Interview: Fazle Imtiaz, OffTopic.com founder and administrator
General Board administration
Why did you choose vBulletin, and are you happy with it ?
I was running UBB before and wasn't happy with the flat file system. I wanted something that was database driven, vbulletin was one of a kind back then. There werent many other solutions with php/mysql and vb looked very promising.
What modifications to the original source code prooved the most effective to help handling server load ?
Most of the modifications were actually done to add additional features or to customize the forums based on user feedback. None of them really helped reduce server load.
How often do you prune posts/members ?
Members are deleted every 30 days. So on the 31st day of inactivity they are deleted.
Posts in the main OT forum are deleted every 48-72 hours.
"The national meet is a blast every year; a combination of no sleep, partying and excessive alcohol"
There has been meetings between offtopic members ("OTers") and more are planned. What kind of activities do they generally involve ? What do you think is needed in a community before such events can be successfully organized ?
Regional meets are held quite often. The national meet is organized once every year by me, in Houston, with the help of the generous TX crew. Every year, about 65-80+ OTers fly or drive in, to houston for the meet. We pretty much do anything and everything.
Every year I have different itineraries setup based on age, preferences and all that. We are just a big group of friends and pretty much do whatever people do in weekends.....check out local clubs, bars, restaurants, concerts, cart racing, paintball and whatever else. The national meet is a blast every year; a combination of no sleep, partying and excessive alcohol.
In your opinion, what are the key elements that are needed to make a general discussion forum popular ?
Selfless dedication of the owner.
In the future
What are your plans for the future of OT ?
I have a lot of things planned with OT. The banners are supposed to help with site costs.
If I get more than what I need, I want to use the remining funds and hold monthly contests and giveaways. I give out almost $1500-$2000 in cash and prizes (out of my pocket) every year at Christmas time, Id like to do such contests, on a smaller scale, every month.
Id like to add OT gaming servers in the future, add one web server every 90 days, hold contests where I pay for college tuition for the winner, text book reimbursements and so much more. There are even plans of a OT store, where stuff will be sold off at prices far, far below retail/internet. OT is all about the OTers, the site is nothing without them.
From day 1, everything revolved around what OTers wanted, to this day and in future, it will always be that way.
Thank you Fazle !