Wittenberg (also known as Witt or less correctly The Witt) is the name used in Talossa for Talossa's discussion forum, currently hosted on talossa.com.
The current iteration of Wittenberg, styled "RTWittenberg" and referred to for posterity as "Wittenberg XIV", this version was mandated by the Wittenberg Transition Act (53RZ17), providing for a Chancery-administered national forum. It was launched on December 3rd 2019/XL, but only became official upon certification by the Chancery, which happened on February 27th 2020/XLI. The Government had separately announced that it would begin treating the new Wittenberg as official, and advise the old version to be locked, as soon as 50 citizens signed up for a RTWitt account, which happened in mid-January. Even before certification, some provinces and the Uppermost Court had moved their operations to Wittenberg XIV; the February and March Clarks of the ongoing 54th Cosa were conducted on both fora.
The forum largely mirrors Wittenberg XI's arrangement, with some tweaking made to the structure. The software was selected and installed by Sevastáin Pinátsch, in his capacity as Minister of STUFF, in the summer of 2019 as part of the larger switch of the national web presence to a new hosting company. Lüc da Schir unofficially took over STUFF's backend duties in late September and configured the forum from the ground up, making it fully operational and adding features in response to feedback; he also designed the graphical interface and the logo. Da Schir was then officially put in charge of Wittenberg XIV as the new Wittmeister, alongside the Chancery, which is statutorily responsible for policy.
Wittenberg XIV was implemented to address two major criticisms of Wittenberg XI: that it was effectively privately owned, and that it was hosted on a locked, proprietary platform that made backup and archival impossible. The new forum is hosted on Government servers, administered by the Chancery and equipped with database backup functions in exclusive control of the Royal Archives. It also offers numerous other advantages over the Proboards-hosted Wittenberg XI, such as native functions for newsletters, support for translations and in general complete support for custmisation.
Wittenberg XI was the longest running forum in Talossan history, in uninterrupted service since 2004. Set up on June 4 in the aftermath of the secession of the Republic, it was initially intended as a temporary solution; the first post was made on June 6. It was phased out in favour of Wittenberg XIV on February 27th 2020/XLI, and finally closed on March 23rd, after a final month of transition where Clark votes could still be posted on either forum.
The forum contains several individual "Boards", which serve to make it easier to keep different sorts of conversations (and business) separate and organized. Confusingly enough, “Wittenberg” is also the name of the most important of the Boards, the one at the top of the list that’s advertised as a “General all-purpose forum for discussing all things Talossan”. Each Board contains many Threads (conversations); each Thread contains any number of Posts (individual contributions to a conversation). Wittenberg posts show up on Google searches.
Every Talossan citizen is urged to have an account on Wittenberg, and most do. Besides citizens, accounts are given to prospective citizens and (by the Prime Minister’s special invitation) to non-citizen guests.
The main administrators of Wittenberg XI are Lord Hooligan and King John. The administrators have power to edit, move, or delete posts; to move or delete entire threads; to reset passwords, change account settings, suspend accounts, even banish users permanently. Because of its importance to the national dialogue (since so many citizens are cybercits), there are some laws and regulations that govern the administration of Wittenberg, but it nonetheless remains a private enterprise. This accounts for the nature of "Wittiquette", the rules of propriety that are enforced on Wittenberg. It also accounts for the administrators' ability to take occasional direct action, as when plagiarism or obscenities are edited out.
Ryan Hughes created the first Talossan message forum in mid-1997: the Talossan Discussion Group, popularly referred to as the "Disco Group" (http://www.enteract.com/~ryan/talossa/talk/index.html). Shortly thereafter, Charles Sauls created another forum which he named "Wittenberg" as a project of his Schmeckenista Front for the Advancement of Cybercits. The name was chosen as an appropriate place for people to post things (like Martin Luther posting his theses to the doors of Wittenberg Cathedral). When Hughes left Talossa for Penguinea in late September 1996, he shut down his Disco Group, and Wittenberg was left as the hub of online interaction for Erteiers. Each subsequent primary message forum for Talossa has been named after Sauls' Wittenberg, with the number typically incremented after each change of host and/or administrator ("Wittmeister").
- Wittenberg I - Charles Sauls' original Wittenberg, located at http://www.pacinfo.com/~saulsc/bbs. It had a black background and a particular feel that would later become iconic, and was repeatedly imitated.
- Wittenberg II - When Sauls departed the country, Jon Peck took over. It was only used a short time.
- Wittenberg III - This was the second version administered by Peck. It was intended to fix technical problems found in Witt II, but had many problems of its own. It was abandoned in short order.
- Wittenberg IV - The third Witt with Peck as Wittmeister, this version saw long use.
- Wittenberg V - The first Witt to be set up and administered by Robert I.
- Wittenberg VI - Started on 10 Feb 2000/XXI by Tamorán dal Navâ, this board lasted for a year and a half until technical problems brought it down.
- Wittenberg VII - This short-lived board only existed during the transition between Witt VI and Witt VIII.
- Wittenberg VIII - Administered by Wittmeister Marti-Pair Furxheir, this Witt saw long service, from May 2001 to 21 February 2003. Crashed on 11 November 2001 due to viruses and a failed backup, which caused the loss of the records of the Talossan response to 9/11.
- Wittenberg IX - Also administered by Furxheir, this attempted implementation of a new forum software was unpopular and used for only a few days during February 2003.
- Wittenberg X - Wittenberg X (also administered by Furxheir) entered service in 20 February 2003/XXIV. It was the version of Wittenberg in service at the time of formation of the Republic of Talossa and was seized as the forum of the Republic from 1 June 2004/XXV.
- Wittenberg XI - The privately owned Proboards forum, in service from June 2004 to February 2020. Originally administered by Peter Hottelet, then transferred to King John. By a wide margin the longest-serving Wittenberg, Witt XI remains online at its original url: talossa.proboards.com
- Wittenberg XII and XII(b) - The now-defunct board used by the Republic of Talossa, after they stopped using Witt X, it was administered by Andreas Lorentz. Once Lorentz left Talossa, the Republic changed hosts again, but instead of incrementing to Wittenberg XIII, the new version was referred to as Wittenberg XII(b) as it was essentially the same forum, just transferred to a different server; the transfer was done by Ián Anglatzarâ. It was abandoned after Reunision. Members of the Republic wished to keep its contents secret, and so it was kept in private hands and subsequently was apparently lost.
- Telecomuna - A Chancery-hosted board for official business. Initially mandated by 47RZ22 to address concerns that public business was conducted on a privately owned forum, the Chancery missed several deadlines for its operation which were set by successive bills, with other bills calling for Telecomuna being scrapped being defeated. Completed by Lüc da Schir on behalf of the Chancery in 2017, Telecomuna remained half-finished and never went into service. The Ziu finally scrapped Telecomuna in 2019, abandoning the plan to have separate fora and nationalising Talossan webspace through the establishment of Wittenberg XIV and the planned shutdown of Wittenberg XI.
- Wittenberg XIV - The current government-owned talossa.com forum, which took over from Wittenberg XI from February 2020. It is administered by the Chancery.