Tuesday, December 2, 2008

History of the Exotic Internet Safari


I'm Fresh Heir, one of the original safari guides. In this post, I'll talk a bit about the safari and its exotic origins. If you've never been on an internet safari, but would like to join in, this is a good place to start.

Our home base is an internet forum which will (for the moment) remain nameless. A lot of "internet trolls" hang out there - creative folks who like causing a bit of chaos and discord on the internet. We've gone on countless fun trollish adventures... we've amped up the paranoia of reptillian conspiracy theorists, we've posted reams of bad poetry on goth forums, we've suggested inedible recepies on the Martha Stewart forums, and we've wrestled with pagans to accept the Unicron (a transformer) into their pantheon.

Trolling is good old fashioned fun. It's as old as the internet, and remains one of the few ways to really engage someone through this anonymous medium. Often, trolling is done purely for the amusement of the trolls, but we've definitely done our share of prosocial trolling. We've bombed pro-eating disorder websites, and we've poked fingers in the eyes of rabid fanatics of all colors - right wing, left wing, christians, atheists, you name a type of screetching idiot, we've probably trolled it.

But it takes a lot of energy and organization to cause disorder. At some point we decided we wanted to engage in a more lighthearted romp through the interweb. Something silly and fun. Play some games, maybe make some friends.

Also, we knew that there was a lot of unexplored territory on the internet. Personally, I'm fascinated by subcultures. I am a subcultural voyeur, always exploring different social communities to see what makes them tick. The Safari was conceived (in part) as a way of touring different communities and seeing what they're all about. And so it began...

Here was the snowball that started the avalanche: 

"We assemble team of people to go explore the internet. Every few days, pick another forum. We come in with over-the-top characters and generally hang around for a day or two, then skip town. If we're feeling adventurous, we could pick a new theme for each expedition.

Like on one forum we could all be members of the Fellowship of the Ring, and we're stopping at that forum on the trail of the ONE RING TO RULE THEM ALL

Or on another forum we'll beam in as a Star Trek away team. On day two a red shirt gets killed, and we retreat back into outer space

We can make serious conversation or just be silly

if we get chased out with torches and pitchforks that's okay too

The point is to meet as many people as possible and hopefully some cool ones. Or possibly just make a mess of the internet. Some of the expeditions will be lame, some will be hot damn awesome. Maybe we'll snag some new blood for our forum. Maybe we'll gather a lynch mob of people following us from board to board trying to thwart us

on each forum, at the end, we'll link to the next forum we're visiting. So future explorers can follow our trail across the intarblag

And so it began... We headed over to a forum, set up base camp, and got out of the boat as our over-the-top english explorer characters. We were in search of Dr. Livingstoned - maybe you've seen him?

At first, our explorers only conversed at base camp, a sort of "introduction thread" for the explorers. Then we began to chart the territory - finding good posts or images elsewhere on the board, and posting links in basecamp. Once a link was posted in basecamp, all the explorers would pop into that thread, offering commentary or ridiculous antics.

It wasn't too long before we were banned, but I feel that a good time was had by all. And that's another story, and shall be told another time.

Recently, there has been clamour for another series of safari tours. The internet is such a big, weird place, and it's exciting to explore back channels and forgotten URLs. The locals are always  unprepared for the appearance of a troupe of pith-hat wearing explorers poking about their forum as if it's an african jungle. Sometimes the reactions are good, sometimes they're bad, but WE always have a good time. And now that you've found us (or we've found you) you're welcome to tag along for the fun.

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