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It is a fact that Wizards of the Coast did at some point remove all content for 4th edition D&D from its site when 5th Edition had come around. Since then, there is no mention of 4th edition on the page; only 5e content remains.

Such an act, if deliberate, is in history sciences often called Damnatio Memoriae, the condemnation of memories, and then an attempt to remove a person from history. However, it might also be just spring cleaning with the 5th edition taking center stage. In any way, some highly regarded content fell into nirvana and is lost.

Some of this content was archived by the Wayback Machine, but I find it hard to pin down the exact date of this massive purge of content.

When did Wizards of the Coast purge D&D 4th Edition content from its website?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I’m not certain, but I suspect it was the same time they finally well-and-truly purged their 3e content, which happened just a couple of months ago. I offered a bounty on our Q&A about 3e wizards.com content on Oct 27, and IIRC that was a week or two after the purge. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Dec 13, 2022 at 20:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Kryan the 4E purge happened well before 2020 afaict. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Dec 13, 2022 at 21:52

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It happened in several stages:

  1. WotC deleted its forums in late 2015. This was a big hit to 4e, since so much collective knowledge was there. A number of the guides were copied over to the ENWorld forums which organised an “emergency lifeboat” effort before the shutdown to preserve knowledge. It could be argued that this was 5e related, but the forums had gone through multiple software iterations and each time there were significant issues with the transfers.

  2. D&D Insider, which was WotC's 4e subscription service, was shut down for good in January 2020. Nothing new had been published for a number of years, but the tools still worked, mostly. There were plenty of outages over time, and the Character Builder was programmed in Silverlight, which most browsers had ceased to support by then. They'd officially stopped taking new subscriptions a few years earlier, but the page to renew would allow people to sign up, even if they hadn't previously been subscribers.

  3. Some of the content that had been released for free, like the Class Compendium articles, persisted on the site even if there were no obvious links to it. It's no longer there, and I'm not certain when it was removed, but the Wayback Machine had archives of it through March 2021, so it was up until at least then.

  4. There's even some 4e content still up- in particular, the Errata and Collected FAQ document is still hosted on the Wizards site, even if there are no active links for it (a link to the Zip can be found here).

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    \$\begingroup\$ insider was not able to be subscried to since about 2017 AFAIK. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Dec 16, 2022 at 11:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ The only phase missing is when most of the Editorial content from the main page was removed - possibly between 2015 and 2020 \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Dec 16, 2022 at 11:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ Insider claimed that it couldn't be subscribed to from about 2017 onwards, but if you went to "renew" it would accept payment and create a new account even if the user hadn't previously registered. \$\endgroup\$
    – JLan
    Dec 17, 2022 at 23:55

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