Writtenbyme by David Arthur Walters

In Fond Memory of the defunct Internet writers' site, Writtenbyme.com

I fondly remember the good old days when WBM writers were involuntarily organized into metallic feudal orders, allegedly to reflect the quality of their writing. Whereafter divisive critics arose from the baser ranks to express the commonplace objections. Of course the insubordinate members wanted to be of the highest ranking - they wanted to be Gold Members, aka Golden Lords. A certain Dumb Duck went so far as to post his criticism of WBM policy at another thriving site, to the effect that only "abusers" at WBM had been appointed Gold Members "because of their abuse." Yet none of the nouveau aristocrats had had the slightest say in the matter, nor were they notorious abusers.

One fractious faction, reportedly prompted by a dissident who was banned by the WBM staff for exhibiting a photo his pecker on his profile page, abandoned WBM altogether. They went to graze on the slime accumulating on a devious hulk captained by Bob - it had lost its mooring at Themestream.com some time before and had ran aground on a Florida sand bar. A few defectors became firmly encrusted as barnacles there because they could not take their beloved work with them if they jumped ship - if they complained about the policy and deleted their work, they were barred from the site and their work was restored from backup. Ironically, those who remained were governed by the very epitome of the so-called "fascist" policies they had objected to at WBM - they loved Captain Bob's site and joined in the abuse of anyone who protested. And even worse, now they had to pay to be highly ranked writers at the new site. Furthermore, their Editor-in-Chief awarded his own virtual identities with prizes for excellent writing!

But back to the ranch at WBM: of course the Golden Lords who were awarded the gold by the WBM staff were loyal to the noble cause of mounting quality of writing at WBM - none defected that I know of. And most of the Silver and Bronze members remained and behaved in the honorable and loyal manner befitting to their relative positions. And the Commoners or Newbies gradually worked their way up to the first rung. However, a raucous rabble preponderated in the WBM forum - no Newbies allowed - many Newbies were formerly banned members who rejoined with new handles. The forum chambers frequently resembled a dungeon of vipers who believed they were dragons. It was dominated by four brazen hussies known as the Gang of Four even when they were at each other's throats too.

When the forum clouds over the new orders dissipated, the dragons were obviously crickets. Golden Lord Lap0530 compared the croaking crickets with crotchety crabs in an open bucket who, instead of crawling out of same, prefer to exercise their pincers on each other to the end that each may be equal instead of inferior to their superiors. Notwithstanding the anti-social socialist theories young Sir Conspiracy learned at a prestigious British university, a democracy of equality tends to boil all differences down to dinner for the new aristocracy - if the old one is overthrown. Anarchy per se is chaos or nothing; people are equal only before they are born and after they die.

There was much truth in Lord Lap0530's crab-bucket analogy. Nevertheless, as a fan of the French Revolution who is personally related to both sides of the question and who does not eat crab, I protested his figurative speech. After all, he offered no solution and he seemed to be a crab himself, albeit a more sophisticated and lucid one - no doubt inherited qualities. But I, Golden Lord Walters, was constructive: I recommended that the squabbling riffraff take up bowling instead of incessant crabbing.

My proactive suggestion was based on a farmer's solution to the damage his piglets were doing to each other in their nursery pens - biting each others tails and ears off, and worse. He went to the bowling alley, got some broken bowling balls, and put the balls in the pens for the pigs to play with - the problem was solved. Well, why not give the crabbish cliques at the WBM forum a new bowling ball? Their feelings would not be hurt so often; they would believe they are getting something done together. At least they would enjoy playing around. And of course they would be fattened up rather nicely and maybe even discovered by the media aristocracy.

The Bowling Ball I recommended to keep members preoccupied and entertained with was an exceptional rating system, a heuristic method whereby raters could train themselves to focus on standard critical criteria instead of personal likes and dislikes. Instead of putting each other down in comments and in the forum because of jealousy or for no reason at all except for the hell of it, writers would have an effective device to not only raise truly worthy authors to lordly status, but would at the same time learn how to employ the best standards to their own scribblings. I viewed this device as a better funnel or a net which would use free labor to lift up excellent writers, buried in the lower depths under the mountains of garbage erected by the Most Popular trash kings who cater to vulgar taste. Thus would all boats would be lifted, ala Ortega y Gasset.

Of course the positive aspects of my suggestion were ignored by all except Lord Lap0530. He, a gentleman and a scholar, was very helpful and encouraging. Oh, there were numerous nasty ad hominem remarks made by others simply because I was a Golden Lord, but never mind the impertinences.

Soon thereafter, I figured WBM was doomed as a writing site but not as a community. Mind you that, prior to the establishment of the metallic orders, I had not visited the forums nor had I given anyone less than a perfect rating - only a fool tries to rate or criticise fairly on such sites. But I felt I had a duty as a Golden Lord to participate; hence I visited the WBM forums. Other than one glorious thread soon deleted by the staff because it was hampering the server, the WBM forum was initially the most disappointing experience of my life. I became convinced the community had no future either in the virtual or the real world. I threw some mud back. Sullied, I visited the site less frequently until the decision was made to fold the site, at which point I engaged in raunchy misbehavior in the forums and had a great deal of fun in the process. In retrospect, it is true: I was stuck up.

There is nothing left of WBM except fond memories of the golden days there, especially of the days when I was a Certified GO(l)D Member, fell from grace, and became a forum jerk. Now, as I approach real Equality, I grow fond even of the bad times, of the abuse I was subjected to just because I was a Golden Lord. I am comforted by the knowledge that I was universally despised by the forum clique, and I have no hard feelings whatsoever.

What the hell, nothing is perfect anyway - that is why I worship Nothing. Okay, then, Now I will return to my opus, The World is a Bowling Ball.


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