The end of an era. . .

The Robert Jordan-dedicated website wotmania.com is shutting down today. . .

Though the Other Fantasy community sort of went down the crapper these last couple of years, I'm truly sad to see it go. Wotmania.com was the first place where I started lurking circa 2003 and 2004. And it's the very first message board where I became and official member.

The folks there provided me with so many great recommendations over the years, chief among them Steven Erikson and R. Scott Bakker (at a time when no one really knew who they were). They are also responsible for my discovering novels such as Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt. And for that, I'll be eternally grateful.=)

Without their support early on, I might never have continued blogging. Without wotmania.com, there would be no Pat's Fantasy Hotlist.

So happy trails to everyone who was a wotmaniac! It's been a great couple of years, no question!

18 commentaires:

Jake H said...

Wotmania was such a great place for a # of years. I found so many great authors from people recommending them there. It's said to see it go.

machinery said...

I was kicked out of th OF forum because I disagreed on a certain subject with one of the admins.
just like that, i was kicked, this how things were managed in that site.
good riddance.
and btw, with the exception of a few people, there were many there who were obnoixious, explicit and rude, they were mostly the admins.
truly a fan based trash heap.

Anonymous said...

Don't think I ever became a member on there, myself, but I'm curious. Why's it being shut-down?

maine character said...

Thanks for the heads-up. I'd never been there before, but I just went over and found a bunch of great interviews by dylanfanatic with many favorite authors.

Adam Whitehead said...

"Don't think I ever became a member on there, myself, but I'm curious. Why's it being shut-down?"

I get the impression that the main administrator got disillusioned with WoT and the fandom as time went on. Also, in addition the forum was hosted on a university server and I believe it wasn't really viable to keep it running there any more.

Definitely the quantity of discussion had gone downhill. For better or worse, DRAGONMOUNT has become the 'main' and official WoT site, despite having less members than Wotmania for a long time, over the last 5-6 years or so, as it's where RJ himself posted his blog for a while and where Harriet, Tom Doherty and Brandon Sanderson keep open lines of communications with the fans. Dragonmount's chief admin, Jason, also seems to remain fired-up and enthused by the series, whilst Wotmania's head didn't really seem to give a toss any more.

I also strongly suspect that newcomers were really put off by the antiquated design scheme over there, which to be honest was old-fashioned even when it started. I am concerned at how well the successor site, readandfindout.com, is going to do given it is maintaining the same old-school posting system.

All of that said, there has been some great discussion over the years there, I've picked up some new authors due to recs there, it gave rise to Larry and Ken's blogs and it was the first fantasy forum I lurked on and later joined (just ahead of Westeros). It's sad to see it go. Bit of an end of an era.

Larry said...

Hi machinery/king maker. I was puzzled at first who would say that about me and a couple of others, then I clicked on the profile and I remembered who was from Israel who caused a lot of problems on all the forums. Glad to see you remember us so fondly ;)

Pat,

At least the OF section is sorta-kinda continuing with the OF Blog, even if I do blame myself in part for letting the OF section get bad when I started to concentrate on that.

Maine character,

Glad you enjoyed my interviews. All of them are archived at the OF Blog of the Fallen, plus there are links to several others posted on the Nebula Awards site, in case you're interested.

Adam,

I agree about the antiquated layout. It really was a drag after a while. But yes, the OF Blog (which I still maintain is a team blog and not a personal one, despite all appearances) and Neth Space were two good things to come out of it.

And as for the RAFO site created to be the successor to wotmania, I'll only be there very infrequently (weekends mostly and not for long) and not as a mod. I did pass along a little over a dozen contact emails to the new people, so hopefully they'll try to make it interesting.

Adam Whitehead said...

Yeah, I'm a bit bemused by the way the first day of RAFO has gone. I was expecting a lot of Wotmania OF regulars to show up for some continuance, but instead it seems to be a lot of people from the old WoT board talking about ERAGON for some reason.

Odd, considering the new site is supposed to be focused on OF with WoT as a sideline. It would be a shame if this is the shape of things to come and a lot of the OF regulars disappear.

Larry said...

I'm not surprised one bit. Ken and I have no direct input in any of this and I'm about to be busy except for alternate weekends, it seems, so there won't be much posting from me there. The people posting there are just spammers from their Community MB, more or less.

James said...

Wow. Never visited Wotmania because I never read the series, but I just checked out RAFO. The board system is horrible. There is just nothing I like more than clicking away at each and every reply to see it... Unless I am missing something, of course.

Anonymous said...

