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.
- 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.