Over two decades ago, the internet was starting to be widely used by the public. Kids and adults alike were navigating this new phenomenon with curiosity and wonder, including information about new games being released. At the turn of the millennium, forums became a popular way for fans to come together and talk about those games. In particular, I was registered on the Gamewinners.com forum to talk about Legend of Dragoon. We were a bunch of kids for the most part, but it was formative nonetheless. It gave us a way to know we weren’t alone in our interests.
Today, that’s still the main benefit of any remaining forums as well as modern social media. We look for fellow fans by checking for a specific subreddit, searching for Discord servers, Facebook groups, and the use of hashtags on Twitter. It’s all a slightly different take on the same core concept: coming together about common interests. We post about our favorite moments. We ask questions about the game’s combat or story. We share fanart! All of that is important.
Sometimes, however, one or more social media services will have some level of controversy around them. Nothing’s perfect all the time, but bigger hiccups can indeed occur. In this case, a major issue came up recently regarding Reddit’s upcoming changes to their API fees for third-party developers. Ironically it falls on the anniversary of LoD’s release in North America. As a result of Reddit’s decision, the LoD subreddit is joining a massive protest by going dark for at least two days including today. No existing posts can be read, and new posts/comments cannot be made.
It is tempting to glimpse the news and decide it isn’t important or “life will go on,” but issues like this do have sweeping consequences. The effects it will have on moderation and accessibility are important, which do affect members of our community as with any other. It will make moderating the subreddit more difficult, and it negatively affects the blind users of Reddit to name a few things.
This illustrates the question: If fans rely on a social media platform that ends up having unfavorable new policies, what happens when things go sideways? We have little to no control over what happens to Reddit. Similarly, we have no control over what happens to Facebook, Twitter, or Discord. All of these platforms have had major controversies of their own recently. Accessibility, security, and so many other concerns have come up regarding decisions made within these companies.
Regardless of any conclusions we might make on our own, I want to emphasize that this isn’t about boycotting or halting the use of all social media platforms to congregate with others about common interests. It is certain that we’ll still be discussing LoD on its various social media arms regularly for the foreseeable future. Rather, it’s about staying aware, and about taking note that having our own home helps in times like these.