I arrived on the forums through Ninja Main, as many of us did, I guess. Originally, I was just looking for a good site to watch series and movies for free. Discovering the boards, though.. best thing ever.
I remember very clearly that time of my life. I'd just moved to Lille, in the north of France, basically on the other side of the country from where I grew up. I'd been accepted to a great school, but I had a hard time acclimating myself to the city. I hated the atmosphere, the weather, the greyness, the cold. I hated my school, the teachers and the way things were taught there. Even more, I hated my fellow students. I was not like them, I did not get along with them, and I couldn't fucking stand to hear them spew their bullshit (and believe me they had bullshit to spew).
And then I got to discover the boards. And suddenly, on a tiny piece of virtual space, I met people I could actually converse with. Fucking C&D man, I'm always coming back to that. Having informed and well thought out debates. Actual fucking discussions about actually fucking topics, where people did not only scratch the surface in order to make polite conversations to shine in society, but actually thought hard about their arguments, and how they could counter other people's arguments in an intelligent manner. Finding the boards helped me through an immensely painful time of my life, when I felt so inappropriate and out of place that I thought I could die the next day and it would not make a difference to any fucking one in the world.
In the boards, I saw a place where I could learn, even though it was not a traditional repository of knowledge like a library or a university. It was so much more, uncensored (except for the trolling, duh), built from the base. Community. That feeling of belonging man. You don't find that everywhere... I did here.
And then, there was the whole piracy thing. The Manifesto. The day I heard Phara's voice on that podcast. The way she addressed those slimy fucks. So open, so honest, and so fucking hopeful in that revolutionary act. So much promise in that podcast. From that moment, I felt a fucking kinship with her, like no other. Then the raid happened, and we lost her for the time. I kept following her as much as I could through different ways. Then she got out and gave birth to Ninja Evo, and that fucking sense of belonging came right back.
What did/does the first forums mean for me? What does Ninja Evo mean to me today? Fucking hope man. That tiny light at the end of the tunnel, that maybe everything is not lost, that the Internet can actually make the world a better place. There is an ideal, a fucking dream, a fucking utopia behind the internet and the way it connects all of us together. Ninja is the best side of the internet. It's what the web should have been all around, what it could be again if enough people saw that fucking light.
That fucking light is everything.