Interview with a Viner: Renchamp

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Posted by Cloudguy (2688 posts) - - Show Bio

Welcome to the fifth edition of “Interview with a Viner” series, in which I interview popular or influential users on the site on either a bi-weekly or monthly basis. This week's guest is @renchamp!

Cloudguy: For those unfamiliar with you can you introduce yourself and what would you say you're most known for on the site?

Renchamp: Briefly: I am Renchamp. I attempt to keep things moderate.

Expanded: I am a jack-of-all-trades type mod, as I moderate both the forums and the wiki. My primary love is the wiki, so I spend a bit more time there helping new editors hone their craft while also doing my own edits. I usually only dip into forum moderation when dealing with flags, so most of what I post is a warning. Probably 2/3 of my forum posts come from warnings. Is that sad? I'm starting to think that's a sad statistic.

*shifts blame to users, buries feelings, moves on to next question*

Cloudguy: How did you discover Comicvine and what grabbed your attention?

Renchamp: I discovered the Vine in law school. I was at the end of my rope during a study session and needed a new distraction, so I dusted off my love of comics (I hadn't read anything for ten years at the time) and did some research on what had happened with Cable since the mid-90s. I loved the Vine's format, but I hated that Cable's wiki page was so totally lacking in information. I did some lurking before deciding to begin editing the wiki. The thing that really got me was the points system. I love a good RPG; I have no problem grinding/farming, so the idea of climbing the wiki ranks really appealed to me. Wiki editing ended up being very addictive and I soon adopted the Vine as a part of my life. It is a smaller part of my life now that I'm a working man, but I still find time to indulge in this distraction.

Cloudguy: How did you end up becoming a Moderator?

Renchamp: Honestly, favoritism. Sort of.

As I understand it: I became chummy with RazzaTazz after the two of us exchanged pleasantries on one another's blogs. Razz was a mod at the time. We became embroiled in a wiki points frenzy to see which R-named user could have the most wiki points. (Sorry Roekon, we were gunning for you and you never knew it.) We discussed our writing endeavors, the good and bad sides of marriage, and many other simple and trite things that no one should really care about. In the course of our PM-ing, I noted that I was likely going to quit the Vine. Changes had happened to the site and it was starting to feel less like a community. (e.g. staff was less engaged, users couldn't browse blogs or reviews anymore, threads seemed more toxic, etc.) Razz hated to lose me, so she convinced pikahyper to vet me as a future wiki mod candidate. I was intrigued by the idea of helping the wiki get even better so I stuck around. Razz and pika spoke well enough of me that the staff permitted/promoted me to be a mod. The catch was that I was to moderate both the wiki and the forums, as my well-roundedness in blogging/reviewing/editing/commenting could be used in basically all aspects of the Vine.

So, kiss some butts? Or kiss the right butts. I don't know. I didn't ask for it. I don't really want it, but I also don't want to lose it because a) pika would have even more work to do, and b) I really enjoy having the ability to quickly alter errant wiki pages and help new wiki editors out.

It's also possible that I completely misunderstood my appointment and only got it because inferiorego and I were both in bands. Not together. And not the same type. But band brothers none-the-less.

Cloudguy: Since you became a moderator, you've managed to become quite infamous on the site. Why do you think that users see you as a tough mod?

Renchamp: Because I am a tough mod. Users are expected to follow the rules. When users don't follow the rules, I have no problem reminding them that they should.

No Caption Provided

I also subscribe to brevity, as I don't think some prolonged flowery warning will be any more effective than simply saying "language warning" or "warning for insults". The user knows exactly what the warning is for. This also goes for bans. If you clearly suck, you will be banned. Don't suck. How do you not suck? Read the rules and make the Vine better with your activity.

And to be honest, I have zero favorites on this site, as I can't get my head around being friends with people I have never met. It feels fake. That said, I will respect those to respect the site. I will not respect idiot trolls and the like. I know some users think that me being a little lighter with warnings would go a long way. Noted. This was noted years ago. I ain't changing. Staff and I have had plenty of conversations about my methods and nothing is changing.

