Things TDot Likes: The Wolf Web

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Dec 30, 2010 in Things TDot Likes | Subscribe

Not only did Tuesday include one of the most awesome-est football games I’ve ever seen in my life, it also marked 10 years ( :eek: ) since I first became a member of the online message board community called The Wolf Web :D

Partial Screenshot of the TWW homepage

TWW was started back in April 2000, at the tail end of what turned out to be the dot.com bubble. Even though it wasn’t officially affiliated with N.C. State University it quickly turned into the de facto social network for the Wolfpack nation.

So on that December 28, as I was sitting in the offices of the McKinney & Silver ad agency trying to find ways to kill time (I was working as their under-utilized courier back then), someone suggested I check out the site as a way for me to stay connected to NCSU while I wasn’t enrolled in school… and I signed up :)

I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours of my life got spent talking with folks on that site since then :beatup:

There’s little I can write in this entry to adequately describe what TWW was like back then. There were all sorts of people. All sorts of debates. All sorts of controversies. If anything of interest was happening on or near the N.C. State campus, odds were good you could get real-time and accurate information from TWW — something local news stations actually did on multiple occasions (I’m looking at you WRAL) well before stuff like Facebook and Twitter were even invented.

Some of News14's hacked closing reports

Students went to TWW for the news and gossip, like when a faculty member’s online nude photos of herself got discovered and she went to the press claiming they were photoshop’d instead.  But there were also plenty of times when the TWW membership created the news themselves.

For example, when the NCSU Campus Police made their blotter publicly available on the web without taking the appropriate steps to secure it — they included the username and password in the source code :crack: — folks on TWW exploited the lax security and started posting fake entries (typically including derogatory remarks toward the police).

Similar hilarity had ensued a couple months earlier in February 2004 when the Triangle was crippled by a massive snowstorm and News14 Carolina made a poorly-moderated web app for reporting (and later editing) event closings. TWW found out, and I’ve got about a dozen screenshots like the ones on the left from some of the entries that were added :mrgreen:

The also played a decisive role in 2007 when a certain non-traditional student decided to run a campaign for Student Senate President against a guy who happened to like our University’s arch-rival :angel:

I spent the next 2 years regularly recruiting student leaders from them, hitting the boards for info and suggestions, and putting the concept of “netroots” activism into practice — not only proving it could be done, but getting to thumb my nose at people who said it couldn’t ;)

Awesome photo courtesy of TWWer ambrosia1231

There were a fair share of somber moments too, as you’d probably expect from a massive community of people spanning ten years. I found out not too long ago that a friend I had met through the site — and who took what is probably the single best photo of 雅雅 and I ever — passed away in October :(

But she and her husband, perhaps not surprisingly, met through TWW too (cue the “awwwww”). For every sad moment in the past decade, there seems to be a counterbalance by at least a dozen or more happy ones :)

Even though The Wolf Web’s heyday in the mid-2000s has long past, and it’s been fighting the “this place seems like it’s on the decline” perception since at least 2004, I’ve been blessed to meet dozens of really cool and interesting people since I signed up on that dreary December day ten years ago.

TWW kept me tied to N.C. State when I seriously thought I was never coming back. It provided a forum for me to develop my debating skills. Its members got me elected to office. And it kept me occupied and out of trouble for God-knows-how-many hours of my life ;)

Not to mention giving me a topic for a blog entry :beatup:

So to the creators and members of The Wolf Web: thanks :*

Have a great night everybody!

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