To some of my closest friends, they’ve known that I love anime. I’m a huge Inuyasha fan. I’ve been watching it since my late teens. Some of my favorite characters were Kagome and Sesshoumaru, and with being online, it was natural that I became interested in reading and writing fan fiction, particularly in the Inuyasha fandom. I shipped Kagome and Sesshoumaru, meaning that I liked the idea of those 2 characters being together, even though they weren’t together in such a way during the anime and manga.
One day I accepted a website called A Single Spark, and then 3 years later, it was stolen from me.
Acquiring A Single Spark
Eventually, with getting deeper into the fanfiction community, I came across the Sesshoumaru and Kagome fanfic community called A Single Spark, which had been custom programmed by a gal in Canada known to everyone only as “Wynter” or Wynter89. After months on the site, and writing my own fanfics, I heard Wynter telling the community that she wouldn’t be able to keep the website going, as she didn’t have the funds to pay for it on her own Dreamhost web hosting account.
It was perfectly understandable, and because I had a dedicated server at that time, via email to Wynter I offered to host it. Within a couple days, Wynter replied back to say, “That would be great! I don’t have the time to run the community, so I can just make you an administrator, and the site is yours. How can we move the site to your server?”
Because it was her project, I was actually hesitant in taking over and asked her several times if she was okay with me taking over. She said if I was hosting it and moderating, she’d still be around in case I had questions, especially since the site was built from the ground up, with custom code. This wasn’t a community built on a fanfiction specific content management system, like e-fiction.org… it was 100% custom.
After Wynter assuring me that she was fine, she handed over the logins to her Dreamhost web hosting account, and I moved the site to A-Single-Spark.com came to be December 16, 2006.
Taking on A Single Spark was a big undertaking. It was a growing community and quite active. Dozens of different fanfics were being published by first time fanfic writers, and even more stories being updated by long time members. I had to field complaints about plagiarism, complaints about people being offended from what they read, complaints about glitches on the site, and even spam… especially spam. The site was using a lot of resources and at that time, I had a job that I was paying for the server out of pocket. We hadn’t even monetized the site or even asked for donations in the first year.
However, things were strained after a year. I opened a 2nd community, one specifically for the entire Inuyasha fanfiction community. I ran the community through even my divorce, in March 2007, and through my severe depression because of the event. By December 2007, I was going through a lot of problems emotionally, which became a problem for my regular job, and had problems paying the hosting. I ended up turning to the community, and the members suggested asking for donations.
Some of the members complained about seeing Google Ads on the site and thought that the members would be happy to donate in order to keep the site up AND ad-free. So… I tried their suggestion.
Generous donations from A Single Spark members were a blessing and a curse
The members of A Single Spark were generous in keeping the site up and also took away the reason to put ads there. Originally, the ads were there hope it would generate enough to pay the site’s web host bill, but I wasn’t getting anything because people had to actually click on the ads, for me to earn anything.
I can remember being some full of gratitude at the time, when some of the community members sent in donations. I was struggling to pay my own bills because I was practically full time with my web design business, which still was only enough to pay my bills, and not the extra things I had been running, like the website’s web hosting. I still paid $250 out of my pocket, which can tell you that the donations weren’t enough to fund the entire hosting bill the first year, and the 2nd, I at least only shelled out $50 from my own pocket.
However, in accepting the donations, I began to get strange emails from someone, and people who I never had a problem with, were strangely acting malicious towards me. In fact, this someone masqueraded under several sock puppet persona and reached out to others to begin a campaign to make me look like I was doing something with the money sent in. In fact, it was shocking, as the person known at Miss Kagura stalked me online, AND I was harassed by a gal with the last name of Marster (I don’t even think that was a real name, and it reminded me of the actor who played Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) They reached out to others to start a gossip ring of lies about me. In fact, they were saying things from me profiting from the donations, to stalking and commenting nasty on my business site and on threads in the WordPress community that I was a part of. I had one experience with a stalker who came to my domicile, while I had my son with me. It was very odd and somewhat scary – the police had to be called for that incident.
