In 2002, our Nigel Dunn very kindly set up a Lucire reader forum—which we then called StyleTalk, replacing a Yahoo! group of that name that had vanished into thin air.
In 2005 and 2006, when we were going through some difﬁcult times at Lucire due to stafﬁng issues, coincidentally the forum was hacked, probably by folks in China and Korea, as far as our hosts could tell. In 2006, I believe we had a hard drive failure that killed the forum altogether, and given that phpBB’s notiﬁcations about updates weren’t arriving here (spam ﬁlters?), we left it. My own focus in the middle of that year was getting Lucire’s print edition back up to where it should be.
We ordered a ﬁrewall and some insurance in case the hackers came back and, given that we seem to have a reasonably secure server these days (knock on wood), I asked Nigel if he could look at resurrecting the old forum again.
This time, it would be called the Lucire Reader Forum—we are saving the StyleTalk name for something else—and we used the newest phpBB. Nigel says the old data and usernames are still in the system and when he gets some spare time, he’ll see if he can retrieve them, but for now, if you do wish to talk fashion, beauty, travel, lifestyle and celebrities, you can surf to lucire.com/forum. Pretty empty at the moment.
The difference always was that everyday readers could interact with team members at Lucire, including the publisher. You don’t get that sort of service at Vogue. I don’t need their brand of “mystique” at Lucire; the 21st century is about transparency and openness, and the forum always provided those. Not happy with a story? Talk to the boss.
A case in point was when Doug Rimington came surﬁng by one day in 2004 talking about photography. I happened to be there and invited him to join us at a fashion shoot. Since then, we’ve not only become friends, but Doug’s work has appeared in Lucire often. His work is better than what he witnessed that day in 2004.
Stories were suggested and followed up, though the Isaac Mizrahi interview one reader suggested has yet to be done.
We had around 400 members before the hackers got the better of us, and between them had racked up a substantial number of posts. I said ‘thousands’ elsewhere over the course of four years—I don’t think I was far off the mark, though every year we used to “prune” the forum, so I assume only hundreds of messages survive somewhere inside the old database.
I have a few reservations about forums: I am not sure if they are as cool in 2007 as they were in 2002, but I could be proved wrong. There are some very lively forums for fashion magazines elsewhere, and we just hope that the old regular posters have not deserted us permanently. The action seems to be in social networks in 2007, but the main reason, for me, is that readers have another medium in which to interact, and that cannot be a bad thing. Posted by Jack Yan, 00:37
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