The alternative sites were a lifesaver for the community but they didn't really capture the spirit of the original. One member of the community thought "how hard can it be to rewrite the site from scratch?". Over the course of the following weekend he coded feverishly and at 19:35 on Sunday 27th February, barely more than 48 hours after the closure of the original site, NOTtheTalk went live.
Over the course of the following week the community swung behind the site and since then it has grown from strength to strength. In its first year NOTtheTalk had over 30 million pageviews.
Today we are an independent, lively and growing community from all over the world. The running costs are funded by voluntary donations and the site is run on a not-for-profit basis for the benefit of its users.
The look and feel of the site might look a bit old fashioned at first but it is inspired by the late 90s layout of the original site and the underlying ethos remains to keep the site as easy to read as possible with minimal distractions from advertising or other clutter. Under the bonnet it uses all the latest tools and technologies to deliver the best discussion forum on the web.
Back in the mists of time - some time around 1998 - The Guardian newspaper launched a discussion forum called The Talk. Over the years many people from all over the world wasted far too much of their time discussing everything from current affairs and science to whimsical topics like kittens and lemons.
Everything was rosy in the Garden of Eden however the community noticed that The Guardian were not really investing in the service. The software was never upgraded and the site became harder to find from the main site. Finally the newspaper developed a new poster child - Comment is Free. One day the unthinkable happened; The Guardian pulled the plug on the site without warning.
At 17:30 on Friday 25th February 2011 a community which had grown and developed over many years was suddenly left homeless.
Some members of the community had seen the writing on the wall and had the forethought to set up alternative sites - the lifeboats - and much of the community gathered there or found other lost souls on Facebook and Twitter. One of the key strengths of The Talk was its simplicity. There are no smileys or avatars, no signatures under each post, nothing to distract the user from the matter in had; chatting, debating and generally belming into the void.