Most experienced forum administrators are aware of [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikonboard"]Ikonboard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia@@AMEPARAM@@/wiki/File:Forum_illustration.jpg" class="image"><img alt="Forum illustration.jpg" src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/14/Forum_illustration.jpg"@@AMEPARAM@@en/1/14/Forum_illustration.jpg[/ame], the PERL based forum software originally written by Matt Mecham, who then moved on to create the Invision Power Board. So what happened to ikonboard after Matt's departure? We did an interview with David Munn, AKA David-iB, an ikonboard team member, supporter, and fan. ====================================== Please give us a brief bio. I was born in England in 1986 (making me 19) and moved to Brisbane, Australia where I have lived ever since. Professionally, I am working in the hospitality industry, although I am also studying IT and have a high interest in computer related subjects. Why did you move to Australia? Is that where you plan to stay? I moved to Australia when I was a lot younger, a toddler actually with my parents and the Brisbane area is where I have been since. I do plan on heading back over to England (Portsmouth in particular) for an extended holiday in the next couple of years. I am not interested in moving back or away from Australia at this point, the life style here is too great. What is your educational background? Gained a Certificate II in Information Technology back in 2001, since then I have completed High School and stated study towards a Diploma of IT. I also take a heavy interest in web development and design which is a big passion of mine. What is (was?) your involvement with ikonboard and how long have you been with them? I first joined the IB team in 2002, where I stayed for about a year and left due to schooling and personal commitments. I later rejoined in October of 2003 till present. My main role at ikonboard has been with the support team, although at one stage I took control of IB Hackers to try to breath some life into the community - but due to lack of support from upper management the effort soon failed. I have also contributed some code to the forum system. Can you outline the history of ikonboard for us? Ikonboard was originally created by Matt Mecham, who released three different versions of the forum. The Ikonboard 2.x series is where Ikonboard picked up the majority of it's fame, it was free, fast, and feature driven something which UBB wasn't at the time. Shortly after the creation of the 3.x series Matt sold the forum to an American company (Jarvis Entertainment Group) where he stayed for a while as the only paid member of the ikonboard team. Matt decided to leave along with Jarvis Employee Charles Warner to create IPS. John Jarvis decided to bring in another paid developer to take control of ikonboard - this almost killed ikonboard there and then. Fender almost ruined ikonboard through his lack of coding and poor management style. During this period MyIkonboard was created, which to this day the volunteer staff has refused to support. John Jarvis was later forced out of Jarvis Group, which at the time we believe to be a great thing to happen. Jarvis Group changed there name to Westlin Corporation. Ikonboard never had full support from Westlin Corporation, who rarely had any communication with the ikonboard team. Recently John Jarvis has gained control of ikonboard. Throughout my time with ikonboard, we have seen many lead developers come and go - every single one of them driven out due to upper management. Tell us about the ikonboard community and the ikonboard team members during "the good old days". When the development team was headed by "Camil" (now working on ICT), he managed to fix a lot of problems with the code left behind from the past developers, as well as bring in a lot of new features. The support team at that time was dedicated. And community websites were all over the place, IB Hackers was booming! What about the ikonboard community and the ikonboard team members now? The ikonboard team members are hurting a lot at the current time, and we regret that we as a team are unable to provide 100% answers to the public. A few of the team members (and ex lead developers) have been hard at work on ICT - http://www.infinitecore.com which looks like an extremely promising venture. A group of us are working on ways to bring ikonboard back, but under our control. And the rest have had enough of everything and disappeared. As far as the community goes, ikonboard is looking quite sick - only one "hackers" website is still running strong (although not updated by the owner anymore) and that is swarf.net (IB Supported) - some hacks are still being produced and some support is being given. What is the status of ikonboard today? I am not to sure about the current status, I know John Jarvis has the rights to the forums once again. The team has been told nothing at all and any communication we have tried with Jarvis or Westlin has been turned away. At the moment the domain name is on "Register-Lock/Hold" and John Jarvis has Ikonboard listed as a service on one of his websites. We are still fighting for communication with Jarvis or Westlin to get some information. What can you tell us about John Jarvis: -- Why did he purchase ikonboard? He saw potential to make money from ikonboard, to start with he offered it for free and then brought in hosting deals to make money. Later there were a lot of talks that he was going to make ikonboard a paid only product, but due to pressure decided on only that priority support would be paid. -- What happened to his plans? The problem was he plans and ideas changed quite a lot, he made a lot of promises to the completely (post Matt era) volunteer staff that he never met and even denied making them on occasions. He forced out quality coders due to his management and lack of resources he would give to the team. Most of the time ikonboard was developed it was off the Jarvis (later Westlin) servers as we were not given access to them. -- Why/how was he forced out of JEG? He was recently voted out by the Board of Directors of Jarvis Group, who later changed their name to Westlin Corporation. In this process he lost control to all of the web services he brought into the company. Throughout this period the ikonboard team were rarely informed on what was happening - leaving us in the dark once again. -- Who took over? David Herr took over as President of the company and proceeded to tell the team that ikonboard was a priority product at Westlin and everything will be done to help. This was one of the very few bits of communication received from the Westlin ranks. -- How/why did he come back into the picture? October 28 a settlement was made between John and Westlin Group. John Jarvis returned the majority (if not all) of his shares in return for Westlin web services, including Ikonboard. Any thoughts as to why the ikonboard website is inaccessible? The support forums and website were poorly installed on the server to begin with - due to a lot of things being hard