The Chronicles of the Prince
Various people have been pressing me to write this for many many months now, ever since Siblesz penned Mi Lucha to be precise. Its taken me a while, but I’ve finally used up every excuse I can think of. I’m sitting at home, I don’t start work till Monday, its too hot and sunny to be sitting in my bedroom trying to rule the galaxy (playing GalCivII), so I decided to take my laptop out into the garden and be an author once more.
Before I start the story though, there are few key points that I feel our very important to note. First, as Wild Bill Kelso will inevitably point out, my memory for facts and figures, and for names and dates, is usually pretty good… however, I am as subject as everyone else to social phenomena like Telescoping. In other words, there may be some errors in dates, though the basic timeline of events will be accurate.
Second, don’t bother pointing out to me that this account differs from Mi Lucha. If it was exactly the same, you wouldn’t need me to write it… Sib’s story is incredibly biased and partisan, and includes, in some errors a large number of factual errors, or missing information which I know he knows. On the other hand, this account by knows means seeks to be a true depiction of the facts either. As my favourite author once said in his works, if 10, or 100 people witness an event, then there’ll be 10, or 100 different accounts as to what happened. From my point of view, sib’s account is wrong in many areas. Sib of course, was not present at some of the events that happened, others he seeks to imply a selective interpretation of what happened. But that’s from my point of view, and all this story is, is the events of TWC, from my point of view. Which version you believe is down to you, perhaps it may be that the truth lies somewhere down the middle… perhaps on some occasions this version is true, and at other points, sibs version true.
Third, to understand what happened, it helps to have a partial understanding of me, who I am, and why I operate the way I do. I say this, because in so learning about me, you should I hope realise, that some of the things I’m accused of, both acting and doing, are things I would not have done. I’ve been interested in Law since I was 14, and I’m told by old school friends that I’ve always been a stickler for rules and regulations. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m incapable of breaking the law, but I have a strong tendency to follow the rules, no matter what. Part of this is because of my strong belief in a certain legal doctrine I first come across when I was 17 and studying Law at A-Level. It’s a doctrine known as the Rule of Law, and its found in all western democracies to various extends, but especially in those countries that use a common law legal system, like Britain, the USA, and Canada. The rule of law, a constitutional doctrine, has 3 branches, which, as cited by our great constitutional lawyer, Dicey are:: The rights of individuals are determined by legal rules and not the arbitrary behaviour of authorities There can be no punishment unless a court decides there has been a breach of law Everyone, regardless of your position in society, is subject to the law
No arbitrary power, no punishment except by judgement in court of law, and everyone subject to the Law. You can see, I hope, why following this doctrine may have brought me into conflict with various staff members. Throughout my time as admin here, I sought to apply and uphold the Rule of Law, and see TWC governed by it. For this reason I took particular offence when Boris accused me of being an Autocratic Dictator, as that is as far from me as is possible.
The rule of law links into other key legal doctrines Nullum crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege poenali – no retroactive laws (literally no crime, therefore no punishment, without a previous penal law) Presumption of Innocence Double Jeopardy Equality before the Law Habeus Corpus – people have the right to know what charges they are being held under, and to have their imprisonment examined by judicial authority.
As an undergraduate Law Student, and one who did particularly well in both Crime and Constitutional Law, to me, these things are fundamental, and my work as an admin, and subsequent work in the Curia was to attempt to establish such rules into TWC. A goal I failed at.
However, enough about me, let us let the story begin
Dawn of Darkness
I suppose a logical place to start an account of TWC would be the day I joined the forums, but I intend to go back even further. I intend to take you back to September 2002, for in that month, of that year, according to Emperor Dacoste, was TWC founded, though not as you know it. Also in that month, I first heard about a certain game I would hope you are all very familiar with. Medieval Total War.
I’ve had bad experiences with games before, so when I saw MTW in the shop, I can hardly say I thought WOW I gotta have this. I probably did feel a slight tingle, if it helps… instead, I went home and did a little research on this epic title, I wasn’t going to be fooled again by fancy box art and a well written cover. Plus, I hadn’t even heard of Shogun at the time, so I knew absolutely nothing about the heritage of this game and its developers. I went looking for fan reviews online, and one of the sites I came to was mtw.gamercastle.com. I didn’t know at the time how new the place was, but it had a lot of information on the game, and there was plenty of excited chatter about it on the sites forums. At some point that September, as a relief from the joys of sixth form as AS levels, I bought the game, and played it well… totally… it probably had the highest replayability of any game I’ve ever played. You could play the same faction, make the same opening moves, and still have a totally different game every time you played.
Ultimately, it was the French that held me up. I’d played this game all the way through, several times, with all the European factions, and with the Byzantines, except for the French, I couldn’t seem to work out how to win with them (bloody French lol!) so I went looking for help.
If I believed in luck, or coincidence, then I’d put it down to both of those that the place I ended up was back at mtw.gamercastle.com. I believe in neither, so instead I’ll say that it was fated that I should return there. And this time I signed up to the forums.
Gamercastle in those days was a very different site to the one we have today… even the colours were different, there was a pretty cool blue and black theme going on. Alas I cannot remember the exact day I signed up to the place, but by my reckoning, it would have been at the latest, January 2003. Which means I’ve been on these boards now for heading up to 4 years. It’s a long time, and it feels a lot longer, so much as happened, here, so many experiences.
