THE GREAT EXODUS
On Saturday 19th October 2002 we woke to find no Treehouse
message board. To many of us, a small part of our world had
The board had been removed to prevent further members being
approached to contribute to an alternative message board,
a board whose contributors were all members of the Treehouse.
This is a brief history of the events leading up to, and subsequent
to, the board being shut down.
Where to start the story is difficult to say. In hindsight,
it is now obvious that a problem had been building up for
some time. Sadly, nobody realised how serious some people
considered this situation was, and nobody considered contacting
the Webmiester to ask him to act. However, with access to
the Archive and using documents only from the Public Domain,
it is possible to draw the following timeline:-
Elrond returns only to resign having spent some time trawling
the internet to find personal information regarding another
member, and then posting this information to the Treehouse.
This was done in response to various anti Liverpool FC comments
that had been made by this individual. Numerous people replied
to DE's resignation, asking him to stay. In the resignation,
DE stated he no longer wished to post to a message board dedicated
to Danny Baker, when he could no longer listen to Danny on
1st September 2002
Elrond requests to be made a moderator. This request is
declined, as at the time it was the Webmiester's opinion that
there was no need for any additional moderators. Nobody questions
4th September 2002
praises the fairness and open-mindedness of the self-moderating
14th September 2002
"Crabstock" occurs, a meeting of Treehouse members
organised by Mick McSorely. Everyone agrees that a wonderful
weekend was had by all. Attendees were:
- Mick McSorley
- Citizen Jane
- Stig O'Tracy
- Lord Waxwharf
- Showbiz Eleven
- Boris the Tonk
Only one of these names will be familiar to anyone who joined
the Treehouse after 2nd November 2002.
28th September 2002
Marcus, in amongst one of his (at the time) regular long
posts, refers to Jane as "bonny"
and looking a bit like a number "8". There are
a number of complaints in the thread about this, from mild
rebukes to direct complaints.
30th September 2002
McSorley opens a debate as to whether Marcus should be
banned from the Treehouse and accuses Hawkeye of posting to
the Board under various pseudonyms. The following people side
with Marcus being allowed to stay:
- Mr Bungle
- Winged Eel
- Fink Nottle
- Freudian Skip
- Walter Fagen
- Sir David Attenborough
- Tribe called ?
- andrew / oafc
- Sub-atomic Katt
1st October 2002
In preparation for his absence from the Board during the
Great North Run, the Webmiester asks Mick McSorley to act
4th October 2002
5th October 2002
hours later Mick returns
7th October 2002
Webmiester returns from the Great North Run. The previous
goings on were deliberately
10th October 2002
absence from the Treehouse is noted. She had apparently
taken offence at Marcus's comment.
11th October 2002
McSorely accuses Marcus of being the film critic Mark Kermode.
Rather than deny this, Marcus plays along and embellishes
the accusation for comic effect.
In reply to more criticism of his term as Moderator Mick
McSorley replies that "he is here permanently in
Believing Marcus's version of events Mick changes his mind
and and announces his resignation
from the Treehouse.
returns to the Treehouse.
13th October 2002
14th October 2002
Marcus mocks Micks return, posting Micks resignation speech.
sets about editing Marcus's posts. This goes on for an
Many posters make public
their opinions on Mick's actions as Moderator.
posts on the board, requesting Marcus contacts him immediately.
He had been made aware of Marcus' comments regarding Jane,
and subsequent actions on the board. He asked a number of
people (CJ, Mick, RichardX, Andyoafc and Red Vixen) as to
whether Marcus should be banned or warned. The unanimous decision
was to warn him that such behaviour would not be tolerated
in future, but not to ban him.
15th October 2002
McSorely resigns again from the Treehouse, saying he would
stay in contact with a number of members, and would "see
us all in the house of the dead" ( a reference to Dead
Elrond's new Message Board).
16th October 2002
Sid (Security) posts encouraging the "Treehouse
cream" to put their email addresses in their profiles,
in order they can be contacted with an interesting offer.
Subsequently Sid(Security) is established as a pseudonym for
19th October 2002
(Security) posts requesting Cuthbert Twillie put his email
address in his profile.
The following days board activity continues with no arguments.
Marcus makes a few non abusive posts. A number of people receive
emails from Mick McSorely inviting them to a new forum which
is advertised as "the wankpot free version". Each
member of the forum requires approval prior to joining unlike
the Treehouse, where membership is open to everyone. All the
members are ex-Treehousers. The board is entitled "not
Thommo is in contact with the Webmiester regarding other matters,
and invites him to join. Feeling let down by the setting up
of the board behind his back, and the use of the Treehouse
to recruit members to another board, Webmiester closes the
Treehouse message board to prevent further losses.
Webmiester makes his views clear to Thommo on the matter,
who posts them onto the other board. Mike
Jefferies suggests the members return to the Treehouse
board, on the understanding that the Webmiester agrees to
additional moderators. All those members who reply refuse
to consider this.
Barry Chuckle appears on the board, and suggests Andrew OAFC
is invited. Thommo agrees, as Andrew is "a top bloke".
Only ten days after praising him as a "true
Treehouse hero" . Mick
McSorely now states that Andrew "has wankpot tendencies,
is in regular contact with Marcus and LSG, and stirs up trouble
under a number of nom de plumes". Barry suggests that
the votes now stand as one for and one against. Thommo changes
his vote. Barry states he does
not want to contribute to this site.
Mike Jefferies posts a message on the front page of the Archive,
offering a brief explanation as to why the Treehouse is down.
Approximately 75 emails are received in the next 5 days. Each
person is offered the chance to have their details passed
on to Elrond and McSorely for consideration as members of
the new board. Two people accept this offer.
Dead Elrond (as Administrator) posts
the following to "Notthetreehouse"
"3 people said they wouldn't
be contributing to the Treehouse, and I am one of them. Everyone
else said they would be contributing to both the Treehouse
and here. So what has the Treehouse lost? I shall tell you.
Three people. Three people out of over 1,000 registered members
at the Treehouse. And yet it seems this 0.3% of the total
Treehouse members is enough to cause the end of that forum."
True statistics reveal the following:-
When the Treehouse closed there were 186 active posters. By
active we are excluding aliases and are only including members
who posted within a month of the forum going down.
Since the "Invite-only" Forum launched the Treehouse
has lost over 40 members or 21% - nearly a quarter of it's
membership!! We are including members who post to both boards
in these figures.
23rd October 2002
In the absence of the Treehouse Board, a few staunch Treehousers
set up a temporary Forum called the Liferaft to provide vital
flotation during the chaos.
28th October 2003
answers his critics on the Liferaft.
November - Present
Early November the Treehouse and the Messageboard were back
on line, now fully moderated.Since then there have been less
than fifteen moderator alerts,almost all of them relating
to the same thread.
Some of "The Departed" have reappeared but, sadly,
in most cases only briefly - and a handful took the opportunity
to reopen some old wounds. However, the door is never shut
and all or any are welcome to return at any time.
Today the Treehouse seems stronger than ever, with an increasing
membership and a very busy messageboard. The lessons of the
past had to be learned in order that they would not be repeated;
but with a final salute to departed comrades it's fast forward
into the future. Let's all enjoy the ride together.
This subject has already been covered extensively on the Treehouse
Message Board so please do not post further on the topic.
Instead please email
any feedback and this will be collated and addressed in
Issue Two of the Newsletter.
The above has been a collaborative effort beween the Webmiester,
the four Moderators and one Treehouser.