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The Forum format is dying in the internet, and thewgb.com is not an exception. I check almost daily, but write seldom, and the more time passes without a post, it becomes harder to break the silence. I hope there are many people like me, and there are more than the six people who write "frequently" checking the forum.


I will assume that, if they exist, the silent readers are people who remember fondly the active years of the WGB (2004-2010, considering the decadence started after WG moved to Twitter). Although WG and his work was only a small part of the discussions generated, he still was its heart. I also believe that his simple presence made people with the right set of interests join, even if we stayed in for other reasons. 


The problem with the internet today, IMHO, is that it is easy to see and read only what fits into your worldview. What made the fora structure work, for me, that outside the common interest that brought the people together, you get all kinds of views on other aspects of life, like politics, sports, weapon ownership, cars, religion, etc.. Already the multinational component gave a cosmopolitan worldview that was somewhat exclusive of some views (localist supremacists) but also gave an unending source of friction just by the differences between countries. And that friction was good because it created content, and that was what made people chip in and participate.


As I wrote above, most internet fora are dead or dying, killed by closer interactions with a faster turnaround that require less effort. However I know of a few that still survive and the main common thread is a wide member base, a common subject to bring people in and keep them in, and more or less freedom to discuss other subjects. Those without freedom usually become closed  clubs, invitation only, though if they have a big enough member pool, they can still work well within their restricted parameters. I belong to one, and I would not mind joining others, if I could find them, their common interest was interetsing to me, and they let me join...


The main requirement to survive is content, and to spread the burden of content generation among the members, so nobody dominates. That requires a critical mass of posters before burnout strikes or I start talking to the ghosts inside my head (which this is what is this thread, at least till somebody else chips in).


Life changes, and most of us are ten years older and no longer have the time and/or the energy to write ten interesting posts and twenty obnoxious ones every day. But I want to believe the critical mass is there, that those shared experiences for 5-10 years are part of what we are now, and that I am curious, even if I do not say so often, about what has happened in the last ten years for all of you.


That leaves two additional problems, getting new (interesting) people to join and recovering our memories of the past. The archives seem irrevocably lost but I know at certain points paranoid/visionary people archived big portions of the WGB. But that is a problem for later. With one heartbeat a week, we can say the patient is dead, and all other problems can wait.


My own compromise with this effort to try to inject some life in the topics is to post at least one new topic every day, at least till one succeeds in becoming self sufficient, and to reply in less than 24 hours to any reply to one of my posts (except for "Me too" posts). There may be past topics that fit, but they died weeks or months ago. So it will be new ones, except for the handful of self sustaining threads left.


What do you think? Can it be saved? Is it worth the effort? Are we better off watching again all the seasons of Killing Eve


The only sure thing you cannot get COVID19 from this, and that is a good thing right now.

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Yeah I'm in the check daily club. I keep meaning to write up a bunch of books I've read recently but I've been too busy reading more books to bother, lol. I did at least fix my Denim theme for the forum so that the title bar looks mostly correct again. (Need to figure out how to lighten the header fonts more at some point.)


I honestly don't know if the forum format is dead or not? I still like the idea of not being beholden to Twitter or someone who may randomly shut down your account "because reasons"

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For me the big advantages of long running fora are the shared memories and the possibility for discussion. Twitter has the attention span of a goldfish, the past is this morning  and most arguments are at the pre-schooler level. 


I used to think I would write more when I had more free time. But we have had COVID, I no longer travel every other week and meet lots of new people (tiring and distracting). So I played lots of old games. If thinking between writing something here or firing up Planescape: Torment once more time, I did Torment (and Baldur's Gate, and Wasteland, and Fallout...). Because I did not expect any result. But I have decided to give it one week. Get some data on how many people care about this. 


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as you say, twitter is hell. it is easy, you get sucked in, there is some cool stuff, but then there are the days of the doom scroll, wishing it would end. certainly during current events i have taken a couple of social media, primarily twitter breaks, even went off for three weeks. which was actually great. at moment, i am making a more concentrated effort to read more, as part of spending less time online, of engaging with something palpable rather than so ephemeral.


i am on one other forum at the moment. it is a closed, limited group, glasgow based, for the purposes  of running our writing group - it is funny how it is morphed. when i first joined it was a yahoo group, and was largely functional. then it went G+ which was only reason i was on G+. again functional, though we did do a spin off for music conversation. those have gone. and ironically we now have an old school forum, and ironically it feels like it has opened us up more, made us more engaged and interactive. in the age of the death of forums. obviously one of the first things i did there was to create a reading thread.


life gets funny. with the group we had fallen into weekly meetings, after years of every two weeks. now of course we haven't met since february. we've experimented with various alternatives - hangouts, skype, dicord, and finally folk are using zoom. but one of the other side effects of current events is, i'm working from home, which is slow and painful, and eats my brain. add in the big stresses, and my brain isn't particularly available for a regular writing group session.


with that, not sure my brain is available for big investment here. but i am wgb, i am invested, and a part of what ever we continue to have ongoing. and there is definitely an element of that being a group that mostly gets on, mostly has an affection for each other, and has that shared experience.

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