It’s been a long time since I wrote the original KIA manifesto late in the year 2000 and with a small group of others launched the original Kaotic Illuminated Adepts as a newsletter on Yahoo! Groups. In Norwich UK a small temple of about six real members took shape, all of whom were at the time in the IoT. International membership quickly grew into the hundreds.
At the time I had been working as a website developer and it was my plan to build a membership website that would allow members to save other members as their friends, form sub-groups of the main site and have complete autonomy to run that group how they liked, and to be able to search for other members that lived near by to them. I was able to envisage that this was what KIA needed to be, and whilst I had the skills to develop such a site, I lacked the time.
Well, I never did find the time, and so KIA went from being a yahoo group, to being a web forum hosted by proboards. Actually the two ran side by side for quite a while, some members preferring to stay with Yahoo, others having a preference for the forum. In 2003 KIA got an updated, psychedelic logo. It was lucky the forum existed, because for various reasons they never explained, yahoo deleted my account, and as the sole owner of the group, chaosmagic-kia was eventually deleted along with all the other groups I owned. Jaq D Hawkins, one of the original Norwich members, and my partner at the time, created a new Yahoo Group and made sure it had multiple owners, including a dummy account that was used for nothing else.
I mean while more or less abandoned the Yahoo Group, feeling let down by my account being deleted and feeling that Yahoo had become a bastion of authoritarian censorship on the net. I felt it was more important than ever to concentrate on building an independent community on kiamagic.com itself. Proboards had so far shown no inclination towards banning the kia forum, but I couldn’t take the risk of staying there. So in the end I set up a forum on kiamagic.com itself using Simple Machine’s Forum. For a while I ran this side by side a more or less flat website that only really used php to include common menu’s, but eventually I started to experiment with using content management systems.
After a few false starts that only half worked, KIA eventual came up with success for the second part of its website by providing a wiki using MediaWiki, the same websoftware used for Wikipedia. The main problem was that it required users to have two login accounts, one for the forum, and one for the wiki. I wanted to add more software to the site, but could only do so if I could integrate the user accounts. Otherwise navigating the site would be a horrible experience of multiple login accounts. For a while I pinned my hopes on OpenID. MediaWiki already supported it via a Mod, and SMF promised support at some time in the future. So I waited.
Well I got tired of waiting. Last time I checked, SMF still had no estimated time of arrival for OpenID support. By this time the original forum had become quite quiet, and keeping it seemed less relevant than ever. I had for some time begun to recognise that my original plan for KIA closely resembled what was now known as a ‘social network’. Hell, maybe they were known as as social networks back when KIA started. I don’t know. I hadn’t actually heard of the things back then.
Anyway, I ran some tests. First thing I tried was Moodle. But this was too closely linked to academia, and it proved too difficult to change the kind of academic language used. I then had a look at PeopleAggregator, even setting up a KIA group as a test on their website. But for some reason I can’t remember I was unable to install it.
During this time I became disillusioned with the Chaos Magic movement and wished for KIA to be something more than such a limited scope would allow. As result I decided to change the name from Kaotic Illuminated Adepts to KIA Illuminated Adepts. The Yahoo! Group continued under the old name, so the split between email list and website was a fait accompli. To represent the break from Chaos Magic, whilst emphasising a continued influence from the pre-chaos magic sorcerer Austin Osman Spare (from whom we get the word Kia in the first place), I changed the logo yet again, this time removing the eight rayed chaos sigil (which by this point seemed like a less than serious glyph derived from the fiction of Michael Moorcock and made popular by the rather boring Warhammer games by Games Workshop.) but keeping Austin Osman Spare’s Kia glyph. I also changed the Illuminati Eye in a Triangle symbol for a vertical yoni shaped eye in an inverted black triangle. However, at the time the move away from Chaos Magic, my break up with Jaq D Hawkin’s and a heated confrontation with more politically authoritarian members of the old group lead to KIA losing a lot of its membership during those turbulent times. Still the last thing KIA needed was a large contingent of closet Hitler fans, so I don’t consider it a great loss.
More recently I heard about some software called Elgg. I had a look into this and it much more closely resembled what I needed. Just one problem. It lacked support for integration with SMF. It did support other forum software however, and since no-one really posted on the old forum, I decided to let it go.
KIA now runs Elgg for its social network, has MediaWiki integrated successfully, and also has a Vanilla forum. All three are fully integrated and work from a single sign on. Eventually I will also be able to add a plugin that will mean that single sign on will work as an OpenID. So its taken me just over seven years, but KIA finally has the software set up I always intended it to have. The only thing it currently lacks is support for finding members nearby. But I should be able to correct that using some kind of map integration. There are several available now…
So far the change in site is working and the seeds of a new community have sprouted new shoots of promise. With some tender care I hope these seedlings will flourish into a mighty forest and become a useful service to occulture at large.
Be excellent to each other! And party on dudes!