The SCP Foundation — Down the Rabbit Hole

When first opening the SCP foundation’s website, it can be difficult for the reader to shake the feeling they’ve stumbled upon something they shouldn’t have. In the top left is a
strange-looking seal beside which is the motto: “Secure, Contain, Protect.” In the center of the page are the words: “Warning: The foundation database is classified.
Access by unauthorized personnel is strictly prohibited. Perpetrators will be tracked, located, and detained.” Though there are many places to go from here,
most readers quickly find the SCPs for which the foundation is named. Thousands of articles are collated into a massive list, each with their own strange names, such as: “Telepathy Virus,” “Charity Worms,” and “The Hateful Star.” Clicking on any of these
takes the reader to a formal report which gives an item number, an object class, (safe, euclid, keter) special containment procedures, and a description of the object or phenomenon itself. Sometimes these formal reports will have an attached image and addenda as well, and in the top right, a rating is provided. Most of these reports are remarkably disturbing or strange, a feeling aided by how some of the information is censored with black bars and sometimes simply removed with the words “redacted” or “data expunged.” Closer inspection reveals that the entirety of the SCP collection is licensed under Creative Commons, meaning that anyone can share or adapt it for any purpose, even commercially. So how exactly did this strange website come to be,
and who is behind it? *Music starts* Though 4chan is most notorious for its
inflammatory userbase, there are certain sections that
tend toward more constructive activities. One of these is the paranormal board,
also known as /x/. This board served and continues to serve
as a sort of digital fire pit around which users concoct their own tales of terror and share them with one another, a practice known as creepypasta. The style, quality, and length of this kind of story varies widely, but some of them end up shared around the internet, gaining appreciable popularity. Two of the most popular are Slenderman from the Something Awful Forums and the Russian Sleep Experiment
from a wordpress blog Before these two even existed, however,
there was one story posted to 4chan’s /x/ board that would capture the rampant
imaginations of enthralled readers. Sometime in the summer of 2007, one
anonymous user posted his writing to /x/. It was very short, reading thusly: “Security Clearance Document#: SCP-173 Object Class: Euclid. Special Containment Procedures: Item SCP-173 is to be kept in a locked container at all times When personnel must enter SCP-173’s container,
no fewer than three may enter at any time, and the door is to be re-locked behind them. At all times, two persons must maintain direct eye contact with SCP-173 until all personnel have vacated and re-locked the container. Description: moved to site 19, 1993. Origin is as of yet unknown. It is constructed from concrete and rebar with traces of Krylon brand spray-paint. SCP-173 is animate and extremely hostile. The object cannot move while within a direct line of site. Line-of-sight must not be broken at any
time with SCP-173. Personnel assigned to enter container are instructed to alert one another before blinking. Object is reported to attack by snapping the neck at the base of the skull or by strangulation. In the event of an attack, personnel are to observe Class 4 hazardous object containment procedures. Personnel report sounds of scraping stone originating from within the container when no one is present inside. This is considered normal, and any change in this behavior should be reported to the acting HMCL supervisor on duty. The reddish-brown substance on the floor is a combination of feces and blood. Origin of these materials is unknown. The enclosure must be cleaned on a bi-weekly basis. A few qualities immediately stood out to the readers. The first was the unique format, which fit well to a textual medium, giving the feeling that one had discovered something forbidden The second was the implication that
there was much, much more than just this object. After all, it was labeled #173. Building off of this, other people began posting their own SCP articles, utilizing the same format. One of these was SCP-682, also known as the
“Hard To Destroy Reptile,” a creature bent on killing humans that also has the capability to rapidly adapt to anything that may harm it. The containment procedures call for it to be perpetually immersed in a vat of hydrochloric acid to prevent it from regenerating it’s flesh. As more of these articles were created, a few forum members postulated that the articles should be moved to another website so that they may be preserved and better shared, and the response to this idea was almost universally positive. *Music starts* On January 19th of 2008, a few users set up a wiki
using the website “Edit This” where they collected the many dozens of threads
that had been created on 4chan and collated them
into an unwieldy list This day marked the first website devoted specifically to the SCP Foundation setting Certain authors began to make themselves known when the transition was made Most notably a person who worked under the
pseudonym Dr. Gears As more SCPs were written, the style became more concrete, as did certain elements of the fiction The O5 leadership council was cemented as the highest leadership authority, and the practice of utilizing disposable individuals for dangerous tasks became a common theme,
eventually taking on the name “D Class” Despite the hundreds of entries that were written over time, the community remained fairly small partially because of how difficult it
was for them to communicate with one another Though they managed to
maintain relative decorum despite this,
there was one issue that couldn’t be avoided: the pressure of limited space So, the community moved to another website, Wikidot, where all of the articles from Edit This were copied Now, the users had access to forums
where authors and enthusiasts could discuss
