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-   -   A soppy and emotional thank you. (http://forum.naruto.viz.com/showthread.php?t=122980)

Toma RNK 11-24-2012 07:43 PM

A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
Ok, I know I'm mostly a relic at this point and don't post enough but this post has been long in the making. It's largely about my own personal story and I'm not sure who will be interested but I need to get it out.

I wanted to go over with you all my story with this forum, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I also want to touch on what we were, what we are, and where we are going.

So it shouldn't be any surprise to you guys I've been around a while, and have been looking at this forum as much from the administrative side as the users side. That said, I like to think I am a down to earth guy who chats with a lot of users.

So the story of this forum, from my perspective, is one of the community here, it's growth, changes, rough times, and future.

I started coming here mere months after the forum came out. In the begining, I came here to make one very simple post to Viz, which may be worth reading as it says a lot of how I was thinking at the time. Notice when you read it, it is a post to the company Viz. Not to the community here or any member but just a post to the company. In the beginning I viewed this place as a method to talk to Viz. These are official company forums, which are notably different from other fan forums or private communities.

I loitered around for a few days to see if anything would come of my letter and as I hung out I saw the forums didn't have much guidance or technical knowhow. I thought to myself "this place isn't going very far, it's a company forum with a limited userbase." I didn't have much invested, and to be honest I didn't care much.

Over the next week I started looking at who was posting here and why, and met a few people who made a notable impression on myself. Srhyse, Vidda Hatake, TBC, and many others. Of all the people I ran into, Vidda made the biggest impression. Here was an older woman, who had gone through her fair share in life, who had a passion for the kids around her and for the series. She came here a LOT with only the intent of helping and caring for people. Usually people like that get demotivated, bitter, and stop. Vidda didn't, and she made a major impact on a LOT of the early users.

The forum started to transform into one with a LOT of new and inexperienced users unused to forums and used to being put down in general. I saw Vidda and those she affected trying damn hard to make this an open and accepting place. This is NOT how official company forums (which usually act only as marketing tools for the company running them) typically act. Granted this was a movement by the users, not by the company.

Back then, Sage and SRhyse read literrally every thread and usually replied, they encouraged and approved of the community and things grew. I met Taker, Evil Buzzard, Chidori Shuriken, Luna, Hockey Otaku, and so many more I can't list. Friendships were created, but the wants of the users outgrew the forums. I started to see solutions and volunteered to help not only in threads where the "green names" asked for input, but I started proposing solutions and possibilities. This was naturally met with caution. The internet is full of bad advice, and very few people offer to help for selfless reasons. My reasons were both because I owed Viz (see my first post) but because of my respect for the type of community we were becoming.

Months passed and slowly I started gaining trust, and started speaking with Srhyse. Eventually it was decided in June 2009 to move from PHPBB3 to Vbulletin. I'd like to say things went awesomely and smooth but that just isn't the case. It is an open secret that the transition needed some help, and I had the skills and expertise (and free time) to step up. I did and that was when I actually started being the first standard forum member to start having any power. IT was a big step, scary for all involved, and humbling.

For months I was just another user, but one who could do some basic moderation and such. I really think I was still viewed as a user at that time, and not as anything special. Then we started implementing features and I started making guides. As we built in new features and grew, others started being entrusted with powers. We had a lot of temporary mods who had section based powers, which allowed them to help with all the broken quote and spoiler tags across the forum from the migration. I took a minor leadership role in this, but Vidda (good and awesome Vidda) did almost all of the work herself. For HOURS a day she went through by hand, thread by thread, editing and correcting this without really telling anyone. When I noticed and saw how much she cared, I knew this place had a chance at being a true community. I decided then, as I was unemployed to pour some major effort into this place.

I understood well that communities, and the culture of a forum is largely dictated by it's rules, and how they are enforced. The way the moderation and admin staff act and are organized dictates a LOT about how forums run. I decided to focus my efforts on that as well as overall organization. My time was split evenly between being an active member and enjoying everyones company, and working on long emails and such to the green names.

Eventually it was decided that I should be given some major access to do this stuff myself and I was given some access. I made the quasiadmin group (which was hidden and unknown) and then was made a member. No one really knew about the bump in power and quasi was not a RANK, it was just a methodology to get me some access.

I continued to work and we started getting an actual force fo volunteer mods and FAIL members. My main jobs were feature implementation as well as monitoring an guiding the FAIL and mod teams, making sure that the culture here continued to be a positive one.

Because of all the time I was spending in the ACP and with the initial war system, I couldn't post as much, and really was only putting out fires and dealing with troublesome members. I was growing disconnected from the community. Then along came tinychat.

Tinychat changed things for me. After a day of looking into the forums I would go to tinychat and hang out with members. It was awesome. I would usually get a bit drunk, and just chat away hours, hearing from the community and forging bonds with people.

I made a solid impression and got to know a lot of people through tinychat. Wooster, Nick T, Maik, Ashen, Blind, Noctis, and so many more.

