NOTE: Before we begin this section, I feel that I must inform you that I have been authorized by the other members of senior staff to write this. I will not be reproducing any of The Fishmonger's works here, although I will reference the more influential ones such as Wanderlust and Alice, since they are subjects people still seem to ask questions about today. Please do not make comments with variations on "Should you be writing about The Fishmonger".
The beginning of 2010 was a very different time from the beginning of 2009. We were moving with a very different site tone, and a very different moderation/administrative team, with much more stringent protocols for membership and deletion. All in all, it was a much tighter ship than the one we started out with. However, that ship would be rocked by a massive blow to the canon that occurred very early in the year.
January of 2010 started out as a fairly laid-back affair, with most people either scratching their heads about things that were deleted in the Mass Edit or working on various projects. One of these projects was DrGears' attempt to improve the quality of /x/, which was looked on by him as a "fatherland" of the SCP Wiki. Between January 13th and 16th, he had attempted to organize a small section of SCP users to post content to it. It was an unsuccessful but fun experiment which only served to strengthen the community.
At the end of January is when we got something new to the community: the first contest. The great short story contest, started by Rights on January 28th, 2010, had the original theme of the Post-SCPocalypse. As time went on, additional themes would be added, such as SCP's at war, the death of Alto Clef, and Rights' birthday. These contests were quite popular, and helped build up the Library area.1
In early February, another consequence of the Mass Edit had to be dealt with. The Mass Edit had deleted a fair number of SCP articles, and many people who had members pages had been reduced to having fewer than the requisite 3 articles. One of the newer staff members, Quikngruvn, led a clean-up process wherein staff members would delete the members pages without any articles.
However, that would be overshadowed by other events taking place in early February. On February 9th, 2010, Fishmonger posted a story, which senior staff member pooryoric downvoted, due to it not fitting with his view of the site. Fish responded with an angry, acidic comment, where he insulted yoric and his girlfriend (Crack Lobster) both on the wiki and in #site19.
In response to this, and other acerbic comments made afterwards to other members of staff attempting to intervene, Fish was permanently stripped of his moderation powers and given a six week temporary ban from both the chat and site. The only reason he wasn't permanently banned from the wiki was his writing history and the demand for his work by people both on and off the wiki. The action is summed up by DrGears here:
I appear to be late to the party here, and for that I apologize. Let me catch up as quickly as I can…
Fish is a fowl-mouthed, wretched, petty man who breathes cruelty and shits suffering. That being said, he is one of the best writers we have, and therefore we have dealt with this rubbish continuously for some time. Much like a atomic scientist who insists on having hookers for assistants, we have complied with his eccentricities due to the demand for his work.
However, this has gotten out of hand. Kondraki was slapped for less then this, and at least pretended to be contrite at times. Fishmonger seems to be under the impression that his body of work exempts him from any and all rules, but that is just not so. Yes, his work is good…but this is not the old days. The talent pool has deepened, and like Kondraki, Fishmonger is not as vital for our existence as he used to be.
I support the proposed actions, even knowing that Fish will most likely not come back, or not change in the slightest. It pains me to see this happen, but this has been in the wings for ages. Fish has had ample time to change or at least prepare. He may be under the impression that he is vital to us, but nothing he can do for this site excuses this nonsense. Throw the book at him, if he barks, tell him to come to me.
Again, please forgive me the lateness on joining this topic. - DrGears
Fishmonger would be absent in the month of February, when the first dedicated sandbox wiki was created. The old sandbox system had fallen out of use, given that creating individual sandboxes for every user would flood the wiki. So on February 19th, 2010, pooryoric created the SCP sandbox website. It quickly replaced any other resource, such as Pastebin or old site sandboxes, and became the principal drafting ground for articles.
After the six weeks, Fish returned, and appeared to be intent on behaving. His behavior would not cause any trouble for a period following his ban. Many members of the wiki were inclined to be lenient towards Fishmonger because of this, especially members of the older guard that had seen him rise up through the years, following his stories and how his works affected site canon as a whole. Fishmonger portrayed his character as an all powerful man within the Foundation, pulling all the strings from behind the scenes. In addition, his characters were widely used in many of the wiki's major works.
