eUSC Logo 1.1.  eBay Stamps Chat Board

1.  Beginnings

The eBay Users’ Stamp Club (eUSC) was formed by posters on the eBay Stamps Chat Board in 1999. Its aim was to assist anyone interested in stamp collecting or safe eBay trading. Membership was free to those who demonstrated honorable character. Members came from countries around the world, and included novice collectors, dealers, specialists, exhibitors and judges.

1.1.  eBay Stamps Chat Board

eBay provided the Stamps chat board as part of its Community area. This contained various forums where users could ask other users for help or advice, or just pass the time of day or night.

The board was unthreaded and contained a maximum of 200 posts.
Messages were entered using the form below.

It was good form to post messages to more than one user in a single post, so that those who visited later on would have more to read. Also, it became board practice to encourage relevant and purposeful posts. However, in the early years flame wars occurred intermittently, eventually leading to the suspension of one of the more blatant perpetrators.

Posters came from many countries, including (besides the USA and Canada) Australia, UK, Denmark, Latvia, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Japan. Posts were mainly about some aspect of stamp collecting, but other topics were discussed regularly. Music was a topic guaranteed to "derail" the board. Friendships were formed between board regulars as a result of the mutual sharing of information that occurred.

An important aspect of the chat board was the "balcony". Any eBay users (bidders, sellers, visitors or regulars) could read the board without being "seen", so it was said that they were in the balcony or were lurking. Many of the chat board posts were aimed at the balcony, and some regulars provided the balcony lurkers with food.

Birthdays and round feedback numbers were good excuses to hold parties in the balcony, with appropriate eats and drinks supplied. At more volatile times, members would say their say then retire to the balcony to don the flak jacket for protection from being "flamed."

The Stamps chat board regulars were rather proud that their board contained meaningful discussions with a variety of opinions, unlike most of the other unthreaded topic boards. They also generally used their buying or selling eBay IDs rather than a "0 feedback" posting ID, although many had an alternate posting ID which they used for fun, to bid on charity auctions or for the full moon (said to be when flame wars were more apt to break out).

Posting was generally done with humor and camaraderie. However, some regulars were occasionally curmudgeonly and intolerant of stupid questions, poor spelling or bad grammar, so it often took some courage for new visitors to post.

eBay Users' Stamp Club        1.2.  Formation of the eUSC