"Ponyville Live: How My Dream Became My Nightmare" - Letter to the Editor

So back in 2013 at Bronycon, legend has it that a group of 4chan users met a big lovable dude named Silver Eagle, whom they caused an undue amount of trouble within mere hours of meeting, due to his involvement with Ponyville Live. Flash forward a couple years and now it's Ponyville Live that seems to be causing him the trouble, as he details in this "letter to the editor" we've been sent, that we assume he wants the world to know about.

The text is copied below.


Hello HN editors,

My name's Silver Eagle and I'm currently getting dicked up, down, and sideways by my former media network, Ponyville Live, and its new overlords at Poniverse.

I've made an article and a video about the situation, but I'll summarize in tl;dr form below:

Here's the long story fairly short:

For three years, I ran Ponyville Live, and sank a whole shitload of time and cash into it. I coded the entire web site, managed the servers, edited the footage from the US conventions, and put about $30k of my own money into equipment, hosting and travel to cover cons.

Late last year, I wasn't doing so hot financially or emotionally. I had thought about shutting PVL down, but I figured enough people still liked it and used it, so I'd try to find a group to take care of it. Poniverse (already a fairly big network, with MLPForums, the old PonyMC minecraft server, and Pony.fm under their belt) volunteered to host it. I agreed, and I also agreed to hand over the director position to a friend of mine, Dusk, as long as I could remain an administrator and developer for the site.

I should've seen the red flags as they immediately demanded access to every part of PVL, including some stuff that was tied to my personal accounts, but I wasn't feeling great already thanks to having to change antidepressant meds, so I went along with it.

It was only this February, once everything had been handed over, that Dusk and the Poniverse crew said, essentially, "Alright, thanks for all that, you're done here," booted me out of the group and told me I wasn't welcome back in PVL in any capacity. Dusk then sent a "press release" out to all the podcasts and stations saying that he was trying to "undo [my] mistakes" and that things would "run just fine" without me.

I tried talking with Dusk and the admins at Poniverse, but they already had the power they wanted, so they didn't want to hear any of it. They had a few half-official "council sessions" where they voted unanimously not to have me around any more, but to keep using PVL and all of my work without crediting me at all.

Now, they've stopped responding entirely, and have updated the PVL web site to say that the whole project was theirs all along, with the footer saying "Copyright 2012-2016 Poniverse Networks". They're still using all of my code, almost completely unchanged, all of my branding and designs, and all of my edited convention footage. Nowhere on the site does it credit me in any way. Instead, they've been throwing my name in the mud for weeks now as if my contributions were meaningless.

Essentially, I trusted the people at Poniverse to take care of PVL when I was going through some intense personal shit, and they took it from me, took credit for the entire project's history, and shoved me out the door while constantly shit-talking me to anyone they worked with.

Most people visiting PVL don't notice, because it looks the same. I've tried everything I could to get through to them, but they've ignored me completely. That's why I'm submitting this to you guys in the hopes that people know that the PVL they see today isn't the same one that was around a few months ago. What they're doing is pretty messed up.

Silver Eagle

Comments (31)

  1. Not sure what other people think of this, but I think Silver Eagle's a good fellow who's going through some tough times, and he's really seriously getting screwed over in this. I've volunteered for PVL and seen how hard he works to bring us quality footage from conventions, and it's just not right that he's gotten squeezed out.

    That said I'm not sure what else there is to do to get things right other than pursue legal action, and even then I'm not sure what that will accomplish. But you have my support, Silver Eagle

  2. I can believe this. Poniverse is just after advertising revenue, so they're trying to take over other fandom sites to cash in on that traffic.

    Around October of last year, they spent nearly a month trying to convince Derpibooru to merge with them, which would have ended up with Poniverse hosting and managing the website. Since Derpibooru's admins told them to fuck off, they claim they're in the process of making their own imageboard.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if they tried something similar with FIMFiction as well, but that part is just speculation as I only hang out in Derpibooru's IRC.

