ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday April 13, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 46

Be a Kimbula

By Tahnee Hopman

Enter the Kimbul Patiyas, into Sri Lanka's new and growing crocodile family. Not just any crocodiles, but they are extremely vocal too. They are part of Sri Lanka's newest e-community, the Kimbula Forum. This is not your typical social networking site along the lines of facebook, hi5 and friendster, but an arena in which anyone with an opinion to voice, has an open stage.

And opinions are more than welcome. In fact, the kimbula forum is not for idle internet junkies. Seven days of inactivity on the site and you will be branded as a lazy kimbula, and your status will be upgraded only if you post ten new items on the site. A word of caution though; the kimbula forum will not entertain spam of any kind. It has a constantly alert "crap sniffer"– one of the distinguishing features of he kimbula forum – which eliminates any unsuitable material from discussion boards on the site.

"Our goal in developing the forum was to give the users maximum interaction fun and a totally new experience in a safe and comfortable forum," explained Dimitri M, kimbula forum's site administrator. "While it is up to the members to decide if they want to be friends with fellow members, active members on the site are not under any pressure to do so."

It is a site in which any kimbula could conduct a conversation with strangers in a safe environment. No one gets offended or abused. It is also a great way for Sri Lankans abroad to virtually step back into their country for a couple of hours a day to keep the home sickness away.

Everyone starts off as a kimbul patiya and works their way across the kimbula world to gather more experience, ultimately becoming an "ultra kimbula" (500 posts) or as many of the girls want the "sexy kimbula" (acquired by posting a significant amount of material in the style forum). There are about 30 ranks so far ranging from lazy kimbulas to kimbul gurus.

In the course of the short period of time that the forum has been in existence, it already has two "kimbulagers"- the third ranking users with 50 or more posts. 50 members have signed up already, and as of now, there are over 500 posts.

Watching the forum expand has been an extremely interesting experience for the administrative team, witnessing interaction, brainstorming and the occasional friendly argument between many radically different kimbulas. "The interaction of users with different interest is amazing. You get the totally style oriented girl running into hot dog's kitchen to find out how to make "pissukimbula's" healthy yummy ambaralla juice. And yes we do have a kitchen section and the guys are having a ball with the most absurd but edible/drinkable recipes," said Dimitri.

Apart from the popular discussion boards, the kimbula forum also hosts a series of polls and support systems with tech advice, book and movie reviews, dining out tips and much more. It even offers an opportunity for tourists to get opinions on the best places to visit in Sri Lanka.

The project is not interested in having the most number of members. Even five diverse topics discussed regularly by five different people would be appreciated. It's all quality over quantity at kimbula. For such a new site, the forum has had a great response. But as Dimitri says, "We can't spill it all out in here, so drop in and check it out at!"

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