So, Scrapheap Challenge is dead, an apparent suicide.
First, let's address the conspiracy theory. The conspiracy theory goes like this: it wasn't suicide! It was murder! It was a SHC member that posted the vulnerabilities of the new EVE-O forums, and it was SHC members that took advantage of that vulnerability. SHC publicized it. SHC made fun of CCP. So, CCP used some kind of leverage they had with Calmdown, the administrator of SHC, to kill SHC. SHC was murdered!
Usually, the "accepted" leverage is that since Calmdown used to be a CCP employee, there was something in the NDA that he signed as a CCP employee that they could use against him, even with him no longer being a CCP employee for several years.
Yeah... no. Don't believe it. Never attribute to malice what you can attribute to apathy.
The NDA portion of the conspiracy theory holds the least amount of water, for one thing. I've never seen a CCP NDA myself, but everyone I've spoken to that has signed one tells me they have holes in them big enough to fly a super-carrier through. Even if that were not the case, I honestly don't see CCP caring enough about SHC's involvement in this to be vindictive about it. Permanent bans from EVE? Sure. But trying to follow up with some kind of RL leverage or blackmail? Nope, don't buy it. Hell, Calmdown probably would have gotten a kick out of publicizing threats.
In my view, the timing is simply coincidental. Calmdown's been out of the game for some time, and his apathy level was pretty high. He was also having moderator troubles on SHC. Finally, he claims to have been spending £70 per month on hosting, which seems outrageously high to me, but who knows. The combination of those factors were what did the site in, though. If you want to believe in a conspiracy theory, the one that has a little bit more credence for me is the theory that the timing of the SHC shut-down was chosen to grief EVE players a little bit. You wake up one morning, the official EVE-O forums are down. You head to SHC to find out what's going on... WTF... SHC is down too! I don't know if that theory is true either... but there's a perverse logic in it.
And that theory is supported by a threat Calmdown posted on SHC.
So, call it timing, plus finances, plus internal difficulties, plus a little bit of a desire to grief EVE players. In my view, CCP had nothing to do with it.
For those looking to pull a last few threads, ship fittings, or whatever off SHC, a final mirror has been established:
Don't know how long it will last.
So what happens now? Well, first thing, EntroX has created a new forum, Failheap Challenge. He's posted a thread explaining why he created FHC.
Will it last? Entirely possible! SHC posters (including myself) have registered for FHC in droves. And the conversations on SHC seem to have migrated to FHC without more than a brief pause. For now, FHC seems to have successfully replaced SHC. EntroX has the advantage that he got his site up quickly and advertised it broadly. Nature abhors a vacuum, and all that. Will the community be less insular now that almost everyone has the same registration date? Don't bet on it. ;-) As a result, I think the overall feel of the FHC community is going to remain the same as the old SHC community, possibly with a few new faces making names for themselves in the process.
Kugutsumen is also seeing a number of new posters, but the bittervet over there is pretty strong. The new posters might not last long, heh. A number of other websites (such as The EVE Report) also created or advertised fora in the wake of SHC crashing and burning, but they seem to be having less success in attracting crowds.
So, for now, it looks like there's still going to be a "big three" when it comes to EVE Online forums: the official ones (still the old version, for the foreseeable future), Kugu, and now newcomer FHC, replacing Scrapheap.
Meet the new boss... same as the old boss. Or if you prefer, all of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.