Although I haven't been active on TWoP in many years, I was a regular on the forums for a long time -- starting back in the Mighty Big TV days -- and a lurker for even longer (my handle was "moose"). I was most active on the 24 boards, and I consider that my first fandom, but I posted on other boards (mainly The West Wing, the baseball thread, and Off-Topic Blather), lurked on many more, and read recaps for shows I didn't even watch (Survivor, Smallville, and Angel come to mind). I helped design an ad for the banner wars, bought mouse pads and mugs and Outrageously Overpriced Donation Stickers, and survived the great forum purge of 2002 or 2003. It was the best of sites and it was the worst of sites, the heavy-handed moderation being both a blessing and a curse. The strict rules helped weed out the trolls and promoted on-topic discussion, but it was too easy to get banned for minor infractions, like disagreeing with a touchy moderator (Gustav, the 24 recapper/mod, was particular notorious for it, so I spent more time than I would have liked tip-toeing around him).
I drifted away from the site for a number of reasons: technical changes to the boards that made it harder to keep up on multiple forums, the banning of a few of my closer friends, the death of Off-Topic Blather, and finally my decision to stop watching 24 after the third season. Then the site was sold to Bravo and the founders left, and it quickly became a shell of its former self. I haven't visited the boards in ages, but I did still check in for recaps from time to time, especially for older shows I was catching up on. There's nothing else quite like it anywhere else on the Internet. I'm particularly sad to learn that they're removing the entire archive -- all the recaps, all the posts on the forums. The content will be saved offline, but not available anywhere. So much history lost! A damn shame -- I wonder if anything can be done to save it. (Hey, unemployed librarian here, willing to offer my time to help. Call me!)
Whatever else, it represents the end of an era, for both me and the Internet, and so I raise a glass in tribute. RIP, TWoP. May your legacy of snark never be forgotten.
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