Losing the Plot: Part 4 — SCP’s Toxic Maximalism, ft Dr. Clef
NEWS/OPINION — SCP is the most visible representative of the containment fiction space; and it is quickly becoming the worst.
“Never forget, at one point, SCP was at this same stage, a small community of horror writers lurking on the edge of the internet, writing not for an audience of millions, but only for a dozen people, maybe to make some philosophical point, maybe to get a chuckle out of you after reading between the lines. You are a hypocrite for mocking the stage at which SCP was at one point itself. Sure, RPC is small, sure its userbase probably doesn't cap at over 1000 yet, but give it time. Never forget the classics were at one point just another new article, and now cherished for their impact and creativity.”
-a 4chan anon
To celebrate SCP’s 13th birthday, WhiteGuard, a SCP member and staffer, has conducted weekly interviews — in my opinion the best thing to happen to SCP since the KaktusKast — with some of the site’s forerunners, their initial ideas revisited and re-pronounced. These include “The Administrator” Fritzwillie, Dr. Clef, Kain Pathos Krow, and Dr. Gears.
I don’t think, however, that what is revealed in the nostalgic look back is as charming and flattering as the celebrating SCPers think it is. Let’s take a close look at some of the changes these old guards speak of, and tell the other side of the story regarding how far SCP has come.
Past entries in this series:
- Part 1: As an Adolescent, SCP Has Lost the Plot — A Preface
- Part 2: Losing the Plot — SCP’s Inversions — Dr. Gears
- Part 3: Losing the Plot — Trading Immersion for Immediacy — Kain Pathos Crow
We have already looked at a prominent SCP author’s take on the insularity of the SCP Wiki community and how SCP has a quasi-religious need to continually define and expunge more “negative value” behavior. However, their penchant for self-quarantine away from any potential political or social pathogen (perceived) with respect to the rest of the budding space of containment fiction has not yet been highlighted as thoroughly as the situation merits.
In this post, we will further examine how the need felt on their part to ruthlessly differentiate themselves from all instances of what could be seen as a political kryptonite — as if the extent of their writing prowess was a function of their political sensitivity — has closed them off more and more thoroughly and in a paranoid fashion to any outside interaction. Furthermore, the lateral but still inner spaces of the SCP community have taken this a step further and applied a segregation and discrimination, not necessarily directed at problematic political behavior, but simply toward those they don’t like; or worse, toward those who associate with people they don’t like. We will see a recent and official statement from Staff that dual citizenship is not allowed between SCP Wiki and RPC, and an ultimatum demanded of a member of the Society for Containment Fiction (SCF) to either leave the SCF Discord or remain banned forever.
Monopolization Through Lies, Force, & Popularity: SCP on Other Communities
The genesis of several containment fiction spaces are less noble than their current state. RPC Authority attracted some of a hateful and bigoted crowd — those unsavory individuals caught in the net with the authors and participants who had a legitimate grievance against the SCP in the June of 2018 Logo Fiasco, and who have outlasted those unsavory individuals. The same actually is true of yearling containment fiction community, The Society for Containment Fiction, which arguably found its impetus and first formative steps in a group of people active on the SCP thread of KiwiFarms.
This is certainly the case for the SCP, which came out of what Dr. Clef, in his interview here, describes several times as “an ocean of piss”. Back then, terms that identify individuals as alternate sexual orientations were pejoratives synonymous with insults; there was an unchecked vandalism that escaped the should-be focus of the writing and attacked helpless individuals for trying their best; at one point, there was a moderator of #site19 who used to love to dress up like a Nazi:
SCP prides itself on just how distinguished they have become from their early days; the complicated binary system of equivocation between format development and moral evolution being left alone for another time. “We’ve come a long way” is the common sentiment, and they aren’t wrong. This is well expressed in an allegorical and almost Platonic form by Dr. Clef in his recent interview for the 13th birthday of SCP. While nominally his words only account for him personally, it does well as a stand-in for the rest of the site, who see a representative for the arching changes to the community (Clef also being someone who knows his audience well):
“I don’t want to go back to those old days. Those old days sucked in a lot of respects. SCP Foundation provided a refuge from the suck, but I’m glad those bad times are over… The Clef who worked on a lot of early SCP stuff was an angry young man… drawn to the ocean of piss that was 4chan… Through that site, he found SCP Foundation, and for a time, he continued his attitude of loathing and self-hatred and spread it around to others around him as well… But he grew up. He changed. He gained a sense of respect for himself, and his personal life improved. He learned to stop hating himself and learned to care about others.”
