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Old 01-14-2023, 05:11 PM   #1
Spirit of Mist
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tol Eressea
Posts: 3,338
Mithadan is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Mithadan is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Post your stories about the Barrow-Downs here

I posted my version of a History of the Borrow-Downs Forums, over the space of multiple posts, a while back. In this thread, I invite you to post discrete stories, funny, poignant, nostalgic, about your experience here. I'll lead off.

During the early years of the Forums, Barrow-Wight reached out to me about a message he received. A parent of a younger member logged into his daughter's account and sent him a PM. It seems that his daughter had received some inappropriate communications from another member that may have bordered upon stalking and the parent became alarmed. After an exchange of several emails with the parent, I learned that a bit of an on-line romance had commenced, with initial communications between the parties done via PM. The communications had graduated to email and the parent had come across a racy message between the two. After the parent attempted to shut down the romance, the young man may have suggested something of an elopement. Hence the stalking concern.

This raised multiple issues. I advised the parent that: (1) while we police the forums, we do not police PMs; (2) we respect our members' privacy and had never peeked at anyone's PMs and were not inclined to start; and (3) once the matter moved on to email, it was certainly none of our business. Nonetheless, there were things we could do, and as an initial matter, we agreed to quietly investigate.

You may never have thought about this, but every time you log onto the Downs, the Administrators, if they happen to be on the site and paying attention, can see what members are on the Forums. Yes, this is even if you are set on "ghost" mode. In addition, we can see other information, such as your IP address. Not that we use it for anything, but it is available information. An IP address can, generally, be looked up to provide a general physical location, not a specific address and often not even a specific city or town. This is less reliable in this age of remote work. But 15 or 20 years ago, this was enough for me to tell the concerned parent that a rather large "Pond" separated the two young people. This was coupled with a brief "lecture" about who was responsible for keeping an eye on his daughter's internet use, and a suggestion that he communicate directly with the young man. This was, apparently, effective...
Beleriand, Beleriand,
the borders of the Elven-land.
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Old 01-16-2023, 05:46 PM   #2
Blossom of Dwimordene
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: The realm of forgotten words
Posts: 10,342
Galadriel55 is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Galadriel55 is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Galadriel55 is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Galadriel55 is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
If there is something the Downs has no lack of, it's stories of how it's affected people's lives. Anyone can enter (spammers excluded, thank Eru ), but not everyone will leave the same man as they came in, etc etc. I've pretty much grown up on this site. You know how people talk about teens nowadays being idiots on Facebook? Well, I never had Facebook, so I was an idiot on the Downs instead - an even bigger idiot than I am now, if that can be believed, and you can find the evidence in the virtual archaeological digs of the early 2010's. But a fact that may be as much of a surprise to some people as the lack of FB for someone of my generation is that when I joined the Downs I didn't know how to type. All kids nowadays know how to type, right? Not me. Well, I've typed before, I knew how to press the buttons... But I was still doing the snail-pace one-finger technique that makes you cringe when you see it done. Hence, among other teenage quirks, you might find among my early posts little shortcuts like "Gandy" for "Gandalf" - because back then shortening a word by two letters actually made a difference. I would have learned to type sooner or later regardless; I was starting high school, where assignments were increasingly required to be typed rather than handwritten, it would have happened at some point. But I am of the firm opinion that I became a fast typer in those first few months due to the practice of writing multiple posts a day on this site (yes, multiple - I was averaging 8 at one point and was a proud spammer of threads). It was certainly a much more pleasant (and voluntary) was of learning than the school forcing me to type up assignments. So that's another accidental merit that the Downs can add to its crown of virtues.
You passed from under darkened dome, you enter now the secret land. - Take me to Finrod's fabled home!... ~ Finrod: The Rock Opera
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Old 01-21-2023, 08:52 PM   #3
Cryptic Aura
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Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 5,989
Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.Bęthberry is wading through snowdrifts on Redhorn.
Well, there was the "My Little Pony" RPG that involved Downers but it didn't take place here, so perhaps the less said of that the better. I believe, though, we had Mithadan to handle the fall out.
I’ll sing his roots off. I’ll sing a wind up and blow leaf and branch away.
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Old 01-23-2023, 02:49 AM   #4
Emperor of the South Pole
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: The Western Shore of Lake Evendim
Posts: 607
Snowdog is a guest of Tom Bombadil.

