Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Five years on

At the beginning of this month, five years ago, we launched the (then) new forum. Total posts now run to 103,651 on 8,419 separate topics, from 903 members. Our newest member is Autonomous Mind. I note with some wry amusement that we included in our launch statement this:
... Helen and I both reserve the right to delete or move abusive, verbose or polemical posts that interrupt the flow of discussion. This is not "censorship". Anyone has freedom of the internet, but websites are private space and, as in newspapers, you have no right to be published.
That one issue has perhaps given us more grief than enough, as some of the more aggressive trolls regarded it as their God-given right to deposit their pearls of wisdom on our forum.

Having weathered a heavy-duty hacking from Moslem fundamentalists, our main problem is the high volume of serial spammers, determined to convince us of the merits of bootleg Viagra and other merchandise, their additional aim being to harvest the credit card numbers for onwards sale.

Despite this, we have avoided the temptation to go for pre-moderation and, generally, we still operate a very light touch, even when, on the one occasion we got a long intervention from a serving minister. We guess that there are not many forums which have had such posts.

However, there remain technical problems which have never really been resolved, and with the acquisition of our own domain, we are thinking through possible developments, of which we will apprise you when we know what we are doing ... there is a first time for everything (knowing what we are doing, being one of them).

With luck, that should see us through another five years of what to date has been a very rewarding experience, bringing many new friends who have made our little "community" a very worthwhile enterprise.