I aim to move the Forge into its winter stage by the end of the year. For those of you who don't know this, I announced quite a while ago that the Forge was never intended to be a permanent site. Especially since, well, bluntly, I (and Clinton, and Ed Healy, and a lot of other people active at the founding) have unequivocally won the battle we wanted to win. "The Big Bang has Bung," I like to say.
That's the main reason besides time and effort that I have never tried to update the Forge into a physical format more suited to 2010 rather than 1999.
However, it's been a slow process to downsize, and sometimes stalled. That's a time and effort thing too, but it's also a matter of deciding exactly how. You see, I want the site to be good throughout the whole process - it may surprise some of you, but I do not think downsizing and closure are a bad thing and necessarily about disuse, stagnation, and failure. I'm kind of hoping the final phase, "winter," will be a really good thing.
Vincent and I came up with a partial plan, which we'll iron out in terms of software and policy details for a little while before implementing. Comments are welcome, but bear in mind, this is not a democracy and your input may well be ignored. The main reason I'm posting it is policy transparency, so you can decide whether the winter-Forge is somewhere you care about and think you can make use of.
1. Most publisher forums will be moved to the Archives. I am hoping that we can either continue to host or to transfer forums to the publishers' ownership, if desired, but they will no longer be an active feature via the Forge page itself. (Please do not post with helpful software advice. Vincent will make his own decisions about that, and I frankly know nothing about it, so it won't help me.)
1'. For purposes of blunt self-interest, the Lumpley and Adept forums will remain, at least for a while. Or maybe they'll go with the others if the whole transfer-technology proves to be easy.
2. The Conventions and Connections forums will go to the Archives. Those services can be picked up by anyone who wants to start them elsewhere.
3. Some of the First Thoughts functions and the Playtesting function will be combined into "Development," which is intended to be a very practical forum about games in design. First Thoughts will go the Archives and Actual Play will go back to where it once was, the top of the page, with an introduction encouraging first users to post there (and how).
4. The current Endeavor forum(s) will go into the Archives, but temporary versions will be implemented on request for a given project. So you know, I'm thinking of resurrecting the Ronnies in early December, in somewhat more practical form.
Well, that was pretty much what Vincent and I talked about. To summarize, the forums are to become (in order), Actual Play, Development, Publishing, and sometimes a specific Endeavor; plus perhaps the Adept and Lumpley forums until they find their new homes.
Let Vincent know if you want your Publisher forum to stay active and you can work out the details of how and all that in that computer talk.