However, the issue of The Fishmonger was temporarily abated, and March of 2010 was dedicated to smaller discussions of wiki canon. In a thread which started in early February, but continued well into March, there was discussion on how Mobile Task Forces operated within the Foundation. There was no centralized page to catalogue how MTF's worked, and people used them in a variety of ways. Some would use them as soldiers in the field, containing SCP's, others claimed they would only guard Sites, and then another group treated them as a military element within the Foundation.
There was also discussion on the K-events, which started in March and continued into April. Fishmonger had compiled a list of different -K events and how they were used on the site. A large number were used by him in his various stories, examples of which can be found in this thread. There was debate on whether K events were strictly religious, or simply denominated anomalous apocalyptic events.
DrGears, one of the more prolific writers on the site, had begun slowing down at this point. This was primarily due to his free time being taken by his three kids and (at the time) searching for a new home. His activity by April 2010, while infrequent, was not to the same degree as other absentee staff members (i.e Kulzn, The Administrator / FritzWillie) but it did mean that some staff members stepped in to take Gears's responsibilities while he was busy.
April marked the beginning of one SCP sister site, the Wanderer's Library. Created by DrEverettMann and Pair of Ducks, it was designed to be a writing site based on the Serpent's Hand. Pair of Ducks said he wished to inspire more of a "sense of wonder" than the horror works put up on the SCP Wiki. It received an initial splurge of users, then settled into a low level of activity. Recently, activity there has increased. It can be found here: http://wanderers-library.wikidot.com.
On April 30th, Fishmonger returned, and he resumed posting stories on the Wiki. Many people hoped that the extended ban, and the revocation of his mod powers would curb his behavior. Fishmonger himself claimed to be ignorant of having been banned, saying that he had been taking an extended trip away from the Wiki. Whatever the case may have been, he was starting off with a fresh leaf and hope of improved behavior.
By the end of May, however, this hope had left. Fishmonger made a post claiming that he'd authored an SCP under another name "as an experiment." The SCP in question was the former SCP-877. The author of the page was authored by an account named "Sinclair", which had only ever created the article in question and nothing else. This was seen to be an act of sockpuppeting, and worthy of a ban.
There was some debate on whether or not it was a joke, or if Sinclair had been a sockpuppet at all, but it was generally agreed that this was to be the last straw. But, due to the fact that there had been no official rule against sockpuppeting prior to this, they were hesitant to ban him for it. But it was soon apparent that Fish's cavalier attitude was becoming too much to overlook. Fishmonger would call out members of staff who tried to discipline him, because he was aware of how loath they were to remove him once and for all.
So, on June 1st, 2010, Clef permanently banned Fishmonger from the SCP wiki, due to his impersonation of another user. This post was made on the discussion page of the now-deleted SCP-877, where the sockpuppet debate had been occurring:
You know what? You people are seeing this in completely the wrong light. This isn't a sockpuppet issue. This is a trolling issue. Fishmonger has, by his own admission, created a false account and made an SCP article under false pretenses in order to elicit an emotional response from other users. When called out on this, he is behaving in an arrogant and rude manner towards the site staff.
If Sinclair is NOT his sockpuppet, then he is falsely claiming to be another user, and that's trolling too.
Finally, a personal judgement: Fishmonger, despite your admitted skill in writing, you have a long history of causing friction with other users with your arrogant attitude, and have made no effort to change that behavior at all. Honestly, no matter how good your writing is, it's not worth putting up with your dramatics.
Under my current authority is an SCP site admin, I am permanently banning you from this wiki, as well as your alleged sockpuppet, Sinclair. You may choose to appeal this ban on the site chat. - DrClef
There wasn't much dissent among staff, even with people who had liked Fishmonger. He'd simply become too much of a burden to the Wiki due to his consistently awful behavior and casual disrespect for staff authority and the wiki rules. Although there was some disagreement on the site as to whether or not the ban was viable, it was hoped that the wiki would be able to move on from Fish.
