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The Improbable Island Forums


Way, way, way back when Improbable Island launched in 20081), text based MMOs were still something of a brand new medium. There was no guidebook on how to gather feedback from players because very few people had actually tried. But forums? Yeah, people understood those. They're slow. Posts are permanent. If someone had a suggestion, it was far more likely to be seen. After all, one could link to a message on a forum, but linking to one message amidst the 2,000+ IRC channels in a trenchcoat that make up the island? Good fucking luck with that.

So CMJ made a forum. And they were, to quote, “fun but bloody useless for helping with game design.”2)

To name a few of the forum's uses:

  • Posting bug reports: The pilot had a petition system much like the one we know today, but those weren't made public, and everyone kept posting the same shit over and over again by mistake. So, season one introduced a bug report forum - which proved too unwieldy to navigate and keep track of reliably. Then people started using a page on the old wiki like a stoneage Google Doc, and that was a right mess, and finally we stapled the petition button to the old wiki page to get the public petition system we know and use today.

  • Monster idea submissions: Prior to the addition of the monster sighting tent in the Jungle, people would post their writing in the dedicated subforum. But it became a pain in the ass to track which submissions were accepted, rejected, and unaddressed. And it came with a side effect of your writing being laid bare for the whole internet to see, which you might have been comfortable with in 2008, but may cause latent psychic damage to anyone just now realizing some random Australian read their standup comedy as part of researching this article, and is now judging their work some fifteen years later.3)

  • Holding conversations: Allegedly.4)

Years of hopping servers took their toll on the forums. By 2017, they'd become out of sync with reality, meaning nobody could make new posts or accounts. By November 2023, the code rot from the fifth5) server move killed them stone dead. The forums are now offline entirely, taking every dumb comment ever said there out of the public eye forever.

More or less.

Yes, we're treating the 00's as the distant past now. I'm so sorry.
I feel weird having sources for a wiki article. Even if said source is literally on the main page right now.
Don't worry, I'm sure the same will happen to me some day.
Can you tell I never had a forum account? Anyway if any vets want to chime in and add to the pile, here's your chance.
meta/history/forums.txt · Last modified: 2024/01/04 07:26 by clarissadunst