  3. I met the founder of Ponyverse at his booth at BronyCon 2012; he portrayed himself as a skinnier, smarter Draft. The goals of Ponyverse were, ambitious, to put it nicely. He said he wanted Ponyverse to be the go-to place for every type of content, including news. If I wanted to throw conspiracies around, I'd say he wants to perform a full fandom takeover.

    I've heard nothing but good and neutral things about Silver Eagle, and it's a shame this is happening. Hopefully he didn't give them his video equipment.

    1. Right you met him at a con, but did he call you a nigger?

    2. Seems about right with his goals. He definitely is running Poniverse for profit. The more content he controls, the more money he makes.

  4. I was around IRL with Silver Eagle and WeAreBorg around the time PVL was in its inception. It actually stemmed from the two of them meeting at our local Texas A&M University MLP student group "Bronies Anonymous for Magical Friendship (BAMF)" Kinda parallels the Minnesota Bronies and EFN in a way.

    I've seen first hand the mountains of effort that went into the creation of PVL and it is an impressive feat to have it flourish even in EFN's shadow. I've lived with Borg and Silver and seen firsthand their dedication and purpose to the fandom. While not without fault here or there, PVL was a labor of love with MLP fans (not director's egos) in top priority.

    It is no small loss for Silver to lose PVL. It's an even greater loss to have him shoved aside as if he never existed. That's what irks me the most. They are wiping him from memory. It's like watching your child grow up and tell you they want nothing to do with you; it is no concern to them whether you die (fade from existence) or not. PVL is basically Silver's child, and some power hungry egotards just shat all over him.

  5. Fuck off Silver you fat fuck.

    Why cant you let it go? Or is it because you can't get over people neglecting you and not giving you credit (being the exact same you gave to people under you when you were at the top)?

    Always did wonder why I never saw anyone else's name on the website at all or credited in any other way.

    Having said that, Poniverse are a pack of jerks and Dusk is no better.

    1. I am fat, yes, you are correct.

      As for the rest of it, I never claimed to be the perfect leader. I know I had personal faults and insecurities that came out in my leadership, and delegating things down to other people was definitely one of them.

      I don't think that makes me the kind of terrible despotic useless waste of space that you would have to be to have Poniverse treating me the way they are nowadays. I was persistent in pushing PVL forward according to what I thought was in service of the fandom, with openness and transparency. Instead of charging conventions and building an exclusivity and profit-based model, I insisted on charging nothing, refusing exclusivity and paying out of pocket for our work even as my own finances started running thin. And when it comes to development, there's no doubt that PVL's web application was a product of my blood, sweat and tears: https://github.com/Poniverse/Ponyville-Live/graphs/contributors

      So I don't think Poniverse taking advantage of a low point in my personal life, then turning the tables and changing the terms to shove me out the door and claim credit and copyright over all of PVL for its entire history, is either cool or something I should just "let go" and shut up about.

      It may seem silly to care about a project that much, but that's what three years of experiences and dedication does to you. When it seemed like the rest of the world was falling down around me, PVL was still there for me to pour myself into, and this time...it wasn't. That fucked me up. It would fuck anybody like me up.

  6. Man, after like 3 seconds browsing mlpforums, anyone with half a mind could have seen that tumblr tier turbo-sjws and underaged kids (along with their accompanying pedos) are what make up that userbase. And the userbase always speaks volumes about what kinda leadership is going on.

    1. It wasn't always that way. At some point (around the time Poniverse picked it up, actually) all the reasonable moderators jumped ship. The replacements soon pushed out anyone in the community who didn't conform to the way the mods wanted them to think and act.

    2. Poniverse never "picked up" MLPForums. Poniverse was started by a group within MLPForums including the admin/creator of MLPForums. The idea is that Poniverse is an umbrella project, with its sub-projects using the same resources; though operating mostly independently.

      As far as the admin fuckery, that was incredibly complex and I believe had more to do with burnout and personal issues than Poniverse itself. I will say however that the existence of Poniverse was the final straw for some of the top staff, and when they left a lot of them followed suit.

  7. You can't have nightmares if you never dream.

  8. Just like Trump predicted: outsiders came and took your job. Why did you have to support Bernie, Eagle? Why? How's that Bern feeling now?

