Yesterday, December 13, 2018, was the twenty-first anniversary of the day The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum opened for posting!
On December 13, 1997 — after three frustrating days when only Elspeth, Ann, and myself could post — The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum opened its doors to the general public on the Delphi online service. This was before it was known as Delphiforums and back when user forums, then known as “Custom Forums” had a presence on both the paid Delphi Online Service (in wonderful a pure text/command line like environment) and on their new free Web forum version. The forum was an instant success with 60 or 70 messages posted that December and hitting 1000 messages within six months or so. That’s 1000 messages total, not 1000 messages a month.
The Cauldron was started as a Yule gift from me to Elspeth — you had to pay Delphi for forums back then (six months in advance). It was staffed by Elspeth, Ann, and myself with an able assist from our friends from the dying GEnie Online Service. We started a web site for the forum in the web space I got with my Delphi account in January of 1998, although we did not get domain name for a couple of years.
Our forum has done well in the years that followed, although TC has had to move around a lot. From Delphi to a mailing list. Then back to Delphiforums (Delphi’s new name). When Delphi’s poor service and pricing got to be too much to much in early 2004, Bob offered us server space and we moved to our own site. First with Beehive’s Delphiforums-like software (two incarnations), then (very reluctantly) to SMF early in 2007 when it became apparent that Beehive software just could not meet the needs of this forum. Bob’s server gave up the ghost in 2008 and we had to move to our own Linode VPS. The first time in our existence that have had to pay a monthly bill for the message board. Fortunately, our members have stepping up and are donating every month to make continuing this board possible. When the SMF software started having problems in 2009-20100, we moved to vBulletin software in 2011. We moved back to the new improved SMF 2.0 in 2017. It looks like we may be moving to yet another forum software in 2019 as SMF updates have greatly slowed again and SMF is not keeping up with current versions of PHP.
It has been a very interesting two decades. Sometimes it has been interesting in the “may you live in interesting times” sense of “interesting,” but mostly it has been interesting in the good sense of the word. Lyricfox and I met through TC and married in 2004 (over fourteen years ago now). We all made many new friends via TC. It’s also been a lot of work. Work which has been shared with our staff members — without them, this forum would not be here today. This is especially true this last few years as the hosts have been dealing with cancer, moving to another state and multiple sclerosis and have not been nearly as active on the board as we had been in the past. However, the reason The Cauldron’s message board is still here isn’t the Hosts or the staff, it’s our members: the wonderful people reading this message (and now funding the monthly server costs). Without you, this forum would be a ghostly place haunted by memories of discussions past.
Speaking of memories, The Cauldron has been around long enough that we have lost a few members the hard way. We’ve lost Chavi, Elspeth, Marilyn over the years. They live on in our memories (and in old posts in some cases). All three played a large part in making TC was it is.
Overall, however, it’s been a couple of decades years. In “Internet time” we are as ancient as the dinosaurs, but we are still here, still doing our thing, and still enjoying ourselves doing it. We have plans for The Cauldron’s next year and we hope you will join us and help make them happen. With any luck, these plans will work out better than our plans for this last year or two have. Oh well, you win some and you lose some, but just being around 21 years is a big win. Thanks for being along for the ride!
You can celebrate our 21st anniversary by starting a thread on a topic that interests you!