SCP-related subjects and share ideas while providing feedback on one another’s articles This was also when the first elements of leadership began to manifest all working under pseudonyms
and for no personal profit the first three administrators were
Dr Gears, Fritz Willy, and Kain Pathos Crow Though there were technically four administrator accounts, two of them were secretly the same person Fritz Willy had anonymously created the new Wikidot site under the name The Administrator before creating
his own personal account due to the fear that the creator of the site
would receive favoritism This decision helped set the positive ethical standard for the SCP Foundation which would become a core part of its culture
for years to come Though the SCP community was still very small,
there were enough people that the general quality had begun to decline since many would simply post their SCPs without receiving feedback “Mary Sue”s and self inserts abounded, and a playful attitude had come to characterize new entries Kain Pathos Crow described how the atmosphere of the Foundation had changed over time: “The Foundation itself is no longer this
great shadow that looms over the horizon,
too huge and far reaching to truly see It has become a pet,
something that allows itself to be tamed and groomed.” Dr Gears diagnosed the issue with dramatic flair “As we add, we destroy. With every entry it peels away the horror more and more. Some entries add and even enhance the feel of the first entry. However, many more tear it down.” Along with this diagnosis, he offered a three-fold treatment One: massive deletions – “We have a ton of SCP items and we could trim over 1/4 of them with no issue. No decommission, no “please edit” pleading, just gone. Free the number for someone else.” Two: stricter edits – “If people ask you again and again to edit your work and you do nothing, be prepared to lose your article. If you don’t want to be productive,
we have other people who are. If your only response is “ok, you fix it then,”
then be prepared to lose your article to the editor. If you make a steaming pile of crap and someone edited it into solid gold, then THEY should get the credit not you.” Three: Banning – “If you are consistently
a jerk/uncooperative/stupid/horrible at writing, we do not want you. If your SCP keeps getting downvoted or deleted, maybe you should be doing something else. Instead of constantly cleaning up after bad users, remove the source of the issue.” He concluded by stating “In short, we need to
start acting more like The Foundation: a soulless, shadowy, bureaucratic entity
with zero tolerance for mistakes, incompetence,
or insubordination. One whose actions are carried out swiftly and without apology or explanation.” This plan, however, could only be enacted
to a certain degree, due to how few Administrators and Moderators there were and the body of people to promote was small compared to the amount of work flooding into the wiki Stories of wild fancy and wonder proliferated during this time, and many more fiction tales were created Most notable of these was the Wanderlust series written by a figure under the name The Fishmonger who would eventually become one of the most divisive members of the community Not everybody was happy with this lighter direction and a majority of the members pined for a return to the more Lovecraftian rhetoric that had originally characterized the Foundation couched in plausible science Dissent entered into the Administration of the Foundation wiki Members began manipulating
the rating system in order to protest certain actions, rather than police the quality of articles and one moderator in particular
under the name Dr Kondraki began acting out
by abusing his moderator privileges Many of the higher tier writers who had enjoyed the atmosphere left the site, further reducing the average quality of articles. The timing for this schism could hardly
have been worse, as the one person
with ultimate power over the site, Fritz Willy, AKA The Administrator had been missing for some time If the SCP foundation was to survive,
severe and swift action would have to be taken *music starts* The other Moderators and Admins demoted Dr Kondraki and issued him a 24-hour ban When he returned to the wiki only to collect and publish personal details of another user out of spite he received a permanent ban To deal with the low quality articles, the moderators enacted the Mass Edit where they began systematically sifting through them and manually deleting them purging large swathes of content with the only community feedback being the page’s rating After contacting the owners of the wikidot site,
the administration was able to move site ownership privileges to an active user allowing for complete control once again Though a small contingent of users were frustrated about their articles being deleted despite technically having a postive rating, the actions were received well by the community But none of these actions could compare with the difficulty of the decision they had to make only two months after the Mass Edit The Fishmonger had been one of the most popular writers for the Foundation for some time excelling in stories that fit with the older, more carefree tone of the foundation, and he had become one of its centerpieces After the Mass Edit in February of 2010, The Fishmonger published a story on the website which was downvoted by one of the other senior staffers, Poor Yorick He included the comment “I just find the idea of a keter class SCP becoming something intentionally cute within canon anathemic to my view of the site” Side note: in the fiction, keter class SCPs are the most dangerous kind commonly found typically meaning that the foundation is actively attempting to destroy them or contain them permanently due to the threat they pose to humanity The class beneath that is euclid, which means the object or phenomenon is actively harmful and dangerous The lowest class is safe, meaning that as long as the object sees no interaction it is of no harm Incensed by this criticism, The Fishmonger replied by saying “Yorick your girlfriend told you to vote this down and you’re not going to pull any horseshit over on me,
