Everybody Hates Me Now So Fuck It

Fortunately for the site, attrition's wheel had turned right around elsewhere, too.

Over on Ex Libris Diabolis ­ the self-proclaimed "premiere"(sic) World of Bleakness Site" ­ Spectre: the Annihilation editor E. James Tourmaline was getting fed up with not getting his way. He was able to write a large number of things every month, but everything he sent in was always getting edited, chopped-up and reworked into forms that he didn't agree with. Finally, after seeing his latest Revised article being horribly mismanaged, he lost his shit, had a very public falling out with the editor/owner, and stomped off in a huff.

While still cooling his heels from that little embarrassment, he realized that he'd completely screwed the pooch: as much as Black Dog Developers and writers liked to snipe at ELD, and take potshots at the owner, writing on it was a great way to get noticed. How was he going to keep Spectre in the air without having at least three monthly articles on a recognized site? {And, on a more personal note, what about his own name?}

Then he remembered Spectral Undertakingz, and saw that not only had they NOT put anything up in the first year {including the bootlegs he'd disagreed with, before} but that they'd apparently lost a lot of their Malfeans. In fact, their webmaster - whose designs were never all that good, in E.'s eyes - seemed to have completely dropped offline...

Seeing an opportunity, E. decided to volunteer to be their new webmaster. He figured that he might get a real drubbing for the attempt, since he'd called them all a bunch of brainsmashed bootlegging butt-pirates, back in the day. But if there was any opposition to him coming on board, no one voiced it, and before long E. was a Malfean.

Given his background in various political groups in his college years, it didn't take too long for him to see why the site was going nowhere. He made a number of suggestions as to how to fix it, and these were readily adopted out of diffidence or desperation. In fact, the only Malfean who posed much resistance was the one whose older brother was providing the service space, but E. figured out how to play into his needs after a week or two, and from there on he could play the guy like a piano - most of the time...

The most noticeable of the big fixes - other than an open submissions policy - was a strict schedule of monthly updates, so as to get people to come around and stay around. E. also saw to it that a new, open-ended thread appeared in the forum at least once a week, so as to get people talking. And one of the less-braindamaged Malfeans was tasked to pop into the chat rooms at certain times, in order to have "scheduled" conferences with fans.

Thanks to those efforts, the site came back to life, and old fans started trickling back. Some of them were still wondering when those promised Netbookz were going to appear - "Maybe tomorrow, maybe someday," sang E. - but most of them were happy to get between six and eight high-quality articles a month. And a few of the better writers amongst them were quite happy to see their own names in print, too, now that they didn't have to be a Malfean in order to contribute to the site.

At long last, things were looking up for Spectral Undertakingz. Of course, that's about when it really started to go wrong.