I don't know what more I could say that I haven't already said in the other thread about my history here on Barrow Downs.

I guess I can share a few instances when wearing my t-shirt that I got into a conversation with a Middle Earth fan who read the books. The thing I have always liked about The Barrow Downs is it wasn't in Peter Jackson's movies, so a lot of movie fans didn't show up here like other sites I frequented at the time. If anyone saw that short or coffee mug and knew what it was in relation to Middle Earth, it was a moment that brought a smile to my resting grump-face.

Another good memory of the downs is I first met that award-winning journalist Natalia Antonova (Lush) here in a book discussion thread back in the early '00's. We've stayed in touch more-or-less ever since.
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Old 02-08-2023, 07:44 PM   #5
Stormdancer of Doom
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Location: Elvish singing is not a thing to miss, in June under the stars
Posts: 4,349
mark12_30 has been trapped in the Barrow!
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I’m in a minimalist mood.
So I’ll just say (for now) that I really miss Birdland.
And Friends of Nimrodel.
And The Lonely Star.
...down to the water to see the elves dance and sing upon the midsummer's eve.
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Old 02-09-2023, 10:12 AM   #6
Spirit of Mist
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Tol Eressea
Posts: 3,338
Mithadan is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Mithadan is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
If I recall correctly, I found The Barrow-Downs using a webring. Anyone remember them? These sites collected links to websites about particular topics in the time before search engines were effective devices. You could search for Tolkien on Yahoo, for example, and get hundreds of hits, entirely unorganized and including web pages that merely mentioned the word "Tolkien." Yahoo did have an interesting feature where the newest webpages were listed and could be searched, before there were too many new webpages every day to allow this search route to be functional. This was before algorithms that delivered search results based upon popularity of searches, etc.

Webrings assembled lists of sites by a particular topic, either relying upon the taste and diligence of the webmaster or by the owners of the sites posting the links. So the early Tolkien webrings would list five or ten Tolkien websites to assist users in finding what they wanted. Webrings later gave way to "toplists" where a website could post a link or banner on the list and users could vote for their favorites. The sites were then ranked by the number of votes.

The best-known Tolkien toplist was "25 Hobbits" which listed the "best" 25 Tolkien websites based upon votes. The Barrow-Downs submitted its banner on 25 Hobbits and it did attract visitors. But soon after the list was created, competition arose. Everyone wanted their site to be listed at the top. 25 Hobbits' software wasn't tremendously discriminating. While a user, in theory, could "vote" (simply by clicking on a banner) only once a day, people found ways around this. Vote at home and then at work. Go to a library and vote once on each of the 10 or 20 public computers.

The Barrow-Downs, at first, was always near the top of the list. But as competition grew (and the movies drove traffic) the rankings became questionable. Some puzzling websites began appearing at the top of the list. Members began posting threads on the Downs urging everyone to vote because, of course, our site was the best, right? Some folks took it upon themselves to join other message boards to accuse their members of cheating. The reverse happened as well. Cross-boards flame wars began.

One of our primary competitors was Minas Tirith, a very good bulletin board in its own right (unfortunately now defunct) with a fairly large membership similar to ours. The flame war (and it wasn't large, just annoying) grew and continued for a few weeks. I joined Minas Tirith using my own user name to avoid criticism, communicated with its administrator, White Gold Wielder, about the problem, and began posting there to encourage tolerance. There was plenty of room for multiple message boards, they offered forum categories that differed from ours, and couldn't we all just get along? Things calmed down nicely, though there were occasional accusations of poaching (as if people weren't free to join one or the other or both).

Odd to think about this now, with message boards on the wane.
Beleriand, Beleriand,
the borders of the Elven-land.
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