Interviewing Icons - Dr Gears

rating: +126+x

This is the final interview of my four-part series to celebrate the 13th anniversary of the SCP Foundation Wiki on Wikidot. These 4 people were very influential in our early success with this new platform. These interviews have been released every Sunday of July until today, July 25th, the first day that other people were able to access the site we know and love today. To wrap up this series and celebrate the 13th anniversary, I interviewed the godfather of SCP as we know it! I hope you all enjoy my interview with Dr Gears!. ~ WhiteGuardWhiteGuard

Who is Dr GearsDr Gears?

The user Dr Gears became a member of this site on the 25th of July, 2008, and his top 3 most popular pages on the site by rating are SCP-682: Hard-to-Destroy Reptile at +2902, SCP-106: The Old Man at +2595, and SCP-914: The Clockworks at +2436. As an author, Dr Gears has written a total of 41 SCP articles, 71 Tales, 0 GoI Formats, and 17 other pages for a grand total of 129 pages contributed. Gears was a prominent member on EditThis, the second person to join the site on Wikidot, and one of the first people to be granted the role of administrator for the site. It is not an overstatement to claim that Dr Gears has been the most influential person in the history of the SCP Foundation Wiki. The following interview will consist of 20 questions from myself with his responses.

The bold text represents the questions whereas the text within the boxes are Dr Gears' responses.

Interview Questions:

Hello, Dr. Gears! If I may mention something, when I first started these interviews, I mentioned to people that you were my ultimate goal to interview. Thankfully, that goal has been met as of today! It has been an honor to discuss things with you and get to know you better. With all of that being said, let's start with an introductory question for you. How did you end up getting acquainted with SCP? Did you happen to see the original SCP-173 post at the time or just a repost of it later on? It is also my understanding that you went by Cogs back in the day. Was that name based on anything in particular? Additionally, feel free to share anything about your initial experience in the early fandom.

The honor is all mine, I'm just tickled that people are still taking an interest in me after all this time! Hopefully, I'm just a stepping stone to bigger and brighter things but pleased all the same.

I couldn't tell you the exact date I first ran across the original SCP-173, but I do remember seeing the thumbnail for it on the /x/ board of 4chan and being very uneasy as I went to click. This was back when the board was relatively new, and still mostly a clearinghouse of various creepy threads and images, not as concerned with paranormal and occult as it would be later. I clicked, looked, and immediately closed the window. It was just so damn weird and creepy looking, the text was bizarre as well, but its image is what first got me. Had nightmares about it off and on for a bit even, just standing there.

I'm not sure if I saw the true original or just a repost, but it's likely just a repost. Creepypasta was really hitting a stride at that time, and things like Ted the Caver, Dionaea House, John Dies At The End, House of Leaves, and the like were swirling around amid thousands of short horror snippets and series. I like found-footage-type stuff, and this SCP thing seemed like that, and probably part of some mysterious series I didn't know about, so I started digging around. Eventually, I thought “Hey, I think I can do this…and if it sucks, it'll just vanish anyway, so what the hell!” and started writing and posting. My first few ideas were born, and it sort of rolled on from there.

Before the first wiki, you have to remember, there really wasn't a fandom. Hell, 4chan doesn't really have Ids, so everything just lived in a void. Which was both a good and bad thing, I think…yes, it made things harder, but I think many of the issues the modern fandom has had mostly trace back to ego and the voting module. Still, without some kind of structure, it was never going to be anything more than just weird net scribbling. I think there are a few ideas and works that never really made it off the old forums, but it may be for the best.

Ahh yes, Cog…honestly I picked it because it was the formal name for gears and such, and it sounded neat. Eventually, I worked backward and made it an acronym for Dr. Gears' name, but that came later. It sounded neat, and I was and likely will always remain a slight edgelord at heart, so off I ran with it. Kain's really the only one who still calls me it, which always tickles me a bit.

Did you happen to do any writing before joining the EditThis site? Do you happen to remember the first article or work you posted that was related to SCP? How was the initial reception to it? While you were on EditThis, how would you say the user experience was? Did it feel like a community or was it perhaps a bit disjointed? What would you say were the main reasons why there was a feeling that a move was needed? Kain Pathos CrowKain Pathos Crow mentioned some issues with someone spamming a 001 proposal on EditThis. Do you remember this or any details about it?

Oh lord, did I write before EditThis? Nothing I'd dare admit to! No, no, not much really. I'd always entertained illusions of being a writer, but the whole SCP idea came along right about the time I gained a real voice, and enough confidence to actually share, however trembling. Since then, I've done some things here and there, typically under pen names, but the SCP Foundation has always been my home, as it were. I'll go off slumming here and there but always drag myself back in time.

First thing ever was…I want to say 882, but it might not be as I think of it. 882 was one of the first who made it to the wiki though. See, I had this odd nervousness, so while I was aware the wiki existed after a while, I felt it wasn't my place to actually post there. I would toss things on /x/ and hope whatever “powers that be” would pick it up and record it. So while I was producing, I wasn't really posting it to the wiki myself. Eventually, I got over it and joined, but I imagine there's some stuff that was lost in the shuffle. 015 was one of the early ones I remember most clearly, if only because the place I worked at had a service area that basically inspired its whole cloth.

My reception has always been mostly positive, and I've no idea why. Amusingly, some of what developed into the “Dr. Gears” persona spawned from critics back on /x/. I've done well, I think, though I do worry sometimes if, at this point, it's my name that carries things. However, people are, generally, just as bare-knuckle with their opinions as ever, so it's likely just me being a worrywart. One of the big things I always feel bad about is 682, which was basically re-written by some kind anon and made into what it is today, what I had originally done was kind of rubbish. So generally, even in those early days, my work was at least tolerated, if not liked.

The EditThis era was…wild. We had this giant list of open entries, and you just barreled in, grabbed a number, and wrote. It was really the wild west, with all the good and bad that implies. The structure was very loose, but when I joined there were, like…20 – 50 entries, total? Give or take? So it was just wide open. A little tidbit, a lot of the original entries were very high or low numbers so they wouldn't get lost in the scroll of all those empty links! We were this small little group of faceless beings, telling stories to the void, it was daunting but thrilling. Even then, there was a sense of community, but more the loose confederation like that of making friends on a long train ride.

I think there were a lot of reasons we moved. Sadly I've always been more focused on the actual writing side, so I don't know (or at least remember…) all the details. We were growing, fast, and the structure of the wiki couldn't handle it well. 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. We had issues with spamming, rogue edits, and a host of other issues, and generally the feeling was we'd outgrown the old wiki.

When FritzWillieFritzWillie informed people of the new Wikidot site, was there any real resistance to moving over? Did some people want to stay on EditThis and do you remember if there was any real activity on EditThis after the move? Finally, do you remember any particular authors or users who didn't it over or did practically everyone you remember make the transition?

