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Old July 7, 2016, 11:37 AM   #1
Ozzieman
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To the moderators: TFL history

I tried looking this up with a search and haven’t had any luck.
Can any of you share the history of TFL. Like when it started and who?
I for one would be interested.
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Old July 8, 2016, 10:41 AM   #2
Art Eatman
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I saw Rich Lucibella's post on rec.guns in November of 1998. So, I signed up. At that time, people who now work for SWAT magazine were moderators here. Dennis Bateman, Denny Hansen. In the next couple of years, Tamara, Marko Kloos and LawDog showed up as moderators.

When Rich shut TFL down in order to work on the resurrection of SWAT, we moderators started TheHighRoad.org. When Rich re-started TFL, several of us then began to moderate at both websites.
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Old July 8, 2016, 11:18 AM   #3
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There is a firing range in the Kennesaw GA area named "The Firing Line". Any connection between the 2 or just coincidence.
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Old July 8, 2016, 11:39 AM   #4
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There's a firing line on every range I've ever seen. It's a common term.
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Old July 8, 2016, 11:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Any connection between the 2 or just coincidence.
No connection, though I do know those folks.

Back when I started paying attention to the internet, there were only a few places to discuss guns. One was the newsgroup rec.guns, which was an unmoderated mess of trollery and chest-pounding (assault wheelbarrows!). There was good information to be gleaned there, but the noise outweighed the signal.

Then forum software became a thing. A few gun boards popped up, but most fizzled out. TFL was a notable exception. It was run from the top by Rich Lucibella, and he had a particular vision for it, which involves credibility and civility. Those two traits really made it stand out.

I posted on THR quite a bit, but the two forums had different audiences. TFL was quieter but wiser, while THR was more vibrant and hosted a younger crowd. It should be noted that THR was started by TFL alumni, who still kept Rich's vision in mind.

The results speak for themselves. Both forums are still active, and both remain very credible sources of information and expertise one won't find elsewhere on the internet. Many other forums have shut down, succumbed to internal drama, or utterly changed character over the ages. We haven't.

On the subject of credibility, pick the most obscure gunsmithing question you can think of. Or think of the most arcane firearms law wrinkle. Now google that. I guarantee the first and most relevant results will point here. Even when the forum was shut down for a bit, Rich left the archives up, and I could answer many questions by searching through them. That really counts for a lot, and I've always been proud to contribute when I can.

(Here's an archive of historical threads from the early days.)

Sure, Facebook and the like get more traffic, but that's not what we're about. The goal here is signal, and I'm honored to be a part of it.

(So honored, in fact, that I accepted the request to join the Staff a few years back. You guys do not want to know what's in the Staff Lounge fridge.)
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Old July 8, 2016, 01:11 PM   #6
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I for one appreciate the [I]signal[I]!

Thanks.
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Old July 8, 2016, 01:44 PM   #7
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I appreciate this forum too, I've been on others and they are rampantly committing acts of trollery and nonsense... You can find useful information on other forums, but not like here.

This is the only gun forum that I've sustained an active involvement in.
I do, on occasion, commit acts of trollery here at times and I get corrected. But, I do have an excuse that has precedent, "I didn't intentionally break the rules" ... I'm qualified to be a political candidate now...
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Old July 8, 2016, 02:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
There's a firing line on every range I've ever seen. It's a common term.
This is the business name. In fact the wording on the sign at the range is of similar font and looks very much like TFL logo at the top of the page. I've also noted a bit of a GA connection with several moderators from here in GA.
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Old July 8, 2016, 02:56 PM   #9
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I stumbled onto TFL by accident some time back, and was so impressed I stayed, and contributed what little I could. When I was asked to join the staff, I was astounded, and felt honored. (I had no idea they were THAT desperate!). I still feel honored, but then I was never noted for being particularly bright about such things.

The people here have the knowing of a great many things. And I've never found any place better, nor hardly any like it. It's a serious place, but we do banter a bit. The vision/mission statement is high standard, and we work hard to hold to it.

