Lost account access

As a part of its privacy policy, NoBleme will protect your anonymity as much as possible. This means that you will never be sent any emails that could be used to link you to your identity on the website, or asking you to provide your password. On top of that, automated password recovery systems can be used in a few nefarious ways that we would rather not have to deal with. With this context in mind, NoBleme decided to not implement an automated account recovery process.

If you have lost access to your account (forgotten username, forgotten password, or otherwise), the only way to recover that access is to go on NoBleme's NoBleme's IRC chat server and ask for a website administrator to manually reset your account's password. No need to worry about identity usurpation, there is a strict process in place that will allow the administrator to verify your identity before doing the resetting.



What is NoBleme

Easy question, complicated answer

NoBleme is a community which has continuously existed in its tiny corner of the Internet since 2005. With no specific theme, the website evolved over time to fit the needs of its community. In its early years, NoBleme was a message board, which eventually shut down as the whole of the Internet changed and NoBleme's community didn't have any use for it anymore. Instead of trying to summarize the website's long and tortuous evolution, you will find further down this very page a full history of NoBleme from before its birth until now.

Telling the tale of NoBleme's past will help you better understand what it is and why it has existed for so long. It will also serve as a way to set up the answers to more questions afterwards: What is NoBleme's purpose? What is NoBleme's future? Why would I want to be a part of NoBleme? Strap yourself in and get ready for a long (but hopefully entertaining) story.

NoBleme's story

Act I: The before years (2001-2005)

Let's go back in time together, to the early days of the modern Internet. Our time travel takes us to the dawn of the 21st century, back when most of the biggest websites of today didn't even exist yet, back when mobile phones were only used to make phone calls and send text messages. In France, few people had Internet access at home, many still used the competing Minitel network rather than the Internet.

In this prehistoric environment, cyber cafés thrived in the streets of France, allowing people to use the Internet without having access to it at home. As they were a business, there was a price - often steep - on Internet usage. Back then, young teenager Bad was resorting to dealing Magic: The Gathering trading cards for cash, fueling the addiction of a few high school mates. Using the shadily acquired money, he went and spent it on local cyber cafés, which apparently had no issue taking the money of such a young customer, and used their computers to play multiplayer video games such as Starcraft: Brood War, Quake III Arena, and Warcraft III.

Not satisfied with just playing, the young protagonist of our story wanted to hone his skills and become a better, stronger video game player. This required joining various online communities, which communicated with each other through message boards and irc chat servers.

After a few years of going from online community to online community, our protagonist finally got Internet access at home in 2003, and thought about creating a community of his own. Being young and naive, he did not ask himself simple questions beforehand such as "how does one build a website", "does it cost money to host a website", "why would people even want to join my community". Undeterred by the challenges, he learned the basics of computer programming and website hosting, and eventually opened a website called "Leuphorie-world" (don't blame a 14 years old for having bad taste in naming). Leuphorie-world was comprised of a few pages containing random content (french puns, unfunny jokes, charades, stuff nobody cared about) and a message board which only a few schoolmates used, mostly to mock him for running a useless website. Great mindset, guys. Thanks.

Meanwhile, the foundations of what would later become NoBleme were being seeded all around the Internet. In real life, our protagonist was making new friends who liked the idea of having a place online to talk together. For some video games, he was programming custom content and had various people tell him that he should host them on a website of his own. In a random corner of the french Internet, he was playing an online game called Super Robot Wars Online, which was doing well and building up a decently sized community at the time, but will play a role in the story of NoBleme later on.

And yes, let's address the elephant in the room: I am talking about myself in the third person and calling myself "the protagonist", for it is I, Bad, who is writing this very content. Am I doing it for the sake of quality storytelling, is it just cringe, is it a symptom of megalomania, or could it be a combination of all three? You, lucky reader, get to decide for yourself. Don't worry though, we're almost done with that part, as what used to be the story of one person is about to become the story of a whole community…

Act II: Genesis (2005)

In early 2005, the puzzle finally got assembled. A real life friend of our protagonist (yes I'm doing this again) was stuck with an issue: as an aspiring artist, they wanted to upload some of their custom made videos on the Internet, but websites like YouTube did not exist yet. Instead, videos had to be shared by being hosted on someone's server, then manually giving people a link to that video so that they could open a custom tool on their computer such as RealPlayer or Winamp to stream it. It was messy, complicated, unintuitive, and this is where the original idea for NoBleme appeared: assembling a website that could let people play videos online in a much simpler way.

