Over on the Forum, Prof David Robertson has produced some highly revealing statistics about the termite mound. Noting that it is approaching 100,000 posts, he reveals the following:
I should add that, from a skim of of 888 registered forum members:
* 800 people post nothing
* 50% of all posts are from c.25 people
* RdC personally accounts for 8% of all posts; and nearly 18% of posts since 2010
It is worth pausing to look through these stats again. Out of 888 registered users, 800 have never posted anything at all! The Forum has just 88 people who have ever posted on there, and many of those are people who only post very rarely, usually when a serious chess issue is being discussed. Half of all posts on the Forum are by just 25 people, and almost one fifth in the past two years have been by that old windbag, "Sir" Roger de Coverly!!
These stats confirm what I have long been saying, namely that despite its high-sounding name, the soi-disant "English Chess Forum" is just a tiny, hopelessly unrepresentative group of about two dozen obsessives, who represent nobody but themselves. Thanks to the ECF's indulgence of them, they have cost the game commercial sponsors and driven various Board members out of office. Several years ago, Council voted to sever the ECF's connections with the termites, but subsequently, in a move of dubious constitutional propriety, that decision was overturned by a handful of Management Board members, during a telephone conference call. The damage their actions have done is clear for all to see.
At today's AGM, Council will have a chance to consider their outgoing CEO's report, in which he writes, a propos of ECF officials making comments on the Forum, that
...it raises the question as to whether such comments by officials prolong discussion of controversies to the detriment of English chess and whether it would be better for the ECF to state its position officially and then stay quiet.
Beneath the diplomatic language, Farthing's views are perfectly clear. If Council has one iota of sense - which, alas, I doubt - it will again vote to sever all connections between the Federation and the termite mound, and to forbid Board officials from making comments on the Forum.
If 666 is the number of the Beast, then it would seem 888 is the number of the termite.