‘Did I mention I got up at 5 o’clock this morning?’ We’ve all heard it. Some of us (myself included) have even initiated it.

Breakfast, lunch or dinner it signals one thing: you are sitting next to a rower, and as Torpids week creeps ever closer, the chat appears more and more often. However, VERSA is sad to report that things are about to get worse, much worse, for the innocent dining companion who neither knows, nor cares whether or not they can pull a 1’44” split over 2k at rate 28, as rowers’ only other outlet, RowChat, was shut down today for ‘distressing content.’

The site was well known among Oxford University Rowing Clubs (OURCs) as a space to argue over headship predictions, complain about the governing body, or indeed to talk of anything vaguely rowing related that their collegiate companions had prohibited from normal conversation.

The forum itself was best beloved for its quirks, including an latin translator which automatically converted swear words into their latinate form (e.g. ‘sh*t’ became excramentum). It was also held by some, who had lived through the numerous incarnations of the site, to be a bastion of Oxonian tradition, being, for example, one of the few remaining places that still refers to Christ Church as ‘House’.

However, as one might expect in a forum where all posts are made anonymously (every user posted under the latin translation ‘clancularius‘), some members were known to abuse the site, which culminated in the administrators’ action today in shutting down the forum.

In a message left at the old domain, they explained:

“RowChat is going offline.

“The forum was designed for the entertainment of the Oxford rowing community. Unfortunately, for some it has become a source of distress rather than enjoyment.

“Since we do not wish to track our users or censor the forums, we have reached the decision to take the site offline.

“Good luck to all colleges in Torpids.

“Clancularius”

This death was nonetheless short lived, as by 4pm a replacement forum had already been created at the domain: OXFORDCOLLEGEROWING.FREEFORUMS.NET. The format has survived and the only apparent difference appears to be the addition of the rules at the top of the page, which simply read: ‘Don’t be a d*ck.’

VERSA wished the new forum all the successes of the old, however whether it will serve to save non-rowers from the incessant chat of their neighbouring aquaphiles at lunch remains to be seen.

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