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phpBBHacks.com Turns 11 and It's Time for a Change

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phpBBHacks.com Turns 11 and It's Time for a Change

Postby Patrick » April 6th 2012, 6:47 pm

Hello,

Thank you for visiting phpBBHacks.com.

Today, 11 years ago, I launched phpBBHacks.com. It is time for a change. It is time for me to step back and to allow someone else to lead this great community.

This is really tough for me because I love this community so much and I am so proud of it. So tough. When I came up with the idea for phpBBHacks.com, it is an idea that came out of need. I have been a user of the phpBB software for even longer than 11 years. I liked it and liked customizing it, but there was no organized directory of hacks. So, I made one. And it grew and became the largest unofficial resource dedicated to the software.

To get to where we are, it took a long time, a lot of hard work and a chunk of my life. Along the way, we faced some interesting and unfortunate challenges. I always worked to shield the community from it and I think I earned a master's degree in the politics of open source projects. In the end, the people who were rooting against us, as powerful as they might have been in the phpBB community, failed. I think I just outlasted all of them. Heh. phpBBHacks.com is a part of the history of phpBB.

Realistically, though, it was never about any of that stuff. Since day 1, phpBBHacks.com has always been dedicated to two groups of people: authors of hacks, styles and customizations and the users of the phpBB software. We care about those two groups and that is what has guided the management of this community for 11 years. We have always had a great relationship with them and that relationship is what makes this community what it is.

I've really accomplished everything that I set out to accomplish with this community and I have great memories. It is time for me to grow and to take on the next thing. I didn't come to this realization quickly, but after a long, extended period of thought. Not days, not weeks, not even months. phpBBHacks.com has been a part of my life for so long that it is a bit of a shock to think of myself as not being involved with it. But, when I got past that shock, my next thought turned to this question: with me gone, what happens next to phpBBHacks.com?

The natural thing to do would be to sell it to someone who would take care of it. If you don't know, running my network of sites, including this one, is my full time thing. I don't have a full time team of people, just me. It takes a lot of time to responsibly manage a website like this one. When I thought about selling it to someone, I then thought about the types of people and companies who might be interested. At that point, I realized that the only people I could think of, that might be able to make a reasonable offer, are probably people who would not have the passion for it that I would like and, perhaps, would run it into the ground. Whatever amount of money I might receive, that would hurt me, personally.

So, what should I do with this 11 year old website that I have dedicated all of this time to, that offers so much value? Do I close it? I didn't want to do that. My thoughts then turned to the possibility of giving it to someone that I trusted. Someone that I felt would not only keep it on track, but would take it to new places, make it better and be passionate about doing so. As I thought about different people, one name jumped out to me: Jeremy Rogers, also known as Thoul.

There are a few big reasons why Jeremy was the best choice. He has made tremendous contributions to the phpBB community through phpBBHacks.com. Massive contributions enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people. He's done so with a kind spirit and a great approach to helping others. That is a vital trait. Jeremy was also a member of my Support Team for a long time and, most importantly of all traits, he gets it. He gets this community. He saw me, first hand, running it for many years. He understands and respects the history of this community, which is what makes it special, and he is a part of that history.

I offered him all that is phpBBHacks.com - the website, content, domain names, everything. He accepted. To help with the transition on both ends, I will stick around for a month and a half or so to support Jeremy. I will keep the ad revenue for a while, to help me move on, and I will continue to host this community as part of the iFroggy Network for at least 9 months, in order to remove the burden of hosting expense from Jeremy. After I leave staff, in a month and a half or so, I will be available to Jeremy to help in any way that I can, on an advisory level. But, I have made clear to him that I want him to take this community as his own from this day forward and to make it bigger and better than it ever has been before.

From this moment, phpBBHacks.com is no longer my website to manage. It is his.

