The SCP Foundation on 4chan and EditThis
rating: +48+x

CONTENT WARNING

The following essay names an infamous shock image, describes and links to a racist parody SCP in a footnote, and links to 4chan threads containing offensive and intolerant language.

The Wikidot SCP Foundation website has existed since July 2008, yet the SCP community has been around in one form or another since June 2007. During the pre-Wikidot days, the very foundation of our beloved writing community was laid through long-forgotten decisions made overwhelmingly by people who called themselves Anonymous.

While the main essay series gives an overview of this time period, this essay is meant to cover it in far greater detail utilizing a previously unavailable mass archive of 2006-2008 4chan posts. Hopefully, this essay will highlight the very first members of our community and ensure that their contributions are not forgotten.

SCP-173 is posted to /x/ and becomes a popular creepypasta
SCP-173 was originally posted to the /x/ board of 4chan on June 22, 2007 at 1:40 AM by Moto42 (then going by the name S.S. Walrus). In the ensuing thread, members of /x/ started off by evaluating the story. Some of the evaluation was negative: a few Anons criticized 173 for having poor spelling and grammar while others stated that 173 was clearly inspired by the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who.1 These negative comments notwithstanding, SCP-173 managed to capture the imagination of members of /x/. Within the thread, one member posted the first ever SCP tale about members of the United States Air Force discovering SCP-173 while another member copy-edited the original post to fix its numerous grammatical and spelling errors. Near the end of the thread, an Anon announced they had created a stand-alone forum to develop more SCP content (although nothing would ultimately come of this forum).2 SCP-173's original thread would ultimately be deleted on June 24.3

Moto42 initially planned to release new SCPs on a weekly basis, but lost Internet access and interest in this project. He expected the standalone SCP-173 to be forgotten within a week, but it instead became an incredibly popular creepypasta that was frequently reposted over the next several months. It made its way to /b/ by June 23 and was also posted to numerous creepypasta forums.4 The vast majority of SCP-173 reposts, however, occurred on the /x/ board.

The second SCP is posted and debate occurs over whether there should be additional SCPS
Not counting a racist "parody" of SCP-173,5 the second ever SCP was posted to /x/ on September 5, 2007. The SCP (specifically SCP-246) was a statue that attacked people who spoke too loud; the text closely paraphrased that of SCP-173. The first couple of comments were heavily critical of the new SCP. They claimed it was a shameless rip-off of SCP-173 and that if more SCPs were posted, their quality would quickly deteriorate until the SCP series became just as bad as The Holders series.6

However, many defenders started to emerge; one Anon posted:

At least someone tried to add more to the series. That's something more than most anyone here would ever try to do. If there are more, perhaps they're not all golems. Perhaps there are more variations to the SCP items. I personally think more should be written. The Holders series got boring because that's ALL there was that was a collaborative. Of course as soon as something like this comes along everyone has to whine about it.

Many Anons collaborated to edit SCP-246's text to make it less formulaic while others posted their own SCPs. Most of these new SCPs were still statues that attacked, but some original ideas surfaced such as mind control devices and decayed, but hostile, marine mammals. Other Anons continued to complain about the newly written SCPs throughout the thread with one even claiming the SCP series had hit its peak with 173.7

Sadly, the September efforts at writing additional SCPs fizzled out. While there would be additional SCP related posts throughout the rest of 2007, nothing further of note occurred during the first year of the SCP Foundation's existence.8

The events of January 2008
Early January
Going into January, /x/ continued to see the occasional repost of SCP-173 in standalone and creepypasta threads. During the first half of the month, the most significant development was that SCP-086 was written and became the second SCP (after SCP-173) to be reposted.9 I suspect it was SCP-086's author who was responsible for the reposts; the SCP was par the course quality-wise yet was reposted far more rapidly than SCP-173 was back in 2007.
January 17 & 18
During the evening of January 17, 2008, SCP-086 was reposted yet again to the /x/ board. Within the thread, many Anons expressed interest in seeing or even writing more SCPs. Many of the Anons praised the scientific, procedural nature of the SCP articles.10 As the thread continued, an Anon reposted an SCP which had been written earlier in the month,11 while many more Anons started to write their own. During this time, there were also efforts to maintain the scientific language of SCP entries.12 The SCP-086 thread resulted in seven SCP threads being created on /x/ from January 17 to 19 (and ultimately the creation of the EditThis wiki itself).

