THE TIDE TURNS
In the summer of 2000 all was not well on Lucianne.com - long-time posters who liked to log on for an hour or so during their coffee breaks were beginning to notice a disturbing change in the site. A new batch of dotcommers had registered, many of them displaying unpleasant racist tendencies.
Loonies like Jessie Jackson had always been a target for the Conservative readers and Rosie O'Donnell was dismissed as a wacko dyke. But now there was something...nasty about some of the posts and the staff were sometimes slow to react.
Several regulars left for a while, planning to return when things got better; others decided to ignore the political threads all together and began posting "funnies" from sites slightly further a field, like Electronic Telegraph and Reuters Odd.
The staff were not amused... Australian poster KingKangaroo discovered a new buddy, an American ex-pat living in Freemantle called Mr Peabody. When everyone else had long since gone to bed the pair would stage long, drunken chats about Aussie Rules Football and things that meant nothing to anyone else.
Insomniac and drunk JJ stumbled on the pair of them by chance - and began to join in their late-night tom-foolery. Other posters like Dawgsquat, a jovial Yank who liked posting his own self-designed "grinnies" and "smiley gifs" on the site, and Bluesduke, a mellowed out musician, also became members of the gang.
The contrast between the serious longtime Lucianne devotees like quidnunc (a retired policeman with no apparent sense of humor) and the newbies could not have been greater. To make matters worse the whipper-snappers were starting to incroach onto the political threads, simply to bait the likes of quidnunc.
Mr Peabody, or Peabers as friends dubbed him, even started posting under another name - quidmumc - an over-the-top caricature of the preposterous quidnunc.
Most Lucianne devotees thought he was a great improvement on the original! But there weren't too many chuckles on July 4 when White Supremacists attacked the site, posting racist garbage everywhere. The staff had been caught napping.
They wouldn't be again and it signalled the end of Lucianne.com as a chat room. The Humor Police had arrived...and noone was going to be laughing any more.