Reality quickly caught up with our protagonist. The concept behind being a streaming video host (such as YouTube) was actually fairly simple, but the scale of the required server infrastructure and the costs to maintain it were simply not affordable for a 16 years old. But by now, a server had already been pre-paid for a full year, and it would be silly to let it go to waste. After a bit of brainstorming with a few of the people mentioned in the previous section, the domain name "nobleme.com" was selected and bought - nobleme being shorthand for "no problem" in french.

Now armed with some basic technical knowledge, a server pre-paid for a year, and a domain name, but no idea what to do with any of them, it was decided that NoBleme would simply be a generic place where people can hang out. So creative. A message board was added on the website, and that was it: march 19th 2005, NoBleme opened its doors, with nothing more than a message board, no concept or theme, and a tiny community of french people who mostly didn't know eachother… and would soon come to dislike eachother. Great start.

ImageNoBleme's message board in april 2005, a month after launch (click on images to view them full screen)

In a plot twist that nobody expected at the time, the NoBleme forum (that's how we called the message board) actually had an explosive growth during its first few months, as the original "founding" members took part in various conversations with each other and recommended the website to their friends. And so, months after founding the website, our protagonist found himself doomed to actually do something with it. What should NoBleme become? Any ideas? Because I sure didn't have any at the time.

As quickly as it rose, NoBleme's popularity waned. Such is fate, destroyer of hopes, cruel and heartless. Concepts such as community management were still in their infancy, and it seemed like a good idea at the time to let the forum run itself without any administrative team. If users got into fights, we'd bring out the popcorn and take sides instead of trying to deescalate the situation. Oddly enough, the only thing that made us bring out the moderation tools were grammar mistakes. A shared account called BrigadeAntisam was created by the "founding" members and used to delete messages that had too many grammar mistakes in them. Teenagers. Different times.

Inevitably, the amount of drama happening on the forum caused some of the users to leave. At first, we thought it was funny, but soon enough came the realization that less users meant less activity, and that NoBleme was well on its way to dying before it even reached a year of age. Not only that, but we were beginning to realize how evil we were being in the way we ran the forum… quite far removed from the "no problem" attitude implied by the website's name. The time for change had come.

Act III: Birth of a community (2006-2009)

The early years of NoBleme were a time of trials, successes, and failures. Instead of letting the community implode, it was decided that the forum would be properly moderated from now on, and that any aggressive users would be expelled. As a short term measure to stop the bleeding, it worked, but it was far too late: most of the original community had already left.

ImageNoBleme's very bare homepage in early 2006 reflects how ugly the Internet used to look as a whole

At this point, a rational person would have stopped the experiment, learned a few lessons from it, and moved on. Our protagonist's strategy was quite the opposite: throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. Within the first months of 2006, many different new contents were added to NoBleme: an IRC chat server for the community to interact in real time, some real life meetups to create bonds between those who lived around Paris, an arcade page full of small video games with high score contests to compete for, a text based roleplaying game over IRC, a forum based automated cycling race simulator, a short story writing competition, a wiki open to everyone which would eventually become a documentation of early internet culture, and a browser based strategy game in which users would become mecha pilots and fight each other over month long seasons.

Some of these ideas would succeed more than others, but ultimately, none of them grew NoBleme back to the size which it used to be. However, the real life meetups and the IRC chat server managed to create deeper bonds between some of the community's members, and built the foundation for NoBleme to become an actual community: people who knew each other, got along well, and enjoyed their little collective corner of the Internet. As for the other attempts at growing the website… let's quickly tell the story of some of them.

ImageThe NRM Online in 2008. Would you believe that this was considered very good looking by 2008 Internet standards? Times change.

Remember the Super Robot Wars game which was mentioned much earlier, in the before-NoBleme times? By 2006, that game's maintainer was getting caught up with real life issues, and the game was dying. Plagued by cheaters and abuse, some of its players abandoned it, but others were striving to find an alternative game to play. And so, the NRM Online was born (it stands for NoBleme Robot Mayhem, and yes, it's an awful name). A fun strategy game, it peaked in popularity in 2007 with around a hundred regular users, but then fell apart as real life issues caught up with our protagonist, the game's sole maintainer. Ironic, isn't it? A few of the game's regular players joined NoBleme's community along the way, and the game eventually shut its doors in 2008. Lessons learned: game design is hard, balancing a multiplayer game is hard, and maintaining an online game takes a lot of time and effort. Like, a LOT. Much more than you'd think. It's a full time job.