I decided not to sell phpBBHacks.com because I care about the legacy of this community. I care about its future. I am giving it to Jeremy because I believe he is the one who will make that future great. I have shared with him what my plans were for it and where I think it can go from here and can't wait to see what he will bring to the table and how he will put his mark on phpBBHacks.com. I have complete confidence in him. Please welcome him to this new role, be patient as he familiarizes himself with it and treat him with the same respect that you have shown me.

I don't want this to be too sad or anything. I will still be around here and there and you can always reach me online. This community will always be a part of me and I will always be a part of it. I have built long term lasting relationships and friendships with people, thanks to this community, and I look forward to continuing those. For anyone who would like to keep up with me elsewhere, I'd love to continue to stay in touch. You can find me at the following places:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/iFroggy
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/patrickokeefe
Google+: https://plus.google.com/117051433761426339015
Blog: http://www.managingcommunities.com
Personal: http://www.patrickokeefe.com
Email: patrick@ifroggy.com

I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who has supported me, and this community, over the last 11 years. It is impossible to thank everyone individually and the closest I could come was probably my 10th anniversary thoughts. That list, and what I said in that article, applies just as much today as it did a year ago. That said, I would like to thank some people individually, in this post.

I have been very fortunate to have had a number of great and loyal people join my staff and help me to do the things that we've been able to do here. They have played an instrumental part in the success of the site. Thank you Jared W. Smith (Jared here in the forums) - your support and unwavering friendship has meant more to me than I can express. Thank you Jeremy (Thoul) - for being a visible, important part of this community for so long, for always being loyal to the ideals that we share and for continuing the mission. :)

Thank you Frank Clemens (Acid), Brandon Levan (Triumvirate), Thomas Rutter (mmj), Vincent Grouls (FB-ke), Scott Stubblefield (Scott), Marc Philpott (McPhilly), Billy Sauls (Nivisec), Jamie Jackson (Zarath), Tanner Smith (Tanner), Ryan Zieno (Truestar) and Dimitri Seitz (Dwing). You've all been so great.

There have been so many great phpBB hack, template, style and graphic authors that I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the years. I really value these relationships. If you have ever listed your work here, I'd like to thank you for believing in us and believing in the value and importance of third party resources. It means so much to me that you trusted us with your great work.

There have been so many great members of our forums who have kindly helped others. I have always been proud of our forums and the manner in which people help others - kind, helpful, respectful. It's about pointing people to the right resource, not telling them to look somewhere else or to search. I am very thankful to everyone who has kindly assisted another member in our forums.

We have always enjoyed a great connection with international phpBB sites. I'd like to thank phpBB.de (Philip Mayer, who was so nice to me when I launched this site - I never forgot that, and Sascha Carlin), phpBB.ro, phpBB.cz, phpBB Turkey, phpBB-fr.com (Jester), phpBB-TW.net, phpBBservice.nl (Raimon), phpBB Portugal, phpBBpersian.com (Ali@php) and others. Keep building great resources for your communities.

Thank you to the phpBB Group and everyone who has worked to develop the phpBB software and bring the phpBB community in a positive direction. Thank you to Meik Sievertsen (Acyd Burn), Frank Feingol, Doug Kelly and Nils Adermann.

