When Underground Values Clash – Look at It From My View

Foreword:  This thread is a personal view on what it means when people throw out the term “Underground”.  This is simply an expression of thought, and not meant to promote warez or illegal activity. ~ Versatile


7-22-09:  Initial release

If you hadn’t known already, I read all comments on this site and if something comes to mind I blog about it.  Sometimes you got to be careful, because you never know when it might resurface indirectly here as a topic of discussion. Anyway, the latest thing that is going on that almost ticks me off is what I read recently.  A user who has been following us off an on since the 3rd suspension said:

[but] …I am not seeing any good “underground” content.

Basically, we have a user who visits the blog from time to time, and since the last suspension, the articles and topics that come up on this blog are just so-so.  Is that the vibe?  No feedback on the TUG blog?  Maybe I’m just jumping to conclusions, so if you have seen the TUG blog (content is limited but its slowly growing) please leave some comments here.  (http://tug.cjb.net)

Anyway, this comment really hits home hard, and its rough because there are are so many variables that may not meet a certain reader’s expectation.  I wish to explain what is going on in my head, and the risks I am taking for this blog.  This is my personal take on the matter, and not anyone else.  I am speaking for no one else here, only for myself.  If you are an author and you want to elaborate on my topic, please do so in your own thread.   I am curious to hear someone else story besides my own.  For now, I am the target so send me your bullets.

No background story. Let’s just dive into the juicy details:

Where is the Underground Content?!

I am not going to beat around the bush, so let’s start with the politics that is WordPress.com.  As we all know, they have this thing called a Terms of Service.  I am not going to re-explain what that means, but basically it is a rules I as a WordPress author has to follow.

If I were to post content here that is frowned upon or considered illegal in some way, I can expect the blog to be suspended until the offending material is removed, or worse, just banned on site.  With that said, I have to approach this blog very carefully.  A lot of the content we have here already is good, and a lot of it falls into what I call the “grey area”.

Grey Area?  What is that?

The grey area is basically a term that describes that somethings in life is not black and white.  There are rules in place that help you figure out what is right and wrong, but what do you do if you have something that falls inbetween?  This is what courts are made for and why you have judges.  Court cases have a lot of grey area in it, and the judges are there to make the verdict, guilty or not-guilty.

Here in the blogosphere, it is very similar.  You and I clearly know what is illegal and what is not.  Backing up games to sell on the streets is clearly illegal.  Backing up games that you OWN is not illegal (depends on how you interpret the DMCA).  Your game just had a nasty scratch on it, so you go online to download the game and burn it  to DVD.  Is that illegal?  You tell me.  Some people would argue you need to support the game developers and go and buy another copy.  Others will say you bought the game once already, so why would downloading a game you technically own (but just scratched) is illegal?

As you can see, its all about context and perspective.

Well, what does that leave you with Versatile?

Because of the grey area, I have to be very careful how the articles or views are structured around here.  Yes, there is a freedom of speech, but you can say what you want to a certain extent before it is deemed unacceptable and consequences happen.  We have been suspended 3 times already, all for different reasons, so who knows what the next suspension could be about.  However, if I refer back to the Terms of Service, that serves as a guide so to speak to put me or the other authors onto the right path.

Since the last suspension, it has given light to a creation of a more darker blog, the TUG blog.

What is TUG?

Tug is short for “The Underground”.  Technically, its called “Welcome to the Other Underground”.  To read more about the values of TUG, please see this post on that blog here.

The Sister blog is hosted on a friends hosting server, and it is running a customized version of WordPress.  This equals more freedom, more themes, more plug-ins, etc. Yes, this too has its own rules as well, but not as strict as WordPress.com.

The TUG blog was created to create a no-barriers area where We (the authors) can say what we want without fear of being taken down (within reason of course).  So of course at the TUG blog, you will see some saucy articles, if you haven’t checked it out already.

The TUG blog is low on content. What gives?

It is true, the TUG blog is currently low on content, and for good reason.  There are a lot of good tutorials we can definitely talk about on the TUG blog.  The problem is, there is not enough man power to go around. Of the 6 articles on the blog so far, 5 are mine, and 1 is from another user.

Of course, I would love the content to skyrocket, but it really is a time issue.  Here I am answering comments on the blog, and Youtube.  I work a professional job. I do some tutorials (text and video) on the side.  I have life commitments to figure out.  I talk to people online to troubleshoot their problems. Writing a newsletter and now an e-book takes some time.  Other authors have other commitments, so writing on the blog (this or TUG) is very very low priority.  Did I expect all this? Yes.  Can I change any of this?  Possibly, but unlikely as 98% of the burden will and shall always rest on my shoulders.  People come and go. They say a comment here and there and leave.

