User:Dismounted Feudal Knight/TWC staff, curia and ownership
In this article I will attempt to explain the evolution of TWC's owners, the staff and the Curia. All three are useful benchmarks to see how the site has evolved, and to see where we are today. It'll be interspersed with archives of the main page, forum index and other relevant pages to show the forum's evolution and path through history. Having not lived through 95% of what I wish to cover, this article is completely based off my backreading of history and sourced with mostly public information, and as such is filled with holes and misconceptions. I highly encourage others, especially people with lived experience, to give feedback or to correct claims made here. When it can be called 'reasonably accurate and complete' it may be linked or even merged into mainspace history articles on the wiki. Where relevant, links to juicy reading will be provided as long as it can be accessed by the wider internet, or registered users, or regular citizens - I'll try to leave notes if you need to be in a particular group to read something. Every user page link will be to a TWC profile and not a wiki one even if one exists. Archive.org is a critical reference that makes this article feel more 'lived in'. I hope to get in screenshots and better organize the infodump later, but I'll start with the infodump by above parameters and see where it goes. This is the best I've got for making progress on the TWC History Project.
Bonus sections on bottom for site leaders in rough chronological order. While I can include all administrators in early site history, I cannot give you a complete picture of the Hexagon Council as I have less of a means to see who was praetor exactly when and later who was administrator of what at what time.
There isn't a lot to record from this time. Staff was simple (archive.org), beginning with Paul who founded the place as mtw.gamercastle.com in 2002. In the very beginning he was technically supported by The Knight 2100 and in content creation by Siblesz. The idea of a Curia did not exist. This is the first and last time you will see TWC on a dark theme by default. Note that Paul's user number is 5. This is wrong, a later technical admin fooled with the numbering to put himself first.
As you might deduce, TWC began as a humble fan abode for Medieval Total War players. To my knowledge all threads from the forum in this era are long gone, and its contents were not public. The forum would become public later, but these holes continue for years and so few useful links can be provided for the very early history.
2003: The rise of TWC
The gamercastle network proceeded to shut down in 2003. Undaunted, Paul moved TWC to a new name and branding. The site became Total War Centre, and the domain became www.legiontotalwar.com. This began in April, and you will see the accounts of the oldest members appear from this time. Wait, why were the names split? (Q&S)
Earliest archive.org legiontotalwar reference. A coherent brand has formed and the site begins to gain traction. The organization (archive.org) remains consistent. Here, the forums (archive) became public and we can start to use them as a point of reference. Note the earliest forums including a Workshop, the Basement, and early versions of Thema Devia and the Q&S. For the first one especially, the description and utility never changed much. But I would say the rename has made the general discussion obscure. I digress.
- Early editions of the site had prominent link-offs to fellow fansites (archive). The Org was already in the game since at least 1999.
- Hellenistic Age RPG can be found on the index, and will remain there for some time.
- These were the Terms of Service back in the day. There were other rules on the forum though.
About mid 2003, this (archive) is the staff. You notice The Knight has already disappeared. His time ended soon. Siblesz however is far from done, and you will see him for quite a while yet. Shortly after this last entry a new arrangement has formed: Paul, Siblesz, and a passionate moderator named the Black Prince are the three administrators of TWC. Paul's availability has steadily declined by this point, and so Siblesz is running content production and the Black Prince keeps the forums in order. This is the first Triumvirate (they are explained in their own article here). The three admins are theoretically equal and balance each other out - and yes, the balance is needed, as Siblesz and TBP didn't always get along.
By December 2003 (forum archive) a new entity is formed. This is the start of the Curia, envisioned and operated by BorisPavlovGrozny with the (mixed) blessing of the Triumvirate. Boris held administrator powers but was not a 'Triumvir'. If you go back one archive entry on the forum you'll notice things have quickly changed. Previously (October) the site was run by "The TWC Team". Now you have the Triumvirate (administrators), Praetors (global moderators), and Quaestors (local moderators). This is where the site gets its first Syntagma to define its governance, and where things become more formal. Publicly available to track from here (with holes unfortunately) is the main Curia forum. I don't have a link yet for discussing and implementing the Curia. The earliest citizens were titled Civitates, who appear to have been handpicked. Simple votes decided who became a fellow civitate and how to change the Syntagma. Finally, the last page of the Questions and Suggestions forum will bring (registered users, logged in) back in time to "Feedback and Suggestions" in 2003.
2004: Age of the Triumvirates
2004's earliest archive of staff presents the first Triumvirate, plus Boris with curia-specific authority. By this point Paul was a distant figure. However, he was still working on technical things.
During February was an incident, which in current summaries is a bit dramatized. In short, the site went down for a while. Nobody knew exactly why and they were not in contact. The Black Prince
It's not until the June archive that the full staff structure is visible, including the end of Paul as a triumvir and the entry of Boris into the ranks... the Second Triumvirate. It seems to me this had the strongest mix of personalities and had the most distinct 'run'.
- Here are old forum rules (Q&S).
- Here's an argument about the profanity censor. Obviously, those favoring removal were unsuccessful.
Things were apparently quite steamy in the top ranks and the second Triumvirate broke down with the brief resignation of Boris. Trobalov took role as Triumvir to make the third group of its name. This doesn't appear to have lasted long, as archives indicate June closed out with Siblesz, GodEmperor Nicholas, and Boris as the fourth (and ultimately final) Triumvirate. You can get an idea of the turbulence in that time here.
This is far from complete but I am still collecting links. Hopefully we can cap off 2004 and proceed into 2005, where things got far more interesting...