What has happened here?
As of July 12th 2023, the discord formerly known as “Forgecord” was rebranded to a new project - NeoForged.
NeoForged is a fork of MinecraftForge. Almost all of the original team has joined the new team, with one obvious exception, LexManos (hereby referred to as Lex).
This news post will attempt to explain the circumstances leading to this drastic action. It presents the perspective of the new team however, and specifically, my (cpw) perspective and motivations.
Why did this happen?
Firstly, I want to be clear. Attributing this to a single event is to attribute death by a thousand cuts to a single cut.
After the latest difficulties in the Minecraft Forge discord, I wanted to understand why Curle felt she needed to resign from the position Lex put her in - namely, leader of the project. She had done an amazing job of organizing the team prior to the promotion to leader, and it was surprising to me that she felt the need to leave so shortly after. The discussion with her opened my eyes to the fact that there had been ongoing difficulties with the team she had spent so much time to build, and Lex was the root of the problem.
I want to be clear, Lex has been a problem in the modding community for many, many years. Almost every veteran minecraft modder has had a negative interaction with him over the past 12 years. I have, when able to, tried to steer people to not abandon Forge just because of Lex - defending him in many a private conversation with a frustrated modder who’d just been called a “Cunt” for 1,000th time by Lex, or banned from our online spaces for a trivial transgression like discussing Fabric or coremods.
In evaluating the situation I was in, it quickly became clear I could take one of three actions:
- Do nothing. If I did nothing, I believe we would be watching the slow disintegration of the Forge project. This is why we recruited Curle in the first place - to try and help build a useful team, that would enable Lex to step back from the limelight and community management aspects. Her departure would cement that the Forge team was too toxic to continue to function in a viable capacity, in my opinion. We would have seen more public disputes and abuse, with more modders and community leaders becoming increasingly frustrated.
- Babysit Lex. In effect, this is what I have been doing, to a more or lesser extent, for the past 10 years. He would not see it that way, but I have been defending Lex to all comers for many many years. I truly thought that if he could stop being so toxic online, we would become successful.
- Do what we have done - fork the project and start afresh.
Note that due to personal physical and mental health issues, I was not well enough to continue with 2 and have rather withdrawn from the community - effectively 1 - because I needed to preserve my health. Lex has argued repeatedly that I had the power to rein him in, but that’s an accident of history and not something that I believe should have been necessary between two adult friends, and if it had killed me - a non-zero likelihood (I am not a young man) - then there would have been no one left anyway.
We have forked
Yes, we have forked the project. Curle and I both agreed this was the best decision for the future of the project and more importantly for the community - I never wanted the money or the power that comes with being leader and we have rather started the process of putting together a simple consitution for the project moving forward, which we will be sharing as time allows.
We have had to fork - because many of the core assets are licensed by Lex’s company Forge LLC. It is better for us to fork and rebrand. We will be removing those assets that are part of the MinecraftForge project, as we develop our own brand and styling.
Note that this is not a hard fork yet. We remain compatible with existing Forge for the present time. Whether we break that compatilibity in the future is one of many topics of discussion. Some want us to quickly clean up the technical debt, others feel that we should take a more measured approach to that effort. Suffice to say, both opinions have some merit and we encourage discussion and adult debate about what measures are appropriate on what timescales.
Why did this seem so rushed?
We had been in planning and discussion for around 9 days - and had a private discord setup where we could discuss the future direction and do work on initial setup and planning. This was well underway when I received the shock of my life yesterday morning - for who but Lex themselves was in our private discord, reading the backlog. The reasons for this are still unclear, and we’ll likely never know the full extent of what happened, but suffice to say, the cat was definitely out of the bag.
Faced with an unknown quantity, we felt that we had to act to quickly preserve the community, rather than risk all that has been built, especially in the past two years. Thus we launched our rebrand, before we were truly ready, but it was in effort to preserve the community.
Why did you take the discord?
The discord was always mine. I set it up very early on in discord’s life, originally as an experiment, but when it became clear that discord was getting popular, I suggested to Lex that we transition it to our new online space. At first it was secondary to #minecraftforge on esper.net IRC, but over time, it became the primary community hub. Lex was never interested in taking ownership of the server, even though I offered it several times. So it is my asset, and as my asset, I felt it best to rebrand it.
What happens now?
Things will settle as time passes. We should have our governance documents soon - we have good plans for a fresh approach to governing the project. We have had many many offers of support and help from many many community members, including corporations that run large hosting providers, distribution platforms and more. We will be setting up an opencollective for those that wish to financially support the project. That financial support will be funneled directly back into the project - we hope to be able to help our many contributors with a little pocket money for their kind donations of time.
My opinion and perspective
I want to be clear, this is my opinion and perspective. Others will have their own opinions, and they may differ in the details, but I believe this is the best possible future for the project as a whole.
I hope curle will write her perspective on the matter for publishing here.