I was, to be honest, pretty noobish back then. It was the first forum I’d ever bothered to sign up to, and I made a decent attempt at replying to every thread every time I signed on. The bulk of the threads were, naturally, game related, but even then there was a thriving off topic area, with some notable historical discussions going on, and as history had always been something of a passion of mine, I cheerfully waded in. I have to say though, I probably learned more than I ever taught in those early days, there being one fine gentlemen there, younger than I was (I was 16/17 at the time) who seemed to know pretty much everything about everything of European history from the dark ages onward. It’s a real pity he is no longer on the site today, but real life eventually caught him up. His name was Wesley Dry, aka, Iron Duke, named of course for his favourite person in history.
I honestly don’t recall much of the early days of the forum, because very little happened except for the posting and the dicussion. I must confess that I honestly cannot recall how me and why me and sib started talking to each other, thoughi know he was the first. I do recall why Iron Duke did, he wanted to carry on a particular discussion we’d been having, and emailed me a lengthy message, and then suggested maybe I’d like to reply with my thoughts…
The most striking memory from that time though was the moment I felt I’d been accepted into the community there… I was no longer just a new member posting for help and recognition, I actually felt like I belonged. It was a thread about the HRE and their early strategy, and I’d been arguing long and hard with a well respected member known as Carolus XII about the strategic merit of the HRE’s position, when another member, Mehmed II posted randomly into the discussion… “Go on BP, don’t give up! You’ve got carolus on the rocks!!” (the “t” came later lol)
Strange as it may seem, that was a pretty important moment for me, I really felt like I belonged on the forum, as part of the community, that I was accepted, so I was pretty pleased… the “t” in my name came a bit later. I’d signed up as the Black Prince, and the lack of capital T was not exactly intentional, but to begin with i objected to being nicknamed simply “BP” since those were the letters for British Petroleum… and so TBP was born. The heavy emphasis I place on the small T stems not from me, but actually from a spanish member called henryV, not to be confused with the current member of the Helios team, King Henry V!. henry strongly emphasised the fact that his user name had a small H, but a capital V. go look him up actually… he’s still registered http://www.twcenter.net/forums/member.php?u=10 I thought to myself, well if he can be pedantic about it, then so will I, and tBP was born… a name that has finally stuck, I hope.
Time passed quite peacefully on gamercastle, and as the Iraq war in 2003 started to boil up, so too did the debates. It’s a great pity that some of the great people from those days, that I’m sure Siblesz and Wild Bill Kelso will also remember are no longer with us… some, like mehmed, like henryV and like morble survived longer, but when gamercastle finally died, there were two people in particular who we never saw again, Gondor, and Pacifistic Fool, both of them passionate debaters when it came to intervention in Iraq. I’m told also that PyrrhusIV, or Antonious Pious as he’s now known was around back then as well, though I’ve never yet asked what username he held.
Toward the end of march, Emperor Dacoste announced things were changing, and that the entire gamercastle network was likely to close down. At this point in time I wasn’t a staff member, so I don’t know what went on behind the scenes, but in April, when gamercastle closed for good, our beloved community was reborn on a new site, and with a new name. the Total War Centre, on www.legiontotalwar.com
Please note the spelling of TWC there. This is the correct way to spell it, as dictated by the sites founder, Paul Dacoste, who lived in London…
The Darkness of the Internet was over the Light had been Born
Foundations of Glory
Before I continue, having already received one PM from a member who tried to follow the link to legiontotalwar, I must emphasise, its not a link, just a URL that leads nowhere. It doesn’t exist anymore. If you’ll let me get on, I’ll explain why… hmm, this next bit actually sounds impressive… God has given me a link to an archive of gamercastle so you can all see its theme and style! http://web.archive.org/web/200302030...mercastle.com/ I suppose no one actually believed I meant God and not the member, God. Oh well…
In the past, much has been stated about the greater glory of TWC, and the Golden Age of TWC. When that actually was depends a lot on what your perspective is, and what you label as the most glorious period of our history. For the Curia, the golden age must surely be during the time of the 1st Consulship, under Sulla and Smack, but before the reign of the 1st Imperator, Sulla. At this time, the Curia had the most power, though its slow decline began not long after, its glory shortlived.
For the forums, and the site, I would label the golden age to be the latter days of the 2nd Triumvirate, Siblesz, the Black Prince and Boris Pavlov Grozny. During this time, the Symposium, the History Forum and the Politics Forum really flourished, the greats debates, the long intellectual discussions such as Existence of God were at their peak… and this golden age carried on, through the 3rd Triumvirate (Siblesz, the Black Prince and Trobalov) and into the early days of the 4th Triumvirate (Siblesz, GodEmperor Nicholas, Boris Pavlov Grozny). Siblesz I think characterises the glory days as solely those of the 4th Triumvirate, and with that I must disagree… for the latter days of that reign saw the rise of the dictators, saw the rise of Crandar, saw the fall of the republic, the sacrifice of Boris and the end of all that TWC had stood previously stood for. In a way, I’m glad that I didn’t have to have the displeasure of presiding over the fall of all that we had held dear, but I fear I’m getting ahead of myself. You really mustn’t let me ramble off like this, believe me, I could go on for hours!
Its hard to believe that in these early days of TWC there was only 1 admin – Paul, and 2 moderators – Knight2100 and Siblesz. Overtime, and as the site grew, content staff in particular were recruited – most notably Frood, but it was several months before Paul felt the need to appoint new moderators as well.
