My 6-year DF anniversary is January 21 (So this is a day early, but if I don't post this now I know I'll forget for weeks). It's been over two years since I've done one of these (not a huge fan of blogging, to be honest) and figured this would be a good excuse to blow the dust off...
This is basically my post from the History of Drugs-Forum thread, edited and greatly expanded on. Mostly because I am too lazy to re-type all the basic points out again.
I first came across Drugs-Forum sometime in mid-2004; if I remember correctly, searching for DXM information for my Labrat.
First of all, I will mention that if you really knew me in real life today, you almost definitely wouldn't have recognized me back in that time period. At the present, I'm fairly extroverted and outgoing, and sometimes too much of a smart-ass, or so I've been told... Back then, I was still hidden deep in my shell, quieter, and definitely less sure of myself. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that at the time I would have been about the last person anyone would expect to join an online forum of any kind, let alone actively participate in it. I mean, shit, at the time I didn't even have a Facebook or anything like that. But the more I read, the more addicted I became. I realized that people here were generally cool, intelligent, and laid back (unlike several other forums I've visited where stupid conversations and flaming run rampant). Against my better judgment (at the time), I finally broke down and joined on January 21, 2005. Turned out to be one of the best things I ever did - online that is
Back then, the atmosphere here was much different. I was member 2418, and as you can probably imagine, the forums were much less active. The rules were way more relaxed as well. The self-incrimination rule was not enforced until sometime in 2006, and there wasn't near as much of a focus on post quality as there is today (the reputation system didn't come into place until early 2006, so the whole post count to reputation ratio was nonexistent), but you could get away with posting plain crap a lot more as well... Read through some old threads from that time period and you'll see what I mean. The activity of various forums seems to have shifted a bit since back when as well - while toward the beginning of my time here "traditional" psychedelics (LSD, mushrooms, etc), DXM, and marijuana seemed to be the most active, now the focus has turned to opiates, research chemicals, and recovery/addiction.
Another major difference between then and now is that back then, moving up in member status was much easier/less complicated/way quicker. Take your pick. Moving from Newbie to Standard Member (basically equivalent to the current Silver membership) was automatic at 20 posts, regardless of content - You could literally post 20 posts that all said "fuck", and you'd be Standard. After 60 days of membership and 100 informative posts, you were put in for review for Gold Membership (although it was changed to 150 good posts a few months after I joined - I remember there were quite a few hissy fits over that).
At the time, I was posting almost entirely in the mushroom and dissociative forums, and it was pretty much solely answers to other SWIM's questions that me and my Labrat had knowledge on. Like touched on above, I was still pretty unsure of myself/less confident, and I can see the difference very clearly when I look at some of my first posts. Anyway, I hit my 60 days and 100 "quality" posts. Then started waiting for my "precious gold membership". It seemed to take a little longer for me than a lot of other members, and I remember starting to feel kind of butt-hurt and a little impatient.
Pretty soon, I got what I'd been waiting for... (see, backing up PM's does come in handy sometimes )
I went gold on April 21, 2005 with 135 posts.
Happy with that, I continued to help with questions in the above-mentioned forums. A little bit later, I received:
Total surprise, huge confidence boost, huge ego boost. Anyways, during most of this time, OneDiaDem had been moderating the mushroom forums. She chose to take time off, and I took over those forums in July of 2005. Later on, I picked up Dissociatives and several of the forums which were unmoderated at the time. That was an interesting learning experience to say the least.
I guess I should mention that if you've been around here for awhile, you'll remember that the forum (functionality/software/etc-wise) use to be way less cool than it is now. I think the forum software was Webwiz at the time. Around late 2005-early 2006, Alfa decided to upgrade to the vbulletin software we have now. Unfortunately, migrating all the existing posts to the new software didn't totally go as smooth as planned and all this coding and shit ended up in a ton of the posts. Mods and platinum members spent I don't even know how much time copying code from the new forum so it could be fixed. I actually have a bunch of old Notepad files on my old computer which contain pages and pages of coding from this, LOL. If you look hard enough, you can still find posts with coding in them that got missed. It was long, tedious, boring, and a general pain in the ass. Not to mention that all this was going on while I was still trying to figure out moderator functions, only to go to a new forum software and have to learn them again! But in the end it was well worth it.
Here is what this place looked like after the migration:
Old screen shot from April 2006 - Look close and you'll see I was still using AOL at the time, lol:
Things were going great. Then, I ended up with some major health problems early in 2007 and suddenly went MIA for awhile. I felt absolutely awful for just peacein' out with no notice, no goodbye, no nothing. I missed this place a lot (to the point of the occasional "withdrawl" dream), and it was often on my mind; but as Alfa put it later when I talked to him about it, the longer you're away and the worse you feel, the harder it is to return. But in October 2008 (a little after I got my first cell with web capabilities and had been spying around as a guest), I finally pushed guilt aside and found the courage to contact someone here to have my account reactivated.
I spent a lot of time catching up on over a year's worth of events (and as maybe a blessing in disguise, it seems like I missed more than anyone's fair share of drama), and began posting again. The amount of changes I missed was just unreal - just to name a few: the addition of the co-moderator usergroup, the current infraction system, about a billion changes in forum/sub-forum division and layout... Anyway, I eventually had my arm twisted by Alfa into wearing the bold username again (nah, just kidding - I was actually ready to take it on again at that point). This went into effect towards the end of May during a chat meeting.
So now here we are at the present, after much work, passion, frustration, dedication, and love. During my time here, I have met many cool people and have had some of the most intelligent conversations of my life. I have seen people come and go, and seen people completely lose it. I have read stories of overcoming adversity, and stories of falling down.
To some, this is probably going to sound incredibly corny and ridiculously stupid, but this place has given me memories that I am sure I will carry with me for the rest of my life. And a lot of it is the people - I think sometimes on forums like this, or anywhere else online, we sometimes tend to forget that behind every screen name and avatar exists a real person, with real feelings and emotions. I'll probably never forget giving Joe shit in the chat, or the genuine kind words I received from several members when I had a family member die. I still have to contain laughter when I think about when Alfa screwed up some kind of setting, and a bunch of us had an huge, hilarious war editing each other's messages in the chat box while he was gone. And I smile when I think of the time that my alter ego came onto the forum tripping on mushrooms, tried to chat, and couldn't figure out whether people being more screwed up than usual, or if it was just the drugs making it seem that way...
Of course, it hasn't always been good - This place has overcome some major hurdles in the past. But focus on the good, and allow it to overshadow the bad - It will keep you going. I smile inside and sometimes out when I am able to help someone with a problem, whether it is with something related to the forum itself or its topic, and truly enjoy working around here - whether it's spending long hours trying to help Alfa figure out a forum function or a bug, practicing my "mad MS Paint skills" on creating prototypes and guides, or simply laboring for hours (or sometimes even days) over a single post. I often get to thinking how much my own knowledge has grown in these past 6 years, and much of it is thanks to the open minds here which are filled with information and are not afraid to share it. After all, all of us here share some common ground and interest. Thank you for making this place great.
So, that's my story. If you made it this far without falling asleep, thanks for reading.