Honestly I don't remember any major issues with the move, despite the hassle of actually doing it. I think most, if not all the old authors made the shift over with little issue, though I've no doubt someone will correct me on that. I remember being excited about all the new tools and functions…and then almost immediately deleting the forum by accident. Overall it helped solidify what had, until that point, basically been recording random text from bathroom walls. We had profiles, names, faces, for a bunch of forum geeks and part-time trolls, it was great.

I don't remember hearing much out of EditThis after the move, but there could have been one or two people lurking. Everyone I really knew by name made the shift, and we picked up loads more shortly after. I vaguely remember some kind of fluff about a person or persons sort of taking over the old cast-off shell of the EditThis wiki for a bit, but I think it was just tolling nonsense. Some folks went dark for a while after the move, only to pop up later, and some just sort of lurked generally. It was an old joke about Snorlison, that to mention his name was to summon him…he'd been all but a shadow for years, and when I made the joke, sure enough, he popped into the iirc chat to say hi.

Nope, as far as I knew, everyone made the shift over, and after some time to double-check and verify things, the old wiki was basically set aside.

When you made it to Wikidot, what did you think about being made an Administrator? What was leading the early Wiki-like? What did you think when FritzWillieFritzWillie revealed himself to be The AdministratorThe Administrator years later? Did you ever know beforehand or was it a big surprise?

I was very stoked, and a little embarrassed when I was made an admin. Honestly, I was aware it was more ceremonial than anything at that point…I had no experience running a forum, or community at all. But I loved what was forming, and tried my best to be an even hand through it. In the beginning, it was…well, easier, really. Everyone sort of knew each other and a lot of the rules were just understood without a formal structure. Oh, we had issues, and it's a sad fact a lot of changes came about after some crisis blew up. I just tried my best to be an even voice, despite my nature to, at times, goof off. I think I helped, at least in the formative years. Now there's so much talent and experience at the helm, I doubt I'd really be able to add much. Do I miss it now and then? Sure, as I said, things were much easier and wide-open then…but as you grow, you have to change as well. Some for the better, some for the worse, and sure there are things I'd change or don't agree with, but I like to think I had a strong hand in what the wiki's become. The positive parts, at least, the bad stuff was someone else.

I had not the first clue about FritzWillie, honestly, though I really should have. I really should have had more suspicion, but I guess I didn't mind it. Fritz and I got along alright, and while we sort of have different viewpoints, I suppose I was glad someone who could sort of put ego aside like that helped lead us along in those early days. I think I found out about it well after it happened, so the initial surprise was sort of over by then for most.

Just before we jump into the questions concerning your own works, do you mind if we talk a little about your interests in the early days? What would you say were some of your favorite reads back in the day? Were there any particular authors back then that happened to catch your eye? What would you say your favorite genre or maybe style of an article was at the time?

Ooh, I've always been a very avid reader! Amusingly, I didn't actually learn to read until much later than average, my grandma always said I was making up for lost time. Going over it all would take ages, so I'll try and limit myself. I have about…5-6 bookshelves full of various books I've collected over my life…it's always been funny, whenever my daughter has needed a book for a school reading list, typically I have a copy. Focusing on The Foundation though, there are some standouts. Authors like Lovecraft, King, Lumley, Bradbury, Matherson, and the like, along with others as varied as Asimov and Twain all sort of seeped into the general ethos of the fiction. Lots of old gothic stuff and weird tales, I pick from all over.

As for the wiki itself, that's another matter. I've always tried to look at each entry in a void. It is easy to let your opinions or ideas of an author color perception, and I've always been a strong supporter of each entry should stand on its own. Hell, I'm not a huge fan of cross-linking, even. Also, I've always been very coy about naming names. It's sort of a “who's your favorite child?” question for me, there's no really good reply. Part of the joy of this whole project is the massive variety that comes with so many working. Everything has positives and…less-positives, so things like favorites are difficult to define. I'm like a parent, sad to say. If you bring something to me, I might think, or even say, things you may not like, but I'm also pretty willing to hang it on the fridge too. I hope that's a polite enough retreat…

Article types, now that is easier. First, it should be able to stand on its own. Clipped out from the wiki and posted to some random-ass forum, it should carry the bulk of the impact without any other context or support. Second, it should be, if not scary, at least unsettling. One of the great terrors of this crap is how often it's totally mundane stuff, things you could accidentally touch, see or carry as part of life without a second thought. Third, imagery is important. A good picture gives it a good hook…however back in my day it was just a quick google image search and a copy-paste away, so I've relaxed a bit on that. Fourth is the “poison effect”. A good entry may not hit right away, but like a poison, it leeches in and starts to make itself known. I'm not so much trying to scare you right now, but make it so you turn on the hall light when going to bed, even if you don't need to. Hit these points, and for me, it's a good entry.

by (from left to right) Dr Whitney, Amamidori, Klakkr, Drdobermann, again by Dr Whitney, and TheVolgun

As of the writing of this interview, your SCP-682: Hard-to-Destroy Reptile happens to be the eighth highest-rated article on the site. Despite it being your highest-rated work, you have mentioned feeling bad about it being partially rewritten by some unknown anonymous user. One of our users, cooldude971cooldude971, was able to find the original thread and was able to figure out that the user who helped rewrite it for you happened to be known as Epic Phail Spy. (For those who enjoy this interview, please also check out Cooldude's essay The SCP Foundation on 4chan and EditThis.)

Please tell us a little about how 682 came to be. As far as I know, the only major change to come to it since its posting to Wikidot has been the image replacement. Do you have any plans to work on it again? It is my understanding that you have considered rewriting it or at least portions of it for quite some time.

Well, first of all, my deepest thanks to Epic Phail Spy! And cooldude971 for that matter!

682, in its ragged original form, was supposed to be something of a cautionary tale about cross-testing SCP items. Some nearly immortal, powerful monster that The Foundation had itself brought into being, and therefore wanted to erase as soon as possible, along with their shame. At the time, that was revolutionary, but ultimately it wasn't the best. After Epic's rogue edit, I loved the new overall thrust and started to roll with it. It was somewhat minor tweaks here and there, but the overall idea developed thusly: humans have a drive to know. To climb, test, open, uncover and explore. There's next to nothing that we don't try to probe to the limit of our ability, and we often develop those abilities to push even farther. 682 is a giant middle finger to this whole ideal. An unclimbable mountain, an undispellable darkness. It itches that part of the human will that views the impossible as a challenge, and therefore, if it makes you angry, it's doing the job right.