  9. I believe every word. I've worked with Dusk in the past as well, and, in something very reminiscent of a mirror, pretty much the exact same thing happened. I was one of two people who helped start up a site, coded pretty much every part of it, and then Dusk came along, and even though I was quite busy and couldn't put that much time into anymore, I still wanted to keep tabs on it. Nope! Booted within a few weeks. I'm sorry all of this had to happen, but it does seem to happen regularly with Dusk on board of the project.

  10. True story time:
    Silver eagle hacked into PVL a little while after he handed the reigns over to poniverse.
    He hacked into PVL through a coding backdoor he created/left and purposely hid from the people he handed the website over to.
    He took the entirety of PVL offline through this backdoor, the server was down for 12-24 hours.

    And now he's surprised that the poniverse folks don't want to talk to them...Well MAYBE YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE HACKED PVL AND TAKEN IT DOWN "TO PROVE I CAN" IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    1. Yikes, guess there is some bad from both parties. If he truly did tha, did he do it before or after getting booted and wiped from history by pverse?

    2. No idea if it was done before or after he got the full boot. I help run a podcast on a PVL station and this is just what we were told after everyone's radio got knocked off air.

    3. Gotta love that kind of propaganda nonsense getting spread around. This is how they continue to justify treating me like a persona non-grata. Let me explain.

      Several of the PVL services were hosted on a personal account of mine that had existed for many years prior to PVL and hosted a number of other servers besides PVL's as well. Because this account was "grandfathered" in to DigitalOcean's unmetered hosting, any servers attached to it also had unmetered hosting.

      When I transitioned things over, I explained this to Poniverse, who demanded that I transfer my entire personal account over to them anyway, so they could continue to reap the benefits of the unmetered hosting for PVL. This was against DigitalOcean's terms of service and would cause a total mess with credit card billing, but in any case, again I went with it because I was fighting bigger demons at the time and didn't want to see PVL die.

      Cut to a few days after the migration finishes, and in walks Dusk, proudly proclaiming that not only was I unwelcome anywhere in the network, but that he could run things just fine without me. He had even sent a press release out to the podcasts saying exactly as much, even as PVL continued to be hosted on my personal accounts that Poniverse had no legal right to be using at all, but were using anyway to exploit a loophole.

      So, because they were *my* accounts, and Poniverse was bragging about how they could keep PVL running without any of my contributions...I logged in to my account and turned the servers off. For maybe a half hour, tops. Nothing was deleted, nothing was "hacked into", and there damn sure weren't any "backdoors" in the application code. It was just MY servers on MY personal account that I turned off, as little more than a friendly reminder to them that I wasn't as disposable as they were making me out to be.

      Of course, Poniverse doesn't tell you that this was kind of a rough night for me. That same night, about 3 hours after that, I went and almost tried to kill myself and landed in the ER for overnight supervision. They like to omit that part, since it makes me seem like a human fighting some rough shit and not the terrible monster they're actively portraying.

      Even for that little outage, I felt terrible. I turned things back on very shortly, and everything was returned to normal almost immediately.

      So yes, you can be mad at me for that. But there's also something else they don't say: because Poniverse was in such a hurry to move things over to their cheaper and lower-quality web hosting service, there were multiple hours of downtime (that continue even into this week) for PVL listeners caused by server crashes, network outages and interruptions in service. Their willingness to cut corners to shave pennies off of PVL's operating costs has already done more of a disservice to PVL's listener base than I ever did.

      None of this makes what Poniverse is doing right now (claiming all of PVL as their copyrighted work from 2012 to present day, despite it being built almost entirely on my codebase and investment) the right thing to do.

    4. Ha ha, when did that happen? As the person who brought the servers back online, I definitely seem to have missed that part! That would have been exciting :V

  11. I lurked around MLPForums a bit when it was a much smaller site. That's about the biggest meta hugbox I've ever seen. Half the posts were "Which MLPForums member....", "Who on MLPForums", "If MLPForums were..."

    It's like the entire Pokemon universe in forum form. No one could ever talk about anything other than ponies and the forum itself.