I WIN AGAIN LEWS THERIN

machinery said...

larry, sorry I don't remember you specifically.
I remember the atmosphere of the of forum.
I remember 3 or 4 ugly human beings who went as a mob and anyone who said anything against them, they ganged on him.
funny thing is that even though they always interjected the name calling as a strategy, they were the most offended when they had a comeback from me or others.
there were others who were kicked, I remember two others who agreed with me (although not their names).
anyway, my opinion of the OF forum was that it was a highschool type of people, mostly, there were exceptions.
deal with it, it was a base for kids in grownup outfit.
i'm also amazed you remember me "kingmaker", it just goes to show what impression I made ?
or maybe what some made it seem.
your choice, although I wouldn't be all that surprised by the one you make.

Neth said...

-Adam

I think you are right - wotmania is closinag because of a complete failure in leadership. It has been going downhill for a long time because of that same failure.

-Larry

OF didn't fade bacause you became less involved, it faded because of the community as a whole let it do so. It always seemed that it took someone to completely dedicate themselves to keeping things vibrant - the community seemed unable to do this on its own. I think that is why it faded so badly.

We'll see if RAFO can survive - but it's becoming clear to me that the antiquated message board system will be a huge obstacle to growth.

Let's be honost though, there is a huge legacy with wotmania - Neth Space, OF Blog, Pat's Fantasy Hotlist, The Wertzone. All of these grew out wotmania is some way or another and that is pretty cool.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the antiquated board comments. Personally I can't stand the board layout at places like Westeros and SFF World. There, unless I'm missing something, if I want to follow a conversation I have scroll through dozens of unrelated comments just to find the response and then scroll through even more to find the response to that comment etc. Whereas at wotmania and now, I guess, RAFO I can actually follow the discussion without having to constantly search for each response.

As for clicking each and every link- that's why there's tabs. Nothing easier.


And I don't understand the bitterness about the decision to close the site down. The man doesn't have the time to run the site anymore; hasn't for awhile. I don't think there was a viable way to pass the site to other people, so he's shutting it down.

-CN

Anonymous said...

Also, what is this about?

"but instead it seems to be a lot of people from the old WoT board talking about ERAGON for some reason."


There's one post about Eragon. One.

???

Adam Whitehead said...

"There, unless I'm missing something, if I want to follow a conversation I have scroll through dozens of unrelated comments just to find the response and then scroll through even more to find the response to that comment etc."

Except you don't. On both sites you can switch them to 'threaded' mode to produce an effect similar to Wotmania's.

So, if you are a fan of the threaded system Wotmania used, you can go and post on SFFWorld and Westeros and the others without any problem at all.

Whilst on Wotmania and now RAFO, if you're not a fan of the approach, you cannot switch it to the other system. It's a lack of flexibility that could very well hurt the board's drive to encourage new members to join, and definitely contributed to Wotmania's decline in the last few years.

"There's one post about Eragon. One."

But more importantly, it was the second book that was discussed on the board (after THE GONE-AWAY WORLD, which I suppose is a more encouraging direction anyway). Also, the fact that many of the key people involved in Wotmania's OF board, which was very successful, weren't even invited to admin the new board in favour of people from the Community and WoT boards who never really got involved on the old OF board is a slightly odd approach.

Larry said...

Ken,

You're right about the site's legacy and I linked to the final tributes that each of the spin-off blogs (starting with mine 5 years ago and ending with Dom and Linda's that was founded this year) here. I think it's rather telling how influential each of us became after we stopped associating solely with wotmania :P

Adam,

I wish I could have a strong counter to what you noted, but I can't because I agree almost completely. I wonder if the new people in charge expect people like us to refer people to that new site, as if the application of new paint to an odd, unwieldy message board system would be an attraction to people. Interesting that there are a few who are new there - I wonder if they came due to our mentions of the site or from elsewhere?

I'm curious about the direction it'll take. I fear it'll be a quick start, followed rapidly by people waiting around for someone to do the heavy lifting. I won't do it any longer, I doubt Ken will, and I suspect Jacob would rather not have to be the link between the old OF and the new SF/F board. But I may be wrong; let's hope so for a few peoples' sakes.

Anonymous said...

"Except you don't. On both sites you can switch them to 'threaded' mode to produce an effect similar to Wotmania's."

I stand corrected.

"Also, the fact that many of the key people involved in Wotmania's OF board, which was very successful, weren't even invited to admin the new board in favour of people from the Community and WoT boards who never really got involved on the old OF board is a slightly odd approach."

I'll agree it's a bit odd, and I'm assuming I'm missing a bunch of behind the scenes stuff- but those people have clearly expressed their desire to not play that sort of role in the new site. Maybe that's a result of not being asked? I don't know.


OF died a long time ago.

Adam Whitehead said...

Yeah, the ability to switch message boards to the threaded option isn't well-advertised. You need to fiddle with the settings.

Also, it only works when people use the 'reply to' button to respond to a prior post. If they just quote what people are saying, it doesn't put it in the right place on the thread. So it's not a perfect system, but it does work most of the time.