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2003-05-18, 07:04
This is another site that opened up recently. I read it was founded by unitethecows.com members after that site became absorbed into pctechtalk.com.

They're using the freeware program phpBB (http://www.phpbb.com/) to run the forum. Another freeware program for running bulletin boards is Invision Power Board (http://www.invisionboard.com/).

I think phpBB is pretty popular though. I see support for it on the control panel of one of my websites in fact.

There are many sites out there that specialize in things like p2p. Is p2p (peer to peer) the equivalent of "post Napster" or "neo Napster"? Lately I've been seeing so much of the word that I've been getting sick of it. I must have overdosed on it by going to too many different sites. Though I'm glad to see that there is too much of it. I recall after Napster got shut down two years ago, wondering if that was the end of the file sharing. The RIAA would have had us believe that anyways, in their exuberance.

When did the "p2p" word start getting popular? I don't recall hearing about it until after the demise of Napster.

Specialization has its bad points though because it limits one to a narrow range of interests. All knowledge and subjects are tied together and one topic could easily drift into another. I feel that when people specialize they are becoming too inflexible. One must be nimble and resourceful. On the other hand, having general knowledge of things without the specific details is not helpful either. One must be able to examine the details in order to come up with the solutions to problems.

I feel that sites which have similar themes, such as p2p sites, are competing with each other in a friendly or not-so-friendly way, depending on the personalities of the managers. Each one wants to have the breaking news and be a p2p portal. Ideally a site's managers should check out other sites for new ideas and perspectives rather than being insular and remaining stuck in their own forums. But perhaps they don't have the time for such things. Another thing is pride. Some managers don't want to give any credibility to other sites. And then you get the sites which have forum managers who have little interest in the subjects, but are just there to pay the bills.

The nature of people is to always fight and to have an enemy. I see this even in the "p2p community". The only thing that will unite people together is if there is a common enemy. So in other words, peace can only occur if war is declared on a larger enemy. The obvious targets would be the RIAA and MPAA as a rallying cry for the p2p sites. But they are no longer seen as threatening as they used to be, so they don't have the strong effect of uniting us.

We need the RIAA as a populace needs disease. The weaker elements amongst us will be eliminated or scared away. What would be great now for the RIAA to do, would be if they can forge an alliance with the government so that p2p folks are labeled as terrorists and enemy combatants and held for months without access to a lawyer or without being charged. Such outrageous drama and fear will then cause us to unite again as a p2p community.

2003-05-18, 18:42
It really isn't so far off. For one the Bush administration has filed on behalf of the RIAA in the Verizon case. This is the article:

Another indicator was a year ago, when the FBI listed their top ten priorities. From here (http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/fbi_restructure020529.html) they are:
1. Protect the United States from terrorist attack.
2. Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage.
3. Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes.
4. Combat public corruption at all levels.
5. Protect civil rights.
6. Combat transnational and national criminal organizations and enterprises.
7. Combat major white-collar crime.
8. Combat significant violent crime.
9. Support federal, state, local and international partners.
10. Upgrade technology to successfully perform the FBI's mission.

p2p could fall into the category of "high-technology crimes".

2003-05-24, 00:55

Mergers even in the world of p2p? I thought that was a corporate tendency.

I can't appreciate a site like zeropaid.com because it is too big for me to read every post.

2003-06-11, 09:58
I've noticed when something new comes out in the p2p world, there is a bit of competiveness amongst different sites to have the first coverage and review of it. After all, being on top of the news is a sign of one's vigor and makes one a serious player in the community, right?

The problem with it though is that there is a type of irrational exuberance, like the dot-com frenzy, when something new comes out. Every new application has the promise of being the next big network, and folks can't resist the lure of being among the first to discover it.

I wouldn't want it any other way though. These folks who get enthused about new software serve a purpose, in that they are willing testers. I just sit back and watch when a new program comes out, and let them set their computers on fire as unknown bugs are discovered.

2003-06-24, 17:21
Napjunk is a good forum, but it is having temporary problems of funding. It will be offline until the webhosting bill of $90 is paid. Read this thread there for the details.

I gave $20 myself a couple of months ago, but apparently that's not enough. I am surprised that a forum with hundreds of members is not able to come up with $100 to donate.

