VI-Control was founded in 2004 by Frederick Russ as a place where people could speak freely about composing and sample libraries. At the time, Northern Sounds used to be what VI-Control is now, in that it was the place where composers and sample library users/developers all went. It was a great forum.
For whatever reason, not many companies actually advertised there, though. Probably because the rates were insanely high. One company (which shall remain nameless) did advertise there, though. They also had their own sub-forum, which I’m guessing they paid extra for.
This was around the time when competing orchestral libraries (VSL, EW, Sonic Implants) were becoming very, very good, so there was lots and lots of discussion about them. I think the NS admins were fine with this for a few years, but eventually the discussion sometimes would go in directions that were, shall we say, “uncomplimentary” to the advertiser.
Given that this advertiser was arguably the person who made the forum possible, either he complained, or perhaps the NS owner took it upon himself to take action. It started with the deleting of posts, then transitioned into a policy of “No non-advertising companies may be mentioned here.” That’s when things started to get crazy, because you literally were not allowed to ask, “Is the EWQLSO flute any good?” People started getting banned if they broke those rules. Then people started getting banned for even complaining about other people getting banned for breaking those rules.
It eventually got ridiculous, where it started to become a badge of pride to get banned there. (Got my badge right here, in fact!) Being clever people that we are, people just created new profiles. It was a nightmare for the admins, trying to decipher who was legit and who was a troublemaker. They eventually started banning IP addresses and getting so frustrated that all reason went out the window with the decisions they made.
Their frustration was compounded by the fact that many members (banned or not) were also having a good laugh, in much the same way as students might torment a clueless substitute teacher. There was even a “Northern Enclosure” comic strip that someone (many people assume Nick Phoenix) made up and posted on a separate site. (Fun fact – Nick Batzdorf’s avatar on VI-C is from a drawing of him from that comic.)
VI-Control was not the only forum to come out of all this, by the way. SoundsOnline (East West) also started their forum then, also hoping to get all the refugees. I, for instance, joined there before I joined VI-C. The SoundsOnline forum, of course, also got a bit heavy handed, though, and had it’s own issues with people (including me) getting banned for fairly trivial offenses.
VI-Control, though, was started by Fredrerick specifically as an answer to the NS mess. This is why the moderation here is ultra-light. With a few exceptions, you can say just about anything about any company. You can even mention other forums. Frederick never considered that “competition.” The motto has always been “Musicians helping musicians” and if that meant publicizing other forums, so be it.
Frederick’s wife, Cindy, had a huge hand in running the forum. Everybody loved Cindy. Sadly, she passed away in 2012. This effected both Frederick and the forum, and I believe is part of what convinced Frederick to pass the baton to me (Mike Greene) last year.
This is a great forum. I’d like to take credit for that, but the truth is that (as most veterans here know) the vision was all Frederick’s. My role is to carry on that tradition. (And raise the ad rates! 😉 )
So to Frederick, thank you!