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> THE ORIGIN OF WINGHEADS
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IN THE BEGINNING

Back in 2000 there was an Eagles message board on Rivals.com which had a growing community, many of whom had migrated there from various other message boards. However dissatisfaction with the way Rivals.com was operating led to a core group of members deciding to establish their own site, free from outside interference. Once this new site had been tested and the graphics put in place, the other members of the Rivals.com board were contacted and asked to join the new board (referred to here as “TOB”). TOB was a fun place to post for a couple of years, with a central core of characters keeping things lively and interesting.

PARADISE LOST

Unfortunately the atmosphere there started to sour. The ostensible cause of this was a personality clash between one of the core group and ArlingtonFan, both of whom had been on Rivals.com. Soon other members of the core group had joined in the personal attacks and members not in the core group were protesting against their actions. Appeals for the two sides to ignore each other went unheeded, and since no board rules had actually been broken the admins did not intervene. As a result of the constant infighting, some members were posting less or had retired altogether .

Eventually in early 2004 the core group withdrew from posting for a few weeks. Instead they organized an email ring known as the Secret Portal which spent most of its time criticizing those still posting and ArlingtonFan in particular. The atmosphere on the board improved as would be expected with the withdrawal of either side. Of course this wasn’t a long term solution and soon they returned to where they belonged with the inevitable resumption of hostilities.

CROSSING THE RUBICON

Matters came to head on the evening of Friday April 16th 2004 when four members of the core group made a co-ordinated series of obscene personal attacks on ArlingtonFan. This was compounded by the fact that they did not do so under their own names but under names invented for that purpose. Since new names required an admin to activate their new accounts, it was clear that admin powers were being abused in pursuit of the feud. One admin, xsv, did try to delete the offending posts but was overwhelmed by the volume. The next morning another admin, Aquila (better known as Eyrie), saw what had happened and suspended the four culprits, despite some of them being his friends, as deleting posts and banning accounts were standard procedures for dealing with trolls. These suspensions were promptly overturned by the TOB owner, as was his right.

Bringing an end to the problem was now paramount and the TOB owner proposed that xsv create a new board for ArlingtonFan and his defenders. Xsv declined, citing a lack of time to run such a board and, feeling worn down by the deteriorating situation, announced he needed a break. Events were about to overtake him however.

THE PROVERBIAL HITS THE FAN

Eyrie had stayed out of the private discussions, preferring instead to provide a visible presence on the public board as an admin and to renew the appeals for the two sides to simply ignore each other. Neither did. On the following Tuesday he asked ArlingtonFan an innocuous question about the upcoming draft but the next day when he looked for a reply it had disappeared. Eyrie eventually found it together with an equally harmless response from ArlingtonFan, hidden in the archives where it was unlikely to be seen by the casual viewer. Again only an admin could do this and the second breach of admin neutrality was a step too far for Eyrie who was left with no option but to resign from what he felt was a discredited office. He also quit TOB completely after posting his disgust.

It was clear that the core group saw admin powers as a means to secretly remove a poster who had not violated any board rules but simply fallen foul of their group, and that they regarded objectors as being his friends. The objectors however saw it as a double standard which had no place in a message board professing free exchange of ideas about the Eagles. It did not matter who the member was or their particular views on the Eagles, rather it was the principle that all posters should be dealt with fairly and openly by the admins as is normally the case on a message board. TOB had become a private club, not a public message board. It was such a fundamental difference in approach that it was irreconcilable.

THE PROMISED LAND

Circumstances had clearly changed. A TOB poster, Bullwinkle, was aware that xsv had an online business and associated message board and so asked xsv if he’d be willing to create an Eagles forum providing sufficient posters were willing. Xsv contacted Eyrie who agreed to help run the new place, thus alleviating one of xsv's main concerns. Meanwhile Bullwinkle (and later Eyrie) made full use of their personal address books to contact those they thought would be interested. Most were, a few declined.

That Friday therefore xsv set up a discussion board using his existing server. This was a basic site without even a proper name, a stark contrast to the inception of the highly organized and well-designed TOB. Those who joined however were willing to put up with such matters while a name was chosen and a design arranged.

So Wingheads was born, and has subsequently grown and improved with an expanding membership, many of whom were new and so neither knew nor cared about the split.

HAPPY EVER AFTER?

The reaction on TOB to the formation of a new board was one of derision and insults. Much of this was targeted at xsv, yet all he had done was to change his mind and do what they'd been urging. Furthermore, far from being pleased to see the departure of ArlingtonFan, the core group expanded their feud to include all of those who had left. Many wanting to post on both boards found that they were forced to make a choice if they wished to be tolerated on TOB. While Wingheads has moved on, the core group on TOB continues to post daily insults about the new site.


ADMIN COMMENT

The history noted above directly effects how we (the admins) choose to run this board. Perhaps we are over-sensitive to certain things, but in light of the history posters here will understand our reasoning.

We absolutely forbid personal attacks of any kind and actively delete/edit posts in which they occur, usually with a private message warning to the offending poster.

We are a multi-member team, and reach our decisions democratically. No one "owns" this board, it is funded by the meager revenue brought in when posters click ads. Revenue from the ad clicks help subsidise but do not cover the running costs.


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