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The Legend of Joe Medallion

by Greg Sax

Most online forums have their nuisances, and the Medallion Hunt discussion group has been, unfortunately, no exception. Flamers, ranters, potty-mouths...they all turn up now and again. Oftentimes, the troublemaker will suddenly go mum as the group moderator clams them up with magic knobs and switches at Pioneer Planet headquarters. But one young fellow (at least we presumed he was young based on his k12.edu e-mail address) was a reasonable enough flamer to NOT have posting privileges taken away. He called himself many things, but mostly he was Joe Medallion.

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Cooler Crew -- A History

During the 1990's, the St Paul Pioneer Press opened online discussion forums. These forums were called Water Coolers. The forums had discussion topics related to sports, politics, news, and current events. Each year, the Pioneer Planet — the online section of the Pioneer Press — opened a discussion forum as a media for hunters to discuss the clues for the Winter Carnival Medallion Hunt.

During the earlier years, one might find a few hundred posts during the hunt. As more hunters had computers, those numbers jumped. From 1997 to 1998, the number of posts increased from the hundreds to the 5-digit thousands. It was during the 1998 hunt the Cooler Crew was born.

The community spirit and teamwork displayed in the Pioneer Press Medallion Hunt thread was inspiring. The group of hunters found themselves at the end of a hunt not wanting to let go of new friendships and the camaraderie found on the Water Cooler board. The idea emerged to do what anyone would do in the middle of winter in Minnesota. A picnic in Cherokee was planned - the first Rehash Bash!

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