This serves as a good-enough example, but the sentiment is ubiquitous. It steams off of members in the SCP, actually. (It’s… almost suffocating, despite being through a computer. I can’t imagine what it is like in person.)
These communities might never be allowed to escape the associations and conditions of its birth, as an indelible shame that ensures a ceiling to a caste-like system. For SCP, this would mean they could never live down that they came out of 4chan, or the administrative errors of something like the June 2018 Logo Fiasco; for RPC, this would mean they could never live down that their initial exodus was shared with sympathizers of overt hate; for SCF, theirs is always the burden of what other individuals on the foul-mouthed forum said and did in far-removed and wholly other places.
But the truth of the matter is that none of these communities are at all like the context of their birth; all have overcome the impoverishment of their initial circumstances and become something different. And yet, breaking through this reputational prison of origin is something that apparently only SCP is allowed to do, if you ask a lot of individuals that represent it. And like it or not, their views and beliefs dominate the containment fiction space, and contextualize the responses in this blog, and elsewhere.
The self-congratulation on SCP’s part for their separation here however is an insecure one, because the same thought-dominance that celebrates how far SCP has come also tends to keep other containment fiction spaces’ heads held firmly under the water, as if there isn’t enough air to breathe for the both of them. Once clarified by a study of individuals in microcosm of the community itself, this hostility to any and all out-groups is a composite psychology that can only find value in itself comparatively; its perceived superiority must be militantly defended by stepping on others’ fingers on their way up the same ladder.
SCP on RPC
Both of the premiere sites for containment fiction had birthdays recently; RPC (3) in June and SCP (13) in July. (That makes SCP the same age as the adolescent that Dr. Bright turned himself into and commented fondly on the nubile breasts of. Still no disc mention for him over this; only the permaban of the individual who called it out and finally got it removed off the site; but nevermind this.) Though their birthdays are close on the calendar, the two couldn’t be further apart once you get weeds-deep into the relatively small and compressed world of containment fiction. But for almost none of the reasons that SCP likes to tout.
Most of SCP — particularly most of the staff, more particularly those who were present during the event that inspired the forking of the site into RPC and beyond — consider any and all confic derivatives as cheap imitations. But RPC especially so, as it is to them populated only by people who were banned from SCP, or worse, whose writing skills just weren’t up to SCP’s standards. They call other writing alternatives in the containment fiction genre “Blackjack & Hookers”; a blanket euphemism with which to address what they believe to be gutter run-off:
“Blackjack and Hookers” is a negative term for actual or proposed Containment Fiction communities. It is a quote from the character Bender, from the animated television sitcom Futurama. It is supposed to reflect the motivating attitude of someone trying to found their own Containment Fiction website. As in, “I’m making my own Containment Fiction! With blackjack! And hookers!”
The SCP IRC Server user’s guide uses “Blackjack” and “Hookers” as placeholder text to demonstrate how the user should go about using its services.”
— From the Containment Fiction Wiki
For example, RPC is now 40% LGBTQ+, something that should confound the perspective of SCP fundies into questioning their religion’s immovable caste system, but somehow doesn’t.
This is comparable to SCP’s demographic percentages on the same subject:
The difference between the overwhelming majority of males in both demographics is 13%. Given that SCP didn’t split their question up into transgender male/female, the percentages approximate one another; around 10% transgender for both RPC and SCP.
The main difference in demographic percentages between SCP and RPC is that most people at RPC contribute to the site, whereas most on SCP are passive participants.
While a minority of staff displayed an admirable attitude towards RPC — live and let live, more power to them — the majority advocated for its demise in some form or another. I’ve excluded the excerpts from the chat logs (the article’s estimated read time would be over an hour if I didn’t and this is long enough already), but I would encourage anyone who cares to open the released #site67 chat logs and search for “RPC” (2018 and after). Enough of the taunts and shit-talking was in the staff chat itself. While a lot of it exists in other channels, you’ll get the gist.