In function, 682 is an anomaly. It's not really “here”, so it can't actually be affected. Like someone grabbing you through a sheet, while you can struggle, and the handgrip, you don't actually make contact. The issue is, the sheet is the webwork of our reality, so it makes doing any real damage very tricky, at best. The form of it is functionally a glitch, like running a picture file through an audio program. 682's physical form is just what our reality is able to process it as, it likely looks very, very different. Wherever it's from is obviously very, very different from here, which is a large part of why it reacts how it does. Imagine being dropped into a world where the very sky ached to look at, where every sound raked like a power sander across teeth, where life seemed specially bred to mock and torture your every sense. That's what 682 feels. It's not so much angry as horrified, which can show as anger, like finding half a roach in your sandwich. It kills for the same reason you smash an offending bug. Now, just imagine if the air was physically made of house centipedes, and you start to get the picture. Oh, another tidbit: the acid bath works less because it cuts down on regeneration, but because it feels more comfortable. More like a warm bath, or a heavy snowfall.

I think I've gotten more flack over 682 than anything else, and while it's wormed its way into the heart of the community, for a very long time I debated deleting it just to shut people up. It was the people who used to call it a Mary Sue, which always made me wonder what the hell people thought of me, which were some of the more annoying ones. I've debated refining the entry, putting in some of the things that have developed in the years since it was put up. However, I think I'll leave it be, warts and all. At least, I say that at the moment. At a point, you have to accept your work, even if it's old, even if you're unhappy with it. It's better to produce new things than go back and putter around in the past…you keep that up and you end up in the land of endless remakes, reimagining, and reboots. I think the most I'd do would be some minor cleaning up, maybe some note entries here and there about ongoing findings, but it's stood there so long as-is, it almost feels wrong poking it at this point. You'll always look at things and see stuff you would change…but in the end, I'm sort of a step-dad to the beast, so we'll see. Probably just work through tales and such to refine things, leaving the core be.

The picture change was, I feel, fine, though I know some people didn't like it. Keeps a lot of the same energy…I remember, back when fanart started to be a thing, people asked me about how 682 should look. I said, with its horrifying regeneration and adaptation, it could likely look any way imaginable. My general advice was to keep the head shape somewhat consistent, as a sort of marker, and amazingly it's pretty much been followed! Even when the big gecko is made into an anime girl…that was a weird time…anyway, the old one was, I think, a random spooky image of a rotten whale, so it's neat to have something a little more personalized now. He's really one of the face cards now…definitely a Red King at least, I'd imagine…maybe a Knave?


Moving on to another legendary SCP article is SCP-106: The Old Man. At this moment, SCP-106 is the tenth highest-rated article on the site. Many of your works happen to be mechanical mysteries, so where did the inspiration for this one come from? Due to the nature of the anomaly, the containment of it is very challenging and was a real-life point of contention for the article. Two years after the article's posting you introduced some updated containment procedures for 106 which seemed to please many who originally disliked said procedures. Additionally, a year later after some prompting, you released a possible backstory for 106 in the tale The Young Man. What has spurred on this continual work on SCP-106 when many authors back then just posted and moved on?

“Back then” is it? To me, 106 is still one of my new-ish ones! Still, I guess it's the same way you always consider your children just that, children, even when they grow up. 106 had a rather rambling genesis, honestly. It originally started as an “apex predator”, a being that somewhat emulates prey to hide and hunt better. Humanity doesn't have a natural predator, so what would one look and act like?

At least, that was the start. Like how concept art sometimes has a minimal relationship with the finished product.

Very quickly it started to change. Yes, a predator, but a different kind. Something smart, but horribly cruel. I started layering in other ideas and concepts, and like some kind of hellish snowball, it started to form. One of the aspects that ended up in there was abuse by the elderly. The idea was the kind of out-and-out weird and unsettling behavior that someone who's too old to get their jollies the normal way might engage in, coupled with the nearly demigod-like status adults often seem to have over children. 106 is a corruptible, cruel, manipulative, and ultimately homicidal adult for people who think they've outgrown childish fears by becoming one themselves. As you can tell, things kind of got out of hand. After it was up, and it made some waves, I took the general sentiment of “your procedures suck” and used it as a chance to show how SCP develops over time, with each stage getting more refined and intense. How the hell do you lock up something that walks through walls?

I have always kind of sucked at putting suggestions and criticism into practice. Once I've made something, I generally consider it finished. I might tweak a bit, but once it's done, it's done. Still, a lot of the gripes were well-founded, and ultimately I'm glad I did change things, as I think it would be a lot less popular without them. That's always been something for me, I generally try to work in a vacuum, just writing what I like or find neat, but often the ideas I get from others end up being some of the biggest inspiration.

I never really intended to write The Young Man. I like the general idea of exploring more of the rotting old bastard but didn't really have anything solid. Then, in a random conversation, the concept of 106 in the trenches of WWI came up, and the whole concept just started to gel for me. In the end, like all my comments on backstory, it's just one of many ideas. Still, the brutal, soggy, crumbling horror of 106 meshes well with the bloody mud of the trenches. What actually is happening, that is a question. You're dealing with something for whom concepts of time and space are more like vague suggestions than laws. Can someone create themselves, like an inside-out ouroboros? What if everyone's just an open can of kerosene, just waiting for the right spark to touch things off, burning down the self we've made, and just leaving the creaking, scorched frame underneath?

I've stuck with 106 because he's popular, of course. Honestly though…he's the boogeyman. He hunts, grins, then hurts you and takes you away to someplace you can't understand, to experience things you can't even imagine. He is an elderly cenobite, a decrepit slasher, who's refined his craft to the keenest edge, but doesn't get around or feel as well as he used to. We understand only what is the same for us…he grins, so he must enjoy what he's doing. He seems to play with people, so he must be cunning. We anthropomorphize him because we see too much of the black, oily pits of the human condition in him, and putting more human emotion around that makes it easier to see, like flowers around a corpse.

106 is scary in a deep, hard to define, let alone deny, way, and I do love the old classic of people fleeing a relentless horror through dutch-angle hallways. I'll probably keep dusting him off now and then for years to come.

by (from left to right) DrKens, Benedykt Synakiewicz, SunnyClockwork

SCP-914: The Clockworks really fits your seeming fascination with complex machines beyond understanding. Of your related pieces with that theme, this happens to be your most famous one. Like the previous two articles we just covered, this one made an appearance in the SCP - Containment Breach game which has also likely helped its exposure. Regardless, it is a very well-liked article and it fits a theme you seem to like writing about. What is the story behind the writing of 914? There was also an experiment log that you created for it that is now the largest log on the site with over 1800 experiments present. I wasn't sure if you realized how big it was now, so I thought I would bring it up for you.

Additionally, someone asked you over a decade ago what the source behind SCP-914 happened to be. Your reply was "Asking me for canon is like eating re-frozen melted ice cream: it's never quite right or satisfying, at best." You left the rest of the reply as an explanation that it is left open-ended where it came from, but you did drop this quote of what you always personally thought about it: "this device seems like a 'masterwork' of some mad genius, devised as a kind of toy for nobility…". To you, where does the "kind of toy for nobility" part come in?