Someday I will stop blogging.  Either because of new interests, life commitments, complaints from the future wife, or death.  Whatever the case maybe, I can be assured my posts will live on here at WordPress.com since I have “unlimited space”.  On the friend’s server, one day that will expire, or he doesn’t want to do it anymore and all my content is basically lost.  Sure, I could import it to free WordPress.com, but at that point it will require major rework to make it comply with the WordPress Terms of Service.

Hell, I wonder if writing this long post is going to do anything for the reader because it will be forgotten in a matter of days, or will it?  Not unless I keep it alive.  :0

Fact of the matter is, the feedback given is very low. No one gives ideas to me.  Very little on suggestions. The feedback on the newsletter was surprising, and I hope more people register for it.  If not, no big deal.  More concentrated content for those who are on the list. ;0

Newsletter?  What is the point of that?

If you go about life and ask “What is the point of doing this and that?”, then you need to take a hard look at yourself and figure out whats wrong with the way you think.

The newsletter is a nice way of me (or any of the other authors) to write something else that wouldn’t fit here on the blogs.  Or maybe it is in the blog, and we want to give it more importance through the newsletter.

The newsletter comes out once a month (about the 15th) and the subscriber list is growing.  For those who say there is not enough underground content, obviously you didn’t see newsletter 2 because I took a big risk in there. :-0

If the TUG blog is meant to go more “hardcore”, then what is this blog supposed to become then?

Good question.  You have to realize that nowadays I am not looking for the V1 blog to fit a certain “image”.  Sure, in the beginning I wanted it to be all techy like and to get out information for the average joe.  Now we do more than that.  We talk about a variety of topics, and now with TUG existing, it has taken the floor out from underneath our feet so to speak.  It’s not as bad as you think.

This thread is a good example.  It fits fine here perfectly, but not at TUG.  Get it?

Now let’s finish this up strong.

MY Underground is different than YOUR Underground.

Just like anything else in life, you cannot satisfy everyone at the same time.  That is just life.  A book cannot be loved by 100% of the reading population as there will always be people with different views, which is fine.  With that said, this blog falls under the same umbrella.  What I think is great Underground material may not appeal to you, but it will appeal to others.

Examples:  Left 4 Dead, Killing Floor, PS2 Modding, Xbox Hard drive upgrade kit, Yahoo working in Pidgin, iPhone Jailbreaking, and more will appeal to certain groups of people.

For a mother that is reading this site casually, she could care less about all this crap, but I can assure that teenager that lives in the basement will definitely love every single guide here.

So Mojo, if you are reading this, what do you consider Underground content?  It only becomes underground when something appeals to a person personally, and they didn’t know it could be done.  If I told you how to make your PC into a badass HTPC machine, is that underground?  For some people yes, for others no.

If I told you how to mod an xbox 360, is that underground?  For those who want to exploit the xbox 360 yes, to those who don’t care or own an Xbox 360, then no.  Get my drift?  I cannot win.  However, you can. Tell me what interests you, and I can take a look into it.  If you do not tell me what you want to know more about, then how can I meet your expectations and your interests?

The Reality:

The truth of the matter is there will come to a point in time where I will have written about all the underground tricks that I know of and then what?  How can I possibly improve any more?  Any new hacks or whatever will just be updates to old ones, or a rebirth of old hacks.  In that future, are you going to say that the underground content is lacking still?  How about all the underground content that exists on this blog that you don’t know about already?  Are you going to call me out on that too?

The reality is we have a lot of good articles.  Sure, the articles since suspension 3 may not be anything substantial, but I can assure you there was a lot of good work and effort put in many of our articles before suspension 3 that a lot of readers right now don’t know about. >_>

So what is left to do?

Absolutely nothing. I’m going to continue as I will, but I will make more effort to write something out of the ordinary.  However, some people think I don’t have good ideas for underground topics.  If that is so, below is a short list of items on my mind that I could talk about. However, if no one thinks these are not underground enough, then I can surely save it for the newsletter then.

If at least one of these items is not underground, then maybe you should remove this blog from your web surfing because obviously you know what you want and I don’t.