To continue then…. The forum was pretty quiet after the move to legiontotalwar. We lost a fair few members, and only those who we had on msn, or managed to track us down returned. May in particular was a very quiet time and replying to every thread didn’t take very long… things did begin to turn up over the summer, more members appeared, in part, I’ve always thought to general lack of schooling and the ability to sit and play MTW all day if you so chose… This was however, definitely helped by the late may release of Viking Invasion. The forum naturally always has a spike in membership when a new Total War game or expansion is released, and back then the release of VI was a fairly big event. By July time, things had hotted up on the forum enough for Paul to appoint his new moderator, and I applied. I don’t know how many other applicants there were, if any, but either way, I got the job.
Back then there were no fancy titles for us, no elections, just Paul posting a notice that tBP was the new moderator. There was little differential in rank either… Sibs and the knight and me were all global moderators, and Paul was the admin.
I would like to say at this point, that as a person, I have a great great deal of respect for the Knight2100, though I hardly ever see him online… an anglophile, a very knowledgeable historian, and an author, the knight had a lot to commend him. He was not, however, the best ever staff member, or rather, not the best ever moderator. He preferred to take a more pacifying approach to moderation, asking people to calm down, and the like, rather than the more direct approach, of actually, well, moderating the posts of people who post things out of line.
The promotion came just in the nick of time, for in august of that year, there descended upon TWC a fury that the forum had never seen before…
Now as spam goes, In the dull period shortly after our moved, I spammed a bit… there was nothing else to do, and sib, well, he’s always spammed a lot, right up until his fateful trip to china sib was always the king of spam, even if he’s now been dethroned by the rising power of the Grim Squeaker.
In august 03, however, TWC suffered its equivalent of 9/11, a pair of terrorist spammers descended on the forums like hungry shrikes looking for new prey. Exiled from the official boards, and pre-emptively banned by the Org, this terrible twosome alas manifested itself on TWC instead. Strangely enough, I consider both of them now very good friends, back then, they were different (and younger lol, age always seems to make a difference, as sib grew older, even he stopped spamming)
They self styled themselves the Lord Tomyris and the Chlorine Frazman. I preferred to call them the terrible twosome, the masters of mess and surprisingly, both are now Civitates!
I wonder if, looking back, we over-emphasise the effect these two had on the board. Times were still fairly slow, and activity was not exactly large, so the pairs sudden arrival merely doubled the daily post count, but was a total shock to the rest of us, who were used to a more sedate pace of life! The Frazman was eventually banned by an exasperated Siblesz, but Tomyris, his 13yr old mind demonstrating some modicum of intelligence not only posted the pure mindless spam that got his lifelong love-buddy banned, but also a fair amount of decent stuff too… Sib and me both sat him down at various times and gave him a good talking to, and, slowly, a glimmer of understanding was seen, though the reform process was slow. From that day forward he exhibited a pure solid and undiminished ambition to become a TWC staff member, a goal I laughed off at first, but he told me, in no uncertain terms, that one day he would become a moderator, and show that you could have decent moderators, not evil ones like on the official boards. Ultimately, he was right, and he did indeed become a Quaestor. His friend and co-conspirator also returned, and is a Civitate today under the name of the Baron Lokimus.
Events, as ever, move swiftly on TWC, in September this year, this website will be 4 years old, yet it has a history that rivals a fair number of sovereign nations. a mere handful of months after I was made a moderator, in September of 2003, Paul announced further changes.
How much I should say on this subject, I’m not entirely sure, however, I shall write what I feel to be true, and if the people involved wish to correct me on this, I shall make amends. Siblesz comes from a fairly privileged and wealthy background, and has never really lacked for money. As will be revealed shortly, he made a major contribution to this site and not just in terms of his great commitment and dedication. Whilst I did not have his resources, in sixth form I had a decent income and no regular expenses, so I was never ever short of cash either (so unlike the life of today lol). The same cannot be said for Paul Dacoste, our founder. Paul is just a couple of months younger than me, and whilst I was in sixth form, he was putting himself through college, and he lived in inner east London. Simply put, he was short on money, and to make ends meet, he was doing paid graphics design work part time meaning he had little time left for the site. After much debate on the subject, Paul finally announced that he was making both Siblesz and myself full administrators of the site, with Siblesz becoming co-webmaster, and taking over much of Paul’s work. While for us, nothing much changed, save for not having to wait for Paul every time something needed doing, looking back, that day was fundamental in the history of TWC, on that day, the 1st Triumvirate, Paul, Siblesz, and the Black Prince, was formed.
There was light now amidst the darkness, and day by day hour by hour post by post, the light in the heart of cyberspace grew ever brighter. The triumvirate said “Let there be magnificence, and the members of TWC responded and bonded together to create the greatest glory this internet has ever seen.