I've always, always loved clockworks. I'm mad for steampunk stuff as well, just something about the wedding of old-school mechanics with seemingly near-magical effects is just enchanting for me. Unlike a lot of my work, 914 sort of came to me whole-cloth. This giant…thing, that can do things well beyond even cutting-edge tech, with basic clockworks and physics. The only rule it seems to respect is conservation of mass, beyond that, all bets are off. I put it together in basically a single afternoon, then posted it. The test log was always the big focus though, I think. There's sort of a joke in the original few tests, if you read close you can see at some point they just that putting stuff they have laying around into it, which climates with someone putting another doctor's belongings inside, which is met by that doctor then turning around and putting the first one's stuff inside. The kind of petty nonsense that happens to well-skilled people given freedom. I enjoyed it but didn't really expect too much.

Now the test log itself is basically a mini-wiki.

I love it, every bit. This thing just welcomes in the human imagination, to fool around, test ideas, and generally just screw around with stuff. Seeing it in containment breach just tickled me, I was so excited, it was like seeing your kid on tv. It's one of the more “friendly” items, sometimes even more helpful, so I suppose it makes sense it would be somewhat popular in the end.

Now, as for backstory and the noble toy question…amusingly, I actually tried to address that in Clockwork Time, which a lot of folks feel is one of my better stories. Aside from that, I think the general idea is that we tend to attach our own values to things we find from the past, and often they're incorrect. Yes, it's a device that can change things, but what use is it, really? Just a toy, and a paltry one before the Great Almighty God. Yet, now, we see this and assume it must have some grand meaning, some wonderful purpose, the idea that someone might carve a sixty food man into a hillside just for the fuck of it doesn't even cross our minds. The Foundations greatest sin and downfall is trying to understand, to catalog, and lay bare purpose, and 914 just keeps frustrating this, letting us see patterns and ideas with no more substance than seeing faces in clouds or tree bark.

As was said in Clockwork Time, they're trying to divine the secrets of the universe from a child's toy.

Remember Us
by Flawed based on Document Recovered From The Marianas Trench

Document Recovered From The Marianas Trench is one of the most popular tales on the site and was the winner of the Post-SCPocalypse contest which was the first contest category for the 2010 Great Short Story Contest. In fact, as of the writing of this interview, it is sitting at +1383 with only 6 downvotes in over a decade. Of course, upvotes and downvotes are not everything, but it is undeniable that your tale here is a very well-liked piece in SCP history. Many have mentioned that it does an excellent job at displaying the coldness of the Foundation and its actions. What was your intention for this tale?

Oh boy…okay, so at the time contests were still kind of a new-ish thing. Even then, I was somewhat of a ringer at the time, so I didn't feel quite right pitching in. Still, it was a neat idea, and I vaguely kicked around various ideas, lots of action movies, intense cross-over style stuff, which is fun to think about but not always good on a page. It was just kind of an idle idea, but as I was sitting, shifting through a bunch of documents in need of shredding, I hit on a sentence that just gripped me.

What if the world ended, but nobody noticed?

That was a concept to fire the imagination with, and I wrote Documents in about a day or two if that. I felt really bad when it won, actually, as there were other great works in that contest as well! I felt a bit like some pro ball player who pitches in with a match at a public park, not really fair in some way. Still, I loved doing it, and overall I'm very happy with how it turned out. Amusingly, the cruise ship that gets wrecked is the same one I had my honeymoon on. Always nice to quietly destroy things you know in fiction…you never play harder in Rampage than when you're smashing up your home city.

It really is a good example of the level of stakes The Foundation plays for. Imagine having contingencies plans for the end of the human race, but with a viable biosphere. For us, it's the end of the world, for them, it's Tuesday with overtime. One of the things I like is there's no earth-shattering kaboom, no spray of pyrotechnics, and one-liners. It's just a slow, terrible decline, like bleeding out. Each new bad thing makes you wish for what the previous bad thing was, yet life just marches on and on, even more uncaring than The Foundation. It had a great sting at the end, or at least I thought of it as such. The world slowly stuttering to a stop, bleeding out from a thousand cuts in reality, until one day people look and realized what you would consider the apocalypse already happened a month ago, and yet you still wake up and need to pee each morning.

by SunnyClockwork

SCP-184: The Architect is another of your unexplainable mechanical masterpieces. However, despite being a masterpiece at first glance, it eventually delves into a twisted version of itself. In the early days of the comment section, you answered dozens upon dozens of user questions. Why do you think so many people offered up questions for this particular article and why were you so willing to answer so many of them? Additionally, there was a comment a year ago by a user named Hydrails-EPSILONHydrails-EPSILON which reads as follows: "A classic creative SCP that finds madness in the search for more space. +1 (making it +1000)" It almost sounds like a movie review, but I can't help but feel it sums up this article well. What are your thoughts on it?

Oh lord, 184…now, before anyone brings it up, I was somewhat aware that House of Leaves existed around the time I wrote this, but I hadn't read it or even gotten much info about it until much later. Plus, it works far enough on different themes that I think it works. Not all movies about the ocean are ripping off each other, as it were.

Mechanical is maybe a strong term, but might indeed be appropriate in some way? 184 was one of those ideas I had rattling around, that I just grabbed a weird image for and ran with. The general idea is something that gets more “glitchy” with time, or maybe it just gets bored with the same old, same old. I love it, and if I could get one of the actual roman dodecahedrons to have around, I would…even with the smallest amount of trepidation. Maybe keep it on the window sill…

184 was one of the first items that people really dug into, and I'm honestly not sure why it, of all things. I ended up having to do a bit of research here and there to provide good replies, and I think it helped me look a bit deeper into the background of a lot of items. I like talking about this stuff, my own work doubly so (if that wasn't apparent by now…), so I guess that insane comment section came down to a few dedicated individuals really putting me to the coals, and me working like hell to keep them happy, as it were. I'm always happy to talk about what has been one of the longest passions of my life. Beaten out by my wife, of course, but not by much.

