Episode: Revert to the Throne Edit
There was a young lady from Hyde Who ate so many apples she died. The apples fermented inside the lamented And made cider inside 'er inside. --Wiki:WikiWikiSandbox
There is a sign above the front entrance to the Ancient Sandbox Museum, a quote from the first century of wikis, before they became urban areas that anyone, including you, can edit. The first wiki only had text and links. Images, audio, video, cuisine, terrain, architecture, weather, the Interwiki Connector, the Governing Federal Democratic League came later. You might not believe it, but the first wiki had a UseRealNames policy. Wiki users came from the real world, because there was no way to be born and live entire lives in wikis, as most of us do now.
Wikisandbox is a wiki about sandboxes. You probably know that a "sandbox" is a building that where users make test edits, so they can learn to manipulate a wiki without accidentally defacing or demolishing a building. You might know the "government-in-exile" joke where wiki users copy the town hall of one wiki to the sandbox of another wiki. Maybe you remember the incident when a sandbox became an encyclopedia article, to the dismay of the users cooking at the kitchen inside. Perhaps you want to replay the most famous accidental sandbox demolitions. You can learn about and discuss such things at Wikisandbox.
Wikisandbox also has an Ancient Sandbox Museum. Outside, above its front entrance, is the sign about the young lady from Hyde.
ReportingUser held a stylesheet in one hand and a marker in the other hand, while staring at the sign. Using the marker, he carefully altered one word of the stylesheet. Suddenly, the letters on the sign slanted. ReportingUser changed another word, and the letters on the sign made themselves green. It looked as this:
There was a young lady from Hyde Who ate so many apples she died. The apples fermented inside the lamented And made cider inside 'er inside. --Wiki:WikiWikiSandbox
At least, for ReportingUser it looked as that. For most other users, the letters were upright and black, at least if those users did not also have a personal stylesheet.
At that moment the sky darkened.
The sysops had scheduled the sky over Wikisandbox to be blue, sunny, and free from clouds. Now clouds appeared instantaneously. ReportingUser knew that clouds normally float in from one direction, so this sudden appearance of clouds was very odd. Then the rain started. ReportingUser quickly dashed into the museum.
There were now five users inside the museum, including ReportingUser.
An anonymous user was adding an ancient quote from around year 2005 or 2006. It read:
Why is it called a "sandbox"? Can you build sandcastles? -- MeatBall:SandBox
ReportingUser spoke. "Is any of you a sysop of Wikisandbox?"
The words, "Is any of you a sysop of Wikisandbox? --ReportingUser" appeared on the comment wall at the back of the museum. In fact, the comment wall of any wiki room always archives anything that is said, and the comment walls of some sandboxes are particularly famous. Know that the ancient sandboxes in the Ancient Sandbox Museum did not have comment walls, as no ancient wiki had them, though some had comment sections or talk pages.
But Wikisandbox has comment walls, and anyone can relive this conversation by checking the archive of the Ancient Sandbox Museum.
ReportingUser spoke again, changing the verb of the question. "Are any of you a sysop of Wikisandbox?"
The user working at the MeatBall sign: "I am not an identified user."
The other three users each replied that no, they were not sysops. Wikisandbox, like some other wikis, has four access levels:
- anonymous users, for anyone can edit the wiki
- identified users, those who have disclosed their usernames
- sysops, who are identified users with extra powers like changing the weather and protecting buildings
- bureaucrats, who are sysops with even more powers, such as the power to grant sysop status
See, ReportingUser believed that a misbehaving sysop had triggered the rain, and wanted to ask a sysop to stop the rain, which now continued. At least the Ancient Sandbox Museum had a roof.
But then, the roof disappeared!
Heavy rain fell into the museum. The talk wall soon contained various complaints and curses.
ReportingUser: "Someone revert the museum!"
The anonymous user that had worked at the MeatBall sign now summoned the holograms of the revision log for the museum.
Conquerorapart, another identified user in the room: "Which one has a roof?"
The anonymous user picked a hologram with a roof, and the museum reverted itself into an old version of the museum. A roof reappeared. The rain stopped entering the museum. The museum, because it was an old version, was dry, but the five users inside remained wet.
Then, the roof became sand!
An unwelcome mix of sand and water fell on the five users and the museum floor. Wet sand in your hair and over your body is a bad experience. With the sand roof fallen, rain again entered the museum.
ReportingUser, pointing at the anonymous user: "You awful Meatballist! Stop your vandalism now!"
