Origin of the forums?

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Origin of the forums?

Postby goingtothedogs on October 16th, 2007, 10:11 am 

What are the origins of SCF? Is it one of the universities? One of the members? What?
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Postby Forest_Dump on October 17th, 2007, 5:33 am 

Of course, there was another web site but not everyone migrated even after that one was shut down. I guess not all those interested in science are always fully adaptable to new things.
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Postby goingtothedogs on October 17th, 2007, 5:39 am 

Well in fact I did try another science forum myself, but I find SCF much better.

It's a more interesting mix of members and doesn't seem to have quite so many teenagers looking to have their homework done for them...
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Postby Lincoln on October 17th, 2007, 8:09 am 

You know bio and mtb...it would be interesting to have a paragraph or two as part of the FAQ or something for both sites, identifying the original people and how it came to pass, plus a timeline. It'd be like liner notes for a band or something. You could identify the Ringo's and who was the Peter Best equivalent.

I'd be curious in any event...Was it conceived in a smokey bar after the crowd had left and all that remained was an old black man, with a rumpled fedora and an air of New Orleans, who sat in the corner, playing a tired and languid sax? Mtb stubbed out her last cigarette for the night, knocked back the last shot, stared morosely at the last few drops of cheap bourbon and turned to bio and said "That's it then...we're done with jazz and we'll run herd over a bunch of internet geeks..." And the rest, as they say, is history...

Or something like that.
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Postby BioWizard on October 17th, 2007, 12:00 pm 

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!).
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Postby mtbturtle on October 17th, 2007, 12:23 pm 

BioWizard wrote: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.


No that's about right other than it's been almost 2 years. PCF will be 2 years old in Dec. and it's all BioWizard's fault.

I became founder of #philosophy. BioWizard offered to do a webpage and the forums as a outlet for the channel which would serve as a companion and compliment to SCF while remaining separate and independent from SCF. It sounded like a win-win situation. I wasn't sure what to expect, what PCF would become or what we would do with it, but it's taken on a life of it's own and moved way beyond it's modest goals of support for the chatroom.

...And thus the unholy alliance between Philosophy and Science was forged in the darkeness of the night...oh wait wrong story.
Last edited by mtbturtle on October 17th, 2007, 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby BioWizard on October 17th, 2007, 1:06 pm 

Ah yes you're right, it's probably closer to 2 years now. Do you remember the exact date?
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Postby Forest_Dump on October 17th, 2007, 1:10 pm 

Yes, with the brightness and brilliance of the sun rising over the edge of the ditch I sometimes wake up in.
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Postby mtbturtle on October 17th, 2007, 1:11 pm 

BioWizard wrote:Ah yes you're right, it's probably closer to 2 years now. Do you remember the exact date?


Dec 16, 2005 I think is when we launched PCF
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Postby goingtothedogs on October 17th, 2007, 7:06 pm 

so if i've got this right, you decided to launch scf on april fool's day? :-)
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Postby BioWizard on October 17th, 2007, 7:08 pm 

D'OH!
Image

Yes yes. It was the most elaborate April fool's prank ever, and now you must all leave! there ARE no forums.

Truth is, the launch was originally scheduled for March 30th, but it got delayed two days for technical reasons.
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Postby goingtothedogs on October 20th, 2007, 11:43 am 

Lincoln wrote:You know bio and mtb...it would be interesting to have a paragraph or two as part of the FAQ or something for both sites, identifying the original people and how it came to pass, plus a timeline. It'd be like liner notes for a band or something. You could identify the Ringo's and who was the Peter Best equivalent.

I'd be curious in any event...Was it conceived in a smokey bar after the crowd had left and all that remained was an old black man, with a rumpled fedora and an air of New Orleans, who sat in the corner, playing a tired and languid sax? Mtb stubbed out her last cigarette for the night, knocked back the last shot, stared morosely at the last few drops of cheap bourbon and turned to bio and said "That's it then...we're done with jazz and we'll run herd over a bunch of internet geeks..." And the rest, as they say, is history...

Or something like that.


Lincoln, I think you watch too many Humphrey Bogart movies.............. :-)
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Postby Lincoln on October 20th, 2007, 10:20 pm 

Nah...just mtb = 40's movie siren somehow fits my sense of the world.... I'm not as confident about bio in a fedora...
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Re: Origin of the forums?

Postby zetreque on July 4th, 2015, 2:58 am 

Cool story. I have been stalking Biowizard since around 2005 at least. muhahahaa
I am curious if you could add a couple details around how you discovered dalnet (IRC) and created #science?

That's where my story links in.
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Re: Origin of the forums?

Postby manishsqrt on July 21st, 2015, 5:20 am 

The question in the first thread was really interesting, i thought some senior moderator or the admin would answer that.Its a nice forum we all know, but yet can't see the answer for the actual question.By the way a forum that has least spam is obviously nice.
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Re: Origin of the forums?

Postby mtbturtle on July 21st, 2015, 6:29 am 

manishsqrt » Tue Jul 21, 2015 4:20 am wrote:The question in the first thread was really interesting, i thought some senior moderator or the admin would answer that.Its a nice forum we all know, but yet can't see the answer for the actual question.By the way a forum that has least spam is obviously nice.


umm BioWizard answered the origins, how the forums started - viewtopic.php?f=117&p=284488#p61364
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