we got in a month back then. Bulbapedia is very well known.

And some things haven't changed. The same people are still running the show, despite whatever happened in-between. Archaic still spam us with nutty ideas (not to mention spamming my twitter feed), and still doesn't impress me :p. He still puts up with my questioning him and arguing with him on just about everything (which, oddly enough, is the one point where he impresses me: he's really good at swallowing his pride and putting up with criticism). And Bulba keep rolling, on and on.

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  1. Shiny Celebi's Avatar
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    Happy 10th year Bulbaversary. You guys seriously make me jelly, I wish I discovered this place sooner, though I might have been more immature and annoying so maybe that's a good thing I didnt haha :P
  2. Musashi's Avatar
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    I thought he was a childish little troll.
    Best part of the Blog.

    Happy Bulbaversary!
  3. Karamazov's Avatar
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    tl;dr
    Musashi likes this.
  4. Phoenicks's Avatar
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    This was an interesting and thoughtful post. Congratulations on your ten-year success.
  5. Shinobu's Avatar
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    I never understood all the drama with Serebii. It probably has something to do with me being a new member of the online Poke community and being ignorant of drama.

    Happy aluminum anniversary!
  6. The Fighting Misty's Avatar
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    Just curious, do you know whatever happened to Murgatoyd? I remember he used to give us all the biggest news about the anime in Japan at the time. I remember he was the, "Dogasu" so to speak, of the older fandom back in 2002-2004.
  7. Bubble Frog's Avatar
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    I'm surprised a certain member hasn't brought up Misty yet, given how one of the last blogs went.

    Yeah, this place is fun no doubt. I enjoy most of the forum a lot and it's definitely a get away in the Internet world, in fact without Bulbagarden my internet life would be pretty bland. Writer's Workshop, Anime Forum Pre-late BW, Manga Forum, Video Games section, even the Christmas parts are really fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquanova
    Happy 10th year Bulbaversary. You guys seriously make me jelly, I wish I discovered this place sooner, though I might have been more immature and annoying so maybe that's a good thing I didnt haha :P
    Imo, you're probably one of the more nicer and reasonable members of the site. :P
    Updated 30th December 2012 at 01:50 AM by Bubble Frog
  8. Jabberwocky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Santabomb
    I never understood all the drama with Serebii. It probably has something to do with me being a new member of the online Poke community and being ignorant of drama.

    Happy aluminum anniversary!
    There's a long history there that doesn't really need to be gone into here.
  9. Evil Figment's Avatar
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    It started with Joe feeling betrayed that his top lieutenant deserted to found a rival site and/or him believing that we were responsible for his site going down around early 2003. It didn't improve afterward with both side routinely finding ways to be the ones to blame.

    Scott- sadly I don't. HavenT' heard from him in years.
  10. 33Whimsicott33's Avatar
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    Someone else, among others, who was around on the internet during the years of the fad's death...

    That uncertain, insecure atmosphere of the franchise's future... the self-consciousness (or personal release) displayed amongst forumgoers... premature inventitiveness in fanfic and comic forums, diving into dark themes from kiddiness and Pikachu backlash...

    It reassures me whenever I see those people are still around, and that these things aren't forgotten...
  11. The Fighting Misty's Avatar
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    You know that's a good point. When Pokemon first started none of us expected it to go on for 15+ years either. The fansites at the time didn't know they would have to be working with a continuous active franchise for the next decade and a half.

    I remember back in the early days many people thought the anime would end after the Johto arc, or that the games would stop introducing new pokemon after the initial fad died.

    You guys have to remember how different the Pokemon franchise, and how fans views of it, actually was back in 1999-2001. If you traveled back in time and told people from back then that the anime would still be going on with Ash as the main character for nearly 750 episodes and 15 years later, nobody would have ever believed you. Nobody would have ever believed back in 2001 that we'd have nearly 650 pokemon.

    As someone who lived through each gen of Pokemon as it actually happened, its really interesting to see how much of the fandom has changed. Some people grew out of pokemon while younger fans came into it. Almost all the original kids and early teens are now people in their mid/late 20's who are starting their own families. It says a lot.
  12. Cferra's Avatar
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    Ten years? Has it really been ten years? Face it, Damian. We're getting old. Either that or time is slipping away. I should probably re-introduce myself before I go any further. I was a mod here many years ago. I was Ledian_X, former Misc. mod and comic book know-it-all I admit, it wasn't the best screen name I could have picked. I think I chose it on the fly since I was already called that at Pokemasters and on Serebii. I, too, remember the drama and such. It was why I left the pokemon fansite community. I still watched from the sidelines as this site and Serebii grew and changed.

    I've seen this site actually grow from the days when Chris was the owner. Now? Now you have a wikipedia to call your own. You've come a long way, I think.

    As for you, Damian, don't think I haven't forgotten the times you went to bat for me when there was drama here. I still respect you for that, man. You're a good guy and it's good to see that that aspect hasn't changed much. I do wish I could have talked to you more. But, I've always been busy with a comic, a video or just talking on Skype with the new friends I made over at tgwtg. Despite making new friends there, I haven't forgotten you or any of the others I made on this weird journey through cyberspace.

    You always managed to do a great job adminning and being a frieind. Congrats on ten years here. As for me? Well, I changed my name here. I might stop by from time to time.

    Cheers, bud!

    P.S. Yes,, I am late in replying to this. I haven't been here in ages. =)
  13. Doctor Who's Avatar
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    HAPPY BRONZE BULBAVERSARY, BOSS!

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