2003-07-10, 11:11
It seems that unitethecows.com (http://www.unitethecows.com/) is going to try to make a come back. You can read about it here:
P2P Forums (http://www.p2pforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=542)
PCTechTalk (http://www.pctechtalk.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=12884)

I've seen it happen before, where members invest their time and effort in a forum, only to have its owners have a change of heart and shut it down. Starting a forum involves a commitment to the members in it. A forum which shuts down due to the whims of the owner doesn't deserve a second chance. Sure, they'll tell you that the place can be resurrected like the mythological phoenix. But in reality, one can't just burn down one's house and expect to have it rebuilt. Why should members work so hard to rebuild a place that the owner burned down?

People have trouble resisting the lure of being part of any big community. That's why when the owner burns down the joint and says it's time to rebuild, they go along with it because they don't want to miss out on the action. Also, because they are homeless, they are desparate to help rebuild. Most people are at the mercy of the whims of the forum owners, because they do not have the ability to create their own forums.

2003-07-11, 09:35
UTC used to be a definable place that many got attached to. I never liked their attitude but appreciated the community they built up. Once they became subforums elsewhere their uniqueness and flavour died.

2003-07-22, 11:05
Whenever a site is down I think of the possibility that it is not just a server problem, but it is being attacked by the RIAA. Well I noticed that both Slyck (http://www.slyck.com/forums/) and P2P Forums (http://www.p2pforums.com/index.php) are loading very slowly. I wonder if they are being attacked by the RIAA. They both use the open source forum software phpBB (http://www.phpbb.com/). How secure or stable is that software? I recall reading in the phpBB forum (http://www.phpbb.com/phpBB/) of many bugs. I was going to look more into it, but their site is down as well. Perhaps the RIAA is able to exploit something or other in it.

The p2p movement and the open source movement have many similar goals and ideas. So when a p2p forum uses the phpBB program, it's a statement of affirmation of open source software. I think though that most forum owners would prefer having their forums run by vBulletin.

You would think that the $160 license would not be a problem in a forum with hundreds of members, but I am now skeptical of how generous and dedicated all those members really are. I recall seeing the owner of Napjunk (http://www.napjunk.net/forums/) trying to get funds for the forum, and out of the 400 members, he was only able to collect about $55.

There are those who go to other boards to contribute, and there are those who have all the airs of contributing to another board, but actually spend most of their time trying to recruit people to their own message boards when they go to others. It would be like me going to another message board and posting whenever a relevant subject came up, "Hi, we have a great thread going on at another board called The Inferno which is discussing the subject. Here is the link:". Usually that type of person, who is so prolific when it comes to making plugins for one's forum when the subject comes up, is absent when the forum owner solicits funds for the bulletin board. A site ought to start soliciting funds from its members, not for the need of money, but just so that the rats and board spammers will flee the ship, thinking that it is sinking.

2006-03-29, 01:47
After reading this thread again three years later I realize that some things that I worried about previously are not a problem. The notion that the RIAA would try to to shut down a forum with a benevolent stance towards filesharing now seems far fetched. But I do believe that they would like to win the propaganda war against filesharing. That is because by doing so, they will continue to have the U. S. Congress on their side with favorable legislation, and will also have the sympathy of the participants of the court system. I suspect that there are RIAA agents and lobbyists working on the popular filesharing sites, where their propaganda will be most influential. I recall that there was a character with a username of Hank Liddell (http://www.3-3-3.org/forum/showthread.php?t=149) who used to post in the Napster forum in 2001, that apparently was a propagandist for the RIAA. The forum user account seemed to have been used by several people throughout the day, displaying varying personalities.

On filesharing forums there are some people who post with varying agendas. Usually they are trying to promote or spam a site. Amongst them can be found RIAA propagandists or those who think that filesharing is theft. One forum user account that comes to my mind is the Slyck (http://www.slyck.com/forums/) moderator and news writer SlyckNick (http://www.slyck.com/forums/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=7092), who regarding the issue of the RIAA lawsuits, has shown such hostility towards Ray Beckerman (http://www.3-3-3.org/forum/showthread.php?t=963), along with his suggestion that people are best off settling their lawsuits with the RIAA, that I regard him as an RIAA propagandist. If the RIAA were to plant a propagandist as a news writer for Slyck, that would be pretty effective, due to the high traffic of Slyck. Also Slyck is assumed to have a benevolent stance towards filesharing, so any anti-filesharing comments made by a staff member would be disarming and would be more convincing to the rest of the filesharing community.