Being civil, and not dropping to the lowest common denominator is not a lost art. Not here, at any rate.
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Old July 8, 2016, 04:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
When Rich shut TFL down in order to work on the resurrection of SWAT, we moderators started TheHighRoad.org. When Rich re-started TFL, several of us then began to moderate at both websites.
I was interested to see that. Just a few days ago, I started wondering why The Firing Line and The High Road exist as separate forums, since they have overlapping moderators, overlapping members, overlapping topics, and similar policies and procedures. I guess if I say something bad and get kicked off one, at least I can still participate in the other. What other reason is there to have both forums?
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Old July 8, 2016, 06:59 PM   #11
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TFL is the only place on the internet where I can ask, in all seriousness, about the proper way to wear knee pads or trauma plates while also being able to find out about reloading dies for the .218 Bee
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Old July 8, 2016, 06:59 PM   #12
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cjwils, THR was choogling along just fine when Rich decided to restart TFL. None of us saw any reason not to keep on keeping on. For whatever reasons, some folks prefer one to the other; some folks meddle around in both playpens. I don't bother to worry about it.
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Old July 8, 2016, 09:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
both remain very credible sources of information and expertise one won't find elsewhere on the internet
Tom, understatement of the week
Thanks for the info to everyone
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Old July 9, 2016, 08:53 AM   #14
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After deciding not to spend so much time on the computer (it apparently rots the brain and reduces literacy), I mostly participate in just two forums - here and brianenos.
With thanks to both.
Plus listening to a few podcasts.
Plenty good enough, too.
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Old July 9, 2016, 08:59 AM   #15
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Interesting thread. Thanks guys.
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Old July 9, 2016, 09:16 AM   #16
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I didn't really know the history of TFL until I saw this thread. As for me, I spent many years having guns in the closet, but didn't shoot, didn't carry, etc. When I started getting back into guns, as you might imagine, I found dozens of gun-related sites. TFL, however, was one of the few that didn't look like the internet equivalent of a free-for-all bar fight over opinions. I was looking for credible information and civil discussion & here's where I found it.
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Old July 9, 2016, 06:35 PM   #17
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Interesting thread for sure, never knew THR was related in any way.


Quote:
As for me, I spent many years having guns in the closet, but didn't shoot, didn't carry, etc.
We knew you'd come out of the closet one of these days spats.
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Old July 9, 2016, 11:48 PM   #18
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This is a neat thread -- and would be even better if more of the old timers would pitch in some tales.

In the mean time (if you have free time...) it is fun to go to any area on this forum and simply click for a very VERY old page, go back as far as the software will allow... and read some of the discussions. It's like a time capsule, being able to read what is posted, knowing that it was crafted years ago, and notice how some things have REALLY changed and evolved but some things have not.

Cool topic!
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Old July 9, 2016, 11:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
When I started getting back into guns, as you might imagine, I found dozens of gun-related sites. TFL, however, was one of the few that didn't look like the internet equivalent of a free-for-all bar fight over opinions. I was looking for credible information and civil discussion & here's where I found it.
That's how I ended up here in about 2008.
I had a lot of free time on my hands, having separated from the military into an economy that was going belly-up and watching all of my "locked in" jobs evaporate.

I scoured the internet and ended up here, due to the seemingly 'higher caliber' of discourse. Rules are enforced here, and the stupidity must be checked at the door. But, at the same time, the moderation is not heavy-handed and over-bearing.

It's a good balance - especially for people that appreciate not being told that they're an idiotic [insert 16 sentences of profanity] for asking a simple question, because they're new to a particular type of firearm or specific model; or when someone just wants to admit that they made a mistake (like using AA #7 smokeless powder in place of Reloder 7 ) and they want to offer a warning to others not to do the same.

I don't agree with every thread closure, infraction given, or other choice made by the moderators (though, I probably don't see everything - since I typically only visit once or twice a day). But I whole-heartedly agree with the overall atmosphere and direction that results from those choices.

TFL is a good place to be, and I'm glad that it not only came back from the dead, but that it is a separate entity from The High Road again.
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Old July 10, 2016, 08:31 AM   #20
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What Art says is correct. I also saw some post somewhere and wandered into TFL. Rich and a moderator known as Mykl were the main players back then. Mykl was a field officer who did some time in the Pentagon.

Back then the opening page was some tent in the mountain. You clicked on it to enter the website. Instead of the professional logo TFL sports today, there was a FN-MAG. General Discussion was called The Coffee Pot back and we'd regularly have Mary Ann or Ginger threads too. TFL had one handgun forum and I think rifles were also one forum. The legal forum had another name back then too.
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Old July 10, 2016, 12:55 PM   #21
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This thread reminded me of a website called "the wayback machine". It basically archives screenshots of just about any website for different time periods. The earliest pictures of TFL I could find were from 2001.



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Old July 12, 2016, 05:35 PM   #22
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Way cool SC4006. I do note some Mods changed their names/handles along the way....
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Old July 12, 2016, 08:54 PM   #23
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SC4006, thanks for mentioning that site. I will have to visit it and bookmark it. Should make for some interesting reading this winter after deer season is done and I have time to kick back and relax.
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Old July 12, 2016, 08:57 PM   #24
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The cool thing about the Internet Archive is that it's not just made up of screen shots. The links work, and if there's an archived version of the linked page, it'll take you there.
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Old July 12, 2016, 10:10 PM   #25
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Yeah that's true actually. I didn't really know the best way to describe what the wayback machine does, so I just called it screen shots. The links for the 2001 version of TFL that I took a screen shot of do indeed work, but there isn't too much to see. That's okay though seeing as you can find just about any old thread you want here anyways.
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