Potential Underground Items (hypothetically of course)

  • Where to get Windows 7 RTM (leaked version, and using the crack file)
  • How to mod Xbox 360 to play backed up games
  • Where to find Xbox 1 and Xbox 360 files on IRC
  • How to use IRC
  • How to use comic book reader to read comics
  • How to convert your Linksys router into an awesome router using DD-WRT or Tomato Firmware
  • How to turn your Linksys router into a network bridge
  • How to crack WEP
  • How to play game XYZ via Hamachi or Garena
  • How to play game XYZ without battle.net
  • Using Evernote to improve your life and computer file management
  • Rainbow tables and how to exploit them
  • Garena experience hack
  • Recommendations on various HTPC software
  • How to build a HTPC machine
  • How to use your laptop/netbook for other ingenious methods
  • What is disk imaging and how it can work in your favor
  • Hard drive maintenance with Spinrite – Learn how it can save your hard drive from crashing
  • Learn how to partition your hard drive the easy way
  • Wii modding tutorial
  • PSP/DS modding tutorial
  • How to FTP applications over to the Xbox 1
  • Credit Card Generators – How they work (educational purposes of course)
  • How to protect yourself on the internet
  • Spyware/Malware Program Tips
  • Using Thunderbird to manage your online mail, even Yahoo (indirectly)
  • Google Voice Guide

And the list goes on and on. On google docs, between all the authors, we have a running list of potential ideas listed, and it is well over a hundred. As you can tell, this blog nor TUG will die anytime soon.  Due to apathy, time, life commitments, and/or other unforseen events, you cannot get all this content online right away.  It takes time.  Hell, if I write everything within a month, what am I going to write for the rest of the year?

I have needs too you know. *rolls eyes*

The next time someone says this blog is not carrying its weight very well, I am going to redirect you to this post because you and I are on totally different wavelengths.  A huge part of this blog not growing as well as it should is because you, the reader, is not giving us any new material to froth on.  So stop complaining and do something about it right?

If you are going to be a “back seat” driver, do it at some other blog, not ours OK? I hope this post was delightful, and given you insight into how burnt out I am now and will in the future.  I hope by revealing my thoughts and feelings here, there will be some kind of mutual understanding as we go forth.  Thanks for reading, and let’s get some content up!

Note: TUG is a pun.  Per dictionary.com, it says:

–verb (used with object)

1. to pull at with force, vigor, or effort.
2. to move by pulling forcibly; drag; haul.
3. to tow (a vessel) by means of a tugboat.
–verb (used without object)

4. to pull with force or effort: to tug at a stuck drawer.
5. to strive hard; labor; toil.


an act or instance of tugging; pull; haul.
7. a strenuous contest between opposing forces, groups, or persons; struggle: the tug of young minds in a seminar.
8. tugboat.
9. that by which something is tugged, as a rope or chain.
10. (on a harness)

a. trace 2 (def. 1).
b. any of various supporting or pulling parts.

Applying the word “TUG” to underground use, it could mean that the blog is “tugging” you towards the articles.  Either that, or after reading the erotic section you have the inclination to start “tugging” something else I suppose. Your pick. ;0

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Posted on July 23, 2009, in Blog Updates, News and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I enjoyed this post a lot not only cause it opened my eyes as to how I treat a blog but also as to my involvement. When I first starting coming here it was to learn but I also read some very positive life articles as well. Now I know I don’t contribute as much as I should to this blog as an author but let me explain. First I’m not that knowledgeable at doing certain things that pertain to the “underground”. Secondly I’m a good speaker but when it comes to writing an article my thoughts get convoluted and hard to put down on paper. I will try to make an effort to write more on the blog from now on. As far as pleasing everybody with your posts, you and I know that’s an impossible feat so just take solice in knowing your doing what makes you happy. Never care about what others think too much or it will change who you are and how you write this blog. Stay the course and continue writing what you want to. Just an opinion from a friend.

  2. Hey Versatile, I am flattered by your well thoughtout response to my comment. I just wanted to let you know that I meant no offense and I know that you are balancing this blog with real life responsibilities and the terms of wordpress and I didn’t want to come off as ungrateful. Quite the opposite, I really appreciate what you’re doing for your readers. Furthermore, I really enjoyed your recent post about the free games offered by nvidia and ati.

    In response to your post, I have visited TUG and I do see more content that i’m looking for (particularly the last post about world at war). The way I found this blog originally was because I was looking for a demonoid invite. And I was just blown away by your invite ring. That was simply amazing. It set my expectation level very very high. See, I am not a huge gamer, but I am very into torrenting. And I can see how this blog is actually a gaming blog (I didn’t realize this when I started reading it). So this was just my opinion, that for me I didn’t see the content that I was looking for. And this was even before the last suspension, there would be post after post about L4D for example. I downloaded that game, played it a few times but I didn’t really get into it. So that’s pretty much it. I wish I could give you ideas on stuff to write about, but that’s the reason I come to this blog, is to learn about new ideas/technologies. If I had ideas, i would research them on the web and learn about them on my own. I come here to get new ideas. New underground activities.