I do not fault Slyck for having an RIAA propagandist as a news writer, but instead I believe the cause of it is from the administrator SlyckTom willingly offering the position of news writer to anyone who has a coherent writing ability. But that is a good thing because Slyck has little clique, and I wouldn't want them to change that. It also allows for them to tap the resource of their membership and encourages people to want to join the Slyck team. I think Slyck is the best filesharing forum. It is their tolerant attitude that makes them so good, their original news, and the prevalence of intelligent members.

Because we can not see people on forums, we can not read their body language or easily tell that they are full of shit. Some forums contain a high amount of gullible people who give little scrutiny to the veracity of the members there. Such forums will be attractive to people who adopt personas online which are false. On those sites they will receive sympathy and attention which satisfies their emotional or psychological needs. Some pretend to be female in order to get more attention on forums. I am skeptical and cynical and I have a good sense of what people are really about. That has often put me in the unpopular role of being the one who goes against the grain by casting doubt on esteemed members of the community.

My first encounter in internet socializing was in chat. But when I found forums, at the Napster forum, I found a place where I really enjoyed. You can see the most recent archived version of the Napster forum before it was shut down, at archive.org, from an archived page dated 2001-05-16 here (http://web.archive.org/web/20010516002219/http://forum.napster.com/). I disliked chat due to its instantaneous nature and the fact that nothing was permanent. Forums to me were a place where socializing could occur and every post could be a thoughtful work of art. Also forums allow for the exchange of ideas, which has made the community at Slyck so powerful. Some people don't see it that way and see forums as just another form of chat that occurs in slow motion, with little regard to even proofreading their words or giving them much thought.

What has grown popular in the last few years is the blog. I wonder if the increasing popularity of the blog has led to a decreasing popularity of forums. I think blogs have encouraged people to write something serious, coherent, and worthwhile. It may be that people consider forums to be less worthwhile than blogs, as they consider chat to be less worthwhile than forums. I myself don't buy into that line of thinking for a number of reasons. For one on this particular site here, I don't have to worry about my words disappearing into thin air due to the whims of a site owner, because I am the site owner. And I was able to set up this site the way I like it, so I feel no need to go to blogging on another site. But I also post worthwhile material on other forums as well. I understand that people like to have blogs because they would like to have a private place where they can put their worthwhile thoughts without having them lost amongst the posts of other idiots. I believe in the goodness of what is public and respecting what is public, as I believe it is wrong to litter in public, and so I think that public forums can be a great thing and ought to be respected. I worry a little about the antisocial effect that blogs have, where people go into their own cellular cublicles and ramble to themselves. However I still feel that blogging, or any online activity, is an improvement in society over the passivity of T. V. watching. Society has become more literate and interactive in the last ten years thanks to the internet.

Since this thread was replied to last in July of 2003, there have been new developments regarding filesharing forums. There have been more forums created, and some of them have grown pretty big. First of all to deal with the original thread subject, P2P Forums (http://www.p2pforums.com/index.php) has now split its original news from the rest of its forum, so that original news is now posted at P2P Core (http://www.p2pcore.com/). P2P Forums was at one time pretty close to Slyck in the quantity of original filesharing news stories they came up with. But unfortunately they never made a separation on their site between their original filesharing news and the rehashed news, so all their news articles were mixed together in the site's news section. What they should have done was to create a separate news subforum for their original news, as Slyck has done, rather than having it on a separate website. I think that their fix by creating a separate site for original news, has made them worse off by creating a split that does not allow them to efficiently use the resources of their forum and the exchange of ideas, which Slyck uses well. Although P2P Forums now has about 49,000 users, it has become less active than in the past, and many of those users don't post. They have a high amount of users, because they have integrated into their site special subforums for various filesharing clients; with support currently for BitComet, BitBuddy, and Piolet. It appears that the cause of the slow down there is that the original news writing slowed down, and the site never had the quality of members that Slyck did. But no one can compare to SlyckTom when it comes to writing such a large quantity of original filesharing news stories. Though for quality his filesharing news stories are not always the best, the ensuing discussion in the forum usually redeems the worthiness of his threads. Still I find P2P Forums a very worthwhile place, and I enjoy the fact that topics there are more diverse and are not just about filesharing. What Slyck and P2P Forums have both shown, is that even large forums with many users are still very dependent or affected by a small handful of users. That shows the fragility of forums, but should also provide encouragement and inspiration to those who might otherwise feel that their voice and participation in a forum which has thousands of members, would have no impact on the site and that they are not valuable members.

