Does anyone know what exactly happened to Winglin? Are they shut down for good? For anyone who knows the history of this site, I made AFF because Winglin lost the stories written by a good friend. She was pretty broken up about losing them so I made this place to do something about it. I never thought Winglin would close. She loved that place and I have good memories of her hunched over her desk writing stories to post on the fabled Winglin.
Did they warn anyone? Let people backup their stories before they shut down? She probably still had a few stories on Winglin that she never got to bring over here. It would have been nice to know that her stories lived on in other places.
I don't know what happened to Winglin but I can guess since I'm sure we've run into the same problems. My best guess is that Winglin couldn't financially sustain itself. Perhaps the owner just wanted a simple site of their own for their stories and never thought about it. But once your site gets very popular, every site owner discovers something pretty quickly: servers and network infrastructure is really expensive. AFF alone costs thousands of dollars a month just to exist. Most people can't pay that cost out of their own paychecks so the site has to make enough to sustain itself. I know how hard that is. I'd personally rather work on new features than talk to sales people but it's unavoidable.
Another guess that's tied to the first is that they might not have known much about servers or perhaps also programming. They had lost a bunch of stories a few years back and it was most likely due to hardware failure (it happens a lot). But a good admin expects hardware to fail and builds redundancies and backups to ensure that nothing is lost. It's a founder's responsibility to safeguard the work that people have entrusted to you.
If anyone knows Winglin's owner, let me know. I'd be interested in taking over just to let it keep running and maybe even manage to save some of the stories that are there. It's had a long history and it would be a shame to let it die with a whimper.