wgEric is one of the people that make phpBB run. He is the Modifications Team Leader. I had a chance to conduct an interview with him about a month ago.
Thanks to wgEric again for agreeing to the interview.
1.Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Eric Faerber and I am currently a senior in highschool. I live in Kaysville, Utah which is about 20-30 minutes North of Salt Lake City in Utah. Like any other Teenager, I love to have fun whether that is playing sports, hanging out with friends, or sleeping in until the afternoon. I really enjoy technology ranging from anything to do with audio, computers, video games, and everything else.
2.What is your educational background?
This spring I should be graduating from highschool. Hopefully, I’ll be entering a university this fall. I’m thinking of doing something with computers, probably a computer science degree.
3.What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
I would say becoming the Modifications Team Leader for phpBB. Lots of good things have happened since I have been invited to join the MOD Team.
4.Any memorable failures?
Worldwide Elite Gamers (WWEG) which later became Electronic Gaming Community (EGC) is what comes to my mind first. I worked on this site with a couple of guys from England for many years. We gained at most five active members over the years. Eventually we all got tired of running the site and it died.
I think just about everyone has tried their luck at a video game website and very few have succeeded. It was fun working on these sites and without them I probably would have never used phpBB. The wG in my name also came from WWEG. If I remember correctly, it stands for World Gamer
5.How did you first get into Coding/Programming?
My older brother had taken a HTML class in highschool and taught me some of it. That’s when I created my first website, Eric’s Cheats. As you can see, it’s a real nightmare of a site. It was even more of a nightmare to update since I hadn’t heard of PHP at the time.
After that I became involved with WWEG, I taught myself PHP in order to create a simple script to update the site.
6.How did you become involved with phpBB and how did you come to be on the phpBB Staff?
For the WWEG message boards we were using Ezboards. We wanted a solution that was free without any advertisements. A member of our forums suggested phpBB and I looked into it. I really enjoyed phpBB and modification’s community appealed greatly to me. I started installing MODs to get use to phpBB’s code and I later wrote my first modification for phpBB, Admin Userlist.
After I had written a few more modifications, I saw a post by John Abela, the phpBB Modifications Team Leader at the time, saying he was looking for people to join the MOD Team. I decided to try my luck and here I am today.
7.What do you do for phpBB on a regular/daily basis?
I oversee the modifications section of phpBB as well as help with the day to day operations of phpBB. Overseeing the modifications section involves validating MODs (looking over MODs to make sure they meet a certain standard) that are submitted to our database, moderating the MOD forums, and providing support to MOD Authors.
8.Is there anything in store that we should be excited about?
Olympus! Olympus (named after Martian mountain [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympus_Mons"]Olympus Mons - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia@@AMEPARAM@@/wiki/File:Olympus_Mons_alt.jpg" class="image"><img alt="Olympus Mons alt.jpg" src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/00/Olympus_Mons_alt.jpg/200px-Olympus_Mons_alt.jpg"@@AMEPARAM@@commons/thumb/0/00/Olympus_Mons_alt.jpg/200px-Olympus_Mons_alt.jpg[/ame]) is the codename for the next major release of phpBB (v3.0). The new style that Tom (subBlue) is working on is amazing! I think everyone will enjoy it greatly. The style isn’t the only thing people should look forward to. The features, code and everything else is a large improvement from phpBB 2.0.
9.Do you have any advice for people that want to get started in coding/devoping modifications?
Read the articles that have been written and look at other MODs. Instead of jumping head first into writing your own large MOD, install lots of different MODs to get an idea on how phpBB is written. Also start by writing small MODs. Your first MOD shouldn’t be as large as the Attachment Mod, Categories Hierarchy, or Cash Mod. Of course, learn at least the basics of PHP.
10.Do you believe that forums are an important part of the internet?
Hmm, part of me wants to say yes because of phpBB but the other part says no becuase people can use other ways to communicate. Communication is a big part of the internet and people need some way to express their ideas whether that is through a message board, mailing list, or some other method.
11.What common mistakes do you see Administrators making?
Having too many forums which makes the message board look empty. Another mistake is not creating a unique site. There are thousands of video game sites but how many sites do you see about teddy bears? Not nearly as many. Find something unique that people would be interested in and users are more likely to stay at your site.
12.Do you have any advice for other administrators?
Like I said above, find a unique topic for your message board and keep it small until your user base gets larger. Be nice to the members and participate. Users like friendly administrators and moderators.
13.What do you do for fun?
I snowboard in the winter and wakeboard in the summer. I’m not any good but I enjoy doing both of those. What guy doesn’t enjoy a boat full of girls in bikinis?
14.Do you visit any other online communities?
I mostly lurk. I don’t have a lot of time to spend posting at different message boards.
15.What would be your dream job?
A freeloader would be fun. Wait, that’s what I am right now. Seriously, I don’t know. I haven’t decided yet what I want to do with the rest of my life. Right now programming websites sounds like a great job.
16.Anything else you want to add?
Nothing that I can think of.