Send in the pitchforks.

Cloudguy: If an opening for the position of moderator came up, what do you look for in users?

Renchamp: Honestly, mods hate when users jocky for the position, so we almost never go with someone who straight up asks to be a mod. There are always exceptions, but exceptions don't make up a rule.

We really just do a general survey of the users and take note of the ones we think most add to the Vine. If we need a Battles mod, the other Battles mods typically put forth a user's name who has shown that they aren't toxic to the forum, is well-respected, and would do a good job. Same with a general forum moderator. If you spam threads, troll, deactivate alt after alt just to change names or avoid warnings, or just downright suck then you have no chance at all.

Cloudguy: So, in other words, if you want to be a moderator; stay in line or be a kiss-ass? Or both? Jokes aside, being a moderator is probably a difficult job that requires you to look at the pettiness of people and decide where to draw the line. But what's it like being a mod on the wiki? I can imagine you've seen quite a few funny "edits" over the years.

Renchamp: Staying in line is key, but there is wisdom in the adage "It's not what you know but who you know." But there is also wisdom in knowing that fake relationships are pretty see-through and can do more damage than good. I can always tell at networking functions who is trying to get a quick hand to place a business card in and who is really trying to establish a mutual relationship. So, don't suck up. Be genuine. Mods are people, too. We can tell if a relationship is one-sided.

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As to wiki moderation, it is a lot of fun. Sure, there are idiots who never learn (don't plagiarize; don't think your way is better than the Style Guide; don't add new releases too early; don't point whore), but being in an area that is always improving is a nice place to work. Most of the editors are respectful and want to learn. Being able to see new pages garner the right attention and essentially explode with information is a beautiful thing. We are constantly adding to the database, so there is always something that needs attentions. Especially the indie pages. I love when an editor takes an indie universe under their wing and really pimps it out.

I'd also say that there are no funny edits. I wish I could relate some story where an edit went through that detailed Superman's preferred brand of underwear because it sufficiently hid his thunder, but I personally wouldn't find that amusing. We wiki mods probably take our job too seriously. We have the largest comic wiki on the internet. Silly edits get instant warnings. Stupid edits end in wiki bans. And it doesn't matter who the editor is. We have wiki-banned users with over 200k wiki points before. It sucks, but it is sometimes necessary. How's that for wet-blanketing a fun question?

Cloudguy: What sort of band were you in? I always knew you were a lawyer, but no idea you were a musician too.

Renchamp: Ha! It was this stupid funk/island hybrid that really went nowhere. Don't get me wrong, it was a lot of fun and we wrote some tunes that I am very proud of, but we weren't that great. We played a few shows around Utah and Idaho and recorded some demos. We made some friends.

I played the bass. Still do for fun. It's a five-string Fender Jazz bass, which didn't really lend itself the best to funk grooves. I grew up on punk music, so I thought playing funk with a punk flair added to our mystique. (Holy crap, am I the reason we sucked?)

Cloudguy: Honestly, I'd love to hear some of your music based on how you described it. It might not be as bad as you think. But who knows?

Renchamp: There is an episode of Boy Meets World where the dad reunites with his old band mates and they jam. The dad realizes that he is terrible and must have always been terrible. The mom comforts him by saying she just thought he looked good in the band. That is how I view my band career. It was fun. I got married. I see now that we were likely deluded as to our abilities. I will say, however, that my crowning achievement was learning "Do You Right" by 311; not because it is super complicated on the bass, but because it was such a big part of my high school life.

Cloudguy: What do you prefer more, Comics or Manga? And why do you prefer them?

Renchamp: Hands down comics, but only because of exposure. I have read very few manga and I kinda liked the different narrative and art styles. But comics speak more to me because I've read enough of them to know what I like and what relates best to me.

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Cloudguy: Who's your favorite Manga and Comic character and why do they appeal to you?

Renchamp: I don't have a favorite manga character. I just haven't read enough. This could change one day.

