Thank you GTTG.
You know, when I started my first forum, I had no idea it would amount to something of this scale.
Here's a quick summary:
It all started back in 2002, when I was still doing my Masters in Biochemistry. I used to have those long experiments with extended incubations, during which I would pass the time reading or surfing the Internet in a nearby computer lab. At the time, I was beginning to think a lot about abiogenesis and evolution, and I wanted to be part of an interdisciplinary discussion group where I can toss ideas around. I looked and found a few forums, but none of them was quite what I was looking for. So I thought hell I'll start a new group, and I did. It was first done on MSN groups, and it had one theme "zero tolerance to non-science". The group gained momentum slowly at first, but due to the standard that we enforced, it quickly started to gain members. At some point, I joined my group with that of a very bright fella from Canada (he went by the nickname of PlayToe), who had started his own group that was mostly evolution based.
The MSN group however was technically limited, with very few features and limited control over the group's web structure (in its three or so years of existence, the MSN group grew to only a fraction of what this SCF amassed in its first year). PlayToe and I agreed that at some point we'll have to move out, so I registered the domain name http://www.sciencechatforum.com
in 2004 I think, and put it aside for future use. In early 2005, I started putting together a website and a forum. I had been doing some webdesign and development for fun, so those skills came in handy. The first version of SCF was published officially in April 1, 2005. The announcement was made in the MSN group that we will be closing it down and moving to the new location. This angered a few members which I suppose were more interested in the msn context than the science group itself. Eventually, around a 100 members (of the total 400 or so) moved to this new group, generally those who were most actively involved in discussions. Forest, who was already a co-manager in the MSN group transferred his position here and became a moderator. PlayToe eventually dropped out, and other members simply stopped posting (I remember hardstreet) or got banned for misconduct (I remember dg). So basically the only active member that I recognize here today from the old group is Darren Lo. Cheers Darren!
So in short, one can consider April 1st, 2005 to be the birth date of the science section of this group. By that date, I had already been running the #science channel on Dalnet IRC, and from there I recruited my first moderators. Those who remain till today are LucretiaX, Rettaw, and jc_denton. Antisocial_boris was a recent recruit from the channel. Silkworm, Giacomo, and Marshall however were recruited from the group itself.
SCF sprung to three times the size of the MSN group in it's first year. It was attracting a diverse group of members, many of which had philosophical/theological predispositions, so clearly a philosophy section was in demand in order to maintain proper compartmentalization within the forum sections.
Around a year or more ago, mtbturtle acquired channel #philosophy on Dalnet, and I approached her with an offer for partnership, but I'll leave talking about PCF's origins to her.
Today, the forums hold over 3100 members, growing at an average of 120 members per month now. The attending audience seems to be mostly undergraduate and graduate university students, with some professors, practicing professionals, or nonacademic scientists (Lincoln), or just lay users who are merely interested to learn/chat about science and philosophy (sorry for not naming everyone, you're too many!).