But on June 2nd, 2010, Fishmonger responded to his ban. His message threatened to take legal action against the wiki unless every one of his works, and everything that had referenced it, was taken down immediately. The message also contained the threat to sue the wiki unless these works were removed. The lawyer was an actual lawyer, although it is not known whether or not Fish was a real client. His message is as follows:
Subject: Re: Ban.
Since the decision has been made that having my writing is "not worth putting up with my dramatics", then you shall have neither. Effective immediately, I formally request that all original material I have submitted to the SCP Foundation wiki be permanently removed.
If this material is not removed within two weeks, I will not contact you further; legal summons will be sent via my lawyer, Donald B. Spear, to Wikidot and their hosting server, GoDaddy, pursuant to Section 512 to Title 17 of the United States Code. - Fishmonger
The Wiki had maintained2 a policy of deleting works on author requests. So while the nature of Fishmonger's request has dubious legality, since the wiki uses the creative commons license, defying it would've still caused legal problems with Fishmonger's attempt to file a suit. It was also seen as playing into Fishmongers hands:
Also, you KNOW he wants us to be like "nooooooo" - Pair of Ducks
Attempts were made to dissuade Fishmonger from his course of action, with the rationale that the only person he was hurting was the wiki. DrGears attempted to mediate with Fishmonger after learning of his actions. This exchange of messages followed:
in this case, your sincere doubt is misplaced. Fish, you and I both know you can be a egotistical ass. You have admitted to this several times. The last that I knew, you were staying somewhat removed from the comment and discussion section of things, and just producing work. This seemed to be working…and then this blew up. I'm just trying to put together the pieces and understand this blow-up from each side. If you'd rather not cooperate in this, I guess I'll just have to deal with it.
Now, as for the revocation of your work: we will do this Fish, but let me be the first to say that this looks exceedingly petty. Still, if you want to take a "taking my toys and going home" stance, we will do all we can to accommodate. We will begin immediate removal of all content that is identified as "your work", and will hopefully have all entries removed in a timely fashion. If you do decide to retain legal counsel, I would ask that you inform me of this action so that we may do the same.
Fishmonger, I'd ask that you not do this. It hurts nobody but the general public of the site, but I can not make you do anything you don't wish to do. I am exceptionally sad to see you go like this, and disappointed at the course of action you've decided to take, but if your mind is made up, we will adapt.
Fishmonger responded thus:
It was the decision of your administration, specifically Clef, that I have nothing more to do with the site. Okay, fine. I'm accepting that. But with decisions come consequences. The consequence of this decision is that I will have nothing more to do with the site, as requested. That includes all my material presently available, which is my property to do with as I decide and which I have a perfectly legal right to control.
You want to talk about "petty"? Okay. Let's talk about how nothing wrong was done here, how no rules were broken, and how the only reason I even bothered to tell anyone about this was to more rapidly facilitate the deletion of a page nobody liked. Let's talk about how Clef has had it out for me from Day One, and has been looking for any excuse he can to get rid of me, just like he did with Kondraki. Believe me, pal, I can do "petty", and this ain't it.
Don't take the moral high ground with me, and don't insult my intelligence. You've always been perfectly happy to play the Good Cop to Clef's Bad Cop. Okay, that's fine, too. What would my cooperation achieve in this matter, exactly? Reinstatement on a site that has always considered me a threat to its mole-hill authority, and will only look all the harder for a valid reason to remove me again? There's no satisfaction to be had here from either party; you'd have to at least revoke Clef's admin privileges for me to even begin to look at a diplomatic solution. You willing to do that?
No, you're not, and we both know it. You know as well as I do that there's no common ground to be had here. If diplomacy had any chance of working it would have resolved such issues far before now. Now, Clef has chosen extremes. Okay, if that's what's written, then that's what's written. But don't sit there and feign surprise that I'm going to react to it in an extreme manner myself. I'm offended that you would even consider such a laughably transparent ploy.