    As for the upcoming topics, I see some interesting ones ( the ones not about gaming). Particularly, I am learning to use MIRC right now and that topic would be interesting. I am also interested to learn about protecting yourself on the internet.

    • Great response Mojo and I’m sure Versatile will respond to this kindly. I have a feeling of what kind of material your looking for and I would like to give you a few links to some good stuff about torrenting. I made a safer guide to torrenting video here, http://www.youtube.com/user/hail2king27 , that might interest you. Also I have a great steam hacking program to suggest for you. go here > http://cs.rin.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=51268
      Hope you enjoy this content and we appreciate your support of the Underground.

    • As a commenter, I would always be scared to see what the author of a post had to say to one of my “thought provoking” comments, because you don’t know if the author is going to agree with you, take a neutral side, chew you out, or go out on an angry rant.

      How shall I respond to a comment (the previous comment and now this newest one I am responding to) that has touched me on so many intellect levels that not only did it initially invoke a sprinkle of emotion, but also of birth of new ideas? Rather than carefully craft my answer and sit here for an hour writing something that will be so long and could easily be the next blog post, I’m going to keep it short and concise.

      As the main author here on the blog, the one that devotes more time into this than my own job, life commitments, and friends, it has to mean something. I do what I do because I have a role to play in this very small world we call life and the Internet. When I should be working or thinking of more important things in life, my mind has a tendency to somehow wander back to this blog to think of the next topic or what I can do to engage the user even more. It really is that important to me. Call it voluntary and holistic online community service if you will. :-0

      When I read your original comment for lack of content, you can see why I was surprised. There is a lot of content the average user may not even know about, and because I do not do a lot of promoting of old articles, the average user would never know that a specific article existed unless they did a blind search on my blog.

      Now that you have come along, it has gotten me thinking that perhaps there are many users out there who may have jumped onto the bandwagon and instead of scrolling back to the time of history, they just read the new articles as they come in. By doing this, they get a certain impression or idea of how things are. Failure to dig into past articles gives the reader a false idea as to what this blog is truly about.

      Yes, in retrospect, there are a lot of gaming related guides here and for good reason. When L4D came out, it was hot. I was in the zone. I had to capture that audience, because I slaved and endured through hell and back to find the answers so you didn’t have to. I wrote the articles, risen to success, and got knocked down by the wrath of God. Perhaps it was meant to be, because it has made me view things in a new light (to be explained in future articles) and new opportunities.

      The blog is a tough beast to mange. The demonoid invite ring is ingenious, and still is to this day. I should really have a testimonial thread up to show the fan emails I have gotten solely for the reason to boost up everyone’s morale in this world. I try to write about things that I know that other people don’t, and post it. If something hot comes along, I jump in and try to ride the waves for as long as I can before it dies out. It’s no different that when yo-yos used to be hot or pogs was the latest craze. It’s the same idea.

      Get the articles. Get the fanbase. Hopefully, the fanbase will wander around and find other stuff they like and just stick with us in the long run. Well, that is the goal at least.

      The other day in AIM someone had IMed me congratulating on the post, and that they LOVED the TUG blog. Sure, it needs more content, but they really liked the direction it was going. More underground was all the person could say. Go figure.

      As a user in your shoes, you come here or other websites to learn about new things, to think about things that perhaps you never thought of before. As an author, it is my duty to try to think of something interesting to show you guys, and although sometimes it is easy, sometimes it is downright hard. If I read a guide and that interests me, and I take it and spin it here, does that make it interesting for you? Maybe yes, and maybe no.

      This is why feedback from readers is always welcomed. Helps me think of a new topic to write about. :-0

      All right, enough of my sad story. Just be happy to know that the words you have said in the last few days have already started to generate new actions in the back of my mind, and within the next week, you will start to see changes that were indirectly caused by your presence. If that doesn’t give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside, then I don’t know what will.

      Thanks for your help, and I highly encourage you and anyone else reading this to sign up on the newsletter, please!

      • Thank you. For your hard work and for valuing our feedback. It is really a testament to how seriously you treat this blog and it’s readers.

  3. This was really an eye opener

  1. Pingback: Tech Savvyness Is Not a Reader Prerequisite « Welcome to the Underground.

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