Nobody actually died, but I did loose a friend.
I am a member of a motorcycle forum, and I have been a member of that community for the past 8 years. Some of the people I have grown quite fond of, and met quite a few of them in person. This group isn't large, but we all have a shared passion, and it keeps us together. Each year i take a long weekend, and go to North Carolina to meet with the people who I regularly only know as a small picture and a few words. We call each other, send text messages, myspace, facebook, email, and we meet in person if we are local. I have gone far out of my way to see some of these folks who I would never have known otherwise. I consider each and every one of them as a friend.
Two years ago the owner of the store that funds this forum was in an accident. For two years he struggled just to keep his bussiness afloat. He kept footing the bill for this forum, even though it meant that his bills weren't getting paid. He let us play while he paid the price. At one point donations were accepted, and they helped, but in the end it was a bandaid that never fixed the main problem. Last time I saw the owner of the forum he told the group that he was offered a rather large sum of money for the forum, enough money to get them out of much of their financial troubles.
This week the sale was final. The new owners of the forum took over, and the backlash started. I recieved a few text messages that the people were moving to a new forum, the emails were sent, myspace and facebook messages posted, and the group as a whole expressed their dissatisfaction with the descision. Some of us will leave, some of us will stay, some of us will do both.
The problem is that the new owners have a bussiness model that works. Their model has destroyed countless other communities at the expense of making money. They charge a membership fee for their premium experience (extra features, closed off sections of the forum etc). Bright blinking ads dominate the screen, censorship runs rampant, and the open friendly feeling of the group dissapears.
This saddens me. The community is my friend. It is a place that I can go to vent, talk freely, hear others express their opinons, meet new people, and spend some time every day in a place with people who have the same interests as I. This week my friend has died. I don't blame the owners for selling it, they need to keep a roof over their heads, and food on the table.
I will miss my friend, the community that it was yesterday is gone, and a new one will emerge in it's place.
Here is my farewell post to the old board that I will miss. I did change a few names in the interest of privacy.
I'll check in here too.
OLD-F was home for a long time, but NEW-O has ruined plenty of boards (including the one that sent me to OLD-F), mostly through their collection of membership funds, and their draconian way of modding the boards. They come in and say they're not going to change anything, but after a while, and it won't take too long, the old mods will drift away, and the NEW-O mods will assume their positions. Then the ads will start.
People won't notice at first.
Who will notice an extra add at the bottom? Or a thread bashing the new owners that dissapears after it falls off the first page? But it will happen, and it's intentional. When your back is turned they will stick something in your ass. No they are not evil, just greedy, and the only way to fill their pockets is through your asshole, and not going the same way that your shit usually goes, they go in through your asshole, like a gigantic penis of fuck you.
I don't blame _______ and _______, in fact I do blame them, they should have done this long ago. They kept OLD-F open, when it could have ruined their lives, they paid the price so that we can play. For 2 years they kept that site running while they were threatened with loosing their bussiness, their house, their way of life. And people are bitching because they aren't happy with a descision that they made so that they can afford to keep a roof over their heads. Yes they answered their call of duty, they were loyal to their friends, many of whom they had never even met. They are stand up people, and have always been honest and trustworthy to do bussiness with.
Thank you NEW-F community for taking us in, it is appreciated, even if we are going to double your bandwith useage overnight. Let me appologize up front, sorry about the pictures, I will post them without thinking because I think they are funny, but all they will do is make you curse and scream when you realize that I was outside your window on the one night when your gay boyfriend visited(if it's a lesbian thing I generally keep them to myself). Yes that is me looking through your garbage can, thanks for the day old tuna, but your swank magazine from 1986 will need an upgrade if you want me to hang around. Sorry I fucked your wife, it was only one time, sorry about your 18 year old daughter, that was a few more, but I get to keep your mom.
Kind citizens, thank you for being there when I need you, some of you will stay here, some will move to NEW-F. Some of you will stay. I hope I see you all again (except ASSHOLE, you can just dissapear). Whatever your descision is, good luck and god speed.
Friends we have arrived.