I was just looking around at a bunch of old posts from 2001 that I made on CoasterBuzz, and I noticed a lot of different things that just feel so different.
1. I was really, really into it. The continuous growth and massive rise in traffic in a year and a half was impressive, and I really thrived on that. I was into coasters more too. Stephanie and I did the 40 coasters, six parks in five states in five days thing that summer.
2. There were a lot more people, as a percentage of all visitors, that participated in the forums. These days, there are twice as many visitors but only a small number who actually participate. I think that partly has to do with that being what I like to think of as the "Millennium Force Era" of coaster building. It has slowed dramatically since then.
3. When I launched a new forum version that year, in old ASP even, people went ape shit when I included a rich text editor. I'm pretty sure it was the first of its kind back then in a forum, and it's probably why people were shelling out hundreds of dollars to buy the forum app.
4. I was fielding some of the same problems, like, "Why did you delete my thread?" "Because you were plugging your site and spamming." That was followed up by it's not fair or you're picking on me or whatever.
5. I didn't run pop-up ads then. Those were different days, when you could actually make a buck with regular 468x60 banners in the page.
6. The database actually ran on Microsoft Access, and there are posts still in there that were heavily corrupted.
7. I made tweaks frequently to the site, and it seemed there was always a new bug to squash.
8. Early that year I killed the rumor section that I started with.
9. The fall was the mess after 9/11, where I got laid-off after buying a house, I had a T-1 costing $1,200 a month and DoubleClick dropped me as an ad client.
10. One of the most trafficked threads was about my "subdivision cam," where a camera took a picture out my front window and put it online every few minutes. Watching my grass grow became a big hobby.
11. RollerCoaster Tycoon was still something everyone played, and that was a couple of years before RCT2 came out.
Looking back at those days, I think the biggest difference is that my interests and hobbies have changed so much, as has the audience.
The bit about the forum innovation really strikes a chord with me, and I just wish I had the time and drive to make something truly great that is better than any forum product out there. No one has really challenged that genre of Web app in years.
Good times, flashing back.