The statements on this page constitute a brief history of my stay at what came to be known as The Chainmaille Board. They are true as well as I can remember them to be. As with all writing on the Internet, take them with a grain of salt. That is, if I've given you no reason to trust my word, then don't trust it.
Charles of The Chainmaille Board currently claims that he's being bought out by WAL-Mart as part of a process of creating a vast online "forum mall" for WAL-Mart's customers. Ignoring the plausibility issues of this idea for the moment, the only major side-effect he claims is the discontinuation of one Dubie's post as resident technical expert. This has caused a great deal of debate, with Dubie claiming that Charles has "sold out" (as well as accusing Charles of stealing his maille and threatening to crack the boards. At the moment, Charles has deleted Dubie's account (or at least, he claims to have done so)). This appears to be at least in part due to my first post to The Chainmaille Board (hereinafter referred to as "TCB") in over a year, in which I said, and I quote, "Bwahaahahahaahaa!" I'm writing this to give you all some idea as to why I would say such a thing, and to give you some idea of how Charles operates.
To start out, let's look at a brief history of the board. It's been in existence for a long time, but its history is hardly regular. When it was first created, it was moderated by two people - Codewarrior and a fellow whose name I cannot remember. I joined the board during this period, on April 28, 2001, about three months after I started mailling.
Sometime in the summer of 2001, Codewarrior ceded control of the board to Charles. I recall something in his farewell address about not having time to devote to maille any more (he was a man of many interests). At any rate, Charles took over and rapidly set about looking for other people to help him moderate the board. By December of 2001, he had working for him as moderators such people as Cinnibar, Lady Lockeout, Julie2022, PoD, SHH, Buddha, Maillemaster, and myself (with Dubie running tech support). If you don't recognize the names, suffice to say that they were all well-known on the boards, and were for the most part calm, rational people. When I was recruited to moderate, I got a phone call from Charles. I remember little about it aside from a five-minute talk about how Charles didn't want to be seen as "the bad guy". This was, I found out, a common refrain in his behind-the-scenes talks (there was a special room where the moderators could discuss issues in privacy). Perhaps I should have seen that as an indication that something was up. At any rate, by the end of the summer of 2002, almost all of the current crop of moderators had resigned, citing either time constraints or personal issues. I later heard that Charles had accepted bribes for moderatorship, and had driven away several of the moderators when he discovered that he basically could not control them.
Why did I leave? Time constraints are certainly an issue. Moderating a board, especially one of the size that TCB was at the time, takes a lot of work. You have to read every post that gets written to your assigned area, and handle them as appropriate. However, what first got me thinking about leaving was the departure of several of the other moderators. They happened too quickly to have been mere coincidence; though I couldn't tell what was going on, I knew something was wrong. One thing in particular I noticed was how in every conflict, nothing could ever be Charles' fault. He was never "the bad guy". How unrealistic is this? Everyone makes mistakes; I would hardly expect in my lifetime to run into a flawless character. Later, talking with a few of the (by now very disgruntled) former moderators, I learned some of the scope of Charles' activities. I'd rather not go into the exact nature of them, as they are private issues of which I am not at liberty to share. Suffice to say that the Charles you see in public is a far cry from the Charles you may see in private, or at least, so I have been told.
If I may indulge in a little armchair psychoanalysis, I would like to say that Charles' greatest fear is lack of control. Under the guise of making TCB a "family forum", he banned links to his biggest competitors. He likewise locked down a great deal of discussion by implementing a vast series of rules. He chose moderators based on who was in good standing in the community, but many of them left shortly after they started, bitter and angry. In the process of maintaining control, he twisted the forum from a fairly friendly place to one in which a great deal of conversation revolves around whether or not he's doing the right thing, which is hardly a good sign. Charles has turned TCB into a personality cult revolving around himself, and he'll do whatever it takes to keep that cult going. This whole "WAL-Mart" thing is chosen so as to be sufficiently outrageous as to generate more discussion about him, which is really all he cares about.
Now granted, Charles has spent a great deal of time and money on TCB. Discussion forums aren't cheap. But ask yourself this - why is he spending this money? Is it to foster discussion about maille, or to keep his cult growing?
Derakon, former cult member
All items on this site are copyright 2004 Chris Weisiger (a.k.a. Derakon). That's right - I made everything on this site. Reproduction of any of my work i\ n whole or in part requires my express consent.