ImageBehind the scenes, the original NoBlemeRPG's dungeon master interface (players never saw it)

The text based roleplaying game mentioned earlier was played in real time over the IRC chat server. Our protagonist acted as the dungeon master, guiding various player characters along a wacky custom made world filled with incoherent nonsense and unexpected plot twists. It wasn't the best game around, but it did have great success until its end in 2009. For nostalgia's sake, and due to popular demand, a new story arc of the game was played in 2015-2016, which concluded every previous story arc and filled every leftover plot hole from years earlier (continuity matters!). Lessons learned: people enjoy fun things, coming up with interesting stories and plotlines is very hard, creating your own tools instead of using existing ones is extremely time consuming for very little added value.

ImageNoBleme's wiki's homepage in 2008

Last but not least, the very lazily named "Wiki NoBleme" was the most successful part of this era of NoBleme's history. As modern internet culture was starting to become a proper thing, and as memes were becoming a big part of modern culture, NoBleme's wiki was from 2006 onwards the only french language website documenting memes, listing, categorizing, and explaining them. It became wildly popular, bringing thousands of new visitors per day to NoBleme. Sadly, very few of those visitors joined the community (or even knew that there was a community behind the website), and those who did were usually the undesirable kind: trolls, kids, edgy teenagers. Lessons learned: growing a community is truly hard, people were craving content about Internet culture, kids and teenagers love memes a lot more than you'd think (and that's great!).

And so, from the ashes of a dying forum, NoBleme's community was born. It had become clear that the website would never have a specific goal or purpose, other than being the home of its community. It had also become clear that growing the community was not an achievable goal. As most of us were maturing into young adults and getting better at hindsight, we realized that maybe things were fine that way and there was no need to look for a purpose to the website or for ways to grow the community. Finally, after over four years of being aimless, NoBleme was slowly developing into something concrete… or was it?

Act IV: The long years (2010-2015)
ImageThe 2010 blackout

Entering into 2010, it had become clear that the website had way too much content, it was time to clean it all up. In early january, a "blackout" happened: the whole website got replaced by a black page, containing only a countdown to NoBleme's 5th birthday. For two months, only the IRC real time chat server remained. Finally, on march 19th 2010 at 00:00, NoBleme was relaunched. To the community's dismay, nothing new was released on that day, the website was simply stripped of all its content other than the barely active forum and the Internet culture Wiki.

ImageNoBleme's homepage following the 2012 website relaunch

The following years were a long crawl through the desert for NoBleme. Not much happened until 2012, when NoBleme was yet again "relaunched": this time, the forum and the wiki were both shut down, leaving nothing of use at all on the website. Our protagonist was going through a string of highly complicated real life situations that left him no time or willpower to take care of things (deaths of relatives, career burnout, medical issues: it wasn't a great time). But the community stayed there, its almost family like bonds maintaining themselves through regular real life meetups and on the IRC real time chat server.

ImageThe homepage following a small redesign in 2015 for the website's 10th birthday

Years passed, some of the older users left, new ones joined, the size of the community overall was falling in size. As 2015 ended, a tough call had to be made. Was it time to put an end to its misery, should we accept that NoBleme served no purpose that couldn't be fullfilled by a simple group chat hosted anywhere else? Surely, if you've paid attention to the story until now, you'd know that the answer was a big resounding no. Maybe this is how one could truly define what NoBleme is: stubborn. A monument to the early days of the Internet which refuses to die.

The band of silly teenagers who were throwing insults at each other on a random forum now felt like no more than a distant memory. Those of the originals who were still around were now proper adults who would rather forget about this era, and most of the community was not even around to remember it anymore. At least, NoBleme was now living up to its name: it was a calm place with few to no problems. Maybe it had been in the name all along, NoBleme's true purpose was to be a hideout for a few people who enjoyed peaceful conversation.

Act V: The hidden era (2016-2020)

Emboldened by the belief that being an island of peace on the rowdy seas of the now mainstream Internet was actually a pretty nice idea, NoBleme became comfortable with its size. Being small meant being manageable: hard to find, easy to keep the negative elements out, easy to maintain privacy.

ImageAnother redesign happened in 2017, making NoBleme fully bilingual after 12 years of being french only

Back when NoBleme was created, the Internet was mostly comprised of smaller communities. The bigger websites were search engines, online marketplaces, and had no proper community. Even social networks of this era, mainly MySpace and Friendster, were rather small and not well known to the general public. But things changed, the Internet became centralized around a few giant websites owned by a few companies (Google, Facebook, Microsoft), and smaller communities disappeared. Most people had a Facebook page, followed the news on Reddit, shared pictures on Instagram, used phone applications instead of websites.