In P2P Forums I always found that the best news writers there were Drake51 and tm. They still continue to post there and contribute after the other administators JiMiThInG and ToM have gone on to do other things. The site is run by site owner Scythe. I suspect that JiMiThInG and ToM have more prestige and regard in most of the filesharing community than Drake51 and tm do, simply because they have administrator status at P2P Forums. So when they speak many will find that their words have more weight and they will pay attention more to what they say. As humble servants to their forum, I have greater admiration for the way Drake51 and tm have conducted their affairs there. I also like how they refrained from reposting their own original news articles on other sites, which JiMiThInG and ToM tended to do a bit too much.

One thing I wondered about the staffing of P2P Forums, was the choice by Scythe as to who was made administrator and who was made moderator. It seems that site owners will give their friends the status of administrator even if it is not necessary. I can understand why they do it, because it comes from a tendency to want to give your friends an equal status and share with them. But having so many administrators just opens up more security vulnerabilities, with more accounts that can be hijacked. It also creates the false impression to others that they have a smooth sailing ship, and creates confusion for the users when a site with so many administrators fails to update the bulletin board software for months or years, and when the ship doesn't sail so smoothly. The solution would be for a change of attitude to occur, and for people to be able to be friends with others and get something out of a forum regardless of their rank and power. One should be wary of a person who is power hungry and who wants to become a moderator or administrator after participating in a forum. And one should be wary of people who think that they are worthless on forums unless they are "promoted" to staff. The tendency to give greater weight and prestige to the words and ideas of people because they have a certain rank at another site, should also be avoided.

There is a freedom that one gets when one is not a staff member of a forum, that frees one from having to behave professionally on that forum. So joining the staff of a forum is not necessarily beneficial or pleasant.

How much should site owners participate in other sites? Many site owners claim to support the notion of participation in other forums. That notion would be beneficial for them if people from other sites were to participate in their forums. But I think they really don't want their members going elsewhere, and that is why they put in so many features in their forums, such as games.

It's not such a bad idea to try to attract and retain members, because people in forums are fickle and forums have inertia, as people are creatures of habits which easily change. There are many sites out there that are great, but nonetheless I can't be bothered to click on their links or type in their addresses due to my laziness. If a site has a lull then the inertia could make it slow down even more, as people don't bother to check in on a site as much when it is slow. I believe that a site such as Slyck actively tries to retain interest by frequently coming up with new news stories. If there is not much going on, the prolific writer SlyckTom will still come up with something, that a person on another forum would not bother to write or would not consider newsworthy.

I too try to make this site here worthwhile, with the hopes that there is something attractive in the site that would draw people back. Yet the seductive presence of more members and more posts on a site is a mixed blessing. I would rather have one good post per month and nothing else, then fifty crap posts a day made here. I have gambled that quality is a better thing and what makes this site valuable, is the occasional quality post that it produces. I also try to focus on the news that impacts filesharing and the bigger movement it represents, which is the emancipation of mankind from the slavery of intellectual property. So while Slyck may cover the daily bread and circuses with topics like iTunes selling its billionth copy or the MPAA busting DVD pirates, I have tried to focus on what I think is really relevant to filesharing, such as lately with the subject of the GPL revision. My notion of filesharing is more traditional, with people sharing mp3s and the RIAA trying to stop them. So news stories regarding iTunes or DVD street pirates are outside the scope of what I think filesharing is about, though they are related. I don't pay much attention to the BitTorrent protocol either, as that is not real filesharing to me. And I also see filesharing as a great cultural and social movement, so I dismiss the economic reasons people may give for filesharing, such as: "CDs are too expensive". I believe that keeping filesharing uncorrupted, along with the emancipation from the slavery of "intellectual property", is a great struggle, which is why I use the term "p2p jihad".

There are some forums which no longer produce anything worthwhile but are just reposting old material. Yet the admins and site owners are probably reluctant to let go and move on. They instead may be tempted to give themselves a heroic rebirth or resort to unethical practices, such as the cloning or revival of inactive members or the use of a Launch Team (http://www.theadminzone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1844) to stimulate the activity and inertia.

