Mystery of the ZenHex (partially lost deleted content of Internet forum; 2002-2012)
Status: Partially Lost
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, 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 no longer would 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, it looks like even the forum has disappeared for mysterious reasons. There is no reason given anywhere on the site. 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 is said to contain some rare footage), many original flash videos, and much of Zen's original content that drew so much attention to the site.
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 been left without their valuable user content. If there is one lesson to be learned here, it's this: don't rely on third parties to preserve your original creative content for you.
Update December 28 2013 - Upon further investigation, I have found that if you register and log into the site, you find out that you can actually use the forum and view it. Why it was suddenly made private is beyond me. I'm going to make a post on the site's forum and ask for some accurate information on the site's history and edit it accordingly. Hopefully we can get some light shed on what's happened to ZenHex.
Update July 28 2014 - Thanks to the efforts of our userbase, the 9-11 video in question has been found. While it has always been available online, it should be noted that it's existence hasn't been widely known about for years. Internet media works a little differently because of the vast ocean of data to go through. Thank you goes to NewGrounds for saving the video and to our member-base without whom we probably wouldn't be aware of this.
- The Mystery Of The ZenHex. Retrieved 28 May '13.