The 'Shroom:Issue 100/From 2007 With Love
HK-47: Today is about community. It's about The 'Shroom, a legacy left behind by Wayoshi (talk) and myself. A legacy carried on by a talented staff of go-getters who saw something great and latched onto it. A crew of writers who took something great and made it greater.
The 'Shroom was originally meant to be a companion piece for my repeatedly doomed and aimless Pipe Plaza project. It was so, so many years ago when I copied the wiki code for Wikipedia's The Signpost and proceeded to adapt and gut it to suit our needs and capabilities at the Mario Wiki. Even then I think I realized it was going to be too much for me to handle, but Wayoshi... Wayoshi had a handle on things. The 'Shroom would have quickly fizzled out under my inept directorship, but before the other shoe even had a chance to drop Wayoshi had picked up the pieces and crafted it into something special.
Plumber: I joined the site because of The 'Shroom, actually... I had just stumbled upon the wiki for the first time in December 2006. But it wasn't until the first issue of The 'Shroom came out in January 2007 that I realized that this wiki had an unusually tight-knit community. <looking over the first issue> 3dejong (talk), Knife (talk), Monty Mole (now Phoenix Rider (talk)), WarioLoaf (talk), Paper Jorge (talk)... I became great and close friends with all of them pretty quickly. I miss all of them, too. WarioLoaf's Fake News was especially funny to my young self. The banner he made for The 'Shroom (I think it was his third or fourth version) is still around today. And Aipom (talk) was there, too! Remember Aipom? That guy brought us sprite comics with his little tournament.
YellowYoshi398: It was a foggy morning on July 6th, 1957, when James Paul McCartney made his way to the St. Peter's Church garden venue in Liverpool for some live music. Atop the stage was a sixteen year old John Lennon, drunk and slurring together words to old blues standards. After the show, Paul sang a few bars of "20 Flight Rock," and John was so impressed that he let him into the band. This chance meeting between two teenagers went on to spawn the most legendary group in pop/rock history.
Perhaps this chance meeting in 1957 was not unlike another chance meeting in my own life, which occurred some half a century or so later, in 2007. To this day, I don’t know exactly what HK-47 AKA Sadaharu was intending to start when he commented “Cheese is delicious” on my user talk page—mostly because I’ve never asked him. I’ve heard he was looking for a different page, but, knowing Saud, I’d say it’s just as (if not more) likely that the only thing he was looking for was some good natured mischief.
If that’s the case, he succeeded: thanks to the magic of Recent Changes, plenty of people noticed our conversation about cheese and joined in on the fun. Before long, most of the active userbase was partaking in what would soon be known as the “Cheese Craze of '07”: posting images of cheese, shoehorning it into well-known slogans and mediums, photoshopping it into places it shouldn’t be, and in general extolling the virtues of this coagulated dairy product.
In an era where “memes” have become disgustingly self-aware and changed from grassroots in-jokes for people with no friends into something like a commercial product, the Cheese Craze might sound a bit juvenile. But at the time, it was unprecedented. Wiki software was intended to be used for one purpose, crowdsourcing information, with talk pages added primarily for the purpose of discussing this information (and not, if you follow, cheese). While the Super Mario Wiki had injected some personality into its talk pages prior to that fateful day in 2007, it wasn’t until the Craze that the community really became what it is today. Suddenly, scores of users—some of whom didn’t even know each other prior to this event!—were working together to create a fun in-joke for no particular reason whatsoever, and the art form that is Wiki had truly realized its potential as a collaborative graffiti board.
The community would never be same. When Userpedia came ‘round, giving the user-run half of the Mario Wiki its own home on the Net (as well as a convenient image host for the many user-created comics created in the Cheese Craze’s aftermath), our respective Photoshop and MS Paint programs were still warm from making cheese photoshops during the Craze. It’s no mistake that many of the original Userpedians were ex-Cheese Lovers, and the numerous wiki sprite comics and fanfictions they created were, in a sense, redirecting the same creative energy that had first reared its head during the Cheese Craze.
