RPGWatch - The End is Nigh

largh

Keeper of the Watch
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
721
Location
Norway
A respectable decision in a way that we can only imagine the grind the maintainers have to go through to keep the site going (thank you for that). Yet, a site like this is bigger than its maintainer. It is a community. You can see from the the responses here that the community is important for quite some people. I cannot believe that no-one would like to take over. Have you discussed this with other moderators? Perhaps some of them are willing to take over?

With all due respect, it appears overly dramatic to say that you'll quit and the site will sink with you because you are too picky with to whom you want to give the reigns. This as an outsider perspective as I don't know what kind of discussions have been going on within the moderator team. Perhaps you are just tired of us and sinking the site is an easy way to get rid of the annoying members (semi-joke). Remember, however, that there are some members you probably like and for some of those this site is an important part of their life. In 10 years with another maintainer, people will remember Myrthos as one of the founding fathers, but the site will not be associated with you. As I see it, it's relatively safe to give it away to right people (if you are afraid of that).
 
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the_dagon

Watchdog
Joined
Aug 4, 2009
Messages
62
Hi Myrthos,

As the webmaster of the Dagon's Lair, I've been through the same a couple of years after 20 years maintaining my RPG news website (because of waning interest in continuing, and a huge challenging change in my work) and I'm understanding you.

I made however the choice to maintain the Lair, to let people keep access to the RPG reviews, but without any newsbit, the Lair is slowly disappearing from peoples' radar.

If you don't want to pass the website to another member of your team, I'll only suggest you to keep it online, so people can continue to make your website live, and have a home to talk about RPGs.
There's not doubt just killing RPGWATCH would be a heart breaker for you and you may regret it one day.

Whatever you decide, I just wanted to say thank you for all these years work. RPGWATCH (well, RPGDOT at first) was my first source of inspiration when I created the Dagon's Lair : back on the day my idea was : "why not creating a french RPGDOT"
 
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Messages
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Irian

Atheistic Pirate
Joined
Oct 22, 2010
Messages
320
Location
Berlin, Germany
Sad news, obviously and it's totally ok not wanting to hand this long work over to just anyone. As was said, there are still months left, so anyone who wants to take over the banner should simply start their new page now instead of hoping to get everything handed over to them as it is in 3 months time. While it might be slightly inconvenient to us as users to transition to another page then, I am quite sure we will manage these harrowing clicks ;-)

Anyway, thanks for the great work of all those years, it is a really useful project and has brought a lot into a lot of people's lives. My hat is off to you.
 
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kathp

Traveler
Joined
May 7, 2022
Messages
4
This is sad as I have been using this website as an alternative to lurking on another one (which while allows much more freedom of opinions, most importanly conservative ones, also can get rather nasty).

Are there any areas of forums blocked from an average user?
 
Joined
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Messages
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fabrulana

Watchdog
Joined
Aug 6, 2011
Messages
94
Location
South Africa
Sorry to hear, been here since it moved over from the previous site that became RPGWatch. So long ago I can't remember what that was. Like others I hope someone can take over the flame as this has always been part of my daily news check.
 
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Messages
94
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Terry

Sentinel
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
489
Location
Vegreville, Alberta, Canada
Thanks to Myrthos for the many years of work he put in to RPGWatch and RPGDot before that I have been a follower of this site for many years and will miss it.
Like many other old timers here I have come to rely on the Watch for my main source of Rpg news, I hope someone can pick up the torch for the future.

Thanks for the time you put in Myrthos and beat Wishes for the future.
 
Joined
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Messages
489
Location
Vegreville, Alberta, Canada
E

Eye

Guest
Yeah, the end has been nigh for a while with forum activity dropping every year. It's still sad to see it all go, though.
The numbers of unique visitors of the front page have been more or less the same since 2018 though. :)
 
E

Eye

Guest
Knowing @Myrthos; in person, seeing each other quite often, this did not come to me as a surprise. I came back after Ripper left to help out keeping this site operating in respect with European, German and Dutch laws. But I knew this assist would be temporarily.

It is a hard decision of course, because so many have gotten a history together. Good and bad shared with strangers makes them familiar - like family.
Saying farewell is dying a little, wasn't that a song?