…please don't tell her I said that…

184 is the nauseating fear of seeing something different in someplace you know well. It's not just a rogue sock on the mantelpiece, it's finding a beat-up wooden door in the middle of a hall in a house you've lived in for years. It's seeing normalcy slowly warped, and not even being able to tell right away. What's more, it's not, inherently, dangerous. It just…is. Unfeeling, uncaring, unthinking, it exists, and like flies trapped in a hot room, we beat against the window of existence, trying to reach a place of normalcy we know, that we can see, but somehow can't reach. Some of the best items are ones you can encounter without even knowing. What if this thing was in a junk box from an auction, tossed in a storage closet or basement? How long would it take you to notice? Can you say, with perfect certainty, that you have not been in a structure affected by it? That you're not in one now? Just as it erodes normal boundaries, it erodes the comfortable shelter of normalcy and understanding that so many wear as a shell. It leaves one in a space made of things we know, but at impossible angles and shapes, just recognizable enough to bring out what is wrong in higher detail.

by Scorpion451, the current image on the SCP-015 page

SCP-015: Pipe Nightmare was the first work of yours that you ported over to Wikidot and it follows a theme where you use assimilation of similar materials to grow an almost uncontrollable situation. Do you find this concept of assimilation into a greater mass personally unsettling or was it just something on your mind when you wrote a lot of these early works? You wrote an accompanying tale/exploration log called Plumbing several years later that follows a few agents on a retrieval mission inside of 015. You mentioned early on in 015's comment section that you had always wanted to write a log like this. What spurred on writing this tale years later?

You know, now that I look at it, I do seem to have a thing for people and things being eaten alive, don't I? Honestly, I do find it a bit unsettling, the idea of the self being absorbed and drowned out. Body horror is a big general fear of mine, one's own flesh rebelling and such, and perhaps this is a way to process and digest it all. External, artificial body horror, if you will? I'd like to say I did it on purpose…

So, I was working in a massive chemical plant at the time I wrote this, and the “break room”, such as it was, butted right up against some kind of service/pump room. Standing there, microwaving soup and staring through a doorless entryway into a giant maze of pipes and equipment, the idea for 015 just sort of gelled together. Sort of an industrial cancer, it's not innately dangerous, just easy to rile up. Like a raccoon that will take a hotdog from your hand, but will rip your finger off if you try to pet it. Always had the idea of doing something following a person working in an infested building, opening a closet, and having it just backed with hissing, throbbing pipes. Maybe someday.

Plumbing is, admittedly, not one of my best works, but it was fun to write and generally follows ideas I like to work with. In a lot of my work, happy endings are very rare and plot armor tends to be made of cardboard. Plus, it follows one of my more beloved concepts with writing spooky and unsettling stuff. Imply things, suggest, show shadows and aftermath. Let the imagination fill in the blanks much more terribly than any text could. However, if you do decide to show something, to let the blood really flow, don't half-ass it. Work in rich, loving detail, really let it drive home…don't show someone the bucket of gore, hold their heads under until they get a nice, good taste. A nasty little story that I had hoped might have sparked a little more interest in the pipes, but no such luck. Still, I liked wiring it.

The Prototype
by Randomraven

Your 001 proposal, Dr Gears' Proposal: The Prototype, was one of the first proposals posted to the site and follows the idea of being an experimental document added before the modern conventions and standards documents adhere to now. Additionally, there is a lot of background info for the Foundation that is addressed in the article. What were your thoughts while creating this proposal?

Okay, first, mine is the weakest of the 001 proposals, and I have no idea why people make such a fuss over it to this day! I mean, it is flattering, but looking back on it, I can see the cracks so clearly. Plus, it is very much a relic of the time. When I wrote it, The Foundation was a much smaller entity, in many senses of the term. There had already been a handful of 001 proposals at the time, but most took the stance of being the “best”, or the origin of everything else. I had the idea of 001 being simply the first item indexed with the new file system. Nothing particularly stunning or odd, just the first thing on the list. I thought it encapsulated a bit more of the spirit of The Foundation, cold and direct, with little concern for “ranking” outside of threat assessment and the like.

The Foundation is a much younger entity than the modern one. Maybe there was a break-up, or maybe the monolithic structure developed over time, but these are people who know there are odd things in the world but are not yet used to them, at all. Plus many of the tools and systems just don't exist yet, so dealing with something that's slowly dying but can manipulate micro-singularities is a major handful. In a lot of ways, the entry is much less about the item, but about the structure of the larval Foundation shown through it. I honestly debated taking it down several times, but I do like to stick my nose in all the various aspects of the site, and this is the hook I have in 001, so there it stays. It's a bit more of a steampunk-ish tilt to The Foundation, maybe I or someone else will explore the concept one day, who knows.

Church of the Broken God
by SunnyClockwork

Some of the first and most popular Groups of Interest in SCP history, the Church of the Broken God and Marshall, Carter and Dark, were started by you. Despite creating both of these groups, their motives and aspirations vary wildly. Of course, the Church cares about restoring their god, and MC&D cares about adding to their wallets. Where did the inspiration for these wildly different groups originate?

Oooh boy…okay, first, when I cooked up these groups, we had just started to play with the idea of groups of interest. Until this point, The Foundation was the only game in town, now it was a chance to have other players on the board, explore from different angles. So, I quickly bashed together a couple ideas and tossed them up, ideally to be more inspirational for more, better ideas to grow around. I never would have dreamed they would bloom up how they have!

So, first, the Church. They grew from a very simple idea: if you could witness a miracle if you could see reality manipulated before your eyes, why would you not think a god did it? Some people look for the truth, and some people look and simply accept the truth they see. When I built the idea, it had nothing to do with clockworks at all. They worshiped the various anomalies as aspects of some divine will shattered into our reality. Robert was conceived as basically a con man, running a cult scam who accidentally hit upon a truth. It has been absolutely amazing seeing what has developed. Various sects, rival orders, even creation myths, I'm not at all unhappy with how it's all grown. I've added bits here and there, even have some stuff on the back burner, but largely I'm happy to see how these clockwork madmen have made their way into the world. I'd love to see more of them in outside media, honestly.

My general idea was that they operated through many fronts. Their message of brokenness as a virtue appeals to those who may have lost their way in life. They don't just start making you kneel in a greasy pool and offer rhythmic praise, they gradually ease you in. It's more of a frog in a pot system, so by the time you realize something is wrong, it's likely far too late. Always liked the idea of some random city getting swept by The Foundation, and suddenly in the middle of a clear day, you have guys in tac-gear dusting up with bleeding-robed psychos wielding rusty hammers pouring out of a local co-op.

MC&D came from a similarly direct root as the Church. Where there is rarity, there is money. Jaded ultra-rich bon-bons will pay through the nose for something they can brag about to similarly benumbed dandies. It does not matter if you have power if you hold sway over those who do have power. The club works at a level where actual dollar amounts don't really have meaning anymore. Oh, they love to turn a profit, and auctions are still the premiere activity, but what they offer is an experience. Here is a glimpse into a world you, with all your power and wealth, know nothing of. We can help you learn of it, gain its secrets, become the true elite of the elite…just sign here.

Incidentally, I always thought of Dark as some far-flung relation to the identically named Mr. Dark from Something Wicked This Way Comes. Selling things for everything you have, teasing people who think they have everything, making them chase the dragon only to realize their folly far, far too late. As much as they serve, they disdain their clients. They are as well cared for as prized cattle, pampered and spoiled…and fattened. MC&D refuses to be bound to others, so they get their funding independently…but when the cash cow goes dry, there are legions of factions just waiting to carve up the beef. One of the great secrets is the club only deals in commodities, regardless of what forms they take.

