When you help someone up a hill, you get that much closer to the top yourself. -Anonymous

Matt Astle, 1998-2000

It's all kind of fuzzy now anyway, but I joined the Board in (I believe) fall 1998, when I saw a little paper on the Board saying that if you'd like to work for the Board, email this guy. This guy turned out to be Andy Pearson. I went to one meeting and was indoctrinated in the ways of the Board, chose a couple of good pseudonyms, and was off to work. I don't know how I was chosen to be chief editor--I think I just volunteered when Andy stepped down.

I had a staff of about 20 writers, very few of whom I ever saw face to face (and knew it, at least). Our rules were: Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer; ask a serious question, get a serious answer. In those days, the only way to submit a question was on a physical slip of paper in the physical (lockless) box at the physical Board. I still continued to email the questions, sometimes to the whole group asking who wanted what question, and sometimes to individuals that I thought could handle it best based on past works. Very often, I saved the juiciest questions for myself (those are the perks of leadership). The writers would do their thing, email me back the answers, I would put them all into a Word document and print it off and staple it to the Board.

Every now and then, when I felt I needed new writers, I would post a paper on the Board asking interested applicants to email me. When I was hired as a staff writer, there was a little meeting I had to go to, where the current leaders of the Board (including Andy) told us what we needed to know. I didn't have that kind of time, so I created a standard long email explaining how the Board works, and the rules of the game (anonymity, mysteriousness, etc.) that I sent out to the new writers instead. That email extended the anonymity even among the Board writers themselves.

With such a cool and popular program running at BYU, not to mention an organization without any administrative supervision, it was only a matter of time before the Board somehow ran afoul somewhere of authority. The Board was taken to task for the practice of using pseudonyms. Pseudonyms were deemed dangerous and unacceptable, for people under a mask of secrecy will say and do many things they would not otherwise say or do, things that they probably should not say or do. Somehow, however, the 100 Hour Board was allowed to carry on.

However, pseudonym issues weren't all The Board experienced. First they took down the Board from where it was on the side of the floral shop to make more space for the ad board. There was a scare that we wouldn't get any space at all. That tipped us off that BYUSA had it out for us, and Andy and I mobilized and met with the Powers that Be (or the Powers that Were) in BYUSA. I don't remember who they were, but there was at least one adult involved. I believe it was in BYUSA's plan all along to just put the Board back up on the other side of the hall by the computer lab, because they did so in a few days. But when we brought it to their attention, that's when they started asking themselves whether the Board should exist at all.

Their concern was that, as a division of SAC, the Board was spending too much wall space on silly stuff, and it should spend more on responding to student concerns about campus. They thought the purpose of the Board was to gather information from the masses for SAC, so SAC could make BYU a better place for everyone. We tried to explain to them that it had a dual purpose: gathering information AND entertainment. If it weren't funny and interesting, we argued, no one would read it, and then no one would submit questions, and then it would be useless for anything. We had to show them representative questions and answers, and I think they even counted to see what percentage were legitimate "student concern-type questions" (and I don't think "Can I wear a shrub on my head and still be OK with the Honor Code?" counted). They were concerned about the sarcastic and sometimes even demeaning tone some answers took to the questioners (this is BYU, after all). But in the end I think we prevailed simply because we proved to them that the Board was 100 percent self-contained. They didn't need to spend ANY money or time on it. We bought the paper and staples out of our own allowances, and as long as there's a Board on the wall, we could take care of the whole thing.

I demoted myself back to staff writer (I think) for fall 1999, and left the Board for good in summer 2000 when I went to LA for an internship.

In time, the Board distanced itself from SAC, and there was no longer any communication between the Board and SAC.