CoN 20th Anniversary: 1997-2017
Archive [split from Game Coverage thread]

Posted: 15th December 2017 08:44

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I'm unsure if this has been brought up already but is there anyway to archive this on the internet somewhere? Some of us are getting older and the next generation of gamers can take over operations.

But say we get to a point where no one wants to continue this. Could we get all this into a place like a public library online or offline that remains forever?

I suppose we'll always have enough people to run this place but in the event something really goes wrong can we preserve final fantasy?

I'm sure other websites and places face the same question. I'm doing my best to sound like a futurist.

This post has been edited by Eagle Caller on 15th December 2017 08:45

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Posted: 18th December 2017 16:50

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You've brought it up in other contexts before, I'm sure. I don't really have the time to dig through your old posts and find similar thoughts and respond today, but I'm sure you can.

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Some of us are getting older and the next generation of gamers can take over operations.


I mean, we are getting older, sure, but even I am not yet forty and with age tends to come stability. While I might not be working on expanding the site as often as I once did (and, of course, the rest of you are doing it even less, you slackers), the site is in less danger of disappearing now than it would have been when I was younger and poorer. I have no issue with writing checks to keep the site going nowadays because I don't desperately need that money in my retirement account or my daughter's college fund (yet!).

If you think there's a next generation of gamers out there who want to take over operations here, though, I think you might be under the influence of something. The last time I looked for someone to help around here in a non-temporary, official-type way I got only two responses; one of them never discussed it with me again, and the other agreed to help and then never actually did anything. If you can show me where the line of these next-gen gamers are, I'd appreciate it.

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But say we get to a point where no one wants to continue this. Could we get all this into a place like a public library online or offline that remains forever?


What sort of place would that be, really? I know that there is such a thing as a digital historian, and there are places that exist for such purposes, but by and large they tend to be focused on the most notable areas of the digital realm. I know we all love CoN, but we can't even get a Verified Account on Twitter. I don't think the Library of Congress is going to archive us. smile.gif At best, were the site to disappear, we'd probably live on in a partially-broken form at archive.org. Which, while better than nothing, isn't exactly some sort of "carve it into the stone of a pyramid" sort of historical checkpoint.

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I suppose we'll always have enough people to run this place but in the event something really goes wrong can we preserve final fantasy?


This seems like a different question at the end. It's not on CoN to preserve Final Fantasy as a concept, certainly not while the folks who conceived of the intellectual property are around to do it. I don't have the sort of hubris to say that is what CoN should do - we merely provide a framework for people to better enjoy what is on offer from the good folks at Square Enix. I'm not sure what you have in your mind as "going wrong" here, though, so perhaps you should explain that.

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I'm sure other websites and places face the same question. I'm doing my best to sound like a futurist.


I think there are probably many people out there pondering the question, sure, but I think given where we are on the grand curve of technology the focus is currently on maintaining things that do not exist in a digital way rather than figuring out how to preserve things that are already digital. The former is actually harder than the latter, since things that don't already exist as bits are more susceptible to the problems of time. Papers decay, memories can die with those who held them. Things that have existed in digital form their entire existence can have infinite copies, with new ones made any time within reason.

That said, the nature of things that exist solely on the internet is almost entirely ephemeral, because there are simply far too many things that exist to make every one of them a priority for permanent preservation; the expense would be too great and the need too little. Think of all the things that have been lost to time on the internet; it's not like Geocities wasn't mostly a garbage hole, but there were certainly some sites on there that served as a sort of prototype for gatherings of academic thought, and there's no way that all of those lived on. But do you know what you're missing? If you're honest with yourself, no. In 40 years, we may find that Nobel Prize-winning authors got their start on LiveJournal, but those writings are likely not to have survived. Would that mean that the author's later work was somehow less valuable? No, it just would mean that people would not necessarily be able to analyze the author's work from start to finish in a first-hand way.

Back to CoN, though - am I proud of CoN? Of course, it's one of my most proud accomplishments in my life, or else it wouldn't have lived 20 years. But do I think, or expect you folks out there to think, that it is something that has to live forever? Again, I don't have the hubris for that. In the grand scheme of everything, we are a way to enjoy video games slightly more by knowing their secrets and talking about them with like-minded folks. If we and every site like us were to vanish, many man-hours would certainly be lost, but it would hardly be the door opening to a new Dark Age per se. Many of us played video games for many years, including Final Fantasy, without the internet, and many of us would go back to the same again. I don't think futurism is about necessarily preserving everything that has happened in perpetuity. People don't need that. They need only to retain the ideas, and merge those ideas into the future - nothing more than that. CoN someday will just be one of those ideas, and it will translate itself into other concepts over time until it too is unrecognizable. And that's not a bad thing.

Happy holidays, hope you enjoyed that chunk of digital nihilism.

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Posted: 19th December 2017 00:57

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Brings a tear to me eye :') and also a thought to my noggin!

Appropriately enough, this kind of ephemerality is at the heart of the series -- just look at the story behind the production of the original Final Fantasy.

Much as Josh has pointed out that this kind of ephemerality is an inherent part of the internet, I would further point out that this kind of ephemerality has been a big part of gaming for most of its history. It wasn't clear in the 80s and even the early 90s that videogaming was going to be around long at all; even after that, there were major limitations in backwards compatibility or a lack altogether, as well as the difficulty of obtaining copies of a title from a previous system generation. It's only recently that we have a concept of widespread continued accessibility -- but the very technologies that made that possible also made it possible to flood the market with all numbers of brief (ephemeral) indie games, such that we're back to the same dilemma as ever.

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