I hope to see more of them develop in time, growing in tandem with The Foundation. Maybe not their own games or what have you, but I think they'd at least be excellent opponents. Maybe some kind of squad-based thing with different factions?

by Amai-Ixchel

"The Foundation. Massive, merciless, faceless, turning and working for its own inscrutable goals, a monolith to mindless action." This was your description of your first article, SCP-882: A Machine, and how it mirrors your view of the Foundation. Would you mind spending some time talking about 882, why you see it this way, and why you have called it "your pride and joy" before? As it relates, if you would like to talk a little about SCP-217: The Clockwork Virus as well that would be appreciated.

882 was one of, if not the first item I made, and the one that still holds a special place in my heart. Just raw, deadly clockworks, with no observable purpose or function. It just…is. The Foundation is the same thing, it exists for goals far above and outside something as simple as suffering, or even humanity. It just…is. A force like the wind or sun. 882 isn't quite that way, but it's also basically uncaring. Yes, it drives others to feed it, but that's just to grow. It'll just keep working and grinding even if humanity dies out. As I've stated before, I like horror that just happens, that can strike with all the idiot randomness as a bolt of lightning or a cancer cell. 882 is a good form of that. It doesn't punish or save based on any criteria, it has no goals, it just exists, and due to that sometimes people die horribly. It has that slippery poison pill aspect as well. Are you totally sure that odd grinding sound is just a normal sound, or not? Maybe not the most striking, but it works, and the thing is what got me really going in this whole world anyway, so how could I not love it?

by DrKens

217…lord, I do have a thing for body horror, don't I? I have a horrible confession to make, I didn't immediately see the implications between 217 and 882 when I first wrote it. At the time, I saw some images of clockworks added to taxidermy animals and said “that looks fucking cool” so started working on some way to use it. As I've gotten older, I've found 217 all the more scary. We all live rather rhythmic lives, even if we don't intend to. With all the aches and pains that come with time, it seems to imply things all the more. It's just the basic horror that people could be slowly turning into biological robots, and it would take something like cogworks bursting out of their skin for most people to even notice. I find 217 scary, honestly, becoming a prisoner in your own mind and body, until you're too converted to even notice or care….brr.

In the end, I love clockworks a lot. The steampunk style seems to lend itself to a more classy kind of future than the focus group, brutality, disposable one we've ended up with. If I can work my obsession into something and still have it make sense, all the better. I imagine there's someone on the flesh-cult side working against the Broken Church on the opposite, making some kind of monster, underground horror that oozes along, a bloated factory made of meat assembling humans or something. We…we have something like that, right? I'm sure we do. Right? Oh god, don't tell me I did the Pufferkittens again…

Dr Gears
by (from left to right) SunnyClockwork, Amai-Ixchel, Dr Gerald, again by SunnyClockwork, again by SunnyClockwork, tsukio-t, Anonymous, far2, Ghostcat, queenofbaguette, Caticorns, Dekst0, and Uncle-Nemes1s

Dr. Gears is your author avatar as well as a very popular character within the SCP community. Gears has been known to be cold, calculating, logical above all else, and very mechanical in nature. Who is Dr. Gears the character in your eyes and why is he like this? Did you ever expect people to take your character and run with it over a decade later?

Dr. Gears is someone who looked at the world, all the madness known and unknown, and realized he had the will to make a difference, but not the heart. He's sort of the ultimate form of the workaholic, totally swallowed by his duty. At one point, he saw that his skill was needed to the utmost to keep this mudball spinning, but he didn't have the heart to become the monster that was needed to do it. So he buried it away and became someone who could order the death of thousands to save millions, and order coffee with the same placid, empty face. He's someone who had a life but buried it because too many others needed that life, and he couldn't take the strain. Nobody works for The Foundation long and stays sane, so he just put the whole sane/mad dichotomy in the same grave with his heart and history, and moved on. No time or room for wasted actions, thoughts, anything, which makes him cold, brutal, and nearly robotic. He's like a firefighter who drags people out of buildings while he's actively on fire, there's too much at stake to really focus on anything else.

I never, ever would have guessed so many would run with it, and that he'd become such a figure in the SCP cosmology. Of course, I'm very pleased, but also slightly embarrassed. I never really intended him to be more than an occasional in-joke or reference. It's a bit like being an artist, and just painting down some silly thing for a joke, and having it suddenly become one of your better-known works. You're sort of stuck with it, warts and all. Not that I mind, but I never would have guessed, not in a million years.

In-game document mentioning "Radical Larry" from the 2012 survival horror game SCP - Containment Breach

From the 2012 SCP - Containment Breach game, there are a number of references to your character of Dr. Gears. His office can be found in the doctor's quarters in the game although it can not be entered. His portrait can be seen hanging on the wall of a conference room as well as a note by Dr. Gears reminding personnel to address SCPs by their number instead of any nicknames as seen by the picture in this interview. What did you think of this game when it came out? Was it crazy to see a game connected to SCP become as popular as it did?

My inclusion was entirely by design, at least for my part. Early on, when it was just barely playable, I reached out to the main dev, and some of the other people making content, and introduced myself. I wasn't in a position to provide any actual coding or programming support, but I could lend my experience and provide stuff like flavor text and the like. I had a hand in deciding the behavior of 106 in-game, offered a lot of suggestions, and even had some make it in. The notes from the doctor slowly being driven mad as he's hunted by 106 are all mine, along with the picture note, which I thought was too amusing to let pass by. It was a lot of fun, and I'm a bit sad I sort of drifted away from the project. Now there's the new Unity version, which is just show-stopping, but I still have a soft spot for the older version.

I was, and am, just floored by Containment Breach, old and new. I've never actually played either, I am a huge scaredy-cat and while I love horror, I don't know if my heart (and temper) could take it! Well…admittedly, I have played very little of it and decided to leave it to the pros. Or maybe I just need the right opportunity, who knows. It's all just so…staggering, that something I helped make has gone on to spawn its own existence…it's like getting pictures of grandkids in the mail from a child you never really expected much from. I hope to see Containment Breach grow, and more spinoffs and games, I love seeing how people can run with the concept. There are few forms of media you can't get in a Foundation flavor these days, and it just feels so awe-inspiring.

There's always that little worry, though. Whenever something spreads, it changes, and not always for the better. I worry that what I feel is the heart of the whole concept will get diluted with exposure, like a photo fading in the sun. However, if it comes between seeing The Foundation stagnate and die, or dealing with the odd mutation, I'd rather see it grow.