While Userpedia has since mostly died down (with only a few cool people like Uniju :D (talk) still putting out rad comics), the influences of a more closely knit userbase can still be felt elsewhere on the wiki. I’ve even heard it said that the Cheese Craze, with the new standard for interaction between users it forged, made way for the rise of wiki projects, ranging from Proposals to the Wiki Awards, and secured The 'Shroom’s place as a user-run publication. Is it an exaggeration to give the Cheese Craze of ’07 so much credit? Probably, but that doesn’t change the fact that it holds a special place in our collective heart as, if anything, a forebear to the creative spirit which has kept the wiki alive for so long.
To me, reading the Cheese Craze archives is a bittersweet experience, filled with many emotions. On one hand, I cringe at my thirteen-year-old self; on the other, I think of the numerous people I met or got to know better through this event—among them HK, Plumber, 3Dejong, Super paper luigi (now Master Crash (talk)), and Max2 (talk)—and am stricken by a strange feeling of both being happy for, and missing, the old days. Many of these users were among the closest friends I had in an otherwise lonely adolescence, and their influence helped make me better at making friends and being myself in “real life.”
It seems to be human nature that great people meet by chance, and chance meetings bring about great things. Maybe my chance meeting with Mr. HK-47, and a hoard of other lovers of curded milk, was no different. Or, maybe, I’m just being nostalgic, and there’s nothing particularly special about that time 8 years ago when me and my Internet friends pasted pictures of cheese over Pokémon. I can’t say I’ll ever know for sure.
What I do know is that cheese is, in fact, delicious.
HK-47: That's what I always felt really kicked off the community. Maybe that's just me being a bit vain. We should have gotten in more trouble for that. I should have gotten in a lot more trouble for that. YellowDinoDude is going to make us look like chumps, Plumber. Look at what he wrote, it's better than anything I could have churned out!
Plumber: That was really the glue of a new group of users that joined in 2007... Xzelion (talk) (The Great Gonzo), KPH2293 (talk) (Yoshi626), YellowYoshi and I think Xzelion got into the whole community just because of that stuff. And of course Max2. Before that, most of the community discussion was much more technical (when I first joined there was debate over taking down the DKWiki and Banjo & Conker articles, both of which happened.) The community bond was strengthened by increased vandalism, which led to the creation of Patrollers. But the biggest thing was probably moving the chat to the wiki from the forum.
Somewhere in here I get demoted for being a brat over signature rules. Ah, to be young again and care so much about trivial matters like how many characters you can have in your Mario Wiki signature! No hard feelings, Steve: I had it coming!
Plumber: You just did, check your Facebook. I think we made that little MarioWiki group when you were off Facebook. Yeah, there were always little spats over the most ridiculous little things in hindsight. I remember Wayoshi was promoted to 'crat after the Cheese Lovers debacle. It was interesting, because it tightened most of the community, but there were always mods who took things a bit too seriously. It's just a wiki. I got a taste of that when I started Fantendo, and it takes a real effort to keep chill when you're in charge of things. How did you ever do that?
HK-47: I didn't. I got demoted because I was a hothead and then eventually I got banned. Twice.
Plumber: Eh, true. But those are just a few days of years on the site. I was a patroller briefly, and almost became a sysop on a few occasions. Thankfully, that didn't happen. I am on the little Admin Forum though very inactive. I think that's supposed to be a secret, but whatever. The jobs can get very stressful. I think you channeled your stress better than most others. I'm not sure how familiar Wayoshi is to people nowadays, but he basically ran the site day-to-day back in the day, since Steve always preferred a light hand.
HK-47: Poor Wayoshi. He has a bad rap for someone who did so much for the site. Back when I started it was pretty much just Wayoshi, Son of Suns, and me with occasional appearances from Ghost Jam (talk) and the like. That's the only reason I got promoted to sysop in the first place was because I was going around tagging every page with a No Image Template and because of that I was dominating the edits page. Wayoshi was actually doing real work and he really pushed the community forward with the wiki awards. He just had a temper. Remember when you told Max he was getting an award? Wayoshi went ballistic!