The anonymous user: "I am a free user, no Meatballist! And the edit that made the sand is not my fault!"
Conquerorapart: "Assume good faith, ReportingUser!"
ReportingUser: "Someone check the Defcon."
However, before anyone could check the WikiDefcon, the public-address speaker system turned on. Only bureaucrats can use the PA speakers.
A bureaucrat with username BlackPortal6 was speaking on the PA, "Attention! This is your bureaucrats. We are at WikiDefcon 1, "overwhelming level of vandalism". Wikisandbox is now in lockdown! Grab the weapons, and remember, no personal attacks! Only attack vandals!"
More complaints and moans appeared on the comment wall now, because a lockdown means that most parts of the wiki cannot be edited. This prevented anyone from restoring a roof to the museum. Meanwhile, weapons, ammo, and health kits appeared in the museum and elsewhere around the wiki. These items levitated above the ground and spun, waiting for users to take them.
But now a sixth user, Gorillax, entered the museum, and immediately opened fire with a machine gun.
Gorillax: "Birud, Birud!"
Five users scrambled toward weapons, but five corpses fell dead before they could return fire.
ReportingUser respawned in its own apartment. In the protected part of the apartment, ReportingUser knew that no other users could enter. A shotgun, a machine gun, and some health and armor levitated and spun in the room. ReportingUser grabbed the armor, took both the shotgun and machine gun, and quickly checked the count of shotgun shells and machine gun bullets.
You might now think that ReportingUser was ready to open the door, step from its apartment to the hallway, and fight! Actually, when ReportingUser approached the door, it heard some gunshots. ReportingUser hesitated. Then it noticed the "In Case of Vandalism" sign posted next to the door. You have such a sign in each of your apartments across the Wikigalaxy, though the policy written on the sign is different at different wikis. In case you are not at Wikisandbox now, here is the part of the sign that ReportingUser read:
- The bureaucrats have the power to set the WikiDefcon status. Level 5 indicates peace with little or no vandalism. As necessary, any user may revert buildings to old versions, and sysops may temporarily protect some buildings from edits. Level 4 is an advisory status indicating increased vandalism involving multiple users and buildings. Volunteers may assist in stopping the vandalism.
- At WikiDefcon 3, the wiki enters partial lockdown. The wiki disables both the creation of new buildings and the relocation of existing buildings. Volunteers may work to return stability to the wiki.
- At WikiDefcon 2, the wiki enters full lockdown. The wiki disables all edits to buildings with the exception of (1) reverts by sysops and (2) edits by users to their own apartments. Volunteers may comfort users unable to edit the wiki.
- At WikiDefcon 1, the wiki enters shooting mode. The wiki disables all edits of any kind. Weapons and armor will appear around the wiki. Volunteers may kill vandals, thus forcing vandals to respawn in their own apartments. Sysops may then lock vandals in their apartments until the Judicial Committee of Province Bookmark can arrest the vandals.
ReportingUser actually did not remember the WikiDefcon level just before the bureaucrats set it to level 1. However, it knew that edits were possible just before the level change, so the wiki must have been at level 3 or lower and skipped level 2.
ReportingUser continued reading:
- During WikiDefcon 1, you might not be able to travel around the wiki, and you might die and respawn in your apartment. To communicate with other users, please call the #wikisandbox channel.
So ReportingUser went to the chatgate of its apartment and called #wikisandbox.
- Message: "User ReportingUser joins #wikisandbox."
If you like a wiki, and want to stay around for awhile, there are two things that you should do to prepare yourself in case of death. First you should log in to drop your anonymity. Second you should create an apartment room. Become an identified user with an apartment room is the only way to create a safe place that only you may edit, with a locked door that only you and your guests may enter. It also is the only way to use the chatgate.
This is why ReportingUser was not ejected from the wiki into the Interwiki Connector. Instead, ReportingUser was in its user room in the Apartments of the Medieval Castle, using the chatgate to access channel #wikisandbox.
- Topic: "Sudden invasion of Wikisandbox. Please report your status as you join the channel."
- Conquerorapart: "This ReportingUser was with me."
- ReportingUser: "A user Gorillax knocked out five of us at the Ancient Sandbox Museum."
- BlackPortal6: "Yes, we know."
ReportingUser looked upon the list of users displayed upon one side of the chatgate. BlackPortal6 was a bureaucrat!
- Message: "User Tyuio joins #wikisandbox."
- Tyuio: "I am ready to fight!"
