GTL closing down after 22 years
Subject: Last GTL weekly newsletter
Date: 2016 Apr 23
In our previous newsletter, we delivered the sad news that the active part of the GTL was shutting down,
and we would send one more once the remaining review requests were finished. In this final newsletter,
we would like to tell you a bit about the history of the site, and also why we chose to shut down.
The GTL was created in March 1994 by Jean-loup Gailly and Bill Hosken. It evolved over the years with
different maintainer teams. The current page was created by Arno Hollosi in 1999.
22 years is really a long time in the internet age. Practically everything you know today did not
exist back then: Twitter (2006), YouTube (2005), Wikipedia (2001), Google (1998), and even
AltaVista (1995) and eBay (1995) are younger.
From the start, the idea proved to be very successful. In 1999, the page was really state of the art.
Keep in mind that the term "Web 2.0" wasn't coined until 2003. We grew from a few reviews per month
up to nearly three reviews per day at our peak in 2003. When you searched for the term "ladder" on
Google, we were #4 in the results.
After 2003, demand declined gradually. Every year, the number of requests we received per month went
down a little. Last year, we had less than one request per day. There are a number of reasons for
this, but we believe the main one was the creation of review tools on online go sites. Players could
have their game reviewed on-site immediately after it was finished instead of having to wait up to
10-15 days on average, by which point the game was no longer fresh in their minds.
As we approached the milestone of 10,000 reviews, we thought carefully about the future of the GTL.
We could evolve it into something more modern, but nobody was able to do the large amount of work
required, and there are already new and more advanced learning tools available to the go community.
It also didn't feel right to us to have a completely new and different service carry on the GTL name.
We came to the conclusion that, like many great things, its time must come to an end.
The technology and people that ran the site were important parts of the project, but first
and foremost, it was you: the requester, the reviewer, the reader. You made the GTL amazing.
We've maintained this site for many years now, and can't remember receiving any negative feedback
the entire time. Not a single negative email over the course of 10,000 requests. That's outstanding!
Instead, we were always touched by how people expressed their gratitude, even using the
"instructions for the maintainers" field on the submission form. Originally this field was
intended for technical instructions regarding the request, but people instead frequently used it
to thank us and mention what the service meant to them.
Thanks for being such a great community. We wish you all the best in go and in life.
Arno, Matthias, Jon, and all other GTL admins past & present
The Go Teaching Ladder, http://gtl.xmp.net/
Improve your Go - get your game reviewed!