The Conversatron is an internet web-site based on the concept of an ask/answer forum. Users (known on the site as "askers") post questions, and a host of staff writers assume the personalities of various pop-culture (and not so pop culture) icons (known as "askees") answer them. This site is similar to the (now defunct) website, Forum 2000. Readers of the site come from a variety of different places, but word of mouth, a post on Slashdot after the death of Forum 2000, and a mention on the web comic Penny Arcade have been the largest sources of readers.
The Conversatron was conceived by a man later known to readers of the site as "Lester Knight Chaykin" (you may recognize the name from the game "Out of this World") in late 1999. Recruiting the help of some close friends as writers and programmers, Lester got the Conversatron online in December 1999.
In February of 2000, the sudden loss of their ISP caused a short crisis and the Conversatron was forced to go offline. The site made its triumphant recovery in June 2000. Another period of downtime in in April and May of 2001 caused the 'Tron (as users like to call it) to have the reputation of a "Killer of ISPs."
The Conversatron has spawned many spin-off sites with Forum 2000, including the infamous "True Meaning of Life", "Hateatron" and "Conversawang" which appeared after the sites respective creators started reading the 'Tron.
The Conversatron boasts a host of 1455 (as of 10/15/03) "askees" that range from Star Control 2 characters to Ron Jeremy. Approximately 6 writers currently staff the site (mostly from Seattle and Cleveland), although there are several others who write only occasionally. For those aspiring to write for the 'tron, the best way seems to be in a relationship with Lester or Bacon, both of whom are currently taken... by people they met through the tron.
Some favorite askees include:
- Bacon, a co-creator of the site with Lester. His constant search for girls and bragging about his BMW make him a sure-hit with the ladies.
- Evil Black Marble, from Marble Madness. His sarcasm and wit are greatly appreciated by all. At least they should be (or you get shoved off a cliff).
- Tigger, a Disney character with a twist. His amoral ways have earned him a friendship with Space Moose and Milkman Dan. Readers of the site may be surprised to know that Tigger is written by a woman.
- Karen the Cute Computer Engineer, even though she doesn't actually exist, she is sought after by many of the men who read the site.