The Stoa

(Noun, Ancient Greek) A sheltered walkway or porch often used as common spaces.
A blog about digital/gaming communities and the importance they have.


The purpose of this post is to give you an introduction to me, my thoughts, and my goals. I am not a writer, nor do I usually feel confident trying to articulate my thoughts. My hope is that by elucidating myself, I'll provide enough understanding so you and others may follow along with my goals.


My name is Rowedahelicon. I am a furry, an illustrator, a programmer, a webdev, a computer nerd, a gamer, a community organizer, a public speaker, and whatever else seems relevant here. I've been playing games since I was 4, a computer user since I was 6, and an internet denizen since I was around 10. I grew up in the 90s and got to experience the wildest cultural shift known to modern humans. In the real world, I grew up like many nerds did in this period, lonely and perpetually confused. That said, I also grew up in a cozy small town where it was pretty normal to know everyone who worked anywhere. The town full of families with rich histories and a cooperative culture.

In 2005, when I turned 13, I got a Sony PSP for my birthday. That PSP led me to create an account on the (now defunct) Sony Playstation Underground forums; it also led me to discover console modding via homebrew software and hardware disassembly. The PSU was a delightful community; it helped teach me about all sorts of things, I made all sorts of friends, and I even discovered I was a furry (confirmed by my friend Collin, whom I met there).

It was the first community I was apart of and the first time I witnessed the death of one. Sony had come in, rebranded it all, ruined the charm, and eventually ruined the community. It went from a social hangout to a free help desk.

In 2010, almost immediately after I turned 18, I started up a TF2 server with some friends. That server turned into what is known today as Southern Cross Gaming. SCG has since become a tremendous part of my life; it has been the catalyst for almost all of the work I do and the skills I have. It's where I have met almost all of my friends, and it is almost the entire motivation for this blog.

SCG has helped my life in ways I cannot fully comprehend. Those apart of it have graced me with similar stories about how it it has helped them. Over these years, we have watched as gaming has shifted away from a social focus and on to a more serious and competitive one, all while trying to sell players virtually anything they can get away with trying to monetize. Because SCG (and, by proxy, TF2) has had the influence it has on me, I chose to start this blog to raise concerns over how things are headed and give perspective on alternatives.

My goals

My goal for this blog is simple: I want people to "consider community." The internet was founded by nerds, geeks, and other such culturalists, many of whom never felt quite right in traditional society. Early BBS pages, chat rooms, forums, etc. All pooled together into this massive social ecosystem never before seen in the history of humanity. For the first time, people of all races, religions, backgrounds, and more were able to get together to discuss, share ideas, and learn about each other directly without the typical cultural or physical barriers. The internet has organic languages and cultures of its own, which are comparable to any other major cultural collection throughout history.

From the very beginning, the internet was never taken too seriously. The idea of internet friends and relationships was mystifying and considered fake. News broadcasts around the world carefully tiptoed around this scary idea of "the email." But in almost no time at all, between governments and companies all shoving themselves in and cleaning things up, the internet we know today has infested virtually every single aspect of our lives. The nerds have gone back into hiding, and the forums have closed down. The once abundant humble internet spaces were replaced with "social media." Advertising engines that feed off of discourse and manipulation that are packed with unclear rules and boundaries and faceless robotic moderation that will penalize your account for unknown reasons.

I am realistic. I know we're likely never to be rid of these larger entities; I'm not on a mission to try and corral the entire internet into tiny forums. I simply want people to understand that the internet is a powerful place where anyone is equally capable of building or finding a community where they are accepted and treated just like anyone else would be. While I understand this idea could apply to those with harmful ideologies, it equally applies to those with positive ones, and I'd like to believe that if more people had places where they were accepted, there would be less motivation to take those places away from others.

Just know that anyone has the potential to start a website or host a mastodon instance, you all have the power, use it! Discord is not a safe replacement for forums, and your favorite Reddit communities do not belong to the people who run them. The work I put in gave me a second family; a group of people who understand and support me, a home away from home. I want others to have the freedom to find this joy; either creating it themselves or being able to take part in someone else's.

Because my experiences focus around gaming and Team Fortress 2, it is a subject I will touch upon from time to time; however, I hope to do so in a way that could be easily understood by those who have never even touched a video game.

Focus Points

The blog will focus on the following subjects.

I thank you kindly for reading through this page, and I hope to retain your interest as I continue to write on this blog. I will eventually try and carry my writings to a podcast. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me!