- Conquerorapart: "I wanted to die anyway. My corpse was all wet and sandy."
- ReportingUser: "Roof became sand, fell, in came rain."
- BadUser: "About one-fourth of our buildings, other than the user apartments, currently have no roof."
BadUser was a sysop!
- Message: "User FerrousUser joins #wikisandbox."
- FerrousUser: "We have a big fight at the Hall of Redesigns!"
- BadUser: "That building is new. The enemy might have constructed the Hall of Redesigns as their stronghold."
- Message: "User Newplumbing joins #wikisandbox."
- Newplumbing: "A FerrousUser killed me!"
- FerrousUser: "No, Newplumbing killed me! Newplumbing is the enemy of Wikisandbox."
- Newplumbing: "I am not the enemy of the Wikisandbox."
FerrousUser and Newplumbing would have continued to argue, but more users joined the channel. User Powerrrrr warned everyone to stay away from the Museum of Sandbox Demonstration. User Nrazlaz told of vandals shooting from inside the Castle Cafe. User UserOfFiends had died in the streets outside the Northeast Apartments. User Ihavetwenty said that the roof of the Institute for Sandboxes in Government had become a giant pastry, falling on and trapping the users inside.
The first floor of the Alliance Against Resetting became batter and collapsed, causing the remainder of the building to drop. The walls of the Hall of Incorrect Syntax had split into powder. The furniture of the Sand Advertisement Agency had become sticky and developed a strange odor, before melting into puddles. As users joined #wikisandbox and reported their situation, it became obvious that most of Wikisandbox was in ruin, the town having fallen to vandalism.
The building with the most attention, though, was the Hall of Redesigns. Three other users had joined FerrousUser and Newplumbing, complaining of the situation there, and disagreeing about who was the enemy.
- ReportingUser: "Why are we in WikiDefcon 1?"
- BadUser: "We should be in WikiDefcon 2, reverting these buildings before switching to WikiDefcon 1."
- BlackPortal6: "Do you not understand?"
- Tyuio: "What?"
- BlackPortal6: "The Hall of Redesigns is the fortress of the enemy.
"Some user discovered Wikisandbox and constructed the Hall of Redesigns," continued BlackPortal6 the bureaucrat. "Then this user snuck in its followers while pretending that the new building was attracting new contributors to Wikisandbox. Now they are attacking us.
"That is their strategy. They cannot win. I will rally us into battle, we will slay them, BadUser and I will lock them in their rooms and we will ask the Judicial Committee to arrest them. No matter how many times we have to respawn, we will assault the Hall of Redesigns and defeat the enemy. I chose to go to WikiDefcon 1 because I know that we can have victory."
- FerrousUser: "Yes, a huge group was expelling us from the Hall of Redesigns. I was in there by accident when they started the vandalism."
- Newplumbing: "FerrousUser, you were one of the vandals expelling bystanders like me from the Hall of Redesigns."
- BlackPortal6: "Attention. BadUser and I are the only sysops here; the others are away. I am in the Northeast Apartments. BadUser, where are you?"
- BadUser: "I am in the Apartments of Medieval Sandcastle."
- Ihavetwenty: "I am in the Apartments of the Tallest Palms. I can hear gunshots in the hallways. Can we have some help?"
- BlackPortal6: "The vandals are in the Northeast Apartments too. Some of them may have rooms here. So here is the plan. BadUser, find our loyal users in the Medieval Sandcastle and secure it as a base to use against the vandals. Those in the Tallest Palms and elsewhere, try to organise yourselves, but wait for help if you all must. I must stay in my room and on the chatgate. BadUser, I need your sysop weapons on the battlefield."
- BadUser: "Users of Wikisandbox, announce if you are in the Medieval Sandcastle."
ReportingUser was one of the users to call. ReportingUser examined its machine gun. It would join BadUser in securing the Medieval Sandcastle, and perhaps then to the assault of the Hall of Redesigns.
- Message: "BadUser leaves channel #wikisandbox."
ReportingUser knew that most users had to leave the channel if they were to fight.
ReportingUser was uncertain of what to do. It could hear more shotgun and machine gun fire now; users were fighting within the hallways of the Medieval Sandcastle, just outside ReportingUser's room in the Apartments of the Medieval Sandcastle.
ReportingUser examined its machine gun and moved toward the door of the apartment. The doors of the Medieval Sandcastle were of a thick, painted wood and each had a simple doorknob. These doors recalled an ancient time, before the buttons and sliding doors that most of us know. So ReportingUser looked in the peephole.