Rise of the Republic
As time passed, Paul grew steadily more inactive as the pressures of real life weighed down on him, and the business of running the site fell more and more upon myself and Siblesz. In October, at siblesz’s insistence, we joined together to sack The Knight2100, and I regret to say that I willing participant in this action, for The Knight, was not the best staff member I had ever encountered, though I do wonder if it was necessary to remove him. In that same month was also the incident which shook my belief in siblesz’s ability as a staff member, and especially as a moderator. Siblesz was as a moderator, nothing more than a hypocrite. This man, responsible for enforcing the rules of the forum, and drafting them for that matter, was also the forums biggest spammer. When I first entered the staff forum, there was a thread entitled “Spam”. It was filled with posts along the lines of “spam spam spammity spam”. Ever wondered why Siblesz always had such a high post count? Well that’s how. But that’s not the only issue, like a couple of other staff members in the future who would follow his example, Sibs would flame flamers and other rule breakers. He’d attack people who break the rules, and he’d simply ban the people who annoyed him, with no thought for what they’d actually done. One of the early victims of this attitude, was Eothain, who was temporarily driven from the forums by Sibs oppressive attitude. As all staff members would know, its no way to enforce the rules, you can’t moderate a post by saying “stop flaming people you stupid idiot” or words along those lines…
I had endless arguments with Sib over this and many other issues. We had a fair amount in common (more than I thought I discovered later hehehe) we also had some fundamental disagreements about the way the site was run and especially the way the rules were enforced. I preferred a semi judicial system, with a set of rules, and varying levels of stated punishments for rule breakers… much like the system the current staff use. Toward this end, and much later in my time as admin, I activated the boards warning system, and drew up a list of increasing punishments for each warming, from post validation to suspension etc etc. Siblesz preferred arbitrary power, doing whatever he liked depending on what he felt when he saw each offending post, and who the poster was, a system I had deep and fundamental disagreements with… as stated in the introduction, I have serious problems with any kind of arbitrary power.
In November, the arguments between us were becoming problematic, and while I enjoyed our frequent debates, I’ve always been an adversarial person, it was starting to make it harder to run the site. Toward this end, we approached Paul with a view to create another admin to act as a power broker between us. The member chosen to fill this role was a well known and respected poster, Boris Pavlov Grozny. The forum hierarchy was restructured in such a way that Paul was the forums supreme being at the top, and under him came 3 equal admin – the Triumvirate, each having set areas of authority and responsibility. This then was the 2nd triumvirate of the site, though only the 1st that the term was publicly applied to. The appointment of Boris really is the best date I can think of for the start of the golden age.
Among the things being debated between me and sibs at the time was a method of stratifying our membership, similar to the Org, as a way of giving some form of reward to active and contributing members in good standing. For those who don’t know, org members (at the time, and I think now) start off with limited member rights and our restricted to the Entrance Hall forums. If they demonstrate they are good posters, the org staff promote them to senior member, and they get increased PM ability, sigs, avatars and increased posting rights. As we were a much smaller forum, we didn’t want to go the same way, and restrict all new members to the site. What we wanted to do was give additional stuff to those members we saw as performing well, and this new rank would not be automatically promoted, but on the discretion of the Trium. We hoped it would be seen as an incentive to the rank and file to show quality and not to spam. In that regard, it definitely worked!
At the same time, Boris saw the need to formalise everything, the new rank, and the division of power between the admins into a document, which he named a Syntagma (constitution) and created a place as a private forum for the new rank, and to discuss matters of the constitution.
You should all be familiar with this place and this rank, it still exists – it is of course the rank of Civitate, and the Curia.
Though many of you may find this surprising, I actually came out strongly against the Syntagma to begin with, though not against the Civitates and the Curia. Much as I didn’t want to see arbitrary power, I didn’t want to see us taken too far into the other extreme, since if we wrote down binding rules, we’d obviously be bound by them and have to follow them. I learnt later why Boris and Sibs didn’t see this as a problem, they never actually intended to follow the Syntagma in the first place, it was just a show case document for them.
However, I eventually relented, or gave up, and the Syntagma and all accompanying aspects was duly implemented. For me, a crucial element of it was the division of admin responsibilities. There would be one member of the Trium responsible for matters of site maintenance and content – the webmaster. There would be one Trium responsible for the Forums and Forum administration and Moderation – the Forum Admin. And there would be one Trium responsible for overseeing the Curia and all matters relating to it – the Curator. Those roles were filled by Siblesz me and Boris respectively.
It was a time of enlightenment on TWC. A time of democracy, a time of intellect, and a time of love, for all the admin.
It was not to last.
Prelude to War
’ve always found Boris to be one of the more interesting characters on TWC, though how much of what he said was true I’ll obviously never know. When he was a staff member, he was a Cuban, studying at the University of Florida. I recall one particular time when he was inactive because the university had suspended his internet access on suspicion of terrorist activity! However, despite Boris taking to his power broking roll quite well, he ultimately ended siding with Sib again and again and again, before finally resigning as a Trium. His stated reason for doing so was my bureaucracy, and I’d like that particular fact to be remembered by all for comparison with future claims. Why bureaucracy? Well its actually misleading, my stance was pretty simple. I told boris and sib in no uncertain terms that since they’d enacted some laws binding upon everyone, and that these laws were a constitution, and therefore set out how the site was to be governed, they were going to stick to them. Rule of law and all that jazz. To be quite honest, I like working in an environment with set procedures and guidelines to follow, and the constitution provided exactly that. I was 100% of the opinion that we’d created this thing, the least we could do was respect it. It’s an opinion I still hold today, though one not shared by our senior staff. So Boris ultimately left when he found out I planned to hold him to the terms of his own constitution, and that left me and sibs to find ourselves a new admin to assist us as Curator. By this time, we’d built up quite a cadre of excellent staff members, including morble, Trobolov, Anibal, and Frood. Alsdo on the staff team was the less than reliable Mehmed II, and surprisingly the Lord Tomyris, who had indeed managed to fill his dream of becoming a staff member.
