Saturday 13 February 2010

An Interview with Keeton Harrington, owner of 1KM1KT and Our Glorious Benefactor!

An Artist's Impression, created from a description by Keeton and his wifeI've reached 1000 Posts on 1000 Monkeys, 1000 Typewriters (the most active Free RPG Community) and I thought I would celebrate it with an interview with OUR GLORIOUS BENEFACTOR, the elusive owner of 1KM1KT - Keeton Harrington.

For those not acquainted with the term "Our Glorious Benefactor", it stems from the fact that Keeton is rarely seen on the forums. His tireless work to keep 1KM1KT alive is behind the scenes. We would while away the long winter nights poking fun about this mysterious fellow, inventing ridiculous stories about him (like Chuck Norris). In the 2009 24 Hour Competition, we even went so far as to have people use Keeton's name as an NPC and he turned up as Arch Villains, Evil Spirits and an Incarnation of Death. Tee hee! He found out long after the entries had started rolling in. Tee hee. Keeton has grudgingly accepted the title of Our Glorious Benefactor and is a good sport with all the good natured banter.

About Our Glorious Benefactor

Where are you from?
I was born in Florida, but I've lived in Texas most of my life. I currently live 20 miles outside of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex.

What do you do for a living?
I do contract programming for corporate clients and I own and operate more than 40 web sites. I'm happy to say that I get to do 1KM1KT as part of my job.

Who are your heroes?
Rob Lang, my family, Bill Gates, Alton Brown, Mike Tyson, Dan Grossman in that order.

If you could have a beer with anyone from history, who would be?
Ernest Hemingway at one of his famous watering holes. I don't want to ask any fan-boy questions, just shoot the breeze and have a daiquiri.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I never really wanted to be anything specific like a fireman, but I've always wanted to be independently wealthy. I would still like to be that.

Apart from RPG Philanthropy, do you have any other geeky hobbies?
I like to cook, I make my own liquor, I like programming, I used to restore classic cars, I fish, I like to kayak, I like playing Scrabble, I enjoy video games.

Roleplay Generally

When did you start roleplaying?
In high school, around 14 or 15 years old.

How did you get interested in roleplay?
It was great way to hang out with my friends and spend weekends drinking soda, eating pizza and staying up too late.

What was the first RPG you played?
Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition

Do you still play in a regular game?
Unfortunately, no. I wish I did, but I don't have the time to devote to it anymore. I haven't done any active roleplaying for several years now, but I do like to read the site submissions and roleplaying publications.

Do you game other than RPGs? Computer/board/wargaming?
I was really into Warcraft for a year with my wife. I like Axis and Allies and Risk quite a bit as well. I think I still have a few Warhammer 40k figurines from college.

What game would you really love to play?
I would really like to play some of the homebrew RPGs on 1KM1KT with the guys who created them. There are some really great games on there.

Have you written any RPGs?
No, but I've made my own settings for campaigns I GM'd.

What's your favourite genre of RPG?
I like fantasy, but I think I would enjoy steampunk if I were ever in a really well run campaign.

Are there any other gamers in your family?
My older brother was into it for a bit when I first started playing.

1KM1KT + RPG Laboratory

When did 1KM1KT start?
February 16th, 2004. That's the day we registered the domain name and we started putting up content that day. Juicetyger is a screen name I picked randomly when I was in Junior High. I had just finished watching "So I Married an Axe Murderer".

Why did you setup 1KM1KT?
I was looking for something productive to do, I wanted to learn more about the internet, and I had friends who were enthusiastic about helping. It was one of those "why would I not do this?" kind of things.

In the very beginning, what did 1KM1KT consist of?
Originally, it was a review site for games and a place for articles. It was a blog before blogs were cool (or anyone knew what they were).

Why did you choose the moniker 1000 Monkeys, 1000 Typewriters?
My friend Chris came up with the name and we ran with it. My wife made the logo later on.

Have you been paying for 1KM1KT out of your own pocket all these years?
Yes, but it's not that expensive. I have the server for other projects, so the extra resources are really minimal. 1KM1KT actually turns a profit these day which is always nice.

How big is 1KM1KT - in terms of games and data size on the server?
That's a good question! Runs to the terminal to find out...

File space is 426Mb, not counting the database which is probably 5-10Mb.

We average right around 2000 unique visitors/day.

We are sometimes graced by your Mrs on the 1KM1KT community, what does she make of all this philanthropy?
She's a nerd at heart and has a huge amount of respect for 1KM1KT. She likes contributing, but she's never been a big roleplayer. Her agent is shopping her first young adult super hero novel to publishers this week, so keep your fingers crossed for that.

How did the RPG Laboratory come about?
I set up RPG laboratory to try and leverage the popularity from 1KM1KT into a second site. I was getting a lot of requests to host incomplete games and development ideas, so I figured a site that would give people a place specifically for that would do well. The people who contribute to that site really seem to enjoy it, but I built it on the Drupal platform and I've had a hard time modifying it. At this point, some of the users have put so much effort into the site and like it the way it is that it would take some serious motivation to make any changes.

