No it's not? I've been on YTMND for over 10 years so this was very sad and nostalgic for me.
But I went to ytmnd.com and it was giving some PHP database errors.
And now they have a status message:
> rip db
>YTMND is down for temporary maintenance. This gives us time to optimize the database, free up unused space, deploy new features, and generally just break stuff. This should not take very long, so feel free to stick around and chat or go away. If you have any trouble accessing the site, or concerns about the direction in which your life is heading, feel free to send an email to support @ ytmnd.com (and expect to be ignored).
edit: It seems this is all very poor reporting. Gizmodo, et al have jumped on the story. YTMND has shut down!
All based on some speculation on a forum because the site was down for a while?
YTMND has suffered a catostrophic failure. Whether or not the site will ever be back is still undecided. I am actively working on data recovery, but who really knows what the future holds. Join the chat to reminisce, or if you have concerns about the direction in which your life is heading, feel free to send an email to support @ ytmnd.com (and expect to be ignored).
Seems like a "Death of Superman" style marketing ploy.
Probe for interest and defibrilate the franchise with a shock to the system.
Dump a bunch of publicity that "twinkies" are at risk of disappearing forever, unless [insert emotional blackmail]. Then, for about six months, enjoy renewed interest and a little bit of merchandizing funds in the form of t-shirt sales and the like.
If succesful, a boost of fresh blood enters the community for a short period of time, and the tailings of any looming debt can be reconciled before executing a cleaner exit from public operations.
RIP. This whole phenomenon was wildly popular with my friend group back in the day. In 2001, the original yourethemannowdog.com went down for a bit and I put up a mirror at a similar domain. It started gaining in popularity, prompting YTMND creator Max Goldberg to send me a realistic looking but ultimately fake email from a supposed law firm threatening me with a cease and desist (unfortunately, I no longer have a copy of this email). We all had a good laugh about that, and the original site was back up soon after. I never would've guessed it would blow up as a meme the way it did.
Edit: It turns out I had the year of the cease and desist wrong; it was 2002. I'm amused that evidence still exists of my small contribution to this meme.
For the influence SA had and the business it currently is -- it's incredible. Impact:value is so out of line. An analysis of how Lowtax failed to become a billionaire and has to sell coffee mugs and t-shirts or whatever the business model is would be a good read.
SA was my first paywall for content, my first micro-transaction (forum avatars, titles, etc.). There were elements of reputation and social networking. I don't know how it all went so wrong.
I was being hyperbolic about the billionaire claim. Mainly SA was ahead of its time on what the internet could be. What people were willing to pay for and what makes a good community. It failed to take any of those ideas outside the realm of a comedy forum, which isn't a bad thing, maybe Lowtax was happy with that.
I'm wistfully in what-could-have-been mode since the products I use these days (Reddit, Twitter) are a poor approximation for what SA was at its height.
Tumblr is a lot closer to a social network than a forum, and I'd say only a small subset of it is comedy. Also, Tumblr has 460 million registered accounts and SA has 200k. That's probably partly because it costs $10 to sign up on SA, so alt accounts are uncommon, whereas accounts are cost-free on Tumblr, so some people may have many alt accounts. But Tumblr still gets way more traffic.
Signup fee for an internet forum and the occasional over-moderation kept the userbase from really exploding. On the other hand had this theoretically has kept the level of the remaining discourse high for the remaining users.
There's a joke about one of these events.
One year the SomethingAwful.com forum moderators got annoyed at the annoying anime fans, so they banished them. 4chan was born, yadda yadda, Donald Trump is elected president.
Chris Poole (Moot) founded 4chan after being banned from SA (in the version I heard it was on accusations of pedophilia, because anyone who finds anime characters attractive is clearly a pedophile). SA was far more influential in creating and shaping 4chan than anything else, even the Japanese forums it was imitating (2chan, etc.)
Would there still be something that fits roughly the same niche as 4chan, if 4chan didn't exist? Most likely yes. But it wouldn't be anything like the 4chan we know today.
Lowtax also got shadowbanned on Youtube apparently. He had been making all of these videos that would basically never show up in search results. There is something to be said for sticking to your own forum I guess.
This is a great interview about Something Awful featuring creator Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka. The Something Awful forums had a board called Fuck You and Die, which was a predecessor to 4chan's /b/. YTMND's lineage to SA is acknowledged here as well.
If you used to post on the SA forums, you'll probably get a load of nostalgia hearing this again
(this was the background music of the board where deleted threads went to die)
Even if it doesn't (and it does, see in same chain), it almost certainly is the progenitor of the prevailing culture found on 4chan. Maybe not the current trend as of recent, but definitely at it's peak.
YTMND was the first time the notion of memes (in the dawkins sense of the word) made literal sense to me. There were a somewhat limited number of themes/motifs -> memes that you'd see combined and recombined. Some were more pervasive than others. Most of them spread with little to no relation to their original meaning/purpose/context. It was interesting to watch the meta level of the thing
Sorry, that meme started on YTMND in 2005 based on a post in a newspaper from the 90s. Saying the references in this thread are of the movie is like saying any mention online of "Gandalf" is a reference to the Lego Lord of the Rings game.
It's a shame this has happened. I wonder to what extent this has been archived, I've taken a quick glance at it on archive.org, and it seems the main page has been well archived but I'd be sceptical if any of the "deeper" pages so speak were archived.
It makes me wonder what will happen with similar online communities as time drags on, and makes me sort of concerned for them too and the content that could be lost due to their disappearance.
With the web going forward, it seems as if similar memetic communities will primarily exist on platforms such as reddit, and possibly tumblr?
