A Ficly Farewell

This isn’t going to be easy to write, but it’s time to write it and time to give everyone fair warning for what’s going to happen. It’s time for Ficly to go away. I found out last week that Google is sunsetting their OpenId service – and that’s the last straw for a decision that I’ve known has been coming for months.

Ficly has always been a passion project. Jason, Owen, Joe and I built it to keep the ficlets community alive and give them somewhere to go. That was over five years go – doubling ficlets’ lifespan – and resulted in over 30,000 stories added to the world. I feel pretty good about that.

I don’t want those stories to disappear. Just like with ficlets, I’m going to keep an archive up of all the stories. The URLs to your stories and your author profiles won’t change. They’ll be here for as long as I can keep them up (which should be a good long time). But, around September 14th, you won’t be able to log in or create new stories. The site will be completely static and point somewhere else.

Why shut it down now? The main reason is that I don’t have time to keep it going, and I can’t bear to watch it slowly decay anymore. Jason and I had big plans for Ficly, but life kept getting in the way. But, that’s an excuse. Ficly just wasn’t a priority, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. It’s also so old now that adding features to it would require an almost complete rewrite – which sounds like even less fun. I love the community that’s formed here. I love that this creative outlet existed and am proud that we were able to build something in our spare time that served the community this long and resulted in so many stories. But, when Google shuts down OpenID, you’ll be locked out and I don’t have a solution for that.

What happens next? Here’s what’s going to happen between now and the time I shut the site down, and what I need from the community.

Kevin’s list:

  • I’ll create the static version of the site so the transition from the current site to the archive is straightforward and seamless.
  • I’m going to remove all the passwords and other incriminating personal information from the code and put it up on github so if someone wants to use it, they can. It’s over four years old, so be prepared to battle some dragons.
  • I’m going to create XML and JSON archives of all the stories and put them up somewhere so the community can do something interesting with them if they want to.

The community’s list:

  • Publish any stories you want to make sure are included in the archive before September 5th.
  • Help me find spam so we can remove it before we put everything in a glass case for posterity. You can report it on this GetSatisfaction thread.
  • Back up your stories if you want.
  • Share your favorite Ficly memories in the comments.
  • Call me dirty names under your breath.

And in closing, I want to say a huge thank you to the Ficly community for hanging out here and creating things on this little app we built. It’s brought me a lot of joy over the years, and it hurts me to shut it down, but it’s time for me to stop feeling guilty for it and make room for me to be guilty about all new stuff.

Keep writing, and be happy.

Thanks,

Kevin Lawver

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Comments (62 so far!)

  1. Avatar HSAR

    So many stories to be told, so little time to write them!

  2. Avatar Robert Quick

    R,I,P. us.

  3. Avatar Tad Winslow

    Guilt has to be the most useless emotion. No need for it at all! You did an amazing job bringing this site together from the ficlet ashes, and now you’re going to devote your time and effort (yet again) and make us an archive? That’s evidence of a big heart, my man. I’m proud of what you accomplished here. I’ll keep my eyes open for your next big idea, whatever that may be. Thank you and farewell.

  4. Avatar ethelthefrog

    Thank you so much, Kevin, for all that you’ve done for us. You’ve been brilliant and you have no reason to feel guilty. This has been a fantastic place to hang out and, even those of us who were infrequent visitors have benefitted hugely from having a space to create stuff and play with ideas, collaborate with others and give and receive feedback. You know the deal.

    Thank you.

    EtF

  5. Avatar Kevin Lawver

    You guys are going to make me cry. Thank you!

  6. Avatar RockPaperScissors

    Ficly has been with me through the dark, more dark, and the miraculous exponential growth of happiness that I have been climbing up for years now. Aside from being a place where I could share and develop my feelings through many poems about events in my life, it has also been a place where friends live—not just other ficliteers, but also the characters that I’ve created (if only for 1024 characters). Thank you so much for allowing a place like that to exist. I hope that I may be able to find another site like this with such a positive and thriving writing community. Good luck to you, all of the administrators and users of the site!

