I'm not missing the point. You say that the rules preventing references to statistics and rules are necessary to prevent GW from shutting the site down.
That is simply not true. The current rules are unnecessarily restrictive. They should be relaxed to allow reference to and quotation of statistics and rules in the ordinary course of discussion.
Rules can be quoted when there's genuine confusion about how they work. Page references should be used to rules which are clearly explained in the rulebook. You can see numerous examples of both situations in the rules board.
GW have no problem with that, and to argue otherwise is ridiculous. The idea that GW would set their hyper aggressive legal department onto an internet forum because people were talking about how guardsmen have stats removed is a complete myth. If anyone can point to an example where that has ever happened then go ahead and throw it up.
You continue to speak for GW as though you work for their legal department. The fact of the matter is you cannot prove that GW have no problem with it, I'll come to the e-mail shortly, and therein lies the problem. GW aggressively, and assertively, protects its copyright. Statlines, and points costs, are part of their IP, and to write them out in posts potentially breaks their IP. In view of the opaque nature of how they protect their IP, explained on page of their IP policy, they could come after us for allowing users to post stats/points costs, particularly in view of the historical context I've explained.
If the 75% decline in activity on this site were due to the GFC and competition from other forms of internet media, then other 40k internet communities which existed pre-GFC would have seen a similar decline. They haven't.
That's not actually the case. Warseer's 40K section has declined quite a bit in activity overall, and Second Sphere's activity has plummeted in recent times. You only need to go onto the SMF software forum (SMF produces the software that this forum uses), and look through all the threads from admins asking for help with getting more activity on their fora to see just how much of a problem this is. As I've said before, lack of forum activity is not just related to 40K Online, it's a big problem for a number of established communities, and new fora are finding very difficult to start up.
They have had, maybe a marginal decline in activity, this place has become deserted. Other 40k forums have been able to replenish their population, this place has not. A big reason is because the overly restrictive and unnecessary copyright rules which make these forums inaccessible to new members. It also causes problems for long time members who don't have access to every single current codex.
You're speculating again.
Unless you've been around, and asked every single newbie why they haven't posted, or asked all other newbies to other similar fora why they haven't signed up here, you can't draw that conclusion. It's barely even correlation what you're suggesting, let alone causation. As for experienced forum members, some have issues, some do not, but you need only look to Starrakatt's post
on the subject of activity to see that experienced members often leave because they don't care much for the game any more.
In the time that I've been here, the Eldar boards have lost a lot of experienced players. This was not because of some sudden change in the rules (which hasn't taken place incidentally), but it was due to the fact that they had stopped playing the game for a variety of different reasons, or because real life started taking up too much of their time. I know this because they told me.
Having said that, there are other reasons too. There was obviously that bizarre decision after 6th edition came out to stop people going to other army boards to seek advice about allies. That definitely would have seen a lot of discussion that would have taken place on 40konline get transferred to other forums. The fact that the tactics boards are squirreled away on their own little child boards definitely hasn't helped the amount of activity on those boards. Coupled with the slowness of the site, it's easy to see why they don't see as much activity as they once did. The tactical discussions used to be the best thing about this forum - the tactics boards should be out the front.
Regarding the child boards, I can only speak for Eldar, but more threads, and discussions are still created on the Eldar Stategies, Tactics and Army List board, compared to the Eldar Forum board, since it became a child board. The child board change has made no difference to the Eldar boards in that respect.
The allies situation is easily explained. You just post in the board which represents the main army, not the allied army. If advice is only being sought on the allied component, then it's placed in the board of that ally. It's simple to follow, and stops cross posting. Remember, a number of other sites, such as Warseer, have a generic army lists board, so don't need a system like this for self-evident reasons. A generic army list board is, however, horrible to navigate, and most army lists are not evaluated very well, as they're either ignored, or tend to get buried very quickly, so it's not a good way to structure a forum in my opinion.
The slow server is a problem, and is in the process of being addressed by those with the power to address it.
Now the e-mail:
First off, kudos to you for using Smith, and Jones
Note the parts that I've put into bold text in their reply, and then take a look at my answer below:
Thank you for your email.
Our view is that the discussion of tactics and rules is an important part of the hobby and something that should be encouraged. However, as you may be aware, we need to balance this with protecting our intellectual property rights. The result of this is that provided that the discussion on 40K Online is of the nature you describe below, we are unlikely to have any issues.
This said, we urge you to use your discretion when quoting or making reference to our rules and statistics. If you are simply referencing comments and opinions to rules, or using statistics to support your arguments, then we see will view this as an inevitable and non-problematic consequence of encouraging hobby activity. However, at the opposite end of the spectrum we will take action should we find people copying vast amounts text or images.
Hopefully, this will provide an insight as to Games Workshop is likely to react to discussions of the hobby on 40K Online. Additionally, you may also find it useful to read our intellectual property policy (Legal | Games Workshop) which will provide further guidance to both the letter and spirit of the way in which we will deal with people using our intellectual property.
Group Legal Department
Games Workshop Group PLC
Note the following:
1. They urge discretion. Discretion is the approach to moderation outlined as per forum rule 1. We cannot afford to take chances with GW legal for the reasons that I've previously given. We have to take a cautious approach.
2. Copying vast amounts of texts is a vague expression. How does anyone define vast? That's a loophole if ever I saw one. It's open to interpretation, and while one post with a few stats in it may not amount to much, if we allowed everyone to do it, the sheer number of posts filled with stats would become vast by my definition pretty quickly. This is the problem.
3. They again refer you to their IP document, and so I again refer you to page 3, and Changeyname's post above.
4. This is just a standard reply which they send out to people who make these inquiries. I've seen very similar responses before to the same kind of question which you have posed. This e-mail is written by someone who works in their legal department, but does not come from one of their lawyers, and does not give explicit permission for this forum to allow you to use stat lines in the way in which you would wish.
As a result of the above, I conclude that there is no way we could safely change the policy here.