I joined around 2004/2005, so I've been here at least thirteen years.
I'm not really sure why I still visit. The forum is still full of wonderful people, of course, but Bionicle has finished (twice), most people have grown up and moved on from Lego altogether, others have taken to BZP's social media channels for discussion instead, and the daily activity has dropped massively since the forum's heyday.
Perhaps I still visit because this place was a form of escape from the terrible years I spent at secondary school. When things were bad and my self-confidence was being drawn out of me on a daily basis, I could still come here and interact with friends over something I loved.
Monthly BBC contests were not only an exciting chance to build and enter my own creations from my collection of parts, but also to see how other big-name builders in the community interpreted the contest brief and made incredible creations with their own collections of parts
Perhaps I still visit because - subconsciously - I want that monthly flurry of activity and great MOCs to return. Contests are - understandably - more few and far between these days, and most of the big-name builders (many of whom were my online friends) have disappeared.
Perhaps I still visit because - again, subconsciously - I want my online friends to return. Most of them have gone from the community. Some have even deleted all their old content, perhaps out of embarrassment. (Myself included - I deleted all my old posts from this blog because they were all so cringy
And even if their content does still exist, it likely won't last forever. In these days of Instagram and Imgur, it's easy to forget the community once used the archaic Brickshelf and Majhost to host our pictures. When Majhost went down for good a few years back, it took a lot of amazing MOCs down with it. I suspect Brickshelf will go the same way someday.
I don't begrudge them leaving. But I sure do miss them.
There's a moderately happy ending to all of this. A few of my online 'MOCer' friends have
come back - not to the forums specifically, but to the community at least. Primus and Blue Diamond (to name just a couple) have re-emerged on Discord, and both are slowly picking their bricks back up and making awesome new things.
And Bionicle has gotten more mainstream attention recently. Liam Robertson posted an amazing look
at the troubled development of the cancelled PC game (which is a mystery that has been bugging the community since 2001), and I've seen a few other content creators posting their own retrospective looks at the toys and video games. For some reason, it's made me feel more comfortable about my own fan status - maybe it wasn't just us and our secluded online subculture that loved Bionicle, after all...
As for my own confidence, I'm unrecognisable from where I was during those school days. I'm still shy, and I still have a few issues I'm working on. But I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin.
Thanks, BZPower. Your effect on my own life has been huge. Whatever form you may take in the future, I hope you live on for another seventeen years.
Hugs and kisses,
p.s. arpy and laka where u at