In the early days of our expanded team though, believe it or not only the Praetors had any moderating power! The Trium were admin, the 4 Praetors were Global Moderators, the Quaestors role was to advise on and assist in the formulation of policy. It was another thing I argued endlessly with sib about, I never saw the point to having a group of staff that weren’t really able to do anything, especially when we had the Curia for help on policy and direction. For instance, Mehmed’s original role on staff was “Eastern Historian”. His job, well… you tell me… after all, he was posting articles about Turkish history, and pressing the Turkish viewpoint quite easily in Fingerprints of the Past without needing a staff rank to do it, and this didn’t change after his promotion. The role of Quaestors as junior/forum moderators came a fair bit later, and even then, early Quaestors moderating rights were similar to the recently dissolved Urbanis Legio than the modern image of a Quaestor.
The Staff member who got the job of replacing Boris was a young Greek chappie, and a strategic genius, not to mention being something like national youth chess champion for Greece… it was of course, Trobolov, and his contributions to this forum as a staff member and Trium are often sadly overlooked. It was, for instance, Trobolov who composed the first set of codified forum rules, which he posted around the board. I think in some more outlying fora, his original posts can still be found unedited. He also took the time to write a rather impressive FAQ for MTW which can be found in the scriptorium. Unfortunately, the 3rd Triumvirate (Siblesz, the Black Prince and Trobolov) was the shortest in TWC history. Perhaps it was inevitable that a forum that should rise to such a height would obviously take such a fall, but a fall soon followed the ascension of the 3rd Trium.
I am however getting ahead of myself. How did TWC reach such a height? The release of VI had boosted our numbers, and TWC in comparison to the Org was coming along quite well, and many members coming to us from the Org said they preferred our smaller more intimate and more intellectual community.
TWC had one final major asset, if a slightly illegal one… in late 2003, BBC and Lion television aired the first series of a show called Time Commanders, which, through the use of the Total War engine, allowed ordinary people to test their might and ability against the ancient generals of old, and re-fight the great battles in history (usually disastrously) It came out before RTW was released, and it was the RTW engine that was to be used. Fans were delighted… but their delight was shortlived when it became apparent that the show was not going to be shown anywhere but on BBC. Screams of anguish could be heard from New York to Los Angeles, and from Toronto to Miami… Until a couple of TWC members announced that they had recorded the show, edited the best bits, put it to music, and asked if they would be able to upload it here? We obliged, and announced on the Org, among other sites, that we had exclusive access to videos of Time Commanders and would people be interested? We eventually went from uploading short clips of the show set to music from gladiator, to uploading the entire show… at one point I had something like 8 episodes of varying length on my hard drive and uploaded to the server. The restriction? You had to be a member to download! Our membership went through the roof, and I like to think a fair few people stayed around to post instead of just downloading…
That reminds me of another point actually… In those days, I had full and total access to the server, could upload files, etc etc, as well as total access to the ACP… as did all the other Trium. A far cry from the abilities and access granted to our current administrators.
Also during this time, morble was writing his excellent strategy guides for the various factions… since each faction had its own pinned thread, the Strategy and Tactics Forum was getting a little overcrowded, so after discussion with morble, I took all the articles down, and republished them on a subsidiary site on freewebs, known as the Total War Library. They lasted there for maybe a month, until I started to fill the site up. Conveniently at the same time I was approached by Magpie, the Czech head of a site called Strategy Informer. He was trying to raise the profile of his new gaming site, and wanted to know if i would like to be hosted – for free! With massive bandwidth and space! I obviously said yes. Don’t go looking for the site though. Strategy Informer still exists, it’s a fairly big gaming network, has the occasional exclusive, and does some good reviews on games… but as their site expanded, the sites downloads (patches, demos etc) took up more and more space, and Magpie was eventually forced to decide to close down most of the small fansites he’d been hosting. As by this point I’d left TWC’s staff, I did no more with any of the articles that had been written for, and submitted to, the Library. Siblesz eventually asked if he could use some of them, and most ended up back on TWC. I’ve resubmitted the rest of them here, and they are all available in the Scriptorum.
Yes, I’m dragging this chapter out… it was my intention to finish with the start of the civil War, and dedicate the next chapter to the Civil War. But a part of me doesn’t want to write about it, I don’t want to enflame old wounds, especially as my account of what happened will definitely disagree with what Sibs has always maintained as the official account, and in this particular case, I know I’m the one with the true story, though Sibs has always refused to admit it. His actions during this time are also rather similar to those of Spartan the Dictator, a reference that is unfortunately unavoidable. It is, for all parties involved, a Dark Chapter in TWC’s history, and all those involved made many mistakes.
Ahh well, here goes… First of all, its necessary to say that in April 2003, when we moved from Gamercastle, it was Siblesz who bought server space for TWC, and it was that server used for legiontotalwar. Given that the events of the Civil War happened in February 04, and the server had been bought for a year, we should never have jumped to the conclusion we did. Its also necessary to say, that despite sib paying the money, the server was in Pauls name. I don’t know the exact mechanism here, since I wasn’t a staff member at the time. Finally, it needs to be said that we were all aware that our time on the server had been running out, and that with the increasing size of the site, and our plans for the future, buying a new server would be costly. To this end, Paul had been in contact with some friends now at a gaming group known as Revolution Gaming with a mind to hosting TWC when the server ran out – in april.
Where to end this chapter…? Well, in February of 2004, the server went down, TWC could not be accessed, we could not log on to the server, and we could not get hold of Paul. Neither me nor Sibs knew what was happening, but for us, it was the end of the world.
