The Dark Wizard is Max, the man behind RpNation and VelocityIO.
Can you give us a brief bio?
Hey, My name is Max and I used to be a web design student before I gave up on that and switched to a combination of Computer Science & Business Administration. I love Video Games, Roleplaying, Reading books and most of all watching the install process of a brand new XF forum.
What is your educational background?
I'm well on my way to my masters in Computer Science and one in Business Administration
What's the significance of your username "The Dark Wizard"?
Most people know me by Wizard or my real name which is Max. My username came to be from when I was about 12 and played my first game of Dungeons and Dragons and made a Wizard. Now that I think back on it, it is slightly embarrassing but everyone knows me as such. Might attempt to change to my real name in the future.
What do you consider as your accomplishments up to this point?
VelocityIO.com and its amazing customer base that keeps growing & RpNation.com. There are a few other sites that I've helped over the years but I'm not allowed to discuss with out their written permission.
Any failures you'd care to tell us about?
Wikis, I failed drastically at a major wiki project and then attempted it again and once again failed.
What is your fulltime job?
VelocityIO.com and my studies.
What other projects and/or ventures are you involved in?
I've been involved in many projects over the years as I originally started to gain a reputation on the online forum scene by advising and assisting various communities. I've done things from pets to cars to roleplaying all the way to video games. I think my most favorite however was Warcraft 3 related(when it comes to not being a site that I own).
What is your ultimate professional goal, your dream job?
For VelocityIO to continue to grow and become big in the industry as well as owning/participating/administrating my dream forum/site.
Describe your typical workday schedule.
VelocityIO support opens at 9 am for non emergencies and I stay on the clock until midnight my time. Emergencies are 24/7 and to help with all the customer requests, we consist of a team of 4 (including my self).
How did the RPNation come about?
RpNation was a site I used to help and advise for a long time until the owner wanted to part and sell the community. I acquired it from him last year and merged my board into it which used to be called Roleplay.Zone. The board has exploded in activity ever since easily becoming one of the most active sites in its niche. Collectively I've been doing R sites for over 8 years now.
What are the features of RPNation that make it successful?
Our amazing staff team some of which have been with me for over 6 years now, have created along with my self everything you see on the site. From the designs, to custom features and other things. When we haven't had the time to make something, we've had Jon WJon W do it for us. One of our most successful features is his tabs add-on which allows users to tab together various threads to create a bigger environment for their stories/roleplays.
Over all though we've had things break, fail and we've even had vital site features removed in the past due to containing malicious coding and the site endured. So while it is not a feature, the thing that makes it the most successful is its thousands of dedicated and active daily members.
How do you see the internet in general changing over the next 5 to 10 years? What about online communities in particular?
Something that people seem to forget is that the internet is actually really young, at least mainstream internet is(where a majorly of the population has it). I think we will become more and more integrated with the internet and I for one welcome that. I personally think that having access to information and the ability to connect to anyone in the world will slowly and surely improve the world, it already has. I know this may seem silly but I am of the believe that as the internet advances, we will see less wars and other hateful things in the world. Its one of the reasons why certain dictatorships try so hard to censor their population's internet. Information is Education. Education is Power.
As for the online communities, this is something that has been staggering greatly over the past few years. I hate the misconception that Facebook and other communities like that(such as twitter) have killed forums and online communities. On the contrary, I believe Facebook is a fad. Its not at all great for a proper online discussion. Online communities just need to find that thing that will make them stand out more the casual user.
What are the most common technical mistakes you see new admins making?
I see a lot of new admins making the mistake of incorrectly setting up their server/choosing poor hosting.
What are the most common administrative mistakes you see new admins making?
Adding tons of empty forums to a site. Never do that, makes your site look more dead then it actually is. I also don't think that you should start a brand new forum with the intention of making money from it unless its in a very specific niche where you know it will instantly boom.
Beginners see large forums and all they money they make but what they fail to understand is that those sites took 5+ years to get where they are, often with out a single ad. Users just don't respond well to it for the most part unless its done properly and your site is big enough in its niche where they just can't leave and go somewhere else where the ads bother them. This obviously doesn't even include the fact that most of your members will be using ad blocker whether you want them to or not so you'll need a lot of time and a large memberbase to make it worth while.
Which forums do you visit regularly?
xenforo.com rpnation.com vbulletin.com invisionpower.com CrunchyRoll xenadmins.com and a few others.
What are your favorite books? Movies? TV shows? Music? Games? Foods? Beverages?
My favorite books currently are a part of The Dresden Files series. Movies include The Avengers, Spiderman, and other hero flicks like that.
Current favorite TV Shows include:
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
The Vampire Diaries(don't judge me)
The Originials(Seriously don't judge me)
Once Upon a Time(Okay you can judge me)
Glee(I give up)
and many more. I basically really like mainstream television. Really looking forward to the 3rd season of House of Cards as well.
I also love anime but that would be too many too list.
As for music, I really like video game music as well as certain death metal, rock and pop. Sometimes country.
Games: Currently enjoying Heroes of the Storm, Darkest Dungeon, DoTA 2, League of Legends, Starcraft 2, Smite, Diablo 3 and many quick/small/indie games on steam. My most favorite genre is RPGs though(No I don't like Skyrim).
I used to be big on junk food since I had an excellent metabolism and I never really gained weight. Now I mostly eat healthy, which includes vegis, certain kinds of meats and a strict diet. I was originally forced into it after I had a tumor removed from my face(none cancerous but it was resting on top of the nerve that controlled motor function on the left side of my face, which thankfully I managed to keep even though the surgeon said I would lose motor functions).
I quickly learned however that even on a diet, food tastes fantastic.
What do you do for fun and relaxation?
Work on Servers, RpNation, Roleplaying, VelocityIO, TV Shows & Anime as well as going out with friends and family.
What do you know now that you wish you'd known 10 years ago?
Everything basically. 10 years ago I wouldn't have been able to manage a server for the life of me.
Tell us something about yourself that we don't already know.
Hmmm......I'm not sure. Ask me something and I will answer .
What does the future hold for The Dark Wizard?
Hopefully with some hard work and if the universe allows, VelocityIO will keep expanding at the rate it has, I will finish and come out of school with my masters. RpN will continue to grow and become the best RPing site in the world. I also see my self still advising/assisting communities as users approach and ask for my help.