It may surprise you to know, but this site had its origins way back in 2001 as a way of storing and organising some of the material that people would send me by e-mail.
Years ago, Hotmail provided a miserable amount of storage—at one time it was capped at 2 Mb!—barely sufficient enough to hold more than a couple of photos let alone the hundreds of things that people sent to me. And so I created a site using a product called MSN Groups (which provided 30 Mb of storage). I called this—my first pretentious attempt at creating my international, internet presence—"Sozzled's Soapbox".
Around the same time, MSN provided a global service called "peer chat": chat rooms established to cater for people in specific age groups, from teens to sixties. Arguably the most popular of these was the chat room devoted to the 40+ group - although it wasn't restricted to just that age group. Out of this cyber meeting-place an offline web presence was created by some of the chat room moderators - a drop-in centre to carry on some of the discussions, or just share some news, away from the hurley-burley of online chat. In October 2003 MSN shut down its peer group chat services thereby forcing chatters to take their chances elsewhere on the 'net. Although MSNchat disappeared, the 40+ group survived—for a while—and so "The 40Plus Club" came into being in May 2005 to partly satisfy that need.
In October 2006, MSN completely withdrew chat facilities from its MSN Groups and so began a gradual decline in the people's interest in MSN Groups. Even so, "The 40Plus Club" continued to prosper because the discussion boards dealt with real issues and people were encouraged to think rather than merely "copy and paste" cutesy platitudes. The site gained a reputation for being an eclectic mix of gamers, thinkers, and 'bloggers.
However, the writing was on the wall as far as MSN Groups was concerned and, in October 2008, Microsoft announced that the service would end in February 2009. As a result of that announcement, this site came into existence. For reckoning purposes, this site came into existence on 13 December 2008.
It had always been my intention to build a "real" web community. There are hundreds of choices available to us to build our own website and create a community around it but it's a bit like choosing between renting a house or building your own house. If you choose to rent someone's house that's fine until the landlord decides the property has no commercial value and they want to knock it down or dispose of it. I'm not saying that Yahoo! Groups, Google Plus, Facebook or Twitter are poor choices. I'm merely saying that there's a choice between building your own and using someone else's packaged solition. After the failure of MSN Groups showed just how fickle these "internet landords" can be—here one moment, with their promise of "three mouseclicks and ‘instant community’", and gone the next—I didn't want move into a home that could get blown away at the first sign the "landlord" might sneeze. I was determined to build my next internet home stronger, better and more feature-rich than anything else I'd achieved with the website-in-a box "à la Facebook" approach.
That was the thinking behind this site—that was the original plan—but, just as the new chapter began, the overall plot changed direction.
In choosing the tools that I used to craft The Quoroom, I was drawn to Joomla! because of the easy-to-use graphical user interface that simplified the handling of internet content including HTML, documents and rich media. Joomla! is used on millions of sites around the world, by organisations of all sizes for public websites, intranets, and extranets. One of the most important components used in The Quoroom is the discussion forum—an extension of Joomla! called Kunena—was just beginning when I started. I became actively involved with Kunena to the extent that my work on The Quoroom stopped. This lull in activity, of course, impacted heavily on the life of the community here but it also gave me time to get my thoughts together in terms of what it was that I was really trying to achieve.
I am still extremely active with Kunena, now as a member of the project leadership team and as a volunteer contributor, spending hours each day writing, discussing issues with fellow project team members located all over the world ... and just being helpful. Working with this project has kept my technical knowledge "up to scratch" and I'm comfortable using my information technology skills that I've developed for more than 40 years of my life. But I also want to do something that's more "personal"—more about me, I suppose you could say—and that's what I want to do with The Quoroom. We have the technology ... it's what we do with it now that matters. It's time to begin a new chapter and how the rest of the story unfolds is anyone's guess.