The decisions have always been made by you. Now it's time to make another decision: specifically, whether or not facilitating a clean break with me will require the removal of your site to the misery and scorn of hundreds of people. You wanted to wear the big girl pants. Don't whine now that it's time to grow up. - Fishmonger
Gears authored one last reply to Fish.
…Fishmonger, I'm sorry you've decided to feel this way. The site as always been very receptive to your submissions, and has given you little but praise and encouragement for them. It is your vile, profane, and abrasive personality that has been one of the few negative points against you. However, it's always been a pretty big point.
It seems you've decided to lay down the truth for me, and dissolve my illusions of both my position and yours. Let me do the same: you are a prima donna and a diva. In the beginning we needed your voice, your genius, and could forgive and overlook your increasingly insane and combative behavior. Now, however, we've outgrown you, your tantrums, and your "fuck y'all!" attitude. Did you not see the writing on the wall during the whole kondraki mess? did you not think that maybe, just maybe, going around shouting "I'm so awesome nobody can touch me!" might eventually backfire?
You're welcome to speak on things done wrong, and misuse of power, but before you pick up the holy banner of the Wronged, look to yourself a bit first. Tell me, in perfect honesty, you didn't misuse power. That you never treated anybody with anything less then a fair and even tone. We are removing your work as a favor, in consideration of your work with the site in the past. If we wanted to be dicks, we could be. You are not a martyr Fish, you're a jerk.
Also, I have to laugh when you talk about growing up. You're basically saying "you guys are MEAN, I'm taking MY toy and going HOME!". What is the point of it, even? Going to go and publish it? Some sweet movie deal? You're doing this from spite, pure and simple. As for misery and scorn…I think we'll do alright without you, honestly. We're a community, Fish, not an audience here to masturbate your ego.
Forgive me if I've gotten overly dramatic during this, but you've really ticked me off Fish. This only hurts your fans, Fish, nobody else. Not me, not Clef, not the site, nobody. It will be hard to get along without you, but I assure you, with total certainty, that we will. We'll have most everything down by Monday, I hope, and then you are more then welcome to retire with your work and do…whatever it is you're going to do. I hope you find a more accommodating site Fish, i honestly do, but i pray you never do this kind of thing to anyone again. I'll be in touch regrading the deletion process.
So let me get this straight: Clef abusing his provisional site power and banning me over a non-violation of non-existing rules, that's just doing your job. But me exercising actual legal rights over my literary property — that's throwing a tantrum.
You're not very good at this "grown up" game, Gears.
I've never made any bones about being a surly asshole. You ever known anyone who takes medicinal marijuana? It works because getting high feels good. Pleasure counteracts pain. I'm not a nice person. That's why I write: to make something intensely beautiful to counteract the intense ugliness. You don't get one without the other, and *I* don't get one without the other. It's a package deal, for better or worse.
You can judge all that however you like; I'm not looking for sympathy or understanding. Your opinion of me is quite clear, and likely unmovable. That's not my concern; I've been insulted by professionals, and I don't see anything you're capable of offering doing me even superfluous damage. Similarly, whether your site survives or not is irrelevant to me. This is a matter of removing connections, nothing more. You don't want anything more to do with me; how dare you feign surprise when I express the same? Do you honestly think I'd want to be associated with you now, after all this? Have you so thoroughly deluded yourself into thinking you're doing me a privilege to allow my work to remain, but not my person?
Again, your administration made this decision. Again, these are the consequences of that decision. Now get to work. - Fishmonger
The stress of the Fishmonger incident had been weighing heavily on the site administration, and on June 2nd DrClef left his administrative position. Dealing with the Fishmongers antics was just too much aggravation and stress. He did not leave the wiki completely, however, remaining on site as a member of senior staff. Due to the surplus of inactive admins, nobody was promoted to fill his slot. The rest of the administrative team was left to deal with Fish.