Forum: Total War
I had to think long and hard about writing this chapter. You may have noticed the gap in writing, only partly caused by recent curial events and the pressures of real life. Part of me strongly wants to write this, to set out the true account of what happened, from the perspective of someone sitting in my chair, without having it deleted. And it needs to be written for the rest of the story to continue. Another part of me didn’t particularly want to drag this issue up yet again. Both me and sibs had thought that everyone had had enough of it. However, since it all came boiling up in the curia anyway, and since it wasn’t me that caused all that, I may as well go ahead and lay out the true account.
I don’t particularly expect people to believe it. I don’t really care to be honest. If you choose to believe lies, simply because they are told by Siblesz, or by Boris, or by any other member, that’s down to you, it’s your prerogative. I know that what I’m about to say is true, and that’s all that matters. Like Sib cannot say with any knowledge what happened in the UK the 3 days the server were down, I can’t say with any real knowledge what he was doing, what Frood, or Boris or any of the others were doing. But what I saw happen, those days, is recounted herein.
The server going down caused a certain amount of distress to all people involved, TWC back then was as addictive as it is today, even if possessed with fewer members. Siblesz and me did however leap to a mistaken conclusion. For reasons that escape me today, we both laboured under the conclusion that the server had gone down for good. Siblesz spent his time trying to get hold of the hosts, and get hold of Paul, at the same time, he put me in touch with a gentlemen known only as Nox, who was the head of Revolution Gaming. This was the site we had been planning to move TWC too when the year long server Sibs had bought had run out. We now stepped up our efforts to finalise this move, and Nox set us up a domain and a forum with me. He then gave me admin status there, and I started rebuilding the forums as best I could.
And this is where problems begin to start. I was working on the basis that everything we’d had, we’d lost, and we’d have to start over fresh. If we could eventually recover something from the old server, brilliant, if not, oh well. Sibs seemed to be working under the belief that the old server could be salvaged, and that we’d be able to transfer the forum database to the new one, and therefore nothing much would be lost.
As I was rebuilding, I took the liberty of renaming elements of the site into a more roman theme, and I gave the forum url out to sibs, and to Trobalov so they could see what was going on, and help. Trob signed up, and I made him an admin as well. I also gave it to Boris and to Nick, as I needed their help with the Latin names fro member groups, and for fora.
What caused the civil war? Communications… pure and simply a total breakdown of communications and misinterpretations of what everyone was doing. For example, the admin group was given, instead of the name Triumvirate, the name Imperator. Boris and nick, and sib all seemed to take this as a sign of me seizing power. Yet Trobalov also had this title, as would sib if he ever signed up. I believe that most of the comments about me being autocratic stem from here, despite it being the total opposite of my nature, and what I was doing. I’m supposed to have made unilateral decisions about the site, and yet everything I did was with the discussion, and agreement of Trobalov. It would have been Siblesz too, but he never signed up to the site until later.
I don’t deny I made mistakes, and the biggest, was not including a Curia in the original site layout. It was my intention for us to add one later, and my reason for doing so, was this. I didn’t expect to recover the database, I expected us to start out with a small core of members, non of whom could be Civitates, because non of them would meet the requirements to be Civitates. A fresh start and all that. The original Syntagma required quoracy. It stated that (and you can look it up!)
All votes will be ratified by a 25 vote count unless otherwise deemed by the Triumvirate
Now sure, the Trium can waive quoracy, but given that we’d have no Civitates either… I just didn’t see how the curia could be made to work without the member base that we’d had on TWC which is why I’d left it out to be begin with. P
Personally, I have no idea why I didn’t see what was going to arise from that decision, it was incredibly stupid of me not to predict it, but I was kinda wrapped up with the present and not really thinking ahead. Boris, and Nick, and Siblesz, to put it mildly, objected. Quite strenuously as it happened. Siblesz seemed assured that we could recover the database, and in such circumstances, yes indeed, the Curia would have been an appropriate and necessary feature of the board. But I didn’t expect that to happen, and so the whole thing descended into flaming rows over MSN…
And this is the part that, looking back, really annoys me. Other staff members were brought into it, notably Frood, and were told that I was trying to take over the site, and also trying to get rid of Sibs, since he didn’t have admin status on the new boards, and if they wanted proof, just look at my title. As I’ve already mentioned I wasn’t the only Imperator, Trobalov had equal power, and Siblesz wasn’t an admin because he’d only just signed up to the board, and neither me nor Trobolov had been online to promote him. However none of that apparently matters, nor indeed the fact that according to Boris I’m a rule obsessed bureaucrat which is far more in line with my character than being an arbitrary autocratic dictator ever would be.
So to move on the fateful third evening. At some point, and I’m not sure when, TWC actually reappeared as if nothing had happened, but that didn’t prevent the hot arguments and debates on MSN from continuing. As is not uncommon, that afternoon I’d had my best friend round, and we’d been messin’ around and talking and stuff. We’d been on my playstation and at some point we went online to look something up, I can’t remember what, and just to see, I clicked on TWC, and there it was. Just to make doubly sure I logged onto the server to see if everything was still there, and it all seemed ok as far as I could tell… MSN however, signed me in automatically, so while Kieran finished off whatever level we were doing, I got dragged into another round of arguments.