My favorite comic character is Cable. As a kid reading comics in the 90s, he was just what I wanted out of a character. Pouches. I mean big guns. I mean cringy dialogue. I mean anti-hero status. Gosh dang, I got Liefelded, didn't I?

Honestly, I love the time paradox of the character. He has lore in the past, present, and future of the X-Men. His dad is younger than him. He has a tragic limitation that shows his strength. Domino hangs around him from time to time. Deadpool is his best frenemy (screw you, Spider-Man). He is always looking to do what is right, even if it isn't popular.

And all those Elfring guns, yo.

Cloudguy: Speaking of Liefield, what's your opinion on him and his constantly changing in quality art?

Renchamp: I have no problem with Liefeld's art. Is it over-the-top? Duh. Is it sometimes bad? Duh. But did it help shift how we look at comics? Yup. He was perfect for the era in which he started. The 90s basically required someone like Liefeld, whom I call the Michael Bay of comics. In-your-face, violent, and often campy.

I am also okay with him continuing to work today. His flaws are so much more obvious now, but I like variance. Not every comic can look the same because static kills commodity. Some people have a problem with Adrian Alphona, JRJR, and so on, but they do the same thing for me: spice up my comic life.

Cloudguy: What do you think of the current state of Comicvine?

In the words of President Trump: "Sad." I miss the days of browsing blogs and reviews. I miss staff involvement. I miss the five "friends" that have left the site. I miss feeling like this is a community of users that love discussing comics. Now this place is my wiki home where I ban the same troll alts and give warnings to users who know better.

On the other hand, we have an ever-expanding wiki that just gets better with each new editor. And Cable's page has never looked better, although I still have a long way to go before it is complete. (I'm still stuck in 90s comics as far as his page goes.)

Cloudguy: Do you think the lack of editorial content from the staff is driving older users from the site or could it be something else?

Renchamp: I think older users are simply that: older. We are curmudgeonly in thinking that things now are not as great as they once were. We miss staff content (especially k4tzm4n's stuff). We miss community spotlights and random contests and so much more.

Also, being older, many users simply leave because they move on from investing so much time in a website and focus more on a new kid, college, and so on. It's rare that a few of us older statesmen have the ability to devote as much time as we do to the Vine.

I wish we got new content from staff. It isn't going to happen.

Generic Comic Book #1
Generic Comic Book #1

Cloudguy: It is a shame that some of our older users are leaving, but do you think they'd ever come back?

Since the staff aren't giving us any new content, the last article posted to the site was about this time last year. Do you think the community should start to put themselves forward for writing interesting content? While it's not their job, people do read them and find them interesting. Take myself for example, I do these interviews and post reviews quite often and they always seem to get traffic. It would be a fantastic way to get the community invested in something.

Renchamp: The community has tried to step up in the past and things typically fizzle. I would love users to PM me with article ideas. I would pin interesting stuff in a heartbeat. In fact, I would commandeer the Contests Forum to pin exceptional threads that are worthy of a special forum. If we got a nomination thread going, the Contests Forum could end up being an unofficial hall of fame for threads that took a lot of effort.

Cloudguy: While you may be a moderator, if you became a staff member, even for a day; what would you post about?

Renchamp: I would love to have a feature where I review and analyze gimmick comic books, like Power Pachyderms and Generic Comic Book; stuff that is supposed to be bad. I'd give a history of the ideas behind the gags, compare the books to contemporaries, and discuss any cultural impact.

I think a feature discussing the ramifications of important between-the-panels situations would also be fun.

Cloudguy: I think your idea of analyzing those sorts of comics would be quite fun. What's stopping you from doing it now?

Renchamp: Time. I would rather read a comic to add to the wiki than do a feature that would get overlooked since we just don't have a vehicle to get this type of project to the masses. It would be fun, but ain't nobody got time for that.

Cloudguy: Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you'd like to say before we wrap this up?

Renchamp: Just that everyone should listen to the Front Bottoms, be civil on the Vine, and call their parents once in a while. Cheers.

