For a while, everything was great.
Many of the gamer types couldn't cope with the increasingly hostile attitude towards their approach. One particular group insisted on causing trouble and after a series of temporary bans, became the first to be permanently banned. Known forevermore as the Suspended Six, they had long been a punchline. Reviled for their increasingly hostile attitude and terrible writing, their ban was celebrated as a triumph of common sense and civility over the bad old days.
There were still some rabble rousers, but their teeth were pulled one by one
In one particularly memorable and whiskey soaked weekend on post, I logged in and made the language filter (a feature that had gone mostly unused) change the word anarchy to "a suffusion of yellow". There were a few folks who would spam random threads with ANARCHY!!!!!!! in as large a font and as loud a color as the boards would allow. They were initially displeased, but everyone thought it was a good laugh, and eventually the spamming stopped.
There was still plenty of conflict to be had, but rather than centering around invasions, the conflict took place between the various personalities on the site. There was the Vegemite Sith Enclave, a group of extremely foul mouthed Australians that churned out some hilarious and occasionally disturbing stories that were more stream of consciousness rambling than anything coherent. A group of Dark Jedi and Sith known as the Iron Fists attracted many of the best fighters, and would dominate the dueling scene for quite some time. The Jedi became increasingly cliquish and insular, shunning new writers in favor of writing the same old stories in the same old way with the same old people, but no one much cared because they had all the influence of a sneeze in a hurricane. The Mandalorians would stir up trouble from time to time, but for the most part, the lines were drawn and no one tried to cross them without serious planning in advance.
Over time, people began to lose interest.
Personal feuds and meaningless squabbles could only take the community so far. People had lives outside of the site, and many decided it just wasn't worth the energy necessary to keep writing the same old stuff time and time again. There's only so many times you can fall, get redeemed, fall again, and maybe murder some orphans before it just gets boring. The interpersonal rivalries cooled, and with them, much of the drama that had driven storylines.
The original administrative team was almost completely gone. I stuck around longer than most, but if the originals didn't much care for my style, the new guys were even less eager to deal with a hothead with too many ideas and not enough tact. I left in a blaze of profanity, burning many a bridge on the way out the door.
Over the next few years, the player base continued to dwindle. Every now and then someone would get a cool idea for a story and everyone would get all fired up, but it almost always fizzled out after a couple of weeks. There were groups where waiting a month for a post was business as usual, and even among more active groups, it was usually one or two people coming up with ideas and everyone else just sort of playing along. The VSE and Iron Fists were little more than fond memories and in jokes that no one but old timers understood by this point.
Still, the site managed to limp along until then end of 2012, when a disgruntled player organized a DDOS attack and crashed the boards. After months of nothing, the admin cobbled together a functional proboards forum, but the damage had been done. Despite initial interest from many an old timer, a site that formerly boasted hundreds of active writers with thousands of characters was down to a handful of writers too stubborn to let go.
The remaining Jedi left en masse after one of their number called them out on their hostility towards new players. The Mandalorians managed to work together with the Sith OOC to start a massive war against the Sith Empire, but a couple of jackasses had to go and ruin that for everyone.
I left for good not long after, and Sinistra followed not long after. We had managed to keep ourselves entertained through a highly improbable romance between an Iron Knight and the Sith Emperor (call her an empress at your own peril), but an incident with another player and the wholly inappropriate reaction from one of the last remaining admin was enough to push me out the door for good.
As of this week, over 90% of the universe sits dormant. The remaining few planets are used by a small handful of die hard writers who are trying desperately to breathe some life back into the place.
So what does all this have to do with the price of tea in China?
Over the last couple of weeks, I've noticed a growing discontent among certain players with the "map game." They complain that certain other players have completely disregarded story and cooperation in favor of winning at all costs. So far, they've not gained much traction. It's all just bellyaching from folks who feel had done by at the hands of the factions that have been beating them soundly as of late.
I hope to God they continue to remain a vocal minority, because I don't want to see Chaos head down the same path as JvS. You guys have made me feel far more welcome than any other RP site I've tried in the past year. You've got something truly special going, and I'll fight like Hell to see that it doesn't get washed away by the same sort of thinking that poisoned and killed the site I helped build.
If you're tired of the map game, tired of losing battle after battle to an implacable for that has no interest in working towards a common goal instead of winning, the answer isn't to try to find a way to curb their enthusiasm. Their collective dickishness will stir the pot for years to come. Instead of muzzling them, why not find another faction to go to war with? New factions are created on a daily basis. Somewhere in there is your perfect enemy, someone who's willing to fight on your terms and work with you rather than against you. Let the other guys be someone else's problem.