Today I came to the realization that it is the 24th anniversary of the Cichlid Room Companion, which accounts for about 25 years of hard work to achieve what the site is today, a period when I have been receiving a landslide of wonderful contributions from many places around the world. This date leads me to reflect about the evolution, present status, and future of the Cichlid Room Companion. I am as well motivated to thank all those who have made it possible.
The goal of the site has always been to present the most accurate information about cichlids in a systematic and organized form. What is the point of information if you can’t find it when you need it? Search engines are good, but many times you don’t know if the results you obtain from searches are trustworthy, and the results are generally scattered in many places, not with the CRC. Over all, we have always worked to keep an independent view and attach to scientific protocols as much as we can. We make no favor to any commercial or personal interest.
This may sound like an easy thing to do, but over the years I have felt the pressure, manipulation efforts, and sheer undermining of those who did not get their taxonomic points of view represented on the site as they wanted. I have always tried to work with everybody and be fair to each point of view, but in a pluralistic world this hasn’t always been possible and even without wanting it, the site has caused some strong antagonisms from a few people. Thankfully, nowadays we are at our strongest and we have been keeping the independent view we always have worked for. These days, some of the more brilliant cichlid specialists in the world regularly contribute or support the site. For me, it has been a continuous learning experience, a constant out-of-the-box thinking challenge, and a continuing development of policies, forms presenting the information, recognition of errors, and error correcting.
Technically, I have always worked towards writing the fastest, stable, and secure code, implementing the utilities that I believe help obtaining a better access and organization of the information, whatever level cichlid keepers and researchers look for, and make the information accessible to anybody around the world. I can proudly say that nowadays, in this respect, the site is very powerful. I have left aside fancy interfaces and tricks in favor of a faster and more stable performance. I know that the code can and will be improved; this is a continuous work.
Today, I want to thank all the people that have make the site possible and reach the level of quality it has. There are many people to thank, and the CRC would have never been possible without them. As in other times, I want to start thanking the people who in the first place made the Cichlid Room Companion possible: Jon Benn (Petsforum) from Chicago who selflessly provided free hosting for the site in 1996. I also want to thank Christian Alfredsson, now the editor of the Scandinavian Cichlid Association Ciklidbladet magazine, who offered me a minimalist’s design for the CRC 24 years ago improving on our initial design. That design, no matter how hard I have tried, I haven’t yet been able to improve. I also want to thank Ad Konings for providing the wonderful picture of Cichla ocelaris (type species of the family Cichlidae) which serves as our logo.
Then there are the contributors. There are many and listing them all would bore you to death, but I have to list a few of them. Ad Konings for the tirelessness with which he has contributed, pictures, references, profiles, articles, corrections, and more. Patrick Tawil from Paris is along the same line; I would never be able to replicate their contributions. Rico Morgenstern from Germany has supplied an incredible amount of information and has served as a necessary critic and reviewer at all times. Anton Lamboj has supplied a large amount of rare cichlid pictures we would not have been able to obtain in any other way. And many, many contributors more.
Most of you may not have realized that the CRC is available in five languages. It is not automatically translated by Google but by cichlid specialists. The translators include Philippe Burnel, Florent de Gasperis, and Philippe Hotton, who have tirelessly worked to make the site available in French. Piotr Koba for all the work he has done to make the page available in Polish. Heng Kuang Liaof and Raul Chiang for their many translations to Chinese. Anton Perez is acknowledged for his many translations into Spanish. Lisa Boorman has been the tireless forum administrator and the face of our Facebook presence. Lisa and her husband and good friend, Ken, have always been strong supporters of the site. Pam Chin has supported the site from the beginning in any political front and has run the popular Ask Pam Q&A section for many, many years.
I also wholeheartedly want to thank our noble sponsors: Tomas Nilsson from Sweden, Ad Konings, Claudia Dickinson, Ferdinand Velasco, Morrel Devil, and Vera Grant from the United States, Richard Robinson from England, and many others. They have supported the site without expecting anything in return out of a belief that the site is bringing something good to the world and I feel humbled and inspired by their selfless actions. They have actually inspired me to support causes I believe in myself, with no expected retribution other than the feeling that I am contributing to a better world. Thanks so much to them!
I also want to thank the organized hobby, mainly the Ohio Cichlid Association, which from the beginning through the initiative of Dan Woodland supported the site, year after year. The American Cichlid Association has made the Cichlid Room Companion its main source of information, available to all of its members. This has been a major development for the CRC which was started by the decisive efforts of Dean Hougen, Rusty Wessel, and Charles Rambo, and has obtained the strong and continuous support of Jan Benes, current chair of the ACA, and other members of the ACA Board of Trustees such as Drs. Paul Loiselle and Wayne Leibel.
Last but not least, I want to thank the CRC subscribers, who supplied an important part of what the site needs to continue growing every day, and which receive and use the information we have available. What good would it be creating a huge base of information when nobody would be interested in it? Thanks to all of you!
There are many plans for the future, and certainly no end to the addition of information and improvements we will be bringing to the Cichlid Room Companion, keeping it the world’s main reference for cichlids.
© Copyright 2020 Juan Miguel Artigas Azas, all rights reserved
Artigas Azas, Juan Miguel. (May 06, 2020). "Twenty four years of online cichlid information". Cichlid Room Companion. Retrieved on September 23, 2020, from: https://cichlidae.com/section.php?id=307.