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Monday, June 30, 2014

Closing the Book on Yesterday(Land)

I'm still trying to get used to the fact that MOTIVATION MONDAYS are completely different now that the chat show that I was a part of is now on hiatus.  But, I've always been the kind of person to roll with the punches, and I've faced down dozens of challenges before and come out the other side.

Well, I've decided that for this edition of MOTIVATION MONDAY, I'm going to motivate all of you to do something.  And this is based on an event that I had to deal with recently, and unfortunately is something that I still have to put up with years later.

My advice to everybody reading this blog entry for today is simple. 
Don't let hatred and grudges destroy your life.  You can choose not to like someone.  You can choose to cut toxic people out of your life, even.  But eventually most people move on from that and go on with their lives to achieve greatness.  I'll be the first one to admit that I had difficulty moving on from some of the nastiness that I had to endure when I was younger, but I'm well on my way to becoming a better person.

And do you want to know why?  Because I don't hold grudges.  I don't let hate take over my life.  And, I think I'm better for it.

That being said, I'm absolutely amazed by the number of people who continue to hold grudges and abuse people some one, five, even ten years after something happened.  And up until the last few days, I didn't have an answer as to why grown adults would choose to hold onto feuds and grudges for so long.

I now have my answer.  And, I'll share that revelation a little bit later on in this piece.  But, in the meantime, I'm sure you want to know exactly what happened that inspired this entry.  In order to set up the story, we ironically enough have to go back in time thirteen years ago to the summer of 2001.

I even remember the exact date it all began, my memory is that good.  Saturday, July 28, 2001.  

That was the day that I joined an Internet community called "Yesterdayland" under the screenname of jugheadjones12 (The screenname is my favourite comic character as well as the age I was when I dressed as him for Halloween).  It was a website that was dedicated to childhood memories and focused on toys, television, fashion trends, movies, music, and arcade games of the past.  In fact, I have to tell you that this website was a huge influence in my decision to make this particular blog pop culture themed. 

But that really wasn't the only influence that the site had on me.

I joined Yesterdayland during a very vulnerable time in my life.  The spring and summer of 2001 was a rough time.  My grandfather died of a stroke, I missed getting back into my program in university by a tenth of a percentage point, and all of the friends that I had made during that year of university had all gone their separate ways, and I had lost contact with all of them.  So, when I say that I was feeling a little bit alone and unsure of what I was going to do, I meant it.  I just needed somewhere where I could talk to people.  I needed a place where I could be myself.  I needed a distraction.

Yesterdayland was that distraction.

I joined that summer, and immediately made a lot of connections (many of which I still have some thirteen years later).  I know some people look at Internet forums as being nothing special, and many see them as being incredibly outdated with dozens of social networking options available.  But for me (and I'm sure many people from Yesterdayland can vouch for this), it was a real bonding experience.  Many of us became friends both on and offline.  There were Christmas card exchanges.  We had Secret Cupid games going on.  Some members even fell in love with each other, got married, and started families.  For many of us, we held Yesterdayland in such high regard that when the site imploded almost two years after I joined, it was a really sad experience.  The place where all of us had bonded was no more, and we were all left wondering what was next.

And, unfortunately, right around the time that Yesterdayland folded was the time in which some of us saw the true colours of some of the members on the site...and they weren't pretty.

You've likely seen the words "troll" or "flamer" posted on Internet message boards.  It's a term used for people who knowingly go onto online communities to manipulate people into turning on other users, or who post controversial links or images that are designed to cause a riot, or who plainly insult other posters in plain sight while hiding behind a keyboard.  Most of the trolls are pretty harmless and can easily be ignored...but weeks before Yesterdayland went offline, the trolls had taken over the boards, and many people decided to create "refugee" boards, so to speak, to get away from the disaster.  I and several other people found ourselves as members of a group called "Memory Lane", and for a few weeks, it was nice.  It wasn't as fancy as Yesterdayland was, but it was enough. 

At least that was the case until some people decided to confess on "Memory Lane" that they purposely decided to become trolls in an effort to show the owners of Yesterdayland exactly what they thought of them.  And that angered a lot of people, including myself.  Granted, the owners of Yesterdayland basically abandoned the site in the last few months of its life, but why would they have thought that posing as trolls to stick it to them was an appropriate solution?  I had been personally attacked by some of those troll names, so it really felt like a betrayal of sorts.  And, I'm sure that I'm not the only one who felt that way.

Long story short, those people either were kicked off of "Memory Lane", or left on their own accord, and started up a third site (complicated to follow along with, huh).  And their site was much more private, blocking everybody out who wasn't a part of their group - which was fine by me, as after their little moment of confession, I really didn't want anything to do with them anyway.  By that time, the Yesterdayland crew had gotten things together and started up a brand new site dedicated to pop culture.

