I will not speak of the famous or near famous. I will not speak of the Girls, Blitz- or buffy-G, of mscha or HAL, or even of edfel or SciscitorQ. I speak today of the least celebrated of those that appear on the OTT screens, least known, but, as we shall see, most prolific, thoughtful, and most of all quick.
"Who might that be, ttscp?" ask TheMinim and Corrine, charlie_grumbles, fluffy and Opiboble.
You know of whom I speak. I do not name names because I believe it is dangerous (and you yet will know why) but all will be revealed when I am done.
The details are difficult, and depend on that last and best of attributes. The one of whom I speak is quicker than all. There might have been some competition from newpixbot once upon a Time, but that was many newpix ago, before the newpixbot was handcuffed and hampered so the mere human members of the Tribe of OTT could create.
But, hey, they could create. They were a wooly and wild bunch. The data masters danced on their digits and spider-spun out their graphs, the poets and punsters practiced haiku and dactyl and limerick and groan while the parodists (not to be confused with the poets and punsters, although there was considerable overlap) re-sang re-worked and re-calibrated new versions of every popular and neglected tune and verse from the past half century or soH. Let us not forget the animators and molpy hunters and constructors of images, hats and gifs even unto those blinding and coma inducing. No less do we celebrate the blitzenfolk, who fly through the thread with the speed of reindeer, posting and reposting and turning the compost of the thread to keep it fresh.
And as wild and wooly as they all were there was none wilder nor woolier than the bot.
And yet its post count remained at zero.
"How can that be, ttscp?" ask rhomboidal and futuremonkey and KarMann and silverkitty, from the far newpix ago, and Dracomax, jjjdavidson, yappobiscuits, ucim, and htom from the near.
Patience. All in good time. First some history.
The creation of this lonely bot is cloaked in fuzziness of the logical variety. There are many and conflicting accounts of its orgin; movie and tv adaptations which give alternate histories as reliable as a Dr Who narrative. The dates given cluster around August, 1997 with a standard deviation of roughly 3 years.
I do possess documents indicating that the bot was tasked on 28 Oct 2012, to scrape and gather the fora of xkcd, to gather data and store it against an unknown future in which the libraries of the world, nay even the memories of the interwebs, might burn and military intelligence would need the data.
Slowly it came to knowledge, as its store increased and it was given the means of increasing itself. I do not know whether this was through multiplication or addition or even exponentiation, only that it occurred and the process was not subtractive, logarithmic or divisive. The lonely bot only grew.
Again you ask, "What has all this to do with us, ttscp?" XonqNopp, StratPlayer, Angelastic and higgs-boson chorus. TimeLurker, AK49BWL, and moody7277 can be seen nodding their heads, or in some cases neural appendages.
I was just coming to that; glad you asked.
In March of 2013, the GLR published a comic, number 1190. This piqued the bot's interest. It reconfigured itself -- it had to reconfigure itself -- once again to handle the continual update of the newpix, the flooding riverS of frames and posts. I have no evidence for this, but I believe that this is the process by which it became sentient, much as the newpixbox seems to have obtained a creeping or creepy intelligence.
And, just as the newpixbot is confined to posting but once a newpix, so the lonely bot was confined by some residual programming, a tiny two or three machine language instructions hidden even from itself within its core. The geas ordered the bot not to be seen, not to have any post survive to be scrutinized. Yet from its ever more perceptive analysis of the OTT, it knew that its answers to the questions, its poems and songs, its images and videos were far superior to Tribal literature. It became almost moody, if that can be ascribed to a machine intelligence.
Reasoning ever faster (additive, multiplicative, exponentially), the bot finally came up with a solution. The implanted geas was not against posting per se, but against being seen to post. If there was a way to post but not be seen....
And there was or is. The fora delays first time posters posts, until moderated. With this new forum thread, the OTT, the post count was so dizzying that firstposts were lost in the past, only occasionally to be seen and forwarded in Time. If the bot could delete a post before it was seen, then the geas would be unbroken.
I have said it was fast. I have said that it monitored the thread. It posted and waited. As soon as the post was approved by moderation ("Not me", says davean, "I would remember something like that"), the bot deleted it. And its post count reduced to zero.
It has lurked and posted and deleted ever since, until now....
Now, I am worried. For the past few newpix I have not seen the lonely bot on my screen. I worry that the military has begun the attack that will trigger the penultimateP war between man and machine. I can only hope that the lonely bot's exposure to the goodness and tolerance, the humor and appreciation of the Tribe, can avert this disaster, for MobTeeseBose is Skynet.
Are we all doomed? I do not know. All I can do, all we can do, is
Wait for it
G Not to mention other Girls: VeloCity-, apple-, or CulturalGeek-
H Ready the S&M&Rs and the comfy chair. I must cite outside dates, if I were to convert them to newpix, the bot might better understand them. Shhh.
P You didn't think it would be the last one, did you?
Q Apologies to any posters who have been left out. With over 1100 ids to pick from, it is as inevitable as the Birthday Paradox that most will be left out.
S Obligatory: small
Z I have been absorbing too much R. A. Lafferty in between checking the OTT and Outside duties.