First, I want to thank everyone who has contributed to TMW, and this is not intended as an attack in any way, to anyone. I want to get away from any personal stuff, and focus on specific concerns regarding the server move itself. I also want to thank Jenalya for making http://forums.themanaworld.org/download/file.php?id=10563
available so that players can have some information on recent developments.
My two main concerns, not directly addressed in that text (or elsewhere, to the best of my search abilities) are as follows:
1) The way this move was handled sets a poor precedent for how future log-jams between top admins (with save-file access) will be handled. What guarantees do we have, that in the future, if top admins find themselves in a similar position, that one will not take recent events as precedent, and preemptively make off with the save-files and start a new game iteration with them?
What this game needs is a clear constitution, definitively outlining the ownership of the savefiles, and the specific procedures for allowing them to move or undergo a change of access, if need be. And also a clear procedure for impeaching or demoting a top admin, if need be.
2) The new server is a paid service, hosted by a for-profit professional hosting company, and the costs are being donated by an anonymous member of the TMW community.
My concerns here are twofold. I feel that having our project hosted by a paid for-profit company goes in the wrong direction for a totally free open-source game. Also, if our anonymous benefactor one day decides to no longer pay for this service, then what is our "Plan B" ? Who will host us if the money stops flowing? Will the game transition to a freemium model to continue to pay for the professional hosting, if an alternative cannot be found?
I feel that what this game needs is a freely offered service, in line with the free model of the game, that guarantees that it will remain free and available, completely independent of the decisions of a single (however generous) person.
Sometimes, a community has no choice but to accept certain realities, certain risks, as they are inherent in all things in life. But these specific risks are things that we directly brought upon ourselves by taking specific actions. I do not want this thread to devolve over the right or wrong of those specific actions, but I would please prefer if we focus on addressing, and hopefully alleviating these concerns.
Please, if anyone has other concerns specifically regarding the move and transition, I encourage you to make them known, as well. The admins cannot know of our concerns, unless we voice them, and that is our responsibility.
P.S. Edit: According to the text-log Jen posted, this is the company hosting our iteration of TMW: http://www.hetzner.de/en/
They are located in Germany, but have webpages in other languages, including English, so please feel to look them up and form your own opinions.