To summarize, the hypocritical statements and lack of self-awareness within these logs is pronounced throughout. When addressing RPC, SCP staff & representatives say: that an on-going raid on RPC may be because the articles are just that bad; that the splintering of RPC is the definitive indicator of it dying; and that quantitative metrics, e.g. article count per day, do not indicate health or survivability (notice the typical “argument-by-6000” in the screencaps above). The opposite interpretation can be seen applied to SCP in each instance when the same points are addressed with SCP as the subject.
One SCP staff representative says it is “medieval” that someone should be attacked personally for writing something political into an article, referring to and in defense of kinchtheknifeblade, who wrote SCP-2721… and they then bash RPC because they think it’s a right-wing writer’s haven in the next lines (took an amnestic apparently). Some say that no one from SCP cares if a user is a dual citizen, but then we see staff interrogate others about why someone is a member of RPC, as if anticipating to turn over the rock and find a Nazi salute there. SCP staff deny or intentionally delay applications based on pre-existing RPC activity, and take whether or not they are an RPC member into their interpretation of “malicious downvoting”. We will see just how far from any semblance of peacemaking and respectability SCP has come regarding tolerating dual citizenship with other containment fiction communities.
So, RPC is now three years old, and has survived the attempts on its life from their decade-older sibling. The commenter on the images above shrugs off the existence of RPC as if it is a consolation in place of something more successful, but the reality is, this is more than enough. Existence after 3 years is 3 years more than most naysayers from the SCP elite gave it; “dead before summer” was a real thing. With how much resistance SCP has deliberately put in the way of RPC’s growth, like a virus injected into an embryo, or a bear trap in a foot race, the simple existence of RPC is enough to ceaselessly enrage SCPpers into making hypocrites of themselves (extremely fitting Twitter names and all). How tellingly SCP treats a mirror image of itself as it applies an unconvincing sort of makeup caked upon the incorrect decisions still glaring in the reflection; decisions that share kinship with the lack of critical thought seen in the above screen caps; ones that have caused its slow, painful dissolution to become necessary.
SCP on ETC Spaces in the Containment Fiction Community
In the mental collapse of LordStoneFish, SCF was handed the opportunity to dox an individual — something, according to a loud sentiment from SCP, they are supposed to love doing via their digital proximity to doxers on KF — but they haven’t done so… in fact, they don’t seem to want to. And yet, SCF and its members are continuously stereotyped as dox-loving terrorists from prominent members in the SCP community; people’s whose voices inform a lot of people:
Would it make much sense to say that, say, Dr.Clef is a “4chan enjoyer” because he once operated there? Would it be accurate to associate Dr. Clef, Dr. Gears, Kain Pathos Crow, Fritzwillie, and all of the other icons from SCP’s transition to WikiDot with all of the other degenerate boards on 4chan simply because these figures could be found in the SCP-173 thread of /x/? To categorically define their behavior and morals because of the actions of other 4channers?
To believe the answers to the rhetoricals here are “yes”, and sustain this belief, one needs to have a remarkably repugnant glitch in their thinking that awards the ultimate cognitive and moral authority to stereotypes. That someone can do this and boast name association with SCP (in an official capacity, no less) without understanding that such thinking is broadcasting the ideological little cousin of something much uglier (like racism, sexism, ageism, or any other “-ism”) — or the very persecution the distance from which SCP defines its own improvement by— is a loud symptom of SCP’s fundamentalist religion.
The sort of tyranny that this fundamentalist religion would like to see dominate and convert the entire containment fiction space is no longer surprising. It’s even deterministic…
Recently, a bit of an emotional wound was created in the SCF Discord server. A liked and valued member was observed by “spies” from the SCP Declassified Discord server (SCPD; I use quotations because surveilling a nobody server for possible breaches in the SCP orthodoxy is kinda silly in the first place) telling the SCF participants the topic of discussion in SCPD and making statements they didn’t like. This individual relayed to SCPF Discord what SCPD was discussing once. One time.
A little over a week later:
The more important message than the hurt felt at this loss and rejection was the manipulation and character behind the ultimatum this individual was given. SCPD is a Discord server that houses numbers of individuals orders of magnitude larger than ours. It is the most popular Discord for the SCP Wiki, often confused as standing for “SCP Discord”. Why the need to extract a member?
