An Interview With Roel Hendrikx, The Administrator Of The Alternate Timelines Forum

An Interview With Roel Hendrikx, The Administrator Of The Alternate Timelines Forum

One of several alternate history forums on the Internet.

Roel Hendrikx, a resident of the Netherlands, is the administrator of the Alternate Timelines Forum, an online discussion board about alternate history.

Wallace: How would you describe alternate history to someone who has never heard of the genre?

Hendrikx: The best way to describe to a person what alternate history is to ask them what they would think if an event occurred differently than what really happened; if they understand that, then you can talk with them about the many other possible ways history could have turned out.

Wallace: What got you into Alternate History?

Hendrikx: Once when I was young, I went to my local library and there I found a translation of a American book detailing a German invasion of the United States in 1945. After that, I discovered that there was more than that single book out there about history that is not our own. It was not until 2006 before I was really able to discover the world of Alternate History when I, like many other before me and many after me, became a member of, the most prolific alternate history site on the internet.

Wallace: What made you want to start the Alternate Timelines Forum?

Hendrikx: My forum first began as a place where I had posted all my works I ever had created, but not many people wanted only to discuss what I had created; it was not long after that when I posted a thread on that something hit me: the forum was so huge, it was most of the time impossible for a thread to get responses because so many members created new threads every day. Then, I began to think, I had already a forum of my own, so why not turn it into an alternate history forum, where due to the small size, its members do not need to worry that their threads may disappear to page 2 after only a day? A forum where a thread can receive the attention it needs, even if it is only one or two posts, where the members can know each other instead of being just a number on the wall? That was my desire to change the forum from what is was to what it is now, a small dedicated Alternate History forum where its members post, others respond and where you do not need to worry if it is not good enough, because at this forum, every question is a new question to answer and to explore.

Wallace: What is the philosophy underlying how the board is run?

Hendrikx: This forum runs on the philosophy of only acting when it is needed; the moderators and administration only act when action is necessary. If there is no action needed, that everybody is just a member who has a great time discussing everything related to Alternate History.

Wallace: What does running the board on a day to day basis entail?

Hendrikx: Running the forum begins in the morning when I wake up. I check if there are new posts, new members and if there is any new update that I can install that can help make the forum better. Then, I go to work; during my lunch break I check if there new events I need to respond to. After I come back to work, I look at all the new posts, and as always, I try respond to them to my best of my ability. Also, I look at it as I do in the morning to see if there are ways that I can improve the forum.

Wallace: What makes your board different from other alternate history boards?

Hendrikx: For now, the small membership is different than other larger Alternate History forums. Also, I try to award my members for posting as I feel that giving them something in return for posting here on the forum make them feel acknowledged.

Wallace: What have been the challenges of running the board?

Hendrikx: The small membership number is, at this time, the greatest challenge; many new members who could join do not know that there is a small, good, running Alternate History forum out there that allows them discus their love for Alternate History.

Wallace: Do you have any particularly interesting stories from running the board?

Hendrikx: So far, in the year-long life of this forum, there as of yet has not appeared a story relating to the forum I can speak of. I hope in the future that there might be one, but for now, the fact that this is an active forum is already an interesting story.

Wallace: Does running the board have an effect on your offline life?

Hendrikx: No, not at all; the forum is part of my life now, a hobby I love to spend my time on.

Wallace: How do you envision the future of the forum?

Hendrikx: More members, more timelines and more discussion, I hope, but if not, I am already happy with achievements that the forum has already made. The future is a long road, and many things can happen along the way.

Cover Image Credit: Alternate Timelines Forum

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.


I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.


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