Then I got a job, and I lost most of my free time. For over a year my activity here has been reduced to the admin, staff, and infraction areas, as well as a consultant for all the quasis. I still spend like 30 minutes a day trying to catch up but I rarely post.

The reason I post this is because of the vacation trip I am on right now. I decided that I wanted to actually meet some of the people I'd known for years. It has been a dream since I was like 13 to actually cross the boundary from online to real life, and now that I am 28, I felt it was fairly safe to try.

So I planned a small trip with a few stops to meet up with people. I was expecting awkward one off meetings and such. When I let Srhyse and Muffin know, they volunteered to put me up for a few days and I took them up on it.

So I arrived in California and was not prepared for how amazingly things went. Srhyse and Muffin welcomed me like an old friend, bought a chair and extra futon for me to stay on, hell even installed doors so I could have privacy in the living room. They took time off to show me around and show me a good time. They were absolutely awesome, sincere, and probably some of the best people I've met in ages. I can say I consider them true friends and people I will be going out of my way to see again.

The second leg of my journey was far more interesting. For those of you who don't know, Luna and I are very close. She considers me a father figure, and I think of her as a daughter I never had. I have spent a lot of time talking with her and her family, getting to know them, and I was asked to visit.

Now I know the first thing most people are going to say, dumb idea, bad move, and DANGER. I spent a lot of time talking with Luna's mother, making sure we were all in agreement before meeting.

We met, and it was emotional. Luna and I know each other well, and meeting in person was a bit overwhelming. We have hung out quite a bit, and have grown close.

So I sit here in a hotel room, having met some people I got to know here, who are now very important to me. The experience has been nothing but positive, which is surprising and really statistically unlikely.

In the past year the forum has changed some, the mod staff has grown and changed. We have had some "drama bombs" and the like, but at the end of the day, this is a great community with some seriously awesome people.

While your experiences may vary, I wanted to share my experiences and time here and remind people that this place is what you make of it. The good, bad and ugly.

I just wanted to say out loud how much I appreciate the time I spend here and the people I have met. I can't be here as much as I like, but you all are awesome.

I'll be around for a few hours if anyone wants to chat. Feel free to reply to this thread with your own thoughts or anything at all really. I miss everyone.

With respect, as always,
-Toma

Klaire 11-24-2012 07:56 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
I remember you from back then.
Sage anf Sryshe wete even in the clubs.

and sage's occasional mean sense of humour. :lol:
But aw this brought back memories.

Toma RNK 11-24-2012 07:57 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Klaire (Post 6351292)
I remember you from back then.
Sage anf Sryshe wete even in the clubs.

and sage's occasional mean sense of humour. :lol:
But aw this brought back memories.

I'm so glad someone replied. It felt like I gave a speech, and everyone just sat there and said nothing and an awkward silence set in.

Ninja Pink 11-24-2012 07:59 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
YOU MET LUNA. I'M SO JELLY.

But yeah, I like the forums mainly because of the people I've met. Some of the people really are cool.
Oh and I remember you from 09, if you remember me at all it's probably as " that really bratty annoying girl who was friends with Luna."xD

Toma RNK 11-24-2012 08:00 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
The connections made here, can be serious and rewarding. Not always, but moreso than I originally thought they could be.

Sagepain 11-24-2012 08:01 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
This is like a disney version of Catfish.................cept you werent in a relationship.

Nice story! Would be cool if I could meet some people here :p

Definitely lucky.

Toma RNK 11-24-2012 08:04 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sagepain (Post 6351299)
This is like a disney version of Catfish.................cept you werent in a relationship.

Nice story! Would be cool if I could meet some people here :p

Definitely lucky.

There are still predators everywhere, even here. Always be careful, but the people you spend time with are important, and spending time with people online, while not as rewarding as most face to face interactions, are still very much real.

I fully accept I got lucky and your milage may vary.

Noctis Arashi 11-24-2012 08:06 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
I'm glad that you had the opportunity to turn your times here into something more. Unfortunately, I probably won't have those opportunities, being a younger member of the forum.

And I have to say, you are one of the few people who have had a significant impact on me and my time here. I can recall on your tales, and you turned me into an Internet Warrior. And honestly, as silly as it sounds, alot of that, and what you say has had a profound impact on what I do.

Truly, you are the wise man of the forums, and I hope one day, I can be somewhat like you, even to a minor extent here. Even though it probably won't happen due to some of my actions in my earlier times here. :lol:

Regardless, I feel this place, for me and probably some others, has changed from just a forum, to something more. The bonds here for the most part are real, and it's one of the more honest places on the internet. And I'm glad to have spent my time here, and I will continue to do so until this place burns to the ground.

Toma RNK 11-24-2012 08:10 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Noctis Arashi (Post 6351308)
I'm glad that you had the opportunity to turn your times here into something more. Unfortunately, I probably won't have those opportunities, being a younger member of the forum.

And I have to say, you are one of the few people who have had a significant impact on me and my time here. I can recall on your tales, and you turned me into an Internet Warrior. And honestly, as silly as it sounds, alot of that, and what you say has had a profound impact on what I do.