Any list of people that I thank will be incomplete (please refer to the 10th anniversary page for a longer list). But, on my way out, in particular, I would like to thank Niels Christian Rød (Niels Chr. Denmark), Karsten Ude (OXPUS), Pierre Roge (Ptirhiik), Heiko Carstens (lefty74), Wicher van der Hoek (Wicher), Nicolas Coustures (Abble CoSa NoStrA), Ayman Abdallah (kber), Ken F. Innes IV (primehalo), Hoang Ngoc Tu (Smartor), dav.bo, Igor Wiedler (igorw), Rodney Angell (~HG~), Vjacheslav Trushkin, Adam Roberts, Nathan Guse (EXreaction), Jim Wigginton (TerraFrost), Nick Mahon, John McKernan (JohnMcK), Shea Layton (JSLStudios), Rick Howland (Ricky_Racer), Quiff Boy, Syren, Daniel Carroll (Lightninghawk), FuNEnD3R, AmigaLink, Niekas, Christian Knerr (CBACK), gokin, Pigne, Kenny Cameron (cherokee red), Craig Armstrong, Felix Mueller (femu), Swipesy, Jalal Noureddine, Spinebuster, AngusThermopile, battye, Daniel St. Jules, Andrew Charron, Ishimaru Design, Bill Sturgell, Mighty Gorgon, Kooky, ErDrRon, Sko22, Nuttzy99, RC-Technologies, Jakob Persson, spyka, Elglobo, Richard Fitzgerald (fitz), Derek Ashauer, Sylver Cheetah54, A.J. Quick, Maëvah, Hotschi, RustyDragon, Christian Bullock, lithosphere, _Vinny_, Dustin Baccetti, Theonaute (Romain K.), ABDev, Rickey Gu, Vladimir Sokolov, Morgyanne, A_Jelly_Doughnut, Ramona Iftode (dojo), lumpy burgertushie, Dogs and Things, Bobsnox, Big Boards, Hot Scripts, Stoyan Stefanov, Reuben Regier, Packt Publishing, Apress, Tom Beddard, Matt Wade, Douglas Paterson, Stephan Segraves, Chrispian Burks and Brandon Eley.

As silly as it may sound, I'd like to thank my family and my parents for enabling me to do what I love. When I started this community, I was 15 and I was on the family computer. I was kind of a computer hog, but they gave me the opportunity to play around with this stuff and 11 years later, here we are.

And I think that is everything I want to say. It's been a great run and I'm thankful for all of you. Let's keep in touch. Jeremy, it's your turn now.

Sincerely,

Patrick
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Postby Thoul » April 6th 2012, 7:55 pm

Hello everyone,

I have been a member of the phpBBHacks.com community for nearly 10 years now. In that time, I have seen the community grow and many people come and go. I have been honored to assist many people and to receive assistance from other members in more ways than I could possibly list. Being in this community has taught me a lot and opened up many opportunities for me. The members of this community have helped me to learn ways to be a better programmer, a better provider of support, a better site moderator and administrator, and just a better person all around. I can truly say that this one of a very few online communities where I am proud to consider myself a member.

Patrick, I want to thank you for your many years of hard work and dedication to the community, to the authors of hacks, styles, and other add-ons, and to the users of phpBB. The accomplishments you have achieved with phpBBHacks.com over the past 11 years are truly amazing. I know it has been very difficult for you at times, but you saw it through, kept going through many hardships, and remained a consummate professional at all times, even when faced with the most unprofessional of behaviors. You have been both a friend and a mentor to me. During the time we have worked together in the past, I have watched you closely and learned more about being an administrator and a professional from you than I could ever hope to list. I know that those lessons will serve me well in the years to come, so I can't possibly thank you enough. You said that I am a part of the history of the community, but no one is a bigger part of that history than you. As a Support Team member I was able to assist a lot of people, but you are the one who made all that possible by providing this place for everyone to come together. Everyone who has used and enjoyed phpBB in the last decade owes a debt to you. You will always be welcome at phpBBHacks.com as long as I have a say in the matter.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to everyone who has supported phpBBHacks.com and the community here under Patrick's management. Every author and every member who answered a request for support has contributed to the great success of this website. You have all shown how vital it is to have third party resources available for open source projects. I don't have the same relationship with everyone Patrick mentioned, but I would like to thank all of you personally as well. In supporting Patrick in the past, you have in a way supported me and all the users of phpBB. That is a legacy and contribution that I do not take lightly. I hope you will continue to support and contribute to phpBBHacks.com as the site continues forward.

Some who read Patrick's farewell above may be wondering about what comes next for phpBBHacks.com. I am very excited and thrilled to taking over the site, to be trusted with this responsibility, to begin helping it grow and improve in new ways. I already have many ideas how to accomplish that, how to make the site and community an even better place for authors and users. As Patrick mentioned, there will be a transition period as I learn all the ins and outs of the administration side of the website. As I get more comfortable in that role, we'll begin to see some of that growth happen. I hope you are all as eager as I am to see the future of phpBBHacks.com become a reality.

