Message Board Chronology
|Jaxel||Board 1||June 19, 1999||November 14, 1999|
|Jaxel||Board 2||November 14, 1999||December 14, 1999|
|Jaxel||Board 3||December 14, 1999||September 25*, 2000|
|Jaxel||Board 4||September 25*, 2000||April 1, 2001|
|Interim||UPN Refuge||April 3/5, 2001||August* 2001|
|Interim||Chaka's UBB||August 2001||April 2002?|
|Kuno||first attempt||mid-December 2001||Janurary 3rd 2002|
|Kuno||UPNetwork.net||March 8th 2002||November __ 2006|
|Kuno||UPNetwork.net||November __ 2006||present day|
* indicates a possibly incorrect date warranting peer review
The Jaxel Era
The Universal Pokemon Network website dates back to February 14, 1999. It was created by Jason Axelrod, also known as Jaxel, a teenager at the time who lived in New Jersey and was trying to cash in on the internet profit bubble before it burst. The webforum was created in June 1999. Many people cite the date as June 19, although Jaxel himself had forgotten the precise date within two years.
The history of the four message boards (known as Board 1, Board 2, Board 3, and, Board 4) spans nearly two years. Notable veterans from the first four boards include Jaxel's staff and many other prominent regulars. All four iterations of the message board were UBB. Board 1's color layout was a black background, orange foreground, with dark and mid-gray for the textbox fillcolors and white text as a default. Board 2 made a switch to a white background, blue foreground, with light and not-so-light blue as the textbox fillcolors and black text as default. This scheme was also standard for Boards 3 and 4.
The UPNetwork community took root in several locations between April 2001 and August 2002. This chaotic year can be thought of as the second era. Relatively few members who joined at this point remain today, a possible reflection of the unwelcome chaos of the times. The first of the successful post-Jaxel boards was called the UPN Refuge, also known as Board 5. It consisted almost entirely of Jaxel's staff and their friends. It was a small EZBoard operated by previous forum administrator Kojiro. The color scheme was identical to that of the previous three boards, although the banner was a chibi-devil with >< for eyes and a P for a tongue.
Chaka, a 3rd-Board member who was Kojiro's online girlfriend at the time, led the operations for the sixth board, a UBB. The move was made to a server hosted by BulbaGardens, where Chaka's private webpage was hosted. Unaware of the traffic problems UPNetwork would cause for them, BMG's Chris was initially more than happy to let Chaka host the UPNetwork UBB on the BMG server. However, frequent server downtimes caused by BMG's own downfall (and exacerbated by UPN 6's bandwidth grabs) caused many UPNetwork members to leave the Chaka-BBS and grow upset with the decision to leave the EZBoard. This growing dislike for the Chaka forums, coupled with an increasing interest in the forums started by newbie Midevil Mewtwo, would lead to the start of UPN's third era.
The Kuno Era
Headmaster Kuno, also known by the names Holy Emperor and his original handle of Midevil Mewtwo, could be said to have started the 3rd UPNetwork forum era at any number of dates. It is commonly accepted that by no later than January 1, 2003, the UPNetwork crown had been claimed by Kuno and most of the Jaxel-era members were either gone for good or were content to choose Kuno's forum as a home base. Kuno brought with him many of his own personal friends from outside of UPN, and his forums have also been respectably active in new-user registrations, particularly when one considers the dwindling interest in Pokémon. In this sense, the modern UPNetwork is often viewed by outsiders and insiders alike as slightly schizoid, with different apparent cliques that are interrelated through common links, primarily Kuno. Easily-observable examples of these cliques include the Jaxel-era members, the Kuno-era staff, and the members dedicated to the popular RPGs PASBL and Fizzy Bubbles.
In November 2006, a security exploit in vBulletin allowed somebody to "hack" the forums. They maliciously deleted all of the threads and their posts. Member accounts were left intact, and after dispelling the attacker and upgrading to the newest version of vBulletin, Kuno was able to retrieve some of the old threads from the years 2002-2006 and carry them over to the new forums. The loss of his hard drive in January 2007, however, means that the remainder of the threads are lost forever. It is estimated that well over half of the original threads had not yet been re-uploaded.
No great shifts in the community social structure or in the forums' visible look changed as a result of the hacking incident, and for this reason, there appears to be little difference in people's minds between Kuno's first long-running vBulletin and his newest one. UPNetwork.net is not even referred to with the monikers "Board 1" and "Board 2" the way Jaxel's forums were, a likely proof of the fact that people respond to visual upgrades (such as color schemes and button icons) much more so than to invisble security upgrades. (It should be noted that there was a period of one to two weeks in which the board was visibly different, prior to Kuno upgrading the old color schemes for the modern vBulletin code.)
Famous Threads or Concepts
- furniture pr0n (SiN) (Board 1)
- Short Shorts and Skirts (Board 1)
- Confessions (Kojiro, iirc) (Board 1)
- Ultra Vegeta Sig (halloweenjack) (Board 3)
- moderator nomination discussions (esp. Tea) (Boards 3 and 4)
- Leto mailed Australian biscuits called Tim Tams to several members
- Kojiro visited Chaka in Chicago
- Leto's Sex Thread (a discussion at Board 5 on sex)
- Leto's Philosophy thread (a discussion at Board 5 on philosophy)
- Wish & Religion thread (a discussion on religion, Christ, and life, also at Board 5)
- The Holy Name Craze
- The November __ 2006 Hacking Incident
A Note on Nomenclature
An important thing to note is the difference in domain addresses between Jaxel's community and Kuno's. Although both message boards are collectively referred to as "the UPNetwork" or "UPN", Jaxel's domain was http://www.upnetwork.com/ and the name stood for Universal Pokémon Network. The domain that Kuno purchased was http://www.upnetwork.net/ because the price being offered at the time for Jason's domain was too expensive. Several members (most notably Jaxel himself) did not approve of this move on Kuno's part, but Kuno maintained that his community was different from Jason's by saying that the official name for his website was the Ultimate Pokémon Network.
To this day, Jaxel does not approve of Kuno's decision. However, many veteran members of the Jaxel Era who were originally skeptical of Kuno's decision to try and start upnetwork.net have since given in, no longer viewing it as a faux pas and instead as an homage or even as fair use. Any desire to reclaim the domain name http://www.upnetwork.com/ has all but vanished at this point. Kuno, who was viewed even in the earlier days of the interim period as a talkative newbie, has since become cemented in UPNetwork community history as a long-time leader of the forums. The very idea that some members may view him as a newbie baffles more recent members.
- The History of the UPNetwork, an ongoing thread about the Jaxel era as seen through the eyes of those who experienced it, 3+ years after it ended
- ChaosRocket's Archive, an archive of threads, mostly from boards 3-4 of UPN
- UPNetwork members' writing was plagiarized (March 14, 2006)
- a sample of a thread written in the final days of Board 4 (March 24, 2001)
- an example of a famous Jaxel-era signature can be seen here with halloweenjack's (March 25, 2001)
- this same page reveals Holy Emperor's original posting style as Midevil Mewtwo (March 25, 2001)