Monday, June 13, 2016

The Forum Cartel Hangout

Forgive me, blog readers, for first life commitments have caused me to neglect my exploring of late. However, after finishing two huge projects at work, and escaping to the beach for a weekend of steamed blue crabs and Skeeball, I'm ready to get back on the (virtual) road! First stop: the waterside hangout of the Forum Cartel's infamous Pie Throwers.

Tucked away on the south-central coast of Corsica is an open air building (pictured above) designed by the incredibly talented adudenamedanthony. This is the current incarnation of the Forum Cartel Hangout, a longstanding inworld gathering spot for residents who used to frequent the old Second Life forums. According to Marianne McCann, "the regular posters there, many of whom also hung out in a thread ironically titled 'Just ignore and let this die', eventually formed a group, which back then was headed by Chris Norse, Oryx Tempel and Brenda Connolly. The group led to the idea of an inworld hangout, and people started to contribute tier to the group in order to make it happen." 

A lot of history can be found on the deck adjoining the hangout, in a book entitled "A Brief But Inaccurate History of The Forum Cartel." Created for a SL12B exhibit, the book states, "The Forum Cartel was based on the concept of helping the Second Life community, making new friends, and enjoying this world we inhabit."

During our visit there, Ziki and I met up with Forum Cartel member Joaz Janus (pictured on the right side of the bar, below). Joaz commented, "I have barely been in SL for 5 or 6 years, but I was here when this place was built. The SL official forum was very lively back then, and some of the banter had turned to abuse. This place was conceived as somewhere you could meet fellow forumites face to face...and that whatever hostilities took place on the forum....this was a space we would all be civil together. It worked very well." When I mentioned to Joaz that I'd never participated in the forums, but a friend had turned me onto the group for the banter, she replied with a grin, "Yeah this was always the place for banter....wit....swearing....and generally lewd and unquiet behavior."


When I asked about the group tag, "pie thrower", Joaz wasn't quite sure of its origin, so I went digging in the Forum archives. According to Chris Norse, founder of the Forum Cartel group, the tag had a very specific meaning. "On the old forum, before they closed it and herded us over here, many members of the group were known for derailing threads with mention of pies and panties," Chris said in an old post comment. "We held a contest to decide what the group tag would be, and 'Pie Thrower' was the winner." One can still find panties strewn all over the dressing room, located above the hangout, and a free pie is available in a room of freebies behind the pool table.


In addition to the main hangout area, which includes a bar, dance floor, fireplace, and various games, the parcel also contains a bowling alley, an On-The-Roll table game, an inner tube rezzer, motorboat rides, and a bull named Black Bart. The current forums are located here, but I don't get the sense that they foster the kind of tight-knit community that the old forums did. Maureen Boccaccio, one of the current owners, commented, "We like to host parties here; the Halloween parties are great. We used to have New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, St. Patricks' Day, etc...and every Friday night was 'Formal Night'. We still host Hippie Bowman's Breakfast Club on Sundays every 8 weeks or so." 

Even if you never participated in the forums, you'll enjoy the friendly and welcoming bunch who frequents the Forum Cartel Hangout. "It is my hope," Maureen stated, "that SL residents visit the Hangout, spend some time and enjoy themselves.  I hope to revitalize the group and start holding more activities as we did in the 'old days.'" Check out the group Flickr pool here, and then stop on by the Hangout and join the fun!

8 comments:

  1. I love the history contained in this post, that people still hold onto that desire to really help out others in Second Life. Great post and glad you are back to writing them :)

    Sasy Scarborough

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  2. /me whips off her panties and waves them in salute!

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    1. Ha! I read in the archives that that was a thing. It makes me wish I had been one of those Pie Throwers back in the day. ;)

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  3. A wonderful place still! Thanks for posting this!

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    1. Sure thing, Hippie...glad you liked it!

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  4. That's one history of the place, the people, the forum. It is not the only history. It depends upon who you ask. You can wax poetical about the good old days in the early 20th Century USA, and certainly there were good times then, but there was also an ugliness of Jim Crow and other abominations. Such is the history of this place. Sugar coat it all you want, but don't imagine you have a hold of the truth, especially as you are getting it second and third hand. The old forum had a community, but it wasn't a sweet, idyllic one. It was home to some of the worst of the worst to ever post in and around Second Life. One person you quoted would spout evil, misogynistic and racist remarks and troll with the worst of them back in the day. This is and was a controversial place, for many reasons, for a lot of history, for people who were there and haven't forgotten.

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    1. Anon - Thank you for your reply. I appreciate that people are reading and have strong enough opinions to voice them, and I'm absolutely happy to hear a different side to the story.

      I'm not sure I sugar-coated the history as it was given to me, in that it was mentioned that the forums had turned abusive, so that this place was created as a kind of neutral ground. But you are correct in that I was not there, so all of my information is indeed second and third hand, and most of what people told me was the "fun stuff". However, in my opinion? There are no purely sweet and idyllic communities - especially online ones.

      My first experience with an internet community was in a forum thread (not SL) that lasted from 1998 - 2001 as an imagined town. A core group of us grew close enough that several got married to folks they met there, and most have stayed in touch nearly 18 years later. But was it idyllic? Certainly not. Were there nasty posts and vile trolls? Yup. But isnt that true of any community...in first or second life?

      As a matter of fact, the person who first brought me to the Forum Cartel Hangout, and to the group chat, is someone who has me muted...so even my very limited memories of this place are not all positive. However, that doesn't mean I wasn't willing to feature it, or to highlight the positive aspects of the location. Additionally, my experience of the group chat, which I gather is mostly what's left of that community, is that the folks on there ARE a friendly and welcoming bunch.

      Your mileage may vary.

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