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#1 Posted by Cloudguy (2688 posts) - - Show Bio
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#2 Posted by Lan_Fan (18555 posts) - - Show Bio

or just downright suck then you have no chance at all.

Ah man, there goes my chance :^)

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#3 Posted by Cloudguy (2688 posts) - - Show Bio

@lan_fan: You never know, you might be okay? What's the worse that you could've done?

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#4 Posted by cbishop (15743 posts) - - Show Bio

Great interview, but @renchamp, will you clarify something? What do you mean we can't browse reviews and blogs anymore?

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#5 Edited by SpareHeadOne (7538 posts) - - Show Bio

I found your stash

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#6 Posted by Lan_Fan (18555 posts) - - Show Bio

@cloudguy said:

@lan_fan: You never know, you might be okay? What's the worse that you could've done?

I completely suck xD

That's not considering that this is my second account. My first account got banned by none other the one you just interviewed! Hahaha... Don't worry, we worked things out, and he let me have this account.

I don't want to be a mod anyway, I just wanted to make a joke about being suck, lol.

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#7 Posted by TameWizzerd (180 posts) - - Show Bio

Nice

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#8 Posted by BlueEcho (1153 posts) - - Show Bio

@cloudguy said:

@renchamp Interview is live!

Great interview guys. Glad to see Renchamp on here, I interacted with him a bit when I was heavier into the wiki. Now I don't see much of anybody.

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#9 Posted by renchamp (7939 posts) - - Show Bio

@spareheadone said:

I found your stash

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If you found my stash then you know how many tubes of that I actually have...

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#10 Posted by renchamp (7939 posts) - - Show Bio

@cbishop said:

Great interview, but @renchamp, will you clarify something? What do you mean we can't browse reviews and blogs anymore?

There used to be a feature where you could click a "Blogs" button (similar to the "New Comics" tab) and scroll through every single blog posted by any user, whether you followed them or not. Same with reviews. It was a great way to gauge what people were reading and doing and thinking about. That is really how razz and I got connected. I lost interest in posting blogs simply because it seemed like a colossal waste of time since there is very little chance that anyone ever sees them. Reviews I'll still do from time to time, as they are on issues and movies that users might actually click into.

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#11 Posted by Fabricolage (2180 posts) - - Show Bio

Nice

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#12 Posted by SpareHeadOne (7538 posts) - - Show Bio
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#13 Posted by Cloudguy (2688 posts) - - Show Bio

@renchamp: I would love to see that feature return. But I doubt it will happen.

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#14 Edited by MajinBlackheart (9901 posts) - - Show Bio

I want to say great interview, but this kind of made me sad.

Moderator Online
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#15 Posted by Crevanille (743 posts) - - Show Bio

Meh. I remember a viner saying awhile ago that many threads get locked that shouldn't get locked, so it happens fairly often apparently.

That said, I still flat out do not like Renchamp. I expect mods to do what they must to police the site, (and technically as a new member I know can play around a bit) but it seems like this guy flat out bans a topic if he doesn't like it. I don't know any other mod that has this much shade on him to the point of a petition to get him removed. Not gonna post it. People can look it up themselves.

With that said, this interview shows Ren in a less crappy light than I originally thought. Well done.

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#16 Posted by cbishop (15743 posts) - - Show Bio
@renchamp said:

@cbishop said:

Great interview, but @renchamp, will you clarify something? What do you mean we can't browse reviews and blogs anymore?

There used to be a feature where you could click a "Blogs" button (similar to the "New Comics" tab) and scroll through every single blog posted by any user, whether you followed them or not. Same with reviews. It was a great way to gauge what people were reading and doing and thinking about. That is really how razz and I got connected. I lost interest in posting blogs simply because it seemed like a colossal waste of time since there is very little chance that anyone ever sees them. Reviews I'll still do from time to time, as they are on issues and movies that users might actually click into.

Oh, okay! Yes, I recall that feature. We also used to be able to see Top Users for Blogs, just like you can for wiki, forum, lists, and reviews. I was very surprised when I first got on here, and was ranked sixth. I couldn't believe it.