On January 18th, there was one major thread which was followed later in the day by threads containing reposts of SCP-173 and another SCP. Within the major thread, Anons cheered the return of the SCP series, but also wanted to see more non-statue SCPs and for the importance of containment procedures to take precedence over the lethal capabilities of the SCPs. Many new SCPs were posted including SCP-176, which contained some of the earliest references to Keter-class object and to D-class personnel. Efforts to archive newly posted SCPs started to emerge, albeit in private Microsoft Word document and computer folders.
January 19: the EditThis wiki is created
On January 19, 2008 (a Saturday) at 11:42 AM Eastern Standard Time/ 4:42 PM Coordinated Universal Time, an individual known only as "Admin" created the first-ever SCP wiki on the EditThis wiki farm. Throughout the day, Admin also created the core pages of the website including the Main Page13 and likely the "SCP Series" page in which all SCPs would be listed. There was never a discussion about creating a standalone wiki on /x/ or /b/; Admin apparently just saw the need for one and acted appropriately.

Also on the 19th, someone, most likely Admin, went onto a nearly concluded /b/ thread and posted a link to the new wiki as well as the following statement:14

Please contibute, just don't turn it into a stupid Holders 01 of 893427591 COLLECT THEM ALLZOMG.

It is unknown why the EditThis wiki was first announced on a nearly dead /b/ thread instead of as a new post in /x/. This was ultimately not a good method of advertising the wiki; immediately after the /b/ post, there were only two people active on the EditThis Wiki: Admin and a single other Anon. Quite fortunately, this Anon would share the link with /x/ a at 7:19 PM; another Anon created another thread with the link at 7:33 PM. Within these two threads, Anons started reposting and writing original SCPs and using the EditThis Wiki as an archive. Discussion also started about standardizing the SCP format and security clearance level definitions so they would be consistent across SCPs.15
Who was Admin, the creator of the first SCP Wiki?
Little is known about Admin; the individual's very name was assigned by EditThis rather than self-selected. We can say with certainty that this individual spoke English, lived in the Eastern time zone and that their personal user page described Admin as "[s]mell[ing] like a farm." In terms of content creation, Admin created only a single SCP: SCP-743 aka Paranormally Addictive Beef Jerky.16

The first days of EditThis: January 19-23
The first few days of the EditThis wiki was a period of rapid growth.17 This section of the essay will examine some of the most important developments and people during these first few days.18
Lofwyr
An /x/ member known as Lofwyr was particularly busy during the first few days. The individual helped copy SCPs to EditThis and wrote the official EditThis wiki guide on object classes and security clearance levels. Lofwyr also posted the first writing guide on 4chan (which was pasted over by an Anon). The guide provided tips such as the need to maintain clinical tone, the desirability of pictures, promoted placing SCPs in locations other than Site-19 and cautioned against excessive containment procedures.

Lofwyr was not active on the EditThis wiki for long and appears to have stopped contributing by the end of January. However, they near single-handedly laid the groundwork for the rules and guidelines governing the writing of SCPs during their brief time in the community.
The logo
At some point on or before Janaury 21, someone set a dinosaur picture as the first ever logo of the SCP wiki. Admin personally liked the picture, but decided that the logo should be something SCP-related. On January 21, Admin went onto /x/ and requested that someone create a logo based on Josie the Half-Cat. The request was successfully fulfilled and a black-and-white image of Josie became the official logo of the EditThis wiki.19
The SCP-001 slot
During an ongoing /x/ thread, Anons discussed the SCP-001 slot and what should be placed within it. On January 21, 2008, an IP address, likely influenced by the ongoing discussion, posted an SCP into the 001 slot. While the SCP is long lost, it was apparently poorly written. Admin, upon viewing the SCP, declared that it was not worthy of the 001 slot,20 locked the page so that no one else could edit it, and replaced the SCP with the following text:

BLANKED AND LOCKED UNTIL SOMEONE MAKES ONE WORTHY OF THE TITLE OF SCP-001.

Back on the talk page, editors discussed what SCP-001 should be and started making submissions for the SCP. Other editors started moving these submissions off onto their own pages and gave them the standardized name "Proposal: [username]." No proposal was ever selected to be the official SCP-001, but this system became the basis of the Wikidot SCP-001 hub.21
Admin departs
Admin made their final edit to the EditThis wiki either on January 21 or 22 (depending on whether Eastern Time or UTC, respectively, is used) and thereafter had no involvement with the growing SCP series. During their brief time on the wiki, Admin appointed no further staff members and provided no means of off-wiki contact. With Admin gone, the SCP series was left to the masses.
The joke section is created
On January 23rd, a number of main-list SCPs, including Admin's Paranormally Addictive Beef Jerky, were moved to a stand-alone joke section beneath the main list. These SCPs were not moved because they were funny, but because they were seen as dumb and poorly written. The joke section of the EditThis wiki can thus be viewed as a sort of dumpster for low quality SCPs (at least early on in its history).
Other miscellaneous notes
Notes about the early "community"
The earliest contributors were a loose collective of individuals gravitating around the SCP series; the connected and well-coordinated SCP Foundation community readers are familiar with did not emerge until after the creation of Wikidot. While this essay occasionally uses the word "community" to collectively describe the earliest contributors, this is an oversimplification made for the sake of legibility.