A peephole is the most intuitive way of looking out through a door without opening the door. Peepholes have gained popularity recently, but many users still use medium-sized monitors. The design is simple, and resembles a small, round hole cut through the door for the eye to look through. Inside the apartment, the eye looks into the peephole, at a tiny monitor. This monitor connects to a small camera behind the monitor and on the outside of the door; this camera watches the hallway. So when you want to see if your guests have arrived, you simply walk to the door and look through peephole.
So ReportingUser looked in the peephole and saw nothing! ReportingUser thought perhaps that some object blocked the camera. A display reading "zero" indicated that no one was outside the door, so ReportingUser decided to turn the knob. Authentication was quick, there being no obstacle to leaving your own apartment, and the door swung inward. Strangely, there was a piece of opaque adhesive tape covering the camera. ReportingUser found no obvious way to remove it, or could not think of a way while the noises of gunfire continued.
Suddenly, ReportingUser heard a call. "You, halt!"
Two users with machine guns ran from the right toward ReportingUser's door. "Stay in your apartment until the Judicial Committee arrives," ClientOfDoom said.
"I am no vandal," ReportingUser said, in expectation that the Judicial Committee might arrest ReportingUser.
"You stay here," ClientOfDoom ordered, "until we find a sysop to lock your door, from the inside."
But then two shots came from the left. They vaporised ClientOfDoom, then Nillag, leaving almost nothing of their corpses. ReportingUser looked left and saw BadUser wielding a Nex, a sysop-only weapon. "I shot those two because they had been vandalising before the lockdown."
ReportingUser gave, "Thanks."
"Could I have your help?" BadUser asked. "I locked some of the vandals' apartments, but need some cover when I step outside."
To ReportingUser, this BadUser seemed competent enough. So ReportingUser allowed BadUser to grab a health box and armor from ReportingUser's room and agreed to assist BadUser in battle. ReportingUser turned right and followed BadUser down the hall.
Bang! Part spray of machine gun bullets slammed into ReportingUser, reducing its health. ReportingUser returned fire with the shotgun, before BadUser answered with the Nex. ClientOfDoom fell dead again. Then BadUser rushed to ClientOfDoom's room and locked the door. "You may respawn, but you cannot leave!"
The battle continued in this manner, but ReportingUser spent most time guarding BadUser as the sysop examined logs of edits from each user and locked the rooms of vandals, to prevent them from rejoining the fight if they died.
Having finished that task, ReportingUser and BadUser met up with a group of users in the lobby. "I have locked the vandals' rooms, whether they were here or not. The Medieval Sandcastle is clean," proclaimed BadUser.
The group cheered.
The group of users-became-soldiers, led by BadUser, exited the Medieval Sandcastle into the streets of Wikisandbox.
"Rain!" explained some.
"If the vandals want to fight us in the rain, then we can," said BadUser. "This rain shall wetten them as it wettens us, but we shall dry faster!"
Though they became wet, they proceeded without opposition through the outlying southern part of Wikisandbox toward the Apartments of the Tallest Palms. They had agreed that BadUser need to clean the Tallest Palms, as it had the Medieval Sandcastle. As soon as the Soldiers of BadUser stepped into the lobby of the Tallest Palms, they heard the bursts of shotgun shells. The soldiers had encountered their first obstacle.
"Stop! You may not enter the Apartments of the Tallest Palms!"
"I am a sysop of this wiki," announced BadUser, and because the wiki had identified BadUser as a sysop, everyone there knew this was true.
"We had no sysop in this apartment to assist us," plead Vorike, the leader of the Guard of the Tallest Palms. "Please, we could not determine who among us was the enemy. We agreed to kill anyone who would leave or enter the Tallest Palms. Please, BadUser, go win this battle. We will prevent anyone here from interfering."
"Do as it says," added Tyuio, another member of the Guard. "There is no need to add the Tallest Palms to the battlefield. We have had a bad day. Some of us became buried under a fog of dust, some of fell through the walls, some of were caught in a stinky odor, it felt like the town of Wikisandbox was splitting into nothingness. I wanted to fight, but now I want that we maintain the peace."
BadUser almost spoke, but Vorike continued, "We are loyal to the Governing Federal Democratic League. We believe in the assume good faith. We will allow the Judicial Committee to resolve things after the battle is over. Please help and leave."