  7. Avatar Cariad Ceffyl

    Thank you Kevin and guys and Community for accepting me when others didn’t. I will forever be grateful for this group of fellow writers- yea fellow writers. Because thanks to all of you I can actually consider myself a writer. Your encouragement over the past year has meant more than you will ever know- God Bless You All and May you Never stop writing and putting your works out there for others to Enjoy!

  8. Avatar Stovohobo

    Thanks so much for your work, Kevin. I can’t think of anything on the Internet that had a more positive influence on me—not even just as a writer, but as a person—than Ficlets and Ficly. It was a type of community you couldn’t get anywhere else and made a very real contribution to my growing up (and served as a cringeworthy record of it too. All I can say is thank god for anonymity. Like ohmigod I made a ficlets account before puberty).

    I’m thinking of that Ira Glass quote on creativity that "the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions…. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” This is the place that let me do that, and even tricked me into thinking it was play. I’m a much, much better creator for it.

  9. Avatar Jim Stitzel

    I really need to finish learning Ruby on Rails. I tried to start working on that last year so I could pitch in and try to upgrade Ficly and keep it growing — but as usual life stuff got in the way. I may make another stab at it soon and see if I can’t work something out. Or build something very similar on a WordPress platform, which I do know already. I dunno. Ficly has been such a huge part of my writing life the last few years, and I feel very loyal to it. I hate to see it just die without making an effort to extend its life.

  10. Avatar ElshaHawk (LoA)

    Last time Ficlets ended we threw life preservers to each other and held on fast and tight. We went to protagonize, and we chatted, and we skyped. We linked up on facebook and joined the Ficly page when it came out.

    Some tried to make forums, but nothing stuck. It was Kev and Jason and Joe that did it. They created something from dreams and light and BOOM it became home.

    This time it feels more final. This feels more like exhaling for the last time.

    It doesn’t mean a rebirth can’t happen. It doesn’t mean that we won’t find our way back together through the wires. It doesn’t mean we won’t join groups, chats, or hands.

    But it does mean things will be different.

  11. Avatar Robert Quick

    If you want to find me: https://www.facebook.com/Werepanda ragingwerepanda@gmail.com

  12. Avatar Lighty

    I haven’t been around as often on here as I wanted to be but I’ve loved every story I’ve read, every comment, every interaction on here has been wonderful. It was awesome.

  13. Avatar Riley

    been a good run guys. <3

    find me here: http://www.chickensmoothie.com/Forum/search.php?search_id=egosearch

    or here

    http://awesomesauce.forumatic.com/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=3705

  14. Avatar m0ri

    ah, really liked this place while it lasted.
    i’ll be sure to start saving my works on here and transfer them elsewhere.

  15. Avatar HSAR

    @Jim: I have no experience with Ruby on Rails, but that’s never stopped me the last half-dozen times I crash-coursed my way into a new language. I’m asking around for friends who have spare hosting space.

    Maybe we can make this work.

  16. Avatar HSAR

    For those who would, you will always find me at: shusamchen at gmail dot com

  17. Avatar inky blue

    I can’t believe it’s ending! Several years and three profiles later and I’m still gobsmacked. We’ve produced so much here. Let’s make the last few weeks count. I love everyone here. You can find me at facebook.com/prettyjonesy :)

  18. Avatar Jim Stitzel

    @HSAR – I’m actually kicking around the idea of rebuilding a Ficly-like environment, but on a WordPress platform, which is something I do know. I spent most of yesterday playing with RoR and finally threw my hands up in futility when I failed (again) to be able to get the damn thing running. RoR is not the most user-friendly thing in terms of getting even a basic install setup, worse when you’re trying to get it working for an app like Ficly that’s still running on a version of Ruby that’s a couple of generations old. I think it might actually be easier to start over with a new platform and build up from there. That said, I’m not opposed to still trying to learn RoR, but yeah, it’s a major headache.

  19. Avatar HSAR

    While I have no particular qualms about switching to Wordpress, I’ve never tried anything dynamic on it. But really, learning to use it would be no different to learning Ruby. It’s all just technical documentation and copious/vicious/virulent profanity until something gives.

