When I first started this site, almost 20 years ago now, the idea was to have a place where all types of ideas could be spoken, traded, and exchanged, where no topic was off-limits or forbidden. At the time the site was started there was nothing like it. There wasn't a world wide web, Internet access was hard to come by, publishing new ideas was limited to paper, and publishing on paper and mailing out what you published was ridiculously expensive. After all of the effort, your potential audience was limited to a few hundred people.
Now we have the web, and anyone can start a web site or create a Facebook or MySpace page and publish their thoughts for all to see. If you want to be heard you can be, and if people are interested in listening they'll find you. Access is cheap and plentiful. This is the golden age of information.
I don't think it will come as a shock to most of you that after 20 years I am burned out. For the last several years I've reduced the time I spend on the site to the bare minimum -- paying bills, finding advertisers, maintaining the servers, fixing database problems, debugging e-mail server problems, handling SPAM, and answering the occasional question or mediating a random dispute, but even that takes too many hours each month. It's time to do something different. It's time for something new.
I don't know exactly what that something new will be yet, but I know I won't figure it out unless I make a clean break with the past, so it's time to say goodbye and move on. I am closing down the site as of January 17th. The irc.slashnet.org IRC channel #totse will remain on-line (I don't host it and I have nothing to do with running it) and Zok's BBS is up and running and Zok says he thinks his equipment can keep up with the load, but this web site will cease operations.
So make your plans, set up a new rendezvous, and move on to the next thing. Thanks for the memories, it's been an interesting 20 years to say the least.