September 27th, 2004, 06:25 AM
Getting Back To The Going Back
Where do I even begin? Considering that I am not affiliated with this site in any official way shape or form, it's probably not even my place to make a post like this. However, having founded this site I think I have a unique perspective on some things. Besides, when the hell have I ever cared about what was my place and what wasn't?
I have entitled this thread "Getting Back To The Going Back", because I think that's exactly what needs to happen. I think this site needs to start getting back to the business of going back to its roots.
As everyone knows (at least everyone that's been around for a while), I made the personal decision to sell this site in February of 2003. I don't regret that decision, and on a personal level, I am still glad that I made it. However, what I DO regret, is the evolution that the site has slowly taken since then.
I really haven't had much of anything to do with the site since I rid myself of it, and have just recently started coming back to read a little here and there. I have to say, that I am totally ashamed of what it has become. A meaningful site that once made international headlines on a regular basis for the innovative thoughts, ideas, and investigations that frequented its pages, now resembles something more of a highschool cafeteria. Researchers from the Department of Defense, FBI Agents, and some of the worlds leading minds of security, who once posted articles or ideas or sent in emails on a regular basis, have been replaced with immature teenagers who are being allowed to run rampant. The Ricks Cafe in the Casablanca World Of Hacking (as ABC News once dubbed it), has turned into a glorified PeeWee's Playhouse. The site has become so irrelevant, that those in the underground hacking community aren't even actively running websites to bash it anymore.
The question I've seen a lot of people asking, is WHY? Well, there's a lot of blame to go around I fear.
For starters, Jupiter Media and I did not end up on good terms after the acquisition. I tried, but honestly THAT part of the blame falls squarely on their shoulders. MY part of the blame, is that after it was all said and done, I chose to abandon the site all together, and no longer actively participate in discussions. I don't mean to come off egotistical, as if I was carrying the site on my shoulders alone. However, I was the one providing direction for nearly a decade, and to just leave things to its own devices in a time of transition was probably not wise on my part.
The AntiPoints System. It was experimental, and under development, when the site was acquired by Jupiter Media. Unfortunately, a system that was never intended to be the way it was, stayed the way it is. The end result? Immature teenagers have WAY too much control over the site. Threads that even remotely discuss hacking or intrusion, and the people that start them, are immediately shot to hell. Remember the original motto of the site? "Hackers Know The Weaknesses In Your System, Shouldn't You?" Granted, Jupiter Media changed it after they acquired the site ("Maximum Security For A Connected World", sorry but I liked mine better), but that didn't mean that the very essence of the site, what it had been, and what had made it so popular for so very long, should be forgotten.
The Moderation. I was asked by Jupiter Media to select who I thought would be good human moderators to help keep an eye on things after I left. I chose Negative and MsMittens. Negative, because no one really liked him, and he knew it. Not to be insulting, but you need to have a moderator around that doesn't really give a **** about what people say or think of him, and isn't afraid to lay down the law. MsMittens, because she was a teacher, and was familiar with main stream security practices. You need someone that has the teacher mindset on a site like this, to help foster growth and ideas. Together, I think they made the perfect couple.
Unfortunately, what neither of them have become are figureheads for the site. There is no "One" that the members look to for real direction. Believe me, I'm not saying that such a responsibility is that of Negative OR MsMittens. They're just moderators, and have no control or say over how the site is run. They're both doing a great job moderating for the most part IMHO, but they have no direction, just like the site doesn't. Why? Because no one is providing it for them. Whose fault is that in the end? Well, I really can't see anyone to blame other than the current owners.
The Users and The Content. No offense guys, but most of you have absolutely no clue what the hell you are talking about. This, in and of itself is fine. One of AntiOnline's goals is to educate the masses. However, when you start threads or reply to questions acting like you know what the hell you're talking about, you're doing nothing but lower the cumulative IQ of the userbase. I use to make fun of and publicly humiliate you people on a regular basis to help keep things in check. No one's doing that anymore, perhaps someone should volunteer to start.
I honestly don't know why a lot of you even visit the site. You seem to have no security expertise, no desire to gain security expertise, and don't even seem to care about the topic at all. I suspect that many have been banned from AOL chatrooms and have found their way here. We use to have a laundry list of three letter governmental organizations and private sector security experts frequenting the site that helped to balance things out as well. I think virtually all of them have vanished. Why? Because AntiOnline isn't competitive anymore.
There's no REASON for intelligent security professionals to visit AntiOnline anymore. AntiOnline used to have a niche: covering, reporting on, and exposing the hacker underground; both its methods and its members. NO one else was or even IS doing that. AntiOnline is trying to compete on the mainstream side of the security industry, something that it CAN NEVER do. Sites like SecurityFocus are and always will be the leaders in that department. Have you noticed in the last year and half, that the number of mainstream news stories about hackers has decreased SIGNIFICANTLY? The only time you ever read about a hacker or a hackgroup is after the FBI issues a press release when they blindly manage to capture one, something that doesn't happen very often. AntiOnline was THE generator of the mainstream news stories on the topic. We were the conveyor belt of information from one side to the other.