But BadUser lowered his voice and spoke, "I believe in peace and security. However, I also wield the Hagar and the Nex," referring to sysop-only weapons. Speaking loudly, "The GFDL was founded upon the three principles of government, federalism and democracy.
"But today," cautioned BadUser, "the enemy among us is numerous. As a sysop of this wiki, I am responsible for examining the logs of users' edits and locking those vandals who might join the fight. I must prevent them from overrunning your Guard and taking my Soldiers on our rear." Adding even more emphasis, "I must follow the democracy that elected me sysop of Wikisandbox and perform my obligations to support government."
"There is democracy, and there is government, but there is also federalism," replied Vorike. "To you, BadUser, I say that you can only confine the vandals to their apartments, and we the Guard already do this and honor the principle of democracy. However, only the Judicial Committee dispatched from the provincial capital can arrest the vandals and honor the principle of federalism."
Vorike motioned, and Siddler spoke. "I, a member of the Guard of the Tallest Palms, suggest that we ask in unison for BadUser and its Soldiers to leave us. Leave us!"
In unison the Guard chanted, "Leave us!"
BadUser gave an instruction to its Soldiers, "Raise your weapons. At my command, begin to fire!"
The Soldiers raised their weapons. The Guard raised their weapons. It seemed that an already tense situation was becoming worse, as the Soldiers and the Guard each tried to intimidate the other side. Silence persisted as neither Vorike nor BadUser began to fire.
It was ReportingUser who interrupted the situation. "We should leave this place and seek our enemy", ReportingUser suggested to the Soldiers, even as ReportingUser kept a machine gun warily pointed toward the Guard.
"What?" blurted BadUser.
"Today, I was peacefully studying the aesthetic of the Ancient Sandbox Museum," ReportingUser recalled. "When once points their eyes at that landmark of Wikisandbox, one must think of the first letters in the first sand. There the first wiki users came together to trial the process of edit.
"Those wiki users had not much. All they had, actually, were encyclopedia articles and a few other documents," commented ReportingUser. "And when the vandal struck today, and the ceiling of the Ancient Sandbox Museum fell on me and my coeditors as an unwelcome rain of wet sand, and chaos spread through our wiki today, I imagined the myself of the future, journeying to Wikipedia, there reporting the events of today for permanent memory in an encyclopedia article, believing that throughout history, all of wiki has been a sandbox, and vandalism eventually comes to every sandcastle."
"Lower your weapons," ordered BadUser, unexpectedly. So both the Soldiers and the Guard lowered the weapons and experienced relief.
"I may have interrupted ReportingUser's speech," explained BadUser, "but it takes all of the loyal users to reassemble Wikisandbox. You the Guard and we the Soldiers both would dislike that we fail today and we revert to the situation where what all we have, actually, would be encyclopedia articles and a few other documents. For will tell you the reasons for which the vandals struck today."
Some users replied, "Huh?" and so ReportingUser thought.
"In recent months," announced BadUser, "vigilante groups had been jacking themselves into the Wikigalaxy for the sole purpose of causing havoc. These vigilantes came from the real world, the world outside Wikigalaxy."
"The real world?" some users muttered.
"All I know is that the real world is a safe place for our souls," said ReportingUser.
"That may not be true enough," cautioned BadUser. "Now in the real world lie the Wikilands, where the users access wiki without actually living inside of it. I have listened carefully to the chatgate for rumors, and they say that many of the users oppose us who live in wiki."
"It is true," said Tyuio of the Guard. "In the days of the global internet, I once accessed the wiki from the Wikilands outside."
"Me too," added some other users.
"I could jack myself in and out of the virtual wiki world whenever I wanted, but then they started persecuting us," Tyuio complained. "They outlawed the Wikigalaxy and started arresting us. I fled the Wikilands Federation and now live always in Wikigalaxy."
"I fled here at an early age", explained BadUser, "and have few memories of the Wikilands. But though Tyuio and I might be safe for the time being, now look how much damage the vigilantes cause to Wikisandbox and the remainder of Wikigalaxy?"
"So, we will recover. We can fight vandals," replied ReportingUser.
"That is not all. Real names are forming a professional standing army trained in the tactics of cyber-warfare," said BadUser.
BadUser: "The real names intend to send this army against us and destroy Wikigalaxy. Our physical bodies outside the wiki are now beyond the reach of the real names. The danger is that their army will rout Wikigalaxy, then the real names may gain the power to slaughter our bodies in the real world."
"Real names, but how do you know this?"
