Forums.StarWars.com Going Offline on June 3, Loss of Nearly 10 Years of Star Wars Fan Conversations

Topher Kohan of CNN wrote an open letter to George Lucas regarding the shuttering of the StarWars.com fan forums: Mr. Lucas, the 4th is not to be trifled with – CNN.com.

Apparently, Lucasfilm recently decided to remove the forums on June 3, 2011. They have already placed the forums in read-only mode as of May 3.

Pabawan, a site admin, offered this anti-explanation explanation: “At StarWars.com, we are always evaluating the various features of the website in order to provide the best experience to our users. As we review new community-based interactive features for the future, we have decided that the Official Message Boards at forums.starwars.com will no longer be part of the site” [read the full announcement here while it is available].

Instead of hosting fan conversations on StarWars.com, Lucasfilm has opted for Facebook and Twitter. Unfortunately, Facebook and Twitter are very good at doing what they do, but they do not offer the same experience or conversation that an online forum provides. Forums allow people to write longer conversational pieces that are searchable and archived within a theme delimited hierarchy. Facebook allows for conversations, but they are not easily searched and may not be archived indefinitely. Twitter facilitates conversation, but you may only write 160 characters at a time including hashtags (for thematic or subject linking), user references, and links.

Online conversations need a rich ecosphere of different Internet facilitated modes of conversation rather than relying on those that seem the most popular at this time. I believe that it for this reason that the Taiwanese embrace multiple modes of communication including BBS servers, Plurk, and others in addition to Facebook and Twitter.

I realize that Star Wars fans will likely shift their conversations to fan-operated forums. It is unlucky however that the many conversations on the now defunct forums.starwars.com will be lost forever on Friday, June 3. Perhaps someone will write a script to archive the forums before that date, but I do not know if Lucasfilm’s servers will permit such an archiving to take place.

I am a professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on 20th/21st-century American culture, science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology.

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5 comments on “Forums.StarWars.com Going Offline on June 3, Loss of Nearly 10 Years of Star Wars Fan Conversations
  1. Louis says:

    This is so sad. I used to talk sometimes to some friends there, but i guess now could be so easy to talk in facebook or twitter.

  2. Jason Ellis says:

    I agree. If anyone wants to post a link to their favorite Star Wars or science fiction related forums, please post them below. Thanks! -Jason

  3. none295 says:

    An effort to preserve a public copy of forums.starwars.com is underway by the ArchiveTeam.org. If you are a Linux user (there’s a coordination script) w/ grep 2.6.2, bandwidth to spare and multiple GBs of free harddrive space to save thousands of 4k-12k .html files. Please stop by the irc. #archivestrikesback irc.efnet.org (or the main ArchiveTeam irc #archiveteam)
    [or if you can wget, we’ll figure something out]

    The ArchiveTeam.org in the past preserved starwars.yahoo.com before it’s demise, in addition to non-SW saves like Geocities and currently working on Friendster.

  4. Jason Ellis says:

    Thanks for posting this info about the Star Wars archive. I will elevate this info to a post of its own including links to the project website.

  5. […] blogged earlier this month that Lucasfilm/Lucasonline plans to shutter forums.starwars.com at the beginning of June […]

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Who is Dynamic Subspace?

Dr. Jason W. Ellis shares his interdisciplinary research and pedagogy on DynamicSubspace.net. Its focus includes the exploration of science, technology, and cultural issues through science fiction and neuroscientific approaches. It includes vintage computing, LEGO, and other wonderful things, too.

He is an Assistant Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY (City Tech) where he teaches college writing, technical communication, and science fiction.

He holds a Ph.D. in English from Kent State University, M.A. in Science Fiction Studies from the University of Liverpool, and B.S. in Science, Technology, and Culture from Georgia Tech.

He welcomes questions, comments, and inquiries for collaboration via email at jellis at citytech dot cuny dot edu or Twitter @dynamicsubspace.

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