Freedom Board

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The Freedom Board is a now-defunct online message board which was dedicated to boylove activism. It was created and hosted by Bristol in 1996 and was frequented mostly by BoyChat posters, though it was independent of BoyChat. Freedom was not revived in 1997 after the Digiweb hosting crisis. It was recreated in 2002 under the aegis of Free Spirits. While Freedom Board is no longer operational, its final index and archive (since its reopening in 2002) remain available online.

Motivation

While the board's creation was due to the combination of various factors, some public and some strictly internal, the most direct reason for its origin had to do with the reactions of posters at BoyChat to some of the more activist-oriented discussions which were occuring there. BoyChat has traditionally avoided staking out activist positions in order to reach the broadest possible base of the online boylove community. Since there is no widespread agreement among boylovers regarding what, if anything, they should be doing in order to further their cause in larger society, activist issues are automatically controversial and often upsetting to many members of the community.

History

In order to enable BoyChat to continue to reach as broad an audience as possible while still providing a place for activists to openly discuss their ideas, the Freedom Board was created. After Bristol, the next webmaster of Freedom was Etenne, who had lobbied for years to have the board revived. He was almost singlehandedly responsible for the shape and style of the board it became. Under his leadership, the Freedom Board struck a completely independent path from BoyChat and filled a special niche in the community.

Connor succeeded Etenne as webmaster, and was himself followed by Howie. Over time the movement on that board became slower and slower. This was due to a combination of factors, but probably the most telling of these was the simple fact that BoyChat itself began to grow more comfortable with periodic activist discussions. Many activists were not satisfied being relegated to what some saw as a "smokey back room" kind of board. Compared to the draw of the larger and more visible BoyChat, the Freedom Board slowly became redundant.

On 8 July 2005, Llewellyn, a Freedom cog and a member of the Free Spirits Committee, announced the closure of the Freedom Board. The FSC voted to close the board based on several factors with the most important one being the lack of interest in participation and or administration of the resource in the community.

Although from one perspective, this could be viewed as an experiment which failed, ultimately unable to maintain an audience, others prefer to see just the opposite: an experiment which succeeded, since the attention to activist issues there slowly began to filter back to the community at BoyChat until finally, the activists were able to discuss their issues openly on the main index in a way they had not just a few years before.