Two days ago I was talking to Lottie about the decline of roleplays on the Internet. The discussion was initiated by the decline of the Crow's Nest, in which the regular clientele has finally been boiled down to just the people who started Silver Moon Boarding School: Leon, Lottie, Hershi, Dave, and me. The forum, as you will recall reading in my entry about forum teams, was created in response to the popularity of Silver Moon Boarding School, and as long as the roleplay was still active on PKMN.NET, the notation of our site was assured. However, the roleplay on PKMN.NET declined into frenzied violence and the administration was compelled to prohibit further activity on the subject. From that point, we were on our own, and the forum steadily declined. Today most, if not all, of the lower members of the forum have deserted, and some of the lesser roleplays we hosted fell into decline (we even had to decommission Silverwich Legends, the sequel to Silverwich University).
When I was first indroduced to forums, I saw that several forums were based on roleplaying. Eventually, some would go under and others would take their places. Silver Moon Boarding School was anomalous in that it had passed the life expectancy of most roleplaying sites of its calibre, and it seemed assured that it would go on forever when our registration peak hit. However, the roleplay's counterpart on PKMN.NET being closed and my departure from the site to work for TPL both delivered devastating blows, the latter probably being the fatal one (I was made an administrator in January, the same month of the initiation of TPL's campaign).
The fact that the Crow's Nest isn't the only one in the roleplaying world's cycle is a bit of comfort, but that comfort is obliterated when we find that some sites have turned the subject into an assembly line in Detroit. Three of the most prominent are Neopets, Runescape, and the increasingly popular Gaia Online. (Gaia Online also was listed as the most attended site ever.) I do not blame these sites for the decline of smaller roleplays — I blame the fact that there are too many of them out there now, a result of the popularity of roleplays way back when.
This trend swoop doesn't apply to roleplay venues embedded inside forums, however. There are many new roleplays created each week, although the extent of them tends to stay the same: thirty pages or so. The reason for the shorter life spans of roleplays on the forum are not due to popularity, but because of the length of the forum roster. On PKMN.NET, some teams that remain help compound the pressure on some of the roleplays.
I bear no animosity toward these sites, and I certainly don't want Silver Moon Boarding School to go away. I know that it's because there has been so much of this activity that it has inherently become redundant, and there has been need for a change. I completely respect that, and I see it as cause to go off to learn some Java.