These are the best of times, and the worst of times...(long version)
I won't waste time explaining the subject line, as most of you reading this will know the personal matters pre-occupying me these days.
As many of you know, 2006 is our 5 year anniversary as a "community site." At times like this, it is human nature to get nostalgic, even sentimental.
Where did we come from? How did we get here? Where do we go from here?
ThePuristS.com has come a long way, but regardless of the ups and downs of the journey, there have been some ideals I and my volunteer moderator team have always tried to honor, even as we recognize that change and evolution is inevitable in life -
"Pursuing Perfection in an Imperfect World"
"The Right Information, All The Time"
"Civility, Respect, Appreciation, with Passion"
Contrary to what some would accuse, the administration of ThePuristS has always tried to avoid dogmatism, and we have never allowed ourselves to hide behind iron clad "rules" to justify inhumanity. But in the end, I realize it is all a judgement call, and to those that might have differed from our past judgement calls, I ask for your understanding and extend my hand in conciliation.
Not only has ThePuristS.com changed, but the greater world around us has changed - 4, 3, even 2 years ago, there really were only two serious choices for relatively broad based yet profound horological knowledge and experience - Timezone.com, and ThePuristS.com. Of course, it could be argued that Paneristi could be considered the greatest success of the three, in its more specialised, focused area.
Today, many of those that started out with Timezone and ThePuristS have graduated and gone on to start their own resources; become local, regional, even internationally known experts and industry watchers; even as the greater pool of interested readers has grown in size. It has been a classic "all win" scenario - the pie has grown larger, so growth is possible without stealing "marketshare."
At least, that was our belief and hope.
We cannot be more proud to see our friends and fellow aficionados move on and succeed, and so long as they continue to respect and honor where they came from, petty factionalism aside, we are happy to support their efforts. Sadly, many have not, and as a matter of policy, we have decided to deal with these cases decisively. We will no longer tolerate those bad mouthing us on the one hand, while continuing to use our resources for their own personal benefit on the other...or disavowing any relationship or connection to us when they want to pursue their own agenda, only to use our name when it suits their immediate purposes, often in the same context.
The reach and respectability of the internet medium has grown tremendously. Our own community has, and continues to, grow at a tremendous rate. With this growth has come some inevitable change in the nature of the community itself - in mindset, in priorities, in personal civilities and conduct, in preferences, in areas of interest.
With growth and change, comes new opportunities. This, coupled with my own personal, private situation, which I can only realistically expect to last at least another 6-8 months, has led me to conclude that some even more fundamental changes are necessary than simply stop gap measures to deal with immediate issues.
And so, I am proud to announce the launch of a completely new software platform for our brand forums, a new platform that offers tremendous new features and flexibility.
In the coming days, the depth and breadth of this new platform will become increasingly clear, but one of the most needed, most frequently asked for, features is the ability to host photos on our servers. The search engine is at once both easier to use, and far more powerful. Other features and increased ease of use will be introduced in short order.
Along with this new software platform for the brand forums (all except AP, which I will come back to) will be a new moderator team, consisting of many of the familiar old timers, that is charged with new guidelines and priorities, reflecting the evolving nature of the general community. It will be an at once more relaxed, and more "popular," environment. Though personal courtesy will still be emphasized and strictly enforced.
To take charge of this new development, Peter Conrad will assume the role and responsibilities of CEO, and Anthony Tsai will be General Manager. It will be up to them, and their moderator team, to set the protocols, policies, and their enforcement, of this new platform, and over time, new community.
There will be a new General Discussion Forum, for all topics, which will have much less restrictive policies about social events, pictures of pretty men and women, a generally lighter atmosphere than on WatchRap.
And, it will be less vehemently non-commercial.
ThePuristS, as it exists, will return to its roots - "serious," hard core discussions that by their nature are of more limited interest, but also by this same nature need more time and thought to develop.
In practical terms, discussions about moment of inertia of balance wheel systems or advantages of wolf teeth gear profiles will be allowed to develop and run their course, without being pushed to page two and lower by party pictures or questions about TAG versus Breitling. Going forward, I don't care (I never really did, actually, but natural development took care of this by itself anyway) if WatchRap only has 5 new posts a week; those that choose to participate there, will appreciate this, and those that don't, now have somewhere else to go within our broader general community. And, WatchRap and the subject forums - Automotive | Belles Lettres | Pen & Writing Instruments | Photography and Camera equipment | Travel | Wine, Food, other Epicurean Delights - will be even more strictly enforced for non-commercialism. If the original ThePuristS' subject forums wither and die from lack of interest, so be it, that's fine too.
All ranges of interest, both hard core and more general or beginner, are respected here, and hopefully, now they can co-exist without crowding each other out.
Please join me in thanking Bill, Carl, and the entire PuristS admin and moderator team for their incredible effort to make this community what it is, and to prepare it for the future.
There are many things that will have to fleshed out "on the fly" - actual policies and boundaries and their enforcement; new features and ways to use the new platform will be revealed or discovered. All of this should be exciting, and if nothing else, certainly interesting...
The one anomoly in the well laid plan is the AP forum - there are many reasons, both historical, nostalgic, and personal / practical, that lead me to decide to keep it on the old platform, along with the subject forums. I am not ruling out moving it to the new platform at some time in the future, just not now. Sorry, AP fans, you don't get the fancy new features...but you still have me as moderator, for better or worse.
Inevitably, there will be bumps and potholes as we navigate new roads; I ask in advance for your understanding and patience.
To visit the new platform and brand forums, just click on the brand forum link in the navigation bar.
To exciting times!