The recent announcement that Karlsweb, one of the longtime, great Farscape fan sites is no longer going to be updated is raising the issue as to whether our online community is fading away. The fact is that Farscape sites are disappearing, fan fic authors are fading away, and Farscape is generating less news today than it did a year ago. However, while our community may be a bit smaller now compared to a year ago, it's still very active and it's evolving, much like the Internet itself.

Posted 25 January 2004 by Dallascaper

The fact is that our community has never been a static place; people & fan sites have been coming and going since the very beginning. While the Karlsweb announcement may be the most recent example of our changing community, sites have been closing down for a long time. Just off the top of my head, thinking of some of the early, large sites that popped up when the show was still new, comes to mind Brownie's Farscape Site (closed a couple of years ago), Farscape Zone (closed three years ago), Ben Browder.com (closed in July 2000) and TGUT (still open, but not updated in quite a while). Karlsweb opened in November 1999 and was continuously updated for four years, which is quite a feat of dedication. Do all these archived-only or completely dead sites mean Farscape on the web is over? Hardly.

While a number of older sites are no longer active, there are several sites still kicking. Save Farscape, Farscape World, Farscape Web, and of course, Farscape Fantasy are regularly updated in one way or anther. A quick Google will turn up sites that didn't exist even a year ago, which shows that people continue to build new sites, adding their creativity to our community. However, while Farscape fan sites are still out there, and several sites are still updated, I do believe their roll in our community is changing.

There was a time, say a few years ago, when the Farscape online community consisted of two major boards (Sci-Fi's Dominion & The Ultimate), a few minor boards (BBC Farscape) and about two hundred, mostly static fan sites. We usually discussed the latest news at the Dominion and got details and fun content at the major fan sites. The fan sites were major sources of information (spoilers & episode info) and primary showcases for Scaper creativity. New episodes were plentiful, which meant lots of fresh material for the fiction writers and Webmasters to have fun with. Today, things are somewhat different.

I think a lot of Webmasters discovered that maintaining static web sites is a very time-consuming affair, often requiring ten or more hours a week just to keep the site up-to-date. Over time, people move on to other projects, or real-life encroaches on their fun time, and their sites languish. The result, is that we have a lot of out-of-date Farscape sites on the net, which gives the impression of an online Farscape ghost town. Over time, people tire of visiting sites that are out-of-date, and they are turning to a more immediate and interactive medium: the online forum.

Granted, forums such as The Dominion, have been around since the beginning of the show. But unlike the cumbersome and not-very user-friendly Dominion, there are now several fan forums that have become our Farscape home on the net. Two forums in particular, FMD (Save Farscape) and Kansas, neither of which even existed in any large way two years ago, have become centers of our online community. In addition to chatting about the show, nearly every detail of which has been examined to exhaustion, Scapers can now share their art, fiction and other projects with people everywhere, and they don't have to wait on a webmaster to post it for them. The forums are immediate, and therefore have become favorite places to share Scaper creativity and ideas. As Farscape news and spoilers are almost nonexistent for the moment, Scaper creativity is about all we have to survive on right now.

Fortunately, some fan sites, such as this one, have evolved as well. Scapers can now post their art and fiction directly to FF without waiting on me, which gives Scapers the ability to manage their content according to their schedule. The Farscape fan sites that remain up-to-date and fresh for years to come, and wish to be an important part of Farscape's future, will need to allow at least some degree of visitor interaction.

So we have places to discuss everything Farscape, but where is all the fresh content? Until the mini airs, there will be no fresh content coming from Henson any time soon. Scapers in need of a Farscape fix need only visit the many fiction archives, art galleries or music video sites to satisfy, at least temporarily, their Farscape need. The challenge, is that creative Scapers rely on new episodes to inspire them to create fresh content. As some Scapers have noticed, there are fewer established Scaper authors writing fiction these days. My suggestion is to look past the familiar names and read some of the work created by the many new authors that are joining our community. Should add that thanks to Photoshop and the many inexpensive video editors available, there are more works of art and music videos available for Scapers to enjoy than ever before. Scapers are just as creative as they have ever been, we are simply expressing our love for the show in different ways.

Is our Farscape community fading away? I don't think so. It's probably getting a little smaller and less focused, at least until the mini comes out. Our community is evolving - though not always in predicable ways - to meet the needs of Scapers today. Whether all of today's big sites, including this one, are still around five years from now is unknown. But I am confident that our community will be active, served by its members in many ways, and people will still be calling themselves "Scapers" for a long time to come.

 

A static web site is one that is maintained and updated by a webmaster or editor, but is not visitor-interactive. Most basic web sites use standard HTML, which is not interactive. Newer, database websites (such as PHP) are visitor interactive. For example, this page is static HTML, but the Creative part of this site, where people can post their own fiction, art and reviews, is interactive PHP.


Traffic to every major Farscape fan site is down since the show ended its run in the US and the UK last year. Though not 100% accurate, Alexa (click here) offers you the ability to track and compare site traffic, including statistics for all of the major fan sites.

 
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