I’ve known Kieran, even then, for a good number of years, and we’d always got on really well, we have a lot in common. One of the things I’ve liked about him is he’s incredibly loyal to his friends. He’s the kind of person you’d jump in front of you if someone took a swing at you with a knife, or catch a bullet for you, without thinking about the consequences for himself. He’s also hot-headed though, and does tend to jump into things without thinking. When I was much much younger I’d used to get bullied a bit around school, and that all stepped after I’d hooked up with him, and he’s also the one who got me into martial arts, and from there into fencing. My point, with all this, is that Kieran, when he came over to see what I was doing online still, saw that I was upset, and angry, and wanted to know why. He stood behind me reading over my shoulder, and it didn’t exactly taken him long to figure it out. His reaction, he told me later, was to screw the people who were screwing his mate. He definitely didn’t think this one through, since I’d be just as upset as Siblesz or anyone else if the forums got deleted, but he picked up the notebook I’d used earlier to log into the server. I never even noticed he’d done it till much later, but not long after he headed off, and not that it matters, but I assumed he’d gone home.
In actual fact, he went round to another friend of ours, a younger lad named Ricky, who also happened to be a computer whiz. I don’t really know how, but Kieran persuaded Ricky to log on to the server using the details he’d got, and then, to delete it. Which he did. As it happens, Sib had made a backup since the server came back up, and was able to restore the site in short order. He did however, blame me for deleting it, and when I logged on the next day, it was to find I’d been removed from admin. And this is where it gets nasty, sibs and Boris removed me, and then tried to say that all the staff had done it unanimously, because I’d deleted the site.
Both points I was able to disprove, especially after I talked to Kieran and Ricky and actually found out what had happened. However, every time I tried to post what had happened, it got deleted by Sibs, or more usually Boris. Whole threads got removed. As you can see from the archives, a vote was eventually held on whether I should be an admin, but the vote was held on the strength of Siblesz’s story, without me ever being given a chance to tell the truth about what happened, and with Sib and Boris still saying all the staff supported them, a fact I know to be a lie. Trobalov refrained from taking any part in such debates. He didn’t know one way or another whether I had deleted the site. Mehmed II and morble however, didn’t even know what had gone on and weren’t involved at all. I later got PMs from morble asking me to tell him my side of events. It wasn’t just my posts that got deleted though. When I explained what he’d done, Ricky was very sorry for it, and signed up on the forum to post an apology (which got deleted too, several times). He also sent emails to the senior staff explaining what had happened, but I think was ignored by all but Nick, who had the good manners to reply.
By this point I was totally fed up with the lies and ******** being spread around by Sib and Boris to entrench their version of events as the truth of what had happened and to shore up Boris position as an admin, given that he’d resigned a while back. My activity on the boards went sharply down for several weeks, as I went into a self imposed exile away from the idiocy that was rocking the Curia.
To conclude this chapter, it was later learned that the server had been taken down for maintenance by our hosts, and that we had been informed, but the email notifying us had been sent to Paul, and he hadn’t got round to passing it on to us.
Many of you will no doubt disagree with this account of events, and its by no means the best written chapter in this chronicle. It is however, the truth of what happened. Whatever Sib might maintain, whatever Boris might say, I did not delete TWC. I love this place, am addicted to this place as much, if not more than the next person, because I gave so much to this site, and put so much into it. Not everyone likes what has been written here so far, but while its not my intent to hurt or offend anyone, it is my intent to tell the truth of what happened, and sometimes the truth hurts.
Exile of Longing
Darkness was everywhere, cold and black... stars wheeled overhead, lost alone i drifted out of forum and community. ok, so i'm not above plagiarism now and again... its the art of a good scholar so David Eddings tells us lol.
Given recent events eventulated above, is it not suprising that i left our beloved home for a time? i fought my case as hard as i could, but the lies presented by Siblesz and Boris were strong. A lie can run around the world twice before the truth can gets its boots on, (yes, more plagiarism!) and TWC certainly proved the veracity of that statement. So for a time i strayed from our forums, and went to a place i was known... In those times i was fairly active on the Org, and also in the official sites modding community, though from my post count on both sites you wouldn't know it now.
For some reason, no other site has ever gripped me quite the wat TWC has. maybe its because TWC was the first, maybe its because of all i gave the community, all i put into TWC, but i've been a member of several forums since i joined TWC... the Org, heavengames, LOTR Plaza, Total Rome and a fair few others and there has never been another site that i've encountered thats at all like TWC, comparable to TWC or as captivating as TWC. yes indeed, TWCrack does in fact exist!
On my time at the Org, i found a rather interesting fact. Events at TWc had spread around the community. I suppose the number of members with shared membership helped along this... but the general attitude of Org members was one of great amusement at the antics of Siblesz and Boris... people i spoke to there didn't seem to hold Siblesz in much regard, and found the fact that he'd got rid of me rather amusing. after a few weeks of moping around on the Org, i was approached by an Org Staff Member known as Gregoshi. He wanted to know that, since my talents and skills were no longer wanted or required by TWC, would i be interested in working for another site? I originally thought he was offering me a job at the Org, but this was not the case. An org member known as Ashen was looking for decent experienced administrators to help him run a new website he was setting up to rival totalwar.net. Ashen knew all about the alleged incident on TWC, but didn't really care, not beleving much, if any of the propoganda sib and boris were putting about. He was quite happy to take me on as Forum Administrator of Total Rome, a position similar to the one i held on TWC, with the exception that i was the sole forum admin, with full admin privilidges over the forum answering to 1 site admin, who ran the website.
my time on total rome isn't over, i still work there, now as Head Moderator, a domotion i expected due to my own inactivity, and the fact that staffing restructures havn't really changed my position all that much. but total rome is really another story, its a site much like TWC used to be, a small very cosy and intimate little community with, like TWC, grand ideas. Maybe one day TR will get the special boost neede3d to throw it into the community spotlight, much like the Time Commander vidoes did for TWC.
