So if I'm remembering my ODN history right, ODN was started in November of 2003. A little over two years later, I joined ODN. It has now been over seven years since I've been on ODN. To be honest, it's sort of crazy to think that I've been on a forum for that long. It's gone over three phases of my life (high school, undergrad, and now grad school); I joined when I was 17 years old. Although, the oldest forum that I'm a member of I have been so since about 2001, so nearly/more than 12 years. However, without a doubt, ODN is the forum that I've invested the most amount of time and effort into.
But rather than talk about myself, I thought that I'd talk a little bit about ODN. When I joined ODN, there were two administrators --Apok, of course, who's the site owner-- and a person who left here quite a while ago now, Iluvatar (His profile says he hasn't visited ODN in nearly two and a half years). GodlessPagan had recently quit ODN; GodlessPagan, of course, turned out to be Dionysus who had to use a new profile handle for various reasons, but I remember people talked about him quite frequently (I remember especially because we had the same initials, "GP"). So had Fyshned (I talked to him years later on IM, and he was doing fine --that had to have been about 2008), and DeviantNorm. I literally joined ODN like a few days before the end of 2005, so my first real memories of ODN was 2006.
I was actually pulled from some sh*tty no-name, third rate debating forum (I can't remember the name, I haven't visited it since the day after I joined ODN) by Zhavric, who was trolling for new members for ODN. The very first person who I befriended on ODN was Syluette and Mr.Hyde. Like Dionysus being GodlessPagan, I actually had the scoop on their relationship before they went public, if memory serves. After a while, we stopped talking but my earliest memories of ODN are definitely talking to Syluette and Hyde. We stopped talking regularly after mid-2006 or so, because they got busy with "real life", so I don't know much about how they are now, but from my understanding, still together, and good for them. I still remember when Syluette and Hyde crashed at Mrs. Innocent and Andacaver's house (another two members who have long since disappeared from ODN). Another few people who I remember are PerVirtuous, Tinkerbelle, and HappyLady. Obviously, I remember the "opposing forces", lol, of chad373, Apok, Clive, KevinBrowning, ShadowKnight, MindTrap, XanaduMoo, and others. MindTrap joined only a few months after me, but I can't remember anyone else during this time who joined when I did. A few liberals that I remember were emtee10 and manise, our resident Jews who unfortunately left rather abruptly and never returned, which was unfortunate because I remember liking to debate him (and her) on politics (I began on ODN as a very staunch libertarian; I had a short anarcho-capitalist phase around the time I came to ODN and remained a libertarian for years, until about when the market crash hit, and I started re-evaluating the idea that "The free market never gets it wrong", but I did campaign for Obama in his first term). I also remember CC, whose an amazing human being. I really hope he's still doing well. I used to have long discussions with him about libertarianism. I also recall Harrison being a good debater. I also remember Castle, he was an amazingly good debater who was as young as I was. I remember TurtleFlipper, too, what the hell was his original name? That wasn't his original name. I honestly cannot remember, but he was the first and nearly only Buddhist on ODN. Slipnish posted regularly then, but I think that 2006 was the year that he stopped posting regularly. Starcreator also ended his hayday, as I recall, during this year after being a hardcore debater on ODN. Trendem also deconverted from Christianity to atheism, I remember that happening. I also remember, for those that have forgotten, that there was once a subforum where anything went --there were no rules as far as ad hominem's went. And my god that forum lasted a glorious 6 to 8 months before Apok had to shut it down, LOL!
I also remember Jamie, whom I hated only as much as she did me --lol, which is really ironic because we became very good friends. I haven't talked to her in quite a bit (Maybe a year or two) but she's awesome. Of the people who I've come the closest to meeting (We made plans twice, but they fell through twice because of bad timing), she's be the one. Similar to SouthernBelle, because we also hated each other and then became very good friends. SouthernBelle and LadyPhoenix are actually the only two ODNers who have ever heard my voice.
I fear that many of my friendships ended on bad terms on ODN, to which I must admit at least a good portion was often my fault. High school and my first year of undergrad were not particularly pleasant periods in my life, and I daresay that I sometimes came to ODN looking for a fight. The very first person I think on ODN that I decided that I hated was Zhavric, very ironically. Zhavric and I had a bit of a following out nearly a month into my start on ODN. I imagine Zhavric has forgotten about this, as one brain can only recall so many quarrels and shouting matches.
By the end of 2006, Apok and I had had probably our first real clash on ODN, and needless to say it did not end well and started what I would consider to be the beginning of our bad blood, which obviously peaked when I was banned in 2007. However, I would say that two constructive things happened --one, I became friends with Dionysus for a while and we had some good conversations. Dionysus is one of those people who I consider to be stronger than myself in a lot of important ways, and another one of those human beings who I consider to be amazing, like CC. Another important thing that would happen for ODN was that I poached LadyPhoenix from another sh*tty debate site, and as we all know she became a moderator (with a lot of my pushing) and remains the administrator who took over for Iluvatar. Sadly our friendship has long since devolved (Like I said, I wasn't the nicest person you could meet during those years, and LP and I stopped seeing eye to eye on a lot of things) now. Christ, I think it's been the better part of five years.
