Perhaps you’ve seen the “ThoofRank” badges that have started popping up on blogs all over the place (including this one).  The thoof rank badges indicate the level of interest there is in the page (or blog entry) that you submit to Thoof.  When Thoof readers click on the link to read your page, the Thoof system adds that to it’s calcualtion and estimates what percentage of Thoof’d articles yours is better than according to how many people have viewed what.  This system allows Thoof to learn what kind of articles each of their users is interested in and allows them to present personalized news for each reader.

Sound complicated?  Perhaps, but it isn’t really, It just means that when you put that thoof rank badge on something you can expect it to start at 1% and then climb as people read it from the link to it on Thoof

The name on the other hand, is a bit different to say the least.  There are several stories floating around as to where it came from and what it means.  One involves a highly advance race of time traveling equines from a planet in the Andromeda galaxy.

In the course of time one of their archivists was researching time lines to determine what events had to be watched to insure history unfolded in just the right way.  Any change was potentially disastrous because they were working far enough back in time that even the smallest thing could eventually lead to a cascading series of events that would literally undo their entire civilization.  There were frequent missions into the past to correct events that would have otherwise gone wrong.

This particular archivist was researching the details of Ian Clarke’s life and noticed that there was a crisis point occurring.  It seems that Mr Clarke was preparing to launch his personalized news website and according to their time line monitoring system it was essential that this service have the correct name, specifically it had to have one that had powerful significance in their culture.  True Hoof, which signified integrity and accuracy.

The archivist reported this to his superiors and a mission was scheduled.  It was to be a particularly easy mission because all the agent had to do was make the journey 400 million years back in time where the agent would materialize in Clarke’s bedroom, use a voice to thought transmitter to implant the name in his mind and return.

Unfortunately this was a particularly busy point in history, with several thousand important things to adjust and monitor going on at any one time.  All of the seasoned agents were away on missions of critical importance.  They had no choice but to assign this job to what can only be described as the klutziest fumble minded trainee that ever stood on four hooves.

The archivist and his superior decided that it was safe enough because of the simplicity of the mission and sent him anyway.

The agent was excited, never having actually been allowed to undertake a mission before.  To calm his nerves he decided to eat something to calm himself.  So as the time machine warped it’s way through time and space, he set to eating.  Being something of a gourmet, he got seriously involved and before he knew it, he had overindulged.  He realized what he had done when he caught himself falling asleep with his head in a dish of particularly tasty soup.

The alarm sounded and he struggled awake and headed to the exit.  The time ship arrived in Clarke’s bedroom with a soft pulsing light as it materialized.  The door opened and the agent literally fell out of the ship because he’d been sleeping against the door.

He struggled to activate the voice to thought transmitter.  It took the last of his remaining strength to speak into the transmitter.  Sadly, even though he only had to speak two words, he was unable to pronounce them clearly at all and what ended up being implanted in Clarke’s mind wasn’t True Hoof, instead the words were run together and ended up sounding like “Thoof”, followed by a soft snoring that would haunt his dreams for years to come.

After a few minutes the agent managed to wake up enough to return to the time ship and issue the return command before he passed out for good.

When he arrived back at the base he was found sound asleep at the control panel.  Fortunately for the agent he never had to account for how he fouled up the mission.  Ian Clarke had named his new site “Thoof” and the wave of change proceded through history, getting larger and larger as it approached the end of history that the time lords called home.

Approximately 47 seconds after the time ship returned to Gallifrey the wave of change caught up with it.  The supervisor had just enough time to realize that the mission had not gone right, but not enough to know how it had failed.  The agent was just waking up as the wave of change hit their time.  Gallifrey rippled and it’s citizens vanished, to be replaced by a humanoid race.  Strangely enough, most of the equipment remained, although it was instantly transformed from equine oriented design to a human oriented one.

The agent vanished and was replaced by a human looking person who stepped into the T.A.R.D.I.S. (Time And Relative Dimensions In Space) and closed the door behind him.  A few seconds later there is a soft pulsing sound as the device vanished.

{Edit: Thoof has long since died on the vine, however I’m leaving the story up because I think it’s a good one.}

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