Also, banning Fish was the last thing I did as an Administrator. I was sick and tired of the burden, tired of trying to herd cats, and I'd just… had enough. Admittedly the reasons for banning Fish were sketchy at best, but that little "Sinclair" stunt was . . . one straw too many on the dromedary's back. If anyone else had done that, then they would have gotten off with a reprimand, but Fish was basically openly going after all the admins. - DrClef
Fishmonger's works were deleted. Every story, SCP, and reference Fishmonger had ever created was deleted. The notable works include Wanderlust, Castling, the stories involving the Black Queen, any story involving the former GOI "foo", SCP-228, and SCP-808. Every reference to every one of these works was expunged from the wiki, leaving a noticeably large hole in the site canon. If you want an example, imagine every reference to Dr. Gears or Dr. Clef was removed in the middle of 2010, and then nobody on the wiki was ever allowed to write stories about them again.
This decision basically killed any support Fishmonger had among the user base. While previously he could have portrayed himself as a martyr wronged by staff, he was now seen as a petty man, who took his toys and went home instead of seeing he had a problem. There was a lot of anger, and fear of how the wiki would continue with such a large portion of its works removed.
But there was a resolute determination to keep going. There was an expectation to fall after Fishmonger and his epic stories left, but this was surpassed by the loyal core base. People wanted to show they could go on without Fishmonger, that we didn't depend on the works of a single user. With hindsight, it seems inevitable that we would move on, but at the time things were rocky. By June 4th, all references to Fishmonger on the wiki had been removed. Things were moving on towards an uncertain future, but future months would show that the community could bounce back.
Well, to me he was always a nice guy. I only ever got second hand reports of his misadventures, and to be honest, I've always liked the guy. That said, I also know for a fact he had one hell of a temper, a foul mouth, and was spiteful as all get out. He also hated Clef and Yoric, and could never get along with them. Even in the IRC, when one would show up, the other would leave, because they'd start getting into an argument and that'd be the end of it.
There was something that Crack Lobster once said on one of his articles, basically saying it wasn't that good, and Fish cursed her out of it, accusing her sock puppeting her boyfriends (Yoric) views on the article and on fish himself. the pair of them rebuffed him, saying it was her own choice and that Fish was an over-reactive asshole.
His editing of other peoples pages isn't something I remember, but what I do remember is that the final straw was that he was posting and writing underneath another name on the wiki. Yoric jumped on that, saying he was impersonating another member or something, I can't quite remember, but all in all, it was bad. Everyone else went with that, but Fish exploded at it, and his reaction was pretty vicious, and THAT was what finally turned the last people against him. In the end, for me, it was like putting down old Yeller.
But the worst part was when he was banned. Like I said, he was pretty goddamn spiteful, and he threatened legal action if we didn't remove all of his writing from the wiki. It was more an act of spite than an real threat, and considering the legal parameters surrounding the site, it probably wouldn't have help up in court, but we did so anyway out of our own sense of integrity. I was never more disappointed in him than I was then. - Kain Pathos Crow
The Fishmonger debacle had a massive impact on wiki culture. Many attitudes on the Wiki, such as the "You don't have to be nice if you make good work"3 perished. Rules were enacted against sockpuppeting, and excessive rudeness to other users. The site shifted away from a large, unified culture, and steered closer to the "there is no canon" mindset of today. It also marks the beginning of "The Age of Bright." With Clef stepping down, it left Bright alone as the sole active administrator. This would continue for the rest of 2010, and well into 2011.
The rest of June was less dramatic, compared to what had happened in the first week. There were a few people banned from the chat, which was now owned by the newly minted administrator Waxx, and a few minor issues on the wiki, but nothing major. It was an almost weird calm, after all that had happened in just a few days. People were just picking up the pieces.
On June 20th, the first alternate language translation project appeared. SCP Foundation RU was founded to translate SCP articles into Russian.
Lt Masipag re-appeared briefly on July 6th, 2010, shortly after her moderation powers had been revoked for inactivity. She stuck around for a few days, made two posts, then vanished into the ether again. She may or may not be lurking, but that cannot be confirmed at this time.4
August would be an interesting month, which would shape the canon of the wiki in large ways. A user named Dr. Wilson made a post asking about a Foundation "Ethics Committee", based on their treatment of D-Class and attitude towards human life as a whole. The post was initially met with condescension, but users soon began to contemplate the ethical ramifications of the Foundation's activity. It culminated in a post made by Voct:
"How many people did I just kill?"
