5 Years

Mudspike Forums opened up on Jan 18th 2015. We used Wordpress on the initial try, and it was fairly painful to use, but functional. After we had a few people sign up and stay, it seemed like Mudspike could do with a better outlet for like-minded people to chat about flight sims and we expanded into the Discourse forums we have today. The current forums opened on May 15th 2015. Splitting the difference, we’re at about 5 years old now. As we aren’t good with anniversaries or dates, we might as well make today the 5th Birthday. :clown_face:

Originally Mudspike was created as a place where Chris (@BeachAV8R), Erik (@EinsteinEP) and I could write sim articles and reviews that offered a place on the web independent from people with a vested interest in selling products or running ads. The flight sim product forums at the time like ED and IL-2 (Banana edition) were dominant and very popular, but for good business reasons couldn’t be a place where people could speak about lots of sims in comparison or free-wheeling topics. When we first started sites like reddit (for sims anyway) was somewhere where those banned elsewhere or just wanted to troll anonymously ended up, and things like Discord we’re just a glint in the eye, as Hyperlobby and Teamspeak were the things to hang out on and fly with people you knew online. The forums like SimHQ, CombatACE and AVSim had big existing communities, but new ownership and being reliant on ad revenue made them feel different to just a couple of people doing it for fun.

In some ways it was fairly unexpected that we would even open a public forum, as the three of us at the time were all fairly paranoid about the potential lack of fun it would be keeping it sane and a nice place to be. Chris wanted somewhere to write and share, other than PC Pilot articles (the domain name was his personal site before), Erik wanted to teach and explore complicated things with like-minded people, and I basically just wanted the site to exist as a place on the web as a choice. Anonymous people online, with a passion for flight sims and a small niche market of products makes for an potent mix: We all originally expressed a fear of becoming ‘prison guards’ where it follows the usual path of starting out fun and then ending up like a job or conflict factory. It was also fairly impossible to maintain a ‘drama free zone’ without creating drama of our own, as it’s a contradiction to enforce rules in a public place while also being part of that same community. Even going into this it would be inevitable that ‘You Either Die A Hero, Or You Live Long Enough To See Yourself Become The Villain’ was going to happen eventually.

Erik left Mudspike in May 2017, and it will always be up to him to fully the explain the reasons why, as to this day I’m not really that clear about them. Mudspike at the time was getting a lot of attention from product vendors and reviews and it certainly made it stressful, as we bumbled our way through it making all sorts of mistakes. My main contributions were really two-fold of (a) making sure Chris had 100% ownership of Mudspike (I’ve had many commercial joint partnerships through the years, and had seen them all degrade into lawsuits, and I’d be damned if a tiny flight sim hobby site should do that) and (b) we could host the site inexpensively enough so that one person if they wanted to could afford to keep it going. Our ‘business model’ then became cemented as ‘BeachAV8R’s credit card’ and a paypal donation button, meaning that we could keep out of the various flight sim vendor vendettas by not having to use ads or get in to the youtube ‘I beg you to hit subscribe’ treadmill.

Over the years people came and went, as reddit and discord allowed them to set up their own groups of friends. Just like when Erik left, it hurts each time to lose friends, and sort of reduces the ‘max fun health bar’ of this place for me personally. New people have arrived and keep the place lively, although I can’t help but dwell on mistakes I made in the past so it’s increasingly feeling bittersweet - apologies if you’ve ever felt slighted by me over the years. While before if you wanted to chat about a niche thing like flight sims you had to join an existing place, while nowadays it is trivial just to create your own community for free and make your own circle, which is a good thing. In some ways the future of Mudspike Forums is an odd one, in that we’re not the huge public space of something like reddit, nor are we the ad-hoc and specialized/niche nature of a Discord group. I am not sure a forum like this needs to exist anymore, but as long as people are happy here, and BeachAV8R’s credit card works and is willing, then it doesn’t have to go anywhere.

One of the best things we did do was adding @Troll and @Fridge as equal Admins here, as they provide a much needed level-headiness to counteract my worse impulses and they do the continuous work that forum entropy demands - a natural state of a public online group is a hell, and they put in so much effort to try to make this a good place to be. They make good custodians of Mudspike because they don’t really want to do it, but realize someone has to.

For me it’s a case of ‘And Now His Watch is Ended’ and it’s time to ghost out of my moderator and admin roles here. I was very fortunate in that I retired from work at age 42, having enough money to do so and a strong desire to be around while my young kids grew up. I’ve had a great time but it is now time for something new for me, even in all the odd stuff that is going on in 2020. I filled a lot of my time with flight sims and Mudspike and kept the sites running inexpensively as possible every day over the last 5 years, and was glad to have contributed and been part of it. At the beginning of this year, with my now not so young kids in college and my wife returning to work, I started a new full-time venture again and it just seems like a natural time to do this, as I tend to fling myself wholeheartedly into things. I don’t want to a hanger (hangar?) on and fossilize so am making a nice clean break. I thought it rude at least not to say a proper goodbye after all this time.