Bad experiences often made people decide to leave, but when closing the door yourself you knew there was always the possibility of returning. To read the news, brought to us so faithfully for so long, and in such a good way by several news editors who shared their enthusiasm and made people aware of games they did not know were to their liking. Returning to comment on a game being discussed you (dis)liked, to have a chat with the ones you like, to laugh about a joke, to drive away some boredom or stressful thoughts in your life, and before you realise you are once again one of the regular visitors.

Of course, there are still three months before the lights go out. Three months to find an alternative. So let's not lose hope yet, nor say goodbye. I'll meet you in other threads, the more the merrier. :)
 
E

Eye

Guest
Your new Eye is scarily intriguing - or intriguingly scary. Not sure yet.
It is an old one. Some of you liked it very much. So I thought it would be nice the coming months to use one or two pictures I have used before. I'll end with the one I started with when creating this account.
 

Myrthos

Cave Canem
Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Messages
11,212
The To-Do list for RPGWatch to bring it a bit closer to this day and age is quite big. The main code base has not changed that much in 16 years. There have been changes over the time obviously, like adding SEO and increased security, but the fact remains that it is too much hassle to maintain and there are security risks. Then we have the forum software, which is old and the layout, which could use a refresher as well :)

In my opinion the best way forward would be to use an existing CMS that can be enhanced with add-ons and change the forum software to something like XenForo. The CMS and XenForo are maintained by others, so this would only leave the add-ons to maintain.
The database of RPGWatch has quite a few interdependencies to make sure that we can show you the right data. There is no CMS that can do this. However with some compromises I think it should be possible to use the add-on system of the CMS to add the most important functionality and make it good enough. After that the database needs to be converted to fit the new one.
I haven't invested too much time in this, so don't know for sure which CMS would be best, But my first try would be Drupal. Then again with the likes of Drupal, making sure you are using the latest version is very important as hackers are continuously trying to break it.

What would be needed are people who are good at PHP (for making the add-ons) SQL (for the database work), CSS (for the layout) and Linux (to keep everything operational). It might all be more efficient as well and you could move to a VPS, which would make the running costs lower as well.

There is no future in continuing with the RPGWatch code base.
 
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bjon045

SasqWatch
Joined
Oct 18, 2006
Messages
2,216
Location
Sigil
If something doesn't work out with the main site I like the idea of subreddit like another poster suggested. We could have stickies to the curator group, reviews, discord etc and just have people post news.

Or I wonder, if there some SaaS service or something similar out there that we could move to that would take away all the maintaince/busy work. I'd be happy to help chip in if it would increase the running costs.

My company uses WPEngine but i am sure there are better options out there.
 
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pibbuR

Feeling ... lonely?
Joined
Nov 11, 2019
Messages
1,171
Location
Bergen@Norway

What would be needed are people who are good at PHP (for making the add-ons) SQL (for the database work), CSS (for the layout) and Linux (to keep everything operational). …
I have been using PHP and SQL (mostly Oracle and MS Sqlserver) a lot. It's been a while, so I am a bit rusty ATM, but hopefully it wouldn't take long to be up to date again.

No doubt there are watchers more qualified than I. But OTOH I am retired and have all the time in the world.

select w.watcher from watchers w where w.nick in ('pibbur','pibbuR','pibbur who', 'a pibbur','pibbur42','pibbur0x2a') AND w.willing_to_contribute=TRUE AND w.is_competent='MAYBE';

'PS. If I were to contribute it would be for programming and to some degree maintenance only. I'm definitely not administrator or moderator stuff. DS.

EDIT: And I could never be the one responsible for the site. Just a minor contributor.
 
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kborom

Watchdog
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Messages
190
Location
UK
Sad news, but many thanks to @Myrthos; and others who have kept this site going for years. I'm only an occasional poster but check the site multiple times daily and it is the best source of RPG info around.

I've checked onto Discord but previously did that for RPS and found myself not using it but will have another go.

I'm going to check out some of the alternatives mentioned in this thread but another site I check daily is gamers with jobs but it is not RPG specific.

Forums are the best structure for me but I am an old time gamer (Sinclair Spectrum from the early 80's and PC gamer from the late 80's) so tough to change!

Thanks again!
 
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Feb 18, 2015
Messages
190
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UK

Dolby

Watchdog
Joined
Nov 8, 2019
Messages
155
This will effect lots of gamers not just forum users… i was using this page for rpg news long before i made a forum account and i'm sure i wasn't the only one.

