Yes, it’s really me. And yes, I really am a douchebag. I’m not a huge fan of April Fools’ Day jokes; last year, I didn’t even do one. People are expecting jokes on April Fools’ Day, so it’s hard to pull off a good one. If you simply change around your site’s layout on April 1st, people will either groan in annoyance or laugh politely because they think it’s “cute”. The only people who will actually fall for something like that are complete idiots. So when I decided to plan out my April Fools’ Day prank, I went into it with two central ideas:
1. An April Fools’ Day Joke is only funny if you actually trick people.
2. The people who visit my site aren’t idiots.
And so, I concocted an elaborate scheme to fool everyone that was set into motion well before April Fools’ Day. And it worked. To all of you who were genuinely worried about the site, I’m sorry. If it makes you feel better, I didn’t really enjoy the prank. It was fun for a while, but after visiting the forums a few times, I felt really guilty. I thought about calling it off early several times, but I ultimately decided to see it through to the end. In order to answer any lingering questions about the joke, I’ve throw together the a FAQ.
Who was in on it?
I told Dr. Jeebus, cybersst, and S. McCracken about it. They all knew something was going to happen, just not exactly what. Valdronius and greeneyedzeke figured it out on their own after it went live.
So you didn’t actually tell your moderators? That’s cold.
Yes, I suppose it is. But it helped add to the realism. Of course, if it had been a real attack, the moderators probably would have been banned or demoted.
When did the April Fools’ Day Joke start?
March 9th. I gave cybersst an account called maddoxownsyou, I had him post a couple of threatening/annoying messages times, and then I banned him. I had him do it so that the IP couldn’t be traced back to me. Then I remembered that only moderators can check IPs, so I felt silly for going to extra lengths.
Were there actually any bandwith/hacking attacks against the site?
No, that was part of the setup too.
So were there any real problems at all?
Yes. I really did have some problems with trolls on the boards. First, there was mcdusher. While not truly a troll, he did manage to piss off half of my regulars with his bad spelling, incoherent leftist rants, and undying love for Microsoft. It boggles my mind how someone who harbors such huge mistrust towards the American government and capitalist society can openly support the world’s most evil multinational corporation, but whatever. Eventually mcdusher got bored and left. After that, things were quiet until my planned maddoxownsyou attacks. After I initiated the maddoxownsyou posts, two or three real spammers showed up. They were quickly and quietly banned.
Why did you tie Maddox into this?
Because it was believable. Maddox definitely has fans who are diehard enough and retarded enough to attempt to hack a site over an anti-Maddox statement, so I knew it would work. Maddox openly admits that many of his fans are complete idiots. That’s what happens when you design your site appeal to the lowest common denominator. If you’ve been to the site, you’ve seen the barely intelligible hate mail that he gets. According to his FAQ, “most of [his fan mail] is more poorly written than [his] hate mail”.
So do you hate Maddox?
No, not especially. I only find about 40% of his posts funny, but the good ones are fucking classics. But I’d be lying if I said that it doesn’t bug me that he does way more traffic than me. The guy rarely fucking updates and his site is still huge. But what really pisses me off is that sites like BurgerKing.com do better traffic than me. The information content Burger King’s website is much like nutrition content of their food: ZERO. But whereas BK’s food tastes good, their website is completely fucking useless.
If you don’t hate him, what’s the deal with the Haddox page?
While I was sifting through the 3000 screenshots I took of Rolling Thunder, I suddenly lost the will to write anything that would take any sort of actual analysis, reflection, and effort. So I threw together the Haddox site as a distraction. Any time I can’t think of anything good to write, I make a Haddox post instead.
Can we expect something like this next year?
Absolutely not. As a webmaster, there’s a limit to how many times you can falsely claim that you’ve been hacked without completely destroying the trust and goodwill between you and your readers. That limit is probably zero, but it’s definitely not higher than one. I do not want to build a reputation as The Boy Who Cried H4X0R3D, so I will never attempt an April Fools’ Day joke this elaborate again. If I do an April Fools’ Day joke next year, it will be blatant and silly.
Oh, and in case anyone missed it, here’s what the site looked like:
Main Page: http://www.sydlexia.com/afd2006.htm
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