QUOTE(Kalimac @ 30 October 2010, 20:33)
Lars: I'm curious, why would you think IRC has grown obselete?
Just logical reasoning. There have been many different forms of communication technlogies that were common/popular in older days that have become obsolete since then - usually because they have been superseded by new technologies that have been more (visually) appealing and/or easier to use.
When we started the NTFA back in 1998 you didn't have boards like this one yet. The large majority of the TransFans communicated via newsgroups, while some smaller fractions visited offshoots of old BBSes (bulletin board systems), several of which incorporated (or were built upon) MUDs and MUSHes (multi-user domains, multi-user shared hallucinations). The main Transformers newsgroup - alt.toys.transformers - had actually started as a mailing list, which was another common form of communication back then. The NTFA also started as a mailing list. And then there were those who used IRC, for a chance to chat live.
But the web has evolved a lot since then. We have WWW-based boards today, we have Facebook, Twitter, various instant messaging programs, shoutbox technologies, and so on. All which have some significant advantages over earlier technologies, whether it is aestethics, ease of installation, ease of use, a wealth of features, or something else. Eventually even many of those who are not
enticed by any of these advantages cave in and follow the rest, simply because they want to associate with the majority, or friends who have already moved on to newer technologies. The old technologies may still exist, and some people still use them, but they are not nearly as important (or well-known) today as they were back in their heydays.
So: it's just logical reasoning. IRC had already been superseded by rudimentary web-chats when we abandoned the #NTFA weekend chats (even though we never moved on to web-chats ourselves), and it seemed logical that the barrage of DDoS attacks would bring down the popularity of IRC for good.
(Ponder this scenario: Imagine that Facebook is rendered completely unusable for a couple of months. How large a market share would it lose in that time, and do you think it would ever become as important again even when the service was restored?)