FOR THE RECORD: Regarding "The Cindybin Project: My Adventures on Yahoo and Beyond", I want to state publicly that Love-is-a-Verb a.k.a. Pixie apologized after reading my story, and we were friendly again. However, after posting that story in April 2006 and hesitatingly returning to the boards, many Yahoo bullies became even more vicious, taking things so far that I don't dare post it here, and I was eventually forced to leave the old headline forums for good in early May 2006. Yahoo discontinued those boards the end of 2006.
Yahoo Trolling Story
The following is an article about Yahoo’s former headline boards, written the end of 2006. I came across this piece one day and found it well-written and accurate, even the part about my role in those forums. I am not sure who wrote it; I believe it is the same person who ran the now defunct Cindybin fansite and forums (which I did NOT take part in). But I wanted to include it here because it does a good job of summing up the whole Yahoo experience I went through, described in more detail in my story “The Cindybin Project: My Adventures of Yahoo and Beyond”. It started out so fun, all the banter and debate on those boards, and ended so horribly, what with the abuse, death threats and threats of bodily harm, people threatening to call their lawyer or the cops on me (because I tried to get them to apologize for hurting me), and other acts of meanness I cannot even go into here. I feel I will never be the same. Not just from Yahoo, but from the lowcarb site as well, also mentioned in my story. I also find it hard to believe that it all happened, that people thought someone like me couldn’t be real, etc. I always felt my values and beliefs were much like anybody else’s. I never thought my posts would cause so much hoopla. I was just trying to be genuine and sincere. In any case, the following article is from 365articles.com, a “high quality article database.” I hope you enjoy it.
THE STORY OF THE BIGGEST TROLLING PHENOMENON THE INTERNET HAS EVER SEEN
Yahoo is the one most visited site in the world. It gets over 240 million visitors each month. And not too long ago, within two clicks from Yahoo’s homepage, you could get into Yahoo’s message boards. And on these message boards, lies some of the most vulgar and disgusting messages you will ever read. Trolling used to be a past time for people who frequent these message boards. What is trolling? Trolling is when a person posts something online that is meant to generate shock or anger readers. Basically, it’s a way to get attention in any way possible, and usually posting something obscene is the best way to do it. Yahoo message boards allowed a reader to “recommend” a message, but trolling became so popular on these boards that vulgar messages would get numerous recommendations from other trolls.
No moderators equals chaos
The difference between a Yahoo message board and other online forums was that there were no moderators on Yahoo. People could post whatever they felt and usually what they felt was something mean or nasty. When the Yahoo message boards came online in the late 90’s, almost all the messages back then were civilized and as related to the subject matter at hand. But users started to realize that there was no one watching over them. They could curse and get away with it. They could insult another person’s beliefs or even their family and there would be no consequences. No moderators and being anonymous meant anything goes. People began going on Yahoo message boards not to discuss a certain story, but to troll the message boards and get a high from pissing off or disgusting others. Some have suggested that Yahoo didn’t moderate their message boards because they wanted to get as much page views as possible to generate ad revenue, while others say that Yahoo had way too many message boards and moderating wouldn’t have done any good.
Trolls competing against each other
Only after a couple of years, nearly half of all messages on Yahoo’s message boards were junk and was troll material written by trolls. This caused a problem for some trolls. Being a troll meant receiving as much attention as possible, but it was hard when you have a whole lot of other trolls competing for the same spotlight. So trolls began getting nastier and wittier with their messages. A troll who had posted a gem would receive several or more recommendations from the trolling community and their message would most likely be copied and pasted by other trolls on other message boards and their post would live on, while a failed attempt to be funny or disgusting would result in zero recommendations and their message would fade to obscurity and never be read again.
The most famous troll of all time
The most famous Yahoo troll of all time was a middle-aged housewife that turned into an accidental troll. She had quite a few hobbies such as making cakes and collecting dolls on eBay. But what turned her into such a celebrity in the trolling community was that she was absolutely against smoking weed and pre-marital sex…and she wasn’t trolling. She actually meant it and those were her true beliefs. Around 2004-2005, Cindybin appeared on the Yahoo message boards and whenever the subject of marijuana or pre-marital sex came up, she was always around to preach what she felt was the right thing, that marijuana was bad and pre-marital sex was wrong. The regulars who frequent Yahoo message boards came to realize that she wasn’t trolling when they saw she put in a lot of effort when arguing against drugs and talked like a person who worked at a rehab center. Now a regular troll would have been for drugs, alcohol and pre-marital sex, but Cindybin was against those very things and this made her the focus of a lot of people on Yahoo’s message boards. Being such an anti-troll has turned Cindybin into one. Other trolls began harassing her or try to become friends with her. Whenever Cindybin posted a message, there would be many replies, turning the whole message board into a discussion about her. Cindybin posted pictures of herself on her profile and on her homepage, thus giving her a face to go along with her messages. Perverted trolls would ask her for sexual favors or comment on how she looked. Cindybin’s fame grew to the point where it spawned many imitators trying to copy her name. Cartoons were made about her and she got her own fansite created by a fan. Eventually around the summer of 2006, the group of trolls called the Dana Crew angered Cindybin so much that she left the boards and has never been seen on Yahoo again. But ask any Yahoo message board reader who the most memorable troll was, and most of them will tell you it’s a woman named Cindybin.
The end of an era
On December 19, 2006, the Yahoo Headline message boards where most Yahoo trolls called home closed down and no one knows when or if they would be up again. The original Yahoo message boards were some of the oldest forums on the Internet, being around for more than eight years. Some former Yahoo trolls migrated over to the Cindybin forums while others went over to Google Groups. The golden age of trolling has most likely come to an end, and there’s a chance we might never see anything like it again.