Interview No. 108
Interview By: @The-Great-One
Today's guest is one of the main men behind the scenes here at Newgrounds. He is the one to go to if you're having troubles with your account. See a mischievous troublemaker, or are being abused, then he is the man to go to. He is the Newgrounds Administrator. The brother of Tom Fulp, he is none other than @WadeFulp.
Q: How did you become a part of Newgrounds?
A: Growing up Tom and I spent a lot of time working on things together. Growing up we made a lot of home movies, starting with an old video camera that connected into a portable VHS VCR. Our father was always into electronics so we ended up getting newer video cameras, some tape to tape editing equipment, and later a computer based editing system. All of this was tape to tape, rather than digital. We grew up in an analog world when it came to audio and video. In our late teens Tom was doing a lot of 2D computer animation on an Amiga and I had set up a local BBS call Chaotic Order. Tom was also taking programming classes at his high school so he started making games for my BBS. Our local BBS got fairly popular in the area, but then started to die down at the Internet took off. Tom had started a personal web page which was hosted by our ISP. I let him use my share of storage as his site grew, as I wasn't doing much with it other than hosting a few images here and there. Eventually Tom moved away to college and the site started to take off. I was an avid fan of his website and was active on the forums and chat room. Eventually things started to grow so fast it was hard, or impossible, for Tom to handle it all on his own and still try and make Flash. Once there was money coming in he was able to hire me away from my job at a retail store. I was the store manager of New York Camera and Video in Quakertown, PA. We sold new and used photography and video equipment, had a professional film lab, rentals, etc. After working in that world for many years I was ready for a change, even if it meant commuting down into the city. It was a bit of a gamble as the future of a website is unknown.
Q: Tom is your younger brother. What can you tell us about growing up with Tom?
A: Growing up with Tom was fun most of the time. We had our spats here and there like normal brothers. We played a lot of video games together, made videos, roamed around the neighborhood, etc. Tom was always much more into reading about video games than I was. I loved to play them, but he always had tons of magazines and was always up on what was coming out next.
Q: You are labeled on the staff page of Newgrounds as an Administrator. What can you tell us about your job criteria?
A: Most of my time is dealing with user issues, such as helping users get into their accounts, removing content, dealing with troublemakers, etc. I over see a lot of the moderators and get involved with recruiting new ones with the help of our current mod team. I get a lot of IM's from various mods that have questions or need assistance with issues they come across. There are a lot of people that spam Newgrounds and use hundreds or thousands of accounts to pull that off,
so we're constantly tracking them down and cleaning up the mess they make. I also help feature content when needed, something I did a lot more of in the past when Tom was tied up with his Behemoth projects.
Q: You have an interest in photography with many of your Oh Snap! threads. When and how did you get into photography? What kind of cameras do you use?
A: I've always enjoyed photography. My earliest experience withphotography was when I was in the 7th or 8th grade and had to take a lot of photographs of plants growing for a science project. I used my father's Canon FTb 35mm SLR camera with a macro lens and a ring flash. You had to manually set everything, so it was challenging and fun. After that I didn't do much with photography until I started working at New York Camera and Video. I was hired there originally to help build turn key computer based video editing systems. We were an Amiga dealer and a NewTek Video Toaster dealer. So I spent a lot of hours tearing into Amiga computers installing various components, or doing repairs. Back then the insides of computers had a lot of sharp wires on the back of the circuit boards, so I often had sliced up and bloody hands. I was only working part time so the store offered to give me more hours working on the sales floor. I started helping in the video department, which was my strength, but eventually learned the entire store. Over the years I learned a lot about photography to the point the professionals would come to me to find out what kind of equipment they needed to accomplish their goals. I got a lot of good deals on used equipment and had a lot of fun playing around with it. I have a nice assortment of Canon FD equipment, which is all manual focus. I also picked up some medium format equipment, such as a Rolleiflex TLR, a Hasselblad, and a Pentax 67. Eventually digital took over and shooting film got to be a hassle and an expense, especially once I started working for Newgrounds and no longer had easy access to a professional film lab with a generous discount. These days I take a lot of photos with my iPhone and a Canon SX200 IS. I haven't had the spare money to splurge on a DSLR, but hope to in the future. They are only getting better the longer I wait.
