Ed's Room is a Minneapolis-based BBS that originally manifested facilitating the Citadel BBS program for dial-up connection. Circa 2000, a web-based program was created to effectively transfer the active population to the Internets, where it thrives today.
The BBS initially was created, using the Citadel program, by "dea3per", with the intention to permit a clique of high school students to communicate with each other "online" (dial-up access only, circa 1992). The name of this BBS comes from a mythical cool high school teacher in charge of the Talented and Gifted students at a certain Minnesotan institution. A pseudo-religion was formed, by "Akira/Exarch", upon two basic tenets: admiration of Ed Rimkus (aforementioned teacher), and basic misanthropy. The BBS was cultivated as a "killing floor" of casual conversation, flaming, and a tacitly-understood vent for frustration. This unspoken agreement added to the confusion and terror of docile new users who were largely unable to defend themselves from multiple angles. Thus, Ed's Room's population comprised the fittest young badass geeks, initially. Many other BBSs existed in the area (some implementing Wildcat! and WWIV programs), but this population of users distinguished themselves among all of them and gained a somewhat notorious reputation.
The constituency of Ed's Room is more or less divided into two encampments: oldskool and newschool. The line of demarcation between these appears to be the moment of conversion from dial-up access to web-based format. However, people who like to split hairs will take various instances of "scene cred" into account, though no formal promotion of newskool to oldskool has been documented. On the third hand, most people don't give a rat's ass - it's just another thing to bicker about when you're bored.
More drama ensued when programs to link BBSes on a national level were set in place. Ed's Room fortified itself when interfacing with kinder, gentler BBSs in other states. Like bewildered new users, the other BBSes were largely unsure how to react to the roughhouse style of Ed's Room. Frequently, they reacted very poorly, and archives exist of hilarious exchanges where outsiders completely lose their shit when confronting our heroes. In context, few things are as funny as these gems.
With the evolution of dial-up to web-based format, the population of Ed's Room increased somewhat, but the most significant change was that of its mindset. There was something about the hassle of dialing into a BBS over a 7200 baud modem (or less) that disinclined one to return to a BBS that represented a bad time. That element seems to be gone, as online users persistently returned to Ed's Room demanding the population accommodate their needs (such as to be insulted less). The novelty of aggro-confrontation seemed to have muted somewhat in the oldskoolers, nearly a decade older at this point, and new users who wouldn't have lasted a day in the original BBS more easily became accepted. Some believe that overall strength may be achieved through diversity of elements, that new blood was simply needed, or that the constituency was maturing and evolving, or that they'd slept around with each other so much they weren't really free to talk shit with rampant abandon anymore.
Such evolution, however, did not come without a price. Where once upon a time users, disgruntled with each other, could settle their dispute over a shouting match or small flame war, latter day users have become relatively touchy-feely and dislike to directly express their discontent. The old guard were chastised when trying to bring back the established traditions of Ed's Room, smiles were pasted on faces, and a saccharine bloom infused the atmosphere. Hand-in-hand with this came surreptitious double-dealing, gossip-mongering, passive aggression, deception and evasion... in other words, drama like a motherfucker. The old style of social intercourse tended to weed out emotionally fragile types who specialized in drama. As this safeguard was dismantled, here opened the gates of hell, and a new interpersonal dynamic took root and spread like dandelions. A new favorite pasttime is to loudly decry any dealings with drama, stridently resolve to cut drama out of one's life, while stirring up heretofore unseen blends of drama for the amusement and revulsion of the constituency. It is as popular, too, to witch-hunt by proclaiming any undesirable topic or event as "drama" - the stigma alone usually causes the matter to be abandoned in short order.
For the most part, the users of Ed's Room think they are genius-level, literate, urbane cosmopolites. They readily describe themselves as geeks, nerds and social retards. They each have limited fields of expertise and share a passion for exchanging information. Many of them enjoy posting while intoxicated or watching others attempt this trick. Though the members themselves have grown and changed and frequently run in different social circles, they still return to Ed's Room to share stories, pictures, interesting websites, and to discuss current events and opinions on any issue. They favor sub-references (especially to their own past), and quickly accept and respect anyone who proves to be an authority in a given field of study or who has access to authoritative sources of information. They love playful antagonism. They sniff out egos pretty quickly, however, the way sharks scent blood in the water. Some new users attempting to promote themselves online have come face-to-face with the Ghost of Ed's Room Past; hilarity ensues. While many users reflexively condemn the place and bitch about needing other things to occupy their time, actually there is a deep-seated affection for the institution. In practice and in times of need it has presented as a unified community of support, but to the casual eye they seem like a bunch of bitches.
Few, if any, Ed'sers will agree with the above text.
See also Internet drama
- Ed's Room: "So's your mom."
- CONvergence: annual sci-fi/fantasy convention