Many years ago, I created Pen & Paper Games with the vision of bringing tabletop gamers together in a way that had simply not been done before. I wanted to create a digital equivalent of your friendly local gaming store, where you could meet other gamers in your area, hang out, and even play some games in the back of the store, if you will.
The primary feature that I wanted to do better than any other site at the time was our Player Finder. Instead of just being a forum where people put up Looking-For-Group posts, you could literally look at a map of your area and click around to find other players and games that you were interested in. For the time when I launched the site back in 2007, there simply wasn’t anything else out there that could do that – I built the tool that I wanted to use as a gamer myself.
Fast forward a bit to the age of massive social media sites, like Twitter, Facebook, and its ilk. Once those exploded in popularity, I honestly didn’t see a compelling case for penandpapergames.com. We couldn’t compete the with massive reach of these other sites, and forum software like vBulletin just wasn’t keeping up. Every feature they release seemed like a poorly executed attempt at copying the giant social media sites.
So, I let the site continue on its own for many years. I even tried to find new leadership to keep it alive in my absence, but I never found any serious takers. The site withered slowly, but thanks to a dedicated core of members continued on until eventually the code base fell out of support and crashed. And, just like that the site (quite unceremoniously) was dead.
I think we are starting to see the decline of mass-social media. Twitter seems to be imploding, Facebook has been on the decline for years, and while I can’t speak for all of you…
I’m TIRED of massive corporations deciding what posts I see and don’t see based on what THEY think will drive the most revenue for their bottom line.
I’m TIRED of most of my feed being filled with “suggested posts,” and straight up advertising.
I’m TIRED of finding out that my personal data has been used for nefarious purposes with these massive companies simply turning a blind eye.
And, frankly, I don’t feel that social media ever really brought us together as a community like the forums of old.
I am setting out to reincarnate penandpapergames.com.
Not resurrect it, mind you. I firmly believe that forums like vBulletin (which our old website was entirely built on) are dead, things of the past. The goal for this site is to create a more modern (and mobile friendly!) social space for tabletop gamers that marries the functionality and user experience that we’ve come to expect from social media sites with a strong and focused community, like we had here many years ago.
There will be NO – ABSOLUTELY ZERO – algorithms deciding what posts you do or do not see.
There will be NO paid advertising on this site. None. Ever.
Similarly, there will be NO selling of personal information to third parties. This is a public forum, so I can’t stop 3rd party web scrapers from anything you post publicly, but I can guarantee that we absolutely will not be involved in selling your information to anyone for any purpose.
To that end, while the community platform software that this site is built on has support for logging in with Facebook, Twitter, Google and several others, I do not intend to implement those features as it gives those giant corporations another view point into your comings and goings on the web. That is antithetical to what I am trying to accomplish here.
Finally, I want to revitalize that feeling of connection and community that we lost in the mass social media world that set out (purposely) to divide us. Make us angry. And, stoke the very worst in us. Why? Because it drove more engagement and thus more profit.
That is not the content I want to consume anymore. And I’m betting you don’t either.
So, that’s my pitch, and why I hope you’ll consider joining this new community. It wouldn’t be the same without you!