Marster emailed me continuously, and even emailed from her supposed roommater’s email, after I blocked her original email. I had to give her credit for her persistence. I’m glad it wasn’t her that came to my home, because I would’ve done more than call the cops with the level of nastiness she kept sending to my inbox. I don’t think she was raised right, as I had never been taught to be like that to other people.
I reached out to other people in the Spark community (which I won’t name names but they do know who they are, and I do too) to hopefully gain advice on what to do about this harassment. I got nothing back from them, other than sympathetic words. I was convinced that someone was going around and talking shit behind my back without getting any facts, and no one wanted to come forth to ask me to prove myself. At that time, I had a core inner circle that was small and supportive, but they were just as mind boggled as I, about what was going on. I had shared everything with them to try to understand why this was happening.
I had a feeling that taking donations, even at such a small amount, would probably stir some of the nastiness in the community. I had been in anime and fanfiction communities since 2000, and other communities, as an admin, to know that some people will go batshit crazy no matter what. I just didn’t think I would’ve been faced with such a new level of poor behavior. It was immature of them, and I couldn’t really do anything. How can you with people masquerading under different personas and through a computer, where the IP address could be manipulated? With the way things were going, doors were being shut in my face, and I couldn’t even defend myself.
Then the shit show got worse…
Wynter became an Indian Giver
After applying my own coding and applying some design changes to the original A Single Spark site, AND moderating the site by myself for over 2 years, Wynter reached out to me to ask me if she could have the log in for the cPanel for A Single Spark.
I was like – What? Wait a minute – you gave me the site 2 years ago? What is going on? Why did Wynter need access? Rather than cause a problem across the community because I respected Wynter, I let her in. I thought that maybe she wanted to tweak the code and fix something she saw. I didn’t know. I gave her my trust.
But she didn’t. Instead…
Days later, she gave the site over to Miss Kagura, placed the site a different host, and removed all data on my server, without giving me any explanation. By the beginning of 2009, A Single Spark was in Miss Kagura’s hands. She didn’t even tell me that she was going to do that. In fact, she never replied back to me again. Now, considering that I spent 2 years of my time managing a site that she gave me, I felt like she stole from me.
Who is Miss Kagura?
No one really knows, except she can write great fanfics and ships SessKag, and ran an Inuyasha fanfiction community powered by Drupal. That was great, but after the “excitement” died down and A Single Spark was assimilated into an archived section the new Drupal powered A Single Spark, she faded into the background, and gone since late 2010, never to be heard of again. Reminds me of the phrase in The Shawshank Redemption where the one guy said “He just up and disappeared like a fart in the wind.”
Do I really care who she was? No, but in connecting the dots, Miss Kagura was more than likely another sock puppet.
I’m not sure what I can say other than I’m disappointed in people who lied and stole from me. I’ve been quite transparent throughout the years on who I am. Photos of myself and my family, including my son have been online for years. I’ve shared details about myself that usually people don’t. But oh well…
I’ve survived worse online witch hunts, and even some scary hackers. However, this level of thievery and lying that some of the fanfic community did, was appalling. It was a true slap in the face after the several years that I kept the site up and used my time and money.
Shame on Miss Kagura and Wynter. Shame on the prominent members of the SessKag fanfic community for not doing their due diligence, and being two faced to me – being sympathetic on one hand, but behind my back, another person. It was a wake up call for me as I like to think the best in other people.
Dokuga.com, what Spark became, is a great site, with a shady start. I wouldn’t want Spark back in my hands today, but I do believe I should be mentioned on the site and given the credit due to me for my dedication, as Spark could’ve died back in 2006… but it didn’t. I can say that I’m proud that the community grew and embraced it’s new home. I know I was a part of it at one time. My love of the Inuyasha manga and anime surpasses the dirty happenings that occurred in the theft of A Single Spark, which is why I still write SessKag fanfiction.