1 year ago tonight, Lauren Faust - one of the main-minds behind MLP:FIM, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Powerpuff Girls, and currently Wander Over Yonder - made a fateful visit to the website that started it all - 4chan.
In the year that has passed since that day, much has happened for the board, for better or worse, but lets take a look back on what was the most exciting night in /mlp/ history.
The image was taken to /mlp/ where a discussion began regarding how disheartening it was to see Lauren see what had become of her brain-child. In the course of the thread, an image was posted of a crude drawing of Lauren as the Hulk, showing how her anger made her strong.
...an image that showed up on Lauren's own Twitter account. In disbelief of this being a coincidence people began to question if it was really her. And sure enough...
"This is Truly the end of days."
A rather ominous phrase that many have treated like a prophecy ever since.
The thread was chaos. #HorseFamous people came from all corners of the internet to shout at Lauren. With Moot's presence, it was a surreal moment, as the mother of the franchise and the unintentional root cause of the fandom were together in the same place at the same time.
Lauren had to leave at one point and returned later for her second visit, which was much shorter lived.
It was around this time that Draft made the infamous "inappropriate venue" comment, in which he attempted to become the gatekeeper between the showstaff and the community, dictating what was and was not acceptable behavior according to his own judgment (ignoring the fact that Lauren had been on the site of her own free will and choice).
Even beyond the comments of Final Draft, there were many others who were upset by Lauren's choice of entertainment, namely Ponychan, who whined to the point that she resolved to make a visit to their board as well, which she did several weeks later. Saberspark even asked Lauren to come to Reddit.
In the above screencap, Lauren had just received a "thank you" card, that the board had assembled, piece by piece, of a variety of images assembled by the anons of /mlp/, in gratitude of her visit.
Somewhere among the dozens of squares, a few jokesters had snuck in a couple lewd images. This itself caused its own shitstorm, with people flooding Lauren's twitter with messages about how evil and icky 4chan is (again ignoring that Lauren has already been there several times).
Knowing full-well that 4chan is fiercely defensive of itself and things it deems to be of its own kind, Lauren made a personal request to /mlp/; a request that 4chan NOT retaliate against any of the groups with whom it was feuding at the time, or who had been seen as being mean to her in the course of the ordeal.
In a shocking display of respect and loyalty, /mlp/ did in fact come to a resounding consensus, and largely suspended most off-board activities for several weeks. It was the most quiet time in the board's history in that respect.
|"I know there is good in you /mlp/..." - Lauren Faust|
Besides, the board had bigger things to concern itself with back at home. The Faust-Visit marked, in the board's consciousness, a turning point. Whether the visit itself caused the sudden shift in policing of the board is largely a mystery, but in reality is unlikely, as many remember the activities actually beginning prior to the visit. The event was known as "The Scruffening", a dark period for /mlp/, from which it has never fully recovered.
"The Scruffening", for the legions of new-people on the board, was a week of terror for /mlp/. It began with the deletion of anything resembling pornography from the board with swift action and great prejudice. This was during the beginning of the "LiveSmutAnon" threads, which were outlawed as a result of the overzealous actions of the janitors and mods.
Posts began getting deleted left and right. Entire serial threads were wiped out. People were getting banned like it was going out of style. Fluffy Ponies, Milky Way, Spanish Language, numerous others, all wiped out. Something had to be done, but it was an uphill battle. Councils of representatives of the board convened on skype and on email to formulate a response strategy, in an effort to get things under control. Anonthony, old-fag and admin for "MLPchan" reached out a hand in the middle of the anarchy, offering a safe haven for all the displaced threads that nor/mlp/eople held so dear. To this day, MLPchan's /anon/ board serves as the "Emergency Rally Point" in the event that /mlp/ becomes either unusable or is deleted altogether.
As the date-stamp on this image shows, it was nearly 2 weeks after Lauren's visit, that things finally returned, but they would never be the same. The board had known war, and it was hardened by it. The scruffening bred many ill-feelings that persist to this day, some (incorrectly) even blame Lauren for causing it, and hold those who had negotiated with the mods as being "traitors".
But what have the long-term effects been?When you look at the catalog, structurally there has not been much change. There are more generals now than ever before, and even the "banned" materials are slowly making their return. Posting is down, and some believe it to be a lessoning of interest, which may be partially the case, though another non-dismissable factor is that moot has altered the site structure, doubling the post-timer, slashing the amount of posts which can be made in a day. Many old-guard say that the board isn't the same spirit it once was, but board-culture is constantly changing anyways, lest it become stale and dies.
In recent months a new feud has begun, largely between newcomers to the fandom and the old-guard, about whether the show is better or worse without Faust.
Despite the changes, the board has survived and continues to find new ways to entertain and surprise itself, even in the wake of the scuffening. Since Lauren's visit, the board has run 2 charities (feeding over 9000 people, and helping hundreds of sexual assault victims) been involved in 3 conventions, and even has acted as the protector of uninformed fans by exposing such things as the "Dark Skyes" scam. Nearly all of the serial threads have returned, and there are more now than ever before.
So the question is; is it worse? or just different? To answer that question, you must ask another.
Is it better to be feared, or respected?
Is it too much to ask for both?
Nobody would dream to say that /mlp/ has lost its bite, and many would testify that it is much better to work WITH the board than against it. Lauren showed the world that there was good in /mlp/, while /mlp/ reminded everyone it can still be fierce when it wants. Don't provoke the beast and throw it a bone every once and a while, and it can be friendly, but don't expect it not to bite when you prod it and rattle its cage.
Lauren showed the world that /mlp/ can be both.
Which in reality, is all we could ever ask for.
Will she ever visit again?Maybe not.
But it doesn't matter.
We know she's out there.