If I Build It, Will They Use It?

by Larry Peery

When DIPCON (the North American Diplomacy Championship) began a third of a century ago no one expected it to become a Diplomacy hobby institution. After all, at that time, there was no organized hobby, let alone any hobby institutions. It was a diplomatic new world we were creating. Even the BNC and GRAUSTARK were still new!

Nobody bothered during those early years to keep track of what happened at DIPCONS. In fact, we were doing good to remember where they had been held, or when, let alone who attended or what games were played. In fact, for at least the first five DIPCONS there were no organized games. Mostly the guys sat around, played games, and drank cheap beer. How times have changed.

By the time the first WORLD DIPCON rolled around in 1988, I was determined that WDC would not suffer the same lack of attention to its origin and early records. Other people had the same idea, of course. I was just a bit more persistent about it. As best I could I tried to bring back from each WDC a collection of documents and memoribilia that would provide both a record of the event, and give some idea of what its flavor had been like.

With two exceptions (III in Canberra and V in Paris) I have attended all the WDC events, and today my Archives fills a dozen or so boxes. At first I had no plan for the stuff I had collected. I was just collecting to be collecting. But in the last few years it became clear to me that this information belonged to the hobby and should be shared with other WDC participants and Diplomacy fans. But how? The solution has become clear to me over the last two years as I have created various web sites, including one devoted to Diplomacy.

The WDC deserved a web site of its own.

I had hoped someone more skilled in the computer arts in the hobby would step forward and create such a site, but I haven't seen one: at least one on the scope I was thinking about. [Editor's note: Larry's experience trumps just about everyone's computer arts. I wouldn't presume otherwise, so I'll just stick to The Pouch. --Manus] So, over the past few weeks I've been working to create such a site.

You can visit it at http://www.geocities.com/wdcshrine

It's very much a work in progress. I've tried to build a framework structure to allow for future additions, as I've explained on the page. Over the next two years I hope to add more items from my own Archives, as well as contributions from other hobbyists. Naturally, if you attended any of the earlier WDC events (especially III and V) I'd love to hear from you.

The WDC Shrine focus is on three areas:

  1. Creating a permanent record of past events;
  2. Establishing an information resource center for future events; and
  3. Providing a venue for a discussion of the WDC concept and events.
In time, it may be more than that, but for now I think those are good areas to concentrate on.

Pay us a visit soon, and come back often. Who knows? You might find your name in the Hall of Champions next time.

Larry Peery

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