BadUser: "Read the news, and you would know." After a pause: "Soldiers, exit these apartments." So the Soldiers left while the Guard maintained itself in the lobby.
The Soldiers of BadUser walked out of the Apartments of the Tallest Palms, having failed to clean it of vandals, but leaving those apartments to their Guard. Once again, the soldiers traveled under the rain.
Announced BadUser, "I want us to go the Northeast Apartments and consolidate our forces, before we will attack the Hall of Redesigns or wherever the vandals hide. To reach the Northeast Apartments from here, we have to travel through the center of Wikisandbox. It looks deserted from here, but I want to scout the area if possible. If we are ambushed, then I want those of you who die to regroup at the Medieval Sandcastle and proceed toward the Northeast Apartments. Do you understand that?"
The soldiers indicated their understanding.
Someday, you might visit Wikisandbox and attempt to retake the path that the Soldiers of BadUser then followed. If so, you should start at the site of the Tallest Palms in the southern part of the wiki. Then you may sight the tall buildings of Wikisandbox center and walk along the streets in that direction. As you do so, try to imagine that the buildings of the center are disorderly and partly demolished, a result of the crime against the users that we call vandalism.
Some of the soldiers would have preferred going around the center of town rather then through it. They may have considered suiciding themselves and respawning in the Medieval Sandcastle, which would yield a more direct route to the Northeast through the eastern part of the wiki. However, the soldiers were curious enough to want to tour the worst vandalism in the center.
ReportingUser removed its attention from the centers, and studied the immediate streets and buildings. ReportingUser noticed that there was nothing unusual about the streets, except the occasional spinning weapon, health, or armor, but the soldiers were carrying the maximum amount of weapons. ReportingUser saw no bullet marks and no corpses; those would had disappeared after an interval.
"Watch for vandals," warned BadUser, but apparently no vandals had stayed in the immediate area.
However, the buildings were in terrible condition. The users were walking toward the center of town, and the vandalism was much worse than that between the Medieval Sandcastle and Tallest Palms. ReportingUser guaged that the lockdown by the bureaucrat BlackPortal6 had preserved much vandalism in progress, and it understood now that the community of Wikisandbox was not large enough to attempt to revert it all.
The vandalism seemed random, disregarding the magnitude. A few buildings had seemingly disappeared, but most had become various horrible forms. Dust clogged some buildings, while fallen shelves and boards blocked others. Some buildings had missing doors and windows, but others had doors and windows laid out in strange places. Some buildings emitted a strange stench, others emitted flashing lights. A building made from paper building had collapsed, though a building made from bread still stood. The one most consistent feature was the ocassional text that read "Birud". Possibly Birud was the name of the enemy.
A stylesheet would make this mess of a wiki look better, thought ReportingUser, but it had no time to bother to make a stylesheet.
The Soldiers had formed a circle, and looked any direction for any bullet marks or corpses, for those would suggest a recent fight. They had already skimmed a few of the outdoor comment walls, but could not afford to idle over the records of recent disaster.
ReportingUser was sidestepping. "I hear no gunfire," remarked one of the Soldiers, and the party suddenly noticed the silence.
They saw the Castle Cafe. "It might be dangerous," warned BadUser, recalling the report that vandals had shot from inside.
"But wait, the Castle Cafe is over there!" yelled Jikprane. "How can there be two?"
So BadUser asked some users to enter the nearby Castle Cafe and investigate its hologram revision log. It seemed normal enough, so they went to the other Castle Cafe.
"This had been the Department of Supporting Sandbox Socialisation. A User Guranie93 had modified it to appear like the Castle Cafe," explained Jikprane.
As the soldiers approached the center, the vandalism became worse. The ones familiar with Wikisandbox became disoriented.
"We are lost," said one Yjqpppp of the Soldiers.
"Move vandalism," muttered BadUser, for the buildings in this area seemed to be in the wrong places.
Then Wutvarnisday pointed to the building at the center of town. "That should not be there." Though the building claimed to be the Town Hall, most of the regulars of Wikisandbox, including ReportingUser, did not recognise it.
"This is the old Town Hall of Wikisandbox, before we replaced it with the larger one," explained Wutvarnisday. "We demolished it to expand the Mall," an open, buildingless area in the center of Wikisandbox. (If you walk to the area today, then go to the north end of the Mall and search the revision log for holograms of the old Town Hall.)
The soldiers then became interested, so they all entered the old Town Hall. It was a single square room, but near the center stood an elaborate chair bearing an inscription.
