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[OT] GO?

Started by Paganini, January 11, 2002, 02:36:18 AM

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This is not on topic at all, but it's paralell to the "How did you find the Forge" thread, so what the heck.

A lot of people seem to have migrated here from GO before it "went bad." What exactly are they talking about? I've only been there a couple of times (I read The Window forum there every so often), and I was unaware that there was any sort of upheaval. If you guys don't want to clutter up the forum with exteranious posts, you can email me at:">

Gordon C. Landis

"Went bad" . . . uh, I'd use "went screwy" myself.  There was actually a post a month or three back on GO from one of the guys who used to help run it (Graveyard Greg, if I remember correctly) that explains what it looked like from his perspective inside GO when "the turmoil" happened.  From my only-a-user-perspective, they just managed their transition to a mostly-pay site very poorly, both technically (things didn't work the way they said they would) and in terms of communication with the public.

I subscribed - the place REALLY slowed down, but I'd still post over there occasionally.  Now that they've gone to a free forum and just a little donation/pay content model, things seem to be picking up a bit.

Anyway . . . that's it, as far as I know.  They made a move to a become a pay site, and they did a rather bad job of it.

Gordon (under construction)

Mike Holmes

Yeah, I don't know about "went bad" but it "went pay" and The Forge "went good". Most of the posters there who were really interresting came over here. A sort of exodus. Which explains their slowdown.

Funny, I feel really cheap as the price for Go was, what, a dollar? It wasn't that I didn't want to pay to get in, I just couldn't find where to pay. Or just didn't want to put the effort in to figure it out. Time being money, a site's ease of use is critical to it's appeal. They even set up temporary accounts for the already registered users, but that just seemed to confuse things even more.

Just a mess, and now it may be too late.

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.

Ron Edwards


Let me begin by saying that "GO went bad" is probably not a fair paraphrase of what people are saying. Or if it is for some, it's not for others.

My main point is that a lot of stuff changed about GO in 2000, before all this business of going to a pay status. When I found the site in 1998, it was a lot like the Forge is now - a few articles, a few reviews, and a spunky forum. The Forge even began as a discussion on GO between Mike Mearls, Ed Healy, and myself, as a way to concentrate links to resources for independent creators and to promote the grassroots games. [Unfortunately, when Ed and I founded the Forge, we were plagued by server problems and the site went moribund for many months.]

The next two years showed a steady change toward ties with the commercial end of the industry - the push for "official" sites, the GO store, and most especially the placement of established/commercial game designers as celebrities.

Some of this was fantastic, and I still think GO has earned a laudable place in RPG history as the place where Orkworld was written - and I take this very seriously, as it represents an economic point that is being utterly missed by most RPG creators. (More detail is available in my Orkworld review.)

However, that trend also represented a push toward a "fan site" rather than a "practitioner site." Industry news releases became a big feature and over time they looked less like news and more like puff-style ads. GO staff postings were clearly written to promote a Stan Lee style "hey, campers!" kind of atmosphere, and at least one staff member deliberately goaded flame wars on several occasions, presumably to liven things up.

The benefits of GO that I appreciated were not its "window to the industry," or attempt to be such a thing, but its friendly atmosphere, its venue for presenting and testing and discussing new game designs, and its emphasis on real play rather than reactive opinions. These now seemed more confined to one or two specialty forums, and less characteristic of the site itself; I found myself cruising the place less and concentrating on my Sorcerer forum.

So when the pay-only policy was announced, and when it was clear that the pro-articles and the news and so forth were the site's priorities as opposed to the forums ... and given that I had been pushing for a Sorcerer forum either on my Sorcerer site or at the Forge since the Forge began (long story there, not really appropriate for a casual public disclosure) ... Clinton and I resurrected the Forge and here we are.

I still think GO has a great history and that if its staff were to build on those strengths, most especially the astounding wealth of several years' discussion in its forums, then it has a chance to continue it.


Clinton R. Nixon

I'm going to post this, and then I'll ask that we drop this discussion soon - I don't want to bash GO here. They aren't our competitors - we don't have competitors - but it still seems odd.

I used to work for GO. I actually got paid money by them (about $150 total, but it was something.) The reason GO failed - and I do consider its current state a failure from its original mission - was two-fold:
a) lack of interest and time put in from the owners and
b) exodus of the core forum group.

The first point might not have been visible to everyone. When I worked for GO, I was the news editor, and I think I did a decent job. I tried to avoid the advertisement-puff stuff that came later (although I probably did the first one of those: I wrote 10 days worth of articles from Aug. 1 to Aug. 10 of 2000, each one a lead-up to D&D3E.) I left not because I didn't like it, or because I had a problem with anyone there, but because I couldn't get anyone there interested in, well, anything. The owners were rarely around, and when they were, they tended to keep to themselves. Meeting them in person solidified this for me - they were a tight-knit group, and not particularly social to anyone outside the group - and I left.

It's probably important to mention here that Ed Healy was one of the founders of GO, and used to have a big part in its production. He was not part of this insular group, was incredibly friendly, and probably one of the best people I've ever worked with. When he left - because of many of the same reasons I did, plus a few more dealing with finances - I really count that as the end of GO. He kept that place running, and without him, it couldn't be the same place.
As far as the forum exodus goes, they have a thread over there right now (Posting Stats) that lists their top posters of all time. Most of them are gone, and most of them post here.

There was a time I actually felt a little guilty, like we killed GO or something. In all honesty, I don't now. I think we were a great alternative at a time where people needed a quality forum for RPG creation - their forum was buggy, the database was lost several times, and traffic slowed to a crawl when they became a pay site.

Now that they seem to be picking up a bit, I'm actually quite happy for them. They're a place open for discussion that doesn't fit here. If you're happy with your Deadlands game, and aren't creating anything, I'd suggest going over there and talking about it. There's some really good folks that would love to talk to you.
Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games


I decided to join GO after being here for a month or two because it came up in reference a lot.  I had a terrible, terrible time trying to get my membership to work correctly, took over a week and at the time they didn't have a lot of content up.   I don't go there very often, even to read.  I'm happy to give them a buck or two every month just to support the online gaming community in general and hope that things pick up for them.