Elftown

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Elftown is an Internet community or social networking site for people interested in fantasy and science fiction. It was started as the official Elfwood social networking site in February 2002 by Henrik Wallin. Later on the project became separated and more like sister sites, and the split became more tangible in 2007 when Elfwood's servers moved from Lysator, while Elftown's hardware remained there.

The community comprises mainly Elfwood users and other people interested in fantasy, science fiction, art or related subjects; creating an interesting, artistic and unique place in the Internet. Elftown has features such as diaries, a messaging system, a wiki, forums, guestbooks and polls about anything and everything. Being of a mainly artistic origin, the users of Elftown (commonly referred to as "Elftowners") share a widespread interest in a variety of arts and styles; including everything from traditional to modern, and much beyond this. With time, Elftown has become more than just a place to share art, and is now known to be host to whatever its users want to share - thoughts, opinions, interests and whatever else there is to chatter about.

Elftown runs on small modern hardware bought by donations from its users, and is built on a unique software solution built on Roxen Webserver and Pike.

Elftown has 228 000 "photos" stored (35 GByte), and about as many "drawings". And there are also full size images in the photo albums (65 GByte, fewer images, but much bigger). One needs to apply to become an Elftown member, but everyone who bothers to try and write properly and who has a remote interest in fantasy and science fiction is accepted. However, people using netspeak may be locked out.

History

The plan behind Elftown was at first to build a site based around dating site construction software, because Elfwood’s then set-up of a LiveJournal community that didn't seem to work that well. The dating site software seemed to be far more adjustable to the running of discussion forums, the building of art galleries, and other things that interested the people of Elfwood. Elfwood had thought about using LysKOM as the software for its forum, but this failed due to how complicated many users found the system. However, LysKOM was a strong source of inspiration for the Elftown forums, which makes them a unique type of web-forum. They can be hard to use at first, but they are very powerful tools once a user is familiar with them.

Later, a wiki was added. Elftown’s wiki is now about 20 GByte of text (mostly compressed), and contains a quantity of articles that dwarfs that of many other wikis. The wiki is filled mostly with Elftown’s members’ personal pages, galleries and even chat-rooms, but there are also growing resources on fantasy and mythological creatures. Elftown now has functions for voting and poll creation, blogging, webpage-building (in the wiki), and a unique forum system.

In September 2004, approximately 14,000 fantasy and science fiction lovers from all over the globe logged into the site, making it one of the biggest online communities in Sweden, and the third largest on Lysator. In February 2007 it had over 180,000 members. It has about 3000 unique visitors per day according to Google Trends.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Elftown,
which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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