Yes they are others but the thing is the page is so simple and clean that's why i like it! Still can't believe i'll have to move to all those ugly pages... My eyes hurt already!:)
 
Joined
Nov 8, 2019
Messages
155

Pladio

Guardian of Nonsense
Staff Member
Moderator
RPGWatch Donor
Original Sin Donor
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
8,286
Location
Manchester, United Kingdom
The To-Do list for RPGWatch to bring it a bit closer to this day and age is quite big. The main code base has not changed that much in 16 years. There have been changes over the time obviously, like adding SEO and increased security, but the fact remains that it is too much hassle to maintain and there are security risks. Then we have the forum software, which is old and the layout, which could use a refresher as well :)

In my opinion the best way forward would be to use an existing CMS that can be enhanced with add-ons and change the forum software to something like XenForo. The CMS and XenForo are maintained by others, so this would only leave the add-ons to maintain.
The database of RPGWatch has quite a few interdependencies to make sure that we can show you the right data. There is no CMS that can do this. However with some compromises I think it should be possible to use the add-on system of the CMS to add the most important functionality and make it good enough. After that the database needs to be converted to fit the new one.
I haven't invested too much time in this, so don't know for sure which CMS would be best, But my first try would be Drupal. Then again with the likes of Drupal, making sure you are using the latest version is very important as hackers are continuously trying to break it.

What would be needed are people who are good at PHP (for making the add-ons) SQL (for the database work), CSS (for the layout) and Linux (to keep everything operational). It might all be more efficient as well and you could move to a VPS, which would make the running costs lower as well.

There is no future in continuing with the RPGWatch code base.

I didn't understand half of what you said :D

I think the short of it is just the last sentence though.
 
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Redglyph

SasqWatch
Joined
Aug 29, 2020
Messages
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Good old Europe
PS - As a reminder to others, if worst case happens and you need a place to regroup there is the discord RPGWatch channel. Not nearly the same, and discord doesn't work like a forum, but at least its a place available:

https://discord.gg/zAggJCse

I didn't know there was a Discord channel either, that's good to know! :)
 
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Messages
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E

Eye

Guest
With all due respect, it appears overly dramatic to say that you'll quit and the site will sink with you because you are too picky with to whom you want to give the reigns. This as an outsider perspective as I don't know what kind of discussions have been going on within the moderator team. Perhaps you are just tired of us and sinking the site is an easy way to get rid of the annoying members (semi-joke). Remember, however, that there are some members you probably like and for some of those this site is an important part of their life. In 10 years with another maintainer, people will remember Myrthos as one of the founding fathers, but the site will not be associated with you. As I see it, it's relatively safe to give it away to right people (if you are afraid of that).
This site contains a lot of personal data that is protected by European and Dutch laws. Even if @Myrthos; would like to be less picky (which he is entitled to seeing the time and effort spent - you don't hand your baby over to just someone who checked all or some of your boxes) I would strongly advise him to tread carefully. You can not just give away thousands of e-mail addresses, to mention just some of the personal data.
 
E

Eye

Guest
If you don't want to pass the website to another member of your team, I'll only suggest you to keep it online, so people can continue to make your website live, and have a home to talk about RPGs.
In our country the siteowner is legally responsible so @Myrthos; can not simply let others keep the website live.
 

Redglyph

SasqWatch
Joined
Aug 29, 2020
Messages
5,734
Location
Good old Europe
What would be needed are people who are good at PHP (for making the add-ons) SQL (for the database work), CSS (for the layout) and Linux (to keep everything operational). It might all be more efficient as well and you could move to a VPS, which would make the running costs lower as well.

There is no future in continuing with the RPGWatch code base.

Managing the security of the forum and CMS is one thing, then there's the server. I'm not sure which is the most critical, as you said the web software is secured by their respective devs, though it's usually better to stay ahead by watching security alerts. An OS with such traffic is something else to take care of.

How's the current hosting managed, do you manage the OS setup as well or is that a user account? From what I understand - but the site is in Dutch, they manage the security and provide a container stack, so it looks like it's the latter?

And I suppose their VPS can be installed as a template and managed with a panel. Provided they have a sound system, it's already a part of the solution if one had to switch to that formula.
 
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