By Phillip Pierce
After several moves, the question-and-answer forum known as The 100-Hour Board will find a new home at BYU NewsNet.
“We cover a broad array of subjects, so it was hard to find a department that fit,” Erin Hallmark, a former editor on the board, said. “We wanted a better place to fulfill the mission of the board.”
The Student Advisory Council started The 100 Hour Board in 1995 as a suggestion box in the Wilkinson Student Center.
Students would submit questions in the box, and within 100 hours an answer would be posted on a bulletin board behind the box.
Today the board is completely online and has 1,650 registered readers.
All the writers, editors and readers participate under a blanket of anonymity.
“We prefer not to have our names attached because many questions we answer are very sensitive,” a current editor who operates under the pseudonym of Optimistic said.
Hallmark said there is a lot of mystery involved in the board that makes it more fun for everyone that participates.
“We are not trying to be scary,” Hallmark said. “We are not a secret combination, even though some students have accused us of being one. We are just having fun.”
Another writer, who operates under the pseudonym Branflakes, has been a writer for the board for four months.
“Being anonymous gives us the ability to write without fear and be able to share very personal things,” Branflakes said. “We can answer things as truthfully as we can.”
A lot of the questions on the board are comical, but some more serious questions address things like eating disorders and relationship advice.
The writers enjoy the service aspect of the board that comes with helping people with these serious questions, Hallmark said.
“We currently have 30 writers on staff, and no one is paid,” Optimistic said. “It is a way for our writers to express themselves.”
Writers for the board go through a serious application process and once accepted are expected to fill a weekly answer quota, Hallmark said.
People write to the board asking everything from, “What can you tell me about BYU insurance?” to “How many stairs are on campus both inside and outside the buildings?”
“We counted 40,413 stairs,” Branflakes said.
Before ending up at NewsNet, the board traveled a long road filled with setbacks and shutdowns.
After the board”s inception in 1995, it was taken down because of construction in the WSC and lost for several years.
The board did not resurface until 1998 when SAC found it and put it back into use.
Also in 1998 the board began answering any question instead of only those that related to campus life.
“In 2000 the board was shut down for not being ”central” to the SAC mission,” Hallmark said.
The board found new sponsorship with BYUSA Public Relations.
In 2001 the Board went into cyberspace, enabling readers to submit questions online.
The physical home of the board in the Wilkinson Center was disbanded in 2005 so writers could devote all their efforts to the online version.
The board was shut down again in January 2005 by BYUSA because of censorship issues, Hallmark said.
The board came back online with BYUSA that February with restrictions in place.
“BYUSA had a lot of restrictions on the types of questions we could answer,” Hallmark said. “We didn”t see it as an equal partnership; and they began to see us a liability because of the more sensitive questions we answered.”
The board found a new home in March 2005 with the Linguistics Department.
“The Linguistics Department thought the board would be a good corpus for their studies and a good way to study the use of language,” Hallmark said.
This fall the board has moved again, to NewsNet.
“Now that we think about it, it is the best place we can be,” Hallmark said.
A Brief History of the Board As of 06/28/06
Circa1995BYUSA Student Advisory Council (SAC) creates “The Board,” a question-and-answer forum staffed by volunteer students
2000Shut down for not being “central” to SAC mission; board transferred to care of BYUSA Public Relations
2001First version of online board created – allows readers to submit questions online
2003Monthly submissions increase from 56 in April to 341 in December
2005Monthly submissions increase to 747 in September
Shut down by BYUSA in January for censorship issues – brought back in February with tighter restrictions
Moves to Linguistics & English Language Department in March
Moves to online-forum only – board and box in the WSC are removed
2006 Board moves to Daily Universe, a division of NewsNet, Fall 2006
NewsNet Staff Writer
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