Truly, you are the wise man of the forums, and I hope one day, I can be somewhat like you, even to a minor extent here. Even though it probably won't happen due to some of my actions in my earlier times here. :lol:

Regardless, I feel this place, for me and probably some others, has changed from just a forum, to something more. The bonds here for the most part are real, and it's one of the more honest places on the internet. And I'm glad to have spent my time here, and I will continue to do so until this place burns to the ground.

I pride myself on the time I spent on tinychat giving out advice to younger members.

Giving advice is a form of nostalgia, where I sift through my life experiences, clean up the bad or useless parts, and recycle the memories for more than they were originally worth. I am very glad to have been a positive impact on you. I've been told by a few I really helped, and I like being young enough we can connect but old enough to be able to provide useful input.

Maikeru D. Shinigami 11-24-2012 08:27 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
You know, we still have a members on here who say 'It's just the internet' or 'It's just a forum', but I feel the same the way about this forum. I may do things differently than you, but I feel a connection with a lot of the people here. The members on here have generally stayed kind, with a few exceptions. It's like being part of a giant family. It has a different feel that most communities. I think a lot of people here actually feel comfortable talking about things without having to worry about being trolled constantly.

It must be fun to be able to go around meeting people. I have a good number of people on here that I'd like to meet in person some day. Who knows, maybe it will happen someday.

We greatly appreciate what you've done. If you hadn't done what you did, I wouldn't be where I am right now.

Toma RNK 11-24-2012 08:29 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Maikeru D. Shinigami (Post 6351326)
You know, we still have a members on here who say 'It's just the internet' or 'It's just a forum', but I feel the same the way about this forum. I may do things differently than you, but I feel a connection with a lot of the people here. The members on here have generally stayed kind, with a few exceptions. It's like being part of a giant family. It has a different feel that most communities. I think a lot of people here actually feel comfortable talking about things without having to worry about being trolled constantly.

It must be fun to be able to go around meeting people. I have a good number of people on here that I'd like to meet in person some day. Who knows, maybe it will happen someday.

We greatly appreciate what you've done. If you hadn't done what you did, I wouldn't be where I am right now.

We all play to our strengths. I know you and I are really different people, but if you weren't as active or engaging with the userbase, this place wouldn't be what it is. We all do our part. I just wanted to refocus everyone for a bit on the community and culture here. It's important to pay attention to and preserve.

The hard part is protecting it without changing it too much.

giggleskitten 11-24-2012 08:32 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
I've looked up to you since I joined in June 2009. I was really never active in the forums. But I'm pretty sure almost everyone here is grateful you've been around so long. --vino

SRhyse 11-24-2012 08:49 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
I'm reading it over and will reply more tomorrow. For now, old man rest for me :lol:.

Muffintop 11-24-2012 08:59 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
Was a pleasure having you here and you're always more than welcome to visit anytime you're in the area. There's always something to do, even if it's just relaxing and chatting for a while or watching a movie. :D

Sorry for getting all shy while you were here, it's something I'm working on. >_>

Toma RNK 11-24-2012 09:01 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Muffintop (Post 6351381)
Was a pleasure having you here and you're always more than welcome to visit anytime you're in the area. There's always something to do, even if it's just relaxing and chatting for a while or watching a movie. :D

Sorry for getting all shy while you were here, it's something I'm working on. >_>

Are you kidding? Watching you open up, change, and accept was one of the most rewarding parts of the trip.

Stay awesome Muffin!

Muffintop 11-24-2012 09:05 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Toma RNK (Post 6351382)
Are you kidding? Watching you open up, change, and accept was one of the most rewarding parts of the trip.

Stay awesome Muffin!

Well when you put it that way. xD And likewise!

Red 11-24-2012 09:07 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
I didn't get a name mention, this is irrelevant


Spoiler:

just kidding I already told you this letter was tops

Toma RNK 11-24-2012 09:08 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Red (Post 6351384)
I didn't get a name mention, this is irrelevant


Spoiler:

just kidding I already told you this letter was tops

I didn't mention you or vex out of respect to the olive oil.

Sorry Red :(

HokageSoulReaper 11-24-2012 09:23 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
Gotta say this is quite nice!

Now, I myself met someone in this forum that I also wish and want to be able to grow closer to, and meet IRL and all, so I can somewhat relate to a certain point, seems it'll be hard for it to actually happen but somehow I don't lose hope of it ever happening

Naruto321 11-24-2012 09:55 PM

Re: A soppy and emotional thank you.
 
Through my years here, I thought you were some on point kind of guy in the forums (meaning that you were crazy of some sort) But I guess that was years ago. its probably because i didnt get to know you much like everybody else. I fely like i was pushing ecerybody away by giving wrong information and posting like crazy and spamming. Those were some good tikes and some bad times. :lol: Im 19 and I have learned alot from this place. I thank this place for being the why I am. I mostly thank you Toma for making the way I am today. Even though I was a bit hard headed but I got through and finally understood.

I bow to you my good friend.

Also to muffin and rice, hopefully when I get through college, I will be working with Microsoft and someday visit you guys someday. :)


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