I offer this revert to the throne. --Courtesy of Birud
"This throne, without the inscription, was our copy of the famous Throne of Dry Sandgrain," Wutvarnisday explained. "User JinruPwent built the original Throne in the sandbox of Wikipolygon, in Province Scrollbar, to observe what changes inexperienced users would make to the throne. It was a long time, but eventually a user erased the throne. So JinruPwent helped found Wikisandbox and brought a copy of the last version of the throne here, to place it as an artifact in the Town Hall."
"So that is their motive," raised BadUser. "These vandals do not like some recent changes that the community, and brought back the old Town Hall as a symbol of the past."
"But copies of the Throne were later used in vandalism at several wikis," continued Wutvarnisday. "That might have influenced the decision that I supported, the choice to demolish this Town Hall and its Throne, though we also did need a larger Town Hall."
"So the Throne of Dry Sandgrain is a symbol of vandalism?" asked BadUser.
Wutvarnisday answered, "Yes, but the Throne is not that well known, and its roles are rarely remembered today."
BadUser, speaking faster: "We cannot wait here; we must reach the Northeast Apartments soon!" The soldiers rushed out of the neat Town Hall, back into the ruins of Wikisandbox.
"Just walk toward the Northeast Apartments in the distance," Wutvarnisday offered. By Wutvarnisday's obvious method, the Soldiers walked out of that mess. They stopped at the Trade Apartments, a small set of user rooms, and found only three users; all three joined the Soldiers. Then they proceeded to the Northeast Apartments, having encountered no vandal and having engaged no user. The vandals had all hid themselves or were in a different part of Wikisandbox.
Upon entrance, the next task was obvious. BlackPortal6 was busy monitoring #wikisandbox upon the chatgate, so BadUser, being the only other available sysop, had to lock the vandals in their rooms. BadUser asked for a volunteer to meet BlackPortal6.
"I will report the situation," said ReportingUser.
"So then we came here," ReportingUser told BlackPortal6, having explained the falling roof of sand from the Ancient Sandbox Museum, then the fight in the Medieval Sandcastle, then the meeting with the Guard of the Tallest Palms, and finally the trip to the Northeast Apartments. The two were sitting upon stools in BlackPortal6's strange and dark room in the Northeast Apartments.
"Where is BadUser?" queried BlackPortal6. "You said that BadUser would come here after securing these apartments." BlackPortal6 was also typing something into the chatgate, using the keyboard in lieu of the microphone, as if separating that activity from the speech with ReportingUser.
Conveniently, BadUser just then turned the doorknob, swung open the door and walked into the room, a room lit only by a lantern hanging from the brown cieling. ReportingUser observed how BlackPortal6 trusted BadUser enough to permit BadUser to pass the authentication on the door.
"You must listen carefully," BlackPortal6 instructed, apparently to BadUser.
BadUser: "These Apartments seem secure, so soon may we issue against the vandals."
"It is not so simple," emphasised BlackPortal6. "We have several users sitting in the Apartments of the Tallest Palms unable to join our fight," referring to the arrangement during which the Guard would not let anyone leave or enter that set of apartments. "So I asked of them to use their chatgates to browse the Interwiki Connector and request help."
BadUser: "Our situation is dire enough, we at least should seek some of the other sysops of Wikisandbox and ask them to come here."
Becoming louder, BlackPortal6 then spoke, "Fort Bookmark is in WikiDefcon 2."
All paused. Now, unlike Defcon 1, which enabled the weapons in Wikisandbox, Defcon 2 did not enable the weapons, but it did prevent all edits to buildings except for reverts. The stunning thing was that Fort Bookmark was the provincial capital, a place normally defended too well to permit a Defcon 2 disaster.
BlackPortal6: "The vandals also attacked a several other wikis in Province Bookmark. The war has begun."
BlackPortal6 lowered its voice. "This round, they call themselves the Supporters of Birud. They chant Birud, Birud, and they write the name Birud on our walls, if they leave the walls standing, and they do it throughout this Province Bookmark so as to strain and wear down the capital.
"It is so hard to attract help when most volunteers are going to Fort Bookmark," explained BlackPortal6. "However, a Wiquayko who is a sysop here has offered to leave the battle at Fort Bookmark and come here. It wants us to meet it at our front gate."
ReportingUser: "But it could come to our front gate, let some vandal kill it, and respawn in its apartment room here! Why does not this Wiquayko do that?"