Stay safe, all try to be nice to each other and Happy 5th Birthday Mudspike forums! Here’s to the continuing evolution and to being a nice place to share a hobby.

fearlessfrog

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Hope this isn’t the end of your participation entirely and just a tempo change. We still need to get you in on some occasional multiplayer shenanigans!

It’s been a heck of a 5 years, but I’d like to think they’ve been a good 5 years. If you look at some other places that were sim oriented and still (barely) kicking, they’ve changed so much that it’s no fun to be around. I sure hope we can keep Mudspike going as a friendly, welcoming environment for the next 5!

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Dear friend,

You showed me where you hid the Mudspike spare key.
We won’t move it.
Don’t be a stranger.

Good luck in every endeavour and thanks!

:heart: :mudspike:

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I’ll always miss you and I’ll forever wait for your return. :smiley:
Keep us posted, in case anything special happens and take care.

Your Italian friend,
Khan.

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Thanks for contributing to this great place!

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As mentioned by Franze, I hope we will still find you popping in for the occasional MP flight! While we did not get to spend a large sum of time flying together, it was always an enjoyable experience and I hope that we will get to share that again when the time is right for you.

Was it not that you are supposed to meet everyone twice in your life? ‘Til we next cross paths then!

Best wishes on your next endeavor,
-Wes

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As I’m sure most of you can guess - words couldn’t express my gratitude to @fearlessfrog for all of the work he has put into this place over the past five years. More than that, I consider him a friend, and would want nothing more than for him to pursue the things he wants in life. Like all of you, I hope this means just a stepping away from administrative type roles, and that he will remain, even if only on a drive-by basis, a valued member of our community. The place will not be the same without him, as it is never the same whenever anyone leaves, but it will endure so long as I’m able to keep it up and running, and as long as it meets the vision of having a low key place to hang out and (predominantly) discuss the sim type stuff we all love.

Thanks @fearlessfrog for all you’ve done.

Chris Frishmuth

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With all here in the hopes that you have not decided to hang up your participation entirely @fearlessfrog.
Whatever you have decided I do wish you the best in whatever endeavors you have chosen. :sunglasses:

Wheels

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I’ve only been a member here for a short while. But I have always appreciated the diligence and love you show for this forum. You are an integral part of the dynamic here and you will leave a big hole and will be sorely and truly missed by all of us “regulars” and all future people who join us.

I thank you wholeheartedly for helping to create a safe and vibrant space for us to meet each other and create friendships with like minded and lovely people from all over the world. That is something truly special and you (and Chris) should be incredibly proud of your achievements here.

Thanks for everything @fearlessfrog. I wish you all the best in life and hope that you will continue to visit us.

Good luck and thanks again bud.

Victork2

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Happy B-day MS and GL FFrog ! :slight_smile:

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Thank you @fearlessfrog for your time and energy. You rocked it. And will continue to rock it at your new venture (Microsoft perchance?).

Here’s to five years of the spike :beers: :mudspike:!

And here’s to the next five years, may they be as fun, cool, civilised and laid back as the previous five were! :beers:

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Enjoy your next adventure @fearlessfrog! Hope to see you back now and then.

And Happy Bday @mudspike!

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Thank you and Good luck @fearlessfrog! Enjoy your new adventures and as other above had said Don’t be a stranger!!

And Happy B-Day to Mudspike, the best place on the internet.

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Don’t be a stranger @fearlessfrog your a very loved individual
:heart_eyes:

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@fearlessfrog: Like everything, when you commit you go all in and I appreciate the work and level of detail that you have shown. You guys (@BeachAV8R, @EinsteinEP and yourself) have made this site something special and I can understand the builders desire to move on to something new. I, to the next challenge.

Thanks for all you have done, and good luck with the future. We will keep a light on for you.

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Very sorry to see you go @fearlessfrog. I would like to thank you for your part in making Mudspike the place it is (a corner of the internet so refreshing that I have visited every day over 1200 days :dizzy_face:). I wish you all the very best going forward and hope that you drop in and see us once in awhile. :beers:

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Respect.

Fearless. Good luck in your new adventures

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Well thought out parting words. Sad to see you go, but wishing you the very best for your next project/ chapter - there is a time for everything.

I didn’t have the honour to fly with you online but I’ve learned a lot from your knowledgeable posts - thank you for that. Thank you for your efforts in making MS the friendly corner of the internet it is, it is very special to us.

I hope you’ll pop in to say hi sometimes.

Best,
Tapio

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Dear fearless,

I sure will miss you. Your geeky comments and dry humour are as unique as your dedicated support to Mudspike.
Of course I hope you’ll pop in once in a while, but I understand the desire to focus.
I wish you the best and fully trust that you will do whatever works best for you!
Thanks for making Mudspike what it is today!

Regards,
Freek

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All the best wishes in your future endeavours, FF!

Thanks for all the time you spent on keeping the place running, and for all the improvements - both large and small - that helped keeping mudspike a nice place to come to every day :slight_smile:

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