so just come out and say it already.” He went on to say that “You don’t like it, fine, vote however you like, but I don’t want to hear anymore goddamn ‘Hey Fish when are you going to finish ‘X” because the answer is immediately after you get done
kissing my ass.” He also called Poor Yorick a “little goddamn pussy-whipped bitch” and that he “made an enemy today” The Moderators and Admins had tolerated
The Fishmongers’ rude attitude before,
but for many this was crossing a line A thread was created about disciplining The Fishmonger where they began to discuss their next course of action Snorlison writes “Fishmonger has often gotten a pass on behavior because of his contributions as an author. The fact that he brought this up in the inflammatory actions indicates he is aware of this special status, and this is most definitely not the first time he has actively used it.” Dr. Gears put it more poetically “Fish is a foul-mouthed, wretched, petty man who breathes cruelty and shits suffering. That being said, he is one of the best writers we have, and therefore we have dealt with this rubbish continuously for some time. Much like an atomic scientist who insists on having hookers for assistants, we have complied with his eccentricities due to the demand for his work.” After some indecision,
they decided to issue him a temporary ban and when he returned they informed him that a close eye would be taken to his actions He responded with dramatic fervor He said “You’ll find I respond poorly to threats.” At this point, the subject of a permanent ban was raised, and the idea was seen favorably Dr Clef said “I’m a site Admin, and I have this authority; I am damn well using it.” The Fishmonger, with characteristic flair,
responded with an ultimatum “Since the decision has been made that having my writing is ‘not worth putting up with my dramatics’ then you shall have neither Effective immediately I formally request that all original material I have submitted to the SCP Foundation wiki be permanently removed. If this material is not removed within two weeks, I will not contact you further; legal summons will be sent via my lawyer, Donald B. Spear, to Wikidot and their hosting server, GoDaddy, pursuant to section 512 to title 19 *17*
of the United States Code.” Though all writing on the Foundation website is published under creative commons, and therefore has little legal ground for removal, it was and continues to be site policy to remove content when the author requests it Thus, the moderators made the call to have his work expunged from the site, even though it meant gouging out a sizable hole in the canon of the Foundation The Fishmonger seemed to believe that there would be a massive outcry, and many of the Moderators thought similarly Some wondered if the site would then begin to peter out These fears, however, never came to fruition Rather than signaling the end, it marked
a transition for the Foundation With the removal of The Fishmongers’ works, much of the final remnants of the old style of Foundation writing had been purged, and the Grimmer style took hold Support for the Fishmonger had evaporated after his spiteful demand to have his work removed from the site and the user base seemed more ready than ever to forge ahead into the terror laden future The rules and mechanics of the site
were further perfected and the tight quality control meant that more and more well-written articles and stories were being created A number of free independent games were created about SCP-087 AKA the Stairwell and eventually one was released featuring
SCP-173,The Statue, as the core hazard As popular YouTubers found and played these games in their videos more and more fascinated people were lured to the Foundation’s site As time wore on, Moderators and Admins
would come and go and there would be disagreements with
how to handle the massive influx of people
and the problems they caused but none of these issues were insurmountable Guides were created for new aspiring SCP writers and refinement of existing content continues even today Now, there are thousands of articles and stories awaiting readers willing to plumb the depths of the Foundation And there is little sign that this unconventional horror juggernaut is stopping Hey guys, thanks for watching! If you missed the last Down the Rabbit Hole video you can check it out right over there It’s on Christian Weston Chandler and Sonichu A little weird, a little creepy, but I found the topic interesting nonetheless I would be remiss if I did not mention that most of my research started on a series of essays called History of the Universe on the SCP Foundation website I am a huge fan of the SCP Foundation.
I’ll spend whole evenings in there This is one rabbit hole that I would highly recommend you actually check out if you enjoy the
weird and strange sort of horror, I’ll leave a link down in the description
alongside my Twitter which you can follow if you want updates on how the videos are coming along what my thoughts are on the research and just general status updates on
Down the Rabbit Hole Um, next one is going to be a lot darker than this.
This was obviously a lot lighter than the first two Um, next one is going to be pretty brutal compared to this one Soooooo, update on what I want to do with Patreon:
I want to do it once I hit 1,000 YouTube subscribers I feel like early, it feels a little bit like begging
so I want to wait until I have plenty of people interested Soooo, I still don’t like the idea of having two weeks
in between videos or more potentially more depending on how big
some of these topics can get I tried recording a vlog, I didn’t like it. It was basically just me rehashing ideas I’d already explored in the videos and basically apologizing um, So I’m considering a couple of things that I want to do. I’m not entirely certain what I want to do One thing I’m considering is doing miniature audiobooks or something like that, so if you liked the SCP reading I did partway through the video, like, fairly early on in it um leave a comment I’m completely open to ideas!
If you have a killer idea you let me know Other than that, that’s about all I got so I will see you on the next Down the Rabbit Hole. Thanks guys

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