Thanks,
Jeremy
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Postby Dogs and Things » April 7th 2012, 2:54 am

Hi Patrick,

I am kind of caught by surprise as I have seen over the years that this site is actually an important part of your life.

Fortunately, the decision you have taken seems a great one. Good for you, and good for this community.

It is very nice to see that the interests of this community weigh far more than your economical interest.

I can´t say other than that I am convinced that in Thoul you have found a great person that will be able to continue your legacy in the best of manners and am very grateful to Thoul for having accepted this great project.

I wish you both the best of luck and am eager to see what the future will bring to phpbbhacks.com.

I'll be there.
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Postby Thoul » April 7th 2012, 9:54 am

Thanks for your vote of confidence, Dogs and Things. :) I was surprised but thrilled to have this opportunity. And I agree, it's awesome to see that Patrick cared more about the community than money. There are too many admins who would not care as much as Patrick about the fate of their site after handing it over to another.
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Postby femu » April 8th 2012, 11:04 pm

Hi Patrick,

bad to hear, that you will leave this part and good to hear, that you decided to hand over the site to Jeremy. So the site itself will keep alive! And that's good! No other site is as useful and independed than this site.

I wish you all the best for the future and also wish Jeremy all the needed enthusiasmn to work ahaead with this site!


Thanks again to both of you!


Kind regards,
Felix
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Postby JohnMcK » April 11th 2012, 6:07 pm

I don't make by phpbbhacks.com very often anymore as my life has taken a different path, but I seem to wander by at just the right moments.

Patrick,

For what its worth, I think you found an excellent successor in Thoul. Of the Support Team members I worked with, he was among the best and probably the most dedicated. Best of luck with your "next big thing".

Thoul,

I'm pleased that Patrick recognized what he had in you, and that you agreed to continue the tradition. Best of luck with 'hacks, I know it will thrive under your leadership.
Retired phpBBHacks.com Support Team Member
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Postby Patrick » April 11th 2012, 6:53 pm

Thank you, Jeremy. I am very touched by what you said. It means a lot to me. I am proud to have had you on my team and glad that I was able to help you in whatever way that I could.

One of the greatest things in the world to me is when someone who was once under me as a moderator goes on to do great things and I am able to help in some way. I love being able to give people opportunities.

When Packt came to me and asked me to co-author the first phpBB book, I knew I couldn't do it. But, I knew who could do a great job. I made the introduction and you did the work - and did a great job. I am thankful that I have the chance to give you this opportunity and I do it because I feel you are deserving and with the belief that, one day in the future, I will look back and be proud of the decision that I made and know I did the right thing. :)

Thank you, Dogs and Things. I apologize for the sudden nature of it. With a move like this, it is tough not to shock people. You can't really do it gradually, you have to just do it and jump in. I appreciate that you felt how important this community is to me and that you support my decision. Thank you for all of the great contributions that you have made over the years.

Thank you, Felix. I appreciate the way you put that - "useful and independent." Thank you very much for your kind words, support and your great contributions.

Thank you, John. I appreciate that. :)

Sincerely,

Patrick
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Postby Thoul » April 12th 2012, 1:52 pm

Thanks for your warm wishes, Felix. I have lots of enthusiasm for the tasks ahead, but I can always use more to keep me going even stronger. :)

John, great to see you here again! I'll always remember working with you on the Support Team - those were great times. Thank you for your encouragement.
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Postby JohnMcK » April 13th 2012, 3:22 pm

Yeah, they were good times!
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Postby A_Jelly_Doughnut » April 15th 2012, 10:37 pm

Yes, Patrick, you really did outlast them all. Congratulations on a good run providing a useful service and best wishes to Jeremy... (and I'm amazed I remember my phpBBHacks password after multiple years without posting)
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