At this point in SCP history, few people seemed to care about authorship. Many authors were posting their SCPs anonymously to /x/ and asking EditThis members to copy them over; this would have made it nearly impossible for the original authors to prove that they were the creators. Further, accounts were not needed to make edits and relatively few people bothered to sign their comments on talk pages. A lot of the earliest members operated in near total anonymity.

During this time, there was also widespread backlash against excessive cross-linking. Contributors feared that cross-links would make the SCP series too similar to The Holders, which were notorious for excessive cross-linking at expense of being creepy.
Notes about SCP articles
In terms of content, many of the earliest SCPs were written by finding creepy pictures on the internet, imagining the horrible things the creepy entity in the picture could do, and then coming up with a way to safely contain it.22 This method was not universally followed though as many SCPs, including some posted in January, lacked images.

In terms of size, SCPs tended to be very short during this time period. Initially, this was due to 4chan’s character limit; DrClef noted that there was simply not enough room for experiment logs and other supplemental documents. While EditThis lacked 4chan's character limits, short articles remained the norm there for the entirety of the website’s history. According to Kain Pathos Crow (who joined EditThis later in the summer), this occurred partially because members believed that short SCP articles were more realistic and partially because short articles were easier to write than long ones.

Object classes were not universally used until March 2008. The earliest SCP articles jumped straight from number to description. According to Dr. Gears, many of the earliest SCPs were given very high or low numbers so that they would not be missed by people scrolling through the series list.

January to March 2008
Activity dies down on /x/
People would continue posting SCP content en masse for the rest of January, but activity died down considerably in February. While SCPs and reposts of SCP-173 would still pop up fairly frequently, they were far more spaced out and saw much less participation than the massive threads that had defined mid to late January 2008 on /x/. This trend would continue through March.
General events on the EditThis wiki
On the EditThis wiki itself, there were a relatively small number of super-active editors with known names. The most prominent of these editors was Eberstrom, who could constantly be found providing feedback on SCPs and making necessary edits. Unlike a lot of the other named people in this essay, Eberstrom was active for awhile. The most recent edit of his I've been able to find was made to the talk page of SCP-173 in early March 2008, although I strongly suspect Eberstrom continued to be active beyond early March. Proxtown was another notable EditThis member who was very active in editing and revising newly posted SCPs.

As /x/ became less prominent in the day to day management of the EditThis wiki, a lot of discussion on the SCP series moved to the talk page of the SCP series page (which listed all of the SCPs). Many of the posts on the page were announcements for newly written SCPs or content determinations that are discussed elsewhere in this essay.

In March, a member named Aiden went through the EditThis wiki and converted all instances of Imperial measurements to metric. The individual also ensured that every SCP had an object class in the appropriate spot between their number and containment procedures.23

April: concerns about quality
The EditThis wiki lacked any centralized quality control measures (beyond perhaps moving really bad SCPs to the joke section). Further, the long-absent Admin was the only person able to delete pages, so once a poorly written SCP was posted it was there to stay. Early on in January, this problem was manageable because most people were posting their SCPs to the /x/ board with the hopes that a member of the EditThis wiki would copy it into the EditThis wiki. This provided at least a modicum of quality control. However, as more and more people joined the EditThis wiki and started directly posting their own SCPs, the overall quality of the series started to decline. By April, article quality had become a serious issue.

An individual known as Epic Phail Spy counted 128 SCPs on the EditThis series list on April 20. The individual divided the entire SCP series into four main categories:

  • Weapons SCPs (i.e. swords or spears) that drive people homicidally insane and require massively excessive containment procedures. (1/3 of all SCPs)
  • Extremely dangerous SCPs that hate human life for completely unknown reasons. (1/3 of SCPs).
  • Even more dangerous SCPs capable of killing millions of people if not outright destroy the planet. Many of these contained themes from the Christian faith. (1/3 of all SCPs)
  • "[W]ell thought-out, clever SCPs" that may not be dangerous but were still fun to read. (Rare; Epic Phail Spy listed Josie the Half Cat and SCP-500 as SCPs in this category).

