.January 13, 2005
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It was late at night six years ago. I was bored and started looking at some basic HTML code with the thought of perhaps creating a webpage. How hard could it be right? As an avid Badger fan, I wanted a way to accumulate info on the team that wasn't being provided elsewhere on the web. Entitled "Badgermaniac's News and Views", the page debuted in the spring of 1998 to a typical audience of about 3 people per month.
An early feature of my webpage was a guestbook that served as a rudimentary message board. I sent out an invitation to the now defunct "Badger E-mail List" as well as random Badger fans that I ran into around the Web.
Slowly but surely, people started to come to the page, whether out of curiosity or to vent about Brad Childress or Dick Bennett's recruiting.
Soon, I enlisted the help of a message board host and eventually purchased the domain name of badgermaniac.com. What once was a tiny little entity on the web was growing in scope, with Badger fans gradually using it as a place to congregate in greater numbers.
Whereas the early days of badgermaniac.com featured recruiting tidbits, news updates, game grades, and other things that I felt were not being covered by other Badger sites, the ever growing badgermaniac.com community soon began taking over a lot of these roles. I no longer needed to post news links, since someone on the message board would have it posted well before I was even aware of it. Recruiting was covered by fans much more in tune than I was. In short, the community had become its own news source and my job became essentially board moderator.
Over the years, I have been approached many times by outsiders wishing to capitalize on the incredible badgermaniac.com community and I have always resisted, primarily because I didn't feel it was the right move for the community as a whole at that point in time.
Well, that time has changed. I am happy to announce that Badgermaniac.com and Scout.com site BadgerNation.com will be merging. I realize that change can be viewed in many possible ways, but I am excited at what this is going to mean for Badger fans around the world.
Badger fans have many great resources around the web. I believe that Badgermaniac.com has a tremendous grass roots community, one that has grown into real life friendships and sources from boosters to high school coaches (and amateur coaches) to students to players' parents to media members. We have the Linders at Badger Nation working hard to provide day-to-day content from Madison. We have the recruiting experts that Scout.com has assembled. And perhaps there are even some who enjoy my little studies that take a look at the numbers, Badger history, and other minutiae. With this merge, I believe we can bring all of these sources together into one ultimate site for Badger fans.
What does this mean for you, the Badger fan? At worst, it doesn't mean anything. The message boards will still be in place with yours truly as the board moderator (and most of you know my feelings on issues such as flamers that have polluted many of the popular boards around the Internet). Much of BadgerNation.com's content will continue to be free of charge. Most, if not all, of my writings that I still dabble in, will continue to be free of charge. If you want no change in your Badger Internet experience other than a slightly different format on the message boards, you are in luck. No moniker changes. No password changes. NADA.
On the other hand, what will you be gaining? First off, no bouncing between more than one board to get your info. Badger fans will be concentrated into one community.
Access to folks like Jon Linder and Chris Pool will be enhanced. I know that Jon, for one, is very excited to have the opportunity to answer questions for an even larger community.
I hope to even bring some new ideas to the Badger Nation print magazine/premium content. As a Badger fan for nearly all of my 30+ years, I feel that I have a great feel for the pulse of the Badger fandom and I hope to bring some of these ideas to the table to make the print issue/premium site even more diverse.
Regardless of what you think of my site or my moderation of the board over the years, I hope that you recognize my devotion to Badger fans everywhere. I wouldn't make such a move without retaining a lot of power with regards to the future caretaking of the site.
So, don't think of the move as the end of an era, but rather as just another move in the evolution of the site.
Yours in Badger Fandom,