What's the history behind the Konvas discussion list?

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Konvas Movie Camera
Konvas Movie Camera
The Konvas discussion list has actually been around since December 15th of 2000! It was originally started on the topica.com list-servs by S. Frank Wylie and Patrick Steele in the hopes "that information on these cameras could be shared among users; the best source for practical knowledge about any camera system." Mr. Wylie was the official administrator with Patrick Steele helping moderate. The Konvas list grew, slowly at first, but then started to gain momentum.

After a few years, Frank had to step down, due to time constraints, and pass his position as list administrator/moderator on to Patrick Steele. So on May 15th of 2003, Patrick Steele became the official admin for the Konvas discussion list (as a side-note, Patrick Steele also ran commiecam.com, until he shut it down in Spring of 2008, and gave the site contents over to Konvas.org to share with the Cinematographers of the world).

But then, the topica list started having lots of issues: people were having problems reading their messages, they were having problems posting, the search functions didn't work, etc. So it was decided on April 17th of 2004 to move the discussion list to a new home: the list-servs on smartgroups.com.

At first, smartgroups was everything we wanted it to be - it ran smoothly, everyone received their posts, and it had all sorts of nice list features. Also, sometime during this transition, Andrew Overtoom took over as the list administrator and Patrick Steele retired from the list (the exact post/date seems to be lost, but it was sometime before November of 2004).

Mr. Overtoom pretty much had a "hands off" policy and rarely stepped in to moderate, but occasionally the list would get so far off topic that he had to say something (for instance, the list once went so far off-topic as to discuss the benefits of using radioactive broccoli over radioactive cauliflower - all tongue in cheek). But, even with the occasional "off-topicness" of the list, it still grew to almost 200 people. But things happen, and towards the end of 2005, smartgroups.com started having issues as well. Posts were again getting lost, or popping up a month late, and people were getting blocked from the server altogether. It became a very frustrating mess and the list almost died because of all the issues.

It was eventually decided to create a complete website dedicated to the Russian Cinema Gear, with a new discussion list of our own (hosted from the same domain/website) that could, at any time, be easily moved to a new server without the hassle of telling the users to redo all of their accounts (that's if the server ever started having issues again). The domain name "konvas.org" was purchased, a website was created, and the list soon moved over to its new (and current) home. The discussion list and website are both currently maintained and administered by Adam Frey.

The list is now officially unmoderated (actually, the real truth is that the list is more or less self-moderated - so if you get a frank email about your posting style and konvas list rules, please don't be offended). Although it is unmoderated, if the need ever arises the list can be switched over and moderated in case of an emergency.

Konvas.org has been updated several times since it started, and will continue to be updated. So if you have information that you feel would be helpful to other Konvas and Kinor users, please feel free to let us know and we'll try to post it on the site.

As a small historical side note: On October 31st of 2006, smartgroups.com closed its doors and some of the konvas list archives were lost forever. But a few members have managed to keep their own personal mailing list archive, and we hope to be able to post at least some of the older smartgroups archives to konvas.org sometime soon.

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