Epic Phail Spy concluded by stating they would prefer having a small number of well-written SCPs than what was currently present on the website.

Back on /x/, more and more Anons began criticizing the declining standards of the SCP series. Many concluded that the SCP series had gone the way of the dreaded Holders. One Anon even came up with a series about paranormal prisoners housed in a micro-universe to nerf their powers as an alternative to the SCP series. While the idea was received extremely well, it failed to take off like the SCP series had.

A bright spot occurred on April 3 when Dr. Gears (then posting as Cog) first appeared on /x/ and posted the text of SCP-882. SCP-882 was well-received and followed by seven additional SCPs, including SCP-682,24 from Dr. Gears. The thread was the first mass thread for months and saw many other writers producing SCPs. Dr. Gears followed this thread up with a second SCP thread on April 4 and would remain an active member of EditThis for the rest of its history.

Late April through mid-June
Technical difficulties and goatse.cx
On April 21, an IP editor went on a vandalism spree and replaced many SCPs with goatse.cx, a notorious obscene image. The images were reverted over the next two days, although obscene comments from the vandal were preserved in various SCP's edit histories.

From late May to early June, the EditThis wiki experienced technical difficulties. During this time, several posters on /x/ commented that they couldn't submit and that pages were not appearing.
Discussions about new object classes
At some point before April 2, 2008, an unknown editor posted SCP-927 (the Hadron Bomb) to the EditThis wiki. The SCP, an explosive that would spawn a super-massive blackhole if disturbed, was given a dual class of Keter and Apollyon. The usage of the Apollyon class triggered discussion on 927's talk page which spilled over onto the Object Class talk page in mid-April. Until at least July (and possibly later), discussion raged on about creating object classes beyond Safe, Euclid and Keter or even changing the object classification scheme entirely. This discussion was never resolved, at least not on EditThis.
Discussion about SCP-001 on /x/
On the evening of June 4, 2008, an anonymous editor posted in /x/ and asked the imageboard if it could come up with an SCP worthy of the 001 slot. The question resulted in a large number of mass discussions on SCP-001 proposals being posted in /x/ throughout June. There were a wide variety of proposals ranging from Adam (of Genesis), the Tree of Eden, the discovery that the Earth is merely an atom, and a surprisingly high number of SCPs relating to inventor Nikola Tesla.

Absolutely nothing came of these discussion and the entire effort quickly devolved into cursing, personal attacks, and trolling. Further, even if /x/ had miraculously selected an SCP-001 proposal, the slot had been locked to editing since January. Admin, the only person capable of unlocking the page, had been gone for over three months, so it would have been impossible to post anything in SCP-001.

This entire discussion on SCP-001 is significant mainly because its the last time /x/ attempted to influence the early SCP Foundation. After this point, they largely took the role of passive observer.

The end of EditThis
A quick note on sourcing
The EditThis wiki was thoroughly archived in the Wayback Machine from April to mid-June 2008, but only a small handful of archives were made after this time. Given the lack of further archives and the diminished role of /x/ in the SCP series, there are few contemporary sources available. This section of the essay is sourced almost entirely from the following interviews with members of the former EditThis wiki:

Most of these interviews were conducted over a decade after the deletion of EditThis; the available information will unfortunately be vague, incomplete and at times contradictory. Anyone with further information about this time period is encouraged to post to this essay's talk page or to contact its author, Cooldude971.
General events and state of the community after mid-June 2008
Many people who would play a major role in the future Wikidot website such as FritzWillie and Kain Pathos Crow started to trickle in during this time.25 Other prominent members of EditThis during this time period included Dr. Dantensen (the author of SCP-105) and SaintSeiya (a prolific writer).26 According to Kain Pathos Crow, the EditThis "community" present during this time was small, disconnected, and mainly consisted of individuals doing whatever interested them. Communication was limited to comments and posts; Kain Pathos Crow compared this to yelling into a crowd and getting yelled at back. Kain Pathos Crow also stated that the members themselves were generally friendly (or too lazy to “really pursue any serious sort of bastardry.”)

SCPs also continued to be regularly posted: the SCP count increased from 187 SCPs on June 14 to 305 SCPs on September 3. Nearly a dozen of these SCPs had numbers exceeding one-thousand. Someone added a notice to the series list asking contributors to fill-out SCPs two through one-thousand before going higher, but this notice was plainly ignored.
The EditThis Wiki is hampered by its lack of staff
As the EditThis wiki continued to develop from mid-June onwards, its members found themselves increasingly constrained by the total absence of administrative staff.

