This last week marked the second anniversary of the Mass Cull of 2014, which started one Saturday night, on February 23 2014. The carnage started rather unexpectedly, after a member who had caused a bit of controversy on Legal Beagles made a comeback.
Although very sudden in appearance, there is no doubt that this had been brewing for some time. Perhaps the first indication that all was not well was when Sapphire, who, as we all know, had been running the site for six years, was demoted by text. This happened a few months earlier, around September 2013 when everything started to change on the forum and Sharon was pretty much in charge by then. Curly Ben also got demoted for aiding and abetting, and he decided that the only way was out, so he deactivated himself and walked away, never to be seen again. The demotion had been related to the same member who had been absent from the forum for three months. The Beagles’ judgment had been questioned a number of times over this issue. We are not here to discuss the member in question as that is well beyond the scope of this blog.
The first Beagle to get hit was Clever Clogs, who had allegedly posted up something inappropriate. A couple of long-term Beagles rallied behind him, one of them Teaboy, who also ended up banned, albeit only temporarily. Clever Clogs was not actually banned at this stage since he was still able to access the chatbox, even though his VIP status had been revoked. It was all rather strange. This was followed by Sapphire’s sudden disappearance from the Site Team Roll of Honour in the sidebar. Sapphire had already been demoted from admin the previous year but she remained a part of the Site Team, until now.
Things started to unfold even further on Feb 25th, when, following Sapphy’s disappearance, PlanB suddenly got put on moderation and later that night, she was banned without being given a reason or an explanation. Next thing you know, Sapphire and Clever Clogs were fully banned, also without being told why.
The morning after, Inca, who was away on holiday in an area with sporadic internet access, woke up to find herself banned, without even having a clue as to what was going on. Once more, no reason was given. Tuttsi, who had been working personally with the LB owners on various projects since 2007 swiftly followed. At this point there were six banned members and not a single reason given for the Mass Cull.
The two lady Beagles had been sending each other kisses in chatbox and seemed very happy. No doubt they had achieved something they’d been wanting to do for a long time, yet nobody knew WHY.
It’s the 1st of March, Spring is in the air and it’s been a full week since the site clearout took place. As is customary in Beagleland, there was no sign of anything out of the ordinary. The Banned Beagles all had their banned avatars replaced with “Rotweiller”, no doubt to avoid questions being asked. Nobody dared ask any questions and you can see why. Well, almost nobody, but we’ll get back to that in a moment. Sometime in the afternoon of March 1st, another beagle was turned into a rotweiller: Flaming Parrot. Once more, no reason was given.
With most of the regular contributors eliminated, the Beagles worked hard at restoring normality to the site and keeping the pretence that nothing happened and did their best to show that banning all those “rotweillers” had not caused the site any harm. Sharon was posting like the Duracell Bunny on speed. Teaboy got reinstated after being told he had been banned apparently by mistake. A couple of weeks later, Flaming Parrot also made a reappearance, first as a “Senior Member” or something like that which suggested they were no longer VIP, although later on FP was back as a VIP.
We have previously stated that the site was eerily quiet after the clearout and nobody wanted to ask any questions in case they too, felt the full weight of the axe. As ever, the exception confirms the rule, in this case the exception came in the shape of Bill-K, another long-term contributor who had been on Legal Beagles since its inception in 2007 and who had helped hundreds, if not thousands of people with his clever spreadsheets, designed to ensure people get the maximum redress they were entitled to when reclaiming PPI. At this point in time, he was almost the only one left in the Beagles PPI Forum. He decided to do what no-one else had done so far: ask the LB Management a few questions. As expected, this didn’t go down well and, you guessed it: down came the guillotine. Welcome to the Ban Club, Bill. You won’t be the last!