Q: When the Art Portal was released it was stated that photography would not be allowed at said point in time, but that might change down the line. Are you for photography being acceptable in the Art Portal and at what point in time do you think it will be accepted?
A: It would be fun to have a photography section, but there are a lot of challenges with that. For one, we would probably see more photo uploads than art, which would require more storage space. Also you run into copyright issues as we would certainly have people submitting other people's photographs. Photographers often aggressively protect
their copyrights and there are a lot of laws on the books that allow them to do that. So we could open ourselves up to more lawsuits by allowing users to submit photography. For now users will have to share their photography on their user page.
Q: Many people like to collect things. Besides cameras, you collect flashlights, knives, and old-fashioned straight razors. Why drew you to these practical items?
A: When I was young, single, and working full time I had more disposable income. If I knew then what I know now I would have saved much more of my money. However, I was dumb, and collected a lot of things. I had been into knives ever since I was about 12 or 13. I loved to play outdoors and in the woods, so I was always hacking and slashing my way through things. I used to buy a lot of junk knives from catalogs like Smokey Mountain Knife works. For $50 you could acquire 10-20 knives. So a common theme for my birthdays and Christmas was a list of knives cheap knives. As I grew older, and had more of my own money to spend, I refined my tastes and bought less knives, but better quality and more suited for real world use. Working in retail you are constantly opening packages, so razor knife, or a good pocket knife, is a must. I like to collect things that are practical and can be used in my daily life.
As far as flashlights, I didn't really collect them growing up. Growing up I just had your regular plastic house hold flashlight to take out into the night. As I grew older I picked up a Maglite and that was sufficient at the time. At some point I came across Surefire flashlights, who specialize in making flashlights for law enforcement, firemen, military, etc. When I saw they offered a very small flashlight that put out 60 lumens, twice the output of my big old Maglite, I had to have it. However, it burned up two 3v camera batteries in about 20 minutes. So it wasn't something I used a lot. Years later I saw a small LED flashlight online that was putting out 135 lumens from a single 3v battery, and had a longer running time than my Surefire! So I ordered one and when I got it I was amazed. It was like magic! LED technology took a big leap at this time as far as output, efficiency, and closer to a white light. LED flashlights before this were always fairly dim, and often very green or blue. So I found the LED technology interesting. It wasn't long until they made more improvements, coming out with better LED's that had more output, used less power, ran cooler, were even whiter with less color tint. One way to try out the latest and greatest LED was to buy a new flashlight that used it. Many of these flashlights are fairly inexpensive so my collection grew. I found them to be very practical as I could carry a small flashlight if I was going out for a walk at night. Being able to put a small flashlight in your pocket that could put out 200+ lumens just wasn't something that was available for most of my life. What excited me was seeing how far the technology was coming and how it would replace our home lighting needs in the near future, allowing us to save a lot of electricity. In addition to the new LEDs there were a slew of new flashlight manufacturers, many of them from China, making all kinds of interesting flashlight designs. Some of them were designed to throw the light from the LED as far as possible. It became a competition between manufacturers to see who could make the longest throwing flashlight. Who would have thought you could light up an object 800-1,000 feet away, or more, with a single LED? It was impressive and a lot of fun to have a flashlight capable of that, but could also fit in your pocket.
I haven't been buying much in the way of flashlights or knives lately, but these days I have a flashlight that can output over 700 lumens from an LED, or dim down to 0.07 lumens for use in total darkness where you don't want to blind yourself. As far a straight razors, this was a spin off from my knife collecting. At some point I decided to learn about knife sharpening, and got very good at it. The type of edge I could put on a knife was more for show than for practical use. Then I realized I could take my sharpening skills to the world of straight razors. Usually barbers would have a sharpening service maintain their straight razors when their leather strop would no longer bring back the edge. I needed no such service, I was the service. So I picked up some old and used straight razors and restored them to shaving condition. It was fun to learn a skill that isn't commonly used today.
