Today, Eric Faerber (wGEric) announced that he is stepping aside as MOD Team Leader, to be succeeded by Igor Wiedler (eviL<3). This is a very significant announcement, and one that particularly touches both myself and David as we both have served on the MOD Team under Eric’s leadership, and I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect back on this announcement and the many contributions that Eric has made to the MOD Team.
During the past three and a half years, the face and scope of the MOD Team has radically changed. When Eric was first promoted to MOD Team Leader in February 2005, the team’s primary focus was simply on validating MODs in the queue and moderating the MOD development/discussion forums. The team only validated phpBB2 MODs; after all, the first beta of phpBB3 was still fifteen months away, and the only MOD template that was used was the old text-based MOD template. Now, the MOD team no longer accepts new phpBB2 MODifications (and three months from now, will no longer accept any phpBB2 submissions of any kind), and are pretty much exclusively validating phpBB3 MODs. They now exclusively use their MODX template format, and in the span of three and a half years, they not only previewed the XML format to the MODding community and got feedback on it, but have put out multiple iterations of the MODX format, both the XML spec AND two versions of the XSL stylesheet for it. The MOD Team took over EasyMOD, which had originally been a project independently run by Nuttzy, and has released numerous versions of it for phpBB2, and they are now working on a MOD Package Manager (“Blinky”) to provide similar functionality for phpBB3. Following the unexpected move over to the new phpBB3-powered phpBB.com in March 2007, the MOD team completely rebuilt a brand new MOD Database and MOD Queue (as well as a new Styles Database and Queue to boot for the Styles Team) for the new site, and, under pressure, got a beta version of it up and running in just under three months. They organized three MOD Author Conventions (2006, 2007, and 2008) on their IRC channel to improve their back-and-forth communications with the MODding community and receive feedback from MODders. More recently, they have built a new MOD pre-validator for MOD authors to use, launched a phpBB Code Wiki to share MODding and coding documentation, and just last week launched their new Junior Validators team to help them better recruit new validators.
I spent nine months on the MOD team, having been accepted to the team in November 2005, and stepping down in August 2006, when I realized that I am far too busy in my personal life to have the necessary time to contribute to the team. Nevertheless, during the time I spent on the MOD Team, Eric was the team member that I looked up to the most. I was the youngest team member at the time, and at only fourteen years old, I was certainly less mature than I am today. Nevertheless, Eric was always willing to listen to my concerns and was always supportive. And that wasn’t just the case with me, but with the whole team. He epitomizes the best kind of leader: someone who leads by supporting and encouraging his team members to do their best job, and who seeks to listen to the concerns of each of his team members and help to work them out. Despite all the additional responsibilities that he has had as a team leader, he has always led the MOD Team to greatness through the support and encouragement that he has given to his team members, and he is to be greatly commended for it.
Today, Igor takes over from him as MOD Team Leader, and he’s got some awfully big shoes to fill. He is, however, a highly-respected and very knowledgeable member of the MOD community, and he is definitely a good choice for the job. I’m sure that he’ll continue to lead the MOD Team to bold new frontiers (yes, I had to get the Star Trek theme in here somewhere for David’s sake!). And fortunately for us, Eric isn’t leaving the teams for good. He’ll be sticking around with the Team Leaders group (now newly renamed as the “Management Team”) as “Operations Manager.” I don’t know what that means yet, and all Eric said in his announcement was that he’s going to “take a different role with phpBB.” I have a hunch that we’ll find out just how much of a role he’ll be playing soon…
Nevertheless, from the bottom of my heart, thank you Eric for all of the contributions that you have made to the MOD Team and to phpBB over the past few years, and for the work that you will continue to do for phpBB in your new role. Also, congratulations to Igor for his promotion and for the many more contributions that he’ll be making to the MOD Team and to phpBB in the years to come.
–Douglas Bell, phpBB Weekly Co-Host