Helldot was originally started primarily as a site that provided a more full-featured forum than Bolt's message boards did. It wasn't intended to be a replacement, and almost all early Helldot members remained active on Bolt. In some ways it was like a Bolt Club, but maintained outside of Bolt.
As Bolt began to falter, Helldot became one of the primary destinations for displaced Boltsters who wanted to keep in contact, or who wanted to keep antagonizing each other. The First Generation was another Bolt refugee site.
The Early Days
The site was first run on phpBB 2 and hosted on eviltechie's server. TheMixMonkey was the first co-administrator of the site. He remained in the position for several years, until his offline obligations took him away from us.
Some other early adopters that you may recognize: aine1717, apekop83, stefan01, pepperjam, bufferkiller, jals, xx_ommm_xx, spider, motive, holmes02, angee, blue_oyster, stellar8400, ladyheather, mriq, bex_i_am, pheasantplucker, carys.
Among the more interesting forum modifications made to Helldot was a custom ALICE bot that we called Cheshire. Cheshire would respond to posts in specific forums, and carry on conversations. Cheshire also remembers specific details about any member who talked to him, making the conversations a bit more personal.
Helldot has almost always had some sort of connection to Alice in Wonderland.
The look of Helldot was much more defined and iconic than any sites it was competing with at the time. It offered multiple layouts members could choose from, ranging from plain to a little bit odd.
Helldot Default — The default layout was probably best described as run down factory meets dirty chess board. This is the most well-known layout, being the default and all, it's what most people saw when they visited the site.
Bloody Hell — This was the obligatory blood/medically themed layout. The syringe and background were taken from stock or public domain photos, but the Helldot logo was written in eviltechie's own personal blood (extracted by knife from his hand). Bonus points if you can figure out where the form in the background came from.
Bolt Redux — This layout was a hybrid of the looks of Bolt2 and Boltfolio with a bit of an evil twist. The Bolt logo was replaced with Helldot and the star was inverted.
Holiday Layouts — There were a couple times when Helldot changed its look for an important holiday such as Halloween or Guy Fawkes day.
Most people were introduced to Helldot via word of mouth. But a couple of advertisements were designed. The only real interesting thing about them is the fact that the Bolt Profile Logger was used to replace the ads on Bolt member's profiles with the Helldot ads. These rogue ads were only active for a few days during the final breaths of Bolt2. They were discontinued as soon as Bolt's staff requested it. This was the only non-ethical use of the Profile Logger.
As Bolt2 died, many people began looking for alternatives. Helldot somewhat changed its mission to include being a place for Bolt refugees. In many ways this came to define the site. Helldot made every attempt to make the new members feel comfortable. Some notable Bolt cliques that took up residence on Helldot are the England Board, Random Thoughts, and the Clothes board. In addition to many regulars from the religion, politics, and current events boards. Even the great oracle, known by many names on Bolt, eventually ended up on Helldot.
When members of Bolt2 first arrived at Helldot, they were shown this message as an introduction to Helldot.
The BankRobber Fiasco
A while before Bolt2 was taken offline a fellow named BankRobber joined Helldot. Although they didn't start out the way, he is probably the closest eviltechie has ever come to having an enemy. In the beginning they enjoyed each others company. They debated tech stuff and all was well. After awhile though, things fell apart.
BankRobber decided to start his own forum, Offtopic Haven. This happened around the time a Helldot staff member was forced to step-down due to questionable behavior. That person, and several of their close friends, took up residence on Offtopic Haven. Still, no big deal.
The problems began when BankRobber started trying to hijack Helldot member accounts, impersonating eviltechie, posting porn on Helldot's public forums, etc. BankRobber was banned from Helldot following repeated warnings.
