Lord Raffles

From Charas Project

History is written by the victors, or at least the people with the most time. And the person with the most time right now is SaiKar. So while a goodly number of nice people joined and great number of awesome things happened between December 1st 2004 and August 1st 2005, Sai didn’t enjoy this period entirely too much, which is why it is being labeled as the dark ages.


The dates for this age and the main reason for its name unquestionably involve Lord Raffles. December 1st is when he registered. August 1st is when he was banned by Alex. For a whole eight months he was on the forums.

Lord Raffles, we now know, was a malicious troll having a good time laughing with other trolls on a faraway forum about how much trouble he was causing Charas. He, like most trolls, is also an ego whore and will delight from having a large section of history about him. But unfortunately it can’t be helped; to skip over this is to ignore extremely vital parts of Charas’s development.

That said, every single post by Lord Raffles has been deleted. Every one, down to the last. Probably by Raffles himself. So it falls to looking at the wake of destruction to piece things together.

Nobody knew that Raffles was intentionally trying to destroy Charas back then. Oh sure, a lot of people had their guesses, mainly Osmose, but we had no proof of anything. All people knew is that Raffles was posing a lot of interesting and disturbing questions and that a goodly number of members were getting rilled up about it. Raffles’s main arguments were why moderators were punishing threads that were out of line instead of the specific people that were causing trouble. To be fair, that held a ring of truth. Some of the rest of his stuff was more nonsensical, such as the moderators getting great delight out of lording over common members and the plight of the average guy just trying to post online. Almost everything he said was a carefully calculated attempt to divide and fragment the forum.

It was disturbingly effective. Though almost everyone universally disliked him, the bigger question of what to do with him was a major raging issue. Should we ban him? On what grounds; he hasn’t broken any specific rules. Should the mods try to talk with him? They did, nothing meaningful was accomplished? What does Raffles want? Why is he asking so many questions? Doesn’t he have a point with some them? These issues and others built a great deal of tension.

The lesser problem, but still a crippling one, was the staff’s continued inability to get along. Well, that’s not entirely true. Everyone was getting along except for SaiKar, whom became the next scapegoat. Sai was assuming more of Alex’s roles in managing the forum but there was growing resentment and discontent in his ability to manage as an admin. Sai began to resent the hardliner approach of locking a lot of threads and tried to come down on Carmen and the other mods, but they all universally opposed lightening up on moderation, even SMB and Kijuki that had previously supported Sai. Everyone feared a return to the previous summer so much that they were willing to go to any lengths to keep the forum under control. Bizarrely, as some sort of disturbance in the force, the only one remotely on Sai’s side was Red Giant, who questioned fellow All of All mod Carmen’s policies of deletion often until giving up and going inactive.

A deep rift between the mods and members opened. The mods became the enemies, sort of cops to avoid, instead of people to trust. A few protests among the public about the hardliner approach sprung up, but, as said previously, this wouldn’t become a major issue until 2006. The hardliners won out and continued to lock and delete stuff, and Sai essentially left the forum to play FFXI mostly, popping in every so often for the next year to try to sort out policy and meeting the same hostile reactions. A lot of people sent messages to Sai to try to set things right and send the heavy-handed moderation, and try he did several times over the period, but to no avail. Essentially Sai was stuck between a frustrated population and a staff that resented an outsider meddling with their policies. It sucked pretty hard.

If you’re clever at reading, you see the strange irony here. Though Sai was an admin attempting to save the forum and Lord Raffles was an evil troll trying to destroy it, they were essentially on the same “side” against the hardliner mods. Yeah, that’s why I didn’t ban him quickly. Sorry about that, I was getting desperate. Though in retrospect it did help get a lot of people to see how whack the staff was getting.

With Sai fallen entirely off the planet, the staff had to combat Raffles by themselves. The fact that a few key members such as Carmen and SMB didn’t see him as a threat in the slightest didn’t help them reach a decision. Kijuki lead the camp favoring letting Raffles get things out of his system and locking threads if they became too close to being flames. Alex showed up to add the Almost Banned feature in early March, which didn’t really help either. Long story short, the staff spent their fighting energies fighting themselves instead of Raffles and ever-increasing spam. Except when Sai showed up, of course; they’d unite against him. And the months ticked by.

More to the point, the staff saw Sai’s absence as a good time to get him kicked out of his admin position. They nominated Kijuki as a replacement but for reasons not entirely clear he never actually got the job. Again and again the issue came up until, on May 6th, Sai gave in the Private forum one of the most self-satisfying things he ever said (the “you” refers to Darkfox):

Originally posted by SaiKar
I'd resign in disgust and let you try to moderate (HAHAHA!) the forums, but I'm not going to for three reasons. One, I don't want to give you the satisfaction of finally getting rid of me. Two, I actually don't think anyone, with the exception of Kijuki, could do the job and I'm not willing to let you get the job and grind the forum into the ground. I like Charas more then that. And three, because I have hopes that eventually I can get rid of the people that are dragging this place down and focus more on the real problems of this community outside this little private forum.

The fourth reason being that he knew how much of the general population supported him against the mods if he could only figure out a way to remove some of them without so many accusations of power abuse that Alex would demote him. And so Sai kept his job against a tide of opposition but was forced to wait a bit longer.

All this staff drama must be boring. Facts are, during this time, the staff didn’t organize any contests nor appoint any new mods. All their efforts were focused on locking and deleting threads. Many members left Charas claiming the fun was gone, and though a few joyously would return, a good number did not. The naysayers claiming the end of Charas started up again (and got their stuff deleted, naturally) but it actually seemed they were right this time. Darkfox tried to combat Raffles as best as he could and, the longer he did, the more personal it became until his mental health was in danger. All this because of one stupid troll and a few stubborn mods.

Eventually the gnashing of teeth reached Alex, and he proved himself awesome again by talking to Raffles, researching him, deciding he was an evil jerk, and banning him on August 1st. Though many were still fearful because the day before, July 31st, word came out that Darkfox allegedly had tried to kill himself. For real. But thankfully he didn’t and came back smiling and everyone was happy.

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