  20. Avatar August 2nd

    One last look around the house before we go…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISmTP2E-XbU

  21. Avatar August 2nd

    For anyone who would like eBooks (epub format) of Ficly content, please let me know. I have a substantial collections of monthly digests available for free download. I haven’t run any digests in the past year so I’ll try to get it all done before the site changes. If anyone would like a collection of their own works in epub format, whether from one account or several, please contact me and provide the name(s) of the account(s) that you’d like to have collected. I can be reached at aug.rode@gmail.com, http://www.facebook.com/aug.rode, or http://www.flickr.com/photos/august_rode/.

    Thanks to everyone here, even those with whom I’ve disagreed about matters, for a wonderful experience. As Bilbo Baggins said, “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” A special note of thanks to my collaborators Robert Quick and Jessica Cahill for In Between Minds and to THX 0477, Drake West, JonB and Pablo Vilas for Noir. Thanks, Kevin.

  22. Avatar Abby (LoA)

    I don’t even know what to say. Thank you so much to everyone who made this a thing. I can’t quite believe i’s ending.

  23. Avatar Isla

    From the memorial of Ficlets 2009 (http://ficlets.ficly.com/) to the Ficly memorial 2014 (http://ficly.com/blog/farewell-ficly) farewell all…until the next time.

  24. Avatar HSAR

    Following from August’s offer, I have an automatic typesetter (for TeX, a popular typesetting program) designed to collect together a series, whether it be from one author or several. Please contact me at the email I supplied above if you have a collaborative series that you would like typeset.

  25. Avatar Reaver19

    I can’t believe it’s going away….WE WILL NEVER FADE AWAY!!!! Loved all of the stories that made me laugh, cry, rage. Love all of you who made me a better writer/person more. Best wishes to all and to the guys who had the sand to create said website. And you kev for your speedy help to fix my profile haha.

    Frankie out! frankieg19@ymail.com

  26. Avatar Jim Stitzel

    Ok, gang, I’m taking on the challenge of developing a new Ficly-inspired site that will continue this tradition we’ve come to love so much. I’ve set up a very rough temporary site under my personal domain that will serve as a transition point between Ficly and its successor. You can find it here:

    http://jimstitzel.com/ficly/

    I did touch base with Kevin before doing this, lest anyone fear I’m just trying to elbow him out of the way, and he’s fine with this. As such, the new site will have a new name and its own dedicated URL ultimately, but this is a first step so that we have someplace to call home once Ficly officially closes its doors in a couple of weeks. Registration is open, so sign up for an account. There is also a forum, and I want to solicit ideas and feedback from everyone. Obviously, this new site is going to be different from Ficly in many ways, but I hope to also preserve many of the features here that we love.

  27. Avatar Kevin Lawver

    Just so no one doubts Jim’s word, and to clarify – y’all should feel free to build whatever you want out of the stories here, just don’t call it Ficly. I also would recommend you start with your own code base, your own ideas and just link to the stories here if you want to (because the stories will stay here at the same URLs they had before). It will make building your own thing easier, and save you a lot of time trying to figure out how to import 35,000+ stories into your shiny new app.

  28. Avatar The Night Angel

    I was never as active here as I wanted to be. I tired, I really did, but trying just isn’t enough. I plan to register for Jim’s budding site (and help out if I can) and post there once its up and running. This site, for the little I used it to share my works, really helped me to develop my writing more, and I don’t want to miss out on the experience that so many others had here with the community. I may not be an original Ficlet-er or anything, but I enjoyed reading other’s stories and contributing my own.

  29. Avatar Scrawler's Secret

    I know my voice has fallen silent in recent times… but this place has always held a special place in my heart. On Ficlets it is what prompted me to take writing seriously. And Ficly was always my reminder to sit down every now and again to create something. Thank you Kevin for all your work. No need for guilt. It is not the end of a story, just a chapter. A single Ficlet/Ficly waiting for a sequel. (And I see Jim has already wrote a few letters of that.) Write on.

  30. Avatar Joshua Leon

    I am saddened by the end of such an amazing website, but I hope that the community and services can continue on in Jim’s new site! I am willing to give it a try! Good luck, Jim, and good bye Ficly! :(