The Phorum was the name of the original Web forums on Bukanator's original fan site at lonelygirl15.com. Phorum was the name of the software used to power the message boards, which debuted on July 16th, 2006. The term Phorum was used somewhat derisively, as the boards were poorly moderated.
During the month of August 2006, fans began to register at the site and discuss the mystery surrounding lonelygirl15. The lonelygirl videos had gotten popular enough that it had become difficult for fans to discuss the videos amid the comments on YouTube. Toward the end of August, hundreds of fans had registered on the Phorum discussion boards. The lonelygirl saga had attracted a wide array of fans, from YouTubers and bloggers, to journalists such as Virginia Heffernan and Richard Rushfield, people in the entertainment industry, marketers, occultists and others who had been sucked into the the hunt for Bree.
Because lonelygirl15.com was known to have been registered on May 12th, 2006, before the videos started, most fans assumed that the site was being monitored. Many users at the site were concerned about sock-puppets and trolls who were supposedly posting false information to obscure the truth behind lonelygirl15. This led a group of users, who would come to be known as the Phorum 3 to talk outside the Phorum via instant messages and develop a plan to trace IP addresses. The false-information controversies included a mysterious poster known as "t", who claimed to know who was behind the lonelygirl15 project, and posted "clues" about Bree's identity starting on August 31st, 2006, which all turned out to be false.
As the number of users grew, the Phorum became increasingly unreadable, and flame wars became more common. For example, Jessica of the Phorum 3 engaged in heated and lengthy debates with impish BigManOnCampus333 over nothing much in particular. Frustrated with Bukanator's lack of moderation, a group of fans set up a new forum, The Children of Anchor Cove, on Sept. 4. Most fans left the Phorum. The administrators of Lonelygirl15.com eventually took down the Phorum and replaced it with more sophisticated forum software.
Many members of The Children of Anchor Cove still refer to the forums at lonelygirl15.com as the Phorum.
That information includes:
- On August 28, poster Flwright, an architect, opined that the videos were filmed in apartment buildings instead of detached single family housing, which turned out to be true.
- On August 29 a report of a botanist that the Hiking video had likely taken place in central to southern California was posted. This was the first concrete evidentiary link to California.
- On August 30, the initial findings of the Phorum 3 linking lonelygirl15 to "San Mateo - Mountain View" California were posted, though their methods were kept secret. Also, a poster known as Curious Botanist also linked the flora in the new Swimming video to southern California.
- On September 1, poster scdgoofy revealed that Kenneth Goodfried, an attorney in Encino, California, had filed to register lonelygirl15 as a trademark on August 21st, 2006.
Notable Phorum posters
- Alissa Brooke - Subsequent founder of The Children of Anchor Cove
- Bukanator - The rarely seen and mysterious moderator
- flwright - Architect who opined that videos were filmed in apartments
- HyeMew - Dauntless Dean of All LG15 Fans, MySpace Danielbeast
- Jessica - Ringleader of the Phorum 3
- John Green - Author
- Milowent - well-known blogger, suspected by some to be a famous musician
- scdgoofy - Unearthed lonelygirl15.com trademark registration
- SharpDressedMan - Member of the Phorum 3
- t - Hoax perpetrator
- Terryfic- Of YouTube Auteur Fame
- ununhexium - Shaina Wedmedyk, member of the Phorum 3