I’ve decided to make my first blog the story of how Nexopia “died” in 2010. Maybe it’ll save some other forum out there. If you have any similar stories I’d love to hear them!
Nexopia is an online community website which includes blogs, galleries, and forums. It was very similar to Facebook, and people would have massive friend lists of everyone in both their real life and online life. The bulk of users were in Western Canada, and many users would meet up in person for both friendships and dating.
When Facebook became the most common place for people to upload pictures and keep in touch with their friends, that portion of nexopia died out. There was nothing we could do to get those users back, but we still had the forums and the “meetup” aspect of the site to rely on for traffic. Facebook certainly took a big chunk of traffic, but we still had thousands of users logging in every day. The slogan quickly became “because your mom’s on Facebook” and most of our users now were young people.
The creator of Nexopia decided to sell. Up until ~2010 the site was entirely run by its own users. The owner was a regular in the forums and many people had at least spoken with him, if not actually met him in person. The admins were also all regular users that posted in the forums daily. We also had two types of moderators, picture moderators and forum moderators. The amount of pictures being uploaded by users was so huge that almost everyone I know was a pic mod at some point. Forum moderators were always regs in the forums which they modded. Generally mods were designated to only one forum, as most regs didn’t venture out of one forum. Each forum was so different, and most regs in one forum couldn’t name a reg from another forum. Each forum was like its own world, and there were enough users for each forum to remain active and sustain itself. When the owner sold the site, the new owner hired outside staff who had NEVER USED NEXOPIA.
MichaelR, a name no one will ever forget, was the first moderator hired by the new owner. The rules hadn’t changed, but they had become much more strict and literal with them. One of the rules was of course “Abuse of moderators will not be tolerated”. Well, our idea of abuse as regs in this forum was much different from an outsider who had never used forums like this before. Users were understandably upset by an outsider having power over them, and started to criticize him and lightly troll him. He of course, being a n00b, took all of this to heart and began banning people. If you disagreed with him, banned. If you called him or his method stupid, banned. If you used a rolleyes smiley at him, banned. Inevitably, there was a point where about fifteen of the regs were banned at the same time. Being regs of the Nexopia forums means being addicts, and we didn’t want to wait out our bans. We made our own forums on our own website.
It only took a few weeks for word to spread that there was a new website where we wouldn’t have to worry about getting banned by MichaelR, and people who weren’t banned followed the banned regs. The new website was created by one of the regs of the most popular Nexopia forums, so when ~100 people left that forum it was noticeable to regs of other forums and they began to follow us as well. It all happened extremely fast, and Nexopia didn’t have a chance to rectify the situation (had the owner or admin been regs on the site, they would have probably had a window of opportunity to rectify it). The new website took off, and we even had new users join up who had never even heard of nexopia.
So that was the death of Nexopia, and a good lesson about hiring outsiders to run a community of people who are very close with each other and have a history together.