[Website service] has stopped for 105 days, two co-workers have left, but we are still here. Fanfou will come back.
Of course, there’s no more detail, so it’s unclear whether it’s an indication that actual change is in progress or whether it’s just a rather hopeful promise. Still, if He Caitou is to be believed, it raises some interesting issues. From his post:
The loyalty of [Fanfou] users is very shocking to me. For any website, when it’s been closed for that long, the users just forget about and start using a substitute service. But Fanfou users, in every place where they can express their feelings, have continued to call for the return of Fanfou. Whether it’s on Douban, Baidu Tieba, or the foreign Twitter, they [the Fanfou users] haven’t ever given up hope, almost clinging to the idea that Fanfou would definitely return.
There are lots of reasons people might like Fanfou better than other equivalent services, but the primary one just seems to be that it was what everyone in China was using. When Fanfou went down, a lot of social connections got severed. He Caitou cites a Twitter post:
…a friend said, “Every day at noon I check to see whether Fanfou is back or not.” Continuing to chat, I learned it that she secretly loved another Fanfou user, but hadn’t had time to reveal herself when Fanfou was closed. As a result, she checks the Fanfou front page every morning to see if it’s back or not. The closing of Fanfou was completely without warning, so there wasn’t time to finish a lot of things.
Regardless of whether or not Fanfou was original and regardless of the reasons people want it back so badly, it is interesting that the users have stuck around this long rather than migrating to something else. And stuck around they have. There are already over a hundred comments on the Fanfou admins blog post about Fanfou coming back, and nearly all of them say something to the effect of “I’m waiting for you!”
If Fanfou does actually come back, it will raise a whole series of new questions. Is the government willing to unblock websites based on public demand? Are blocked websites being given timetables for when — if ever — they will be back online (if not, how do the Fanfou folks know they’ll be back?), and if so, why would the government even bother blocking them in the first place?
He Caitou seems to take it as fact that Fanfou is coming back, but we’re not as convinced based on the Fanfou owners’ blog post, the entirety of which we translated above. “We will be back,” is a bit vague. Give us a date and a time, and if it really happens, well…that would, as previously observed, be interesting.
UPDATE: If you need more convincing, check out this recent 不许联想 post about Fanfou, entitled “I’m waiting for your return.”