Enter Retroland - a site that was founded in 2005.  I became a member in December of that year, and it was amazing just how much it was like Yesterdayland.  I thought that for one brief, shining moment that we could recreate the Yesterdayland site with Retroland and have everything go back to the way it was.

Of course, a lot of feelings had been hurt in between those two years, and some of those feelings were still raw.  And before we knew it, the people from "Memory Lane" were clashing with the people who had started up the secret third site, causing all sorts of tension and stress on the boards.  By then, I was tired of seeing people insulting each other and using passive-aggressive behaviour to try and make others feel inferior or outcast.  And, anyone who knows me knows that I can't stand passive-aggressive behaviour. 

Perhaps that's what made me decide to take on a job as moderator of Retroland, which was simultaneously the dumbest, but smartest move I ever made.  I loved the site, and I wanted to be a part of it in some manner, and when given the opportunity, I took it thinking that it would be a great experience.

And, there were definite pros to the gig.  It helped me deal with conflict resolution a lot better, and it helped me become a better judge of character (and to see exactly when people were telling me the truth, or lying to my face.  Trust me, it's a handy skill to have in life). 

However, the minute I became a moderator, the majority of people from the group that deserted "Memory Lane" seemed to make it their personal mission to make my job incredibly difficult.  They hurled insults at me, used passive-aggressive behaviour to poke fun at myself, my friends, and my family, and they did everything in their power to test my patience.  It never worked though.  As much as it killed me to not hit ignore on all of them (as a moderator, you have to watch every single comment, no matter how much they hurt), I did the job to the best of my ability.  And, I kept my cool during the whole process.  I only ever remember losing my temper with one member, and even so, it was kept off the boards, and I didn't even get that upset.  I believed in moderating behind the scenes, because the last thing I wanted was to add fuel to the to speak.

But after a year of moderating Retroland, I resigned from the position.  But it wasn't because of the group who kept attacking me on the site.  I wouldn't give them the satisfaction - and besides, they weren't much of a threat anyway.  I resigned because once again the owners of the site abandoned ship, and didn't give me the tools necessary to do my job as a moderator.  And if you don't have the ability to delete obnoxious posts or shut down accounts of people who knowingly cause trouble, then there really was no point in sticking around.  And shortly after I left Retroland, the site was revamped, and the message board community was permanently disabled.  It was a sad thing to see, but at the same time, I understood why it was necessary.

So, here we are.  Six years after I resigned as Retroland moderator.  Since that time, I've started up a blog, done a few charity events, am working a full-time job, and I've moved on from the whole experience.  The friends that I made from Yesterdayland, "Memory Lane", and Retroland are still friends today, and believe me when I say that they know who they are, and I love them for being who they are.  You guys will always have my friendship, and I will always have your back, no matter what.  And no matter where life takes us, we will always be a true Yesterdayland family, just as my co-workers are my workplace family, and so on and so forth.

Now here's where the epilogue comes into play.  Unfortunately with the cases of some of my friends from Yesterdayland/Retroland, I can't choose who they are friends with.  Some of my friends are pals with some of the people who caused so much tension and hostility on "Yesterdayland", "Memory Lane", and "Retroland", and that's cool.  I'm sure that I'm friends with some people that some of my friends don't like.  All you do is avoid that person.  Case closed.

Well, imagine my surprise when I responded to a post that a friend posted on her own wall on Facebook, and underneath my response, someone had posted a reply that passive-aggressively attacked me and my blog.  Although she didn't mention me by name, I recognized the name as being one of the people who purposely caused trouble on the site, and was one of the group that isolated themselves from "Memory Lane" all those years ago.  There she was, attacking me...years after my moderating gig on Retroland.  And, would you like to know something?  I honestly don't even remember doing anything to her at all.  If I did, I completely forgot about it because the experience that I had on those sites were in the past and I had moved on from it.  Therefore, I found it a little bit sad that she obviously still held a grudge and didn't even have the courage to explain why.

In short, she is a coward.  In fact, that's all that her group was.  A cowardly group of grown adults who attack and put down people to make themselves feel better.

And, I decided to record a video message to these people to close the book once and for all.  Even though I've blocked most of them on social media and they won't be able to see it here...I'm convinced that they're going to find a way to see it anyway.  Because unlike them, I have no problem telling it like it is.

So, here they are.  My final thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. Matt, I am curious, before shut down in 2003, how many people were Registered Members of the site, myself and others think Yesterdayland should return with the same look and feel that it had before it shut down, with the working Messageboards and everything, what is being done to bring back Yesterdayland and "Memory Lane" both were great websites... You can e-mail me at - Jeff