Many site owners have given the impression that they are diplomatic and that they have no dirty laundry. If they have grievances then they settle them through PMs or private communications, so as to maintain the appearance of peace and no publically seen dirty laundry or bad feelings. I think that settling things by way of PM or starting another thread is good if it is to avoid hijacking a thread. But it should not be encouraged as a policy to hide the dirty laundry and grievances of forum members. When it comes to the staff reprimanding members, that should be done publically if possible and if it doesn't create undue attention. Forums should have a public display of their both their banned members and staff, included with their display of the special usergroups / forum leaders / moderating team. If a member is to be banned or restricted then it should be publically available knowledge. Otherwise you would have the equivalent of secret detentions with an unknown amount of prisoners being held in undisclosed locations, as the Americans have done throughout the World.

I believe that peace within the filesharing community (http://www.3-3-3.org/forum/showthread.php?t=836) is a bad thing if it comes at the cost of people withholding criticism (http://www.3-3-3.org/forum/showthread.php?t=259) of their peers. It is the same issue that causes people to make their friends administrators. The issue is that people do not do what is best because they feel bound by friendship. For example, people are reluctant to criticize the site owner of Zeropaid (http://www.zeropaid.com/bbs/) Chris Hedgecock, even though he has a conflict of interest by having worked for a company that promotes DRM. That issue was forgotten until ES5 (http://www.3-3-3.org/forum/showthread.php?t=89) came around and stirred up much drama. ES5 was a scam but a lot of their criticism of filesharing sites had a basis, though it was exaggerated by them. ES5 became the thing that caused most filesharing sites to join together, and fight against. They became the new common enemy that the RIAA was.

It is admirable for the filesharing community to be united and supportive, but not when it leads to groupthink. In September 2004, Unite from P2P File Sharing Forum / Unite The Cows (http://www.unitethecows.com/forums/) posted in a thread attacking the owners of Zeropaid upon their reaching of 200,000 members, for their corruption and their inflated user numbers which gave them more advertising revenue. He was right in some of what he said but people emotionally reacted against everything that he said, much the same way as they did when opposing the criticism coming from ES5. When Unite posted that thread, I wondered if it being around the anniversary of 9/11, he was anxious and that caused him to get stressed up over the Zeropaid milestone. I supported and agreed partially with his message, but then only a few days later the thread disappeared from the site and many people were banned, along with censorship becoming pretty heavy there. That then caused me to lose respect for him and the site. The thread disappeared because he may have changed his mind, or he realized that it made him unpopular. So he did what is common, which is hide his dirty laundry from public view by making the thread disappear. You can be assured that the grudges and bad feelings still remain even if they are now hidden. I think making them disappear is even worse, because the issues then don't become resolved. So if you really want peace in the filesharing community, then you should all air your grievances publically. And if you have a change of heart or decide that you went overboard in your initial criticism, don't after the fact edit or delete the thread or post you made earlier, but instead you should post a subsequent update saying how you were wrong or how you would like to clarify your viewpoint.

rastaX registered the domain name p2pconsortium.com 2004-09-12, and the site was launched 2004-09-16. Yet rastaX never acknowledges how his forum was born out of strife and dissatisfaction, for he likes to hide his dirty laundry from public view too. P2P Consortium (http://www.p2pconsortium.com/) was created as new a place for disgruntled participants of Unite The Cows to go. I think acknowledging that factor in their history would be good, and by doing so people would be able to appreciate how good things can rise out of bad events.

P2P Consortium has grown and is the newest big filesharing forum on the scene. rastaX has set up his site so as to draw in the participation of other filesharing sites, creating a type of United Nations for filesharing sites. He has created an affiliate and links program, and encourages people to post links to other filesharing sites. Also staff members from other sites get to have affiliate status, which makes them feel special. I don't know if that also gives them access to a private part of the site. On P2P Consortium are interspersed banner advertisements for other affiliate sites, along with revenue generating banner advertisements. That too is a shrewd move, because affiliates will accept advertisements as palatable if occasionally one of the advertisements is promoting their own home site. They have appealed to the selfish tendencies of affiliate members to draw them back and keep them participating in the forum.

A forum which I think is a success story is Beat King (http://www.beatking.com/forums/). It specializes in music discussion, and it contains many of the same members from the filesharing community. The forum has a good community and there is a good attitude from its staff. Beat King is not just about filesharing; it is a community of music lovers.