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On the Lifetime of Web Pages

Have you ever noticed that people always want to be young, except when showing off? In the very same sentence, people will say "What do you mean I'm too old to like Jucifer?" and "Why, I remember back when the net was just 2 paper cups connected with string!" Well, you can't have it both ways. When it comes to net stuff, I'm probably counted as old; at least a decade of being on the Internet. I like this, though. Not just because it can let me be smug, but because I love continuity and longevity. The Web could be really cool, an ever-increasing accumulation of thought and knowledge.

But, the biggest curse of the WWW is dead links. People stop maintaining their "cartoon of day" pages, weekly newsletters slip to bi-annual status, sites of .edu pages disappear upon graduation. Somehow, "the real world" always ends up taking priority. The only things that tend to be permanent are research sites and companies.

And us. Well, we're actually a company (or a husband-and-wife team with delusions of company-hood). But the point is, we're gamers who own the address "rpg.net". If we change day jobs or get PhDs or move to another country, "rpg.net" will still exist. One of our hopes is that we can keep a lot of good role-playing material alive despite the rise-and-fall of the Web.

It's easy to make some predictions for the next five years. Most of the ISPs in our area will probably go bankrupt once the telephony and cable companies move in. We'll survive; we might switch ISPs and temporarily be offline for a few days, but "rpg.net" will stay alive. Web sites that require fees and access passwords will become even more common than now. But RPG.Net will always be free to access, because that's the best virtue of the Internet, that it's truly democratic, truly open. More predictions-- we'll probably be the victim of a spamming campaign in protest of "the evils of role-playing". We'll survive. We'll probably have some life crisis, or have kids or something. But "rpg.net" will stay alive, because we've not alone. We gave rpg.net accounts to several collegues in order to keep ourselves up-to-date and stable. RPG.Net is bigger than just us.

There is one thing that would make us fade-- if something better came along to replace us. I'm thinking "Snow Crash" VR here, or better. RPG.Net is our part in uplifting RPGs from a mere hobby into, well, at least a stable, happy hobby.

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