Happy Birthiversary, BioWare Social Network Unofficial Forums! Jul 30, 2017 1:33:30 GMT Draining Dragon, Oni Ackerman, and 57 more like this
Post by DragonRacer on Jul 30, 2017 1:33:30 GMT
Thread now enjoying our 2nd 'birthversary'...
I was torn on whether to call this a birthday or an anniversary, so I've determined that it's a bit of both.
As we all know, on July 29th, 2016, BioWare made the announcement that the official forums would be closing down, then be deleted entirely shortly thereafter.
Understandably, the population of the forums went into panic mode. Some went into full anarchy, seeking permabans as their final act of defiance in the face of coming destruction. Some begged and pleaded to BioWare to reconsider. Most went into a bit of shock, stating their disappointment and farewells. And all wondered what to do next, where to go. To Reddit? To social media? Or just disperse, a community many years withstanding only to fall fragmented into the winds of the Internet.
In the wake of the announcement, a few got busy making alternative forums or adding wings to their pre-existing forums to try and be The Next BSN.
Admittedly, I almost called it quits myself. I had first discovered the BioWare Social Network (as it was known at the time) in 2010, when I picked up Dragon Age: Origins used at GameStop on a whim and fell in love. It was the first time, since starting gaming back in 1990, that I was so immersed that I wanted to see if other people were talking about the game, story, and characters... and Google led me there. I became a very active community member from Day One, although I am most likely recognized from the Mass Effect and Dragon Age multiplayer forums because as much as I loved SP, I found the MP incredibly enjoyable and spent a lot of time there, eventually establishing The Resource Libraries.
So, after 6+ years of being active on BioWare's forum, doing my best to help the community with the Libraries and guides, conducting the N7 Gauntlet ME3MP tournament for fun, making friends with fans and devs alike, and sharing a lot of my personal story with the community at large, it held a well of memories for me... and to face its closure and imminent demise hit me on a very personal level. The thought alone of trying to somehow preserve the Resource Libraries when it would involving saving all the threads they linked to... and not being tech-savvy myself... it was a daunting thought and I briefly wondered what the point of even trying would be. I was gutted, and thought that perhaps this was truly the end of online fandom for BioWare as I knew it.
When it seemed as if a large handful of competing "lifeboat" forums popped up, I saw a community I loved dearly facing inevitable splintering and it felt even worse. I just wanted the BioWare forum to survive somewhere else, whole, even if it meant BioWare wasn't running the show.
It was like watching the Reapers descend, but wondering what the point of fighting was if there was no hope of survival.
Then, Cyonan reached out to me. There was a name steeped in ME3MP datamining legend, a colleague I very much respected, and he had gathered a small team of names I also recognized and respected... trying to put together a lifeboat forum to serve as the new BSN. It was fledgling, brand new, wet paint everywhere... but in their virtual eyes, I saw the gleam of hope, the determination not to die without a fight. It re-energized me, breathed new life into me when I had all but decided to perhaps walk away from it all. I agreed to join in those efforts, and that's when I threw my remaining time on BSN Prime full-force into 1) pulling as many people here as I could, focusing especially on the traditional threads and posters that made Prime great (the Twitter threads, the Solas Blanketfort, the DrinkQuistion, and many others) and 2) trying to re-establish and pull over as much data as possible to try and preserve the massive amounts of knowledge that BioWare threatened to purge. Major props go to FextraLife for importing most of the old forum over to their site, and major kudos to Anubis for preserving as much as he could of my ME3MP and DAIMP Resource Libraries.
The more I saw this place grow... the more I saw of familiar faces and names... the less sad I grew at BSN Prime's approaching demise.
Today, on August 1st, I stand a year after the first post was made in this new forum. Today, I stand amongst 8,811 members... over 11,400 threads... over 817,900 posts... and I have to say, I'm goddamn proud of you lot. Proud of the staff here who toiled beside me in building this place, who continue to build it and try to make it a place balanced between freedom and respect (a harder line to balance than you'd think, believe you me, and it's ever a work in progress to improve and be better). Proud of our members who took the leap with us into the unknown and chose to stay and make this place not just a forum, but a new home for us all. Proud of what this place has become in a year, and of what it will grow to be in the coming years.
This was all of us. All of us coming together with a vision to make a new life after the old forums. I feel privileged that you chose to make that life here with us, with me.
Happy 1st birthiversary, BioWare Social Network Unofficial Forums. Here's to many, many more to come.