I'm cool enough to be invited or at least grandfathered-in to some of them but it's not the same. You can't just go online and find a different weird community every evening like you used to 15 years ago.
Also, with the tightening of privacy, there's less and less recruitment going on which makes me pessimistic as to the long-term viability of these private groups and forums. They seem to be slowing down with fewer posts every month. Many smaller ones which made the transition from IRC to webforum to some modern software are a pale shade of their former selves even when the Internet around them has been booming.
I'm not sure to what extent YTMND itself would be archivable. The last I saw it it loaded frames with some Flash loader, which handled sync with the audio (as opposed to the very early YTMNDs which were just a gif/audio and text).
Places like tumblr and reddit are much more easily archivable as they're just text and image files, and now video files which with modern web standards can just be grabbed as is and put into archival systems with automatic transcoding as standards change.
I just hope whoever was running it at the end makes the archive publicly available.
Was it loading any Flash or it was a Flash app provided by the website that you could upload your content to?
I know of a certain adult website which hosts "webteases", which are basically interactive/choose your own adventure slideshows. The content was originally provided with Flash, but now they reworked it to use HTML5 and most of the content seems to work because it was using the website provided framework for the content.
IIRC, you would upload wav or mp3 to YTMND, and then it would play back in Flash. I think it worked like this for one or both of these reasons:
1. Syncing the audio and video. It is difficult to sync a gif with audio. They have to be started at the exact same time, be the exact same length, and never get out of sync due to lag/stutter. This wasn't important for early YTMNDs, but mattered later when people created what were disparagingly referred to as "___ short films".
2. Bandwidth. I think Max had said the Flash solution was more efficient than serving the raw audio and gif. Think of it as an early version of WebM.
I think the use of Flash could be controlled on a per-YTMND basis - the creator could disable the use of Flash. And/or maybe it was that Flash was only used for animated gifs?
I do! The blue ball machine started when someone on SA posted a template gif which other people used to make their own tile of the machine. You just had to make sure the balls entered and exited in the same spot. I made the one where the ball gets frozen in ice. Then all the tiles were combined into a single gif. I remember being disappointed when the version that went viral only included half of the tiles that people submitted.
Sad. Back in 2000-2002 I was in grad school and I have fond memories of setting the home page on the shared imacs to YTMND with the volume turned all the way up and hearing it go off when someone would open up the browser.
This is crazy - was just browsing through the site a bit last week. I just finished a project partially inspired by YMNTD and spent some time... getting inspired. A lot of the pages didn’t seem to have working audio - perhaps modern browsers don’t allow what YMNTD required. (It seems that gifsound.com has also had to adapt over time - you have to click a few times to get it to play, to work around autoplay restrictions.) I didn’t check, but I imagine the site didn’t work at all on iOS.
My freshman year of college, 06/07, my roommate spent a boatload of time on his laptop at his desk; he'd sleep in, skip class, and stay up late, spending all his time on his laptop. I peeked over his shoulder a few times, and he was just browsing YTMND constantly.
Anyways, at the end of the year in the start of finals week, somebody started knocking on our door at like 7am or something, some time that's ungodly early for a college student. As soon as I stumble over and open up the door, somebody says, "This is the FBI, we have a warrant to search your room" while naming my roommate.
Turns out it wasn't a prank, the actual FBI was raiding my dorm room to find my roommate. They took me into a lounge "to ask some questions" and I was too young to have fully developed my "don't talk to the cops" senses, so I went along with it. They asked me a bunch of questions about my roommate (what classes is he taking, what's his major, what are his hobbies, how does he spend his time) and when they asked about his hobbies I had to say "well, he mostly spends a lot of time browsing You The Man Now Dog online".
The fbi, of course, asks for clarification. I don't know if you've ever had to explain the idea behind YTMND to the FBI when you're a 19 year old college student at 730 am on a wednesday during finals week, but let me tell you: it's not fun.
"It's a website where people make other websites that feature a tiled image background, a looping sound clip, and some kind of word art over everything."
They look at each other, shrug, and continue with the questions until we get to "Have you ever seen your roommate do anything inappropriate near a child", which is probably the closest i've gotten to an actual record-scratch moment in real life. I explain that i've never seen my roommate outside of our dorm room, let alone off the college campus, and there just aren't that many kids around. After that, they conclude the questioning and let me know that they believe there's evidence of federal crimes on my roommate's laptop.
So we go back to the room, the other agents have finished confiscating his laptop, it's around 745am, and my roommate rolls over and goes back to sleep. So I'm like, "dude, do you want to explain to me why the fbi felt the need to come to our room at 7 in the morning and take away your laptop?"
He says, "Oh, I was posting links to child pornography on YTMND and so now they think there's child porn on my laptop."
I say, "Did it ever occur to you that that was a really fucking stupid idea?"
He goes, "yeah well I know that NOW", in the most incredulous tone of voice, like he couldn't believe the FBI agents didn't understand that he was doing this as a joke and not out of an earnest love for CP.
Later that day he called his parents and left without packing up his stuff, and I never heard from him again; he did not continue to matriculate and I have no idea how his whole saga wrapped up.
But now it's impossible for me to think of YTMND without a) wondering what the fuck my roommate was thinking and b) remembering the time I had to explain the idea of stupid internet memes to federal agents.
It's really easy to perform a conversion of what you describe, for the sake of publishing an archive.
Extracting audio from flash objects is trivial, and coverting HTML frames to a single page format is a basic markup task, using divs.
This stuff is so easy, you could not only automate it, but build an abstraction layer to convert it on demand or even client-side, with a JS library.
Anyway, as the GP implies, the archive was likely performed collaboratively, with the consent and direct assistance of YTMND. Why else would they have closed user registration, but left the site available for a full year.