It seems as though a juicy sacrificial lamb is the only way the clergy of SCP will entertain the idea of forgiveness. If there is no offering to give, there is no potential for compromise.
A reader might be excused if they’d like to make the distinction that SCPD is not official SCP, and therefore this reflection of character can only extend to that satellite community; that it doesn’t have the penetrance or wound channel to implicate or touch SCP itself.
That reader would be wrong.
While SCPD isn’t SCP in a nominal capacity, its invasion and annexation by SCP Wiki staff was planned for the explicit purpose of bringing it to heel; it was ridding their brand from the unsavory shenanigans of the prior & independent SCPD; something that it was too well-known for.
Secondly, SCPD acts explicitly as a recruiting territory for SCP Staff, as well as another channel of discussion with Staff; neither of which is egregious in any way, but is noteworthy:
Not only is SCPD official territory of the SCP Wiki all but in name (intended), but SCP itself has recently displayed this exact behavior. Chat mod flagsam (aka CuteGirl) was recently quoted on O5 Command (they aren’t even interested in hiding it) as criminalizing dual-citizenship with another containment fiction community; in this case, RPC:
The demand for total and absolute commitment of its subscribers, up to the exclusion of any other community of individuals, is an evil jealousy of a highly diseased and deep insecurity. It says everything that should need to be said about the leadership and general values of a community that thinks it has gone somewhere from the ocean of piss that is 4chan.
Would those who founded SCP from /x/ feel this way, act with this much resentment and hostility to a variant on what they were doing? Did the early SCP founders act in a hostile manner to The Holders and see them as an existential threat? Let’s get back to the spiritual father of the community for a moment, Dr. Gears:
“Plus, we had been growing alongside The Holders series, a similar short horror collection, but all overseen by one guy. That was one of the other things, once we started the migration to the new wiki. There was a discussion on how to proceed, if it should be locked down to only a select few authors, or open to a much wider crowd. I remember being in on that discussion, and bringing up the decline of The Holders as a reason to allow more voices in.”
This is the correct posture to have towards competing or alternative platforms of containment fiction. You look at it, you note what it does well, and you know what it does poorly. And then if you have the means, and it gets some steam, you fork it. There is nothing in this that should be threatening. Not unless you are utterly feeble in your ability to deal with dissonance or things getting outside a web of totalitarian control, or you’re afraid the new platform might compete with you.
There’s nothing in this attempt that should be expunged simply because it attempts to vector containment fiction in a slightly different direction. In fact, as we see, The Holders helped SCP become what it is. The close analysis of what SCP owes The Holders has yet to be written, but in part because it is so formidable and promises to be voluminous. The Holders was an incidental sacrifice to a better next chapter that deserves a salute for essentially being killed on the front lines.
The juxtaposition of this attitude with SCP’s current penchant for self-isolation showcases the toxic maximalism that has grown out of the decade-long sense of entitlement and elitism at SCP, now awakening in all the wisdom, maturity, and confidence of a thirteen-year old who will not stand for being referred to as just “a kid” or even “a preteen” anymore, and God help you if you dare do.
The sort of oppression typified in flops’ twitter post above, and the by now well-instantiated manner in which SCP treats other, weaker groups on the whole, are a patchwork of flimsily-sutured lies. They aren’t true. That SCP doesn’t tend toward the truth here, and instead retains on the whole its reputation as being a tyrannical and exclusive place, says enough for the motivation that would push someone to somehow better represent the containment fiction space as something other than just what SCP wants people to incorrectly believe.
We see Dr. Clef take this premise of changing communities, and push it in the opposite direction when speaking of 4chan:
“I first came across the SCP creepypastas through 4chan’s /x/ board. The board has sadly devolved since then, but back then it was probably one of the better places for short-form horror fiction out there.”
— Dr. Clef
If we are to take Dr. Clef at his word, then that would mean we could also believe that the same sort of drift could have happened to SCP itself, and not quite in the direction they are so sure of (hence the purpose of this series of articles). The above sentence from Dr. Clef fits SCP perfectly with only a change of the proper nouns.
Yet something is true of RPC’s origin and the other containment fiction communities (RIP Wanderer’s Library) that isn’t true of SCP’s in this comparison; SCP wasn’t accosted continuously by a pre-existing containment fiction platform that felt entitled to all instances of it to the point of both open and plotting hostility.