  12. As someone who's been in a similar (non-Pony) situation, I hope Silver Eagle had an ironclad Transfer of Ownership before he just gave the castle keys to Poniverse. Without that, it's all heresay, and very hard to defend in court. At the very least, you *should* receive credit for the site coding, which should be reflected in the Copyright Notice.

    I feel for you, man -- like I said: I've been there, before. I've always enjoyed PVL, and am sad to see you go, but the most important thing is that YOU are taking care of *you*, right now.

    Hope it works out, and don't let this get you down, if you want to do other (even non-Pony) projects in the future!

  13. It's tough to let go, especially when you've put a lot of time, love, and money into building something. Maybe the lesson here is to make a clean break when you've decided your time with a project is complete. Painful to learn. Either be in charge, or don't be involved at all.

  14. I think what makes it harder to gauge for me is that from my experiences with Silver Eagle in person is that he is a nice guy but comes across with lacking foresight. I think it was around Brony Fan Fair 2013 that I met him (or rather, the one that he would be moving from Houston to Austin afterwards). Don't get me wrong, deep down I had a gut feeling he wasn't doing his homework with it and it showed and mirrors what happened to PVL.

    As for PVL itself, I never used it. Like all the other radio stations in the fandom I felt they were unwarranted and were there for the attention rather than benefiting the fandom...But I digress.

    Granted, Silver did block me on Twitter for poking fun at some of my predictions that did in fact happen. Ah well.

    P.S. If you get food at a restaurant and don't like it. Request to get it fixed before eating it all up an demanding a refund. Seriously, that's rude.

    1. the last part sounds like bullshit. I've eaten out with Silver dozens of times and, yes, he's a finicky feaster but he always sends it back immediately when something is wrong. sounds out of character to me

    2. I don't remember who all it was at the table (besides Silver and myself), but it was the table side guacamole at Chili's. Instead of using disposable cups the staff opted to use metal cups that weren't properly dried off which caused I think the salt to stick to it. He also demanded a refund of the games on the table tablet.

      This event took place around...Summer of last year. If that is a frame of reference.

  15. to be honest, I don't know who could forget the Era of Silver Eagle. no one in the fandom who mattered could forget.

    1. I asked a few of my friends if they knew who Silver was, one or two said no. It depends on how far they're out of their communities.

  16. This is the sort of problem a can of gas and balls of steel can solve.

    Or a fucking written and signed contract.

  17. Kek. I'd lose my sides if the goys at Poniverse content ID flag the video about this for using the PVL word mark.

  18. I feel as though this was a failure on the parts of all staff involved in the departure of Silver Eagle from the community. As a leader of a community based around promoting the values of friendship, caring and understanding, it seems very hypocritical to allow such a thing to take place.

    A person who poured all his time and money into building a huge part of the brony community was allowed to be berated and downtrodden into a state of self destruction, all because a change of authority and re-arranging a website was thought to be needed. So by taking control away, what did that accomplish? Perhaps he wasn't meant to lead it forever, but even if that is the case, there should have been a much better way to accomplish what needed to happen. Any action resulting in near suicide for a member of the community should be looked into in great detail.

    More communication, and attention to morale needs to be a priority, so that this kind of thing never happens in future. The fact that it was allowed to happen really shakes my trust in the people who were in control of it all, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this. Allowing anyone to be torn of status and left to be forgotten without any kind of moral support really does not seem like the kind of atmosphere I think of when I think of this fandom, and should not be allowed behind the staff blind any more than it should be allowed out on the forums for all to see. These problems become visible, because the attitudes of those involved trickle down into the community over time, and it can destroy the way people see it. Oversight and neglect to important problems are very noticeable.

    Silver Eagle's response, taking down the website is very understandable. If I were in his shoes, I likely would have done the same. Why would you allow your creation, something built from your hard earned money and time, be allowed to fall apart because others don't care as much about it and won't allow you to remain in control? His largest project was essentially stolen from his fingertips, and when he made protest to how things were going, he was shunned. This is not right, and it tells me that there was far too much back-room talk and not enough listening to all parties involved. I can't say in any great detail, not having been part of any of this myself, but from what I've read about all of this, I definitely feel that there was a lot more that could have been done to avoid such tragic consequences.