The 80's Tees Controversy of 2008 is perhaps the most significant event in the creation of TFINO. However, the event is shrouded in mystery and only those directly involved know the specifics. Though even they are sketchy on details, perhaps due to psychological damage or other causes.
Back in 2008, Cuban Pete was the newest addition to the admin staff at TFormers. He and fellow admin BaCon chatted often about ways to improve the site, and in the course of one of their conversations it was suggested that Hot Rod be brought back on staff. It should be noted that this suggestion came from BaCon, because that's going to be important later.
Though Hot Rod had previously been a moderator at TFormers (TFans at the time), Pete was reluctant to bring him back on, given Hot Rod's tenuous relationship with BaCon as well as his well-documented apathy. However, BaCon insisted, and Pete "made the ask" to get Hot Rod involved again. Hot Rod's official position was to be "contest coordinator."
A contest involving popular online retailer 80's Tees was soon planned, and Hot Rod was placed in charge of it. However, due to an unfortunate convergence of circumstances, Hot Rod – as the sole point of contact with 80's Tees, who had been experiencing delays of their own – was unavailable at the time the contest was to be ending. As the contest had been highly publicized on TFormers, the resultant confusion at this critical moment was a public embarrassment. Not to mention that TFormers/TFans had never really been known for its contests, either. (Do you remember the "Find the Mini Con-Test"? No, you don't.)
In the wake of this debacle, Hot Rod was removed from staff by BaCon. However, within a week BaCon had decided that Hot Rod was not only going to be removed from staff, but banned from TFormers altogether. This decision caused Pete (who had been watching these events unfold) to resign immediately from TFormers staff, citing a lack of time. In reality, Pete was dismayed by BaCon's decision, and no longer wished to be associated with TFormers. This led to a breakdown in the relationship between BaCon and Pete, as Pete grew more and more openly antagonistic toward TFormers in general and TFormers staff in particular.
Why This Is ImportantEdit
On December 4, 2008, Pete created the board that would eventually become known as TFINO, though he pointedly titled it "TFans" at the time, signifying his nostalgia for a simpler time when the internet was not so cruel. (The original "TFans" name can still be found in the site URL.) He had intended it to be merely a placeholder in case things went awry at TFormers. This would prove to be very ironic indeed.
Pete subsequently contacted Hot Rod and informed him of the site's creation. Despite claiming that he was "done" with internet message boards, Hot Rod soon took to posting again without missing a beat. However, the critical moment for TFINO came when Pete contacted Cool Hand Lube (CHL) about the new site. CHL signed up immediately, and quickly spread the word through the TFormers private messaging system. "TFans" soon found itself for all practical purposes to be an unofficial "INH 3.0", as many of the original INHers signed up (as well as a few who had been dormant for some time).
At some point, BaCon became aware of the existence of "TFans", and issued a blanket ban on all TFormers members who had signed up there. (The most notable exception being Hunter Rose, who is believed to have escaped detection by signing up under the pseudonym "Ataxia". Jerrod also remains unbanned, but that's hardly notable.) This event precipitated an avalanche of impotent rage on the part of "TFans" members; however, it also served to unify the fledgling community and forge its identity.
So, Whose Fault Was This Anyway?Edit
As might be expected, the answer to this question varies greatly depending on who is asked. However, all agree that in the long run, everything worked out for the best.