Off the keyboard of RE
Published originally on the Doomstead Diner
Discuss this article at the Anniversary Party inside the Diner
A Century ago in 1912, Women got the Vote. How much difference Women’s Suffrage made in the outcome of Industrialization is an Open Question. 100 Years Later, in February of 2012, the Doomstead Diner was born. How much difference this Blog can or will make is an Open Question also. Regardless of how it plays out long term though, it has already exceeded my Wildest Dreams which began during the Financial Crisis of 2008
Back in 2008 when I first became aware of, and then began writing on Collapse topics, I never expected to become a “Blogger” or manager of a Website like the Doomstead Diner. I just enjoyed sparring on the Internet Message Boards on quite a few topics, mostly not related to Collapse or Economics or Politics at all. At least not directly anyhow.
The event in 2008 that took all my interest away from other topics and got me focused on Collapse Issues was the failure of the Investment Bank and Brokerage firm Bear Stearns. I started investigating causes for this on the net, while pondering in my own mind in greater depth the nature of our Monetary system. I ran into an article by Antal Fekete (a notorious Gold Bug) on Irredeemable Debt, and found the term “Peak Oil” mentioned on a few websites. I Googled the term, and found my way to the PeakOil.com Message Board, where I was a fairly Notorious poster on and off for a couple of years, first under the Nom de Plume of Rogue Economist, then Reverse Engineer after the former ID was Banned.
My habits of getting into protracted arguments with other message board posters and writing some pretty long comments, along with having a pretty idiosyncratic viewpoint not popular with Group Think on Peak Oil eventually led to my being banned there, not once but twice. In the interim though I learned a lot about Peak Oil, Overshoot, Debt Based Economics and Complexity problems, all of which continue to plague the society and will for the forseeable future as well.
For someone as addicted to internet writing and debate as I am, what getting Banned from Peak Oil meant was that I had to go searching for other forums where these issues were being discussed, leading me for a short time to Karl Denninger’s Ticker Forum, then Jim Quinn’s The Burning Platform. Eventually got Banned from both those websites also, a frustrating experience which led me to set up a small Message Board on the Yahoo Groups system called “Reverse Engineering“. Into that group I invited a few of the friends I had made in my travels around the Collapse Blogosphere, most notably Peter who I met on Ticker Forum and Surly who I met on TBP.
Reverse Engineering was a tight knit and congenial place for a few of us to discuss Collapse related issues. I probably would have stayed there with my friends was it not for Yahoo Bots preventing me from writing some things, which led Peter to suggest to me that we leave Yahoo and set up our own Website. I was amenable to the idea, but wanted a website which would have all the Bells & Whistles I like for snazzing up a post, pictures, videos, graphic layout ability etc. I also wanted a Database structure for messages as opposed to the single comment streams WordPress offers. The structure Peter merged combined WordPress with Simple Machines Forum software, and the Doomstead Diner was BORN! One year ago this week, mid-February 2012.
The first year of the Diner has seen amazing growth, in fact exponential growth for the first 6 months or so. From the 14 Founding Members we began with, there are now over 400 Diners, sprinkled out World Wide. From the early days where we got 5000 Page Hits in a Month, to nowadays where we often get over 10,000 Page Hits/Day. From the beginning where I wrote more than half of the Blogs, to now where we have numerous Cross Posting Bloggers and other Native Diner Bloggers as well contributing thoughtful essays to our Blog Homepage.
The Blog however is really just the Tip of the Iceberg on the Doomstead Diner, where most of the Daily Cornucopia of Information and Discussion found is Inside the Diner, on the pages of the Simple Machines Forum software. The debate is often raucous, no posting is ever Censored, and no Diner is ever Banned. That doesn’t mean there isn’t Editorial Control though, there most certainly is. Like any other Internet Forum, the Diner is subject to Trolling and Monopolization of discussion by people who have their own agendas, or work for Goobermint or Industry and troll to promote those agendas. As Manager of the Diner, I move around the posting, pushing some things to the bottom of the inside pages, promoting other things to the Front Page. The Diner therefore most certainly has a specific Spin and Agenda, but opposing ideas can always be expressed, even if they don’t make the Front Page.
One of the things about all regular Diners realize is that eventually access to the Internet will be limited for any number of reasons. One is of course that we live in an increasingly controlled Police State, where Freedom of Speech presents the greatest threat to control by The Powers That Be. The ability of Websites like the Diner to exist at all without running afoul of DHS or NDAA Rules becomes more limited by the day, and really its mainly how Popular you are and how much Readership you get which determines when TPTB will set loose the Dogs of the Gestapo on you. Small, marginal Blogs and Message Boards get little attention from TPTB, they don’t reach enough people to present any threat to the Status Quo. On the other hand though, once you achieve the Notoriety of a Julian Assange or an Aaron Swartz, the FULL FORCE AND POWER of the State will be dropped upon you. Fortunately or Unfortunately depending on how you look at it, the Doomstead Diner has nowhere near THAT level of Notoriety yet, and so we still are allowed to operate fairly free of interference, at least insofar as I can tell anyhow.
The danger of becoming a Target of the Gestapo is only one of the reasons why the Digital Publication of the Doomstead Diner will not persist in perpetuity. The resource constraints in Energy and the failing Economic system are at least as likely to take the Diner down as the Gestapo are. The Internet is highly consumptive of Energy to run, I have read estimates that it takes as much as 10% of the Electrical Power Generation of the Fascist States of America to run all the Routers and move around all the Digibits every day. Then there is your OWN ability to access electricity to run your Laptop or Tablet to read what is published, and/or replace your Laptop with a new Chinese manufactured one when the Motherboard or Hard Drive or LCD screen gives up the ghost. These things don’t last forever you know.
With all these Issues in mind, here on our 1 Year Anniversary of the Doomstead Diner, we are beginning the process of converting many of the Articles written on the Diner Blog into Adobe Acrobat PDF Document form, which you can store on digital media, and/or Print Out onto Acid Free Paper, as a Record of the Collapse as Witnessed by the Diner Bloggers. It certainly does not Capture all written on the Diner, you would have to be able to D/L the database from the SMF to do that, and as of yet we have no way to do that. Until we do, the best way to keep up to date on all issues related to the Collapse of Industrial Civilization and catch the perspectives of a few of the Self-Styled Pundits who write regularly inside the Diner is to visit our Blog and Forum each day.Meawhile, until a perfect method is euidated by the Diner Geek Squad, here is the first issue of the Diner Webzine, Vol 1, Issue 1 Feb 2012. Who konws,. someday it might be worth as much as Spiderman #1.
When the Internet finally does Go Dark however, the Doomstead Diner Webzine cataloguing our Monthly Articles beginning with the Inaugural Issue of February 2012 will provide some written record of a Civilization Collapse in Progress. My gratitude to Diner Moderator Monsta666 for his work and effort in creating this Diner Webzine for the Information Collectors, in the HOPE some of what went down here at the End of the Age of Oil can be passed on, not just one Generation down the line, but many. So that when finally there is a Rebirth, the same Mistakes are not made again.