Jan 28, 2005

Posted by: Melissa Anelli


trio.jpgOur readers are just too smart.
This week, a “?” appeared on our page design. Sharp-eyed Leaky readers picked it up immediately and, well-trained by JKR hoop-jumping, began sussing out what it meant. Yesterday, we popped another ? into the newspaper at the top of the graphic, today’s date, and the line, “What do you say to that?”

Within about two minutes our readers guessed what was happening. And they were right.

Despite much cackling and game-playing with red herrings and vague clues, the one truth we hid all night is that our readers had actually discovered the truth: TLC finally has… a FORUM.

We are SO thrilled and extremely proud to present the first-ever Leaky Cauldron Forum, Leaky Lounge.

You all have been asking – even begging – us for this for years, and with a book and a movie on the horizon we could not ignore those requests any longer. TLC always has been a community – now it’s literally so.

This is the product of an entire month of intensive work by a team of 20-odd moderators, administrators, designers and more. And we are so excited about it we can hardly handle it. It came about in November when longtime reader Nick Rhein sent us a proposal for a forum, so thorough and sensitive to our readers’ needs that we knew it was time to dive in.

There are so many great features we don’t know where to begin. The forum is themed on, of course, a Leaky Cauldron / Diagon Alley location, and we’ve added some shops to the darling little lane. The one we think is coolest is The WB Shop, a forum to discuss HP merchandise, run by an actual WB representative who wants to hear your direct feedback about what you like and dislike, and what HP items you wish you could buy. TLC will be working closely with the WB Shop, the entire team of whom I’ve met and can say they are fun and honestly interested in providing you all with things you like and want, to help prod production of items the HP fans find ideal. There will be more on that in the future.

For the moment, we’ve got a whole new forum to explore, so get to it. There’s a forum for parents, a forum for teachers, a forum to discuss all the sites in the Floo Network, one to discuss, a Muggle book club, and more. And of course, there is plenty of room to discuss the HP books and films.

Don’t worry, you won’t have to miss out on your news by hanging at the pub all day; the site is framed with Floo links, search links for each Floo site, and a news ticker that will keep you up to date on your HP news at all times. It’s a Leaky Cauldron reader’s oasis.

And yes, that’s a Google ad. The time has come, guys. We are growing and expanding at enormous rates and are currently hundreds of dollars each month above our agreement with Idologic. We had to make a choice – one which could not POSSIBLY include asking you for more money, don’t even think about it – to stay stagnant, or to save our reservoir for the day when we need a second server (which may be soon) by supporting the site without taxing our readers, a choice which also has the benefit of allowing us to grow further, expand further. This forum is not the end of the surprises we have in store very soon, not even by a long shot. We can keep the ads discreet and will strive to, as long as our readers support them.

Feeling a little overwhelmed by all this? Never fear. Go on and register, and then take the Leaky Lounge Tour to get a taste of this wonderful new world of HP community. We’ve even started up a bunch of discussions to get it going (but don’t worry – we waited for you).

I have to take a moment here to send outrageous heaps of thanks to Nick for his unbelievable work setting this up, to John for his, as you’ll see and are used to, exemplary, gorgeous designing work, and to our moderators and admins, including newcomers Lilly, Torill, Lord Fishcake, Clare, Puffin and Matt (most of whom you know very well from the comments here), and everyone else who worked so hard this past month to make this happen. And, of course, thank you, dear patient TLC readers who put up with our tantalizing, and especially those who stayed up all night tonight waiting for this.

We are so excited. See you there.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.