BlackPortal6: "We will pass the gate as we approach the Hall of Redesigns, where the farsighted among us have spotted the vandals. When we gain Wiquayko, then one more Nex is on our side."
(The popular forces of Wikisandbox walked from the Northeast Apartments to the direction of the Hall of Redesigns. They stop at the Front Gate, the foyer of the wiki. BadUser climbs to the third floor of a ruin and points its Nex outside the window, then snipes a user standing outside the entrance to the Northeast Apartments in the distance. This user respawned in an apartment and used a chatgate to signal Wiquayko to arrive.)
(As the forces under BadUser and Wiquayko approached the Hall of Redesigns, they split into two groups, with one sysop leading each. BlackPortal6 remained at its apartment and monitoring the chatgate. The two groups assaulted the Hall of Redesigns, where the vandals had fortified themselves, as if to prolong the battle.)
(The Soldiers of BadUser and the Soldiers of Wiquayko gradually pushed the Supporters of Birud, as the vandals called themselves, to the upper floors of Hall of Redesigns. But then Soldiers fell to an ambush. The Soldiers respawned and attacked the Hall again, as many times as necessary until they had secured it. Then they chased the vandals hiding elsewhere around the wiki, and won the victory for Wikisandbox and the Governing Federal Democratic League.)
(Then BlackPortal6, coordinating the research efforts of those confined to the Apartments of the Tallest Palms, understood that much of the Wikigalaxy had occupied itself in editing disputes, with users repeatedly reverting buidings. As battles continued within the other wikis of Province Bookmark, BlackPortal6 dispatched BadUser and ReportingUser toward the CodeRepository, seeking a copy of the ancient Wikipedia's policies concerning this matter.)
"Hello, I am LeagueBGPD, the League Border Gateway Protocal Daemon", the daemon instructed BadUser and ReportingUser.
"Take us to the CodeArchive," said ReportingUser, and the daemon launched the two users through the Interwiki Connector.
Every user has been through the Interwiki Connector many times, and you have probably seen the CodeArchive in pictures, even if you never had a visit. BadUser and ReportingUser landed upon that familiar blue plane.
"I know a Fiontanure that lurks here," ReportingUser told BadUser. "If Fiontanure is not busy under the surface, then I want to chat with it."
BadUser: "Fiontanure lurks here?"
ReportingUser answered, "It likes to explore the ancient source code and wiki pages that lie in storage below this plane."
But BadUser saught clarification. "How will you find Fiontanure? There seem to be no apartments on this plane."
"Fiontanure has apartments at other wikis, but mostly lives here without access even to a chatgate. It becomes lonely. My occupation is to tell Fiontanure of current events around Wikigalaxy, and as the trade to hear of its latest exploration of that archive below us. Fiontanure will want to hear your conjectures about those vigilantes of the Wikilands."
"But you cannot find Fiontanure, can you?"
"Notice how these lids form a hexagonal pattern," described ReportingUser as it pointed to one of the circular lids on the floor, an entry to the archive below. "I am reading the coordinates from these lids, so I can find the one around which Fiontanure bases."
"I see no coordinates on these lids," mentioned BadUser.
"It is this stylesheet. You have to know how to turn them on." ReportingUser ripped the stylesheet in half, and it healed itself into two stylesheets. It gave BadUser one copy, and now BadUser could also read the coordinates.
"One seven eight nine two zero two nine", or 1789.2029, ReportingUser gave. The coordinates were apparently hexadecimal, for some of the lids used the digits 'a' through 'f'.
The two users rushed past a few other users busy with various activities on the plane, entering or exiting holes, or summoning and dispelling vehicles. ReportingUser and BadUser had already found the 1789 axis and were quickly approaching the destination. 1789.1ffd, 1789.1ffe, 1789.1fff, 1789.1200...
ReportingUser knew then that Fiontanure was not available, but proceeded to lid 1789.2029 and stopped. ReportingUser explained, "There is a wiki near here, HexLidIndex, where they study which lids open to which source code archives and calculate formulas describing the meaning of these coordinates.
"Know that the lids are much closer to each other on the top side then on the bottom side," ReportingUser continued, "so that if you want something recent near 1789.2029, it is better to walk up here than to ride the vehicle down there. Today, we have to go back far enough in time that we could use any lid. So 1789.2029 it is."
Then raising its voice, ReportingUser chanted, "Summon vehicle."
A bright blue light raised from ReportingUser's position, and a capsule appear. "We could float through the archive, but it will be much faster if I pilot this craft, and we have a very long distance to travel."