Focus. You must have focus Daniel-Son! This is my fault too. I NEVER EVER NEVER should have started up the General Chit Chat, Cosmos, and non-security related forums. A site without focus is without direction, and you end up with the mess there is now. I SHOULD have started a second site, that used the same user database that AO did, that would be geared towards non-security related discussions. This way, when you register for AO, you're automatically registered for the second site. When you want to talk security, you come to AO. When you want to talk politics or religion, you go to the second site. I think if I had kept control of the site, this is the direction I would have went after I started seeing how off-topic things were becoming.
In reality, I think the new owners need to wake up and pay some attention to poor old AntiOnline. It needs help, and is suffering from the natural results of neglect. It needs a good swift kick in the ass, followed by some tender loving care. So, my challenge to Jupiter Media is the following:
1. Get this site a figurehead. Go to Monster.com and find one!
2. Axe the current forum software and start fresh. The AntiPoints System sucks, and the changes that you've made to it (like no more anonymity) make it suck even more. Put an end to Teenage control of AntiOnline!
3. Get rid of all of the old, stale ass content that's still linked up on the right hand side of the front page. Get people to update things, and create new content!
4. Get rid of the forums that aren't topic-specific. Either axe them all together, or migrate them to a site of their own with a shared user database.
5. Provide some direction. What the hell is the purpose of this site? Let people know what you expect!
6. Dig up some more real users. Beg people that you know that are involved in the security profession, pay people, or kidnap someone from one of the DOD's InfoWar Centers and force them to post!
7. Start promoting AntiOnline again! Get it back in the news, back in people's minds.
8. Oook, this one I don't really expect because you are a public company and all. But it would REALLY REALLY REALLY be nice to see you piss someone in the hacker underground the hell off. The return of the AntiOnline Sucks websites would be good not only for AntiOnline, but the entire security profession as a whole. Honest it would! My Non-Compete doesn't expire for a few more months yet, or I'd get back to pissing them off myself. In the meantime, hrm well, MsMittens or Negative, come on, you just KNOW you want Attrition.org to start up a section about how you two are in reality aliens from mars, or at least a nice paragraph or two about why you suck so bad!
People need to feel like they're part of something special again. While I think that most people would consider AntiOnline's current condition as being "special", I don't think it's the type of "special" that we would all like to see. People get excited and contribute when there's something exiting to contribute to!
Things need shaken up around here!
September 27th, 2004, 06:38 AM
hmmm saying what's been said time and time again. Although this is more of an eloquent way of putting it. I think the impression that jupiter media got was that the site could sustain itself. What they failed to realize is that the community needed hand holding to keep it functional. I've been here for quite some time now and have seen a few iterations of the site. Nothing of substance has been created since they took over, I'd have to agree with you there JP. It is kind of a joke when the hottest topics on a security site are about antipoints.
We want to be a part of something special, sure..but what is special about a dime a dozen security forum that is run by a corporation that doesn't really contribute to their own investment? So, what can be done that is creative? I can't really come up with any good suggestions right now, although I intend to expand the forensics forum in to something useful. I know you have experience in that field JP...so share.
I was on freenode the other day and someone was talking smack about antionline still...then I reminded him that you sold the site and he laughed and said it still sucked because jupiter media owned it. That's gotta count for something!
Antionline in a nutshell
\"You\'re putting the fate of the world in the hands of a bunch of idiots I wouldn\'t trust with a potato gun\"
Trust your Technolust
September 27th, 2004, 06:40 AM
So make a new site... I'll join it.
Are there any legal roadblocks? Would JupM approve of a site like the original AO?
I'm guilty of not having work experience in security, but I think others would agree that I contribute w/o participating in the high school drama or AP olympics or whatever. I would like a site that was more aggresive towards security topics.
September 27th, 2004, 06:49 AM
your right JP noone gives a **** about this site anymore .. its dropped off the radar completely .. and if you read the main page its more of a tech support centre and has nothing to do with security ... even tho i couldnt contribute that much if it went back to being totally security related i would like to see it go that way ..... I do however still like the general computer discussion.
ps. not saying that i contribute much useful **** now ..
I'd be happy to post maybe once a month because that is all i could contribute as im not experienced in security.
How unusual a great thing that has become to commercialized .. its all about making money and not really caring for the site ...... damn you commercialization .. damn you!!
September 27th, 2004, 06:54 AM
I would bet you a lot of money none of this will happen. When the non-compete clause expires, make another one with all the features and things you want. That way, the real users can follow suit, sites can bash you once again, and have this site finally whither and die.
September 27th, 2004, 07:11 AM
The first thing I did after reading this was to see if YICS was up. It confirmed what I was thinking as I read this. A community without direction is doomed to completely drop off of the radar. And AO has become akin to driving a truck load of bricks down a hill without brakes...it could keep going, but who really wants to be there when one of the tires decides to blow out?
