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Exodus of the Faithful

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I went and got myself a blog set up on an externally hosted site: http://www.popoloski.com. Why, might you ask? Read on.

I've found that my usage of GameDev.net has slowly but steadily decreased over the past few months. Certainly the new forum software has a small and indirect part to play in this, but the real reasons run much deeper than superficial UI annoyances. To put it succinctly, the quality of content I used to expect from GDNet has fallen sharply since the precipitous leap to the new software; I place the blame for this almost entirely on the decline of activity by other iconic members who have since moved on to greener pastures.

GDNet will always hold a special place in my heart as the forum where I cut my teeth on programming. I would not be the developer that I am today without it. It's important to make a distinction here though; the forum became the resource that it was almost entirely through its amazing user-base, one that was both deeply knowledgeable and willing to answer questions, as well as willing and able to ask good and insightful questions. Even with an overabundance of brilliant gurus, without those of the latter group asking good questions, the information doesn't get out there for others to absorb. It's my experience that the best learning comes from answers to questions that you might never have even known or thought to ask yourself. Indeed, one need only look at one of the myriad of examples of this principle in action.

You need both halves of this whole in order to wring the most wisdom you can from your collective user base. While the gurus have been slowly moving away, I think the really troubling loss is that of the "intelligent questioner". While I doubt that we have any less of them today than we did years ago, the new site design seems to invite an overwhelming amount of noise and inane questions that trample and drown the good questions before they even get off the ground. That's not to say that the loss of the gurus is any less devastating; I've made my way into the games industry now, and haven't asked direct questions in years, but even so many of the users I looked to for compelling technical content, both in the forums and in the personal journals have gone silent and missing.

Examples? ToohrVyk, Ysaneya, dgreen, and Drew Benton, some of the top rated users on the old site, all have only a handful of posts since the change over. What's even more troubling is the disappearance of moderators. Promit, Ravuya, and Oluseyi are hardly around anymore, mittens and jollyjeffers have dropped off the face of the Earth, and I know that jpetrie, moderator of For Beginners, hasn't even logged in in several months, and is currently close to achieving moderator status on the GameDev StackExchange site.

So yes, the site is losing users and the general quality level of posts has fallen. That, coupled with the decline of the journals and the bizarre and unwelcome direction the staff are taking with the site, are enough to turn me off for good. It's their site and they're welcome to do with it what they will, but it's become clear to me, and from the evidence several others as well, that it's not a direction that good for the site long term.The insistence on political correctness and "play nice" attitude being forced down our throats is particularly puzzling, especially for a community that once prided itself on having a no-nonsense, blunt, and straightforward response to any and all questions.

As I mentioned, my forum usage has already been gradually decreasing itself over the past months, changing from "several times a day" to "once or twice a week" to "meh, whenever I'm bored." I unsubscribed from the mailing list after they started using it to spam advertisements, and my GDNet+ subscription runs out some time in August. That leaves only the journals as a resource I use regularly here on GameDev.net, and now I've got my external site to take care of that as well. So what's going to change? Not much. I'll still be around from time to time to look at any SlimDX questions, and I'll probably cross-link any blog entries here, but in my mind this marks the end of GDNet as my "home" on the internet; I'm leaving and headed for a new promised land.
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Hey Mike,

yeah things definitely have changed and will continue to do so. I have faith that the changes will, in the end be for the better. Nothing will ever capture the same feeling of years past but hopefully we haven't seen the the peak of the site. Everything has ups and downs and I think we may just be experiencing a down slope. Good luck to you either way. I always enjoy reading your journal and hope that you do continue to post your info. I'll check out your site too.

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Can't say I blame you, frankly.

Sometimes I think the only reason I stay here these days is because sites like StackExchange seem to attract even [i]more[/i] inanity and [i]less[/i] interesting discourse. That, and I don't really have anywhere else to waste long hours talking about programming.

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I have also noticed that lots of people have moved along, but there are others that have begun to fill in the gap. While they may not have the prominence of some of the folks that you pointed out, I think they are coming along quite nicely...

The stuff about being nice is just a matter of opinion. There is a difference between being blunt and being unnecessarily rude, but things are certainly being pushed to the tamer side. This is one of those things that I think will work itself out over time...

Sorry to see you go, but good luck to you!

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Picture yourself with a home on the lake. It's a quiet, beautiful place. A few people happen by and you engage in stimulating conversation. They see the beauty of the lake and decide to make it their home too. More people happen by. Some stay longer than others. Each enjoying the lake in their own way. Each leaving their footprints. As more and more people hear about the place, more people make it their home. More people have ideas about what the place should be and could be. Additional infrastructure is built. Rules are placed to manage complaints of noise and rowdiness. You look back over the lake and see that the water level has dropped from the number of people that draw water. Trees have been cleared. It is not the same. You think back to when things were perfect. And although there was a time when the lake was completely unsettled, the best times you remember are when it was just those first people that came along and broke the silence. Ironic how that's what set the dominoes in motion.

This is the way of things.

I've always been more of a lurker but I miss the old days too. I'm still curious to see the directions things go. To watch as the few that have heard about the ledgends of mods past try to ascend. In due time, history will repeat itself in some way.

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At least you were cool enough to say goodbye!! I miss Ysaneya's pretty pictures :( I do indeed hope he's just moved on and hasn't stopped working on Infinity altogether. That game looked so sweet.

was just hanging out with dgreen earlier this month down in Raleigh. He's so neck-deep in his game he's barely had time for anything else. Priorities def change when a publisher is breathing down your neck :) Hopefully he'll have time to contribute a post again soon. Got to test his game out tho, looking damn good.

jollyjeffers is gone from gaming completely, was a bummer to see him depart. Something about banking or something or other ;) Maybe someday he'll come back to it...

I think Seyi is still over in Africa? I know he moved back there back when he dropped off the forums but haven't been keeping tabs on where he's at lately.

Those are all I can comment on really right now. At least you got a nice small group of GDNet old timers there at ArenaNet :P You Mike and Josh can get rockers out on the porch and share stories about the Good Ol' Days while you shout at all the kids to get off your damn lawn :)

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