"How many did you just save? You're a smart man. Do the math. It'll help you sleep."
— Hank McCoy and Steve Rogers, Secret Avengers #16
The Foundation Ethics Committee is often thought of as an ineffectual rubberstamp laughingstock, a bunch of seat-fillers. And they go to quite some lengths to sustain that impression. The Ethics Committee is actually the secret power within the Foundation. The O5s decide what is and is not safe, but the members of the Ethics Committee are the ones who advise the O5s about what is and is not acceptable.
(If it ever occurs to you to wonder who's really in control, the Overseers or the Ethics Committee, then presumably you're smart enough to keep your mouth shut.)
The members of the Ethics Committee do a terrible job - and that's "terrible" as in "terrible swift sword". They are the ones who balance the moral costs of everything the Foundation does — and in order to balance the costs, they must first know the costs. Every detail that gets redacted or expunged or blackboxed, they know it. They know what SCP-447-2 does when it comes in contact with dead bodies. They know what Procedure 110-Montauk is. They should — they designed it.
Remember: the Foundation does not rule the world. The Foundation serves the world. Regardless of what the general population may think it wants, the Foundation's actions are in that general population's best interests.
Remember: the Foundation is not evil. We do not torture people "just because". We are against unnecessary cruelty; the members of the Ethics Committee are the ones who decide when cruelty is necessary. To serve the greater good, you must be able to quantify and compare distinct goods. This is what the Ethics Committee does.
Remember: the 'P' stands for 'Protect'. The Ethics Committee judges what is and is not acceptable, balancing evils so that on the whole, and in the end, evil is minimized.
"I did the right thing, didn't I? It all worked out in the end?"
"'In the end'? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends."
—Adrian Veidt and Jon Osterman, Watchmen #12
If there was irrefutable proof that the only way to save humanity was by eliminating the Foundation, the Ethics Committee would advocate that this be done, and begin implementing plans to make it happen.
"You want happy endings? Fuck you. You're alive to read it."
Another event in August was promotion, DrMann becoming a moderator, and TheRaven being promoted to senior staff along with Burns. At the same time, Ekzhentric Lohner and Rights were placed from moderation down to senior staff, primarily for inactivity.
On September 20th, 2010, DrClef began his rewrite of SCP-076 (Able). This had been one of the most controversial entries on the list, with detractors calling it a Mary-Sue, and supporters claiming it was a legitimate entry. It was where MTF-Omega-7 originated, a team of SCP's being used by the Foundation for various purposes. A variety of humanoid articles were added to it, with the only one remaining today being SCP-105.
We had too many Mary Sues joining Omega 7. Omega 7 itself didn't fit the site culture any more. Able was fine. MTF Omega 7 had to go. So I killed them all. It's honestly that simple. I recall Kain was fine with the change. There was a lot of discussion about taking away Able's spirit knife powers and such, but I tried not to. Just to keep the feel of the old article, only change how the Foundation reacts to him. - DrClef
By the end of the year, staff had gotten back on their feet and begun discussing new issues with the site. On November 30th, pooryoric noted that the rating modules had begun malfunctioning. Ratings would be inconsistent between the page display and the actual display under "Look Who Rated this Page" area. Although the issue was quickly fixed, it was the first time we saw WikiDot's instability as a platform.
Late December, specifically December 24th, was marked by the creation of new policy related to voting, a revised and improved set of deletion guidelines. Sophia Light made a post pointing out that entries could be deleted prior to the author receiving good feedback, since all it needed was 4 votes after it went low enough. Therefore, it was proposed that a 24 hour grace period be imposed, so the author could get as much feedback as possible. It was approved unanimously.
So, as the wiki moved into 2011, things were definitely changing fast. Rapidly evolving policy, membership, and staff roster had rocked the stability of the community, but it still held up steadfast. Bright would be very influential in the coming days, with the advent of Bright's rise and another boom in membership.