Another short post, just to get me back into the swing of things after what has felt like a long, draining semester.
Those of you who have been involved in the Fighting Fantasy online community for a long time will likely know about the Rebuilding Titan Yahoo! discussion forum. The forum was launched in 2000, before I became involved in the FF online community myself (I think that was in 2001 or 2002), and was moderated by Daniel Fiander. Its aim was to try to pull together everything we then knew about the world of Fighting Fantasy and to try and bring some consistency to things. This was partly because at the time FF was no longer being published and there was no hint that the series would be relaunched by Wizard Books. There was kind of a feeling in those days that FF was no longer a going concern and that it was up to the fans to keep the franchise alive and even to develop it further.
The early years on Rebuilding Titan were exciting, filled with posts exploring and developing all sorts of things to do with Titan, the FF world. Well known names in the online FF community were involved, including Ken Beuden, Dave Holt, Jared Milne, Doug Riddell, Brett Schofield and Andy Wright. There's loads of great discussion on there if you can bear to access it (see below).
Unfortunately by 2006, the moderator of the group, Daniel Fiander, had disappeared (and has never been heard from since). Since the group didn't require moderator's approval to join, it became swamped with spammers, who began to fill the list with links to all sorts of dodgy business. Several of us complained to Yahoo!, but they appear to have a policy of only dealing with the moderator of a group and wouldn't do anything to help. As a result, we abandoned the group and set up a new version of it, titan_rebuilding, also on Yahoo!, where the discussion continued and ultimately gave rise to the FF bestiary databases and the FF wiki, Titannica. (That group has now largely fallen into disuse too, for entirely different reasons which I'll maybe come back to in another post.)
Although we had abandoned Rebuilding Titan, it still exists out there on the forgotten edges of the internet. In fact, I kept my membership of it going for years in order to have access to the (non-spam!) posts that are on there. Unfortunately in recent months the spam has got a lot more dubious (i.e. not just your regular links to sites for people in your area looking for casual fun, but stuff which looks illegal), so I decided I'd better terminate my membership. I made a quick copy of some of the posts I'd made on the group and pressed 'Leave Group'. A sad day indeed, but there doesn't seem to be any hope that the group can be saved. Not unless Daniel Fiander comes out of retirement, or Yahoo! finally decide to evict the spammers and clean up the site.
The history of FF online is in some respects a history of discussion groups which have waxed and waned (and which have often disappeared because the moderator has pulled the plug without warning), but the case of Rebuilding Titan seems particularly sad, like some kind of archaic deep space probe drifting beyond our communication in the lonely depths of space. Maybe one day it'll be fixed or, more likely, Yahoo! will just put it out of its misery.
Help us Daniel Fiander, you're our only hope!