When I bought my first BYOND membership in early 2006 I was happy to help financially support BYOND in that small way. But after I had made a few blog posts where I had the audacity to express my opinion on certain things (guilds and front page moderation...so things that subsequently got scrapped/fixed :P), I noticed that the members page was only serving to roll out a welcome wagon for trolls.
There was never a worse time in the history of BYOND to be a member of the community than in 2005-2007. People were absolute monsters on here. Things reached a head for me on September 11, 2006 when there were a few posts on the front page making fun of the people that died on the planes that went down in 2001.
I made a post saying that we shouldn't be disrespectful towards people who died in a really horrible way, and I got endlessly trolled for it. People even offensively photoshopped real pictures of me and were able to put those posts on the front page as well.
I called for front page moderation, and all I got in response was a "People can post whatever they want since they paid for a membership." It's all well and good that front page moderation is in place today. But it should have started right there and then. Instead it didn't happen for years after that. Freaking ridiculous.
I demanded a refund from Tom at that point for the membership that I had bought in advance, and got it. I didn't show my face on BYOND again after that until 2009 when NEStalgia was in alpha. Since then I haven't really had the heart to blog very much either.
I feel that these blogs did nothing really except to turn BYOND into a social wasteland. For that I feel that Tom/BYOND completely deserved the mass exodus of original game developers as well as the influx of anime kiddies that has taken place.
The only reason things have been better the last couple of years is the work of Stephen001 (and other mods) for their work with front page moderation. It took the wind out of the sails of that horrible little crew of creepy obsessive/stalker trolls who came from god knows where, and did nothing but hurt the community by their incessant trolling. Most of them have now left because of that (or had their posts permanently hidden).
Anyways. That's my experience with these blogs. Hated them since 2006, and I'm glad to see them go. But they also made me so jaded against the project and Tom, that I'm not sure if I'll ever actually buy another membership again or not.
On some level, for the sake of NEStalgia, I want to see BYOND succeed. But for the most part I could care less. I also don't think that upping membership prices while taking away member features really makes sense as a business plan. But we'll see.
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