I even did some googling on terms I've linked from many different websites. AO is no longer on top of the results. Google even returns results from websites that folded and merged a few months ago on top of AO's results. What kind of sign is that about AO's general direction? I wouldn't be supprised if AO's Store comes out ontop of the main AO website in the future... How would Jupiter Media respond to that?
Well, good luck to AO. May the (other) dead site in my search finally get off of Google search results so that AO can finally overcome it...
September 27th, 2004, 07:38 AM
So shake things up and piss some people off and that's all???? Hell I'll do that now. I'm still a button pusher, ****, how many times have I started **** just to start it? This no one cares about the site attitude pisses me off.
The APs thing, I don't think there is a problem. Abuse used to be a problem, and rarely is now. I know some members here really have no business even being here as they contribute nothing. Not that I'm some AP super star who contributes the best threads ever, but **** I think the people on AO could at least agree that I add my own special quality to AO. And I make you all laugh. I don't care if it's with me or at me.
I don't think the new owners are bad people. You do kind of come off as if they are complete and utter monsters, which they aren't. I think one thing that needs to change though is this bullshit of everyone saying what's wrong and doing **** all to change it.
Let me say that again just to clarify :
GET OFF YOUR GEEK BASTARD ASS AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT WUSS!
There are reasons people think the page sucks now, but if the MEMBERS would stand up and actually post good things, it wouldn't. JUPM isn't your Mom or Dad, and they don't need to hold your hands while you take off in an adventure into computer security land.
I don't think it was a mistake to create non security related forums though. The Operating System forum isn't security related, but it's more than relevent to AO. You can't be a security guru if you don't know how your OS works. Besides it's also one of my favorite forums.
I begged for it and finally got it. Think of Jup as the Government, and Neg and MsMittens as ......... 7 Headed Aliens from Mars who have come here to take over the World one Security page at a time... Sorry that was way more interesting than saying Governors.
I would love to see non security related forums not count towards post count though. Or maybe doing away with post count all together. That could help stop this Rancid Fart from hell you people commonly call post whores.
How about adding a section for intrusions, attacks, defacements, and things of that nature? That could help keep people up to date on what the newest attacks are for that week. Something like "The Compromized" forum or something like that. That could help. and people could report break ins. Like When JP totally r00t3d that bag of chips earlier. (You really didn't expect me to stay serious the whole post did you?)
Ok, fine, I'll try harder:
Give me a week, and MAYBE I can talk my ISP into letting me hold a contest. I'll put one of my boxes up and let you all take some time and see if anyone can root me. I'll log everything, talk to the person, and make a paper about the whole thing, and anyone can jump in to write it and root it? How is that?
September 27th, 2004, 07:50 AM
Quality and content of the posts in this site, are dependant on one thing. the users that post them. the site you mention JP (the 'old AO') has gone because there is no control over members who join. floods of NFI-users have come through the gates, and as a forum, offer their ideas <b>equally</b> as users who have "more experience" (or at very least know what they are talking about) therefore the evolution you speek.
unfortuantly there is no way to control this, not that you would want to anyway because of the demands and work required.
as someone who knows the difference between now and the former AO, i agree with JP fully. remembering some of the topics that were opened during the time of the sale of AO to JUPM, they were mostly concerned with what WOULD happen to AO because of the changeover. keeping this in mind as everyone would have, it went ahead anyway and we have an undesired result. and although you single-handedly** (said in slang**) created this site, i dont believe that its something easily repaired
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius --- and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."
- Albert Einstein
September 27th, 2004, 07:52 AM
Gore, you're coming at things from the other direction. You're saying that the site, its content, and direction, is the USER'S responsibility, instead of the OWNER'S. I think the last year and a half has proven that if left to their own devices, the USERS will destroy a site in no time flat.
It is the responsibility of those that RUN the site to give it direction, focus, and to steer users into providing relevant content (aka posts).
I wasn't saying that Jupiter Media are "monsters". What I did say, is that it APPEARS as though the site is neglected. People can debate whether or not that is true, but I think that's the impression that most users have, and that new users would quickly form.
I guarantee you that if the old outdated content is taken off the main page, and replaced with a bunch of exciting new content, that you'd see users start to invest more time into thoughtful and on-topic content as well.
You can't expect people to invest their time into a website that looks as if it's not even trying anymore. Like everything else, leadership comes from the top.
As for "The Operating System forum isn't security related, but it's more than relevent to AO. You can't be a security guru if you don't know how your OS works."
True, but you can't learn anything from this site if you can't read either. Does that mean we should teach that here too? Focus, you must have focus.
"Besides it's also one of my favorite forums." Good, that's why it, along with other off-topic forums, should be moved to their own site.
September 27th, 2004, 07:57 AM
One thing holds true here. No matter what somebody does, somebody will bitch. Therefore, somebody has to step up and not care what others think and do what is best for the site.