Monday 23 September 2013


Ten year ago today, the QI Talk Forum started with  a post about the Battle of Hastings.  QI is best known as the erudite TV quiz programme fronted by Stephen Fry, but they publish books as well and support this bulletin board. I didn't hear about the place where Quite Interesting people gathered-with-cockltails for another month, when I sounded off about DNA, and again a week later about Orange, you can search for all my contributions or indeed any contribution about aNNything under the sun.  It is always good to get into something when it is small and growing like The Beloved getting in on the Ground Floor of Sinclair's ZX80 and ZX81. Or Brian Naughton being the 4th Hire at 23andMe. I thought at the time that I was quite the Johnny-come-lately as there were 28 people already registered before I woke up to the resource:
RegNo Name
5 Flash
7 garrick92
8 Mennochio
12 Jenny
13 Frances
18 JumpingJack
23 Woodsman
25 Frederick The Monk
29 BobTheScientist
I compiled that table about six months ago and put it here as a good example of turn-over.  People get involved, they contribute, they drift off or lose interest or get a job abroad.  I wrote earlier about something completely different where 51/59 people had changed over a period of three years. That first poster idlerdan only made three contributions, the last in Nov 2003. And users 3 4 6 9 10 11 etc haven't said anything for the last couple of years and so are missing presumed dead-to-QI.  I can't remember exactly, but I think I obsessively checked on the first 50 or 100 QI RegNos and found that almost all of them had sprung up like desert blooms after rain and then dried up and blown away.  That's proper order.

The numbers of contributors-ever on QI is now nearly 40,000.  That's a small town of people all chatting away.  And there have been a good many more than 1 million posts, not all particularly exciting.  The most recent being "Glad to hear all went well!".  But that sums up the Community nature of this virtual place.  It's like a family and I think it gives a lot of smart, often young, people support and access to like-minded, curious (indeed some decidedly odd) people, which they may not find in the real terrestrial small town where they buy their newspaper.

I'll take this ten-years-on chance to say thanks.  I've learned a lot from all of you.  I've been too busy working in The Institute (and bloggin' of course) recently to tune in to QI/talk much nowadays.  But I do still occasionally look for jokes.

1 comment:

  1. Well we always enjoy it when you appear, Bob :-) As one of the moderators, I ought to tell people that the reason for the vast number of registrations is that we are subject to a constant onslaught from spambots, who we ban almost as promptly as they register, so the actual number of functioning posters is lower than the number of registered posters. However you're right that people often register just to post a quibble or two and then disappear. Some hang around though, and you're right that it does feel like friends-and-family after a while.