I think the only other substantive thing I did in this year was found and lead Atheist Abode forum.
2007 I honestly can't say that I remember that much about 2007 and ODN. I graduated high school, I visited Europe for the first time, and I matriculated to undergrad. You know, it's weird, I can't really place anything from 2007, other than Apok and I got into a huge flame war in the Regulars forum while I was in Europe, and after a while it got to the point that I just got flat out banned for 30 days. I really can't remember anything else, other than LadyPhoenix getting promoted to moderator towards the end of the year. I mean, we got new members, especially from LadyPhoenix's old website --DevilPupJohn, Rogue Cardinal, Jen, and I think that Autolykos came from there, too. Miccan also became a debater, so did Squatch and AliceLiddel.
I also seem to remember both the first Dr. Gonzo came mid-2006 or so, and then around this time (mid-2007) he left, and I think that the second Dr Gonzo came a year later, in 2008. Also, I'm pretty sure that PrimeZombie came here in 2007.
This was the year that LP became admin, it was the year that a now unknown member WannaExtreme got banned. TurtleFlipper also got banned, I believe over some stupid sh*t like not following siggy rules. It was a year of a special troll known as PrinceFigs.
Mostly though, I remember WannaExtreme getting banned, I remember talking on the phone with SouthernBelle, and I remember talking with LP on the phone. WannaExtreme I think sort of lost his sh** and did everything in the world to get banned that was possible. And he did, but to be honest, I have it on good authority that there are old members of ODN that got new accounts and remained on ODN for a time. I wouldn't be surprised if Wanna became one of them. This was also the year that Allocutus came to ODN. I have no idea what that guy is doing now. The funny thing is that I still can't not think of Allocutus as being a "new member" in some senses, lmao.
I would say that it began this year when my debating style changed a lot. Starting towards the end of the year, I was a lot less interested in taking people down a notch (although I must admit I still enjoy this from time to time) and a lot more interested in substantive debate (Which I'd liked before, but . I'm pretty sure that Czahar came around this time, or maybe 2007. Oh, and I remember talking with LiberalTruth quite a bit.
2009 and Beyond
I think I'll cut it short here for a few reasons. A became less involved in ODN during this time, in a sense. I still posted every day, was involved in a major ODN project that sadly never came to anything, and other things, but over all I think I was mostly just debating for fun and not nearly as much as I was in the first three years of ODN. I remember that towards the end of the year, HermanLeadread came onto ODN, and it seems he's no longer really here. I became friends with Clive around this time, and we've talked on occasion (although it's been a while now) ever since; we're both math nerds and we used to have a lot of stimulating conversations where we talked about modal logic and ontological arguments, moral relativism, and abstract mathematics. I still remember teaching him about modal logic and that's when we started talking about Plantinga's modal ontological argument. That was the same summer when I first started doing scientific research. Talthas also came here during this time, too. God there's been a lot of ODNers.
It's kind of annoying, because there are so many people here on ODN that I won't of mentioned. I focused mostly on the first year, but there's a crazy number of people that I've met here over the last 7 years, even if my first 5 were the only ones where I was super active. So if I forgot about you --well, you're probably not here to care. =P But really though, there are a lot of people who I should mention but have probably simply forgotten. EDIT: Since last night I've thought of Netopolis, DonAthos, and rfrancisr, too, who I used to talk to, too.
I feel like I've also been gone from ODN for quite some time. I really stopped being too interested for a while now; I come back once very 6 to 8 months to post (or post a few things), but I might discuss politics again for a bit. I think a few months back I submitted a thread that said I probably wasn't ever going to debate heavily again, and I think that's pretty accurate. But I thought that given that I'd been on ODN for 7 years (actually the anniversary was more than a month ago; I'd actually planned to write this then but I didn't get the chance), I'd make a reflection on what ODN started out as and what it's become. I'm not sure that ODN is in its waning years, but it's certainly slowed down a bit. Maybe as some more young people get ready, perhaps people will start debating subjects again. However, I will say that at it's height, ODN had something that no other debating website --and I've tried many-- has ever had, and it's what kept me coming back to ODN.
The weirdest thing is, I feel like HermanLeadread is still a new member (being honest, I still kind of feel like PrimeZombie and Allocutus are "new" members, LOL) but it was a long time ago that he joined ODN --but it feels like it really was just not that long ago --and that was goddamn three years ago now! I also remember KingoftheEast and I discussing sh*t about politics, Leftism, liberalism, et cetera. Those were fun times, too.
One thing I did want to mention, just for the old-timers, was to compile a list of trolls since 2006. I can't imagine that this is complete, but my god some of these people pissed me --and everyone else-- off:
And honestly after that was when I realized that if they were trolls, then I should just put them on my ignore list straight away. I feel like I'm missing a moron between PrinceFigs and Publius. Oh well, there were some amusing times with these people.
Here's to you, ODN.