Mystery of the ZenHex (partially lost deleted content of Internet forum; 2002-2012)
The Mystery Of The ZenHex is an underground forum website that has had somewhat of a troubled history behind it. Founded in 2001, it started out as a site that not only provided forum use, but also a platform for user-created content. It had poetry, quizzes, jokes, and rants/raves.
It was considered a major competitor to Quizilla, with the user traffic reaching the tens of thousands at one point. This became so problematic that the site's servers would often crash due to being unable to support such large traffic.
Desperate for a solution, website owner Zen sold it to then-growing social networking site myyearbook.com (now known as meetme.com) in 2005. Many of the users felt angry and betrayed seeing their "underground" site being implemented with such a mainstream-catering service. Nearly 3% of the site's original content disappeared in the transfer. This would not be the only time material would disappear from the site.
In 2008, ZenHex's deal with MyYearbook ended and the site branched back off on it's own again. Much of it's content was again going mysteriously missing during the transfer back over. The site went through a re-branding in 2011, when MyYearbook would no longer support the site on it's servers, nor release the data held on them, which made all of the site's user-created content inaccessible if it wasn't deleted. The website then became a vBulletin board.
Then, in 2012, the site changed it's design back to its original model, based on a save of ZenHex that the owner found from 2005, which meant there was a partial restoration of user content. The vBulletin site was accessible by clicking on the dragon logo on the top right of the screen, however in April 2014, the active users agreed to let Zen delete the vBulletin material. Nearly 60% of the material is completely gone.
As of this writing, even the forum has disappeared for mysterious reasons. This was made private partially due to spambots, personal content from active users, and a general lack of interest. User accounts from 2005 and before can still be used, though password recovery is only possible through the site owner & new users start off banned to avoid a flood of spambots - they can, however, u2u to get unbanned.
A small portion of the old content can be viewed on The Wayback Machine, but most of it is still inaccessible with some links even missing off of the main page. Some notable missing content is a 9-11 tribute video accompanied by Pink Floyd's "Goodbye Blue Sky" (which has been found), many original flash videos, and much of Zen's original content that drew so much attention to the site in the first place.
The site is now considered a shadow of its former self. Old users from as far back as the website's conception have been desperately looking for their old content in vain. No torrents exist and Zen, the site's administrator, seems reluctant to restore the missing content. Though, in his defense, the site changes were made based off of member complaints of the site's "old" look and the site's "overly mainstream" re-branding.
While some of the forum content and poetry has survived and some members have been able to recover content from other past members who saved their work, most users have had little to no luck.
- Archived Zenhex site. Retrieved 17 Sep '16
- The Mystery Of The ZenHex. Retrieved 28 May '13