My time in self imposed exile is a time i have difficulty recalling. I have always said the internet is in darkness - TWC is the light, and i had chosen to walkaway from the light. It was a hard choice to make, though easier than it would be today. the magnetism of TWC was not quite as strong back then as it is now, but it was hard nontheless. I can't recall how much time i spent away. i recall deleting TWC from my links... i remember constantly saying to myself, Total Rome is the new TWC, and for a time it was...
Stars wheeled overhead, and i drifted alone in the darkness, the silence was overpowering... i saw a bright light ahead of me, and felt a sudden stabbing cold. There was life in me once more. I had been sent back. My task was not yet complete
Part VII - The Return of the Prince
Light was everywhere, a blinding whiteness surrounding me. I gasped and shivered. I felt life in me once more. I had been sent back. My task was not yet complete...
To be honest, my return probably passed unnoticed by many but for me heralded a new era, even if that era was unheralded by a fanfare of silver trumpets and a troop of the horseguards.
I returned a noble Senatorii, and in those days, there weren't that many of us. These were the heady days, the last great days of the golden age of TWC, when Siblesz, Boris Pavlov Grozny and GodEmperor Nicholas formed the 4th Triumviate. These were days of great debates, the height of the Symposium, where Philosophy, the Arts, and Science were the highlights of discussion, not mere backlights to Politics. Only the History forum really retains the level of quality found under the rule of the Republic of TWC.
Given the reasons for my fall from power, and the slight hypocracy of Boris, of all people accusing me of being autocratic, and linking with this my growing interest in Law, and the application of Law. i felt it time for TWC to have a dose of the Rule of Law. I also felt, very strongly, that since our beloved Trium had seen fit to install these laws for the site, it was just fair and reasonable to uphold them, not to mention hypocritical not too.
As such, and not unsurprisngly given my nature, despite being originally apprehensive about the Syntagma - for exactly the reasons that Boris refused to see the staff bound by it - i became a staunch Curialist. I chose to dedicate my time in TWC politics to seeing the Syntagma upheld and enforced equally and fairly to all civitates, which do of course, include all staff.
As a curialist, i'm very much in favour of power to the civates. Now i'm by no means stupid. The Civitates cannot run the site collectively. That would never work. But we CAN elect (with tenure) the people who run the site. We don't want to see term limits where the staff have to focus on pleasing the people, but we can elect people to staff ranks based on what we know of them and their previous experience in staff (for higher ranks). We CAN set limits within the Syntagma for the exercise of staff power, and it IS entirely possible to run this site within the bounds of even the old syntagma without the new arbitrary power our Imperator assigned himself.
From my perspective, and i assure you there are many others, the current staff will not accept the ethos of the TWC Republic, a site and community where the community itself actually has a say in how the site is run, and who runs it.
I began this crusade for the Curia pretty much as soon i returned, and i would hope that if my record shows nothing else, it will show that i have been a staunch defender of the Curia and the Syntagma. I strongly believe in the ability for TWC to be different, to be special, to be unique on the web, and to return to the golden age of the Republic, and surpass it. I believe in a community governed not by the arbitrary whims of an Imperator, but governed by the Rule of Law contained within a document drafted by and approved by the Citizens of the Forum, and enforced by their elected representatives in the Staff Team and the CdeC. A forum run by the community, for the community, where the people in power are always leading community members, not faceless administrators who rule by degree but never bother to intergrate or participate in the community.
Thankfully i am not alone in this task. Nor was i ever. In the early days when i first returned, there was already growing opposition to the blatent disregard to the syntagma often exercised by members of the newly created Hexagon Council. I had support from numerous sources and most notable among them were the Praetor Trobalov and the Quaestor Lord Tomyris.
I have always thought it slightly suspicious that overtime, the pro-curial members of staff dissapeared to be replaced by staunch supporters of the staff. Staunch believers in what would eventually result in the Imperialist faction, dare i say the Imperialist party?
Tomyris, before my return had founded the Civitates Opposition Party, a group of like minded civitates who, at the least, sought to return TWC to the true aims and virtues of the Syntagma, as declaimed by Boris, and now ignored by him. Certain more extreme members did indeed seek to overthrow the staff entirely, this though was never my aim. i merely sought for the rules and laws laid down by Boris to be enforced and applied to all, a goal we are even more in need of seeing completed.
Tomyris approached me and asked me to be a member of this group, and i accepted. As the most vocal proponent of Curia and civitates right, the Lord Tomyris granted me the title Speaker of the Curia, a title i held for about 2 years i think before passing it on due to my own lack activity in the Curia. Tomyris at a later date also granted me the title Leader of the Opposition, a title aping of course the title used by the Leader of the Opposition Party in British Politics. With the decline of the party, and many of its members passing on, the use of this title did of course decline to, but i should hope its obvious that my efforts in defending the Syntagma and the Curia have never, ever dwindled, except where time constraints have prevented me doing as much as i would like.
For a fair amount of time, TWC slumbered. People were promoted, and retired, the Civitates community grew, and so did the reputation of TWC in the wider TW Community and all was well and happy. A time of peaceful plenty that many look back on and refer to as the Halcyon Days of TWC, and rightly so.
Alas, it was not to last. A great wound festered deep in the heart of the republic, and soon it would split and spread its vile poisons throughout every branch of our sacred and beloved community.
To Be Continued...