coded in which never should have been making it a difficult process to change servers. On saying that, this is taking a lot longer then it ever should have taken - as for the domain it's currently in register-hold/lock. Best case scenario - what happens next? * John retires ikonboard never to bring it back to life - allow it to leave with the little bit of respect it has left. * Hand the forum (rights included) over to the team who are willing to put the effort back into the forum. Worst case scenario - what happens next? * John Jarvis tries to recreate the glory days with a new team - it is bound to fail, without a strong team ikonboard would never have lasted this long. What are you and the other Team members doing in the meantime? We are keeping in contact via private forums trying to find an answer to what exactly is going on - as well as planing out next steps. Personally, I have been banned from the Pitboss forums (Ikonboard apparent new father company) in an effort to find some answers to what's going on. What are the ikonboard users doing in the meantime? Ikonboard users are stuck with no where to turn to, due to all the happenings over the past few years very few community websites exist, with the exception of swarf.net. The team that was left before John took control of ikonboard are in discussion on private forums about what we doing - trying to bring some information in. What are your recommendations for ikonboard users? For your support visit swarf.net - someone will be willing to help you. Don't get your hopes up that something new will ever be released, we are fighting for a solution but answers seem very unlikely. What websites do you visit on a regular basis? Neowin.net and Digg.com are high up in my bookmark lists. I am a massive fan of the English Football Club Portsmouth, so I spend way to much time visiting Pompey websites. I also spend a lot of time working on 4wisemonkeys.com, a community blog with a group of mates Do you have any forums of your own? I run and operate http://www.1arena.com (The Arena), although as of the past few months I have not done a lot with the forum - it runs quite well with the admin team that is in place. How would you describe your moderation style? Relaxed but firm: I will make decisions that other don't like and I have in the past put my foot down when I feel it has been required. In general I let the forum moderate itself, my theory is - the more boundaries you set, the more they will be broken, the more work you have to do. Set smaller boundaries and you have a lot less moderating work to perform. What are the most common technical mistakes you see admins making? * Promoting other admins that don't fit the community style * Not creating an original skin - first impressions counts, even a simple colour change form the original can make a difference. * Don't be scared to bring other in to help out, forums are a community system and administration should be a team effort. What are the most common administrative mistakes you see admins making? * Taking away the users rights to free speech. * Setting up to many rules, keep things simple Do you do any coding/development work? At the moment I am not doing any active coding or development work - in the past I have created some hacks for ikonboard, some public releases some I haven't finished. The most recent piece of development work I have put on hold, and will properly never complete. It involved a rewrite of the ikonboard skin to the latest web standards. Which forum software would you use if/when ikonboard isn't available? I've installed and played with a lot of forum software, and I am yet to find something that jumps out at me and gets me excited enough to use it - so I will still continue to use the latest beta version of ikonboard that I have. What are the essential features for "top of the line" free forum software? Free forum software should have all features like the paid software (using vBulletin and IPB as examples) - look at the Linux community... Just because you can get it for free doesn't mean it isn't as good as Windows. What are your favorite books? Movies? TV shows? Music? Games? Foods? Beverages? I've never been a big reader, the latest book I purchased was an autobiography from Steve Waugh (ex Australian Cricket Caption) - I've managed to read 20pages in about two weeks... All time top movie of mine is We Were Soldiers, it's one of the few movies that still moves me no matter how many times I watch it - its a masterpiece. My taste in music changes rapidly, even I can't keep up with it - the one band that has stood the test of time is an Australia rockabilly band "The Living End". You can never go past a great juicy steak - cooked Medium-Rare of course, with an ice cold beer (Aussie beer VB is always good, and if I like spending money - Corona) What activities do you enjoy when not at work or online? Spending time with friends and family, which are a massive part of my life. Anything that is relaxing will win me over! Please describe your typical weekday schedule? Weekend? I work in hospitality so the majority of the time I find myself working shocking hours and working most weekends. On my odd days off I try to relax, hang out with mates - the usual lounging around things. What is your ultimate career goal / dream job? I would like to end up somewhere in the IT industry, specialising in web development. How do you see the internet in general changing over the next 5 to 10 years? What about online communities in particular? I'm extremely scared for online communities in the future, I strongly feel if a top of the line free forum doesn't hit the market in the next 2 years we are in trouble. Bloging will continue to grow and will reach even bigger heights, bbPress is community software I am keeping a very close eye on. What do you know now that you wish you'd known 10 years ago? 10 years ago - I was extremely young, too young to know wrong form right. 5 years ago - Knowing that I needed to spend more time on school work to push me to the career I wanted to go into. 1 year ago - To stop and reflect, not to let work get in the way of things. What does the future hold for David Munn? Online: Largely depends on ikonboard's future, if somehow we make it return you will actively see me there. If it doesn't you will see me around on a community blog I have with some mates http://www.4wisemonkeys.com (4 Wise Monkeys). Offline: I've recently become involved with an awesome girl, so I will be looking to expand that relationship. Work will always play a big part in my life, and so will taking a holiday back to the UK in the next couple of years. Is there anything else you wish to say about the current and/or future status of ikonboard? On behalf of the ikonboard team I would like to say sorry to everyone using of our software for the current state it's in. Over the past couple of years we have tried to work around the management problems (as much as we could), yet some thing are just out of our control. I would also like to thank TAZ for taking the time to get the views of not only a fan of ikonboard, but a long time team member.