According to FritzWillie, some established members of the EditThis wiki started discussing ways to clean up the wiki and make it look more professional; these efforts centered around the customization of wiki pages. While he provides no further details, these efforts undoubtedly ended in failure. Admin was gone and a quick look through the EditThis wikifarm's help desk and other community pages shows that the wikifarm was based on obsolete software and run by someone juggling multiple major projects. Even if the EditThis members had reached a consensus on their goals, they would have had no ability to implement their desired changes.

According to Kain Pathos Crow, an editor known as FoxFire repeatedly spammed an article about R'lyeh (a fictional lost city and home of Cthulu in the works of H.P. Lovecraft) into the SCP-001 slot.27 The article was poorly written, plainly plagiarized, and overwhelming rejected by contributors. Editors repeatedly attempted to delete the article's text, but FoxFire would just re-post the article and make personal attacks against EditThis members. Due to the lack of administrative staff, no one had the ability to block FoxFire or permanently stop the spam. Kain Pathos Crow states that the R’lyeh debacle helped motivate contributors to move off of EditThis.

According to Dr. Gears, there was a general consensus amongst contributors that the rapidly expanding SCP series had outgrown the EditThis wiki. He also stated that spam and rogue edits were issues.
The move to Wikidot
The decision to move to the current Wikidot website was not made by the community but rather by a single individual: FritzWillie.

In July, FritzWillie (likely motivated by the issues discussed in the previous sub-section) attempted to contact the long absent Admin. When that failed, he reached out to the EditThis management team and requested that adminship be transferred to someone else on the wiki. During the ensuing conversation, FritzWillie learned that EditThis planned to switch to a paid model and that the SCP wiki had nearly exceeded its 25mb of allocated space. EditThis ultimately offered to sell the wiki to FritzWillie and informed him that the wiki would be deleted if he did not purchase it. FritzWillie decided against making this purchase and began searching for alternative platforms to host the SCP series. He ultimately settled on Wikidot for two reasons. First, it was free. Second, it had a variety of useful features absent on EditThis including forums, comment sections for articles, and the extensive ability to author and customize specific pages.

On July 19, 2008, FritzWillie created the current Wikidot website. Over the next few days, he figured out Wikidot's unique user interface, created the forums, the SCP Series I list, and the How To Write An SCP guide, and uploaded a few SCPs from EditThis (including SCP-002) as "practice pages." On July 25, FritzWillie made a post to the EditThis wiki informing its members of the new Wikidot website and showing off some of his practice pages.28

Interestingly, FritzWillie both created and announced the existence of the EditThis wiki with an alternative account known as "The Administrator." While he never specifically said anything dishonest, FritzWillie wanted to appear as if he was the creator of the SCP series (or at least someone with authority over it) so that people would follow him. The interviews of both Kain Pathos Crow and FritzWillie indicate that this plan was a complete success: no one questioned The Administrator's identity and neither individual remembered anyone opposing the move. To the contrary, many of the EditThis members were excited by the new features available on Wikidot and by the fact that someone who appeared to know what they were doing had taken charge.

Over the next several days, FritzWillie worked with a handful of other members of EditThis to copy over the SCPs to Wikidot. Kain Pathos Crow described the process as uneventful busywork while Dr. Gears described the work as a hassle that occurred without major issue. The Wikidot website, as it existed on July 30, 2008, can be viewed here.
July to September, 2008 and beyond on EditThis
Once the transfer to Wikidot was completed, the community largely relocated to the new website although a few stragglers who were unaware of the move remained on EditThis. Kain Pathos Crow placed a highly visible notice on the front page of the EditThis wiki on July 27, 2008 to attract these final EditThis members to Wikidot. After this, EditThis was almost completely abandoned. Only two subsequent events are known to have occurred:

  • A vandalism spree took place on or immediately before August 1.
  • Dr. Gears vaguely remembers "some kind of fluff" about one or more people "sort of taking over" the old wiki, although this may have just been a trolling attempt.

It's possible that sporadic edits occurred throughout August, but I've been unable to find any evidence of these theorized edits. Regardless, EditThis was plainly dead and all SCP-related activities would be occurring on Wikidot from then on.

On September 3, 2008, the SCP EditThis wiki was finally deleted. It was re-created later that day, but by then the community was gone.29 A few former members posted shocked comments over the next several months, but after this there would be no activity on EditThis besides the occasional vandal and helpful editor providing links to the Wikidot website. Today, the front page of the original website merely states:

THE NEW SCPASTA CAN BE FOUND AT http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/

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