What’s going on at the RPMN?

UPDATE: Berin decided it was the best to go along with his initial plan and close the RPMN.

As you know I usually don’t rant on this blog, but sometimes there are things that rub me the wrong way. This is one of those rare cases…

Some of you might still remember when Berin Kinsman announced the Role Play Media Network. In my first blog post about it I called it “a social network for gamers done right!” For the first few months the network was thriving. But alas the activity started to die down over time. Even the majority of admins had abandoned the project.

So in November 2010 I made a last effort trying to get people interested in the RPMN again. While there was some minor activity after that, it wasn’t enough to warrant the costs produced by the site, so Berin finally decided to shut the RPMN down this month.

Or so we thought. As it turns out, Sam Proof, who has been made admin recently, has some plans with the community. In his blog post on the RPMN, he announces that he has taken over and is planning to move from Ning to a self-hosted WordPress site.

While I believe his goals may be laudable, I am not too happy about the way he and Berin are approaching things. While the shutdown announcement was sent via email, Sam announced the move by blog post only, which can be easily missed. After some protest on my part, Berin wrote a proper announcement.

But there are still a few things bothering me. While Sam is talking about moving the site to a new host, there’s much more happening behind the scenes.

  1. There will be a new owner. It’s obvious that the new site will not be owned by Berin Kinsman anymore, but by Sam Proof.
  2. The community will be moved to a new domain lessthanheroic.com and a new software. Even though Sam Proof claims otherwise when I asked him about that I have not found any mention in the ToS that allows moving user data to a new host.
  3. From what he’s written, it’s obvious that not even the name will remain, so it’s definitely much more than a simple move to a new host

Again, even if Sam is doing this with the best intents, the whole process seriously lacks transparency and professionalism. Although I have been one of the RPMN admins basically from day one until today, I was unaware of what Sam was planning. This is just not the way things should be done.

When it comes to social networks and privacy concerns a little trust goes a long way, but seeing how this whole thing was handled I don’t trust the new owner of the RPMN with my data. So I left the RPMN and deleted all the content I posted there. If you want to do so, too, check out this page.

I also would really like to know what someone wants with a dead community? The RPMN hasn’t been properly used by it’s 700+ members for several months now and a move to a new domain, new owner, new name and new software can’t really remedy that. But since I left, I don’t think I care anymore.