However, although we can't look at all of the blog posts that way, we can attach blogs to forums, and that should get them seen. Except for Bug Reporting threads, every major thread I start is a blog attached to a forum. That way they're on my page, but also being seen in the forums. Being able to browse a master list so you can discover new bloggers would be nice though.

There's a few of the old features I'd like to see return.

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#17 Posted by Juggerman40 (763 posts) - - Show Bio

Meh. I remember a viner saying awhile ago that many threads get locked that shouldn't get locked, so it happens fairly often apparently.

That said, I still flat out do not like Renchamp. I expect mods to do what they must to police the site, (and technically as a new member I know can play around a bit) but it seems like this guy flat out bans a topic if he doesn't like it. I don't know any other mod that has this much shade on him to the point of a petition to get him removed. Not gonna post it. People can look it up themselves.

With that said, this interview shows Ren in a less crappy light than I originally thought. Well done.

Mind giving me examples of these topics?

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#18 Posted by ourmanuel (13772 posts) - - Show Bio

Inb4 lock gg

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#19 Posted by Cloudguy (2688 posts) - - Show Bio

@ourmanuel: You can't lock a blog if I'm aware.

And to those who are about to conplain, take it elsewhere.

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#20 Posted by ourmanuel (13772 posts) - - Show Bio

@cloudguy: it was a joke cuz ren is known for locking threads

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#21 Posted by MajinBlackheart (9901 posts) - - Show Bio
Moderator Online
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#22 Posted by Cloudguy (2688 posts) - - Show Bio

@majinblackheart: You can't lock it if I delete it first!!

I won't though. These are here to stay.

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#23 Posted by TheWatcherKing (18954 posts) - - Show Bio

@cloudguy said:

@majinblackheart: You can't lock it if I delete it first!!

I won't though. These are here to stay.

They can restore deleted pages

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#24 Posted by Lan_Fan (18555 posts) - - Show Bio
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#25 Posted by takashichea (347 posts) - - Show Bio

When I read this interview, it reminded me of Screened and AnimeVice. It felt too sad. God, the people who are still here are the ones who doing all the work to keep the community alive. FinalDasa stay with the ship. Mike, Screened's top wiki editor, continue to wiki edit to this day at the new Wikia. I'm pausing for AnimeVice Wikia.

If I didn't discover Anime Vice and discover ComicVine, I would be here. Most wiki editors are loyal to the site they first encounter. Though, I didn't grew up with comic books. It was the cartoons.

I should have kept wiki editing. I burn out myself. I should try to keep up if ComicVine and Screened's top wiki editors are still going.

Bright side, the wiki community is bustling in Comic Vine. Wished it was the same for Giant Bomb. Did some wiki editing too. I get sad when I seen them trying to revitalize. Did a Fire Emblem recognition thread.

My question is how do you guys and gals not get burned out wiki editing?

Seeing the same situation. The staff abandons. Now, it's all community driven.

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#26 Edited by Cloudguy (2688 posts) - - Show Bio

@takashichea:

My question is how do you guys and gals not get burned out wiki editing?

Honestly, I get burnt out all the time. I just take breaks from wiki editing to do some reviews or just take the time to enjoy what I'm putting on CV rather than skimming. Sometimes to stop myself getting bored I jump between what I add certain weeks/months. One week it might be comics/manga and the other it might be TV/Anime.

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#27 Posted by takashichea (347 posts) - - Show Bio

@cloudguy:

Do something else instead of wiki editing and then go back. I'll try. Thanks for the advice.

Odd thing I learned from RenChamp's interview is that people stopped discussing comic books in ComicVine? I haven't seen that in Anime Vice. I can't really imagine in Anime Vice not discussing anime and manga. Though, I do agree and see with him on older users leaving. The new users in my site - they are too complacent, tend not to do big things like organize a contest such as caption contest, fill the panels), tournament, or even spotlight users.

