Ok. I was here from about November 2001 until sometime shortly after June 2003. Cobra50 is my original handle, so is the avatar. I learned a lot from this site. I had a mentor named Weezil that took me under his wing and taught me how to start a grow and had much wisdom cloning and growing. I also used to check with BOG (BushyOlderGrower), he had a lot of wisdom as well. I learned more from here than I remember.
There were more I counted as friends as well that were about as expert as I was, which is to say we were all beginners. We'd trade anecdotes of our success and failures.
When I first joined, OverGrow seemed like a friendly place with many good people. After a while, flamers got to be irritatingly common and really nothing was done to prevent it. A couple of the worst would get kicked off OG, but would just come back with a different handle. One asshole in particular, Osama Bin Laden, apparently HATED BOG, calling him everything from a pedaphile to a terrorist. I asked BOG about it. He had no idea what this jackass' problem was but he just blocked him and all his aliases.
The flamers was as much of the reason for my leaving as paranoia about being tracked by DEA, not to mention the possibility of undercover cops hanging out here. VPNs weren't common back then. It was hard to find one and expensive to use.
I used to check back from time to time to use the GrowFAQ. One day when I checked back, I found it was gone and never gave it another thought until a few years ago I clicked an OG link by accident in my favorites. I was very surprised to see OG was back, but different and the same at once.It wasn't until I got a VPN service that I started coming back. Paranoia never really goes away, it just tones down once in a while. I was still too paranoid to participate for quite a while. I'm just short of 64 and have no wish to spend the remainder of my life in prison for gardening, so It took me time to be comfortable enough to participate again. You all may just regret I did, too. I can be very long winded.
My (ex/late) wife once told me I always tell people more than the ask for, like the time her uncle asked me what I did for a living, and I told him all about grinding silicon and carbide.
Anyway, it is good to be back, especially since I haven't noticed any flamers since I came back. That is one HUGE improvement!
It is interesting @dgtxxx mentioned CBay. They are gone or reinvented or something. That is really too bad, I used to get all my seeds from there. I had bought 8 different strains there. One problem or another overt the years wiped out plants and the seeds were years too old to grow by then. Now I am growing to strains from seeds I got from excellent bag weed. It isn't too difficult to keep 2 strains alive in a small grow but I generate seeds at least once a year for safety's sake now.