Q: What is Danger Mouse?
A: Danger Mouse was a cartoon that Tom and I used to watch on Nickelodeon. Google it.
Q: At one early point in time Newgrounds did have a chat system. Newgrounds now has an official chat, but how did we get from there to here? What problems arose in the original chat that were remedied for the new chat?
A: Early in the history of Newgrounds there was an IRC fan chat. I was actively involved in chatting there and helping to moderate it. It was originally created by a fan, but later I made a new chat room, or channel as it's call on IRC, so we would have full control. We then linked to this chat from our newgrounds.com/chat page. It was never terribly active, similar to the current NG Chat. Over time it became a hang out for the same group of users who became bitter and acted like elitists. They weren't welcoming to new chatters, and even got to the point where they weren't welcoming to NG staff. It was at this point we felt it was time to cut ties with the IRC chat until we could develop our own chat. Chat has never attracted many users so we have never made it much of a priority. Maybe if we saw more interest and more people using it we would pay more attention to it.
Q: Photoshop Bedn! is quite possibly the most famous Photoshop thread on Newgrounds. When and how did you meet Josh Bend? What made you want to create this thread and what have been both of your reactions to it?
A: Josh was an avid Newgrounds fan. He was active on the forums, the site, and active at contacting the staff. He lived in the area so he always wanted to come meet us, hang out, etc. Eventually I arranged for him to come visit me when I was working at the camera store. After I left the camera store I returned to work 1 day a week on Saturdays just to make a little extra money. Josh hang around the store for awhile while I was busy helping customers. At some point when I was free I posed for a picture with him and told him I would post it up on the site. The Photoshop Bedn topic was born.
Q: illwillpress has gotten some bad press over the years here on Newgrounds, so bad that a forum rule was put into place to not knock established Newgrounds groups such as illwillpress or the Clock Crew. You are one of the many to defend him. Some say it was because you regard Newgrounds traffic as higher and therefore put him over the unknown artist. What is your response to this?
A: I will defend any Flash artist. illwillpress never did anything to deserve the abuse he got other than becoming popular. It was all rather stupid that a bunch of jealous idiots felt the need to attack him every time he released a new Flash that they felt wasn't good enough. No one was stopping other artists from becoming popular, and many artists went on to become just as popular or more popular.
Q: This is it. would be sirtom93's prank upon the Newgrounds forum. Your single post "Leave this topic, authorities are being contacted." would send hilarity and chills down the different members spines. Could you tell us the events of that day and what was going on behind the scenes?
A: I don't know why you call it a prank, as he was apprehended by the authorities and was found to be headed to his school with gasoline, knives, and whatever else he had posted to the forums. My post was to alert our other moderators and staff not to delete the topic as we were actively working with the authorities who were also monitoring
that topic as we were collecting information to track the guy down. I had received an IM from TigerKitty and deckheadtottie about the post on the forums. I got on and looked it over. I started pulling up sirtom's information to try and figure out where he was, who he was, etc. As the pieces came in I was relaying the information to TigerKitty and deckheadtottie and they were relaying it to the authorities. Rig had already contacted the authorities, but I don't think he had much information to relay to them other than some guy was claiming to be planning an attack on his school. Once we had some more information we were able to get his name to the authorities and we even tracked down his school and warned them. I believe deckheadtottie contacted the school directly to warn them. The authorities were able to get to him on his way into school thanks to everyone's quick action. I have to give the main credit to TigerKitty and deckheadtottie as they were the ones to contact me so I could get them the information they needed to give to their authorities.