Dr. Gears
by Shiro, 1st place in the Characters category for the 2017 Social Media Art Contest

Starting in August of 2011, the Gears Day Collection officially began with the first Surprise! Happy Birthday! page. These pages always begin with a paragraph or two dedicated to you before listing out a number of creepypastas from various authors. As far as I know, these pages are unique in the sense they are dedicated to celebrating a real-life person connected to the site. What was your first reaction to TroyLTroyL posting the first one a decade ago and how do you feel seeing them continue throughout the years? If you had to say, what would be the reason that you enjoy creepypasta so much?

Let's see if I can get through this part without tearing up.

Okay, many moons ago, the subject of my birthday came up. By this point, I was pretty well known and apparently liked enough for people to want to give me gifts. To a random username on the internet! I was immensely flattered, and rather touched, but pleaded off. A polite refusal, however, was not going to be entertained, so I offered a compromise. Growing up, I was rather poor and often opted for short story collections over full novels, as it gave me more bang for my meager buck. So, with that, gift me stories. Chop together some good horror fiction for me to read, a little personal collection. Honestly, I didn't expect much, I was just so pleased that people thought so highly of me.

And then it ended up becoming a holiday.

I love the collection, more than I can really say without a full dive into plum-purple prose. I feel so bad at times, I have never shown those stories the love and appreciation they deserve, but I treasure each and every one. Seeing a new set of entries always just…it's an indescribable feeling. I seem to get more weepy as I get older, and it's hard not to mist up when seeing these stories, even as they make me shudder. I've been trying to ease back into the site, and it has admittedly changed a great deal since the old days when I was more active, but more than anything I want to try and give back, and show everyone how much I appreciate this stuff and show I am (hopefully) still worthy of such gifts.

As for why I enjoy creepypasta as a whole…well, as I've said, I am a scaredy-cat, and love short stories! More than that, however, is the veneer of reality the really good ones have. Oh yes, they're silly ghost stories, and it's easy to dismiss them in the light of day. However, late at night, when you're the last one up and prowling in a bored stupor for something interesting, it leaves the mind more receptive. Suddenly hitting on what looks to be a post, or a picture, or something that, with your waking mind, you know is fake, but has just enough gloss to ring true can leave an impression that can shift to obsession. It brings the horror story out of the crypt and castle, leads it from forests and graveyards, and puts it in your bathroom, your social media, your walk home from work, your midnight snack. You know it's fake, sure…but would it hurt to leave the light on, just to be sure?

Creepypasta is the modern evolution of the urban legend, the campfire story for the age of screens and connectivity. It's real enough to swallow, and just vague enough to be hard to disprove. In portions sometimes too small to even be called short stories, they work through volume. One or two might be weird, but suddenly you realize you've read thirty of them and are no longer comfortable sitting without your feet tucked under you. Oh sure, there's loads of crummy works, but so it is with every budding media. Plus, it's always fun to read or listen to them and go, in the back of my head “Hell, I can do that…I bet I could even do it better…” and set the imagination going. They are the snack food of horror, and just as addictive.

"Broken Cog" forum post from January 17th, 2020

On January 17th of 2020, you informed the SCP community that you had been diagnosed with cancer. You detailed the circumstances fairly well in your Broken Cog post, so if you don't mind, would you elaborate on how things went for you for the rest of the year? Are you recovering well? Many among the community are wanting to hear if the Cog has been repaired.

As my grandpa liked to say, quoting Seuss of all people, while he was going blind “I'm in awful good shape, for the shape that I'm in!”

The lead-up was, in some ways, the most stressful. Had the chance for a clinical trial for some new medication, but would have pushed my surgery back almost a year, and I'd still have to have the kidney out, so opted for getting things done right away. The surgery went fine, with no real concerns or anything they didn't expect. Recovery was much tougher, at least compared to laying and getting cut open while passed out. Walking around the late-night hospital halls in a gown, gripping my IV in one hand, hunched over a stuffed plush hamburger named Hammy pressed to my bandaged stomach is one of those special memories. Home was much the same, laying spread out on a couch, trying to keep kids from jumping on me. However, I'm stubborn, so within a few days, I was pottering around trying to get back into the old flow, much to my wife's displeasure.

It's something I'll need to be careful of for my whole life. So far, no additional tumors, no bad tests, no indication anything is wrong. Mine is a particularly aggressive type, but also very common, so they're keeping a very close eye, just to be safe. No declaration of remission yet, but I have my next appointment in a few months, so I'm hopeful. Apparently, as a rough ballpark, it was likely growing for between ten to twelve years. Bloody spooky. Now is the hard work, losing weight, watching diet and the like. I've never been very good at looking after myself, honestly, but four kids and a loving, if nervous, wife does change one's opinion on things.

I still have a lot to do, I'm not a kid anymore, even if I act like it now and then. Thankfully it's mostly stuff I need to do anyway, eating better, exercise, losing weight, and so on. Sort of a two steps forward, one back process. One odd thing though, that I found very interesting. I've always had very, very vivid dreams. Not necessarily good or bad, but VIVID. It got better as I got older, but it's always been a thing for me, and admittedly some (well, a lot…) of my work comes from various bad dreams I've had over the years. However, for the past…six or seven years, it petered off, and I'd thought I'd outgrown it or something. Now, after the tumor was removed…I'm back to vivid dreams again, with a vengeance even. Spooky.

So, in short, yes, I'm doing much better, and if I'm not a repaired cog, the spot-welding is top-notch.

So, who actually is "Dr Gears"?

The simple questions are often the most complex, as they say.

From a real-life standpoint, it's just a username I put together to have something tying my posts together. The picture, I found out later, is of the man who discovered LSD with a black bar tossed over the face, and the emotionless aspect grew out of being teased for being overly emotional during the pre-wiki days on 4chan when trying to build the persona. I'm someone who made big waves in the mythology, so tossing in my avatar is a great little cameo now and then, plus being stone-faced in the middle of chaos is cool. It's become more and more of a thing over the years, and I'm happy and confused to see him doing so well across various fiction.

However, reality is so dull, isn't it? Swear sometimes it's like we're made of the stuff.

Dr. Gears is a constant in an inconsistent world. He is the Data or Spock of the setting, someone who can look and respond without the trappings of ego or humanity. He's a rock, and comforting and dull as that is. When shit is hitting the fan, and people are being reduced to colored vapor, there he is, calmly trying to at least lessen the damage, and ideally get good data from it. In another setting, he's the drudge who doesn't really talk, comes in early, works late, and if he's off for a day sick suddenly half the department doesn't work right. He's not someone people really want to emulate, but he does command respect, at least.