The Future

What plans do you have for 1KM1KT?
I know I'm supposed to have big plans for the future, but I really like things the way they are. The caliber of the submissions is incredible and the community is really tight-knit (mostly due to the efforts of the moderators). We'll continue to expand the site as part of our normal operation, but only at the request of the people who actually use it (the recent Dyson's map maker is an excellent example). We've seen resounding success partnering with the 24 Hour RPG project (which is now officially operated by 1KM1KT) and incredible support from The Free RPG Community. I'd like to continue to foster those kind of relationships in the future.

What plans do you have for the RPG Laboratory?
None at the moment (see my answer above). I would be happy to release a version 2.0, but it would have to be at the request of current users.

With PDF sales becoming more popular, do you see free RPGs on the decline?
Quite the opposite - the commercial market for downloadable pen and paper games is pretty small, and I think free will become increasingly popular. I believe the authors on our site receive greater rewards when they publish for free rather than trying to sell their work, and there's plenty of motivation for them to keep doing so. We've had several authors leverage the popularity and free exposure on 1KM1KT into paid gigs, and we've had free contributions from professional authors as well.

Is there anything you'd like to say to your fans?
I have a feeling my fans are mostly just Rob... Seriously though, if you're a fan of 1KM1KT then I'm a fan of you. If it weren't for the authors, forum posters, moderators, contest runners, contributors and readers, 1KM1KT would sit quietly in a dark corner of the internet until I forgot to pay the bill. You (the fans) are the reason it's here - it's built by you and for you and wouldn't exist without you. I can't say that often enough.

Are there any questions I should be asking?

Quite a few, actually! Here are the answers:

As Our Glorious Benefactor has seen fit to provide me with answers without asking any questions, I have taken the liberty of inventing the questions after receiving the answers.

If you were to describe your life as a genre of movie, what would it be?
Zombie movies.

You have managed to maintain very youthful looks, what skincare products do you use?
Fruit smoothies (occasionally waffles or pancakes).

Your Mrs mentioned that you have an 'Operating System Problem' and are seeking help at 'Operating System Obsessives Anonymous' group therapy (this is a long run up for a short gag, stay with me) - what OSes have been feeding your addiction?
Windows Vista on the desktop, Windows 7 on the laptop, and Debian Linux for the servers.

Tell me about your wife...
A Pomeranian named Hercules.

People make jokes about how Texans get a bit too friendly with animals. Have you experienced this and how did you deal with it?
I had a special relationship with a dog I don't have any more named Dan. His nickname was Danifer, which I thought would be a good business name.

You're a creative type of person. What is the best forgery you've ever performed?
Bachelor's degree from the University of North Texas. I took a dual major for English Composition and Political Science.

What is your worst nightmare?
Telecommuting to work. I get to be with my family every day and I do things at my own pace.

Can you name two things beginning with S
Subversion and the Symfony framework.

Which two websites on the internet would you be mortified to find I included in the interview?
Version 2.0 of

You were in a North Korean prison for 10 years for a crime you didn't commit, did it affect you in any way?
I'm weird about Q-tips. Ask anyone.

Which technophobias do you find the most debilitating?
Reddit and Words with Friends on the iPhone

What are your sexual preferences?
Anything that has to do with statistics. I love charts and graphs.

Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed, Keeton. You're a good sport and long live 1000 Monkeys, 1000 Typewriters.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the interview Rob! You did a splendid job. I particularly like the caricature.

~Jamie said...

This. Is. Awesome.

Misterecho said...

all hail our glorious benefactor!

Seriously, I didn't think he'd be up for an interview. He's the shyest man ever i've never met.

He is the illusive man from mass effect 2.

Aldo Ojeda said...

10 years in a North Korean prison? D:|

Jeff W. Moore said...

Why did you choose the moniker 1000 Monkeys, 1000 Typewriters?

My friend Chris came up with the name and we ran with it. My wife made the logo later on.

@Keeton ... Was your friend Chris a big Doctor Who fan? Because I am familiar with the "1000 Monkeys at 1000 Typewriters" concept because of a quote from Doctor Who, where the Doctor is talking about statistics. I thought that the name might originate from there. I am familiar with no earlier origin. (Just curious.)


Jeff Moore

Anonymous said...

Our glorious benefactor Keeton.


Actually, more of an uptight ass, though, like me.

I ran his first D&D games and taught the bastard how to paint miniatures. He generally prefers to play mages, and stretch the rules if possible.

Good look'n out Keet, hope you're doing well.

See you in the next life if not again in this one brother.


Unknown said...

@Jeff Moore

Sorry for the slow reply - a friend of mine pointed out that I never answered your question. I don't know if Chris was thinking of Doctor Who at the time, but the origin of the phrase goes back much further than that TV series. It's referred to as the Infinite monkey theorem and I like it because monkeys are funny.