Q: Secret Service - Warning to all! was a thread of you telling the members not to make threats to the President. Can you tell us how these events usually happen and have you been contacted by the Secret Service since the thread was made?
A: People need to realize you can't joke around and make threats against the President. If someone reports it to the Secret Service they are obligated to follow up on it, and this has happened several times in our history. You may ask, how does the Secret Service find out? Easy, a Newgrounds user contacts them and reports it. Then I magically get a phone call on my home phone line from the Secret Service asking for details about the user who made the threat. Then
the Secret Service shows up to that user's home and takes their computers away and investigates them to determine if there is a threat. I don't want anyone to go through that over a joke, so I did what I could to warn the users. If they do it anyway, they can deal with the consequences.
Q: How much mail do you get on a daily basis? Do you read it all?
A: It has varied over the years. We no longer use our email and do everything with the PM system. This isn't the most efficient way to deal with problems the users want to report to us, so we do our best with it. I try to read all my PM's, unless I can tell from the subject it's going to be a waste of time. The most annoying thing is users who can't provide me with the details I need to help them in their initial PM. Like "Can you change my username?" or "I want some of my Flash
deleted, can you do that?' and so on. The back and forth is frustrating. Or I'll write back "What did you need removed" and they'll reply "Nevermind, someone else got it." and so on.
Q: When Malachy was here we talked about Rage's gift to you: Abusive reviews. This thread lasted a long time, but was finally put to rest. Could you tell us in your own words the problems that the thread suffered as it went on?
A: I think it got to the point that people were reporting reviews that weren't truly abusive and it was causing the list of flagged reviews to get filled with non-abusive reviews which frustrated the review mods.
Q: At one point in time you recruited people to keep an eye on the Flash Portal. Now the portal is split into Movies and Games and there are Portal Moderators. Who are the Portal Moderators and what do they do exactly?
A: Before we had Portal Moderators we had Genre Moderators. These users had been helping us by going through Flash movies and games and assigning them Genre's, tags, and ratings. Since these people were very familiar with our content it made sense to transition most of them over to Portal Moderators. We keep a log of what they un-publish so we can easily undo any mistakes. Basically they will un-publish Flash that violates our terms, or has a problem that the artist needs to correct.
Q: You are simply one man and so the moderators do help you out. However that doesn't mean they should be the only ones. In your thread Warning about illegal images and No more nude images! you encourage people the moderators and staff immediately if they see something wrong. What would be the proper way for someone to go about informing you or the moderators of something like this whether it be a thread, art piece, movie, or game?
A: Simply sending a PM to the appropriate mod or staff member with a link to the content in question, and a brief description of the problem, is all that is needed. When reporting stolen content it's best to link to who it was stolen from when possible.
Q: Google+ Hangout is a place for Newgrounds members to hang out and talk with one another. There have been past incarnations with the Stickam Chat. What is the purpose of using these other programs, when we already have a forum and a chat. Why not put energy into making a chat similar to the other chat rooms?
A: It would be a big project to create something like Google Hangouts or Stickam on Newgrounds. It is just something we don't have the resources or interest to do at this time. So if people want to cam up and interact with each other, these are popular ways to do that.
Q: When Newgrounds first started out, it was something new and fresh, alongside many other things on the Internet. The Internet has now since grown and adapted. Do you feel Newgrounds has done the same or is there more that could be done?
A: There is always more that can be done, but we aren't backed by a giant corporation with unlimited funding. Once we developed something new and fresh it wasn't hard for someone to hire a huge team and throw lots of money at it to duplicate our ideas.
Q: What is the biggest problem you usually face when dealing with the different Newgrounds members problems?
A: As I stated above, many people contact me and do not include the information I need to help them.
Q: What can we expect from Wade Fulp in the future?
A: Probably more of the same.
Wade Fulp is certainly an interesting person of the Newgrounds community. He does his job to keep everything in line whether he has to be a professional formal person who can help you, to babysitting a bunch of three year olds and telling them no. He is kind and courteous and always there to help when he can.