I really don't remember when I started reading the Board. I noticed it one day back in 2001 or so while I was walking through the bottom of the Wilk and stopped to read when I was there, but I was hardly consistent.
I became a bit more of a regular when I found the online version (the old online version) but still wasn't a die hard reader. I did, however, submit some questions and a few corrections on topics I was familiar with and even got a chewing out by one of the writers when they disagreed with my correction. Even though I still wasn't reading on a daily basis, I thoroughly enjoyed the Board.
After a couple more posts where I thought I could have done a better job on a couple of topics, I decided to stop criticizing and try to help make the Board better. I applied to be a writer. The Board wasn't asking for applicants at the time, so I was anticipating a long wait. It wasn't too long before I got an email from an Erin Hallmark (the editor at that time) congratulating me on acceptance as a writer. I was brought on just before Christmas break in December of 2003. From there on out, I was as loyal as one could be to the Board.
After writing for a couple months shy of two years, I was given stewardship of the Board. Duchess and Ambrosia had recently done a fantastic job of saving it from the clutches of BYUSA. Unfortunately, the whole process took a toll on the writers while morale and commitment sagged a bit. Several writers had real trouble getting past what happened but in the end, writers just had to put it behind them or retire. Thankfully, those that chose to retire were a small minority.
While I am sure that we lost some readers from being offline and being censored, we continued to grow. In fact, we started experiencing some growing pains. Being indexed in Google, in Wikipedia, and gaining more fame means an increase in question submission volume and a higher workload. A bigger workload means either more time from each writer or more writers. Neither solution came easily so a third option was employed: The Board (as opposed to the BYUSA mandated censorship) started turning down questions other than those that were patently offensive.
We knew we were going to keep growing and that we couldn't just keep coming up with more disqualifying factors to keep our writer-to-question ratio tolerable. We had to hire more writers, better writers, writers who could leap small buildings in a single bound, writers who were faster than a speeding bullet, and . . . ok, writers who could actually do some research outside of Google and who could show some personality. In an effort to find those writers, we turned the application into a two stage process. No longer were there generic questions that one had to answer. When you filled out and submitted your initial application, you would be quizzed on the topics you put told us you could specialize in. You had to put your research where your mouth, or rather keyboard, is. It certainly brought about more work for the editors, but I think we found better writers because of it.
Of course, just as we let writers and editors retire (occasionally), webmasters sometimes just have to move along to bigger and other things (come on, nothing is better than the Board). And so it was with Fractile.
Dinomight and myself were the webmasters that took up the torch from the Webmaster and made this current revision of the Board a reality [Editor's Note: He refers to version 4.0 of the Board used until Summer 2010]. Starting with byte-cancer, the new website has had a lot thrown at it, from red tape to a week of Board Survivor, and has prevailed thus far. It has been a true experience working with Dinomight, Duchess, Pa Grape, and the rest of the Board to bring the best Question/Answer-ing experience possible. Many hands and many hours have made the Board into what it is today, and I hope that my contributions have helped.
The difficulty in being a webmaster is that you don't always feel like you get noticed. So, we do things like Board Survivor and make sure some of our work is seen. Since I am retiring, I'm going to toot my own horn for a moment because it was simply exciting to have done some of these things for the Board. So, in no particular order: byte-cancer; revised search, pre-categories; initial "Direct Link to Question" page; Board Survivor; all of the down-time content when we were shut down in early 2005, with a special THANKS! to Novel Concept for her skills; statistics re-vamp; the theme system; the newest incarnation of the security system; Top 10 Favorites; Board Pong; caching of "Today's Posts"; and countless other things that the readership, and some of the writership, have never seen.
[ ... ]
Farewell Board, readers and writers. I leave you in the capable hands of Dinomight and my replacement, Curious Physics Minor. Thank you, all of you. Look out for the future, because you never know what it might bring, honest.
In March of 2006, a minor issue that would have some big repercussions came up. An inaccurate answer was given to a gospel question and someone became offended that we were wrong on the topic (the actual topic isn't important). Instead of addressing their concerns to the editors, this person decided to write someone several levels over our head. This person became concerned and came down on us. (All of this sound familiar?) Thankfully, no one pulled the plug on our server but we became restricted on answering anything other than non-controversial, expressly inoffensive, mainstream gospel topics. This was certainly better than being shut down completely like what occurred with BYUSA, but it certainly was a frustration.
In the course of trying to resolve this concern, our dilemma was brought up with the Dean of the College of Humanities. He was sympathetic to our dilemma and felt we are a great resource for BYU and certainly belong here, but was more concerned with the big picture. He asked the Linguistics Society to reexamine whether the 100 Hour Board was central to the mission of the society. Truthfully, we helped each other greatly with us providing research material and them giving us a home, but we weren't "central." They could get material elsewhere. With that conclusion, we (the editors) were approached and asked to find a new home. They explained that we weren't being kicked out, but simply being asked to find somewhere that we fit with better.
So, for the second time in two years, we were searching for a new home. We decided to tackle this quickly with the goal of having a new home, moving servers, and being back up and running at 110% before the start of the next school year.
After a few "shirt and tie" meetings we were referred to the Daily Universe. We were cautiously optimistic (Actually, Optimistic. was optimistic, the other editors were simply hopeful) as we met with the director of the Daily Universe. We were greeted with nothing but enthusiasm as he was thoroughly excited at having the 100 Hour Board (of which, he is a fan) joining up with the Daily Universe. In fact, he said he always felt that we belonged there.
The logistics of the move were hashed out and, to be honest, the move is better for the Board than we could have imagined. The server situation will be better, they are giving us a weekly column, and because we are classified under their "opinion" section, we have quite a bit flexibility to work under.
The celebration of this great boon was somewhat bittersweet for me though. BYU decided against accepting me to the Masters program for Marriage and Family Therapy and Seattle Pacific University decided to take me. I had anticipated being editor for a couple more years and unfortunately, that wasn't going to happen. One cannot effectively participate in our super-secret parties, big meetings, and all the editor responsibilities by telecommuting.
And so, with the Board in a safe, new home at the Daily Universe, I handed over the reigns of the 100 Hour Board and the title of Editor & Chief to Optimistic. I contemplated staying on as a writer, but Ma Grape wanted her husband back. And with two kids, a graduate degree program and a job all staring me in the face, I knew my time had come.
My only regret is that I didn't apply to write earlier in my college career. It was so fulfilling to be a part of something bigger than just me and my classes while at BYU and the absolutely fantastic friends were icing on the cake. May it ever thrive in its new home.
Ethan Bratt, Pa Grape