Happy 20th Birthday to JWD / JWN

by Simon 41 Replies latest forum announcements

  • Simon

    As Sgt Pepper sang, "it was 20 years ago today" ... that I made my first post on my first forum.

    I obviously didn't put too much thought into what it should say although I must have burned 45 posts testing things and was too lazy to reset the counter before going live (?):


    But somehow, it worked and grew and here we all are, 20 years on. All at home because of a global pandemic - no one saw THAT coming eh?!

    A lot of the credit for the site being here so long goes to Angharad who's helped run the site and more importantly tell me when I'm doing something wrong plus the moderators who's helped us over the years.

    The first version used an open source forum app called "Snitz" but we soon outgrew that. I developed my own software to keep the costs down and at some point we went from using the .com domain to .net (I think to make some changeover easier) which is why people went from calling it JWD to JWN. Eventually, we moved back to .com with a later update until we reached the current version which is all cloud based and easier than ever to run. No more waking up with some "database full" message and the forum down for 4 hours! Good times.

    My personal life has changed in many ways since then, I'm 20 years older for a start!

    Our two toddlers are now grown up and are good, decent guys. I'm so glad they are not wasting their lives limiting themselves to the WTS world. Everything else has been worth it for that alone.

    We moved to Canada and I got to have some more regular contact with my dad before he recently passed away. It was great being able to catch up for some of the lost time.

    At the same time I've been cutoff by my mother and most of my still-JW family. Ah well, you gain some family, you lose some family.

    There's definitely been some price to pay for running the site, but overall I would still do it again. I see it as a privilege to build something that other people want to use and have made connections with others by sharing part of their journey over the years. As with most forums, many many times more people read than post and I do get emails from people that say they site has helped them. So your words do matter and the experiences and knowledge you all share do make a difference.

    We've had meetups, marriages, births and deaths and everything in between over this time. I miss some posters that are no longer with us while I can't seem to get rid of others no matter how hard I try, LOL

    So what about the next 20 years?

    My first reaction should probably be "oh god ... !!"

    But I just can't stop tinkering!

    I was hoping to have this ready for today but the last couple of months have been a bit mad with work and the outbreak, but I've been working on a new version of the software. Partly to just update the code and technology it uses but also to have something that will work much better on mobile devices (and can be installable as an "app"), with live-updating (so you don't have to refresh to see changes), support for offline use (read without being connected) and many other new features, social sign-in, Markdown formatting and so on.

    If you want to preview of where it's up-to, checkout: https://jw.forumserver.com/

    Note: it's just a snapshot, and many of the things have yet to be finished but the core engine is working and it should load faster than the current server-generated site, especially if a page has videos in it, for example:


    I'm going to work on getting it completed over the next couple of weeks (although it might stretch to months, who knows!) but when it is I'll switch the domain over. So don't stop using the https://www.jehovahs-witness.com/ address to get to the site.

    Here's to the next 20 years!

  • Jehalapeno

    Thanks for the site, Simon!

    By the way, when you originally created the website, were you already mentally out of the organization? Or was the site initially for active JWs to hang out and meet others?

  • Smiles

    Happy to have been a member here for 17 of the 20... Cheers!

  • Simon
    when you originally created the website, were you already mentally out of the organization? Or was the site initially for active JWs to hang out and meet others?

    I think I was on the way out and questioning things / starting to rock the boat and make myself a nuisance to them.

    But at the time, the only places online were either 100% pro Witness or 100% anti / Apostate so I was hoping to aim for something that was open to all and that would allow real discussion on topics.

    Probably unrealistic, but I still think it's a worthwhile goal to at least aim for.

    One of the guys who ran one of the pro Witness sites actually emailed me a number of years back to thank me - he'd left and appreciated that we removed things that were attacking or encouraging attacks on their site, so he was more open to reading ours as a result and didn't see us as evil and out to get them.

    Always worth remembering that people are just at different stages of their own journey and they are not the enemy, and we can't treat them as such if we want to convince people to escape - they need to know there is a supportive community who can help them. Anything we do will either help convince them to stay or convince them to leave, even though the latter may take time to kick in.

    I think this is something the exJW community does wrong. Some get far too focused on attacking the WTS, the attacks become outlandish (so less convincing) and they group all JWs as the target of their ire.

  • Gorbatchov

    Thanks Simon,

    I remember you intended to quit the forum and how in panic we were.

    Please go on with this good work, it helps us dealing with our experiences.


  • Wakanda

    Thank you Simon! I stay here and have never posted on Reddit because it feels much safer. I feel like you would tell them to piss off in legal terms if they gave you a subpoena. Plus, you don't let us post their little letters, only links.

    Anyway, thank you a lot.

    I'm pretty sure I landed here when looking for a video when I was PIMI. Wifibandit posted it; I was shocked at the comments on it! Then I saw Eric's secretly recorded judicial as a suggested video. I guess it got my curiosity because it wasn't apostate in my mind, just his judicial being made public. That did it... in a few months.

  • ThomasCovenant

    Happy Birthday

    and thanks for keeping the site going.

    It was a great help for me just to be able to read something contrary to the official dogma, even if I didn't comment much or start many posts.

    Even though we don't all agree on matters, both religious and more recently politically, I would hate to see the site cease. I think our little xjw world is better with the forum than without it.


  • My Name is of No Consequence
    My Name is of No Consequence

    Simon...a heartfelt thank you from MNIONC.

    This was probably the first website that I stumbled across when I first started having serious doubts (around the overlapping generations fiasco). It has helped me immensely.


  • VIII

    Thanks, Simon!

    I was way out but always hoping that there was a community of Ex-JWs. I found the site and always read it and contribute. I was on here way back and came back on so many years ago when trying to get my family to see TTATT. I gave up and they are all still in. I come here to realize I'm not alone and they are still in a cult and I'm not losing my mind when dealing with them.

    This is absolutely the best site.

    Thank you, Simon and Ang. You both deserve kudos!

  • The Fall Guy
    The Fall Guy

    Very much appreciate all the work - and the results from it!

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