Thursday, March 1

RIP WHRN

Write Here Right Now is gone.

I first posted way back in 2001. I had started my first job after graduating and as is to be expected a friend and I were pretty bored. The Internet always was able to provide distractions and so we decided to cause havoc on the BBC Asianlife Message Board. We were gonna change the opinions of people one poster at a time.

WHRN was the nucleus of the ALMBs. It was topic agnostic and (almost) anything could be posted about. And it was - the discussions were as varied, smart and funny as the people contributing to them and after a while it became quite the hang out for me in the online world. It was the golden age of the ALMBs, and I'm not ashamed to say that I learned quite a lot from the people there.

But a golden age wouldn't be so retrospectively shiny if it didn't start fading eventually. And such was the case with WHRN; as it became popular (especially after the consistent plugging by the Asian Network, as the BBC tried to consolidate its various Asian interests) it became a victim of this success. I don't think it's a case of rose tinted glasses when I say it was never the same as it was during those earlier years. As the number of regular posters rose, the number of deliberate misanthropes and unintentional clashing of personalities did too. This had implications.

The quality of conversation declined. Blanket and collective punitive measures were taken. It became a censored, castrated place as the relationship between posters and mods broke down. And I had possibly grown out of it anyway, but whatever the reason after a grand 12,000 posts I finally stopped posting there. This place was born as an alternative output for my rantings, and I've not regularly posted on the ALMBs or WHRN since.

Okay, despite the lengthy post it is a trivial matter, and I'm not actually as concerned as it might appear by the history lesson above. Still, I do recognise it as the place where my writings began, the place where good friendships were made and one of the places that really opened my mind to different ways of thinking. I think it's worth noting its closure here, especially since this blog would probably not be here if WHRN never existed.