Clef notes that 4chan has become an ocean of urine thanks to their culture and users have turned /x/ into something it wasn’t 13 years ago. He gives those of the containment fiction community who dislike what SCP has remorselessly done to the genre a nice metaphor to point more fingers back with. SCP no longer understands itself in a more comprehensive manner to be a once-off-shoot of /x/; there is no sympathizing, or recognition of the family resemblance in the conditions of their origin and those of RPC (or any other such project), and instead use those conditions to invalidate any value that could potentially develop from the derivative — from the very embryology innate to SCP no less.
This is hypocritical beyond measure. It is a clear indication that SCP has lost touch with an appreciation and understanding of where it came from.
Why would a group of confident writers react in a hostile manner to such a project? Would Gears react violently to The Containment Fiction Wiki? Would he regard it as such an evil and biased project when his criticisms are the same as ours? Or would he see it as another child of a proud Papa?
“Part of the joy of this whole project is the massive variety that comes with so many working. Everything has positives and…less-positives...”
— Dr. Gears, a correctly proud Papa
Doesn’t the automatic guarding and accusation of hatred from SCP not afford the evidence of a post-and-peri-traumatic psychology? Is this not a projection of their most familiar habits of thinking? If they are so concerned that a project like the Confic Wiki will become a one-sided interpretation of their history, then what better reason do they have to join in a capacity, to help steer the project and correct any misinformation? Perhaps the relative luxuriousness of their platform has isolated them and softened their ability to gather with differently-minded people?
Here’s the thesis of SCP’s change in 13 years; it has gone from a group of people that molded and nurtured a community around something special to a group of people molding a community to nurture the idea of themselves as something special.
They have gone from being a star in the expansion and health of the containment fiction genre into a black hole within it, longing to re-absorb and devour the errant matter.
Why does SCP so desperately and at the expense of their own attractiveness want to deny any value to or kinship with RPC, SCP Commune, Liminal Archives, Backrooms, or the Containment Fiction Wiki? What causes SCP to reduce an openly collaborative project that would welcome the inclusion of SCP’s knowledge and participation into an instant boogeyman? Why does SCP pick on something 1/10,000th of their own size — something it once was — and sap community members from, as if a corporation insatiable for excessive wealth? Why are they so violently postured towards cross-platform membership? Why can SCP disallow dual citizenship and constantly refer to itself in a non-ironic fashion as inclusive?
Because the only thing SCP wants is for the SCP to exist. It isn’t about inclusion; it’s about accumulation disguised as it. They want a monopoly on the genre and they take any loss of control as transgression. It wants to go down with the ship of containment fiction; it’s them or no one.
In response to the gradual decentralization of the containment fiction space away from their centrality, those responsible for SCP and its brand have revved the engine of their religion and isolation louder. They are the kid on the playground who shouts as the others are walking away that they can’t play with their toys ever again.
I hope the irony of a 4chan anon (opening quote) saying the words that SCP can’t bring themselves to say these days isn’t lost as perhaps a more accurate gauge of SCP’s progress than what they like to say of themselves, and of competitor communities. It has forgotten, and in their drunken amnesia for themselves as of this day have become more like the nemesis they began as than any other containment fiction community.
The toxic maximalism of SCP shouts loudly and clearly, and in stark contrast to the whispers of the founders’ ideals, that derivative communities have always been an existential threat to them. The sort of sanctioned actions and poor decisions that gave RPC its first breaths has also and are still unto this day continuously shedding valuable thinkers from the rotting culture of SCP — talented individuals, writers, coders, artists, and leaders — and sprinkling them like seeds into the eager soil of the confic space that is now outside the SCP Wiki, and is growing like never before. The truth of #site67 chat logs on the topic of RPC alone is that SCP had a sneaking suspicion that the split away from them was for valid concerns, and always has had the intellectual and moral high ground; that they were extraordinarily insecure about the creation and progress of any outlying projects in the containment fiction space.
The truth of this blog post is that they still are.
(This blog post was sent to SCP Wiki users FloppyPhoenix/LT Flops and Uncannyon via PMs. Any and all replies will be posted here in full.)
(Oops. FloppyPhoenix done knew she messed up:)
© Lack of Lepers, 2021