I stopped doing best battle users in Anime Vice after we ran out of users. We kept repeating the old ones. The new ones complain but they didn't step it up. And there were folks saying it became a popularity contest of meme postings instead of promoting the battle user who does respect and made a variety in battle threads.

Glad you're doing the ComicVine interviews. I might renew it in my community. We used to do it. Our community is small.

I do wonder if social media has an effect on ComicVine. I heard that was one of issues in Giant Bomb where users thought that was killing their forums. People these days have shorter attention spans and crave instant responses. Stuff like TWitter, Amino Apps, Twitch, Discord are all the rage. Blogging and Reviewing seems to be dying out. Though, "journalism" on the web seems to be going strong. I put quotation marks since a lot of them tend to clickbait or try to provoke people these days.

Old CV and AV and the former family sites had more heart in their articles. Back then when we had personality driven sites.

I do notice one commonality between AV and CV - more battle users - you have to get them to be more part of the site. That was my and few of my fellow mods' challenge in AV, trying to get them into wiki editing, participate in anime and manga discussions .

I see RenChamp more active in the battle threads. I could be wrong.

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#28 Posted by Cloudguy (2688 posts) - - Show Bio

@takashichea: Honestly, I don't see any comic discussions these days. 90% of General Discussion is the same MCU threads just worded differently and the few comic threads get ignored there. If you want to talk about comics you need to find the forum for that character, but that doesn't mean it may get any responses.

I think it'll be harsh to blame the users for the way CV is going, that completely falls on the staff, or lack thereof. But that doesn't mean that the users should take things into their own hands. Which means doing something new and original... Something that CV struggles to do.

Complaints aside, many of the new users here come from the abundance of Superhero films being pumped out yearly, hence the amount of movie themed threads. I don't have an issue with that personally, but it's annoying to see the same things discussed all the time.

I do wonder if social media has an effect on ComicVine. I heard that was one of issues in Giant Bomb where users thought that was killing their forums. People these days have shorter attention spans and crave instant responses. Stuff like TWitter, Amino Apps, Twitch, Discord are all the rage. Blogging and Reviewing seems to be dying out. Though, "journalism" on the web seems to be going strong. I put quotation marks since a lot of them tend to clickbait or try to provoke people these days.

I don't think social media is affecting the site, we have next to no social media presence. So it's the forums and wiki keeping us going these days. Good journalism is dying out, so many people think that just because they have a popular or unpopular opinion means that they can start to blog or review and skip the actual academic part of the process and do it with 0 effort if they can clickbait it enough. I've got qualifications in Media, so these interviews and reviews are easier for me.

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#29 Posted by renchamp (7939 posts) - - Show Bio

@crevanille: Thank you for signing my petition to get me de-modded. I need all the signatures I can get.

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#30 Posted by Crevanille (743 posts) - - Show Bio

@renchamp said:

@crevanille: Thank you for signing my petition to get me de-modded. I need all the signatures I can get.

You're welcome.

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#31 Edited by FicOPedia (2207 posts) - - Show Bio
@renchamp said:

@crevanille: Thank you for signing my petition to get me de-modded. I need all the signatures I can get.

lol

@cloudguy: Are you doing any more of these?

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#32 Posted by Cloudguy (2688 posts) - - Show Bio

@ficopedia: Hopefully. I haven't interviewed anyone on the site this month yet, as I haven't had the time. But, I'm hoping to try and get at least one interview done by the end of the month.

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#33 Posted by ourmanuel (13772 posts) - - Show Bio

Pls do KoL next.

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#34 Posted by Cloudguy (2688 posts) - - Show Bio

@ourmanuel: Point 'em this way and if they're up for it I'll send a PM.

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#35 Posted by ourmanuel (13772 posts) - - Show Bio
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#36 Posted by takashichea (347 posts) - - Show Bio

It's good to interview folks from all parts of the site: wiki, battle, rpg, review. There might be more.

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#37 Posted by Riddlersriddle (3720 posts) - - Show Bio

Really interesting interview, I'm probably gonna go binge-read the rest now.