Yesterday, Outpost Gallifrey announced it was closing the News and forums sections of their website. The Outpost has been a major influence on Doctor Who fandom over the last several years. It has united a fanbase that is spread all around the world. It has united people with common interests. For me it was my first exposure to other people who knew and loved doctor who.
It taught me about being a fan. I know that probably sounds a bit ridiculous, but it is true. I learned that there were other people like me. Other people whon knew far more than I did, and that I was a part of their community. I could interact with the "major" fans and even the authors of (at the time) the Doctor who books that were being published. . . even Steven Moffat, who is now the producer of the show. It created comunity.
Now, let me say that I respect the decision of Shaun Lyon, the founder of the site, of steping back. I have to say I have to question why he doesn't just hand it off, I supose there is a true (and rightfully so) sense of ownership and that it would be hard to see some one else running things, but the Outpost is a HUGE community.
Shaun maintains that other communities will rise up, I agree. My concern is in the word "Communities." This is Plural, meaning multiple. Fandom will split. Its hard enough to maintain fandom as it is (which is alrady split) but now taking a huge group of fans and saying "ok go find somewhere else to comune, you can's stay here anymore" and then not helping them find a place.
I am sure communities will grow out of this. Really good communities, but I think there will be several really good communities and the comradery that has been had in the Outpost, will be lost. I am comfidant that something GREAT will come out of this, but at the same time I am sad because of the nastalgia that the Outpost has for me. I have had a great time, and will remember that time fondly.