When Bolt2 was taken offline, Helldot had a massive influx of traffic. This traffic was pushing the limits of the server Helldot was hosted on, and plans were in place for an upgrade. It was this specific window, between Bolt2's closing and Helldot's upgrade, that BankRobber chose to strike. He exploited a flaw in the phpBB software that Helldot was running on and caused the site to exceed its allotted capacity. The result was that Helldot's web host kicked Helldot off their servers, and locked eviltechie out of the associated account, meaning he had no access to current backups.
Over the following few days the planned upgrades to Helldot were hastily finished and Helldot was relaunched on a new beefier server. Eviltechie was able to negotiate with the old web host for access to the backups. Helldot was relaunched on the Easter morning three days following the crash.
One minor note, Helldot was launched on a new domain name, HELLDEV.COM. The reason being that it was faster than transferring HELLDOT.COM, and it allowed eviltechie to continue to access the backups on the old host until the upgraded site was fully restored. Eventually, everything switched back to HELLDOT.COM.
BankRobber initially denied all the accusations of violating Helldot rules. He also denied that he purposefully exploited the flaw that caused the server denial of service. However, later he admitted to everything, though he still didn't think he'd done anything wrong or really understand why anyone was upset. His "admissions" are below and are a pretty entertaining read.
Before the crash of Helldot, BankRobber was banned. One day he tried to negotiate for his unbanning. The following is the log of that chat session. The main reason eviltechie talked to BankRobber at all is because of the craziness the chat sessions, and this is definitely an example of that.
Mr. Bank was a smart dude, even if he did lack understanding of some basic concepts. This made keeping him off the site a challenge. Eviltechie eventually offered a $500 reward for BankRobber's contact information. No one claimed the reward, but it apparently scared BankRobber enough to stay away. Word on the street is that he eventually ended up in trouble with the law over an unrelated issue.
The only other person in Lurking Glass history to earn an actively enforced permanent ban is Arsen (aka GrandTheftDonut). There were two incidents that lead to this.
The first incident is still a bit unclear. Based on the information we've been able to gather what is suspected is that Arsen manipulated (or merely asked) one of his friends (an underage female) into baiting a Helldot staff member into making inappropriate comments to her. An alternate explanation is that the chat logs showing the inappropriate comments were a forgery orchestrated by Arsen. The first explanation was the one that seemed more likely at the time though. The fallout was that the Helldot staff member had to be let go.
The next incident involved Arsen blackmailing a Helldot administrator. Threatening to release private photos that had been shared if they didn't allow him access to the administrator-only areas of Helldot. The administrator in question eventually told eviltechie about the situation. He recommended they post the photos publicly to remove Arsen's leverage.
Arsen was banned and again eviltechie offered a monetary reward for information about him. Enough information was gained that the local authorities and his ISP could be notified. Obviously the police don't care much about internet drama, but the threat of it, knowing that we knew his contact info and likely that of his workplace, and the risk of someone turning on him and revealing more for the reward money together worked to keep him away.
In addition, all known supporters and friends of Arsen were banned from the site. Though some were allowed back eventually.
Helldot Promotional Material
At one point, we thought about offering Helldot-themed shirts and such for sale. Several designs were made, but the project never really went anywhere. The images that were meant to go on the shirts are linked below. Feel free to use them if you want to make your own stuff, they were designed with the resolutions and sizing required by CafePress in mind.
Party Like Iraqstar - Front (white background)
Party Like Iraqstar - Front (transparent background)
Party Like Iraqstar - Back (white background)
Party Like Iraqstar - Back (transparent background)
Party Like Iraqstar - Pocket (white background)
Party Like Iraqstar - Pocket (transparent background)
After over three years of operation, it was decided that it was time for a major change. The site was moved to a dedicated server, it was renamed to Lurking Glass, and attempts were made at promoting the site.
Where Are They Now?
After Lurking Glass was launched, the HELLDOT.COM and HELLDEV.COM domain names were allowed to expire. HELLDOT.COM was purchased by a Japanese company. HELLDEV.COM was purchased by a Russian software developer for what appears to be his personal site. Considering eviltechie's fondness for both Japan and Russia, the domains seem to have found their ideal home.