Inside, however, at the deep core, he's scared. His brilliance is the sweaty insight of terror, That lets you think your way out of getting a knife in your ribs behind a bar but on a grand scale. He's cold and emotionless because if he allowed himself a moment to relax, to emote freely, he'd most likely start screaming and never, ever stop. He is a damaged person who is purposefully not getting better because that damage is what's making this work. Hurt and scared enough, the mind just stops accepting new input, beyond finding ways to function and deal with important problems as they come. Oddly, it doesn't bother him as much, as the years roll on, and he doesn't resent others for their emotional flexibility. Some people survive one way, some another. His would seem a horrifying fate, a self-imposed mental jailing, but for him it just…is. He's become the job, become The Foundation. A nightmare from outside looking in…but for him, it's just life.

What does the family think about you being the legendary Dr. Gears?

Oh lord…it sometimes varies on the day. When I was first starting, my wife was…less than happy with the amount of time I was devoting to things, but she's much more accepting now. It's like having an alter ego, or a very specific fetish or something. Still, if the worse thing she comes to grips with is me having an overdeveloped pen name, we're golden. She spent some time on the wiki as Agent Kramer, but our two personas had no real connection…not sure what that means…

Amusingly, it does come up from time to time…my wife will bump into someone at work who knows about The Foundation, and she is rather tickled to tell people who she's married to. Then, typically, there's some kind of proof-test, but it is neat. I tell people, “I'm kind of internet famous, but not actually me, just the stuff I've done”. I'm not sure I could actually act like him, I do manage a stone face well, but I'm too easy to crack up.

My daughter thinks it's neat…I think. She reads buckets of fanfiction for her favorite fandoms, but not The Foundation, not even my stuff…enough to make a clockwork heart weep. However, she is interested, and hopefully, at some point, she starts producing some works as well. Now, in a very technical way that would make her the Black Queen, but I think we'll avoid that whole can of worms. Or at least I hope so…please, oh Crimson King…

Bonus: Today is the SCP Wiki's 13th anniversary on Wikidot and likewise yours as well. It is not an exaggeration to say that you are the godfather of the SCP Wiki. You have influenced the site and all of those involved with it from your works as a writer as well as from your actions as an administrator. Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of this interview?

Oh boy…well, a few things, while I have the opportunity…

Firstly, to the people who just lurk, who may never post anything, let alone add a story or entry, who just enjoy at whatever level they do: Thank you. You're a big chunk of what has made The Foundation what it is, or at the very least made it spread so far. A little group of horror dweebs has bloomed to cover every continent and probe into basically every form of media, and it's all thanks to fans like you, the person reading this if you've been with us thirteen years or thirteen seconds. I hope you continue to enjoy it for at least another thirteen years, at the very least.

A small, personal aside as well, if I could. To everyone who donated to my gofundme drive, and poured out support, well wishes, fanart, and memes…I want to say thank you, but that doesn't really cover it. I would not be here, writing these words on a hot, summer evening with my youngest son asleep on the couch beside me without you. I'm not someone who easily asks for help. Either stubbornness or embarrassment keeps me rather stoic, but to reach out in my lowest time of need…and find so, so many…so many who don't know me beyond some words on a page, to pour out their love, support, and aid…it's beyond description. I like humanity as an abstract concept, but it rarely does that. All of this, it opened my eyes more. I will never, ever be able to thank you all enough for what you've done for me. The most I can hope to do is pour out my heart when I have the chance and try and produce content for you all, as a paltry gesture. From me, here, to you, wherever you are, I thank you from the absolute bottom of my heart and will keep doing so for as long as I have it.

Now, with tears and fluff aside (hopefully), I'd like to take a moment to talk to those who do, indeed, write. Maybe for the site, maybe for elsewhere, maybe just for school. If you're not thus inclined, I suppose you can skip this bit.

It is really hard, and it doesn't get much easier over time, you just find the ways to make it work. Struggling is good, challenge is good, even if it seems like you'll never get over it. I didn't learn to read or write until well beyond the standard time and have had periods of writer's block that last years. Yet it passes, it does. My general advice, even to myself, is to take in the kind of work you want to make. Read, watch, play, engage with the themes and content you want to try to produce. Sometimes you will, and sometimes you'll find your voice goes somewhere different. You can't easily force your voice to speak something different, there's a reason authors tend to specialize in one form of work. I spent a very long year working a help desk, reading piles and piles of free ebooks, mostly old open-source work and gothic stuff, and by the end, I could write in a way that was my own, my voice. Sometimes it's just beating your head against the wall until something cracks.

You'll know you've hit it when you can't stop doing it. When, walking around, eating dinner, taking a bath, things give you story ideas, or concepts you want to make, even if you don't end up doing it. David Bowie said music for him was like an addiction, and I think all art is, in a way. You may not be producing, but you are always thinking, even if you toss it away in disgust. Take the failures as best you can, or at the very least don't let people see you cry. Never take the easy way, or do something that will compromise your vision. If it's gruesome, if it's sappy, if it'll make people angry or upset, that's fine, so long as it's needed and in service to your vision. Never flinch because someone's feelings may get hurt or they'll feel icky. Write because you have to, and don't worry so much about reception. If you're trying to prop up your work, scrapping it out with critics, or trying to boost votes beyond just telling people to come to take a look, then you're likely off course.

Art is art, whatever form it takes. Some people are naturals, some have to work, but more importantly, art is the communication we use when our normal senses and skills don't work. It's part of you, and if other people like it all the better, but you should be proud of it, or at least respect its place in your development, if a million people love it, or not even a cat will stop to glance at it. If tomorrow, all the usernames and votes of the wiki vanished, if you're truly committed, then it would not impact your work in the slightest. We all like praise and rewards, that's normal, and even a good thing, really. However, it's easy to slip into the trap of producing things because you want that praise, prestige, and reward, rather than because it's something you love. Something that burns in you, like a fever. Lovecraft produced his work with no real expectations, and never really felt right getting paid for his work. Because of this, he died penniless and alone, but an entire genre of horror is named after him now. Great work, the outpouring of the soul, lasts much more and makes a deeper impact than just wanting to bask in the glory.

A little food for thought from someone who did (does?) pretty well at this stuff, apparently. Thank you so much if you've stuck with me this long, and if you just scrolled to the end, shame on you! What if I'd put some creepy picture at the end, you'd have spoiled the whole thing! In either case, I hope it's at least been interesting. I hope to do lots more…maybe do this again in another thirteen years, Broken God willing!

This concludes the final of four interviews released this month in celebration of 13 years of the SCP Wiki being on Wikidot. I hope you enjoyed it! I would like to thank Dr Gears for being amazing throughout this project. We originally intended to do a standard interview together and got together last Christmas, but things became busy for me. I later came up with the idea to incorporate Dr Gears' interview into a celebration of the SCP Wiki and its rich history. It was truly a pleasure in every regard to work with him. This site would be incredibly different without his influence. Happy 13th anniversary everyone!

Thank you for reading!

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