This shift in how the Internet was used brought its share of great things, along with some bad ones. Looking at the big picture, so many issues were solved and content became so easy to find that all in all, the Internet became a better place to use. However, in the process, something unexpected happened: NoBleme found its calling. Sure, it took more than a decade, but here it was, clear as day: NoBleme would become the spirit of the older Internet days. As the world changed around it, as websites grew to enormous sizes, NoBleme remained a tiny haven for its community, preserving the feeling of its earlier days through a veil of nostalgia.

Now having a clear reason to exist, NoBleme stopped slowly losing its userbase, and even started growing in size. An english speaking community appeared on the previously exclusively french website, international meetups were organized so that everyone could meet each other, and a feeling of peace and quiet surrounded the isolated community.

ImageThe definition of a meme on NoBleme in 2019

During these years, the website remained mostly devoid of content. In 2019, a half-assed attempt was made at reviving the former Wiki documenting Internet culture, but its content was so old and dated by then that it felt worthless to spend any time or effort working on it. All in all, those were good years for NoBleme, but it was not its destiny to forever stay hidden in its corner of the internet…

Act VI: Let's get political (2021-?)

Anyone who has lived through the second decade of the 21st century will remember how heavily political the Internet became. Used as a propaganda machine, it gave rise to the alt-right and other neofascist movements which found great success all over the world.

Back in the early days of NoBleme, the Wiki documenting Internet culture was devoid of all political content. It was a simple encyclopedia, listing and explaining memes, assembling them into a fun little book of hilarious content. But now, Internet culture had changed. Even memes were weaponized with political discourse. And the rise of neofascism came with the resurgence of social justice, which felt now more than ever like a critical topic to address and support.

ImageNoBleme was yet again relaunched in 2021, shedding its old white and blue color theme in the process

NoBleme, as a small community, had no weight in that battle. We stayed on the side and watched for a decade as the situation grew worse and worse. Eventually, being idle seemed like being complicit with oppression. It was time for change. NoBleme's community leaned heavily on the side of social justice, which meant that rebranding the whole website in that direction was a no brainer, even if it meant breaking the comfort of being hidden from the rest of the Internet.

In late 2021, as NoBleme was in its 16th year, the website was yet again relaunched. The presence of a political manifesto made it clear where NoBleme stood, and the old Wiki documenting Internet culture was modernized and rebranded as the 21st century compendium. But at its core, NoBleme didn't change: it remains to this day a small community centered website, a living memory of what the Internet used to be.

Existential questions

What is NoBleme's purpose?

As you might have gathered from the website's long history, NoBleme's core purpose will always remain being a nostalgic tribute to the early Internet era: a community of users who interact with each other far from the much bigger social networks that dominate the current Internet landscape. However, NoBleme isn't stuck in the past. It is an ever evolving website which stays in touch with the needs of its community.

On top of that, NoBleme also aims to be a safe haven from the oppressive political discourse that you will find on most social networks. Anyone who joins NoBleme's community will be treated with the respect they deserve, as long as they themselves are willing to treat others in the same way. Basically, it is a place where the only rule is to be nice to each other, where one can find shelter from the exhausting aspects of bigger websites. It's in the name: NoBleme, no problem.

What is NoBleme's future?

From NoBleme's many years of existence, several lessons have been learned about how to run the website - or rather about what to avoid doing when managing it. Possibly the most important lesson is that things happen organically in small communities. Instead of sticking to a roadmap and making grand plans, it makes more sense to simply maintain what already exists, and only add new content when it feels like it is truly necessary.

Therefore, NoBleme's future is unpredictable. There is no set roadmap, no focus and no specific plans.

Why would I want to be a part of NoBleme?

Well, why would you? If you like what you see on NoBleme, then go ahead and join us!

The community is mostly active on the IRC chat server and on Discord, so hop in there and have a chat with us. Who knows, maybe we'll like eachother. And maybe we won't. Isn't it worth a try? If you feel shy, you can also just come and watch what happens on IRC, and judge by yourself whether you like it or not.

In any case, NoBleme's community is very welcoming of new people. Whether you are young or old, marginalized or privileged, introverted or extroverted, talkative or shy, we are a very varied bunch of people who will always give you a fair chance at including you in our community.