Plumber: Hahaha I don't remember it clearly, but it certainly rings a bell. Max ended up with a bad rap too. Userpedia articles are written by the survivors. But no one besides Steve has contributed more to the wiki infrastructure than Wayoshi. I haven't talked to that guy in a while, I hope he's doing well. Xzelion replaced Wayoshi's role after the whole Willy fiasco.
HK-47: I happen to have the chat log right here, I'll forward it to you. I'm wondering how to approach the topic of Willy on Wheels... An early troll who may or may not have always been Wayoshi, but he definitely picked up the mantle later on. I don't know what his motivations were for that. Maybe he was just having a bit of fun or maybe he was just pissed because he had a bad reputation. I'm not sure. He did some pretty depraved things during that era, but I forgive him. He was my friend. When all is said and done, he was my friend.
Plumber: Oh, ok. Don't think we should put it up here, but yeah... I believe Wayoshi told me he wasn't the OG Willy, he just adopted it later to blow of 'crat steam. Flashy way of getting stress out. But I'm glad to have been his friend and I'm glad all his accomplishments are still here, like the Awards. <turns to audience> He was behind pretty much everything except The 'Shroom, and even then he was the first Director. After Willy, you got the job.
HK-47: Super Mario Bros. (talk) does a great job. The 'Shroom truly flourishes these days. One hundred issues. Isn't that just astounding? I'm so proud of everyone who has picked up the pieces after I couldn't maintain it. I was clearly too young for that kind of responsibility. I was only fifteen, I think. Couldn't even drive!
Plumber: Oh yeah SMB is amazing. I can't believe how well-oiled this magazine is. 100 issues! The half a year I was Director, it seemed as if I had to move heaven and earth just to get an issue out with half the articles. I am proud that I left behind an elections system, that's probably my biggest institutional legacy here come to think of it. Whoever runs this thing should know what they're getting into. SMB delegates things much better than I ever did. Glowsquid (talk) also gets props for that — I think he created the Vice Director post.
HK-47: I forgot you were director for a while. Do you want to talk about that some more?
Plumber: Sure, sure. You were retired, that's why I got the position. Back in the day, there used to be an Editor-in-Chief position under the Director. You were the first Editor-in-Chief, and succeeded Wayoshi as Director. I was the second. But when I got the Director job, the wiki was in the midst of the blackout. So it was too chaotic a time to really find a replacement, and the best qualified people were retired or AWOL. I ended up running both jobs, which was a big hassle. It would take up half of my Saturday just to set up an issue. Glowsquid fixed this by creating the Vice Director position. Brilliant. Anyways, it was an honor and it was a great creative outlet for me, but I wish I had delegated better. I am happy that a lot of the little stylistic changes I made are still here. I ran it for a little less time than Wayoshi, but when I was too worn down by it I retired. And since I had no Editor-in-Chief to succeed me, I created the elections system. It's imperfect, but better than me accidentally getting it because you retired lol.
HK-47: We should probably wrap this up soon. I feel like there's so much we haven't covered... There were so many memories made here, so many friendships forged. While many of us have gone our separate ways, it's good to know that there are still people carrying on the legacy we left behind. The Super Mario Wiki is something special, and I'm proud to have been a part of it, if only for what will be a brief moment in its hopefully long and glorious existence. Any final words, Plumber?
Plumber: It's been an honor, Mario Wiki. Long live The 'Shroom!
HK-47: One last thought! We should get the gang back together. The whole gang. We'll have a big party in virtual space and reminisce. One year from today, on July 18th, 2016. Details forthcoming.
If you know how to get in touch with anyone from the old days that no one else can, let Plumber and me know! I can be contacted through Twitter as @CastleAlec or reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
One last time, I'm astounded and proud that The 'Shroom has reached such a golden landmark. One hundred issues is certainly nothing to sneeze at. I'm very honored that Crocodile Dippy (talk) and SMB asked me to write something for this auspicious occasion. Please, enjoy the rest of this issue and hopefully one hundred more.