Silly Disney. They attract a community to a virtual Disneyworld and then think it is Disney’s to kill. American Girl made the same mistake, breaking little girls’ hearts.
Get it through your thick corporate skulls, folks: Communities are owned by the community. You can’t wish to attract people to build homes around you and then just bulldoze them.
Amen, amen. I totally agree. Unfortunately, the powers that control the servers control these virtual worlds.
I was part of a really vital discussion group and one day, the website owner (who provided the forum but didn’t participate) just decided it was too much of a hassle and took up too much space and deleted it. What really sucked was that very few of us had shared our email addresses so we had no way of reconnecting at another venue (like Ezboard, Google Groups, etc.). It taught me that it is an illusion to think the community “owns” the community. There is always someone (website owner, site administrator, etc.) who has to allow business to proceed as usual. And they can change their minds (for whatever reason) and disband a forum without anyone’s permission.
That is why the current groups I’m a member of always have a backup plan, an alternative online meeting place to go to in case of an emergency (the site taken down, technical problems, etc.). Of course, we are talking about hundreds of people, not millions. It would only work on a fairly close-knit community which had been together for a few years or more.
I’ve seen people just completely demoralized though when communities they had invested hours of their life to are just–poof!–erased from cyberspace. It’s tragic.
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